Monday, July 26, 2010

And another new model!

According to Kato's production scedule this cute little tram should be available soon. Apparently, Kato is re-releasing their Pocket Line series, giving it a fresh new look here and there. The toy-like model could be an interesting base for kitbash projects. Unfortunately, it uses the 2-axle tram chassis, which is not know for its good performances, but then again, the retail price is just under €30,-!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Some jobs appear easy and actually are! Putting a tiled roof on this DPM Otto's Parts is just one of those jobs. I simply cut the new roof out of cardboard (keep the model closeby, as you'll want to measure this correctly...). Then thin sheets with roof tile structure were glued on top of that. I bought these from a guy who casts them using white glue (!) and aluminium foil. A paint job and a piece of recycled flat roof glued against the top and the job is done :)

Looks a lot more European to me!

A pretty picture

One of the most appealing tram types around, the PCC car from Ghent. If only these would be made in N scale one day...

Layout update

I had a lot of time to work on the layout the past week. I almost finished ballasting, only need to find a way to work around the little turnout levers. Two level crossings were added. One for the main road, made from styrene sheet. I used tracing paper to make a little jig, and cut the sheet to fit the curved track. The other level crossing, which pedestrians use to access the platform, was simply made using some leftover strips of wood. A path will connect it with the road.

Still no sign of the other two DPM buildings :(

I wanted something different for the platform, so I decided to use wood for the sides of it. After making the platform from a sandwich of styrene sheets (again, using tracing paper as a jig), I superglued strips of wood to the sides.When soaked in water first, they're quite easy to bend. After washing them with dilluted black ink, they're looking more natural. The platform was primed and further coloured using greyish weathering powders. Of course, it still needs furniture a small shelter. These will be added after I have sorted out the electrics (it's much easier to turn the layout upside-down at this stage).

In case you're wondering, Momo's missing pantograph has been recovered in the meanwhile :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

A new tram from Bachmann?

Rumour has it that Bachmann will release a completely new model in N scale, the Peter Witt streetcar. Apparently, the model comes DCC equipped, at a price of about $ 140,-. I'm not that familiar with American traction, but I definately like the looks of this tram! See a picture of the model here.

Join the N scale traction group to discuss this subject!

A little on streets and buildings

I've decided to build the middle of my layout as a seperate unit, which will be glued in place when finished. This should make the build a little easier.

Like you can see in the little drawing I made, there will be a dead-end street with a couple of houses in the middle. I made the street from 1 mm styrene sheet, using a tiled sheet from Evergreen for the pavement. The tiles are 2.1 mm square, about 30 cm in the 1:1 world. A 1x1 mm strip was glued to the edge of the pavement. Still a lot of detailing and painting to do but it starts to look believable :)
The building is DPM's Otto's Parts. I didn't really change anything to it. Perhaps it'll get a tiled roof, but I'll make a mockup first to see how that looks. A couple more DPM buildings should be on their way from the States right now. Can't wait to start on those.

This little building is made by Artitec. It's a little transformer kiosk ('electriciteitshuisje'), of a design very common in the Netherlands. I thought it would make a nice addition to the layout. It came as a highly detailed resin kit, which was surprisingly easy to build and paint, despite its absolutely tiny size (see the paint container in the back as a comparison...) Now just find a nice place for it :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Still ballasting

Just a few pics of the ballasting progress. Note that the space in between the passing loop hasn't been done yet, as I will first build the platform.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Drawing and ballasting

The weather has been tropical the past few weeks, so progress has been slow. But the plans are slowly turning into an actual layout.

This is the plan, a passing loop at the end of a tram line, somewhere on the outskirts of a city. There will be a platform with a little shelter between the tracks. This will be situated in a park-like environment. A path leads to the end of a road, which crosses the track a little further. A couple of houses will be situated next to the road. I will be using some DPM kits for these, which I'll slightly modify to give them a more european look. I'm not trying to model a specific country, this allows me to use any rolling stock I like :)

Although the Tomix track is a good system to work with, I had to put some effort into it to make it a little more believable. First of all, the ballast bed is way too high for a light railway like my tram line. The easiest way to solve this, is to raise the baseboard around the track. So, after glueing down the track, I cut some leftover 2 mm cardboard to fit and attached it to the baseboard around the tracks. Some big gaps needed filling, you can really use any filler for this job. The picture shows the track as it comes (in the middle) and the 'lowered' track at the right. Next step is painting the rails and the sleepers. Tip: paint the whole thing using a rusty brown colour, then use dilluted black paint to give the sleepers a slightly darker colour. This gives a quite realistic appearance. Then it's time to ballast the track. This fills the gaps and also looks much better than the moulded plastic ballast. I used fine grey Woodland Scenics ballast, using the dilluted white glue method. It looks a little light, but remember that the track in the picture still needs a final weathering job. Don't forget to paint the cardboard an earth colour before ballasting, this is much harder to do afterwards. At the left the finished result.

After cleaning any remaining glue and paint off the rails, it's time to test. I was very happy to see the Bachmann trolley do its rounds without any problems.There are still some sections to ballast, a perfect job to do indoors to escape the heath outside :)