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Darren Jeffries

Kato - New Releases

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cteno4

Well I would not put quality as being different. I have both and see no appreciable difference in quality between finetrack and unitrak.

 

Jeff

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KenS

Finetrack and Unitrack are both well designed, well built, high quality sectional track systems.  I think Kato has the edge in "robustness", and I find it easier to assemble and take apart in a hurry. But Tomix looks, to me anyway, a bit more realistic and less toy-like (I'm talking about both their usual tracks; Kato's Unitram track is more "realistic" than Tomix's wide-tram track, at least to my eyes).

 

Tomix, of course, has much more selection in terms of curve radii, switches (even slip switches for trams!) and types of track (fine track, wide track, wide tram track).

 

Even if they were equally available and the same cost, I'd probably buy Unitrack for "train" tracks, particularly now that they have (some) concrete-tie track. 

 

But at the same time, even though I like the Unitram plates' appearance, my limited experience with it has been poor, with my Modemo trams stalling frequently.  It's why I used Tomix Wide Tram track for my tram layout (well, that and it had radii that matched the bus roadway).

 

The long and short of it is that both have their strengths and weaknesses, and which one you prefer is both a matter of taste and your specific needs.

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The_Ghan

Thanks KenS,

 

That about sums it up.  The only thing I'd add in favour of the Tomix FineTrack is the lower profile.  The can lead to less ballasting being required.  I hate ballasting (the process of) for so many reasons.  I've noticed a few of the Unitrack users actually recess the pieces into the layout to reduce the profile height.

 

While we're on the subject of track, there a few things I wish both manufacturers would add to their line-up:

 

1. 22.5o transition curves (I'm talking about a parabolic type of curve, not the transition between flat and super-elevated curves);

 

2. Shorter angle pieces.  For Tomix the minimum angle is generally 15o.  I'd like to see 5o pieces.  Right now I've got a track planning problem where I'd like a shallower angle that the 15o provides;

 

3. A curved extensible track, say 15-20o piece in each of the core radii.  This would enable me to have curves spanning joints in my boards;

 

4. With Tomix, a larger range of points that support the 37mm track centres;

 

5. Tomix makes a 70mm piece with a double gap, primarily used for isolating blocks for separate DC controllers.  I'd like to see a single rail gap version for use on DCC;

 

6. A pair of solder tabs or screw terminals under most pieces.

 

Just my thoughts.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

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KenS

As many of us are awaiting for the release of the newer KATO crossing, I got an e-mail from the retailer (HS) that the crossing has been delayed by a month. Which isn't a big issue as they are have brought out the release date for the kiha 30,35 and 36 (24/1/12) and the re-release of the C62-2 and 3 (27/1/12)

 

Still can't wait for the crossings to come out to add it to my layout.

 

I just received notice from Kato today that my Kato grade crossing was in, and sent the payment.  They'd sent me a "delayed to Feb" notice folllowed by a "schedule change to late Jan" note before that.

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linkey

As many of us are awaiting for the release of the newer KATO crossing, I got an e-mail from the retailer (HS) that the crossing has been delayed by a month. Which isn't a big issue as they are have brought out the release date for the kiha 30,35 and 36 (24/1/12) and the re-release of the C62-2 and 3 (27/1/12)

 

Still can't wait for the crossings to come out to add it to my layout.

 

I just received notice from Kato today that my Kato grade crossing was in, and sent the payment.  They'd sent me a "delayed to Feb" notice folllowed by a "schedule change to late Jan" note before that.

 

 

Yeah i got the same notifiaction and now it's available to get. I have to send a e-mail to HS to see if they are willing to hold my order until next week. Which they have done in past and have been very helpful.

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Mudkip Orange

Down-Under Tomix and Kato track are pretty much equally difficult to obtain locally.  The few shops nation-wide that do stock Kato usually only have a handful of pieces.

 

See, Kato has US offices, and they have a list of "certified" retailers that either (i) carry all N-scale pieces, or (ii) carry all N- and HO-scale pieces. This is one of the reasons why Kato hasn't "officially" released the R282/315 or R447/480 corners in the US, they don't want to force all their distributors to stock a bunch of extra doubletrack that US Americans modeling singletrack freight-haulers aren't interested in.

 

I don't think I've ever been in a US Kato dealer that didn't have the full complement of N scale singletrack.

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linkey

Mudkip_orange,

 

The Australian N scale market is alive and kicking where even most Australia N scale train people (Australian Prototype) are buying KATO Double Track form their retail store, as they get to use it in T-TRAK and on their personal layout. I know that the Australian Japanese Model Railway Group (AJMRG) use KATO single and Double Track on our J-Module, T-TRAK nad on our own personal layouts. We sometimes even have the Tomix fine track as well so we get to see the difference and to run certain items if they are part of the same system (eg. crossings and signaling, etc)

 

There are a few Australian stores selling KATO track and that is cause they have seen it from N scale modellers at exhibitions/conventions to find out the benefits of having these items available. But the tprice range can be totally different and just have to shop around to find the right price for you.

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cteno4

Im pretty sure someone in australia has the "official" distribution rights from Kato for australia. Kato does this around the world, they will give exclusive or non exclusive distribution deals to businesses for various countries. then they may let you buy directly from them, katousa, or from one of their big distributors in japan or us depending on the volume and situation of the deal.

 

tomix, microace, and greenmax AFAIK have no official distributors outside japan. importers usually find a distributor in japan to buy from at the point on the distribution food chain they have the volume to get in at. This is where Mokei imports in the us was so good at getting low enough in the distribution chain in japan that he could get greenmax and tomix structures over here and operate a wholesale operation so dealers could buy from him and sell at pretty much japanese street price here in the us. he did bring things over by the container full though, so had some volume going on!

 

catalogs would come over 2 months late, but still at 10% below list when bought through a dealer and including their shipping from mokei to the dealer! perhaps he did them at cost to stimulate business with the drool books.

 

jeff

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The_Ghan

In contrast to what linkey (in Melbourne) has to say about the prolific use of UniTrack down there, I (in Sydney) don't remember seeing a single UiTrack layout at and of the shows I've been to in the last couple of years.  To be fair, I'm not a member of of any N-scale modelling clubs and others might set me straight.  But most of the track I've seen up in Sydney is Peco, Fleishmann and Atherm.  Doug Coster, of course, uses Tomix, as do keitaro and I.  Perhaps the fact that Melbourne has a dedicated Japanese N-Scale club means that more people are aware of and use the Kato track down there.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

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westfalen

As many of us are awaiting for the release of the newer KATO crossing, I got an e-mail from the retailer (HS) that the crossing has been delayed by a month. Which isn't a big issue as they are have brought out the release date for the kiha 30,35 and 36 (24/1/12) and the re-release of the C62-2 and 3 (27/1/12)

 

Still can't wait for the crossings to come out to add it to my layout.

 

I just received notice from Kato today that my Kato grade crossing was in, and sent the payment.  They'd sent me a "delayed to Feb" notice folllowed by a "schedule change to late Jan" note before that.

 

 

Yeah i got the same notifiaction and now it's available to get. I have to send a e-mail to HS to see if they are willing to hold my order until next week. Which they have done in past and have been very helpful.

Mine's in the air as I type this, it will arrive as usual on Monday a day to late to show off at a club meeting on Sunday. :sad:

 

When it arrives I will have to set it up to see how long the gates take to come down so I can work out what length of T-TRAK modules I'll need for it.

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linkey

From the KATO filming of the crossing, looks like they come down at a pretty quick rate after the sensor have been tripped. So it's a question of how far you are going to place the sensor track to the crossing.

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PhilipS

how far you are going to place the sensor track to the crossing.

 

Running bullets, that sensor or sensors, are going to be spread far apart.

 

Is it pressure activated or a photo sensor?  I bet you can figure out a way to add your own additional sensors.

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westfalen

how far you are going to place the sensor track to the crossing.

 

Running bullets, that sensor or sensors, are going to be spread far apart.

 

Is it pressure activated or a photo sensor?  I bet you can figure out a way to add your own additional sensors.

It uses infrared sensors as far as I can tell. Like a real crossing I'll be placing the sensors for average speed trains, shinkansen may have to slow down and when my shay hauled log train creeps by my little people will have to wait at the crossing a bit longer. :grin

 

I'm thinking of a set of three double T-TRAK modules with the crossing in the centre and the sensors at the extremities of the three modules.

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cteno4

I'm guessing photo resistors, which could be good as they are inexpensive and you could do multiple sets and just use a dpdt to switch between them.

 

Jeff

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westfalen

I'm guessing photo resistors, which could be good as they are inexpensive and you could do multiple sets and just use a dpdt to switch between them.

 

Jeff

According to Hobby Search, "The sensor uses infrared detection of the vehicle."

 

As the crossing is going to be on T-TRAK modules I want to keep the wiring as simple as possible and not have too many wires running round the layout from module to module. I had thought of putting the sensors on single modules that could be spaced out with as many other modules as needed between them and the crossing but at the moment I'm going with three double modules that would fit in one of our three module racks for transport together.

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cteno4

if its infrared then the gate itself must have an emitter thats bounced off the ceiling to the sensors. ir sensors are used specifically because there are few things in a room that interfere with them. some detectors have both an ir emitter and a detector so you can use them anywhere (like in a tunnel), but those require more than 2 wires to operate, you need to feed power to the emitter and also register the signal. the kato guys only have 2 wires per sensor.

 

most of this kind of opto sensor systems are photo-resistors that just register a big drop in the ambient light level when the car goes over it. down side is that you have to have enough light above the sensor to operate so they dont operate in the dark or in tunnels. also an issue in adjusting for the ambient room light. smart systems register the ambient light when you turn them on, dumb ones require you to set the sensitivity on a pot on the board. but both have issues if you run in night mode! in tunnels you can mount a little light above the sensor to make them work there.

 

it will be interesting to see how they are designed.

 

little jst connectors are great for hooking this sort of thing up for mix and match. small and easy to pop together. very cheap either for the roll your own connector or buying prewired ones.

 

jeff

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cteno4

west,

 

think you are right there, i didnt look close enough to see the third white wire, thought it was just red and black!

 

this will be the safest way for them to do it as few other thinks would interfere with this!

 

jeff

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Mudkip Orange
I'll be placing the sensors for average speed trains, shinkansen may have to slow down

 

When North Shore first did a full-out speed test of the Electroliners, they had to call it off at about 110mph because the crossing gates weren't making it all the way down before the train got there!

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traindork

I see from the new Kato poster that they're doing the E5 again, but I can't tell if it's a rerun or a different paint scheme.

I'd love to pick up another set, this is one of my favorite trains!  :love4:

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westfalen

It would be nice if the C11 in that Oigawa set was retooled with the new style mechanism like the C62 and D51 but at Y10,500 for the loco and three coaches it looks like just existing stock put together in a set. :sad:

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The_Ghan

I see from the new Kato poster that they're doing the E5 again, but I can't tell if it's a rerun or a different paint scheme.

I'd love to pick up another set, this is one of my favorite trains!   :love4:

 

How many colour schemes are there for the E5?  I could only find one on-line.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

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KenS

I see from the new Kato poster that they're doing the E5 again, but I can't tell if it's a rerun or a different paint scheme.

 

Usually when Kato changes a train they'll change the model number.  The number on the poster is the same as the original run, so I expect it's the same model.  That's typical; if the first run sells out quickly, they'll re-do it some time later (they did this with the DE10, a year after the first run sold out).

 

Of course, they aren't consistent and have made changes without altering the model number, so you can't know for sure until it comes out.

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keitaro

yeah the e5 is e5 no changes to livery yet. The e6 is litteraly a e5 with different livery imo and some other changes.

 

btw when you see a preorder pop up that is because it is a rerun.

 

Example Kato made 10,000 e5's all of them were sold so they are doing another run.

 

restock example

 

Kato made 10,000 800 tsubame sakura shinkansen HS orderd 100 and sold them eventually and restocked some as kato still have 5,000 available in the warehouse.

 

sometimes though a popular order will show as preorder as well to give everyone a fair chance to jump in and order one. like the c62's have gone up as they knew it would be a sell out and limited to 1 per person.

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jappomania

I see from the new Kato poster that they're doing the E5 again, but I can't tell if it's a rerun or a different paint scheme.

I'd love to pick up another set, this is one of my favorite trains!   :love4:

 

How many colour schemes are there for the E5?  I could only find one on-line.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

 

only the first trial set S11 is slightly different (and maybe soon or already upgraded like the standard U sets)

the car 10 has not been originally equiped like Gran Class (no logo on bodyside) and, at both head cars, the Hayabusa logos has not been applied.

I think that spotlight and camera near panto are still on use but I'm not sure...

 

ciao

Massimo

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