I set up the control panel today. I had to be very careful about my wiring because my cat loves to eat wires. I attached the transformers to a left over piece of 1/4th inch foam core.
The unitram plates hang over a bit from the layout. I knew this was going to happen when I changed my layout to feature a little more action. Two plain ovals did not interest me very much. But a little bit of cardboard underneath the unitram plates helps keep them stable.
I’ve got the track laid and the trees planted. I have also added a pair of electrical towers, one I painted red and white, while the other I left gray. The tram is a Portram from the Toyamako light rail line. This tram often travels at street level and looks great on the Unitram plates.
I have all the materials I need to start the layout. I used 2 30×20 inch @ 1/2 inch thick foam core boards trimmed to 27×20. I used the extra pieces to attach to the end to fill in the 44×27 space. There were was not enough left over, so I left a gap to add a bridge. The Kato Unitram plates are about 1/4th inch thick, so I got a 30×20 inch @1/4 inch thick foam core board to create a little hill to line up flush with the road way.
Using a hobby knife I cut away at the foam core to create cliffs. I then painted these cliffs brown and started laying down cut pieces of Woodland Scenics ReadyGrass Vinyl Mat.
The Kato Unitram V50 and V54 modules that I ordered arrived today. While I originally intended to create a tram layout, after playing around with the modules a bit I found out that even some larger trains can negotiate the tight curves. This opens the possibility to working with a larger variety of trains.
I have found, however, that commuter train like my Kato Yamanote Line and Shinkansen trains are not able to handle the tight curves. Steam is pretty much out of the question too. My smaller Atlas 2-6-0 steam engine struggles a bit but can run, but not well enough to be worth the effort.
Some more pictures of the buildings I have been working on.
I have ordered the Kato Unitram for the city portion of my layout. While I wait for that to arrive from Japan, I have started work on weathering some of the buildings I have. Some of these buildings are left over from an old layout that I have since dismantled while others I purchased from a local hobby shop. Finding these Japanese buildings locally is very difficult, but having them shipped from Japan is very expensive. But I am happy with the selection of buildings I have.
I’ve been working on weathering a particularly old and dirty building. I use a various gray and brown colors of chalk ground up with sandpaper and applied with a brush. The effect comes out quite nice, though I might have over done it a bit on this building. Once I apply a some dull coat, it should look a less weathered.
I’ve been getting back into model railroading lately and I have decided to post a blog of the progress on my new layout. I am working on an n-scale layout built into a coffee table. When I originally purchased the table I had intended to create a z-scale layout, but I am already so invested in n-scale that it seemed the route to go. I am also interested in Japanese prototypes, which are mainly available in n-scale. The layout I am creating is a city / rural layout set in and around a fictional Japanese city.