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Kato v Microace


Quinn

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Hello there,

 

My first post - and just a query really. I've been interested in modelling Japanese rail for a while now although I need to learn a great deal before I can feel "authentic". I've started buying rolling stock / locomotives (really looking forward to Kato's C12) but my question is how does Microace compare with Kato for noise, reliability and detail.

 

I was considering a C57 which both companies produce. Which is the smoothest runner?

 

Many thanks for any advice.

 

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Quinn,

 

You will find a number of discussions here comparing microace, tomix, kato and greenmax models of various types. There is no super clear answer as they all do vary some across lines and personal preferences weigh in a lot. On specific trains there can be clearer differences to help guide you at times. I have an ma c57 and it runs fine. All my microace steamers run well and are nicely detailed Tomix and world kougi (kits) have also made the c57.

 

Cheers,

 

Jeff

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Couldn't agree more with what cteno4 says. There are a few things to keep in mind however:

 

- Kato generally has easier replacement parts than Micro Ace down the road. That being said, I have found that Japanese trains are quite sturdily built if you treat them well.

- Older Japanese steam locomotives (I am talking like before 2010, but I am not sure of a specific date) may NOT be 1/150 because older engines do not fit in the small body. For example, the C11 KATO (original release) is significantly bigger than the true 1/150 scale of the newest release KATO. The Micro Ace version from around 2011 is in between these scales, but not true 1/150. So if this is important to you, be sure to ask here or Google the true scale of your steam locomotive.

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Ditto on yavailance! Good points!

 

ma does not sell much of anything in spare parts. Any broken items can sometimes get repaired by ma if sent back in thru an authorized seller you bought it thru. That being said the only ma I ever had service was from a bad short circuit and truck melt down, but that was not the train's fault! Quality for the great majority of Japanese train models is excellent, especially when you look at the prices compared to other regions. Great bang for the buck.

 

Many older steamers could get as big as 1/134 scale and I think a bit of it was also trying to make them look more in scale on n gauge track, if memory serves me right.

 

But the other edge of the sword is ma does a lot more of the odder trains out there and variants that kato and tomix don't.

 

Ma also almost always comes stock rapido couplers on most all kinds of their trains. They sell add on tight spacing couplers San both tomix and kato couplers can be modified to fit.

 

Ma emu and dmu motor cars can be a bit growly and sometimes need some lubing to run well, but mostly run pretty well.

 

Detail and quality is where the opinion, nitt picking, exact models and personal preferences comes in a lot.

 

With steamers I've had excellent luck. Only issues are the usual ones of some pilot trucks being fussy on some trackwork now and then. Usually a little fiddling fixes it with the track or gauging of pilot truck wheels.

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

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Here's a comparison of all the different C57 models available.  I don't have this particular locomotive (yet!) but I do have a few of the newer kato units, and the detail and running characteristics are great!  I'd recommend going for the newer kato c57 (product 2023) as it has the new internal motor, instead of the older models from both company's that have the motor visible in the cab. 

 

Comparison http://www5a.biglobe.ne.jp/~toyoyasu/c57n_1.htm

 

Detail of the kato model http://www5a.biglobe.ne.jp/~toyoyasu/c57pk4_1.htm

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As a default, you always pick Tomix/Kato if available over Greenmax/MicroAce, due to the above reasons already discussed.  It isn't a concrete rule, More of a baseline start point.

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Thank you all very much for the comment. It looks like Kato then. I can see the new one in the 2017 catalogue so will just wait until it appears in production.

 

My very limited experience of Microace is a DMU  - 18400 Kintetsu - which is very noisy by comparison with the other couple of Kato locos I have. Nice train but noisy.

 

Again, thanks.

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Glad to help, I'm also waiting on that release!  Does the catalog say what month its going to be released? 

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Thank you all very much for the comment. It looks like Kato then. I can see the new one in the 2017 catalogue so will just wait until it appears in production.

 

My very limited experience of Microace is a DMU  - 18400 Kintetsu - which is very noisy by comparison with the other couple of Kato locos I have. Nice train but noisy.

 

Again, thanks.

 

Sorry but I'm pretty sure the Kintetsu 18400 is a EMU... Electric multiple Unit, not a DMU (diesel Multiple Unit)... I am guessing you have either one of these 3 models:

 

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10103426

 

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10103428

 

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10327413

 

nevertheless, previous MA models have slightly noiser motors, some even have the large bulky type of engines. The newer MA motors are smoother, and sound less noisy... But the cost has been increasing tremendously especially for MA ...

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Sorry but I'm pretty sure the Kintetsu 18400 is a EMU... Electric multiple Unit, not a DMU (diesel Multiple Unit)... I am guessing you have either one of these 3 models:

 

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10103426

 

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10103428

 

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10327413

 

nevertheless, previous MA models have slightly noiser motors, some even have the large bulky type of engines. The newer MA motors are smoother, and sound less noisy... But the cost has been increasing tremendously especially for MA ...

 

Yes, you're right. Sorry. It's the one shown on the middle link. I should have had a look in the box. Not having a layout I run these items in then box them again for showing on a diorama as needed (the track of which is too short to run anything. However, there'll be a layout one day (hopefully sooner rather than later) so these trains will eventually get a run.

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

Edited by Quinn
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Quinn,

 

You might look at doing a little lubing on the truck gears and even very fine oil (tiny tiny bit) on the motor bearings. I've had a few growly micro aces that some very small lubing quieted down. Best to use good quality oils and use them very sparingly as overlubing can be as bad as no lube!

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

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