Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Japanese items in an N Scale database.

For a bit over a year now I have been assisting with the establishment of a comprehensive database of N scale products.  We currently have over 43,000 items in the database with more being added every day.

One of the areas I have been focusing on including are Japanese prototype items.  I have been entering passenger sets, buildings, vehicles, and figures.




Click HERE to link to the N Scale database.

This database is well worth checking out.  Points can be earned for entering items and then can be exchanged for a variety of N scale items or for subscriptions to N Scale Magazine or membership in the N Scale Enthusiast organization.

I personally have found the database helpful on several occasions when doing research.  When calling up a particular item in the database, it will indicate if that item is available for sale on ebay or Amazon with links to the listings.  The database itself also has items for sale on this database at reasonable prices.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The climbing tower crane

Cranes like the ones shown in this photo are a common sight in Tokyo.  Because this type of crane does not have the range of the larger ones with horizontal beams there are often several on larger construction sites.

I saw this kit in a hobby shop on one of our trips to Japan and knew immediately this was what I wanted for the subway construction scene.

Now that the work on that construction scene has started I can finally put this kit together.  It was not clear to me from looking at the package but when I opened it I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are 2 crane kits included plus some great little construction scene details.

Before purchasing this crane kit I had not heard of this company, Studio Mid.  Turns out that they have several other N scale kits for modeling construction scenes.  I have not seen anything from them on ebay but here is a LINK to the HobbySearch.com store with all the Studio Mid N scale products. 

The crane kits come in red or yellow. I would have preferred the red but when I bought it they only had yellow so I painted my cranes reefer orange.

I made some substantial looking support bases from styrene tile with another layer of .040 styrene under it.  Then the crane bases were attached to this with ACC glue.

To highlight the relief in sections of the tower, I brushed on some Testors black weathering wash and then wiped it off before it had completely set.

In the lead photo of the prototype the crane on the right is seen adding or removing a section from it's own tower.  Each crane in this kit comes with two towers, one longer and one shorter.  Both represent several actual sections attached together.  I used the longer towers and then cut the shorter ones into their individual sections and set them in the support area.

These are now completed with the exception of stringing the thread through, that might prove to be the most difficult part.  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Protecting the details

Yesterday was the last day of our 8 day long exhibit at the Hiller Aviation Museum.   Everything worked well including the passing siding on the Musashi-Koyama modules after the rework I had done on the controls.

Sometimes the space provided for our layouts is too small to set up rope barriers.  Almost all adult visitors know not to touch anything on the layout but it's another story with small kids.  Up to now I had held back on the details I want to have near the front edge of the Musashi-Koyama module set.  Prior to this exhibit I decided it was time to have some sort of clear screen in front of the modules.

On an old home layout I had made some shields from clear plastic material to keep my cats off the layout and thought it would be a good solution for this.

I have had some success making small control panels from plastic sheet but for these I decided to have them made for by TAP Plastics.   One shield is 36 inches wide and is mounted to the module on the left and the other shield is 42.75 inches wide and is attach to the middle module and to the small extension.  Both are 9 inches tall.

I should have had the shields made just a bit smaller than the width of the modules.  I had not considered that the front of Paul's adjoining modules might not be flush with mine.  So my shields ended up being just slightly too wide.

We got things to fit by overlapping the shields where they meet in the middle.  I can remove the small amount of material with my belt sander and be ready for the next time with set up.

Each shield is attached with a pair of  knurled head thumb screws.  Holes were drilled on the front frame of the modules and tee nuts were installed from the inside.

Once installed, the shields worked out great.  This was a very busy 8 day show and nothing was taken, moved, or touched on the modules.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

2017 Hiller Trains and Planes exhibit

The 2017 Trains and Plane exhibit is being held at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, California between Saturday April 8th, and Saturday April 15th.

Peninsula Ntrak has a 24ft X 18ft layout shown here with the AsiaNrail layout branching off from my junction module in the foreground of this photo.  The AsiaNrail layout has a reasonable sized loop plus two branches, one to the Ntrak layout and another shown in the lower right of this photo.

The lighting in the Museum was just right.  Things were well lighted but still dark enough for the lighting details on the layouts to show up well.

Shown here are my row of Tomix shops with a couple of the shop interiors lighted.

The main line was single track with a staging yard on one side of the layout and Musashi-Koyama station being a passing siding on the other side.

I had done some work on the wiring and controls since the setup last September and this time the operation worked as planned.

In this photo shows shortened versions of my Yamanote 205 series and 485 series trains at the station platform.

Paul has been adding some new scenery to his modules.  Shown here is the new parking area for visitors to the Phoenix Temple.  The main line is passing behind those cherry trees and the train at the station is Paul's Tomix track cleaning train.
We like our shorter passenger trains on the AsiaNrail layout.  Here are Paul's pair of Sanriku Railway type 36 rail diesel cars at the station on my Hot Springs Junction Ntrak module.  The models are from Tomix.  The Sanriku Railway runs in Iwate prefecture, Japan.
Peninsula Ntrak's Japanese corner module was next the the hot springs junction.

I will conclude this post with this shot of a 6 car formation of one of Paul's Taiwan passenger DMU's winding it's way through his Shifen module.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Starting the subway construction scene

One of the central features of the Musashi-Koyama module set is all the construction going on in the area around the station for the new subway.  Up to now this had only been represented on the modules as an opening in the surface and a few trucks parked behind some construction fencing.  I thought it was about time to start to make this scene more complete.

A box was made from .030 styrene to fit into the hole. This can be removed as needed to work on it at the bench.  One of the  be two climbing tower cranes on the site is also seen in this photo.  More on those in a future post.
Across the street from the subway station construction site I am creating a support area  This would be a fenced in area where materials could be stored, vehicles and equipment parked.

The subway station construction scene will be a large project that has several aspects to it.  This is just the start and there will be follow-up posts as it progresses.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Starting the grade crossing scene

I showed this reference photo in one of my first posts, Streets and Buildings.   This scene was just outside the station and is an important scene on the module that I wanted to re-create.

This is old Green Max kit number 45 and this is what I used to create the grade crossing.  I purchased a couple of these kits in Japan but they are also available on ebay.  The new number for this kit is 2153.

Besides the pair of crossing signals and gates this kit includes road sections, train signals, sensors, and other details.  I did not use the road sections as I had already built up the roads.

The bases for the crossing gates were meant to sit at below track level and because I had already built up the roads and surrounding area the gates seemed abnormally high when compared to people.  So I cut out sections in the cork as shown in this photo to lower the bases.
The edges of the now sunken bases were built up with .020 x .040 styrene strip.  Then after gluing the base in place I patched up the road surface around it.  Some of the road striping will also need to be redone.

I modified the gate arm assembly by drilling a hole in the arm pivot point.  Another hole was drilled through the motor mount and tapped for a 00-90 screw to secure the arm to the mount.  An extra Micro-Trains screw was used for this. Doing this allows the arm to be moved between the lowered and raised positions.

The tiny ridges on the gate arms were handy as a guide for hand painting of the yellow stripes.  The striping on the barrier is from a Kato sticker set.

Now this seems better.

So far just using the basic gates and signals from one kit at one crossing.  There are also other signals that can be added and there is still the larger grade crossing on the 2M extension module to do.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The great module re-wiring of 2017

The operating concept for the Musashi-Koyama module set was to have it function either as a double or single track module, be in line with other modules that are either double or single track, or be an end of line terminal.  When connected to a single track modules, it could be used as a passing siding.  Cross overs and power routing was controlled by a single switch on the roof of one of the taller buildings.   There was a mode switch under the modules which bridged the inputs to the two tracks together when running in the single track mode.

The drawing above is a very basic representation of the tracks and controls how they were originally set up.  While it had preformed quite well several times as a terminal end module, the first time we attempted to use it in line between other modules did not work out so well.  I had not considered that while the main line might be single track, the second track may extend to an adjoining module and that power may be routed by a turnout on that module.  Another issue was that in this type of setup there was no way to control the cross overs independently.

Here is another drawing showing the basic representation of how the track circuits on the module are now controlled.  Each crossover now has it's own control.  Also one rail on each track was isolated and their connections are made through another pair of switches so either track next to the station platform can be turned off.

This photo shows the new gaps cut in the rails at one end of the platform.  Most of our trains have electrical pickup in all units meaning a train needs to stop within the platform track limits to avoid bridging the gap.  I installed some black post to make these limits more visible to operators.

The 4 new toggle switches are located on the roof of the same building as the original single switch was.  This paper building has a rigid structure under it to support the switches and also houses 2 tortoise motors.
This is what an operator standing behind the sky board inside the layout will see looking down at the roof of the building.   The empty square hole was where the original switch was.

I use 16 pin AMP connectors to make the all connections between the modules.  I had two pairs of wires left unused so I used one pair to carry the switched platform track over to the other module.

The mode switches used to select single or double track modes was no longer needed and was removed.  In it's place I installed RCA jacks which are the AsiaNrail standard connection for turnout power.  I don't use this power so these will just carry it thru the module using the last spare pair of wires on the 16 pin AMP connector.

Another modification made was to create a switchable isolation gap somewhere within the module per AsiaNrail standards.

The best place to do this was at the gap between the middle and small module as rails already have a gap there and I only needed to place some switches in the connection between the modules.

I have been testing the heck out of this and all seems good at this point so it's now on to more scenery.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

An electrical substation from scraps

In the previous post The bus stop scene I had promised an explanation of the strange green building in the background, here it is.

On electric railroads there are normally substations alongside the tracks every few miles that supply power to the overhead wire.  On the Tokyu-Megruo line there was one of these between the Musashi-Koyama and Nishi-Koyama stations so I wanted to include one on the module.

The one shown in the photo above is on the Tokyu-Toyoko line.  I got it from Ken Shore's article on catenary.  If you want to learn more about Japanese railroad catenary I highly recommend it.

I started out by modifying one of the unused bases from the TomyTec bus stop kit.  The ridges were smoothed out and styrene strip was used to make bases for the building and a large transformer.

Green Max kit # 75 was something I picked up at a train show years ago.  I used one of the three sets of transformers on this project.
Over 20 years ago I had used parts from the Green Max electrical sub station kit # 25 on a club project but did not use the building.

So here is the chance to use up the rest of that kit.

Here is a photo of the finished model after painting and installed on the module.  The large transformer was scratch built from bits of styrene.  Gold Metal Model fencing removed from an old layout completes the scene.  It was very satisfying that this project was built mostly with left over and re-used parts.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Module Work Cart

It has been quite a while since I posted anything on this blog.  After the exhibit last fall we did a bit of traveling and then over the winter I have been working on my home layout.   Now there is another opportunity to display the Musashi-Koyama module set in an AsiaNrail layout so I have just gotten it set up to get it ready.

Over the winter I also had some painting projects around the house and purchased one of these small scaffold on wheels to do the high work.

When working on sections of the home layout I found this scaffold to be handy as a wheeled work surface.  I found that the sections fit between the frame uprights and rested on the top cross frame.

The platform pieces set on a lower cross frame make a handy tool area.

The scaffold frame will also hold the modules resting on their sky boards to make it easier to work on wiring.

Because the modules did not work as intended as a double ended passing siding I am attempting to correct those issues before this next layout.

Oh yes, and about this next exhibit

We have been invited back to the Hiller Aviation Museum's annual Trains and Planes event between April 8th and 15th.  We are planning on a combined Peninsula Ntrak / AsiaNrail layout so I'll have both the Musashi-Koyama and Hot Springs Junction modules in this one.

Click HERE for more information.