Feb 2016

Thinking About 3D

I read in a recent newsletter that the NMRA is currently grappling with the issue of how to judge “scratchbuilt” models that were made using parts from a 3D printer. The issue for them is how to fairly judge when someone creates their own parts versus simply printing and assembling designs made by others. My two cents is that this shouldn’t be too hard, since the issues are exactly the same as use of commercial castings (e.g., for a window frame) versus making your own from strip styrene or similar. There is an honesty aspect to it: someone could lie about their source. But you could address that by requiring the modeler to submit their part files as part of the entry process if they claim to have created them. It’s important not so much for the issue itself, but rather as the author of that piece noted, as a measure of how technology is changing the hobby.

Scene Planning - Chūō Along the Kanda

My next layout is still very much in the back-of-a-napkin planning stage. I’m thinking about what goes into it more than the details of how I realize that. I have several things I know I want: multi-track urban commuter railroading, “layered” scenery with water, roads and railroads crossing each other at different levels, and prototype scenes from the core of Tōkyō. But just exactly what that means hasn’t fully come together yet.

One thing I do know that I want is a riverside scene or scenes along the Kanda river. This is a small river, running east to west and ending at its intersection with the much larger Sumida river in the center of the city. Near the eastern end it passes just south of the famous Akihabara district. A four-track mainline runs west along its south bank for a mile or so (about 2 km) before turning southwest along a different waterway and ultimately disappearing into a tunnel and turning north into Shinjuku station.

The railway along these two waterways lies in the center of Tōkyō, between the eastern and wester sides of the Yamanote line loop, which passes through Tōkyō station on the eastern end and Shinjuku station on the western end, and it serves as a shortcut across the middle of that line. Originally this was part of the Kōbu Railway, built in the late 1890’s, although portions were completed shortly after nationalization of the railways occurred in 1906. This can be seen in the largely wooden construction of the stations, with complex riveted girderwork in places.