Saturday, April 28, 2018

The trains of Kyushu

Last year Nona and I spent a month in Japan during May and June.  I took lots of train photos but have been busy with other things and had not had a chance to post any of them until now.  About half the time we were in Japan we were traveling by train throughout western Honshu and on Kyushu.  It was the first time either of us been to Kyushu and we wanted to see as much as possible so we mostly kept moving.

From Hakata station in Fukuoka we took a Kiha 185 "Yufu" to the town of Yufuin in the mountains.   We had wanted to get on the Kiha 72 Yufuin-no-mori but it was sold out.  After spending a night in Yufuin, the next day we continued on this same type of train in the same direction to reach Bepu.
The 883 Blue Sonic took us from Bepu on the eastern side of Kyushu around the northern coast  back to Hakata Station in Fukuoka.

We rode the Kyushu Shinkansen round trip the length of the island between Hakata and Kagoshima.  The trains we rode were 8 car consists of the 700 series.

The round trip between Hakata and Nagasaki was on the Kamome 885.

We spent a couple of nights  in Nagasaki and while we were there we rode on their excellent system of trams.  I got lots of photos of those that I will save for another post.

Of all of these trains the one I would like most to buy a model of is the Kiha 185 Yufu.  It would be perfect for the AsiaNrail layout.

These have been done by Micro Ace in 2 or 4 car sets a few times but are currently sold out.  Guess I will have to wait for the next release.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Joinerless joints for a quicker set up.

For display layouts made up of many small sections, installing the connecting tracks is one of the most time consuming and tedious jobs.  Back in the 2014 post "We don't need no stinkin rail joiners" I presented how the track connection between the Hot Springs Junction module and the small extension module was being made without using rail joiners. 

Following the success of that single track connection, I then added a double track version of this when I built the 2 Meter module to extend the Musashi-Koyama module set.  This has now been used a few times with continued success.

Prior to our most recent layout Paul had also changed the interface between the 2 sections of his Shifen Station module set.  This interface has 3 tracks and again we had good success with it.   That area is shown here before the interface was modified.
We decided at this show that we are now ready to take the next step of modifying all of the module track interfaces to joiner-less.  As I am laying new track on the Kaigan module it was laid right to the edge of the module.

I built this small module to use as a standard to align both the length of the rails and the alignment.
I placed 2 tracks on my standards module with the tracks spaced 25.5mm apart which is the AsiaNrail standard for double track.

In this photo the blue arrows point out the right hand rail on each track.   Hopefully we can have these all done before our next layout setup.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Concept for the new curved module

With the Musashi-Koyama modules and my American Prototype home layout being ongoing projects it would seem like starting another module is crazy.   Sometimes for me having something small to work on and actually completing is needed to get re-focused on the bigger projects.

I have had several ideas for this pair of skinny modules with 45 degree curved tracks but decided to use the ones that would take advantage of the depth of the module frames.

On this first one I wanted to create a scene of a rail line that closely follows the coast line.  The geography of Japan requires that many of the coastal rail lines do this.  This will be simple, with a single track and no structures.  I am calling this the Kaigan module which in Japanese means shore or coast.

In this photo I have cut away a section on the inside of the curve and added a new bottom from a scrap of Masonite.  This will be an area where there has perhaps been some erosion or landslides so will get some tetra-pods and rock to prevent future problems.
New Masonite fascias have been added to both sides.  The one on the inside of the curve is to allow for a bit of a lip to hold the Envriotex I am using to simulate the water and on the outside of the curve is a higher profile to support the hillsides the will be built up there.

The legs have received a coat of black semi-gloss enamel and the module frame a coat of primer.  New cork roadbed has also been installed.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Starting a new AsiaNrail module

With the 9 day long Hiller exhibit now behind us, I have started on a new module project.  This is not exactly a "new" module and is actually quite old, let me explain.

Back in the 1970's Jim Fitzgerald, Paul Ingraham, and a few others here in the SF Bay area had a modular layout standard they called "Interail".  The dimensions were metric, and Paul's AsiaNrail module standards that we are currently using borrow some parts of the Interail standard.   From Paul's memory they had set up this Interail layout about 10 or 12 times including at the NMRA National Train Shows in Calgary in 1979 and in San Mateo in 1981.

A few of Paul's current AsiaNrail modules had originally been Interail modules and he had a pair of old Interail modules that had originally been built by Jim that he gave to me.

This is one of Jim's old Interail modules.  The modules are in metric dimensions.  They have a 22.5 degree angle on each end and if put together can make a 90 degree turn.

The first order of business to bring these old modules back to life was to give them legs.  These legs would need to adjust in height between the two heights we use on the AsiaNrail layout.  I had not made legs for this narrow of a module before but had some experience with legs for narrow modules from helping Paul set up his modules.

I decided on a design that uses pairs of 2 inch wide strips of cabinet grade plywood that are held together by 1/4-20 bolts.  The upper sections have 2 holes with Tee nuts set 8 inches apart while the lower sections have 3 holes set 8 inches apart.  To raise or lower the legs, different holes on the lower sections are used.
The first photo showed the legs at the 43.125 inch height.  This second photo shows the same set of legs raised to support the module at a 51 inch height which is the normal for AsiaNrail.  The cross supports on the top and bottom are bolted to the legs with 1/4-20 bolts into Tee nuts that are on 1/2 inch thick plywood wings that are attached to the leg sections.

For leveling and fine height adjustments, there are four 5/16-18 bolts on the bottom feet.
When not set up the pieces are re-assembled into a storage configuration with the leg sections being sandwiched between the cross supports.
Here is the module up on it's new legs.  There is not much on either of these modules except for code 80 track and lots of old ground foam scenery.  I have some plans for these that will be much more interesting and with the differences in type of track and wiring I am going to completely strip these down to the wood structure.

So being satisfied with the legs, the next step will be to paint them and then move on to the module itself.

Friday, April 6, 2018

2018 Hiller Aviation Museum show

All this week we have had the AsiaNrail layout set up at the Hiller Aviation Museum's annual Trains and Planes exhibit.  The Ntrak group had just had a layout two weeks before this and did not join us this year so this was a stand alone AsiaNrail layout this time.  However are not alone in the museum.  A large FreemoN (N scale) layout, a G scale layout, and an O scale layout are also part of the exhibit for the whole time.  This weekend there will also be an HO scale Swiss narrow gauge layout as well.

Each of our layouts are always a bit different and this was no exception.   We had a triangle of about 2.5 meters on each side with a long branch line and two short branch lines.  The main line was single tracked with a passing siding of some sort on each side.
The staging yard was kept busy with us running everything we had all week.  For this layout we tried some blue table cloth fabric for skirting, pinning it to the bottom edge of the module frames.  It seems OK but I think we need a better way to attach it.
Most of one side of the triangle was made of of my Musashi-Koyama module set.  The Plexiglass shields that did not quite fit right last time had been trimmed just a bit and fit perfectly this time.  They worked great in keeping the kids hands off things.
The longer branch line consisted of my junction Ntrak module and some of Paul's shorter curved modules.  This was the first time we had used the junction without the rest of the Ntrak layout.  I think some of those plexiglass shields will be in the future for this module. 

Here is a link to some great photos on the JNS Forum taken of the layout at both this years and last years shows.  This exhibit runs through Sunday, the 8th.