Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pointing in the right direction

OK BIG excitement over at the Eishindo website.
Drawings have appeared there for some new track sections, that includes, wait for it ... Pointwork!!! Not stopping there there is a diamond crossing and a third radius of curved track. A larger 145mm radius curve to go outside the current 132mm max radius. That will be nice, to have some larger radius curves. There are also drawings of some "half curve" 15 degree sections as opposed to the 30 degree of the standard curve and a "half straight" that is 30mm long instead of 60mm long.
The big excitement though surrounds the point work and crossing. This will really open the way up for proper model railway layouts. drawings can be seen here and here. The geometry of the crossing looks a little odd to those of you used to working in the bigger scales. But as we are talking such very small sizes of track components here. I think a few compromises had to be made to make them viable to produce. A certain member of talking T gauge is already sharpening his razor saw in preparation to cut them down and see if something more prototypical is viable.
All very exciting. No exact release date as yet, though I see Summer is stated after I ran the page through Google translate. It's times like this I wish I could read the Japanese on the Eishindo website. Instead I just drool over the drawings. Now if I could just get my Hankyu 9000...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Steady Progress...

I seem to recall that remark often adorned my school report cards. "Ian has made steady progress this term".
Nothing remarkable just Steady progress...
Much the same can be said for Gonou. I've had most of the week off work (a "Staycation" as the Yanks are wont to call it.) Rather than drive on and get things finished, which I dare say I could have done this week. I just plodded away doing a bit of this and a bit of that. Fixing the roads in place, putting down some ground cover. Nothing that screams at you "Major T scale constructional job". Just easy work that has to be done. Also I didn't feel like tackling the petrol pumps at the petrol station and I'm still researching the Shinto Shrine.
So there you are "steady progress" towards finishing the layout.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Waiting for a London bus...

Sheesh... Three posts in one day. It's like waiting for a London bus. None come along for a while and then you get three all at once... Just shows you what a man can do with the afternoon and evening to himself with some newfound enthusiasm...
This task is one of those that seemed like a good idea to start with and then when you come to try to photograph it. You curse because its difficult to show what you've actually done.
I was trying to model some reeds as shown in this picture on the Gonou photograph album that I have found so inspirational in creating this model.
I had the idea worked out perfectly I was going to use "pot toppers" available from Michaels craft store here in the US. Reeds can be tall so I figured that I would be able to get away with them even in T scale and I think I did. The colours on the fibres themselves are a bit bright straight from the package but they will tone down with a darker green paint.
The problem came when trying to photograph them. It is very difficult to get down to the right angle to show them to their effect. So you will have to make do with this shot until I can sort something better out.

Still waiting

Take a look at the links on the side bar there. In particular the retailers . Several Japanese (of course). One in Australia and one in the UK. There are a couple of other retailers in England and mainland Europe as well that aren't on my list. So where is the retailer in the USA?
Simple answer. There isn't one. Why has no US retailer decided to stock the stuff? Why has no entrepreneur taken it upon themselves to launch tgaugeUSA.com? I can't quite fathom this out at all. I have been deluged with questions when at shows about where to buy T gauge trains. These people are quite disappointed when I tell them that the only way to get them in the USA is to order from Japan. These same people have then suggested that I start selling it. If I had the business acumen I might consider it. I have even bent the ear of a local retailer myself to try to persuade him to stock it. To no avail - yet.
So until someone steps up to the plate I guess we'll all have to keep ordering from Japan. Which is not all that inconvenient when you consider that an order from Hobby Search can be here 6 days after placing the order. (I have placed orders with Walthers in Milwaukee that can't even get out of the warehouse in that time) The exchange rate is still reasonable so the price isn't bad, a train and track set can still be had for under $100.
But I can't help thinking that someone, somewhere in this land of opportunity is missing out on one...

I've been working on the railroad...

We're a bit overdue for an update here. I really should be getting some work done here and as a consequence, posting a bit more. So here we go. Today I decided that I could put the job off no longer and I fixed the track in place. A momentous step in reality. There's no going back now. I had put this step off for a while because I was waiting for the delivery of the Eishindo level crossing and then I was preparing my H0 scale layout for an exhibition. Now that the level crossing is built and painted there is no excuse not to do the job. My chosen method was to get some double sided foam tape and stick it to the underside of the track sections. The underside is recessed so that the track sticks level to the baseboard with no unsightly gaps. Though if there were any I would expect that they could be hidden by scatter materials. It was a simple task that barely took 30 minutes to accomplish but means a lot. Now with the track permanently down I can run trains whenever I feel like it. To celebrate this fact that is what I did. It was very gratifying and a testament to Eishindo quality that the trains ran perfectly immediately after having been stored for several months and the track had just been laying around in my model railway room accumulating dirt you would think. I sat back and watched the Chou line set navigate the track from many angles and was feeling pretty pleased with myself especially as I watched from the rear and saw the train cross the bridge with the lighthouse behind it. I was so pleased that I set up a shot of the scene for you all to see.
Still got a lot to do on the layout yet. I've got 4 tiny petrol pumps for the petrol station to build as well as a suggestion of an interior for the shop. Let's not forget the Shinto shrine atop the hill. But this view here really makes me feel pretty good about the whole project and wanting to carry on some more.