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  1. Hi Fans, Starting to work on my JR E353 series to stick the labels properly, I've tried to summarize in attached document the right information. Thanks to @disturbman for his help in adding the missing information. All the other information are from Wikipedia Labels are blurried for protecting Kato intellectual property. E353 Labels.pdf Enjoy!
  2. Hello Fans, Let me share with you how I’ve improved my Tomix Kintetsu 80000 series (98695) also known as Hinotori. What did I decided to improve? Replacing the Arnold couplers by Tomix TN couplers, Installing a driver Enhancing the inner seats with MiyakoMokei KLC341A Hinotori Sheet seal Lighting the train with HKTILC.com leds, Enhancing the pantograph look, adding copper strips Adding destination stickers either from MiyakoMokei KLC 311A or Ajisaitei (the brand I get for my Tobu 500) Forewords: If for any reason you need to clean the body of the train (eg some adhesives remain, or remove an uncorrected applied dry sticker), never use chemical solvent or industrial alcohol, the paint is really sensitive. Use a wooden toothpick or a Q-tip, and do it gently. Tooling As it's N gauge, you'll need some tools / accessories. My latest purchase from Amazon is this clip zooming lamp. In some situations, it more convenient than the magnifier headband. Anyway, both are now in my tool box. And some extra tooling. Those Revell tweezers are really great for a couple of euros. Now everything is there (I’ll let you discover later one some add. tools), let’s start. First of all, let’s decide where the train goes. Despite I’m not reading Japanese, looking to photos in Google images allow you to easily recognize some characters as the notice is quite explicit. Thus, let’s go to Osaka Namba Station. Looking to the case, car #6 is on top and car #1 at the bottom. Premium Car Sticking car numbers & Pictograms Car numbers and pictograms are not printed at the manufacture but delivered as dry transfer by Tomix. I’m not a big fan of that as those dry stickers are quite fragile and sometimes a bit reluctant to stick. Due the small sheet of dry transfer, I recommend to stick them in a raw, applying them to all the cars as they are clean from factory. The scotch tape on the picture is just for shooting purpose. I do not recommend to do so. For applying the dry sticker, align with grey lines and press the number through the plastic with a wooden toothpick, then remove gently the plastic sheet. Once done, use the paper cover to finish sticking it to the body, pressing gently through it. The result is quite nice. Changing Arnold couplers to TN couplers For those not familiar with installing a Tomix TN coupler, it’s really easy. Unscrew the bogie, taking care of not loosing the two small springs. Remove the wheel and cut properly the plastic bar. Once done, reinstall the wheel. Clip the TN coupler Put the small springs in their holes Then place the floor above, pinch the bogie and the floor, check it’s on the right side (the cut part close to the TN Coupler) And screw them again. That’s done! Installing the driver After removing the body, it’s time to stick the driver into the cabin with paper glue (easy to remove in case I decide to stick another one later on). I’ve chosen a clear one to be sure to see him when the train runs. Purist will notice the color of the cap is not the right one, but I don’t have that many choices in my driver’s roster. Enhancing the Premium seats Don't think of rushing … it’s long and touchy, but quite easy to do. Remember that the more you do it, the easiest it becomes. Let’s have a look at the real seats: And the stickers Notice that for the single place, one black dot is not at the right place (should be inner, not outer)… but as you can see, there are much more stickers than needed which is convenient as they’re really small and not that easy to stick. How to stick them? First of all, unclip the seats rows. After several attempts, the most convenient way to proceed is to: 1 - Uncover the raw you want to stick and cut the plastic close to the labels 2 - Approach the seat raw with a 45° angle between the plastic card and the seat, 3 - Apply the sticker to the seat, rubbing the plastic card with a toothpick, 4 - Use the elastic effect of the plastic card returning to its original 45° angle to all it to unstick from the sticker Not that easy to shoot as I have only 2 hands. For the raw 2+1 it's also sometimes easier to cut the plastic in the length. Sometimes, it doesn’t work perfectly, but those dry stickers are quite easy to replace / move with a toothpick. Even if you damage one of it, there are enough to do it again. Once done, you should have that: I tried to stick the small dots but I didn’t really succeed to do it properly. So that, I’m using a permanent pen to paint a black dot. It’s less regular than the sticker, but when you look at them from a reasonable distance, you don’t really) see the difference. Lighting the train with HKTILC.com leds For lighting the trainset, I’ll use HKTILC.com non-flickering leds ramp instead of Tomix parts. Why? For a good reason: HKTILC.com are really better and somewhere cheaper than Tomix ones, providing a very good result once installed. Moreover, the non-flickering feature is not a pure marketing feature, it does work as expected. Watching couple of videos, I’ve noticed that lighting in the Premium Car is warmer than the other cars. So that, I’ve decided to purchase a ‘bulb light’ led bar for cars #1 & #6 And to turn the lighting to the minimum setup (see the small switch where below, it's turn to maximum light) HKTILC is providing a small transparent cover to be installed Just click it on the led ramp Screwing the small springs maintain them in place on the copper dots. Once installed, the lighting ramp is perfectly horizontal. (.../... to continue)
  3. Hello Fans, There are several ways to mimic the copper strip(s) on the contact surface of a pantograph. Of course, you can paint them. Another way to proceed is to stick on them a thin band of (real) copper to make it as real as possible. Let me share with you, step-by-step, the way I proceed. Click on the pictures to have them bigger, it'll hep you to see the details. 1 - As it's N gauge, you'll need some tools / accessories A headband magnifier (better with led like mine) - Can be purchased out of (e.g.) Amazon for 20 euros. Any fixed magnifier can be used but without magnifier ... no way! A roll of adhesive copper. You can purchase it for a couple of euros at Amazon (HERE some examples) or anywhere else. Ideally, a 7 mm width would be perfect, but 6.3 mm and 6.4 mm fits too. The one I've purchased at Amazon is HERE ( (0.24inch x 66ft) Standard scissors to cut a strip in the copper roll Your wife’s tweezers or your very fine tweezers couple of toothpicks A cutter (we'll not use it to cut ...) A precision flush cutter And as usual .... Time ... time .... time ... don't rush in any case!!! 2 - Let's get some reference Measuring is key for knowing the width of the pantograph's copper surface. A good option is to place a ruler (mine has got a rubber band below, it's a good protective device) an shoot with your cellphone As you can see here, the length is about 7 mm ... ... meaning I'll have to play a bit to center it properly with my 6,3 mm copper strip. Anyway, keep in mind that nobody will have such a close view on it. For narrowest pantograph, you can for sure cut a part of the copper strip to lower the width. 3 - Time to cut This is where you'll have to do it very accurately. Too wide, too narrow, not perfectly rectangle will lead to poor result After having cut a strip out of the roll, peel it partially but just a small length Then, with your headband magnifier, look to the pantograph an memorize the width of the plastic part you'll have to cover with the copper strip. It's the only way to proceed, be confident. Once done, take the strip in one hand ... ... put the copper strip between the pliers jaw ... ... and slowly adjust to the size you've memorized. Once done, stop breathing and pinch firmly to cut. You should have a perfect rectangle, cut to the right size. If not ... do, do again .... do again until it's done properly. The more you'll do, the better and faster you'll succeed. 4 - Transferring or not, that is the question It's now time to remove it from the flush cutter edge and transferring the small copper piece to something much more maneuverable. Good option is to remove the strip by the middle of it. Take care not to breaking it into 2 pieces, proceed gently Option to transfer it to a toothpick is possible, especially by sticking one end to the tip of the toothpick. Usually, the adhesive side is sticking less on the wood than on the metal of the tweezers 5 - Applying, here is the tricky step The golden rule : if for any reason the sticking process doesn't work (eg the strip is diverting from the straight line and goes right or left, or it doesn't apply correctly), unsticking and sticking again is not a good idea. It'll provide in a poor result. Start again from step 3 with a new cut. It's where I realized I'm missing a 3rd and 4th arm / hand to be able to capture the picture as I'm applying the strip. Let me depict what I did. With the toothpick, I've approached the other end of the strip (the one not stuck to the toothpick) of the right position. Then using either another toothpick or (like here) the tip of the cutter's blade, I've pressed the end of the copper strip to the pantograph. If it's not perfectly place, at this step, you can unstick and do it again. On this picture, you can see that the strip is (roughly) well aligned with the pantograph, thus you can start pressing with the tip of a toothpick (or of the cutter's blade) to stick it totally ... ... up to be stuck to the hollow in the pantograph, and also the side of it. If you proceed properly, you should be having this result : a strip, covering exactly the pantograph, where it should be. If it's not centered or diverting left or right or ....... it's too late, you'll have to follow the 'Golden rule'. 5 - Final result and some considerations Despite I'm trained to do it, I was obliged to start again at the step 3 for this 'How-To' (2 times !!!) and it's not due to the fact I was shooting for making it. What really gives a great satisfaction is obtaining two beautiful strips on the same pantograph, perfectly aligned, exactly the same size and correctly stuck to the plastic. Keep in mind that nobody will look so close to the pantograh. Simply consider it'll give an incredible look and feel when you look at you trainset from a normal distance. If for any reason, it doesn't please you anymore, it's very easy to unstick to revert to the original grey pantograph (what is not so easy when you paint it). I hope it'll help you. JM.
  4. Hello Fans Let me share with you my experience in sticking this *!$&# stickers on my Kato rolling stock. As I heard from @disturbman the result is frequently poor, I've decided to make an end-to-end depiction on how to apply those stickers Keep in mind that Kato is using dry stickers, so no water transfer!!!! 01 - As it's N gauge, you'll need some tools / accessories A headband magnifier (better with led like mine) - Can be purchased out of (e.g.) Amazon for 20 euros. Any fixed magnifier can be used but without magnifier ... no way! Your wife’s tweezers or your very fine tweezers Scotch tape, not too sticky, the one I use is "Scotch Magic Tape" A precise scissors, at least scissors cutting correctly (cutter is not recommended) Time ... time .... time ... don't rush in any case!!! Such a good scissors is enough as long as it's cutting straight (no mechanical clearance between the two blades) and clean. It's what was used to cut my first labels Otherwise small like those ones can be purchased out of (e.g.) Amazon for something like 15 euros 02 - First make a rough cut of the sticker Don't try to make a precise cut directly out of the card, you'll have to do it later on with the right tools 03 - Pinch and cut the sticker Pinching the sticker in the tweezers will help you to cut it properly With the scissors, cut it exactly at the size, following the border ... you know now why you'll need a fixed or headband magnifier ... you need your two hands There is a very good reason why you must make a fine cut … just look at picture below. I let you imagine the result on your Kato trainset. Moreover, not cutting properly will result in a nightmare later on, at the final adjustment. Believe me, if you don't do it properly, you'll have a poor result. 04 - The proper cutting Doing a good job will result in having the label itself, all the label but just the label. 05 - Sticking the transfer to the Scotch tape The idea behind that is to ease the handling of the sticker (it's a small 1 x 2 mm piece), the overall manipulation without killing the adhesive side of the sticker as well as making the transfer easier to the rolling stock Pick a long piece of scotch tape, fold the ends of the scotch tape Tip & Tricks #1: With your finger, touch 1 time only the sticky side of the tape so that the "dirt" of you fingers will stick to the scotch tape ... reducing slightly its sticky power, but not too much (we need the scotch remains sticky for the step 06) Place the scotch strip on your label where you've touch the strip 06 - Removing the protection paper I let you imagine how boring it can be to peal the protection paper of such a small sticker. Thus ... Tip & Tricks #2: Stick another piece of scotch tape on the opposite side of the label, crossing tapes like that Turn it the opposite side and gently press with something hard such as the tweezers to let the paper stick firmly to the scotch tape Once this is done, separate the two scotch strips Another example to illustrate the way it works Now, you've one stip with the transfer on it, ready to be applied and easy to handle, the sticky side of the transfer has never been touched with your fingers and it's properly separated from the paper support ... isn't that great ? 07 - Adjust and apply Now, you'll understand why I've asked you to do all these steps before. I recommend to do it using your magnifier to make sure it's perfectly fitting to the window Of course, if it's not correctly applied, you can do and redo as long as the sticker is not stuck... believe me, this scotch strip, you'll love it ! Once in the right position, it's time to make the transfer stick to the plastic window. With the tweezers (or a Q-tip), gently press through the strip to stick the transfer to the window Pull the tape with a 90° angle, slowly, ...up to the moment the transfer appears. You can use the tweezers to maintain it in place the time the strip is fully removed. Do it slowly ... it'll really help. If it's not working fine, redo the previous step. You know now why I asked you to put a bit of dirt to make the stcoch tape a bit less sticky on the transfer printed side. 08 - Final adjustments Once the strip is removed, firmly (not too much ... it's Kato N) press in the sticker with the end of the tweezers in the four corners and on the surface to push it into the hollow and adjust it to the window (hollow form) And here is the result !!! I let you double-click on the picture to notice how adjusted it is An now with inner leds ... (sorry it's a bit blurry ...) @disturbmanAre you convinced now? I hope it'll help you.
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