N-scale Kato Unitrack + Unitram layout: Small-build layout progress thread.

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Rico

BN Modeller
I like that second photo in your 19rh post with the buildings behind the train, very cool!
I'm regretting selling off my unitary now, I was going to do a coffee table layout at one time.
 
Thanks! I'm redesigning everything! I just got my three V52 Unitram kits 20 minutes ago from UPS! So, I'm reconfiguring the entire rear layout right now. The V53 kit is out for now. The buildings will be relocated to the middle of the layout to reproduce that train-by-the-building effect. The V52 kits are perfect--I'm able to actually run the road to the end of the layout. I won't have roads that just friggin' end in the middle of the layout.
 
I just plugged in my new Kato Soundbox (above) with the included first-generation diesel Soundtraxx sound card installed (which has recorded sounds from EMD 567-series' motive-power). I'm not using the built-in speaker, instead, I've connected an old Sony surround-sound stereo system to the line-out output of the Soundbox (L, R, center-channel, and a sub-woofer, using a synthesized surround-matrix). My first reaction, once powered with the Sony amp and mini-surround speakers was, "Wow!"

The high-fidelity, authentic-sounding Soundtraxx recordings can't be fully heard or appreciated on the built-in speaker, but even a low-end stereo makes this system sound incredibly realistic. Add a moderately priced (e.g., ~$100) powered sub-woofer to your system for some really impressive low-frequency rumble! Even at idle, there's enough randomly generated sound to keep it interesting. The "start" and "sync" potentiometers are a bit difficult to figure out, but once configured properly, the box adds momentum features to the Kato controller.



I also plan to buy a second Soundbox, for which I can order Kato's third-generation GE diesel sound card (above), which according to Kato, "[is] appropriate for multiple modern GE diesels, such as the P42, C44-9W, and AC4400CW" (I own a Kato AC4400). Of all the accessories I've purchased since re-entering the hobby, Kato's Soundbox adds the most dimension, offering a level of realism which really adds a lot of fun to your layout.

I just realized there are three Kato/Soundtraxx sound cards that I can eventually get which match my inventory of engines (among others):

• GE 3rd-generation diesel for AC4400CW.
• EMD 1st-generation diesel with turbocharger for GP35 (July 2016).
• EMD 2nd-generation diesel with turbocharger for SD40-2 (July 2016).

Next order . . . raised viaduct track!
 
Thanks for the kind words, logandsawman! (Although, I know it doesn't compare to the authenticity and level of detail of your layout!)
 


My first weathered locos ride the rails! Shown above are two of my brand new Kato SD45s, with brush-applied PanPastels powders. I also painted the handrails white and added a couple of oil streaks on the fuel tank using some acrylic model paint.
 
Sigh. Makes me ashamed of my complete inactivity.
Hey, at least you guys build all of your own scenery and lay all of your own ballast! I'm just buying the pre-built stuff. (Although, logandsawman's excellent foliage work has really inspired me to try to make some of my own trees for my layout someday). My layout will always have that artificial look, whereas you guys' stuff looks very authentic and true to prototype.
 

Beady

Well-Known Member
Hey, at least you guys build all of your own scenery and lay all of your own ballast! I'm just buying the pre-built stuff. (Although, logandsawman's excellent foliage work has really inspired me to try to make some of my own trees for my layout someday). My layout will always have that artificial look, whereas you guys' stuff looks very authentic and true to prototype.
You obviously have me confused with someone else.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk
 
You obviously have me confused with someone else.
Ha! You're too modest.

Anywho, because I was too lazy (and too impatient) to model my own roadways, I went with Kato's V52 Unitram roadway kits (hence the title of this thread). I thought, perhaps with a little weathering, additional scenery, signage, etc., they might look "okay." While the PanPastels powders are quite good (used above), the powder doesn't quite scale-down finely enough to always blend-in unnoticed into N-scale sized layouts.
 
I was able to recycle the V53 kit into a parking island for the Kato Denny's restaurant above. Adding the V53 kit re-introduces the "roads-to-nowhere" issue, but less so in this configuration. At least the modular design of the Kato kits allows me to experiment with different layouts before committing to a permanent design.
 
Found a can of removable 3M Dulling Spray in the garage, and applied it to a Unitram street above (but, I didn't let it dry fully before applying weathering powder, hence the streaks). I've been putting off an airbrush purchase until my credit card settles down, but I think that may be the better application for weathering plastic streets. I think dull-coating, oil marks, and adding the Kato streetlights may eventually make the Unitram streets appear "passable."
 
The black weathering powder didn't dry neutral-gray (possibly due to the dulling spray), and turned the gray Unitram street slightly magenta, as seen above. So I removed the powder and dulling spray residue with some Windex. Instead, I dusted my Unitram "test-street" section (not shown) with white and light-gray weathering powders to take the sheen off.
 




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