Niigata Kotsu Micro Layout

by Martin

This micro-layout was started as a little project just to have some trains moving. The central idea was to make an abandoned yard in the center and the surrounding work area. The layout is 26" x 18" (47cm x 67cm) and in 1/150 (Japanese N scale).

  Niigata Kotsu Micro Layout. Full Photo Gallery  

So, keeping that in mind and using a static model of a C-50 steamer, I starting working on the abandoned shed. I worked with styrene and metal foil for the corrugated steel roofing. After that, also I used a free paper model from scalescenes for the “Goods Store” and made a scratch built water tower and tools shed.

Abanonded Yard. Full Photo Gallery    

Also, as a detail I scratchbuilt a Komatsu motor grader to be lying rusted on the field (I could not find any commercial kit).

  Scratchbuilt Komatsu Grader. Full Photo Gallery

At this point I decided to use the MoHa 11 of the Niigata Kotsu from Tomytec as the car for the layout. I started to search for info about this small line (now disappeared) and traced some of the elements that should be present on the layout such as transit through the streets, forest, crossing river and a little station.

The next step was to work on the street, so after I traced the course of it, started selecting the buildings to go on it. The selection was a mixture of Tomytec kits, Greenmax paper kit (for the bus station), parts of Greenmax kits and scratch-built.

Downtown scene. Full Photo Gallery



After working on all of the buildings along the street, I moved onto the station scene. As I had no kit of a small station, again it was time to scratch build. Based on pictures of real small stations and on a Tomytec kit, I proceeded using parts of a Greenmax streetcar station for the platform and scratch building the rest.


    Scratchbuilt station. Full Photo Gallery

After much research using Street View, some of buildings in the front were also scratch-built to finish one of the corners of the layout. Full Photo Gallery



One of the corners was still incomplete, so built a little forest with a small Shrine in the middle, and an old house crossing the rail.

Forest Shrine Two Story House. Full Photo Gallery

Now, that I had all of the scenery complete, was time to work on the fine detail. As it is a micro-layout, I had the chance to work on some details that are almost not suitable to big layouts because of the time and manipulation of the working material needed--not to mention cleaning it. So, I started working on the catenary cables. I also wanted it to be realistic, not with the cables just turning on the curves, but the same as the real lines, with tensors working the shape.

For the catenary used copper wire glued with cyanoacrylate. I first worked on the straight  areas and later on the curves. I added EZ-wire for the tensors on the curved and used different sections of copper wire for the catenary wire and return lines on the poles.

Scratchbuilt Catenary and Pole wiring. Full Photo Gallery  

After the catenary, I moved to the street signs, using a set from Greenmax. I also added people and vehicles from Tomytec on which I added the side mirrors (Photo gallery for making reflective road mirrors and YouTube video) for more detail. Also some small plant pots were added and small details all around.

Next I added street poles and with different sections copper wire, added lots of electric cables that give the street scene much more life.

  Many details were added to the layout. Full Photo Gallery

Finally, added I some details as the cowcatcher and some wires and weathering on the MoHa 11 based on numerous pictures from the net.

I must say that it is not a 100% Niigata Kotsu based layout because as far as I know, there were no steam locomotives on the line, nor abandoned yards, but taking that out, everything else is representative of the line.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone on the JNS Forum for their help and encouragement.

MoHa 11 details. Full Photo Gallery  

Read Martin's thread on the creation of his microlayout on JNS Forum


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