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Cold Weather Variants

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Ok, so I’m falling down the KiHa DMU rabbit hole and since my primary interest is Hokkaido, I’m running into the issue of “cold weather variants.”


So...I understand that the cold weather variants had differences like double-sided windows. The KiHa 56 was a variant of the 58; the KiHa 22 was a variant of the 20. Beyond the windows, I’m not clear on what the differences are.


In regards to N scale models, what are the visual differences between the regular model and a variant? Could I easily fake a KiHa 22 with a 20, or are there enough visual differences that I might as well get the 22?

Edited by Szdfan
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bikkuri bahn

You choose the model that ran in the region you want to depict, if prototypical operation is your goal.  As far as physical differences, in addition to window size and being double sided, there are internal arrangements, such as vestibules (to keep out the cold and snow), and lack of double leaf doors.  Also, ducts/louvers underneath were typically shielded more than warm region models to keep out snow, especially important in Hokkaido as the snow is a fine powder that can get into electrical equipment and cause all sorts of problems. 

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The difference in window size between the Hokkaido variants and the warmer climates variants makes it impossible to fake a cold weather variant. The difference is too obvious. Just look at a KiHa 40-100/300/700/1700 compared to a KiHa 40-500 or 40-2000. Or a 711 series compared to a 113 or 115 series.

Edited by disturbman
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