The Ghibli Modules
The first modules to have been designed for JR-Chiisai are also some of the most difficult ones to achieve. Not only because none of the architecture exists in building kits, and thus has to be built from scratch, but also because it has to come at least a little bit close to honoring the original Studio Ghibli masterpieces.
I got the idea for these modules after trying to find out ways of making modules and standards. I noticed that very few standards take digital operation into account, and those that do generally don't count on trains with 16 cars, being almost 2.5 meter in length. I wasn't sure what to do at that point, so I ended up watching Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, better known as Spirited Away. During the movie I took a closer look at the building they consider an "old abandoned train station". It also happens to be a gate between 2 worlds. That gave me the initial idea of building modules based on Studio Ghibii movies.
What I wanted, was to make a model of that gate, and add the ability for a train to travel through it. Of course, on the "real world" side, a regular train will enter, while on the "Ghibli" side, the train will have changed shape. From there on, it would travel through various landscapes and scenes from various movies. After some searching around, I decided to go for the Kiha 01, Kiha 02 and Kiha 03, and while they're prototypical machines, they do quite fit in with my plans.
The modules main focus is on scenery and a good amount of small details that Studio Ghibli fans should appreciate. However, due to some strategic placement of both hidden and visible passing tracks, there is some quite interesting operation possibilities as well.
As for module dimension, I decided not to use a standard for these modules, since all of them will need to be combined to make sense. The dimension of each module will be 112 x 70 cm. 112 is exactly 4 times Tomix S280 straight track, and 70 should give enough depth for interesting scenery. Should I decided I want to be able to combine these modules with an existing standard, I can always make a conversion module.