Two of the corner modules are going to be urban, representing a fictional city along the R&W. The curves are challenging to build around and I realized quite quickly that I'll have to compress the depth of most of the buildings to fit. To be able to include some streets, I'll need to keep the depth to around 75mm. With that I went looking for some interesting store fronts near where I work.
The first was a pair of buildings that have recently been repainted and so caught my eye. My interpretation is a lot darker than the current prototype. For this one I used Google's street view to get a picture of the façade, and then used GIMP to straighten and scale the picture. Then I switched to Inkscape to draw the outlines and add color.
Another building was inspired from one a couple blocks away from the first. This one appears to be partially abandoned on the upper floors, but with a fancy art store on the ground level. This was my second attempt at photographing wall textures and using them to create the building walls. The front bricks come from a different building, but the side texture is authentic. The boarded-up windows are also off the actual building.
Across the tracks, I decided a modern strip mall would give a good contrast to the older "downtown" buildings on the other side.
This is an overview of the town module when it's connected to the station module.
Since the last picture was taken, much progress has been made on putting down the landscape on both the station module and the city corner. The "grass" is colored sawdust over green paint. The trees are basic "bottle brush" trees flocked with dried, used, tea leaves.
At the moment this is just research.
Radioshack carries a package of 20 assorted LEDs. IT looks like a good way to start experimenting before purchasing cheaper LEDs in large quantities. The forward voltage according to a review is as follows.
To begin with, links to sources with images for signs.