Sunday, January 30, 2011

City planning

One of the great things about building a layout in modules is that it allows you to change your mind during the build. I've never been the kind of guy who comes up with a plan and than spends years realizing it, so you'll guess what happened... ;)

My initial plans were to build a tramway located somewhere in northern France, but when building the first module, I've gotten rather inspired by the tramway systems in the former USSR and eastern Europe (this site, for instance, has loads of great pictures). The current module, dominated by one of the omni-present apartment blocks, was inspired by some of those systems. I don't think it'll look too bad next to the older buildings. The tramway's new goal is to provide transportation between the residential and central part of the city, using second-hand stock bought from several countries around the world (conveniently ;) ).

My idea is to make at total of 4 modules, of which the current ones will be the middle modules. At the left side, a turning loop with a depot and a couple of staging tracks will be build, In the back some half-relief apartment buildings, representing the residential area of the city.
The right loop will be located in the city center, a busy street scene, with a row of older buildings in the style of the Artitec facades in the background and some 60's/70's office/commercial buildings in the middle of the loop.

Now, rhe name Lileau sounds a little too French for a eastern European city... Any suggestions? ;)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Auhagen Platz (2)

I've spend a great day making some good progress on the 'Plattenbau' today.
At the left the state of the building this morning. Nothing was changed to the original Auhagen kit at this stage, except for glueing two kits together of course. I painted the kit with ocre and light grey acrylics, followed by a wash with black ink. A concrete effect was achieved by lightly brushing some grey/brownish pastel powder (easily made rubbing pastels over sandpaper) on top. The window frames got a similar treatment. A coat of matt varnish finishes this stage.

Where the window frames look quite good, the original door (at the right) is a different story. It's just too course and there's no frame around it. So I used a door from a Faller kit, which was shortened in hight a little to fit.
I also made steps from styrene plate because the ones provided in the kit are too high for N scale. Using those daily would be a good exercise for the residents though ;)
Next up: the roof. I replaced the Auhagen roof with one made from 0.5 mm styrene sheet. Strips of pre-coloured sandpaper were glued on top to simulate roofing felt. I have purchased an 'industrial building detailing set' from Artitec a while ago, which is a great source for roof details. I used a rather large aircon unit, a metal chimney and some flat thing (access to the roof?).
I accidentally spilt some white paint on the roof, but decided it could stay there because it could as well have been done by an N scale painter doing the roof edges ;)

And the result! It still needs some glazing and perhaps I'll even add light and an interior at a later stage, but the Plattenbau-look is there! The green Trabant adds to the DDR feel.
I think the Auhagen kit is a great starting point for making bigger apartment buildings like this one. It's very versatile and combining kits is just so easy! Here's  another example of Plattenbauten made with these kits, very cleverly turning some elements to make the building wider.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Auhagen Platz

May I introduce you my new bit of layout: Auhagen Platz. A hommage to the manufacturer of the big Eastern German prefab building that adorns the square. The space next to the plattenbau will be used for some greenery and perhaps a kiosk or a fastfood burger place.

Conveniently, the inhabitants of Auhagen Platz will get their own tram stop with a good connection to leave their neighbourhood and do some shopping downtown. At Auhagen Platz the tramway leaves the concrete midtown environment to continue as a ballasted track towards Lileau's suburbs.

Looking forward to do some urban building again. Any ideas are of course welcome!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy new year!

First of all, I would like to thank all visitors who have found my little blog the past year, in total a little over 900 unique visitors from 51 countries. Thanks as well for all reactions! It's always nice to get some feedback and encouragement every now and then.

I'm really looking forward to the new year, which already promises to become another great tramway modeling year with loads of exciting new models announced. As for me, I'll be in Canada for the next few weeks, but after that I hope to make some good use of the long winter evenings to do some fine tramway modelling. I'll keep you informed!

Have a great 2011 everybody!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

T7B5 from Oslo (2)

Lileau residents are very happy with the arrival of the new Oslo tram in the city.
Shorty after the arrival of the transport from the Czech Republic, the T7B5 was spotted doing test runs. The opinion of both staff and onlookers: A great gain for the city!

Read more about the model and prototype in a previous post.