Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Too much excitement

What a day!
Things were abso-flippin-lutely crazy in the T gauge world this morning. Talking T gauge was on fire with posts.
What hapenned to cause this? Did Cameron Diaz announce that she was an avid T gauger?
Nope. (I wish...)
We got wind of the proposed new releases from Eishindo. Let me tell you there are some very exciting things coming.
Flexible track is slated for January 2009.
Manual and electric turnouts are on the way too. Which is great for layout planning and building.
But for me the most important news was the fact that there is an N700 Shinkansen under development. This is exactly what I wanted. Put me down for a couple of them without a doubt. My first ideas for a T gauge layout centered around the Shinkansen. But I was baulking at the idea of building those. Now I can reconsider my plans. Excellent!
Mind you, lets not get too carried away. It could be another 18 months before we see them.
Apart from that Eishindo have quite the programme announced. A Railcar, some trams (streetcars) and even steam locomotives.
Now is the time to get into T gauge.
Get going what are you waiting for?

Friday, November 21, 2008

T thoughts

Things are pretty hot in T gauge at the moment.
The "talking T gauge" forum now has over 60 members from all over the world. The US, Australia, Europe and even Japan. It is exciting times. News is reaching us of "second generation" models to be produced by Eishindo. Quite exactly what that means we don't quite know yet. Hopefully it means improved drive trains and performance. We'll wait and see. But as we are still waiting for the second EMU set to be released (The Hankyu 9000 series model) we shan't hold our breath. But its good to know Eishindo are serious about this scale.
All this positivity is bleeding down into the T gauge modellers. Myself included. I just planted another 40 trees on Hitsu and much as I feared it wasn't enough. So I'm now developing what can only be described as a tree-top mat. I'll expand more on that later when I've decided how effective it is. It's much quicker than the toothpick trees, and I've got that down to doing 40 in under an hour. So watch this space on that one.
I have the wheels cleaned on both my class 103 sets and they've circumnavigated the layout. Watching trains run is always good for the enthusiasm. Things couldn't be better.
A couple of new websites and blogs have appeared too. this first website is from Japan and this new blog is from Jes in the Netherlands
All exciting stuff. I hope it's getting to you as much as it is getting to me...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

All quiet on the (mid) western front

The more astute of you will have noticed a distinct last of activity on this blog over the last couple of weeks. Logic therefore, would decree that there has not been much activity with the construction of Hitsu lately and you'd be right.
The fact that I'd made close to 100 trees for the layout and needed more was a bit of a blow so I took a break from it to refresh myself. So the layout stood untouched while I went and did some work on my HO scale layout "Oneota Yard".
But last night I felt like I could face the manufacture of some more trees and set to and stained 30 more tree trunks ready to add some foliage over the next few days/nights.
To spur me on I decided to give the little trains a lap or two of the layout. I set a car up, switched on the controller and... Nothing. I gave it a poke or two got some life out of it and immediately thought.
"Dirty wheels." I took a look and my suspicions were confirmed. I hadn't cleaned the sets since I bought them so it was really a no brainer.
So I decided to sit down and clean the wheels.
The Eishindo sets come with a wheel cleaner but I couldn't get mine to work. No bother. I thought. I'll clean them by hand.
Oh Boy. This is one tough task. The wheels are 3mm in diameter and the treads are just over 1mm wide. So cleaning the wheels is a long, slow task. One hour to do one car. Obviously as it was my first one I was being extra careful. But this is the kind of task you take for granted in the larger scales. Here it's almost microsurgery.
Still I'll keep at it. Make a few trees, clean a set of car wheels, make a few trees, clean a set of car wheels...

Friday, November 7, 2008

More Trees please.

Lately I've been planting trees on Hitsu. Let me tell you that even on a small layout such as this one the 40 trees I had already made do not go very far at all. So I need a method to make lots of trees fast. I found one and its really, really easy. All you need is some wooden toothpicks and Woodland Scenics clump foliage.
First take your toothpicks and stain them with a weak indian ink wash. This takes away the whiteness of the toothpick. Then grab hold of a bit of clump foliage and tear it about until you get something approaching a tree shape and just stick it onto the toothpick. Thats it. Nothing else. No fancy twisting of wire. No nothing. The British band the Cure wrote a song called "A Forest" and in the time it takes to listen to this song you could make a forest this way.  OK that's a slight exaggeration... But I did make 50 trees in about three evenings.
Above shows a simple deciduous tree and below a coniferous tree the two sorts of tree defined just by the way you shape the clump foliage.
Group them together and you get the makings of a forest...
I know some folks are daunted by the small size of T gauge but I hope that this tree making method shows that T gauge scenic work can be quite easy.