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Japanese Model Railroading - Basic guide for beginners


disturbman

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Sheffield, amazon jp is a separate account, so sign up again. For Convenience sakes I used the same email and password as for US Amazon. 

No reason to get JP prime as it gives no real benefit for the $40 annual to non Japan located users. 

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Sadly the variety of Japanese trains means manufacturers can’t keep everything in production and stock. Mainly you have to watch what comes out and get stuff while it’s available. Some stick around for a while, so it can fool you.

 

its sucks when you see an model out of stock everywhere and want it. There is yahoo.jp auctions that have most everything out there but requires you use a bidding agent outside japan so adds like 25-30% onto the price. Popondetta is another option is they have some used stock from their stores on their site and they sell internationally, but site is all in Japanese so you have use a translator to work thru the site.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Amazon JP has been my source for Tomix TN Couplers and shipping is both cheap and fast.  I notice the Ami Ami is an Amazon JP seller so might as well go directly to their site.  I've bought a few trains but more often than not, they won't ship to the US so it's a little disappointing finding a good deal but only shipping within Japan.

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13 hours ago, cteno4 said:

Sadly the variety of Japanese trains means manufacturers can’t keep everything in production and stock.

 

And here I was thinking they were just trying to mess with me. 😂 

 

Another thing to keep in mind as a beginner is that there are usually various releases of the same item. I think it helps to understand the product numbers and release information when shopping for a loco. Sometimes picking an older release could cost less, sometimes the latest model could cost less but always good to explore options. Also this comes into play some with DCC and conversion guides you find online.

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Since 2007, my experience has been that most issues go out of stock within 6-12 months of release--if not sooner. Many times you have to pre-reserve to be sure of getting a high demand item.  Part of this is the distribution system in Japan.  Warehousing is rare because of high land costs and lack of available space.  New issues tend to be reservations plus dealer stock and when that is gone you wait for the next run.

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This is nothing do to with the cost of land (which outside urban areas is not all that expensive), I'm sure if Kato or Tomix wanted to build a massive warehouse to store stock they could do so quite cheaply in northern Saitama or Gunma or Ibaraki or somewhere.

 

The reason companies don't produce enough stock so supply is available for years at a time is partly they only have so much production capacity and so many different types of train to produce (hence batch production), partly because no sane company is going to want to hold vast amounts of stock sitting on their books which will not turned into revenue while incurring storage costs (and bearing risks such as unexpected future market changes, losses through natural disaster etc.). The British market seems to work in much the same way.

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Also isn’t dealing with inventory a pain in japan with taxes and paperwork? I seem to remember it was rather involved. In the old days here in the states dealing with inventory paperwork was a nightmare, it’s been simplified a lot. I made a good chunk of change every year as my best friend’s family owned an auto garage and Mark and I use to have to inventory all the spare parts once a year! This was pre pc and barcodes so even more of a poa!

 

i agree the huge variety of Japanese model trains would be impossible to keep inventories of all or new production done as soon as inventory is gone. I doubt they could recoup a fraction of the investment needed to do this as they already probably max out the train spending budgets. For this to work they would need to sell a whole lot more trains total with a wider in stock inventory.

 

also in general inventory usually depreciates, the longer it sits the more that can go bad/wrong and the rule of thumb, the less likely to sell. It costs to just store it as well.

 

Jeff

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On 8/10/2019 at 8:29 PM, Onizukachan said:

Sheffield, amazon jp is a separate account, so sign up again. For Convenience sakes I used the same email and password as for US Amazon. 

No reason to get JP prime as it gives no real benefit for the $40 annual to non Japan located users. 

 

While Amazon JP is a separate account, when I first did mine I was able to login using the US account info and it created a new account based on the US one IIRC.  Also, the same thing happened when I went to Amazon Germany 

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The Birmingham train spotter

hi all I'm new to this Website I'm interested in buying and using N gauge Japanese railway stuff. What is the best Starter locomotive in N gauge 

thanks for any info and advice 

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disturbman

Depends what you are looking for, if you are looking to buy a starter set, with track and a power pack, or just a train or a locomotive.

 

In Japanese N gauge there is not really a “best”. All major manufacturers are on the same level of quality and details, the difference is price and availability. Kato and Unitrack will be easy to source in the UK though perhaps as a markup compared to importing yourself. The others would be easier to import. Kato and Tomix are usually the ones considered to be more “beginner-friendly” brands compared to MicroAce and Greenmax, as they are cheaper, sell parts and produce less niche rolling-stock.

 

As noted, you don’t need Japanese tracks or power packs to run Japanese trains, though the constant lightning some of there power packs offer can be nice to have. Personally I find Tomix Finetrack nicer than Unitrack.

 

I would mostly recommend that you browse Hobby Search and find something that you fancy. We can help you more niece we know what you are lookin for in more specific details.

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The Birmingham train spotter

Thank you for a Locomotive i was looking for a good N Gauge ef66 or ef60 

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The Birmingham train spotter

Again thank you very much

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21 minutes ago, The Birmingham train spotter said:

hi all I'm new to this Website I'm interested in buying and using N gauge Japanese railway stuff. What is the best Starter locomotive in N gauge 

thanks for any info and advice 

Wow! That’s a pretty big question to answer due to the horrendously large representation of Japanese trains in model form. 

 

If you’re looking at loco hauled stock, and from your avatar, you like JRF so perhaps start with something along those lines. The EF66 or a more modern loco will have very similar features in terms of mechanism

 

In the UK, it is much easier to obtain Kato products than it is Tomix from UK retailers but if you’re planning to ship from Japan, it doesn’t really matter. 

 

I particularly like Kato due to its robust design and availability of spares should you break something. Their track is extremely limited but Tomix fine track is not stocked in any UK retailers I came across so would need to be shipped from Japan. 

 

Pretty much all locos have working headlights but not tail-lights. Most, if not all, require some parts to be added to finish the model. Loco numbers, hand rails, horns etc..

 

Have a look at Train Trax website if you plan to pick up something new from Kato in the UK.

 

I wouldn’t say anything is off the table but the steam engines are a little more delicate than the boxy diesels or electrics and, in Japan anyway, about twice as expensive. 

 

Here are a few JRF ideas. If you don’t have anything at all yet, track etc.. then a starter set may be the way to go. The EF210 in the middle is from a starter set. It runs very nicely but lacks some of the very minor details on the regular model.D5BEE67F-ADBE-444A-99C5-AA3E07B92BEA.thumb.jpeg.34a94a81b5b5b8c920a956d5377f160b.jpeg

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The Birmingham train spotter

thank you for the info the EF210 is very tempting 

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Jaco3011
5 hours ago, The Birmingham train spotter said:

hi all I'm new to this Website I'm interested in buying and using N gauge Japanese railway stuff. What is the best Starter locomotive in N gauge 

thanks for any info and advice 

 

 

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One option is the kato and tomix starter sets.  Like other's have said, hobby search is one of the best places to browse for trains, and then you can see who has the best price for them from other stores once you find ones you like

 

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/list/1646/0/1

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/list/1647/0/1

 

While Tomix trains are very nice, their track system is not carried outside of japan so I'd recommend going with Kato track for the ease of expanding later on.  Tomix trains will run fine on the kato system.

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There are a number of factors that come into play and much of it is based on personal preference. When I first started I purchased both Tomix and Kato

trains to evaluate them myself. After seeing them personally I went with Kato because the detail was a bit more refined than Tomix.

 

For some the detail does not make a difference but I pay attention to detail. Kato has better reproduction detail

as you can see below. It still depends on what your eye sees.

 

image.thumb.png.1969281ae7296b6f1e558ae15e25d2e6.png

 

When it comes to track Tomix has a better turn key solution for some track sets.

 

This is a turn key yard set.

 

91016_a.jpg

 

Basic Yardset

 

image.thumb.png.fdc1129fbceb2f78208139b49f5a89f1.png

 

 

This is Kato's yardset. Kato does not have a turnkey yard

 

image.png.0a8c4badd99d3946dd0b1993f6e0ec04.png

 

There is a trade off for each you just have to match it to your modeling preference as well as the supply chain.

 

Inobu

 

 

 

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The good news is it’s really hard to go very wrong! 

 

jeff

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MeTheSwede
21 hours ago, Kiha66 said:

While Tomix trains are very nice, their track system is not carried outside of japan so I'd recommend going with Kato track for the ease of expanding later on. 

 

I feel as a Tomix Finetrack user I must state my disagreement to this statement. I've never felt it would have been particulary useful for me to buy track from a European seller. I'm buying other stuff from Japan, so why not just buy track from Japan at the same time? Taking a quick look at Kato Unitrack prices, buying from Amazon Japan looks cheaper than buying from Amazon Germany anyway.

 

On the other hand Tomix Finetrack has a lot more track pieces to chose from, which might be quite important if expanding later.

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bill937ca
22 hours ago, Kiha66 said:

While Tomix trains are very nice, their track system is not carried outside of japan so I'd recommend going with Kato track for the ease of expanding later on.  Tomix trains will run fine on the kato system.

 

Kato works fine if you only are modeling North American railways. It was decades before Kato had a y switch inspite of these switches being very common on the JR system. Kato focuses on ovals, whereas Tomix expands the universe allowing much more creative layouts.  

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On 8/1/2021 at 10:27 PM, Kiha66 said:

While Tomix trains are very nice, their track system is not carried outside of japan so I'd recommend going with Kato track for the ease of expanding later on.  Tomix trains will run fine on the kato system.

 

DM-Toys in Germany sells Tomix Tracks (and Sets). Also Faller is distributing Tomix Tracks in Germany (and other European Countries).

Edited by Steve
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