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Hungarian Japanese Model Train Club

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#1 kvp

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 08:15 AM

Today was the day when the Hungarian Japanese Model Train Club was unoffically founded. The club's first meeting took place at the weekly model train market. To everyone's suprise all known members (IST and myself) were present and also some 2nd hand japanese trains.

 

The club's current plan is to put together a modular Japanese layout (either suburban/urban/tram/shinkansen or all of the above) and have fun while doing it. The module standard will be h-track (hungarian tracks) also known as make something that works for everyone.

 

This topic is open for suggestions and ideas. We also don't really know what we have and what we really want to build, so it's a good time to find these out.


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#2 cteno4

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 11:50 AM

KVP,

 

Hey great! thats how it starts. we started with a few people here in dc and its been almost 10 years now as a club, usually hovering around a dozen members. australia has an even bigger club now!

 

Suggestion, maybe if you all have kato or tomix track laying around start by just setting up a layout on tables at a home or show on the fly and plunk down some buildings. Great way to start just playing trains and thinking and talking before you dive into standards, etc. we did this for several years with our first club layout. we would just set up on the fly at shows. later we got into doing the sectional layout. modular is great as well, but you end up with compromises with modular and hard to fit it all in with a modular system so just be aware of the tradeoffs and figure out which is the best set that suits you guys in the long run before diving in. 

 

Playing with trains is a great way to get more motivated and talking and if you do it publically, troll for more potential members!

 

great you have a weekly train market! what goes on at these. would they let you set up some track on a few tables and show off japanese trains and structures? would be a great way to get going easily and cheaply.

 

Contrats again!

 

cheers

 

jeff


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#3 IST

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 12:21 PM

Hey kvp, thanks for opening this topic. I am very happy and proud to be the member of this huge club. :) But we have to start somewhere. It was good to meet you and talk about Japanese trains and modelling personally.

We agreed that we prefer different track systems, as kvp using Tomix while I am more like Kato fan. But this is not so remarkable, we will use the same track when we will start to build something common. As I did not remember, I checked the smallest Kato radius, it is 117 mm, the second biggest is 150 mm.

We have some ideas, we will thinking about these on this topic as we are more than welcoming any thoughts, ideas or notes



#4 IST

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 12:36 PM

Suggestion, maybe if you all have kato or tomix track laying around start by just setting up a layout on tables at a home or show on the fly and plunk down some buildings. Great way to start just playing trains and thinking and talking before you dive into standards, etc. we did this for several years with our first club layout. we would just set up on the fly at shows.

I think it is a good idea, but as I experienced, the visitors of Hungarian shows does not really accept the style of these kind of temporary layouts. There are some clubs in Hungary who are building modules and they are bringing the half-ready modules to the shows as well and after it I always see complaints on different websites and topics why they showed these modules. Visitors do not aware that that modules are needed becasue of the size or the format of the whole layout. Maybe on smaller shows on the countryside it would work better.
 
later we got into doing the sectional layout. modular is great as well, but you end up with compromises with modular and hard to fit it all in with a modular system so just be aware of the tradeoffs and figure out which is the best set that suits you guys in the long run before diving in. 

We agreed very soon that T-trak is maybe not what we want as a modular approach. As we are not sure yet what we would like to build, we are just thinking and continuously changing the ideas. So your advice is good, we will see what will happen in the future. :-)


 

Playing with trains is a great way to get more motivated and talking and if you do it publically, troll for more potential members!
 
great you have a weekly train market! what goes on at these. would they let you set up some track on a few tables and show off japanese trains and structures? would be a great way to get going easily and cheaply.

This train market was a few years ago a meeting point to railway modellers. We could sit down to tables, drink some beverages, eat sandwiches and talk about trains, read through the newest model train magazines and showed our latest purchases. There were some traders (mostly: private persons) who were selling models and buildings and other things. This changed one or two year ago: the room where we could sit down was closed, there are less traders and there is no comfort place where you can really meet with others, just standing in your heavy coats in the winter. Not to mention there are less buyer and modeller as well due to the not so good financial situation in Hungary.
To run the trains there is also complicated, because there are a limited number of tables, and those are mostly occupied by the traders, and there is no other possibility. But we will figure out something, thanks for your comments!

#5 kvp

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 02:29 PM

I think the keyword may be sectional. This means freeform modules that can be connected but does not have predefined sizes and track layouts.

 

 the room where we could sit down was closed

Yes, the bistro is missed by everyone. Not to mention the size of the whole event has shrunk to maybe 1/5th of the original. But the free to use test layout was still there in the corner...


Edited by kvp, 21 December 2013 - 02:32 PM.


#6 Bernard

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 05:18 PM

Congratulations this is great news to hear about your club! I hope the look of your Japanese Trains will inspire others to join your club......hey when we started this forum there were only a hand full of members...look at the number of members we have now.....I hope you have the same results with your club.



#7 Kabutoni

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 05:20 PM

Oh man! Very glad to hear things are kicking off quickly for you guys! Keep it up and keep posting!


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#8 cteno4

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 10:03 PM

Ist,

Well doing something that is all setup on the fly and you try to do some perceived scenery on it I think might be something new for them. Explaining that it it Japanese style also helped here a lot and many were interested as they wanted to do some trains past a loop of track, but were daunted by the thought of jumping into a layout. The robustness of unitrak and fine track is also is an eye opener to many.

Those that dis folks for not having things perfect are rarely folks doing anything for display themselves and I have learned to just ignore them, they are not worth the time of day. What you want to do is look for those open mined folks that can be creative and get excited about Japanese trains. They will appreciate your efforts and join in and then you can take things to a higher level. Those that turn up their noses can just go and grouse, nothing will probably make them happy anyway and it ain't your problem, its theirs. Besides folks like that drive people from the hobby, not attract or retain them!

Sorry to hear you lost your sit down place. A couple of us spent some time here in the dc area trying to figure out a simple and inexpensive way to do something like this, but nothing great surfaced. All food places with extra rooms to do something like this wanted guaranteed purchase amounts and sometimes fees. Community centers now cost money and many don't want food brought in. Was a bummer. Would be nice to have some sort of a casual get together every month or two, run a few trains and do show and tell. Our club has monthly lunches where we do show and tell, but can't run trains and usually during the work week so short. The restaurant now know us well and is not surprised by our pile of toys on the table!

Kvp,

Sectional is usually used for a layout plan that is then broken up into sections, either uniformly or not, to come apart into transportable pieces. Since there are no standards where the tracks end and how many (just what the track plan needs and where the section joints are) so there is usually only one way the sections can go together. You can engineer places where additional sections could be inserted later to grow the overall layout.

Cheers

Jeff

Edited by cteno4, 21 December 2013 - 10:40 PM.

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#9 katoftw

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 12:44 AM

Great news.  Intersting you thoughts on T-Trak and sectional.  Just remember T-Track for example is just a bunch of guidelines.  It's easy to go outside the box to make it your own.

 

Example is finding some old T-Trak website from 2008, and all it is is single 310x200 modules and corners.  Nothing in there for double and triples and quads, no 300 deep modules, no reverse corners, no transision modules and not T corners/modules.

 

People got something, went outside the box and kept improving it.

 

Although H-Trak sounds interesting.  Keep us informed of your progress.



#10 IST

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 02:22 AM

Jeff, you are totally right. It is a little bit different to my habit not to take care what others say, but rule #1 always applicable. :-)

I was thinking about the meeting point and I think I have a temporary(?) solution:
we have a - some kind of - virtual railway club meetings in a community centre 6-7 times a year where some of my friends and I bring our computers and show virtual railway softwares (mainly simulators but traffic manager programs as well) to other peoples (mainly kids), teach them how to play, what are the general railway rules, just to have fun. I will ask the others if they do not mind if we would make the HJMTC meetings there with some tracks and trains.
kvp? What is your oppinion about it? It is in Kispest, just a few minutes of walking from KöKi metro station.
The room in the community centre is not free, but we agreed with them that all of our visitors and us have to pay 300 HUF (around 1 EUR, less then 1.5 USD) and gave it to the centre, which is totally fair, we can say: cheap.

#11 kvp

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 02:52 AM

Wait, you were the virtual railroaders who were upstairs when there was a lego exhibition downstairs this spring? :)

(btw: i've also built a few lego trains in 0 scale http://www.brickshel...-kvt-2013/0.jpg)


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#12 IST

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 02:52 AM

While we were talking with kvp an idea came from his side: if we would have plenty of rooms, we should model Shimbashi station in Tokyo.
For first of hearing it sounded really challenging and huge and maybe not a good start. But I was thinking about it.

What if we would not building Shimbashi, but a very similar location?
There are 8 tracks (6 local(?) and 2 for Shinkansen) and if I calculate with the Kato system it requires around 25 centimetres in depths. If we would use 1 meter * 0.5 meter modules (let's say), then we have some rooms before the tracks to model a street with lots of Japanese posters and shops, and some rooms behind the tracks for highrise office buildings. We should not put the tracks directly on the module but elevating it to about 5 cm height (as in the real world), so we can put small shops under the tracks, maybe roads where the tracks would go over a bridge.
Then I was thinking how can we attach the modules: as I experienced at T-trak the connection of the Unitrack is strong enough, but I do not know it is possible to connect 8 tracks next to each other on a module, or how hard the separation would be. We should experience it.
But there was another thought about it: if we would make 1*0.25 meter or 0.5*0.25 meter modules with "only" 4 tracks and put 2 of them next to each other to get the 8 tracks, maybe it would be easier.
I have to mention: I am talking about just the tracks between stations, not Shimbashi station. That would be another project from the future. :-)

The advantage of this would be that we can run continuously different type of trains, it would look good, if I remember well there is no such a type layout here in Hungary, so there will be something new and we could present a lot of different Japanese trains.

#13 IST

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 02:53 AM

Wait, you were the virtual railroaders who were upstairs when there was a lego exhibition downstairs this spring? :)

Yes, we were there at that time.

#14 kvp

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 03:47 AM

I have to mention: I am talking about just the tracks between stations, not Shimbashi station. That would be another project from the future. :-)

The question is how would the rest of the layout look? If we want to get the trains moving, then there is a need for loops or two stations for turning the trains. Could you draw the whole layout?

 

My first ideas were a bit smaller scale. I was thinking about how to combine IST's unitram layout with my suburban/country trains and that's how the city on one end, country on the other, with suburban tracks between the two came along. We could even add the elevated tracks around the city with the shinkansen elevated station either above/next to the suburban terminal. This could be done with the existing things we have. (just needs some boards and street surface) Later when we build them, the shimbashi tracks could meet with this on the other side, but I don't know how, since I don't know the whole plan.


Edited by kvp, 22 December 2013 - 06:13 AM.


#15 IST

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 10:21 AM

I was thinking about 8 oval tracks which is not so interesting for us, but maybe it would be easy to build and there is the possibility to run lots of trains on it (if we will bring it to a show). Small plan from AnyRail (damm, I have to buy the full version at last, this 50 pieces limit kills me):

 

Attached File  3modules.jpg   59.38KB   31 downloads

 

It is 3 modules, 2 of them are 1*0.5m and the modul with the curves is 1.2*0.5m. The biggest radius is 480mm, the smallest is 249 mm.

 

I made a small example for one module, what is in my head:

 

Attached File  try1.jpg   63.74KB   33 downloads

 

Attached File  try1_2.jpg   59.22KB   28 downloads

 

Attached File  try1_3.jpg   31.97KB   22 downloads

 

The white papers are the basement of the modul. There are small shops under the tracks which are 10 cm from the edge of the modul, where there can be a street or houses or tram tracks, etc. Behind the tracks we should add high-rise office buildings or residential building.



#16 Densha

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 10:29 AM

8 parallel tracks it a bit too much IMHO. Even for Japan... although it does exist in a few places so far I know.


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#17 cteno4

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 12:57 PM

Wow 8 tracks, that is a lot! we have done well with 4 tracks, two shinkansen and two local/express/freight. we just try and switch out trains often if we can to keep things mixed up more. having sidings, passing tracks and yards lets you display the trains as well as quickly pull them out to run them and gets you a bit of operations as well.

 

i like the idea of a unitram layout with a station then suburban wandering line to another station. could stretch it out of over a few tables and make it meander. the very cool thing about japan is that city urban/suburban/industrial/rural/wild and back is pretty fast. watch many of the trip videos from japan and its startlingly fast, almost looks like compressed layout scenery at times, but makes it perfect to model. ive had the idea for a long time now to do a modular 1 or 2 line point to point that just meanders with small stations in between and just model these transitions back and forth like that.

 

again I would caution to try something simple out to begin with. Its a big commitment to doing a larger layout for shows like this. We poured A LOT of time and money into the jrm layouts over the years and we usually had at least 5-6 people pretty active at any time and have 4-6 per folks show up to help with shows. few logistical things to think about

 

- transport - make sure you have enough transportation volume, sound funny but its amazing how fast all the stuff piles up! jrm layout now takes a full mini van to transport of 3-4 hatchback/station wagons. this has actually been an issue trying to make the layout as big as possible but also fit into our potential transport. thats why we did 1m long x 0.5m wide bases as that was the max to easily fit into the back seat of a compact car if needed. layouts like ntrak with their 4' long modules can be difficult to transport. smaller modules are great, but you end up then needing a lot of them to try and fill a larger space. its a real juggle of tradeoffs!

 

- storage - where to keep all the stuff when not at a show. this actually is also an issue for us as only two of us have room most of the time (and also logistically near to meet up for loading and such) to store the layout. it can become a bit of a burden.

 

- manpower - it takes quite a bit of effort to schlep stuff to shows, set it up, run, tear down and get home outside of just building the layout. so far its just the two of you, you dont want to burn out early on this.

 

- resources - can you get all the track from what you have or will you need to make a big investment to get the critical mass going. i ended up loaning the club a huge pile of track for a year or two until we had the money built up from doing some shows to buy me out.

 

- time - it does take out a lot of time from your own hobby time to work on the club stuff. works well here with us as most of us dont have large home layouts yet so we have been willing to put a lot of our own hobby time into the club layout. but i have slowly decided to back off doing a lot of work with the club layout and attending all the shows full time as i realize it has taken away a lot of my time from my own hobby stuff.

 

Just things to think about, they sound minor but actually are pretty big in the overall equation over the years on doing the shows. there are solutions and compromises for most all of them if you think of them before the bite you in the a$$. not saying dont do it at all, just cautioning to maybe try the waters with something simple and easy and then if you guys are super into it then scale up to a full modular or sectional thing.

 

unitram would be perfect to setup on the fly and maybe test the waters with and see if its fun for you.

 

another idea we once had for something quick was to do some sort of medium sized modules to do a big loop or square. these would be local/express/freight, lots of scenery and have good transitions of scenery. then have simple modules behind them with elevated viaduct track. almost no scenery on these just generic bases to bring the height up to the front modules. these would have shinkansens and then we could add in a station or two as we went along. idea was to have something modular but break up not having the viaduct and the regular tracks on the same module as it got big and complicated to do both. this way either could do a slightly different path and vary if we wanted it from a longer loop to a bit square donut shape or even wildly different by having an intersection module where the viaduct modules could come out to the front. the viaduct can actually stand more on its own being raised with minimal or no scenery. a few of these modules could be built up embankments. also works as the shinkansen lines are the most removed from other stuff in japan, its the local/express/freight that mixes in heavily with the scenery.

 

east penn has weekends where they set up in a large room they have access to and members just set up lots of different things from tram layouts to usually a very long setup of viaduct track just to run shinkansens on. its nice as the viaduct track does work well on its own w/o any scenery and just the trains running as compared with track directly on the tabletop. they get some pretty long setups over like 5-10 tables and usually a kato station. very fun and fast to set up and really focused you on the trains themselves! nice to see them run on longer distances on the viaduct track.

 

i still think you would get a lot of folks thinking out of the box if you did a set up on the fly and did scenery chunks to go into thing. im betting there are a lot of newbies and even modelers that would go hey thats something i could do w/in my resources and have fun w/o going full scale into a layout or club. our first on the fly layout drew so many folks coming in to talk about how we did it and what it took. so many saw that this was a happy medium between a layout and just a loop of track on the table. it was funny how many folks would comment they had just never thought of splitting the difference until they saw the layout. i guess its the train culture that sort of polarized this so much, but unitrak and finetrack were designed to split the difference like this for the japanese market that has to model like this most of the time.

 

cheers

 

jeff


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#18 katoftw

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 02:10 PM

wow.  first of t-trak was rejected as was too big.  now the idea is do go bigger? confused...


Edited by katoftw, 28 December 2013 - 02:18 PM.


#19 kvp

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 04:31 PM

When i see this 8 track layout it looks like the only module visible to the visitors would be one of he 1x0.5 modules. The other 75% of the layout would have be covered somehow like UK modellers build their show layouts. This seems like a rather large percent for very little visible and no variation of trains just a go around.

 

For easy assembly, no more than 4 tracks should cross a module boundary, which would mean 2 1x0.25 modules, or rather 4 0.5x0.25 modules, since the standard ikea boxes are the module size limit for me and they are a little bit more than 0.5 meters in length. Then we would have to do something with the two 8 track half circles which have to be stored somewhere. Not to mention the common layout parts should be usable at home without the other parts, so imho this should be a combined show/home layout project. Personally, I don't have the space to store the 1 meter long 8 tracks wide modules at home, and i didn't even mention the sky boards needed to cover the non visible 75%. (all my train stuff is in storage boxes stacked into corners when not in use) Imho rather than go big on the first step, i would rather choose something smaller that can be built from the existing material we have. 

 

another idea we once had for something quick was to do some sort of medium sized modules to do a big loop or square. these would be local/express/freight, lots of scenery and have good transitions of scenery. then have simple modules behind them with elevated viaduct track. almost no scenery on these just generic bases to bring the height up to the front modules. these would have shinkansens and then we could add in a station or two as we went along.

 

This seems like a good direction to start. So IST, from your existing tracks could you build a 2 track dogbone layout? (a two track elevated straight mainline with two single track turning loops at both ends) If yes, then we could add your existing city (unitram) to one side (afaik you have an elevated shinkansen station too) and add my country boards to the other side with the elevated tracks running in the background. Cover would only be needed for the two single track loops, while extra baseboard only for the visible elevated tracks. I call this plan B. (plan A is the 8 track oval)

 

Another way would be to see what everyone wants to build and figure out a way to build both into a single layout. In case of Shimbashi, the tracks are the following: tokaido x2 (mixed freight/interurban), keihin tohoku x2 (urban/suburban), yamanote x2 (urban) and slightly raised, the 2 shinansen tracks. How can we build something like this without aiming too high? I would add the keihin tohoku+yamanote+tokaido+underground yokosuka lines together, to form a 2 or 4 track line next to the shinkansen. For a show, we don't really need continously moving trains at the hidden areas, so i would opt for a point to point layout with hidden staging areas, this would let us run more trains with less wear on them. The simple solution for this would be to use a few double crossovers or something equivalent. I call this plan C.

 

For plan D, we could try to do something mixed together from the three above. For example an elevated oval or dogbone for the shinkansen with an elevated station (if you have one). An elevated suburban/interurban terminal station for the normal trains next to the shinkansen with trams and city streets next to them. On the other side, there could be a 2-6 track elevated structure with the suburban trains going down to ground level and the shinkansen continuing on the elevated track. Then we could add a suburban station (shinkansen still going) and finally a country terminus (with rice fields). Some trains would go city-suburban only, some city-country. I don't really have freight trains, so I left them out, but they could be added if there is a need.

 

Attached file is a possible layout with plan D parts. It has a shinkansen oval/dogbone, an elevated 5 track structure (2+3) and 1 city, 1 suburban and 1 country stations. It's a bit more complicated than the 8 track oval, but it can be taken apart to form 3 independent layouts, which is important if it's not a dedicated show only club layout. The shinkansen could have or not have a station and the conventional tracks part could be 2, 3 or 4 wide on the elevated section. Going 4 tracks wide would make the terminal more simple and operations easier. The suburban station could be 3 or 4 tracks wide with 2 or 1 tracks going out on the other end. Maybe 4 tracks would be simple enough. The only thing I don't really know is the geometry of the shinkansen station and how to pull the tracks together tightly after the station. (and if this is needed at all)

 

ps: Sorry for the long post, i'm still trying to figure out a way to do everything (shinkansen, urban, suburban, interurban) with as little space and extra parts as possible and by combining home layouts into a convincing show layout. If anyone has a better idea, I'm open to it.

Attached Files


Edited by kvp, 28 December 2013 - 07:17 PM.


#20 IST

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 11:13 PM

Hmm, I think I was a little bit misunderstood. kvp mentioned Shimbashi station on the first meeting of HJMTC and I was forward thinking this idea. You can see the result above on my pictures. I am still thinking that it is possible to build it and it would be interesting, but if I am alone with this oppinion, then I leave it, maybe some years later. :)

 

About storage, manpower, transport: maybe I mentioned somewhere else, but I am a member of a club here in Budapest. This club is renting a quite big area, so there would be enough room to store & build the modules and have enough friends to help in the transportation process. So I do not think this would be a huge issue.

 

T-trak:

It was rejected but not because it is too big (of course it is not), just because it does not fit into our plans that we were thinking about on its first meeting.

 

As I see the picture of plan D, it seems to me more challenging to do this, not to mention it is much bigger than I expected. :)

I think in January we should organize our 2nd meeting and take a look what we have and what would we like to see as a layout. For a first HJMTC layout is would be totally enough for me a one track layout with a smaller station at both ends and running trains on it up and down, from a village to a smaller town for example. Just to see that we can work together and can reach something. And if we will complete this, we can go bigger. So maybe the 3 modules from your plan D. But in this case, what would be the size of the modules?






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