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How did you improve your rolling stock?


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On 2/28/2023 at 4:10 AM, Kamome said:

I see. Brass air hoses for n scale always seem difficult to locate. Not sure how I feel about ¥13,800 for 100 but brass wire is pretty cheap. 


This blog may also assist you. 




I can be given 100 of those tiny, tiny, tiny air hoses for n scale and I would lose them all.  [the sadness when you know your eyesight isn't that good when installing hoses becomes a frustration in the hobby].  

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Fitted the first 28-270 knuckle couplers to add a working body mounted working coupler to the front of some of my Kato SLs.


First off was the C56. As I sometimes use this as a banking locomotive, I needed the big ugly fixed knuckle on the front. 


The pony wheel detail has been added back as well as the guard irons, which are not able to be fitted with the included alternative knuckle.


I needed to glue the peg into its relevant hole and then glue this in place on the front of the C56 once I had confirmed the coupler height was correct. The housing has an open section so any minor inaccuracy when shaving off the plastic from the coupler leads to some droop. Other SLs have an enclosed square hole so should be more secure. The coupler head is larger than the included dummy but it looks better than the standard one and works. 









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So good Doh lesson relearned last night tricking out some Tomytec trains last night. I was watching tv and lazy so did not pull out my usual working tray and the piece of velour to drape over my lap to catch stray bits. All was well up until the point I took off one of the tiny fenders to transfer the pho coupler and I was sure I dropped it in the lid of the train box with the other parts, but when I went to put it back on it was not there… I had remembered hearing something ping on the floor when I reached for the glue in the drawer to my side at one point and figured damn it’s on the floor. I did double check he lid again and all over my clothes a couple of time. So off to 15 minutes on my hands and knees with the flashlight looking for the part all around the chair. No luck… damn it’s a painted train and painted as well so no easy replacement! Grumble, grumble, kick myself in the butt a couple of times and get back to working on the train. Well there in the lid sits the bumper… 


im blaming it on the model train gremlins.


if I had just spent a minute to set up right I would not have assumed ignoring the usual small part safety setup had caused me to loose the part when I never had lost it.



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Not so much improved rolling stock as improved rolling stock storage:




Having transferred my Kyushu DE10 into the SL Hitoyoshi case, I had a spare box and piece of black foam which has now been sliced n’ diced to create a ‘new’ box for my spare-parts special ED75-1000.


The foam was cut mostly freehand with my scalpel, and while it works and I’m happy with it, if I was to try this again I would mark out where to cut with a pen first, then guide the scalpel with a ruler.




Meanwhile the C59 restoration creeps along, one side of the cab is as good as I’ll get it, but the smoke box door and the other cab side might need further remedial work and paint touch ups. Should be fairly straightforward stuff with a bit of finishing paper and masking fluid, I have filler and paint to hand already. Then I can reassemble it and get it ready for the road!



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Most recently I decided to give Densha.me TOG2 Lighting for SL Hitoyoshi. Surprisingly for beginners (like me) it’s easy to get around the directions. The TOG2 lights work really well with SL Hitoyoshi. It is very beautiful, even for nightly runs when it’s nothing but the beige lights running on your tracks. Of course, for around $35, it was honestly a great deal. Just now, I’m unsure how to access the boiler room for the locomotive 🥲. I really don’t want to loose some more pieces or break something on accident. 

But here are the TOG2 lights in action! I just love to admire it so much. Definitely one of the best purchases I have made so far, and one of my favorite.


- ash



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Today, i had the chance / time to remove some wrong mounted couplers (TN-knuckle couplers to TN-Scharfenberg couplers) for the KiHa 261-5000 Lavender  & Hamanasu train set.






And some cars for the "sushi-train" get TN-couplers.




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Lol finally doing the same for my sushi train. With Ttrak setups every show there are quarks that will decouple a car here or there and alway fixed my flipping or moving a car, but some more positive connectors will stop the need for doing this! Won’t be quite as quick to flip on and off the layout but just more reliable!



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I did less improving and more adding items to some of my stuff. Added number plates and the working front coupler to my C11


Added the number, depot plate, signboards, vents, cab weight and GPS receiver to my last run DD51. I've enough plates and GPS to do up another DD51 as this in a plain form but I'll need another set of vents


and the red disks for the tail end koki


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Those containers I hope will get a Tomix release eventually. The Tomix red markers are a little lazy on their part as just red moulded plastic. I painted mine grey all over (silver may look better) then added a blob of diluted red paint once laid flat. The runny paint will sit in the recess and look a little more like the real thing. May need a couple of layers of red. 


Edited by Kamome
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New trams, plus new power units... equals time to get motorising. With the arrival of my first Tomytec TM-TR01 and TM-TR04 chassis, I *had* to install them into some trams:




The ‘04 was already preallocated to Hiroden 707 (it’s why I got that one in the first place) but, rather than install the ‘01 under freshly-arrived Hiroden 1901, I chose to motorise its customised sister 1907 instead. Took a little fiddling and trial and error, but the job got done and both have motorised chassis installed.




Aaand done! I learned one useful trick from doing these two - check the length against the original display chassis, it can save you altering the length unnecessarily. The securing pins take a bit of working to release, but if they do go ‘Whee!’ like all small bits like to do, at least their size makes the easy to find!


I’m also kind of disappointed that Tomytec never added a moulded coupling bar to one of 707’s lifeguards, though I suspect it was omitted to make manufacturing easier. It’s a feature that caught my attention in Hiroshima earlier this year, so have a prototype photo that shows just that:




713 and 809 parked at the entrance to Eba depot in the twilight, 14 June 2023. You can just see the coupling bar hanging on 713’s lifeguard, a feature peculiar to the 700, 800, 3500, 3700, 3800 and 3900 series trams. Very practical, and also unique anywhere in the world that I’ve seen.



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As my EF55 arrived, thought it was about time to give some love to the older 12 series JR East coaches. These are the 6 car tooling (10-557) not the recent release 7 car version (10-1720) which look to have body mounted couplers. 


My set, although the 2017 re-release, still retains the bogie mounted couplers from the original 2008 release so decided it needed a bit of refresh. Some time ago I replaced the original rapido  with Kato knuckle and brake hose couplers so you don’t really notice the intermediate coach coupler housings quite so much. The end cars are another matter and there is a very obvious gap and lack of detail between the bottom of the body and the wheels. I rectified the tail end by trimming off the coupler mount and gluing a spare body coupler mount part from a Kato 24 series blue train. I used one with an array of brake hoses and jumper plugs to add interest. It looks good to me but rivet counters may easily identify errors in accuracy. The 2 part coupler mount needed to be glued together as the clips had to be shaved off to allow it to fit flush under the coach and be glued. With hindsight, I should have used a medium shank coupler for this as the short one is a little too short. It does however look more prototypical and as it’ll be the trailing end, will be less likely coupled anyway. The coupler height is spot on thankfully. 



Top is the modified coach


The set also included some very primitive red end marker dots on the sticker sheet. These are not pre-cut so relies on a steady hand, and probably better mounted to some plasti-card. Despite my best efforts, they looked a little rough so I instead used Kato Koki tail markers. The securing hole in the rear was cut off with some fine plastic nippers and this leaves a slight U-shaped tab which gives a guide to glue to the moulded bracket details. 



Modified coach - I may yet add some painted detail to some of the hoses. 




Original with knuckle coupler.




I’m sure some will think I’m bonkers taking a paint brush to a brand new model but also gave the EF55 some minor painted details based on photos when it was running. Forward cab steps were given a white band around the step edge and the pantograph hinges painted in a red/brown colour. IMG_1825.thumb.jpeg.b817dfd524e6ef13b715e4fe0c9aaa5c.jpeg


IMG_1826.thumb.jpeg.8b7fccd4e03c964b5ac41ed576ed49e7.jpegInterestingly it’s only the leading hinges closest to the cabs that are painted. I also paint all my loco pantographs with a copper colour if the heads are  just moulded grey or black plastic. 


Edited by Kamome
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The minor and pedantic improvements continue. Having looked at a number of photos of EF58 61, there are a number of details missed on the Kato model. 


It looks like the locomotive had a touch up with lots of highlighted details when the Emperor was hosting the Belgian Prime Minister. I can’t quite make out whether these were in silver, gold or a light grey from the light shining off these parts in the photos. What is quite apparent is some of the gold banding around some of the cylinders on the sides of the loco. 


I added these in using my usual technique of enamel paint and thinner to clean up the over spill. The Tamiya metallic enamel paints actual dry quickly and the formulation of the metal flecks create a skin on the paint quickly, very different to the behaviour of the regular colours. Some of the paint needed some removal encouragement with a sharpened tooth pick, but once the shell was broken, the thinners could do it’s job. IMG_1858.thumb.jpeg.87560bb9abe9698ed496fc93830c4de1.jpeg


The hinges on the pantograph were also picked out in red and since taking photos realise the shunting footplates need painting white. Here is the JR East Takasaki Holy Trinity.IMG_1860.thumb.jpeg.f50d947bd8b2f84c8275e911e2036a91.jpeg

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It's been a couple of days since I finished this one, but I think it's still worth a post:


Having acquired a Kato C57, I've been itching to recreate C57 46's current preservation livery. And so I did...


(Reference #1)


(Reference #2)


(Reference #3)


Armed with a Gundam Marker, Tamiya gold paint and Mr.Hobby Aqueous red, I've tried to recreate most of the lining.










The only details that didn't make the final cut here is the tender wheel lining. The clearances on the model are simply too tight and paint introduced a ton of friction and just made a mess, so i removed it.


Otherwise I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I was actually surprised at how durable the driver lining turned out to be. It has already run multiple hours and as of now I haven't noticed any paint chips.

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So, this is the little blighter which got me started in N gauge, as I was in Akihabara looking for computer parts and stumbled upon a shop selling model railway stuff (Hobbyland Pochi No. 1 as I later learnt) and discovered they were selling individual cars as "junk" for low prices and I thought it might be nice to have one as a shelf decoration. Seibu because it's my local line.



Kato Seibu 101 series KuHa 1302 by Rail Squid, on Flickr


I was actually quite taken by the level of detail (bear in mind my previous model railway reference point was 1970s/1980s British OO gauge) but also had no idea that it is a fairly standard Kato product from way back, with a couple of bits missing, particularly the cab roof antenna and the directional lighting (I actually had no idea that was even a thing). Anyway that's been bugging me on and off over the years, especially as suitable light units were nowhere to be found, so as Kato re-released the Seibu 101 series a while back, I finally got round to acquiring the missing bits (14021-DG for the lighting unit, for non-motorized driving cars) and here we are. I have at some point replace the wheelsets, and also have some destination blind stickers to add, maybe in another decade or so... Anyway that's an itch finally scratched.

Edited by railsquid
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Tony Galiani

I actually managed to get a bit of modelling done these last few days!  I have been trying to do some more actual modelling lately and did some weathering on one of my Tomix Kato 107s.  Trying for a lightly weathered look on this one.  Per the prototype pictures I had, I painted one section of the handrail and the brake wheel yellow, painted the bogies medium gray and the steps white.  Then a few drops of black Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color which was quickly wiped with a tissue followed by a bit of weathering powder.  Sharp eyed viewers will note that the brake wheel is not on the model yet.  Between fat fingers and a not so great fit, it was not working.  I have a solution to place it but want to wait until I have the time to do it and not be rushed - trying to improve my work habits as rush jobs have produced poor results for me in the past - haste makes waste and all that.




Forgot to mention that I painted the faces of the wheels with rusty brown to take away the metal shine.




Edited by Tony Galiani
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One of my earlier purchases, more than 9 years ago:



Tomix 169 series "Nagano colour" by Rail Squid, on Flickr


Finally got round to adding most of the bits, which was interesting, as it's one of those models where you have to drill your own holes to add the fronty roofy bits, with the whistle in particular requiring removal of the roof section (which resulted in the light units disassembling themselves as well):



Tomix 169 series (Nagano colour) by Rail Squid, on Flickr


Need  to summon up the energy to add the numbers, but that can wait for another day. Apart from that it's ready for ad-hoc service on the Chuo Line in Tokyo in the early 2000s:





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On 2/14/2024 at 11:07 PM, railsquid said:

Need  to summon up the energy to add the numbers, but that can wait for another day.


And that day was today:



tomix-169-series-nagano-colour_92444_03 by Rail Squid, on Flickr


Probably 1mm too far to the left, but whatever.


Unfortunately the Tomix-supplied fixed number transfers didn't include any of the latter-day Mitaka formations, so I decided life and patience is too short to mess about with the optional digits they do supply, and who cares anyway.

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4 hours ago, railsquid said:

Probably 1mm too far to the left, but whatever

But squid you have all those suckers you should be able to apply stuff like this perfectly!



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Today I installed numberboards on the front center and rear of the EF64-1010. I also installed new couplers, sand hatches, antennas, and spark arrestors and didn't lose any of the details. 






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Not sure an improvement as such, but adding all the pipework and ladders to the Kato UT13C tank-tainers. 


There are 4 pipes and 2 ladders per container. Found it easier to dismantle to get the pipes on as they fit inside the support frame. 


Feels a bit more like assembly line work than modelling but I was also adding red paint to the tap handles. 




Edited by Kamome
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I tried the first time the HKTILC lighting kit for Tomix (narrow with anti-flicker capacitors). It was very easy to install the kit into a MicroAce KiHa59.

*the bag left is for spring etc.



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@cteno4 it works fine without flickering. The brightness fluctuates a bit, when all tires and rails aren´t clean. I think, I switch to the DX-type with battery for the next object.



Edited by lighthouse
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