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

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Hey guys! Long time no talk. I've been meaning to leave a note here for a while, and now I've finally gotten around to doing it. I've moved to an N-scale specific model-railroading forum (nscale.net) under the username: Metrolink. I recognize a few here that are also members at the other forum. I learned a LOT of things here at this site, and I want to express my thanks to all the incredibly helpful members here.

This is certainly no reflection on this forum, which is excellent, but it's nice to be among all N-scale modelers. MRR is first site I joined when I re-entered the hobby a few months ago and really appreciate everyone's help here. Perhaps someday I'll request a username change here to match my nscale.net and model-railroad-hobbyist.com usernames. Ciao!
Unitram City Center 2.0:

Just thought I'd update my thread here with a some more recent photos of my Unitram "city center" part of my layout (the center-third part of my layout). The entire city section is two-inches below-grade. It's since been remodeled, with more changes, and more buildings to come. In addition to the familiar Kato and Tomix structures seen here, I also added three modern high-rise structures with mirrored-glass windows that I bought on eBay, built by a guy in Germany which I think look really cool.

Although, they look a bit sterile, so I think I'll add some roof detail-kits and whatnot, plus more laser-printed color signage to make them look more realistic (they'll eventually be modeled to look like a medical building plaza). I also just received a bunch of JioWorld pre-built structures I ordered from Japan (not shown), which I'm really happy with (more photos later).

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After playing with a number of different plans, I've just recently decided to build a simple "pod" extension to my original counter-top layout.

Here's my new benchwork plan:

And here's a mock-up of the planned "pod" extension:

Tomytec/Greenmax/Walthers' oil refinery structures:

I also bought a ton of Tomytec 1:144-scale oil refinery structures, a Greenmax piping kit, plus two Walthers' North Island Oil N-scale refinery kits (which I'm totally not looking forward to building). I was lucky enough to find the Tomytech kits selling on Amazon of all places, selling at normal Japanese retail prices ($13.40 each) with free shipping. This was a super-deal, since these typically sell for twice as much on eBay or from US hobby suppliers. I finally got around to building one kit of cooling towers (you get two towers per kit). I have eight cooling towers total. With a little paint and weathering powder, these should look pretty good:

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New for 2017: Dynamis Ultima + RailController DCC system + new benchwork extension + new track-plan:

New 3' x 10' extension:

Updated track-plan! [4-20-2017]

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Active Member
FWIW, I think the space between the 'pod' portion of your old design, and the main layout was too narrow to be useful, unless you're very, very thin. To me, curves make the railroad more interesting, as well as bridges. Simple ovals are great if you want to focus more on scenery, but they can get boring, trainwise after a while. I liked your original city center, with the skyscrapers, as well as the 'lite rail' system from Kato. If I'm not mistaken, Kato is coming out with an American style grade crossing, which will be great. Keep us posted!
Thanks for your comments, otiscnj! I just now edited the above post to include the most current track-plan—very excited about it! Yeah, too bad I already bought the $200 Japanese crossing last year! I'll post updates here from time to time, though I mostly hang out at nscale.net these days (you'll see me there under the screename, "Metrolink"). Thanks for your interest!
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Where did you find that Dynamis Ultima system since its not available in the U.S.???
Sorry for the late reply (I don't often follow this board that regularly anymore). You can buy a Dynamis Ultima from Hatton's UK for about $375USD plus about $20 shipping to the US. I happened to luck out and got a new-in-the-box "used" system (everything looked brand new, including all factory packaging) from an eBay seller, winning the auction for only $137USD simply because no one else bid on the item! Normally, you can often find brand new systems from UK-based eBay sellers for as low as $325-$350USD, plus about $30 for shipping to the US. So, generally about $400USD, unless you happen to find a deal on eBay.

Another question would also be how did it you convert to 110 Volt AC??? Since the U.K. version was set up for 220.
All you need to operate the UK system in the US is this $6.00 mechanical plug-adapter (there's a 120/240V selector-switch inside the supplied AC-adapter):

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