Friday, September 25, 2009

beginning of the end?

Some worrying news reaches me through the pages of talking t gauge. Eishindo have stopped making spare parts for their stock.
David K Smith writes in more detail about the news and implications here
What can this mean? I mentioned the Eishindo re-organisation only a few posts ago just as I was getting restarted on work on Gonou. At worst this could be the start of the slippery slope to T being discontinued. I hope not. I hope it means that they will concentrate on the production of their trains while they re-organise. Perhaps I'm being greedy and want my Hankyu 9000 that I've been waiting for for over a year and my KiHa 40 as well.
I have searched the internet for some news about what has been happening but I've not found anything. Mind you not reading Japanese is a big drawback there methinks.
What to do? At the moment I will carry on finishing Gonou ready for its showing at the Granite city train show in December. I'll order myself a couple more Class 105's just in case. So the blog will continue for the moment like nothing has happened.
It's when nothing happens with this blog that you should be worried.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cultural exchange

One thing that is great about picking a prototype I know not a thing about to model is the learning.
Every last little bit of it is new to me. It doesn't matter what I'm working on.
Especially so when I comes to the subject of Japanese culture.
I've just started work on the Shinto Shrine that will sit atop the hill above the railway station.
It was enlightening enough when working on the Torii gates and discovering that there is a whole theory to the design and proportions all based around the thickness of the pillars. So much of it that I've forgotten most of it all. But the base unit of the design is the thickness of the pillars.
So to the shrine itself. For those who are following along with this it is inspired by the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine. Basically because I found a drawing of one of the buildings on this wikipedia page
Boy, there are so many confusing terms out there. We need only start with the Honden and the Haiden. That's confusing enough for a start. Made even more so by the fact that both buildings stand next to each other. The Honden is where the spirits or kami are enshrined. The Haiden is where the ordinary folks go to make offerings to the kami.
All the aspects of the architecture have new names Okichigi, Catsuogi. Don't ask but I do know I have to model them.
The overhang of the roof is causing me grief. It's huge. I look at it on my model and think to myself.
"That can't be right". Then I measure it out again and everything is to scale.
So I'm happy. Then I look at it again and think to myself.
"That can't be right"...
Sept 19: update having discovered some more pictures online I have decided to start again on the Honden. Nothing too serious but as soon as I saw these new pictures I realised I had no choice.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Back in the saddle

So here we go, construction re-starts. The first thing I thought I'd work on was the petrol station as I had all the parts already completed. It was just a question of assembly. Except as I put things together I decided to add an interior to the store. Nothing too detailed just some stocked shelves, cooler cabinets and a checkout. I also populated it with a few people from the QE2 figures etch. When you look at the model from a distance you can't hardly see the effort I went to. The actual size of the model is something like the size of the thumbnails in this posting. Once you click on the thumbnails to see the details the cruel enlargement makes me feel like stepping on the model. So I go over to step on the model and I look at it and I can't see the details that were bothering me. This is one of the great problems of T scale modelling.
These two thumbnails are close to the actual size of the model.
In the extreme close up below you can see the shelving I added but can you see the people?

Catching up on the news

One thing with being away from something for an extended period of time. There is a lot of catching up to do. When my T modelling fell into a slump the pointwork and new track had been announced. The pointwork still isn't available though the flexible track is from some suppliers. I'm most disappointed that my Hankyu 9000 hasn't turned up.
But there does appear to be a reason for the lack of new items. Eishindo have had to go through a reorganization. From what I can gather from some Japanese translations of press releases they have closed the telephone customer service line relying on email. The overseas distribtion system will change as will the packaging of the items. What the state of the company is I don't know. I hope that this reorganization will improve things. It has to have been difficult to introduce a whole new model railway system during this economic climate.
I hope they will be around for a long time to come.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Taking Stock

Now the decision has been made to show Gonou, I have to put together a list of tasks that need to be done to get the layout to a standard that I would be happy to exhibit it at.
Here's a shortlist that is quite short really
1. Finish the Petrol Station - I have all the elements for that it just needs assembling. Though a part of me wants to make a suggestion of some kind of interior in the store.
2. Install the working flashing light on the lighthouse. - Should be an easy one to do.
3. Make the Shrine on top of the hill. Done some research on that but haven't started it yet.
4. Work on a backscene.
5. Make a level crossing for the front l/h curve. I think I'll just buy an Eishindo crossing and make it fit the curve somehow.

Those are the major things that must get done.
There are the fiddly details that need to be done like the addition of people and cars and boats and such like. I have plenty of those bits and bobs to install.

There's a couple of things I'd like to do as well but aren't all that important.
Having seen those small streetlights that David K. Smith found I'd quite like to install some of them.
Which leads me to the final item. A cabinet for the completed layout with an intergral light that I could dim so that you'd be able to see the streetlights shining and the lighthouse flashing more clearly.
So all in all not a great deal to do with almost three complete months to the show.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Re-lighting the Fire

Just as I was wondering when my enthusiasm for T gauge would return. Bang ! It did.
What was the cause of this?
Was it the appearance of some new T gauge items? No.
It was discovering that the Granite City train show in Saint Cloud, MN was on December 5th this year. I enjoy the GCTS and my T gauge layout "Hitsu" went down very well last time despite being in my mind poorly presented. I'd held off commiting to the show as I knew I was running a marathon in Dallas in early December and thought the two would clash.
So I fired an email off to the organiser to see if he had room for me and what do you know? He has.
So mark your diaries December 5th. St Cloud, MN Granite City train show. I'd love to see you there.
There's nothing like a deadline to focus your mind. As the late Douglas Adams said "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they rush by"

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I wish I wish I wish...

Many of you will have noticed the lack of updates hereabouts. Well to be honest with you. I have a lack of interest in T. We all go through these little crises I'm sure. Mine is caused by the lack of any new stock from Eishindo. I have a Hankyu 9000 set on order. I have a Kiha 48 railcar on order. The Hankyu's delivery date has been passed, changed and passed again so many times that it's just not funny anymore. If something new came out then I'm sure my enthusiasm would come flooding back. But until then...