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HO E4 Max


Bob Martin

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Bob Martin

What makes this so eye watering expensive?  $6,000 for 8 car configuration!!  I’m guessing it’s hand made of brass, as this shop (KTM) seems to specialize in brass soldered trains. They have soldering/assembly classes as well.

 

 

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Edited by Bob Martin
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Martijn Meerts

Yep, these will be hand built and hand-painted in-house based off of some etched and partially pre-formed brass parts. Probably not very many are made either, because it's quite a lot of work assembling and painting these.

 

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jappomania
10 hours ago, Bob Martin said:

... seems...

 

Hi Bob!


"seems" sound a little bit strange 😋

KTM (Katsumi) and Mr.Endo probably are the oldest companies still active in japanese train market, you can find his products on pre-1970 Japan Railfan magazine and others oldest magazines, both specialized in hand made brass models (Endo also mixed injected plastic with brass)

 

ciao!

Massimo

 

 

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KTM or Katsumi (to not confuse them with the motorcycle manufacturer) were my first exposure to Japan model railways at their store in Yokohama many years ago. Having been raised with 00 gauge models and knowing the popularity of HO gauge in Europe, I thought that HO was the mainstream and was shortly put off getting back into the hobby by the sheer cost of these models. I was unknowing that these were brass at the time, or the popularity and palatable costs of N gauge trains, which thankfully I later discovered.  

 

If you have a look on Youtube on the work involved putting these models together, the painting process, wiring, lighting, painted interiors etc.. you can start to understand where the money is going. Essentially you are paying for something made by hand in Japan, with a very limited run. These models are also presented very beautifully and are marketed to those in the hobby who are happy to drop the money that could buy a brand new entry-level compact car on a model train.

 

My view is that modern streamlined vehicles such as this could just be as easily realized in plastic model form but the models of intricately detailed older classes of train are exquisite. I'm certainly not in the bracket of people who could justify paying this much for their trains but I do know a few gents at running days who only buy brass, either kit form or RTR. Some models I look at with envy and others I feel the material doesn't do them any extra justice. All run beautifully, look heavy and handle more like the real thing with that distinct rail clatter and no body wobble that you get with some plastic models. Understandably, these gents have 5 or 6 treasured trains in there collection whereas the plastic model collectors usually bring trunk loads of stuff. Each to their own.

 

Also have a look at Endo, Tenshodo diecast and brass and Musashino models.  All have some outstanding models but with prices to reflect the high quality and detail.

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Martijn Meerts

If I had the space, that 0 series would've been very tempting to be honest 🙂

 

For the relatively smaller companies, it's likely just too much of a risk to do plastic models. The major hurdle here is the cost of the injection moulding tooling. Making those moulds is incredibly expensive. They would have to sell a lot of trains to break even, at a price that most people would probably not pay for plastic trains.

 

As for brass models, I have several brass kits in both N and H0j / H0 1067, from World Kougei, IMON, Toma Model Works and Modellwagen Spezialkräfte. My first few kits I ruined because I just had no experience building them, but after those I've been getting better at them. I enjoy building them for the most part, and by now I know how much effort goes into them, so I can see why pre-built ones are so expensive. However, if I weren't interested in building the kits myself, I wouldn't go for brass.

 

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Modellbahn JP

Sorry for disturbing.

 

My German customer bought KTM E4 Max (New livery) from me last month.

It's so impressive model because it's made by hand made brass model.

 

And I heard the stuff of KTM head office that thery're aiming to release series 0 Shinkansen in December 2023.

 

IMG_4462.JPG

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Need for High Speed
On 11/14/2022 at 10:31 PM, Bob Martin said:

What makes this so eye watering expensive?

I feel ye man I would love to have the new E1 MAX shinkansen in HO that Endo is producing but again they are hand built brass models and will easily cost you around 6 grand or more. An entire 16 car Brass shinkansen is likely over 10 grand. Total insanity. But the HO market in Japan is not that large and the HO brass market is even smaller, not many Japanese have the money to pay for these brass models. 

 

The Japanese seem to have a stigma against HO plastic. I understand they have smaller apartments and smaller houses and HO is quite large to some of them. But the price of Japanese plastic HO especially for locomotives is insanely high. I bought an EF-66 100 engine from Tomix and the cheapest one they had costed me like 290 dollars in total. I have to glue all the handrails on then figure out how to rewire this thing to run on DCC. Nothing I can't do myself I've installed DCC into many trains but for a 200+ loco I'd expect at least the handrails to be glued on when I take it out of the box. But again this is from the perspective of an American. I am a little disappointed by this but on the other hand its an engine no one else I know has.

 

On 11/15/2022 at 8:55 PM, Kamome said:

My view is that modern streamlined vehicles such as this could just be as easily realized in plastic model form but the models of intricately detailed older classes of train are exquisite. I'm certainly not in the bracket of people who could justify paying this much for their trains but I do know a few gents at running days who only buy brass, either kit form or RTR. Some models I look at with envy and others I feel the material doesn't do them any extra justice. All run beautifully, look heavy and handle more like the real thing with that distinct rail clatter and no body wobble that you get with some plastic models. Understandably, these gents have 5 or 6 treasured trains in there collection whereas the plastic model collectors usually bring trunk loads of stuff. Each to their own.

I wholehartedly agree with you on this Kamome. I still can't believe anyone would pay so much for a single train. For the price of 1 Brass shinkansen I could get like 10 models of European high speed trains. For sure I'd rather show up with 10 high speed trains and dominate than just have one crazy expensive train even though 10 is a lot more stuff to carry around. Although my 4 shinkansens below are fairly dominating on club layouts when my friends and I get together.

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Only 4 types of shinkansen exist as plastic models and the 500 series and DR Yellow are almost impossible to find. Combined these still cost less than one 8 car brass shinkansen.

 

Brass on sleek modern shinkansen and other sleker trains doesn't make any logical sense. The models would work better in plastic and be much more affordible so more people would be able to buy them making up for the higher cost of the mould. Endo made the Dr Yellow in Plastic and they were sold out on the preorders so they incresed the production number slightly. Yes you have to spend all this money on a mold but now you can mass produce more of them thus each unit is over all cheaper and larger numbers of people in the average middle class can buy them. It works for N scale and works for HO in the West.  Besides, the Shinkansen is what most of the foreigners visiting Japan want to buy anyway, it seems, and they often are more interested in HO. If Tomix and Kato had made more shinkansens in plastic, I guesstimate it would've been about a grand or so per shinkansen set and I'd have bought like 8 of them by now and not have bought as many European ones. lol Quantity over Quality if you wish. This is possible in N scale but for HO it's just not possible if you want shinkansen. 

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Certainly not wanting to disagree as I also hope more plastic HO choices are produced, bringing down the cost. 

 

I don’t see many Shinkansens in HO at various running events here in Japan so I’m not convinced there’s enough interest from modellers to collect HO shinkansen in Japan, despite the popularity of the Dr. Yellow, sadly. Tomix haven’t released any to date which as the largest business could easily offset some of the set up cost through other business opportunities.

Perhaps space is the main sticking point as most trains are 2+ metres long and doing them any justice requires some nice elevated track with sweeping curves. Saying that, I do see some pretty long blue trains, but there is an advantage to having loco hauled stock in HO as you can replicate coupling and uncoupling movements more effectively than N. Fixed unit shinkansen movements can be just as easily replicated in N scale as the main feature is to see the entire train snake through a scene at high speed. I’m not sure an increase in scale would offer much advantage when taking into account the additional cost. 

 

Kato have only run the E5 once in the last 10 years (2013) which has been one of the lower cost options. The SRS 0 series from Zoukei Mura is still available from Volks stores although not sure how readily available the coach options are to make up a longer consist. 

 

Never say never though and perhaps it just needs more options to interest people in having a shinkansen. If Kato released an E6, people would also want an E5, for example. 

 

Japan can also be a bit stuck in its ways with these things. These things are only made in brass because they’ve always been made in brass, so to speak. Changes can be quite slow across the board here so it just needs a few more pioneers. If Endo do another, or Kato try another idea, or if Tomix bite the bullet, who knows.

 

I wonder what the ROI was for these companies on these projects. Was it beneficial or a bit of a risk? 

 

SRS is made in China as is Endo, with a lot of Tomix HO made in South Korea and Kato priding itself as made in Japan. 

 

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Need for High Speed
8 hours ago, Kamome said:

I wonder what the ROI was for these companies on these projects. Was it beneficial or a bit of a risk? 

 

That I would not be able to answer.

In the united states atleast many of these model train manufacturers from Bachmann to Rapido are small private companies that are not traded on the public stock market. This is a good thing because no one can buy all the stock and force them to make what they want and sink the company. But it also means that if your researching their financial success its almost impossible. I do know that its typically in the hundreds of thousands to make new tooling for new trains. Especially now adays when many of these models are fully detailed and have hundreds of parts each and are pre painted with all emblems pre printed.

 

For example my 4 SEPTA commuter Comet coaches from Rapido have almost 200 parts on each of them. I can hardly imagine how tedious it is to put them together and why they cost 85 a pop. Compare that to the comet cars from Walthers in the 90s that were sold as kits costed like 10 bucks or whatever and were like 10 pieces at most. Yeah the detailing especially in the under belly was hardly existent and Walther's hexagonal wheels roll poorly and yet people are paying almost a hundred dollars for these things on ebay for some old trashy low detailed coach no one hardly batted an eye at 20 years ago I guess. The high detailing of the modern Rapido cars are nice and all but how often am I looking underneath it when its on a layout.

 

Now back to the shinkansen. The Dr yellow is one of the more complicated ones to make as each of its cars is unique and has a different interiors in each. The pantograph areas are fairly large and complex compared to normal shinkansen. Had Endo just produced a plain simple 700 series train the overall build would be far more simple.  Endo's plastic model has full interior lighting, directional head and tail lights, and a small spotlight that shines on the pantographs like the real ones do. This is very nice, although I had to tare the thing apart to get DCC into it. Which is annoying. Still... Endo likely had to have 6-7 sets of molds for each car of the train and must have been expensive. It costed me about 900 or so dollars for this 7 car train, that's less than a 6th of the cost of an 8 car shinkansen in brass. Yet, Endo was sold out! Compare that to a high end American train models in HO that typically range from around 80 to over a hundred per car. A recent 5 car Rapido Turbotrain set is about 600 dollars DCC/sound and all, on Trainworld while the Bachmann avelia Acela 2 DCC ready train set that will be out late next year is about a grand for the full 11 car set which is a bit pricey for Bachmann. 

 

The good thing about the shinkansen is that it is smooth and not a lot of grab irons, hoses, and cables hanging out, it's all hidden away in cabinets in the under body which cuts down the number of over all parts for a model. They can also go the Kato rout and not bother with interior lights and sell light kits on the side. Tomix and Kato already have the tooling in N scale so just enlarging it isn't the most complicated thing in the world. Then once you have the drive tooling completed for one train set they can just reuse it for all the others like they do in N scale shinkansen models. Compared to steam locos and other locos the shinkansen is actually properly gauged on HO track and has less detail parts because its almost all casted in the mold. I dont think it's complexity or cost holding the manufacturers back I think its their own mind set.

 

8 hours ago, Kamome said:

If Kato released an E6, people would also want an E5, for example. 

Kato released the E5 in HO and people wanted an E6 and Kato never made it. It's like we make one half of a train then wait a decade then make the next half if we feel like it. Makes no sense. 

 

Edited by Need for High Speed
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