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CaptOblivious

So you want to try Tomix FineTrack?

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CaptOblivious

This thread is for those who are considering using Tomix FineTrack, but are befuddled about what it's like, how it works, etc. Thanks to kuletungeb for starting this conversation. I know I totally confused when I started. Post to this thread if you have questions about FineTrack, or you happen to know how a particular piece or pieces are meant to be or can be used.

 

First point: N-guage track is N-guage track is N-guage track. Which is to say that your Kato models will run fine on Tomix track, and Tomix models will run fine on Kato track. Tomix is code 80 track.

 

I'll open by talking about the box sets, the most likely option for the beginner and those who will be doing the layout-on-the-apartment-floor-but-just-for-the-weekend thing (like me!).

 

Tomix box sets contain one or more patterns of track. I list below all the current patterns, and what they do. Note that all but the "A" pattern are available as individual boxes (indeed, that's the only way to get most of them).

  • A Basic oval. Includes 12 pieces of 30º 280mm radius curves (in Tomix nomenclature, 12 pieces of c280-30), 3 pieces of 280mm straight (3*s280) and 2 pieces of s140 (140mm = 20 scale meters = length of standard commuter train car).
  • B Basic siding. Includes two 541mm turnouts (about a no. 5 maybe?) and pieces to widen the siding enough to put a station platform between the two tracks. Available with manual points or electric points (you can buy the motor separately to electrify the manual points if you like, but it's more expensive to do so) (link and link)
  • C Viaduct and overpass set. Extends the oval to make a figure-8 that passes over itself. (link)
  • D Double-track set. Extends the oval to make it a double-track oval. Includes a double-crossover. (link)
  • E Curved-turnout set. Extend the oval to add a siding, like "B", but curved. (link)
  • X 90º crossing. Makes the oval into a figure-8 that intersects itself at a 90º grade crossing. (link)
  • XR/XL Similar to "X", but uses 30º crossings (XR has a right crossing, XL has a left) to make a sort of figure-8 twisted in on itself. (link and link)
  • Y Includes two 280mm radius wye turnouts to make a siding or station, like the "B" set. (link)

 

And these are the starter sets, which all have at least track to make "A" pattern (an oval) and a transformer:

  • SD Includes "A" pattern, throttle, and train. Available with Yamanote Line, 500-series shinkansen, and others. (link)
  • LT Very basic set. Includes "A" pattern and throttle (link)
  • NR Includes "A" and "B" (electric) patterns and throttle (link)
  • DX Includes "A", "B" (electric) and "C" patterns, a model suburban station and throttle (link)

 

I'll be posting a scan from the Tomix booklet soon. It contains a lot of sample configurations using various combinations of the sets above.

 

Finally, there a few double-track viaduct sets. These are all available with track with wooden ties or concrete slabs, but of course, all models will run just fine on all track.

  • HA Includes a basic oval of double track. No throttle. (link)
  • HB An oval of double track that transitions from ground-level to viaduct. Includes a bridge. No throttle. (link)
  • HC Shinkansen-style double-track station. I have this model, and it's really cool, but I don't think it's quite as nice as Kato's version of the same. Of course, you can use it with other kinds of trains too! (link)

 

 

(The links to Bigman are not an endorsement, but because they have the best pictures of the products)

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kuletungeb

Wow awsome informative topic! Thanks a lot this has helped me out perfectly! I really want the DX ;D. If it possible to link kato stations to tomix finetrack btw?

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CaptOblivious

Wow awsome informative topic! Thanks a lot this has helped me out perfectly! I really want the DX ;D. If it possible to link kato stations to tomix finetrack btw?

 

Thanks! That's why were here.  ;D

 

The Kato platforms will fit only if you are handy with scratchbuilding techniques. Tomix stations are designed to sit between tracks with centers 55.5mm apart. Kato stations are designed to sit between tracks with centers...I forget, a different distance apart. Further apart, I think, so Kato platforms are wider than would fit Tomix track. This of course only applies to island platforms; wing platforms, or whatever they're called, that sit outside the track will fit regardless.

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kuletungeb

Could you reccomend me some tomix urban stations. I can't find any decent pictures for them.

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CaptOblivious

The Tomix 4009 island platform is the standard (and 4010 is an extension). But of course, the platform is only part of the story. I only have the elevated station (Pattern "HC", which uses the 4009 platform, BTW), and it's nice but not great. Does anyone else have experiences with Tomix station models?

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Martijn Meerts

I don't have a station model from Tomix (I do have a few of the elevated station bits on order for a diorama though), but I have the 2-stall engine shed. While it's fine quality wise, it looks REALLY plastic. Definately needs lots and lots of weathering, possible even a completely new paint job. I expect the platforms to have the same "problem".

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kuletungeb

Recon i should get a kato one then?

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Martijn Meerts

I think Kato has the same problem. All the pre-made kits look very plastic, so you likely need to weather them.

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CaptOblivious

The Fancy Starter sets (my term, not theirs) are the SD, EX and DX. The SD includes a train (varies from month to month what the offerings are). The EX and DX include a station and platform. All include a throttle. The images are scans from the Tomix Basic Manual which is included in all FineTrack box sets.

SD.gif

EX.gif

DX.gif

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CaptOblivious

The Basic Starter sets (my term, not theirs) are the LT and NR. Both include a throttle and track, but no trains or structures.

LT.gif

NR.gif

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CaptOblivious

These sets contain patterns "B", "C", "D" or "E". I don't have pages on "X", "XR", "XL" or "Y" unfortunately. Maybe someone else does?

B.gif

C.gif

D.gif

E.gif

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CaptOblivious

So, all these patterns…how do they fit together? Tomix offers some suggestions. Each of these uses every bit of track that comes with each pattern, so nothing is wasted. All are pretty small, too, in the terms of taking up apartment floor space. I've regularly built A+B+C, and it takes up about half the floor space of one of my rooms, which isn't a whole lot for a couple of days. The rectangles under the plans are the same size as the layout board that Tomix sells.

Steps123.gif

Steps456.gif

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CaptOblivious

You may have missed some of my earlier posts, since I put about 5 up at once. Consider scrolling to the top and reading the thread through.  ;D

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hbr245b

I received the Tomix catalogue last week - FineTrack certainly looks interesting especially the three way points and the curved points.

 

Is there a source for FineTrack in the USA? EMS shipping costs could be very expensive from Hobby Search shop (I think they only ship overseas via EMS)!

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CaptOblivious

Mokei Imports, here in good old St Louis is the only US importer of Tomix FineTrack. He (it's a one-man operation) doesn't advertise much (sometimes you see ads for just the curved turnouts in American train magazines). I've chatted with him briefly, as he lives just down the block from my old place, and he doesn't usually order for individuals, but encourages you to place your order through your local shop.

 

Needless to say, this is incredibly expensive. My local shop stocks Mokei-imported Greenmax and Tomix structures, and the prices are nearly twice what I'd pay to import it myself. In the US, that's the only game.

 

That said, I just looked at his website (http://mokei-imports.com/) and the prices listed don't look so bad. I say, give him a call and compare for yourself.

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Martijn Meerts

turnouts are also being re-released in an updated version. Not sure exactly what they're updating on them, but they should look a bit better and be more reliable from what I've heard.

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Bernard

hbr245b--Mokei imports is worth a try.

 

Hobby Search has a members points system. For every purchase you get points that can be applied as a discount to your next purchase. This might compensate for the EMS shipping.

 

Also you can try Brooklyn Locomotive works in New Jersey. They have some Tomix products listed but I didn't see any fine track, but it might be worth  call. Here is their link:

http://www.blwnscale.com/Tomix%20Locomotives.htm

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Guest ___

I never gave any real thought to using Tomix for track. How is it compared to the Unitrack system? Or better put, what are the benefits to suing this system over Kato's?

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CaptOblivious

The advantages over Unitrack are this: Greater flexibility. Tomix makes a much wider array of pieces. Quality is right on par with Kato track; so is price. Availability is the shortcoming: You have to import it yourself from Japan (not as hard as it seems! See other posts above). Personally, I like the narrower, slightly lower profile of the Tomix track, seems lees toy-like.

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Guest ___

I'm trying to find more info on the Tomix, as so far as their track system, but seem to be batting a 0 on it.

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CaptOblivious

There's not much out there; I can dig out a couple of other links and maybe post some pictures, but the posts I've made above are pretty much definitive for the English-speaking internet...do you have specific questions we might could address?

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Guest ___

I'm trying to get a better idea of what track overall is available. As I have not started my N-scale yet (working on my Z and T scales) I have not committed to Kato or Tomix. There are things with the Kato I really like such as the a few of their accessories. I really like the signals, grade crossings and track integration into the stations. But, am not sure what Tomix has out there.

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Martijn Meerts

Tomix has pretty much all the same accessories as Kato, except Tomix seems to have a few more of them. They also have a few more options track-wise.

 

I believe that Kato also makes a piece of track that converts from Unitrack to Finetrack, so you can actually use both on 1 layout as well.

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CaptOblivious

I'm trying to get a better idea of what track overall is available. As I have not started my N-scale yet (working on my Z and T scales) I have not committed to Kato or Tomix. There are things with the Kato I really like such as the a few of their accessories. I really like the signals, grade crossings and track integration into the stations. But, am not sure what Tomix has out there.

Have a look here: http://japanese-model-supplies.com/track.html

It's not up to date entirely, but it pretty much covers the bases.

 

This is a really good page: http://www.trainweb.org/tomix/track/TomixTrackSystems.htm

It's probably more complete (certainly more up to date), and better yet, it tells you what each piece is for! Some of the sections were mysteries to me until I found that page.

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