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Tokyo Diorama Factory - "Paper" Kits


disturbman

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disturbman

Tokyo Diorama Factory (TDF) produces "paper" kits similar to Sankei, pre-lasercut chipboard, and has a growing catalogue of contemporary structures. Their catalogue has expanded nicely since I started visiting their websites a few months ago.

https://tokyodioramafactory.stores.jp/

 

Main difficulty is that so far retailers do not stock their products and you need to order via RailGallery Rokko or ModelTrainPlus using their personal shopper services. It might be possible to order via ZenMarket as well but I have not tried.

Edited by disturbman
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disturbman

I built my first kit today. Material wise, the quality seems on par to Sankei's. This is durable and quality chipboard. My impression is that the printing is simpler, but I started with a contemporary house and these are usually featureless. The comparison with Sankei's kits which focuses on older buildings, wood and brick, is then hard to make with certainty.

Content of the kit:

IMG_6853.thumb.JPG.a11f5ef88be5d85c06f96b563570cdd1.JPG

 

IMG_6855.thumb.JPG.01b20ed947c1d32ca67a8902dc7bba22.JPG

 

I noted at least two main difference, if Sankei makes you laminate the walls (glass-interior wall-exterior wall-window frame) before fitting to the base and building the structure of the building, TDF makes you laminate the exterior wall after putting the inner structure of the kit together.

IMG_6854.thumb.JPG.e99da3ea0aefaaae38f79f61253c495e.JPG

 

Lining up the details, the exterior wall are made of two pieces, was easier than anticipated. I used the tip of the exacto knife to place the thin bottom piece and used its handle to press it against the inner wall. A burnisher tool could have been useful. I was happy to have magnetic corners to hold the press the exterior walls against the interior ones.

IMG_0651.thumb.JPG.aa775ddec99afbc45e800a718b36d207.JPG

 

IMG_0652.thumb.JPG.f0cf641a95fa274966e6f5cbb4eeeff3.JPG

I did a coupler of errors while building the kit, notably inverted two walls which means some of the pre-made holes on the base didn't match the door configuration. I could have swap the walls again but couldn't get bothered risking to destroy the walls, as I was not sure how well the glue had set. I also, I believe, fitted the frames the wrong way, as one side is perfectly white and the other has a slight brown discoloration/hue where the laser cut the board.

IMG_0653.thumb.JPG.d0167591c7c97284af6e4cdc41998c5d.JPG

What I appreciated with this kit, is that the smaller details (like the roofed structure above the entrance door) are very easy to fit. Much easier than Sankei's. The holes are bigger and the details easier to handle.

For comparison, next to two different Sankei kits:

IMG_0654.thumb.JPG.b4b457a2edfd00883ee58b8fdbd230be.JPG

 

IMG_0655.thumb.JPG.77857f400ef493e0bd5c3e0efeee6c11.JPG

For reference, for those afraid these kits would not hold in the long term, I built the house in the middle in 2009/2010. These kits are very stable in Berlin's weather.

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Thanks very much for the review! Looks to be a good addition to building selection.

 

so is their laserboard colored all the way thru or did you touch up the edges with a marker? How does their laserboard feel for stiffness and hardness compared to sankei’s?

 

my sankeis have lasted about the same amount of time here, we get pretty big swings in humidity (the higher ones are muted due to the ac’s dehumidifier some). Only thing I’ve ever added anything to was one larger roof section I thought might sag given enough time as it wasn’t really supported on the middle at all. Most of their kits have internal walls supporting the roofs at a number of places.

 

cheers,

 

jeff

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JR 500系

Thank you for the excellent review! Great skills there by the way on the completed house!

 

I love their buildings, but really, i dont have the estate space for them... wished someone invented floating buildings on the layout  😛

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disturbman
6 hours ago, cteno4 said:

so is their laserboard colored all the way thru or did you touch up the edges with a marker? How does their laserboard feel for stiffness and hardness compared to sankei’s?


The board feels similar to Sankei in stiffness and hardness. My only question about durability is the bond between interior and exterior wall. With Sankei kits I would just let the walls dry sandwiched and press down between two pieces of blotting paper and wood, here, I didn't let the glue fully glue before moving on as I couldn't really let everything on the table for another day. I'll take more time with the next.

I have trouble deciding on the color, if it's indeed only colored on the outside or if the slight difference in color is due to the laser. The difference is subtle, notably on the green, more like a hue of the exterior color of the board rather than completely different color. There are no differences between the exterior surface and the edge on the browns and reds. I didn't do any touch-ups, I wanted to see how the kit felt finished. The edges are noticeably but not to the point of being distracting. It mostly accentuates the corners of the house.

I'll report more on this when I do the second kit. I might try touching up the corners as the house is supposedly white.
 

1 hour ago, JR 500系 said:

Great skills there by the way on the completed house! I love their buildings, but really, i dont have the estate space for them... wished someone invented floating buildings on the layout


Thanks, it's far from perfect. I rushed a bit on this one. Well, I think you would have a easy way to add floating buildings on your layout. Just place them on the glass panel above it.

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14 hours ago, disturbman said:

I was happy to have magnetic corners


I never saw one of these o.O Where did you get them?

Otherwise, great job. Seems this Forum will not cease to tempt me to build "something" finally XD

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disturbman

eBay, search for "model magnetic clamps" or "Magnet Klemmen". There are a few different models. I chose the smallest available, 2.7cm. these are 3D-printed and seems to do the trick.

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There was a company in Greece or turkey selling them on ebay at reasonable prices.

 

there was a small company selling some really great tiny ones (like 1” on a side) but they have been oos for a year now most all places. Micromark also has a set of smaller ones.

 

a lot of the time with the sankei and especially papercraft I find the magnetic corner clamps a bit hard to work with at times as they suck in hard and as they do can slide things some. Just requires fiddling with final fit once clamps are in place and they don’t like to be fiddled with once locked in.

 

for sankei I like using alligator hair clips that you can bend to parallels that are 2 or 3 layers of sankei laserboard thick. Just enough pressure to hold stuff together well and in place but not enough pressure to move/slide stuff. Easy to fiddle with.

 

https://jnsforum.com/community/topic/6483-simple-clips/

 

I also made corner clamps out of them by epoxying them to a small block of wood.

 

https://jnsforum.com/community/topic/6573-i-so-want-this-but-the-price/page/3/?tab=comments#comment-75178

 

jeff

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disturbman
19 hours ago, cteno4 said:

a lot of the time with the sankei and especially papercraft I find the magnetic corner clamps a bit hard to work with at times as they suck in hard and as they do can slide things some.


Didn't had any trouble with these. The magnets are neodymium but are also small. I was able to move them around without destroying or moving anything. The biggest annoyance was the lack of clearance inside the kit.

 

To protect the details, it would be possible to lay a piece of carboard/paper between the magnets and the surface of the kit. Very similar to how I usually press the layers together on Sankei kits.

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Currently on a ZenMarket shopping spree, stocking up on items in the warehouse to consolidate shipping; was browsing the N scale structures on YAJ and spotted these Tokyo Diorama Factory kits.  Looks like they might be offered by the company itself, seems like everything is listed and the opening bid is the retail price.
 
But it's easy to do direct purchases through ZenMarket too.  Just enter the URL for the item and the quantity you want to buy.  I added a note with each order that it was '1 of 3 items I wanted to purchase' to help make sure ZM bought them all together.
 
Roxanne & I checked out the line, and these kits caught our eyes: a fun detached house, a cram school, and a small customer parking lot.  ZM charged their usual item fee of 300¥ for each different item.  As a single combined order though, it's just the TDF flat rate for shipping within Japan = 250¥ for the lot.

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