More Hilltop Work

Work has progressed. I finally finished getting the backdrop photo attached to the backdrop, and the latter attached to the layout table. This was not without a lot of awkward contortionism to get the darn thing bolted in place. Perhaps I would have been better off disconnecting the whole return loop end from the rest of the layout, so I could turn it and work somewhere other than in a two-inch slot up against a concrete wall. But while that’s possible by design, it’s REALLY hard in practice, and I decided I didn’t need to do it. And in the end I didn’t, although I’m not sure I actually saved any real time.

The backdrop looks pretty good, even in person. It has just the right level of detail, and the sizes are acceptable (perhaps a bit too large, but I don’t think they’ll be too obtrusive). The faded/hazy color and low-resolution of detail looks just right.

Mocking Up the Hilltop

It’s very pink, but with a bit of imagination you can see the forested hill rising behind the houses, which will have a small Shinto shrine tucked in amongst the trees, with a stairway down to street level, a very typically Japanese scene. This mock-up was part of my final refinement of the design for the Hilltop Scene. I’m not quite done, but I’m beginning to accept that I have a sound idea for what I want to do.

June 2013 Monthly Status

Another month gone by, but I do have something to show for this one.

The backdrop for the hilltop scene has been painted in primer and let cure. I’m going to work on the mounting structure this week. The photo for it has also been printed (US$72 at my local print shop) and is laid out letting the ink dry fully. I expect I’m a week or so away from gluing it to the backdrop, and by next week should have it installed.

Along the way my plans changed to make a 18” tall (46 cm) backdrop instead of the larger one I’d planned, and the image was adjusted slightly to match, but it’s still basically the same. There was no single reason for the change, just a feeling that 18” fit the area better, and would maintain the “low key” backing I was looking for better, whereas a taller one might tend to overshadow the real scenery. I can always re-do it in the future if I change my mind, total cost with wood is under US$100 and I’ll gladly write that off on a failed experiment, after enough time goes by that I’m sure it is a failed one. Right now, I think I made the right choice.

I’ve also been working on the Village area, and actually done some painting on the Tomix apartment. And I’ve started tearing down the other models to begin painting and lighting/detailing them. I’ll work on several in parallel along with the Tomix apartment. Some notes on the buildings I’m working with are on the Village Buildings page.

And I’ve been doing some work on how I want to build the roads and sidewalks of the village area. I mentioned the planning in general last time. More on the details in some future post when my ideas have settled more.

A bunch of stuff arrived from Japan this month. Among it some track I needed to build a test-track on my bench for continued work on the Tram Controller project, and some Tomix viaduct I want to experiment with for the future Helix (although that may sit on the shelf for a long time; I need it now to measure and check clearances for the hilltop construction, rather than for work on the helix itself).

So, a fairly busy month for the layout, all things considered.

Hilltop Backdrop

It occurs to me that I haven’t said much about my plans for the hilltop scene. In fact the page I created to describe it is essentially blank. That’s mainly because I don’t have anything there yet to photograph, although I ought to add something showing the current appearance, if only as a “before” image. I do have a Construction page describing my plans and the current extent of work. he idea is that this is a removable “cap” that sits above the location of the future helix down to staging tracks.