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The Introduction Thread...

Darren Jeffries

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G'day, all, and thanks for the warm welcome.


I'm 48, live in a small town outside Sydney, Australia, I'm married with one child. My wife and I both work for RailCorp - she's on the country trains, I'm on the suburban EMUs. I used to work on steam locos that were retained for heritage/tourist trains, so I have more than a passing interest in Japanese steam. The local tramway museum has a tram from Nagasaki which I also work on, so street railways/tramways are also an interest.


My modelling interests are in the minority of a minority, as it were. I work in HOj - 1/80th scale - as opposed to N. My two main interests are the Toyama District Railway/Chitetsu, and the 762mm narrow gauge lines of the Kinki Nippon Railway/Kintetsu.


I have a layout under construction, when I next have a chance I'll post some photos showing my progress.


Thanks again for the welcome,



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Thanks for the pictures DJR!

It really is an interesting line.  I especially like the steep (as much as 8%) grades and switchbacks.  I've got most of the track down for my little Hakone layout (only about 40x24 inches).  I'll start a thread about it once it's interesting to look at.



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Hi - I'm Philip Cook, and I'm a member of the Japan Rail Modellers of Washington DC.


Thanks for the post about us, and adding the link on the right  :-)




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Welcome Phillip,

It's our pleasure to have you aboard and to promote the Japan Rail Modellers of Washington, DC group. I was really impressed with the fact that your group sets up layouts in children's hospitals. To give a child a little bit of happiness in that situation has got to be very rewarding and your group should be commended for all it's efforts.

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Hello! Recently I got interested in Japanese N scale and just have ordered my first 3 locos. My main interest is  in steam and old electric. I have ordered some Tomix track, too.

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Welcome to the forum. You will find that the members here are very helpful and can even give you some history on the steam engines you've purchased.  I hope you post photos of your new stream engines when they arrive. Are you planning on building a layout?

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My layout will have to wait until house-move, 18 months away. I will use the time to collect some rolling stock and test it.

I am living in Austria and there is no japanese model stuff locally available. I have ordered from a shop in Germany, japanmodelrailways.com .

It seems that even specialized shops do not have lots of stock. :-[ I am still waiting for my first loco, a micro ace C62.2

but it should arrive whithin the next weeks. My next locos, micro ace again, are a C53 and a streamlined C53. I hope that micro ace locos run fine!

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Martijn Meerts

I've visited the Japan Model Railways shop in Kamen some time ago, and he's got a fair amount of stock actually. MicroAce's C62's are new releases which should've come out in February, but they might be delayed. Also, it usually takes a few weeks for packages to get from Japan to Germany and go through customs etc.


I've ordered all 3 of the MicroAce C62's along with the matching set of cars, will be interesting to see when they'll arrive :)

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Martijn Meerts

Well, nothing all that interesting to say. Been into model trains all my life really. Started with H0 scale Lima, mostly Dutch prototype (as I'm originally Dutch), but space constraints made me switch to N-scale. Most of it was Dutch and German prototype.


When I moved to Norway I left my N-scale behind, since my father was still building on it. In Norway I started over with Märklín H0 initially. I still have plans of building a static H0 layout with Era 1 Royal Bavarian Railways prototype.


Having always been interested in high speed aerodynamic trains, it wasn't too difficult a decision to buy some Shinkansen. The quality and detailing of the models compared to the relatively low price really impressed me, and I started collecting more than just Shinkansen. My general interest in Japan and south-east Asian countries in general also helped of course.


My currently available space and time for trains is limited, so things aren't going all that fast, but hopefully that'll change sometime later this year. I also decided to set up a page which will chronicle my progress and eventually contain tips and tricks. But spare time for the page is limited as well, so updates aren't very frequent right now. The page is called JR-Chiisai (chiisai is Japanese for "small"), and can be found at http://www.jr-chiisai.net

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Martijn, welcome to the forum and I know what you mean about limited time to work on your layout. I live neat NYC but hope to move soon to Upstate NY where we have a house and that is where my layout is, so whenever I go up I plan exactly what I need to do.

I enjoyed reading your link and I hope you post often here the progress your making or any helpful tips to other members.

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martijn! Glad to see you make the jump! These forums are a little more lively  ;)


An aside: Is there any way I could convince you to add an RSS feed to your site? I enjoy reading it, but I often forget to check for those intermittent updates, because it doesn't show up in my daily RSS readings...

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Martijn Meerts

There is an RSS feed already actually, it's just that it's not published on the site itself yet. I use it for the newsticker on the frontpage:



And as I mentioned on my site's forum, I'm not expecting it to be used much, if at all. It's just there in case of the unlikely event of the site getting popular ;)

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Darren Jeffries

Nice to see you here Martijn...


I have just looked at your site, very nice diorama coming on there.


Also have to say I love your fathers layout (even though it is euro based... :P)


Welcome aboard again.

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Martijn Meerts

My fathers layout turned out quite well, he's had a lot of help form a guy who likes building scenery, otherwise it probably never would've been finished. During my visits we mostly did some detailing, most of the electrical work, and programming the computer to control it all.


There are quite a few issues with the layout though (other than it not being Japanese ;)), mostly there are a lot of problems with turnouts, which just don't switch reliably.

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Thanks for the warm welcome!


I never thought I was a model railroader, although I've always enjoyed travelling by train, because that way I don't have to cut my legs off to fit in a seat. On a whim, because it was in the bargain bin, I bought Trainz Railroad Simulator 2006 on Boxing Day (2006). It turned out to be much more amusing than I had anticipated.


I went to Japan on a vacation last year and made the error of entering many hobby shops. I was/am/whatever a wargamer and modeller, but the vast array of lovely trains convinced me that I should try and have a layout in an apartment that has no business holding a model railroad layout. However, I figured if it's possible to have a layout in Japan, it should also be possible in North America. Given that the apartment I live in is about the same size as a Japanese one, I also thought it would be a worthy cross-cultural experiment.


My layout still looks like the ice-planet Hoth, but it's coming together slowly. Besides, if I finish quickly, then I'll have nothing to work on . . .


Everyone is more than welcome to see what it is that I'm doing, because I'm documenting my errors so that others can avoid them.  Feel free to come by and learn how I no doubt did it wrong: http://yamanotesen.thruhere.net/

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Guest bill937ca

Aren't the hobby shops in Japan something else?  Model railroading is supposed to much higher per capita in Japan than North America.  Then there's the figures, gundam, garage kits and plastic models which all seem to at least as popular in Japan as model railroading. And at least there are hobby shops in Japan.  Over here hobby shops seem to be heading for the endangered species list.


Actually before I came across Japanese trains I never had done much with model railroading either.  I started a HO traction layout but that was moving along very slowly.  But since I placed my first order about this time last year I've been a non-stop express!


I can relate to the lack of space in an apartment.  I've always lived in an apartment and  some of those apartments have been very chopped up.  I'm fortunate that the one bedroom apartment I have now has a living room over 20 feet wide. 


Great to have you with us.

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Welcome aboard! There are some really great members who have taught me a lot about prototype trains and modeling with their posts.

I also got interested in Japanese RR when I went to Japan for business, I had a morning off and went to 3 hobby shops and I could have stayed all day if I didn't have to get back to work.

It was easier to find a LHS there than it is in NY.

I enjoyed your link, and as for mistakes, I just remember this saying, "experience is what you get, when you were looking for something else", and Gee, have I gotten a lot of experience through the years. I look forward to your posts.

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Greetings from the very small country of Luxembourg, Europe!


Does anyone know where is it possible to buy ARUMO / ARU Nine engines?





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Welcome to the forum. Do you have any more information on the trains you are seeking, or a photo of one? Some of the other members might be able to help you by posting a photo. I checked a couple of sites and came up with nothing so far.

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Guest bill937ca

I found Arumo's Japanese language web page.




LuxJapan, you'll need a machine translator. We'll start with Google.




It does not look like they are set up for foreign orders.  In many of the smaller shops no English is spoken.


I would suggest you try contacting Dauplin Ltd in Tokyo.  They do export and have an English language web site.  There are similar models on Dauphin's Japanese language web site.




Japanese language web page:  http://www.mmjp.or.jp/tramway/


When you inquire be sure to specify the gauge in mm as the Japanese often have several variations. I see HO in 9mm and 16.5mm and I have seen 12mm elsewhere.


Good luck!


Bernard, you'll have more luck if you search for 'Arumo N gauge' rather than 'Arumo'.  The N gauge really cuts out all the......      ;D

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Guest bill937ca

Pro Hobby is 1/144.  Plaza Japan, Hobby Search and Hobby World Japan carry some of their items.  Those small engines are actually JR engines used for maintenance trains at night in Tokyo.  I couldn't believe it when I saw a picture of one once lettered for JR.

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Thank you very much you all!


I will see which site could post to Europe.


I am looking for the engine in attachment.


And I do 1/150.



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Darren Jeffries asked if we wouldn't mind introducing ourselves in a little more detail. So, here's a thread for those of us who aren't interested to do so.


Being a habitual lurker (on other boards...), I'd like to reach out to the other lurkers on this board: If you only post once, post here?


My name is Don Goodman-Wilson, but my college buddies called me Captain Oblivious, for my innate ability to totally fail to notice important things, hence my screen-name. I live in St Louis, Missouri, United States (really in the city, too, not out in the 'burbs, a point of pride for me :D )


I'm 32ish, married to the most wonderful woman ever  :D, with our first child, a little girl named Acadia (in honor of my maternal grandparents, who are Cajun---hence the name) on the way. I can't wait to meet her.


I'm working on my PhD in philosophy at Washington University in St Louis, specializing in philosophy of science; I study causal inferences of the sort that scientists use when performing controlled experiments. I want to know whether it is a justified inference system, and the assumptions we have to make to get science off the ground in the first place.


Grad students---especially those with familiies---don't get a lot of free time, but I spend mine playing with Japanese trains, spending quality time in my darkroom, and wargaming (from which I get my interest in modeling---I'd rather assemble and paint minis than actually play with them, it turns out). I post my photographs to my other website, Artificial Science.


I got started in Japanese model trains after a trip to Tokyo. My wife and I, being academics, get a lot of time off over winter break, so we spent the 2006--2007 break---3 weeks---living in an apartment in the shitamachi (blue-collar) sector Tokyo (Monzen-Nakachou, for the curious---and a delightful place to stay!). We bought groceries (what fun!) and learned about Japanese home-cooking, and of course we took the trains everywhere to see the sights. Each day started with a walk to the subway station---in the grocery store, no less! Some days we only went a few minutes down the line; some days our trip would take a few hours (and yet, we never left Tokyo!). It was really amazing to us that our little grocery store was a gateway to all of Japan, just a couple of blocks' walk away. But although for the most part neither of us, except on a couple of occasions, took explicit notice of the trains, having them so strongly in the background of our life---just knowing that that gateway was there, waiting for us---they made their mark.


One of the first things we noticed on our return to St Louis was how impoverished our own trains system was! I felt strangely isolated suddenly: Our local train station was a gateway to...the 'burbs. That's it. And practically no-one rides it, either. It was so lonely taking the train to school (as I began to do). That's when I first began to take explicit notice of the trains we'd been riding in Tokyo, and where my interest in modeling them came from. My dad used to have an N-gauge layout when I was a child and still collects rolling stock today, and so I was already familiar with the Kato name---it was all downhill from there  ;D


So now I'm starting a model of one of the train stations we visited, Akihabara Station, as a nice, if belated, momento from our trip, and a reminder of how wonderful the trains there were.


So, that's me! Who's next?

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