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Morian Miner

Quick and Dirty Buildings for my Layout

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Morian Miner

Although the limits of my Japanese layout are set (26"x72"), and I know it will have at least two tracks for continuous running, there are still a lot of details I still have to hash out.  One of the biggest is what type of urban scenery am I going to model.  Considering the somewhat limited amount of domestic products that I can see easily being converted for a reasonable cost, and not wanting to order a ton of buildings from Japan, I thought I would give scratchbuilding a try.  This is pretty funny, considering I got out of N-scale years ago because the tiny details drove me nuts.

 

So, this weekend, I picked up an acrylic box from Michael's, and some styrene strips from the local hobby shop, and put together this green beastie over the last two days.  For a total of $11, I came up with something I think is a reasonable background building.  Not to mention, a good learning experience of how to do better next time.  Still, a few more of these buildings to help eat up real estate, and I think I can have a decent urban scene.  Any obvious suggestions on how to approve the appearance (beyond "don't rush and make sure your floors are equally spaced and not crooked")?

post-532-13569928364735_thumb.jpg

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The_Ghan

Morian,

 

Top effort.  That's similar to what I'm planning to do with my own background buildings.  Being an architect, here are a few suggestions:

 

1. Ground floor is often higher than typical floors;

2. Ground floor is often a darker colour, similar to the white building adjacent;

3. There is often an awning, or portal around the main entry;

4. If your building is concrete framed and the vertical elements in the corners represent columns then you should probably add intermediate columns at either 6 or 8 scale metre spacing;

5. There should probably be a parapet around the roof;

6. Your choice of a dark colour for the roof suits a typical waterproofing option - torch-on membrane.  However, it shouldn't be glossy.  It should have a similar texture to road;

7. Lucky last - there isn't enough neon hanging off that building mate.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

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disturbman

Cool! It look quite nice. You have good skills.

 

On another note, next time try to make a thinner building. Typically, building in Japan have a small foot print because lots are small. They are rarely that square and boxy. Like that, with the general shape, I think more of North America than Japan, of a place where space is plenty and not scarce.

 

Keep it coming. :)

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scott

Looks good--I need to try that, too.

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cteno4

Morian,

 

hey nice work! i like your start of the plastic box -- brilliant! makes it a lot faster and simpler project! you can do this same process with just pieces of clear acrylic and then glue it into a box as well if you want a different size/shaped building.

 

modern buildings are really easy to build like you did by adding simple strips of material and building them up. Ghan makes some good suggestions for details. also some machinery bits on the roofs as well, usually pretty short in stature (hidden behind the usual edge parapet). if you look on google maps in satellite view you can get an idea of the kinds of things up there. most high rise models dont have anywhere near the prototypical amounts of junk on roofs. in real life we rarely view these, but on a layout you see the roof as much of the roof as you do the rest of the building, sometimes more! walthers sells a detailing kit of roof details thats not horribly prices for all the parts you get.

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/Walthers-Cornerstone-N-3286-Roof-Details-kit-/380316387599?pt=Model_RR_Trains&hash=item588c9f890f#ht_555wt_765

 

another detail you can do is small window mullions if you want. these can be done by drawing vertical lines every 2-3m on you glass before you put your horizontal strips on. you can draw them with a silver pen (use a raised edge ruler though so you dont get seepage under the ruler), pin tape (see thread here on how to find this cheap on ebay http://www.jnsforum.com/index.php/topic,4177.0.html) or by scoring the plastic with a plastic scoring knife (its got a backwards facing point you can get them at the hardware store pretty cheap).

 

next time you do one take some picture to post for a tutorial, thats great for folks to see and get ideas or come up with some new additions to the process.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Morian Miner

Thanks for the comments

 

disturbman,

Didn't even think of that - too squatty for the height.  I'll need to take that into account on later ones.

 

The_Ghan,

What is the typical spacing of floors on modern high-rises? Doing some calcs with some of the taller high-rises, I calculated between 12 and 13 feet.  Is that about normal.

 

cteno4,

Rooftop details are definitely in the future - heading on vacation for a while, so I'll be fixing that when I get back. 

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The_Ghan

Hey Morian,

 

There are many controls that affect the floor-to-floor height of typical floors on an office building.  Here in Australia, one of them relates to fire stairs: typically treads are 180mm high, with 20 steps with a mid-flight landing you have a floor-to-floor height of exactly 3.6m or 11'9". 

 

I presume you would do the same in America.  I found this chart: http://stairways.org/Resources/Documents/rise%20chart.pdf and, using a bit of trial and error:

 

1. 180mm = 7 1/12". Say 7" risers: 7 x 20 = 140" or 11' 8" .... seems an odd figure so,

 

2. Say 7 1/2" risers: 7 1/2 x 20 = 150" or 12' .... seems perfectly logical to me!!!    :grin

 

For ground floors here's a simple rule for the height: Up to 3 storeys keep the height the same, 4-10 storeys add around 1/6 to 1/3 to the height, over 10 storeys add 1/3 to 1/2 to the height.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

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KenS

I'll echo Jeff's comments about roof detail.

 

The roof is the most obvious part of the building to a viewer, so a little detail there will mask the absence of detail elsewhere.  The big box on yours can double for an air-conditioning cooling tower or a elevator core (or both). Both are key details.  Another is roof access: there should be a door on the elevator core, which also contains at least one stairwell in addition to the winches for the elevator(s). That lets people get on the roof for maintenace.  There is typically some kind of railing or low wall around places people would work (and/or along the edge).  Sometimes there are pathways for people to walk on, to protect the roof membrane from damage.  Vents are also common, as are random bits of pipe (or electrical conduit) running between things. And even with a large central air-handler tower, there are often smaller heat-exchangers for specialized air-conditioning units (e.g., chillers for computer rooms, heat-exhangers for restaurant refrigeration units).

 

Antennas are also common.  Modern buildings may have vertical blades for cellphone antennas on the edge of the parapet or on/above the central raised structure (although only one or two buildings should have these).  Japanese buildings tend to have four-sided billboard/sign structures up high where they can be seen (and given how small the buildings are, sometimes they're close to all four edges). Sometimes those wrap around air-conditioning systems, other times they're just empty, but there are criss-crossing supports to hold the sides up. Older buildings may have water towers nobody ever bothered to take down (or which are still used).

 

Not to mention things like rooftop gardens (fairly common, actually), jogging tracks, viewing decks (or rooftop restaurants in an upscale area) and even swimming pools. A large building might have a skylight to an open central core (I'm not sure how likely that would be in space-limited Japan though).

 

In Tokyo, every tenth building seems to have a helipad, at least on the taller city-center ones.  That would be an interesting detail (although one would probably be enough).

 

That said, not every rooftop is cluttered, although it's a rare modern building that doesn't have a raised central core so the elevators can reach the top floor.

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ben_issacs

Folks, 

In re helipads on building roofs, don't forget to put a windsock on the corner of the building or the roof of the lift motor room.

Chopper pilots like to know wind direction when taking off and landing, especially in areas of high buildings where there can be wind eddies.

Regards, 

Bill, 

Melbourne.

 

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maihama eki

Taller buildings often have window washing equipment on the roof as well. This might include a track around the perimeter of the roof with a sort of crane that can extend past the edge to lower the window washing crew in a sort of basket.  I found an n-scale window washing crane that someone did and sold on Shapeways. 

 

https://www.shapeways.com/product/SVW2BVJ2G/n-scale-window-washing-rig?optionId=59548386&li=marketplace

 

At some height, the blinking red light is required.

Edited by maihama eki
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cteno4

That is a nice one, ngineer does some nice bits like this! One of the large Kato buildings has one like this. 

 

Jeff

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toc36

Where I'm at, we are seeing more rappelling window washers.

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