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Found 14 results

  1. kevsmiththai

    Hakuho

    I'd started to put bits of this on the 'What did you do on your layout today' thread but thought I'd split it off as I'm going to run a shadow thread on trainboard and modelrailforum as well as the layout develops. So the back story is that my current most popular Z layout is 'Republic Steel', Uniquely because Steelworks and blast furnaces look very similar the world over can be run either as USA 1950's, USA late 90's, Railblue era British or Showa steam era Japanese! Now I have had to ration the show appearances of this layout otherwise I would be out every weekend. Although it look very good running in Japanese format with D51s pulling long trains of coal and limestone hoppers and C62s and C11s on passenger services I have always wanted to model a layout more typical of rural japan, set in the mountain regions. it is going to be small, just 1220 mm x 760 mm and the plan will be for it to be split into four scenes. First will be the small wayside station of 'Hakuho' itself. The two lines running through it are two different railways. The outer track will have OHL to allow me to run Electric locos and the inner one will be steam and diesel only. Both lines will be Bi-Directional. There are crossovers at either end of the platform to allow trains to cross over. This will be the nominal front of the layout at shows. The rear of the layout will be the hidden sidings except that, as I did with Shasta, they will be fully scenically finished as a large marshalling yard. At one end the scene will be a more urban setting with a row of shops flanking the railway and it is here that the main lines will start to diverge into the roads of the sidings. I'm still pondering about the other end but there is no rush yet. to the horror of some of my fellow Southern Pacific Z modellers I took the decision to scrap the extension board on Shasta. The board featured the Dunsmuir depot at the front and a full extra four foot of sidings at the back so I could run four metre long freight trains in Z but to be honest it wasn't really working out. Transportation with the extra board meant borrowing one of the call-out vans from work and there are no show bookings for Shasta in its long form. All of the scenery was removed (you will see these trees again!) and the track recovered using copious amount of warm soapy water to loosen the ballast. The board has the advantage that it already has a wheeled flight case and I have taken off the hinged legs used when it was inserted into Shasta. So for now it is sat on my usual steel trestles ready for its transformation. Early days So here is the initial layout for 'Hakuho' with just one siding and a small shed. Buildings are by Sankei except the overbridge that came with a resin cast C57 as some sort of collectable. Marklin points and a mix of Peco and Marklin track. At either end of this section will be overbridges to act as a scenic break. rising up from the back of the station will be dense woodland with just a few other buildings. The former turntable pit will morph into some sort of lake with a waterfall going into it and a stream coming out. So the plan will be to fully finish the station scene first. One of the U.K model magazines are already asking for an article so I'll press on this summer more in a mo' Kev
  2. It happend that a friend pointed out to me the small printable Buildings by Brother quite at the same time as Rokuhan's Z Shorties started to become real. Using both together on a layout was the natural conclusion, so I started this project, which I'm confident I can 'finish' this year. This is the 1/300 scale mock up that I did while I was waiting for my KiHa to arrive: Nothing fancy, you see, but there's not that much space on an A5 sheet after all! And, of course, you'll have to imagine a few trees, and people, and cats, and road signs, and, and, and... I was, however, surprised how useful the mock up turned out to be, because it showed me how careful I have to place the elements to provide all the necessary clearances. A particularily tight area will be the warehouse in the upper right corner. Thak god, the KiHa hasn't really so much overhang in the outer curves as it seemed from photograps- 12mm clearance from the track centreline will suffice: So much for the moment! Michi (More food for the crawlers: Zショーティー ロクハン )
  3. The weekend of March 9-10th saw the annual Keighley Model Railway exhibition in West Yorkshire in England. Now it is rare for there to be two Z gauge layouts at a show but Chris Wright was there with his 'Bullet Trains' layout and I was there with 'Republic Steel'. The show runs concurrent with the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Spring Steam gala and I called in on the way down on Friday before setting up the show. I spotted some lads from the other layouts on the trains who had had the same idea! Chris's layout is 8ft 6" long and features sporadic lightning and thunder to liven things up. Obviously the Shinkansens are Rokuhan He has modelled it in Cherry Blossom time He also had one of the Rokuhan mini layouts on display at one end (See video) My Republic Steel layout can be run either as British Rail 'Railblue era' 1950's USA or Showa era Japanese steam due to the fact that Blast furnaces are generic and look pretty much the same the world over. For the Keighley show it was running BR to highlight the wide variety of British rolling stock that can be modelled using kit-bashing and 3D printing techniques Just 4 ft 8" long it is an easy layout to transport and display The 3D printed Class 37 has been very popular with the public. Seen here with the recently completed Cardiff Rod mill wire coil train
  4. This is just a little exercise I did for the sheer fun, a little layout to run Z Shorties on (indeed, I have a serious crush on those little critters!). And this is my reasoning behind it: Most microlayouts seem to consist of a mere continuous loop, which at times can become a bit boring in terms of operation. So people sometimes also include a siding to add a possibility for some action (like, e.g., on Takashi's adorable southern coastal railroad). A train, however, can depart easily from that siding, but to arrive you'd have to reverse direction. Therefore I've added yet another siding, which gives the possibility for point-to-point operations. And, because it's not easy to build a believable scenery with two termini on such small layouts, I've cheated shamelessly and put the two end points into one single station! Furthermore, I've added a yard of a respectable size, so while one train happily turns its circles others can be conveniently parked in sight. And here's the result of my little execise: For this execise I wanted to use standard track only - no flex nor cutting to length. The upper variant turned out a bit stiff in its appearance, but the lower one already looks quite ok. The length of the various sidings should be sufficient for 3-car-trains (this seems to be the standard for EMUs/DMUs), and the platforms a dawn with 150mm length. Of course, these track plans work much better for EMUs/DMUs than for locos, but even then you can abuse them for the odd game of inglenook sidings! Michi
  5. At last, I've finished the 103 series z-shorty kit by Japanese producer Aozoradensya, and I'm very pleased with it! I didn't build it out of the "box", though, those little add-ons are too much fun! And this is what I did: After a fisrt coat with red oxide primer, I've added new recessed front windows (makes the cars even more 103ish), head lights made from paper rings, and tail lights made from plastic rod.
  6. kevsmiththai

    Rokuhan Kiha 52

    Finally got around to examining the Rokuhan Kiha 52 diesel railcar and putting it through its paces on the usual three layouts. Nicely detailed and smooth running there are a couple of very minor issues that a couple of minutes with a paint brush will sort out and it will be really useful loco at shows. Must get around to starting the new Japanese layout now! cheers Kev
  7. This is an easy one (at least if you can get hold of a PRMLoco WaMu 80000 or 380000), a WaKi 8000 z-shorty. If you compare the PRMLoco chassis with a KoKi z-shorty, it's obvious that the KoKi fits almost perfectly with regards to its height. Therefore, what you have to do with the KoKi is: - cut of 1.5mm from each waggon end - cut 5mm from the middle of the waggon - cut of all locators for the containers The KoKi is almost narrow enough to fir inside the WaMu body. Cutting or sanding of all embossed detail from the sides should do the trick. A quick test, whether the combination runs on the 45mm radius - it does! The body still sits a bit low, but that will change immedeately: I first glued the two chassis parts on a piece of card (instead of butt joinig them), and that lifts the body some 0.2mm up. To take possible bending stress I've also glued a strip of wood on top.
  8. Continuing my personal reflections on the models currently available in Japanese Z I turn to the electric outline locos available. Now it was never my intention to buy any Electric locos and certainly I don't intend to put any catenary up (not after last time!) but Alison at Contikits had bought a collection of Japanese Z and was offering it at very reasonable prices. So I indulged in a Rokuhan EF 66 and a PRMloco EF 64 The EF66 in Early version livery is in the foreground with the 64 in JRF Blue and white behind. Compared to the rolling stock the PRMloco EF64 is very nicely painted and its performance was very good indeed with one small quibble which you will see on the video The pair together outside the loco maintenance shed on 'Shasta' In the video I test the locos on a variety of my layouts including young Brooklyn's Alpine layout with its evil curves and gradients and Republic Steel and most of my Japanese stock getting let off the leash on my big 'Shasta' layout. This had been out in full length form at the recent Derby model railway exhibition in Union Pacific/Southern guise This show was set in the spectacular surroundings of the original Midland Railway 'Derby' roundhouse with its unusual timber roof and crane gantries set over the turntable (Still in situ) which is now part of Derby College Link to video in a minute Kev
  9. kevsmiththai

    Shorties 2. A tale of two boxcabs

    Following on from the 3D printed GE 70 tonners I completed last year the next designs to fit the Rokuhan Shorty chassis were two different boxcab diesel shunters both designed by Stonysmith on Shapeways. The first one was an American loco very similar to the Central New Jersey GE-Ingersol Rand loco now preserved at the Baltimore and Ohio museum and like the 70 tonners is designed to drop straight onto the Shorty chassis There is no detail below solebar level and the windors are not open The other contender is the rare British Thompson Houston Boxcab that was built for the huge Ford car plant at Dagenham in the U.K. Amazingly one survives to this day on the Kent and East Sussex railway. This has the windows open which looks a ;lot better In the video I show how to finish these locos and also include some photos of the prototypes including a really rare bit of footage of the Ford one working at the plant in 1952. I decided not to do the actual Ford livery, choosing instead a mid green as it will mainly be working the Republic steel layout. Seen here just needing the flush glazing The CNJ was also left anonymous but was painted in the Pullman green used in its early days on the railroad The trucks need another coat of black as the grey is showing through
  10. Hi all The Rokuhan Shorty chassis has caused a lot of interest recently amongst the Z gauge community, as well as the Nm and H0f guys. but one of the easiest conversions can be done with stonysmiths 'open window' switcher on Shapeways 3d printing site I needed a couple of generic industrial diesel locos to run on Republic Steel which would not look out of place if I was running it in American or British guise. I decided to stick with the ABS printed shell rather than the 3d printed Brass one. They are never going to be pulling more than 2 or 3 ladle cars or torpedo on the layout so haulage weight shouldn't be an issue. The basic chassis straight out of the package The basic shell as delivered and fresh out of the Ultrasonic cleaning bath of warm soapy water The shell is very close to a GE 70 tonner and is a perfect fir on the Shorty. The first thin coat of primer was used to reveal the areas needed the layer lines cleaning up, not much, just some round the nose end and the cab This was one was per the print with the addition of handrails from a Marklin caboose. Exhaust stack was brass tube Now in my efforts to add detail I decided to drill out the headlamp on the other one, pushing a sharp scriber into the centre of it to give the drill bit a centre to work with I managed to punch a hole in it as the material is so thin. Some choice Anglo-Saxon swearing followed and once I calmed down I decided to add a radiator grill from Scalelink etched mesh to hide the hole. Yo be honest I actually preferred the look in this shot you can see the original couplers get in the way and can push the truck down. They are the usual Rokuhan push fit and are easily removed more in a mo Kev
  11. I accidentally stumbled upon the e-train controller from Rokuhan. http://www.rokuhan.com/english/news/2017/07/e-train-controller-start-booking-and-introduction-for-the-e-train-controller.html http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10478906 It's feature list: - smartphone control - wired operation via the phone audio jack - wireless operation via 3rd party bluetooth audio receivers - built in speaker in the main unit - dc and dcc support - environmental sounds installed by default Imho this is very interesting. I assume that one audio channel is used to transmit the control information, while the other is used for the speaker mono audio output. The mixed DC and DCC operation is imho a new feature from any japanese manufacturer and i would like to know how did they impement it. (i assume that either the dc/dcc commands or the raw traction drive stream is transmitted, but it's a big question for me which one as they require different levels of intelligence in the main unit) Also the audio channel input means that also PC-s and arduinos/raspberries could be connected to it.
  12. Hi all. Just posted the review i have done on the available freight stock in Z by the three major players in the field. Starting with the Showa era 4 wheel wagons before moving on to the modern image container wagons and tank cars In a future video I'm going to look at some light weathering of some of the stock and also take a look at coaching stock when I have a few more to review (I only have Tenshodo one at present) So far then I have done C62s, D51s, DE10s and DD51s. Must get a C57! video at cheers Kev
  13. One of my youtube subscribers enquired if i was planning on doing anymore video reviews after watching my recent DD51 production. As it happened I was but had been busy for the last few months developing my British stock for Republic steel. Now I have got over the recent flurry of exhibitions I've got a bit more time to do things. I've had the Rokuhan C11 for a while now and it is a lovely little model seen here on Republic on a mixed freight passing a couple of D51s Video at Next up should be a review of the Tenshodo D51 2-8-2s in their various forms and the Rokuhan DE10 cheers Kev
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