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Kato - New Releases


Darren Jeffries

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Ooh, Kato getting back in the kyūgata kokuden game again? And a set containing the early type KuMoHa 52? No matter what anyone else may say, that does make this one of the more exciting announcements Kato has made this year, at least in my opinion.

 

The Sagano line 221 series is another interesting one in my opinion. As far as I know they've never released a model of the Sagano line formations before, so that should make this another first. Having regularly travelled on these units during my trips to Kyōto, I've been waiting for a model of these specific formations, so I'm seriously tempted to press reserve.

 

9 hours ago, Kamome said:

The Kumoha 52 set is of slight interest as I have a number of Iida line sets, but not that much different to the previously released 10-1288. This new version has a Kumoha 52 on each end whereas the previous release came with a Kumoha 54 on one end. As the 52 was such an iconic part of the Iida line fleet, it will most likely be added to the collection.

 

It actually is quite different compared to their earlier release, as a) it represents a different "formation" and b) the KuMoHa 52 cars are actually batch 1 cars as opposed to the earlier set which included batch 2 cars (and a 70 series car), which were substentially different from the early type cars.

 

The 52 series was a bit peculiar in that sense as only a handful of cars were built, a grand total of five 4-car formations, yet there were substantial differences between the 3 production batches.

 

The 1st batch was completed in March, 1936 by Kawasaki Sharyō and would consist of 4 cars, MoHa 52001, SaHa 48029, SaRoHa 46018 and KuMoHa 52002. Though the KuMoHa 52 cars were the first streamlined electric cars to be introduced by the Ministry of Railways, and would be among only a handful of streamlined designs to introduced during this period (KiHa , Meitetsu Mo 850 type, Meitetsu 3400 series, Keihan 1000 type etc.), they were essentially simply a continuation of the KuMoHa 42 type design which had been introduced between 1932 and 1935 as a counter to competition from the Shin-Keihan Railway (current Hankyū Kyōto line) on the Kyōto-Ōsaka axis, as well as competition from the Hanshin mainline and newly completed Hankyū Kōbe lines on the Ōsaka-Kōbe axis. Shin-Keihan in particular had become a serious competitor to the National Railway system, ever since they introduced their famous P-6 type cars between 1927 and 1929, which would be among the first large size (comparatively) limited express type EMU's to be introduced in Japan. Similarly, while Hanshin was still pretty much in it's original interurban configuration for the most part, with large sections of combined track, they had started moving towards track separation in the 1920's and by the 1933 a new underground section in Kōbe had opened, while the underground terminal at Umeda (Ōsaka) would open in 1939. Similarly, the Hanshin Kōbe Honsen which first opened in 1920, with the final extension being opened in 1936, added even more competition on this axis. Even though this line was constructed under the Tramway Regulations under which the Minō Arima Dentetsu (Hankyū's predecessor) and Hanshin Dentetsu had been established, the alignment was such that it was actually an urban high speed railway (prewar term). As Hankyū would operate a fleet of modern, fast and comfortable electric cars on this line, the 920 series introduced in the 1930's in particular, National Railroad limited express trains which were still steam hauled at that point in time were becomming less and less competetive in comparison. The 42 series cars, as well as the later 52 series cars were introduced specifically to counter this threat.

 

The MoHa 52 type cars were pretty much an extension of the MoHa 42 type cars in terms of layout. The carbodies themselves would be constructed using electric welding as opposed to the heavy use of riveting used in the construction of the MoHa 42 type cars, and in order to further clean up the exterior design both the window sill and header were omitted, as were rain gutters with only the small sections above the passenger doors being retained. The roofline in general was fully integrated into the carbody, as opposed to the protruded roof style generally used for the other kyūgata kokuden series, with the ventilation inlets evenly spread over the roofline through louvers rather than the standard glove type ventilators then in widespread use. What truly set the 1st batch apart from the later batches though, at least in terms of external design, was the use of the same narrow two stage ascending windows as used on the 42 series cars, which gave a distinctive 1D2-12-2D2 layout for the MoHa 52 type cars and 2D2-12-2D2 for the SaRoHa 46 (later SaRoHa 66) and SaHa 48 type cars. MoHa 52001 and 002 would be fitted with a tear drop shaped roof mounted headlight, and all cars had streamlined skirts covering the undercarriage.

 

The 2nd batch was completed in March, 1937 also by Kawasaki Sharyō and would consist of 8 cars, MoHa 52003~MoHa 52006, SaRoHa 66016, SaRoHa 66017, SaHa 48030 and SaHa 48031. These cars would be used to form an additional two 4-car formations. The 2nd batch cars contained a number of changes compared to the 1st batch, the interior layout was revised, the half cabs as used on the 1st batch were replaced by a full with cab, the louvers on the roofshoulders were eliminated with roof mounted Garland type ventilators being used instead, the roof itself was also constructed somewhat differently with the roof structure consituting a high roof as opposed to the low roof on the batch 1 cars, the tear drop style headlight was replaced by a streamlined cylindrical headlight assembly which was fully integrated into the roofline, the shape of the skirts was slightly altered and perhaps most importantly the passenger windows were changed from the original narrow style to a much wider type in order to improve the passenger experience. This would result in a distinctive 1D1-6-2D2 layout.

 

The 3rd batch would be completed in October, 1937 with production being split between Kawasaki Sharyō (MoHa 43 and SaRoHa 66 type cars) and Nippon Sharyō (SaHa 48 type cars). Like with the 2nd batch, 8 cars would be built namely: MoHa 43038~43041, SaRoHa 66018, SaRoHa 66019, SaHa 48032 and SaHa 48033. Though this would be the final batch of 52 series cars to be built, as may be gauged from the different numbering used for the MoHa's there were some significant changes when compared to the other 2 batches. As the streamlined exterior had proven to be rather superfluous for a train which had a maximum design speed of about 95km/h, and certain aspects like the skirts had proven to make maintenance more difficult, the last batch of 52 series cars would do away with the streamlining entirely. The skirts were absent entirely, the roof was changed to a design similar to the other kyūgata kokuden series, the headlight was changed to the standard Ministry of Railway type and the front was changed to a semi-streamlined gangway door design based on that of the 51 series cars (in itself based on the semi-streamlined front of the later 40 series cars) which had entered service a couple of years earlier and was being built in substantial numbers for both the Kantō and Keihanshin area. In terms of general layout they retained the same layout as the 2nd batch cars, including the larger windows, which in combination with the modified roofline gave them a totally different look compared to either the 40 or 51 series cars, with the front gaining a slightly balding look.

 

The 1st and 2nd batch cars wouldn't retain their original appearance for long, as between 1941 and 1942 they went through their first remodeling which saw the removal of the skirts on all cars. MoHa 52006 and SaHa 43038 were damaged beyond repair during the war, which lead to there being an uneven number of both the streamlined and semi-streamlined end cars for the rest of their service lives.

 

The surviving cars would receive their first renewal work between 1953 and 1954, with the main changes being the expansion of the driver's cab (and remodeling to a full width cab for MoHa 52001 and 002) the addition of a crew door near the cab, a more traditional roof structure was installed, though there would be some differences between the roofline on the 1st batch cars vs the 2nd batch, as well as the streamlined headlights being replaced by a standard roof mounted unit. Further modifications during the late 1950's and early 1960's, would see changes following the same pattern as the other kyūgata kokuden cars surviving into the 1960's and 1970's, interior updates (fluorescent lighting replacing the original incandescent lighting, wooden interior parts being replaced by less flammable parts as much as possible etc.), general life extension work etc. The 1959 vehicle classification changes would see both the MoHa 52 and MoHa 43 type cars being reclassified as the KuMoHa 52 and KuMoHa 43 type respectively, the SaHa and SaRoHa cars would retain their original classifications (despite being somewhat dispersed already, and with some cars having been modified/reclassified into different series prior to this change). There were numerous changes to the (former) SaRoHa 66 and SaHa 48 type cars after the war as well, with numerous cars being reclassification and/or remodeled in the decades after the end of the Pacific War. Going through all of them would make this post even longer than it already is, and as such a cursory mention will have to do. It's also important to note that the kyūgata kokuden cars didn't really operate in (semi)fixed formations during their active careers, formations were formed depending on the requirements of the day, which cars were available, which were going through inspections etc., and that day only, and as such these cars would end up in a different formation or composition pretty much on a daily basis, sometimes even sooner. Though this would change somewhat during the late 1970's as the remaining cars were reorganized into semi fixed 2-car formations, even then those formations would be mixed liberally.

 

So by the time these cars were transferred to the Iida line in the late 1950's, even though they had been extensively modified compared to their original appearance some of the original differentiators between both batches were still clearly visible. KuMoHa 52001 and 002 retained their narrow windows, and because of the constructional differences between the 1st and 2nd batch cars, their modified roofline extended all the way till the base of the headlight mount. Conversely, because of their different construction, for KuMoHa 52003~005 ended up with a raised roof, with the roofline ending pretty much where the streamlined nose section began. Of course, they would also retain their large windows, which made recognizing 1st vs 2nd batch cars pretty easy even during their later years. The MoHa 43 type cars went in different directions after the war, two two cars would be reclassified into different series (KuMoHa 53 type, 53007 and 53008), while KuMoHa 43038 was remodeled for use on the Minobu line, having its roof lowered. KuMoHa 53007 and 008 would be transferred to the Iida line like their sisters, with 007 having retained her original raised roof structure, while 008 had a lower roofline, similar to the 40 series and 51 series cars. Both had identical window/door layouts as the 2nd batch cars up till the end of their service life in 1983 (they were the final 52 series cars to be retired, the 1st and 2nd batch cars had been retired in 1978.).

 

 

Some of these differences can be seen in the, excellent, 8mm footage shown in this video (credit:Kido chan no outdoor channel):

 

-> The 52 series cars shown at 01:00 can be recognized as containing batch 2 cars (note the high roofline), while the one moving away from the camera at 01:34 appears to be containing the batch 1 car judging by the appearance of the roof. The formation seen starting at 02:02 is perhaps the most interesting for this topic, as it features both a 1st batch KuMoHa 52 type car in the lead, while a 2nd batch KuMoHa 52 type car is attached to the rear, while a 70 series car is also part of this formation. With both in the same formation, and with the excellent way this was filmed, you can clearly see the difference in window size between the two cars. Additionally, it's also a good visual demonstration of my point regarding the way these formations were arranged depending on a day to day basis, 52001 and 002 were rarely separated over their careers. The final formation as seen in this video is pretty much the composition Kato released years ago, KuMoHa 54 + SaHa 48 + SaHa 75 +KuMoHa 52 (2nd batch), though with the SaHa 48 and SaHa 75 in reversed order.

 

 

Similarly, the difference between KuMoHa 53007 and 008 during their final years can be clearly seen in the video below (credit: Yocchelexp, which Is a channel would recommend visiting for anyone with even a passing interest in the J.N.R. era Iida line, Kyūgata kokuden or just Shōwa era J.N.R. operations in general):

 

-> KuMoHa 53007 can be seen starting at 00:30 together with what appears to be a 51 series based KuHa 68 400 type car. Note the high roofline as well as the large windows shared with the 2nd batch cars. The train which can be seen starting at 00:56 has KuMoHa 53008 in the lead, note the more traditional roofline compared to 53007.

 

 

Interestingly enough, @Modellbahn JP actually shared a picture of a 1st and 2nd batch KuMoHa 52 type car next to one another earlier this year (which I have been wanting to point out since he posted it, guess I finally got my chance😅), in his excellent 1970s~2000s topic over here:

 

 

-> In the first picture you can clearly see the different rooflines between the renewed 2nd batch cars, front, and the renewed 1st batch cars, back. Also note the lack of a small window between the crew door and the forward passenger door, 52001 and 52002 had their crew doors directly forward of the 1st passenger door, while 52003~52005 had a small window in between. The 2nd and 3rd pictures clearly show the lower roofline found on the early cars, which makes it easy to identify them as such.

 

 

In addition to this, the formation will be different compared to the earlier model which included, as mentioned before, 52 series cars (KuMoHa 52 (52004), 2nd batch SaHa 48 (SaRoHa 66016->SaHa 48034)) 70 series cars (SaHa 75106) and a 40/51 series car (KuMoHa 54119 (100 sub-type, part of a large number of modified 40 series cars integrated into the 51 series)). While the new release will include 32 series cars (SaHa 48021 and 48024) in addition to KuMoHa 52001 and 002.

 

So the tldr, the new release is completely different compared to their earlier release, so there's no excuse not to get this set in addition to the earlier release (not that one should need an excuse to order a 52 series set of course😉).

 

Cheers!

Edited by 200系
I'm a dolt as I forgot to finish an entire paragraph...
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This probably explains why the Bachmann N Chargers never materialized, they announced HO and N at the same time.  I hope this means we could get Japanese market like complete trains if Kato makes the Siemens coaches and cab cars.  Thinking Brightline, Surfliner, San Joaquin/Capital Corridor and VIAs new sets.

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Kato announcements for this month:

 

 

 

Been waiting for a 287 series kounotori reproduction so I'll reserve that, but nothing else that really interests me.

Edited by disturbman
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I want those Takis!!

Probably need another pair of EF64 milk cartons with updated aircon units too 😂

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Not much for me this time, seems most of the models I'd be interested in I already have!  Or have a few of.... (...cough cough five 485 series...)

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485s are so 60s b/w chic! Just love them. I think the designers were looking at a lot of big Buicks! Brawny but still smooth and cool.

 

jeff

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9 hours ago, Kiha66 said:

Not much for me this time, seems most of the models I'd be interested in I already have!

Yeah, I’m sort of at saturation point too. Only items in specific interest areas or trains I’ve ridden tend to interest me these days. Kind of spoilt by what I already have and many don’t get the running they deserve.

 

Freight options, Iida line or interesting SLs picque my interest but no longer get hugely excited by much else despite how nice the models are. 

 

I do like the bonnet styles but would prefer a 489 of a Hakusan or Asama service with a coupler for some Usui pass banking. 

 

I pinged Mr. Kato a thank you email and mentioned it’d be nice for a n scale 157 Amagi or Royal train and an HO D51 in the near future. Cheeky I know. He kindly replied but sadly no confirmation on my requests. 😂

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Yavianice

@Kamomemaybe also ping him to ask for an SL Ginga… that’s the “big one” I’m still missing and would love to see modelled one day (not counting home made ones).

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Yeah, that would be nice. Need an older C58 for my Taisetsu sleeper too (10-1124/1125)  Certainly hope they revisit other steam locomotives they haven’t produced for a while. 9600s and some coal train sets would also be very welcome. 

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A kato royal train re-run would be nice!  As would the HO D51, I have an older one but it'd be nice to see them run again.

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Maybe we should start a Please Mr Kato San topic for him to read now and then!

 

ad of course all would need to be written like a letter to Santa and show how you have been a good little deserving model railroader!

 

jeff

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Welshbloke

If anyone else doesn't have the "Glacier on Tour" Ge 4/4 III this might be a good time to grab one. The real loco has apparently been repainted recently so this might well be its last appearance from Kato.

 

I may well go down the route of preordering the assy parts and clipping my own together, assuming they're being reissued as well.

 

Right, bits preordered. Hopefully got the right bits, there were no bogies or pantographs listed with "GOT" so I'm assuming they're the same as the set for the red loco (644). They are in real life anyway!

Edited by Welshbloke
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On 9/5/2022 at 9:27 AM, Welshbloke said:

If anyone else doesn't have the "Glacier on Tour" Ge 4/4 III this might be a good time to grab one. The real loco has apparently been repainted recently so this might well be its last appearance from Kato.

 

I may well go down the route of preordering the assy parts and clipping my own together, assuming they're being reissued as well.

 

Right, bits preordered. Hopefully got the right bits, there were no bogies or pantographs listed with "GOT" so I'm assuming they're the same as the set for the red loco (644). They are in real life anyway!

I was looking at these last week and have now moved them to the top of my wish list.

 

Thanks, Welshbloke.

 

 

Dave 

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Welshbloke

It's the only main range (as opposed to the Noch specials which somehow cost two or three times as much as Kato for the same loco...) Ge 4/4 III I don't have, so naturally I was keen to get one. I don't need the coaches (same numbers as the ones in the train pack) or the rest of the set, so ordering the loco as a pile of parts makes economic sense. A few component bags will be considerably cheaper to ship than a big box too!

 

I shall upload a build video to YouTube when they arrive in a few months, having had a surprising number of views on my unboxing/mini review videos of previous releases. I'm not likely to make a living from them any time soon, but it's pleasing to see "1.somethingK" in the stats.

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