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Pashina12

Planning Aizu

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Pashina12

I thought so too! Taking your advice I looked at the simplest of the stations on the line and decided that this one has the most to offer for the simplicity - the level crossing, the oddly shaped station house and the little gate over the path to the platform, the cherry trees beside the platform between the station building and the gate I think all add up to something that should be simple enough to not take forever, yet still be visually interesting. I love the atmosphere of this scene. As well, it leads to another interesting scene towards Tajima (so off the left side of the overhead view) where the line crosses over a road and a river on a single (fairly simple) bridge before reaching Tajima station.

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Kiha66

Single track modules have been growing a following in Japan, I was thinking of making some myself.  I'm looking forward to seeing what you produce!  This article reminded me of what you're trying to make, hope it might be helpful.

http://shigekiterada.com/page-781/

And here is the site of one of the single track module clubs, it's fun seeing what they have come up with.

http://space.geocities.jp/popoya2008/menu.html

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cteno4

They've been lurking around a long time off of Ttrak as well. I find they actually work a whole lot better on smaller modules as more room for the scenes and things don't feel so overwhelmed by the trains and tracks. Also bit more flexibility if you want to freemo or do a purely sectional layout. I've always wanted to do a single track line sectional on about 2x Ttrak module size where the line can wander around a lot.

 

jeff

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kvp

Single track ttrak is a nice idea for modelling branchlines. I'm not sure if there is agreement on which track you are supposed to leave off and which to keep. (there are 3 positions, front track /@38mm/, conventional /+25mm/ back track or alternate spacing /+33mm/ back track) The linked ones seem to keep the front one. The alternate spacing back one on the other hand would allow more interesting station layouts as the track is more centered on a 21 cm deep module.

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cteno4

really dont need to follow standards at all as i doubt many others around to run with and with single track the modules could move in and out some if needed. really does not need to be "standardized" much at all to play with others. i was thinking sectional anyway for my interests so not a lot of modular play with others issues.

 

i know they had some standards in early ttrak in japan for single track modules and a few here in the us were talking sometime back about a standard for single track to run with the predominant alternate spaced here. I cant remember what they came up with or finalized. Lately there have been efforts with Ntrak to get Ttrak standards more formalized and folded in under the umbrella of the Ntrak org as so much ttrak is done by Ntrak clubs and Lees passing a few years back sort of took away the main leader.

 

jeff

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Pashina12

Yeah, for my own purposes, I have no need to follow any standards at all as far as track position at the edges goes.

 

At the first day of the show I started thinking that I want to get something displayably ready for the spring show in March, and hopefully through that draw out the others around here who model J trains or have an interest in them - I'm sure there are plenty here in YVR. And maybe through that some sort of club or at least co-operative display team for shows might emerge; if that does happen, then we'd have to start looking at standardisation of some sort.

 

But as it stands the only people who use a similar sort of thing are the TT scalers, and they went with a two-track arrangement.

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Khaul

Are you planning to use Unitrack, Fine Track, something else...? Unijoiners make very nice joints. I haven't seen much about Tomix Fine Track in modules. I would be very interested to see whether and how it works.

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Pashina12
1 minute ago, Khaul said:

Are you planning to use Unitrack, Fine Track, something else...? Unijoiners make very nice joints. I haven't seen much about Tomix Fine Track in modules. I would be very interested to see whether and how it works.

 

As I mentioned I'm planning to use short sections of Unitrack at the module joints, but hand-ballasted "regular" track (probably Micro Engineering but not sure yet) for the rest of the track on each module.

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Khaul

I see. Nice.

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cteno4

Good idea, once you get out there others will find you! You are the beginning of the gravity well!

 

having a single track makes it much easier for others to play with you in the future as modules can slide on the table in and out as needed.

 

my concept was sort of a wandering track plan and sort of be like freemo and try to hit track junctions at front, middle and back and maybe inbetween or just go totally sectional. Do it point to point and use autoreverser and pause controller to have the trains stop at intermediate and terminal stations. Passing tracks at stations can have extra trains to be swapped out for the running one at any point. Something fun to take up 2 or three tables and be easy to setup and transport. Throw in a couple of 90 and or 45 modules to do other shoes setups later.  Actually thinking of varying the sizes of the modules to fit the scene might be nice to keep things from feeling like a straight strip which is what I find takes away a lot in ntrak and Ttrak. I prototyped this out in t scale and it worked great there, just have not tried it at n scale to see if it would work, but think could be fun.

 

be fun watching what you come up with.

 

jeff

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Pashina12

Jeff - your thinking there is much like mine with regards to the sizes of the modules. I haven't given it a serious looking at yet (I'm at the moment working on a to-scale drawing of the Tabehara station building, working dimensions out from the photos I have... in other words, my evening thus far has been filled with mathematics!), but I'm going to look at each station and intermediate scene in turn with overhead photos like I did with Tabehara. I'm thinking that having an idea of how big each scene would need to be to represent in exact 1:150 will help me with figuring out how each scene might be best compressed if/as needed.

 

I agree with you about the linearity of N-Trak and T-Trak modules and the consequent long straight runs of trains taking something away from the overall... whateveritis. I think that with the idea I've got in mind, even if all the modules themselves were to line up all nicely, having the line meander some (in my case, ideally somewhat representative of how the actual line wanders - take a look some posts back of the photos of Aizu-Nagano station and how the track wanders there) would break up the monotony of long straight runs and add some further visual appeal/interest to the overall effect when a number of modules are set up together.

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Pashina12

So, using the dimensions I was able to divine from the overhead photo of Tabehara, I did an evening's worth of photo manipulation and maths to work out the dimensions of the station building. I used four photos taken from different angles to come to these numbers, then I made this drawing to a scale of 1 pixel = 1 cm. Of course as with any extrapolation like this it's likely not super accurate (basically, the only dimension that I'm 90% confident on is the 9.5 m length of the building), but I feel pretty good about how I captured the proportions of the structure... at least so far, in this digital sketch. Next step will be to make a full-size (as in, for N scale) mock-up out of cardstock, and see how it looks in 3 dimensions.

tabehara station dwg.png

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cteno4

Excellent! Love the mock up in cardstock! Really works great. Kudos.

 

jeff

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Pashina12
On 11/14/2017 at 12:42 AM, Kiha66 said:

Single track modules have been growing a following in Japan, I was thinking of making some myself.  I'm looking forward to seeing what you produce!  This article reminded me of what you're trying to make, hope it might be helpful.

http://shigekiterada.com/page-781/

And here is the site of one of the single track module clubs, it's fun seeing what they have come up with.

http://space.geocities.jp/popoya2008/menu.html

 

Well I'm getting a 404 on that first link now.

 

Perusing the second now, and it's interesting, and giving me some ideas. If you scroll down a bit on this page, I like the concept of having the module frame invertable if you need a valley/river gorge; this may well be something I adapt, too. However, scroll down to the bottom of this page - I'm not sure how I feel about that 2 mm gap. I understand the motivation is to be able to slip a flathead screwdriver in there to easily separate the sections, but I have to think the visual effect of a gap in the scenery is gonna be jarring. There has to be a better way to handle this?

 

I do like this method of dealing with Unitrack, though!

 

A couple of comments about these modules... first, I like that idea of tissue paper laid down over the understructure with diluted carpentry glue. Secondly, it addresses my observation about the gap between the sections. As I'd thought - when you look at it from an angle such that the gap is directly in front, it is kinda jarring. Looking at it from other angles, though, you don't even notice it - with this particular scenic elements. How, though, would it look with "flatter" scenery, say fields or rice paddies? The last four photos on the page are great, though - that's some lovely work on those modules!

 

I quite like this snowy idea too. It's making me think of that youtube vid of winter footage of C11s on the Aizu Line... I get the impression though that doing the winter scenes well would be a lot of work... maybe even moreso than getting a good spring scene done.

 

I love location modelling - Enoshima... Koshigoe... Koshigoe again - I love his poles... looking at these modules makes me really see the appeal of Enoden!

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Kiha66

Strange, it was working just the other day.  I can link the you tube videos if you want. 

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kvp
3 hours ago, Pashina12 said:

I'm not sure how I feel about that 2 mm gap. I understand the motivation is to be able to slip a flathead screwdriver in there to easily separate the sections, but I have to think the visual effect of a gap in the scenery is gonna be jarring. There has to be a better way to handle this?

The gap is for the unitrack separation. No screwdriver needed, just twist sideways and the modules separate. It's also needed to allow unijoiners to fully pop in and make electrical contact, so the module bases don't have to be fully accurate.

 

The gap is hidable with overhanging grass and other scenery on top and painting the sides (and the connecting faces) dark (like dark brown) also helps hide the shadows in the gaps.

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Pashina12

Ah, okay. The text mentioned something about a screwdriver, which is why I said that. I was a bit puzzled because the TT guys' modules use the Tillig bedding track with the same joiners and I don't think I recall having noticed such big gaps between the sections. But maybe that's more because it's less noticeable than it sounds?

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cteno4

If you are really careful with your module length and track laying they can pop together with almost no gap. Then you do need to slip a sharp bladed screwdriver or a pocket knife to pop them apart. I even use the screwdriver on ones with a gap as it's a little gentler on the unijoiners. The old Ttrak standard has the 1mm off each end so you get the 2mm gap as folks are not always perfectly accurate in their module cutting. This is why I like the flat style modules where I can just assemble the front an back chunks of moulding with the rabbit joint to the top piece of ply and then slice off perfect module lengths on the table saw. I can use lengths of track to gauge the Saw just right.

 

jeff

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Pashina12

That's good to know, thanks Jeff!

 

So as I mentioned in the What did you order? thread, I've ordered my first C11! Luckily one of the number options included is one that was stationed at Aizu-Wakamatsu in my timeframe (235), but numbering the rest of them down the road might be an issue. I know that RLF has a numbering set that includes number 312, which was another Wakamatsu unit, I've missed out on reservations but hopefully I'll be able to snag one of those sets (or perhaps just the C11 312 plates from someone who gets the set who isn't planning to use that particular number). However, as I'm going to need a very minimum of three C11s to run the trains per the schedules (and preferably I'd like to have at least four, so it's not always the same three running every op session), I'll need to find a way to make those other numbers happen.

 

I also ordered a 2-car pack of ToRa90000s, as well as a sheet of white number decals (intended for ToRa70000s), which I'm planning to use to renumber the ToRa90000s. I was originally going to order Kato's 8-car set of ToRa90000s, but I've learnt that the 90000s were built between 1964 and 1971, so for my 1967-68 setting, I think I want fewer of those, and balance it out with the previous types; and, too, for this reason I want to have my 90000s have lower numbers, hence the decal sheet. In addition, I've learned that prior to the 90000s, JNR was using converted ToRa23000s and ToRa35000s; I don't recall offhand at the moment but I think I've seen a photo of a 35000 with a cage like on the 90000s. I'm going to do further research into this, and then look into the possibilities for modelling these converted cars. Kawai did do a 5-car set of 35000s, of which one had such a cage, but finding this set might be an issue, so perhaps getting some of the Popondetta ToRa35000s and then fabricating some cages for them could be an option.

 

I also ordered Kato's "suburban station accessories" set, primarily for the station sign boards. I'm going to make appropriate signboards for the stations on the Aizu Line on the computer, and then print these out to scale to stick to the Kato parts.

 

Lastly I ordered Tomytec's Railway Crossing D (the one with the four short barrier arms)... at the train show this past weekend I spent a good bit of time talking to the proprietor of http://www.signalogicsystems.com/crossings.shtml about his crossing system. It's quite impressive, and also quite affordable - the price he quoted me was rather less than what I'd expected. When I mentioned that I'd be after a crossing with four arms, he said he hadn't looked into how to make that happen yet, and suggested the possibility of linkages connecting the two arms on each side of the road; when I asked if it'd be possible to connect two of the control systems together in a master/slave arrangement, he thought a moment, his face brightened, and said he'd  just thought of a way that that could be easily done. He also said that it's a very simple matter for him to load the Japanese crossing bell sound onto the chip. So, my thinking is that I want to incorporate this into the level crossing adjacent to Tabehara Station.

 

Over the longer term I'm also interested in the idea of using his (railway) signalisation/train detection system, too, though that's pretty far down the road yet.

 

 

 

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Pashina12

So as I mentioned before, I went ahead and went over the entire line from Aizu-Takinohara to Monden (the station before Nishi-Wakamatsu, where the line splits from the Tadami Line), and made images of all of the stations and bridges on the line, outlining the area of interest - delineated to indicate the space it would take to model that area in full size in 1:150. Note that this is NOT how I'm envisioning building any of these (nor are they all really being seriously considered for modelling) - this is just to show the areas as they are, in part to help further familiarise myself (and anyone else who's interested!) with the areas in question, and in part to help figure out how each area can be compressed (in one case, at Kamimiyori, I've already worked out a potential compressed representation of the transitional section between Kamimiyori Station and the Kuragawa Bridge, though I'm thinking that'll need a bit more compression yet).

 

The reason that I didn't do Nishi-Wakamatsu is that I've veered back to the idea of having that be just an "out of scene" staging yard.

 

I've taken 19.5" as the "standard" width for module sections.

 

1. I started at the end of the line, Aizu-Takinohara. I've already looked at this station in a post here, looking at how the track arrangement was laid out in the past; I didn't bother including former track layouts now (except for a few locations further up the line), so these are just the views of the locations as they are now. As you can see, I'd need about 9' to model Takinohara in actual 1:150. At first glance, I think the most I could shorten it and still include all the major station elements is 5'; 6' would probably be better though, to make it feel a bit less cramped, and it'd still fit on two 19.5" x 3' sections (3' being the maximum length I'd like to keep modules at). Takinohara is an absolutely mandatory element - this will eventually be modelled.

 

2. The Sannōgawa Bridge. This is one of the line's signature locations, so is quite high on my list of spots to model. I think I could shorten this to a total length of 3' if I shorten the bridge at the left side of the image (remove the last two arches that are amongst the trees there. Increasing the curvature a bit so that the track ends at a 45 degree angle would probably also help compress it, and then I could make a second 45 degree curve element to bring the line to continue on straight - this would put the end of the line on a backwards L shape, which is reasonably reflective of reality.

01-takinohara.png

02-sannougawa bridge.png

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Pashina12

Continuing up the line, the stations between Takinohara and Aizu-Tajima.

 

3. Itozawa is a small halt, the first one after Takinohara. The whole scene would easily fit on a 19.5" x 3' module without compression. But, it is quite boring - and the one interesting element, the hydro substation, I'm not even sure was there in the late 1960s. Not something very important...

 

4. Arakai is the first two-track station after Takinohara, and is a timing point on freight TTs. It's very long - 11.5" taken in scale - but since there's not much there besides length, I think it could be compressed to five or even four feet whilst still including both the short bridge at the left side and the level crossing at the right side. Though it is a timing station, it's not a high priority at all, because there weren't any trains meeting between Tajima and Takinohara; thus it can be safely left out. The curve in the road there makes me think there may have been another siding in the hump there at some point, but I have no other evidence of that at all.

 

5. Like Itozawa, Nakaarai is a really simple spot, another relatively unimportant halt that could easily be represented to-scale on a single 3' module, and I don't think it'd look wrong at all if compressed to a 2' section. Like Itozawa, unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

 

Despite the comparative unimportance of these three locations, I think part of this section of the line does eventually need to be represented, so that trains aren't jumping directly from Tajima to Takinohara. My first thought was of course that Arakai should be the spot represented, being the most important spot of the three. Assuming compression to 5' and two "filler" sections of open line of 2' length, I'd have nine feet of of running length between the Sannōgawa Bridge and the curve approaching Tajima.

 

But then it occurred to me that the other way to approach this section would be to model Itozawa and Nakaarai, and omit Arakai. Scaling the stations back to 2' sections, with a 2' filler section in between the two stations and a 1.5" filler section at either end between the bridge at Itozawa on the one hand and between Nakaarai and the Tajima curve on the other, I could have a different nine-foot section of running length, which would also have the operational bonus of having two stops for local passenger trains instead of just one (though freight trains would just run right through).

 

Modelling any part of this section is not a priority - there are other parts of the line that I think are much more important to have represented before any of this... and yet I've got the thought that given its simplicity, I could fairly quickly and easily build a section of the line that would be interesting enough to display at train shows, simple, but big enough so that could have a train of a couple of KiHas running back and forth along the line. Though that could be accomplished with other locations on the line, too (the Tajima - Narahara section which has a couple of interesting bridges of its own, or the Narahara - Yunokami section - the latter of which could be particularly attractive and interesting due to the presence of the #4 and #5 Ōgawa bridges, and the iconic spot between Yagoshima and Narahara where a bridge of sorts is nuzzled right up against the cliff face heading into a tunnel, or the Yunokami - Kuwabara section, with the #3, #2, and #1 Ōgawa bridges, a couple of tunnels, and the now-sunken station at Kuwabara),  but I think this would be the quickest/easiest one to do, if I put more weight to the idea of having something both displayable and runnable.

 

In the "daydream" sense of things, what I most want to represent (aside from Takinohara and the Sannōgawa Bridge) is the Narahara - Kamimiyori section with all those beautiful and photogenic bridges and views that made this line popular with railfans back before Kuwabara sank... but I recognise that those are also going to be the most labour-intensive sections, the ones that will take the most work and time to get right... so maybe focussing on this simpler section first would be a good idea, so that I've got a finished chunk of line I can play with and show off and keep me motivated to build the really interesting parts...

03-itozawa.png

04-arakai.png

05-nakaarai.png

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Kiha66

Looks good!  What height were you planing to build the modules?  I really like the idea of cutting the map to plan out the size and layout of each section.  What did the road on the bridge module look like in the late 1960s?  

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Pashina12

I'm not sure if I've decided the height of the modules yet; I did work a rough idea out for the Kuragawa Bridge section, but you've now given me the good idea of looking at all of the bridges, working out the height each needs to be at, and sorting out the basic module height according to that. And the beyond that,  I don't think there's anything that would prevent me from having height changes as needed on the various modules (between the Kuragawa Bridge and the tunnel at the downwards end of the #1 Ôgawa Bridge it's an almost constant 2.5% grade including on the bridge).

 

I'm not sure what the road looked like in 1967-1968 by the Sannôgawa Bridge. What I do know is that that road was designated a National Highway in IIRC 1952, and was paved in the 1960s; by the mid 1970s it looked as it does now. So in all likelihood I'll build it as it is now, but with fresh new pavement.  (A thought... maybe I could represent the part passing under the bridge as being in the process of being paved?)

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cteno4

It's great you are going to vary the module sizes, this will help with the uniformity that always comes with modular setups. It's always tradeoffs... 

 

for the height think thin like 1 or 1.5" max for the flat modules. You can always boost them up to the height needed with some little stands thancan just be two pieces of 3/4" stock cut to a width to bring the module up to the right height. Then one or two dowels between them to hold them up. These can be inset some so not out in the edge focal plane. Sort of makes a sushi platter.

 

then when you get to modules with big ravines you can do a more built up module to contain that dip or an incline or decline. 

 

The U method is nice, but not sure if it will work well or look good on your sized modules. One of the forum members did a great set of modules based in the design of a link above. It's simple and clean but really for smaller sized modules.

 

http://japanrailmodelers.org/pages/modelingjapan/minimodules.html

 

i preach about shallower module faces as the standard Ttrak module depth was not designed to make the surface scene look good it was for scenery depth and leg screw housing. I do exhibit design as my day job and always dealing with the "framing" of the item you are displaying (in this case it's the thin top scenery surface of the layout). Framing is meant to help draw the eye to the focal piece and also help float it away and isolate it from everything around it. While the standard track 2.75" makes a big buffer, it also makes a very large band front and center that only is on one side or at best two sides of the layout scene. It creates an object that tends to catch the eye instead of push it onto the scene. The scene needs to float away from the table in the viewers visual mind. This is where the thinner module faces help. At one inchnor somits enough to give that visual boarder of the scene stops here, but small enough to not draw the eye to it. Then supporting it with something inset that whole layer then floats.

 

using finished wood face also helps as our minds eye tends to just accept and even enjoy finished wood, where as painted wood or plastics tend to catch it a little.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Pashina12

Thanks for that, Jeff - it's something I'll be keeping in mind as I move along. My first module(s) will be built on two empty sections I have in my possession which were originally to be my contributions towards the local TT scalers' modular setup, so not too much to think about in terms of what to do with them, but I like your idea of using a couple of pieces of stock to raise them to the needed height. After yesterday's post about the Itozawa - Arakai - Nakaarai section of the line I've started to debate with myself whether I should proceed with my initial idea of doing Tabehara Station first, or whether I shouldn't tackle Itozawa and Nakaarai first (or even perhaps Yagoshima... I guess I've basically gone back to Go). This would bring me a bit closer towards having to look at height adjustment, to match these sections in altitude to the track height of the Sannōgawa Bridge.

 

As far as the module faces go, I had the idea in mind of keeping them mostly plain, but adding a larger version of the appropriate station sign (like the one in my profile picture now) at stations, or a photo or two of the real location that that particular module is representing, so that viewers who are unfamiliar with the line can have an idea of what they're looking at.

 

As far as module size goes, I'll admit that the idea of varying them to avoid uniformity isn't something that had occurred to me; it was more a by-product of looking at a given scene and thinking that hm, maybe this module should be longer so as to avoid having a seam down the middle. So fortuitous synchronicity, I guess!

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