Japanese Model train manufacturers
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An introduction to some manufacturers
There are 3 manufacturers with a wide mainstream range, two also offer track and structures.
Kato, maybe the best-known manufacturer outside Japan.
Kato offers acomplete range, trains, track, power and control and
structures and scenics. Kato co-operates with Noch, Woodland Scenics,
Heljan and Digitrax.
Tomix, the largest model-train manufacturer in the world.
Tomix offers a more than complete range: trains, track, controls,
structures and some scenic materials. Useful or inspiration are the
handbooks and videos.
Micro-Ace, has a wide range of models, both modern and models of earlier years.
And many specialist manufacturers, the best-known are:
Kawai, has a range of freight wagons, one steam locomotive and some structures.
Green Max, has a wide range of kits. Very useful are the structure kits which have many options for variation.
Modemo, specialist in tram car models.
TexT, a new manufacturer, range has to develop yet.
Tokyo-do, parent company of TexT, many special runs and option kits.
World Kogei, expensive and beautiful brass models. Many are available as kits.
Endo, specialist in brass models, nowadays only in H0-scale.
Nakasei, specialist in steam-age models.
These are just a few Japanese model train manufacuterers. Kato, Tomix, Micro Ace and Green Max are considered as main-stream mass manufacturers, others are smaller and/or cater for specific interests, like Modemo who are emphasising on tram models.Clicking on the name will take you to a portrait of each manufacturer. All are producing N-scale models. Kato, Tomix, Endo (now MR-Endo) and Modemo also offer 1:80 (#16 scale) HO models.
HO-scale brass models are made by KTM (Katsumi), Tenshodo and a host of other small manufactures. These models are all hand-made and therefore rather pricy.
More information on each make by clicking on the respective name. Clicking on the manufacturers' logos will forward you to their corporate websites. These may be in Japanese only.
Ever seen 1:50 scale locomotive models? Japanese manufacturers did a number of these impressive models.
A manufacturer that is well known for its wonderful electronic products is Sony, once they made this lovely old train set.
Direct links to manufacturers
Listed below are some direct links to Japanese railway model manufacturers. Only a few pages are in English. Clicking on the logo or the name will take you directly to the manufacturer's website.
Katohave set up a Japanese homepage. Available in both Japanese and English.
Kato have also set up a website for their US-outline customers, a few items could be of interest for those modelling Japanese outline
Tomix have an extensive website, unfortunately it is only in the Japanese language.
Green Max offers kits of many EMU's and structures and lots of seperate parts like bogies, pantographs etc.
Hasegawa, the parent company of Modemo Modemo offers a selection of modern and older Japanese trams and some JR EMU's in N-scale. In H0 scale Modemo offers fine tram kits. Japanese language only.
Micro Ace offers a wide range of N-scale rolling stock. Steam locos are theri speciality, but electric and diesel locos and MU's have been added to this rapidly growing range. Japanese language only.
Kawai offers some freight wagons, one steam locomotive model and some very nice structures.
Diorama Display Factory makes ready-made scenics, custom-built scenics built to order are also possible.
World Kogei makes N-scale brass kits and completed models, pages are in Japanese only.
Endo also have their website. (Japanese only).
Hand-made brass models are made by KTM, beautiful, but expensive. (Japanese language)
Tenshodo is a company that makes jewelry for him and her, brass models for him, other shiny stuff for her. Their main store is in Ginza, Tokyo.
TexT offers models of modern EMU's. At the moment their products are still not available, but samples have appeared recently in the Japanese modelling magazines. Their plans are promising, the EMU's will have a flywheel drive, a first in N-scale.
Tokyo-do is the parent company of TexT, Tokyo-do offer a range RTR rolling stock, some kits and limited edition repaints.
Train offers die-cast 'models' of many Japanese trains. Scale is about 1:150. These models are not very detailed and meant as collectables rather than operational models.
K's Worksoffer detailing parts and a few kits.
King's Hobby offer locomotive kits and detail parts. Not cheap!
Kuromaya has a large range of rub-on transfers for customizing your models.
Platz Hobby have a range of kits and accesories.
Shinkasha have a range of kits, detail parts and decals. Site includes some prototype photos.
Win offer kits and some ready-to-run items.
Modelnics offer something special, 5-inch gauge models for ride-on use.
DigiQ TRAIN by Konami. Infra-red controlled toy trains. About N-scale size, I could see other use for the control electronics.
Ginga Model supplies
detail parts and wires that fit the catenary supports made bu Tomix and
LazyJack offers brass kits of signals, coach parts etc. in 1/80 and 1/87 scales and a few 1/150 scale coach parts. Those signals look awesome!
Hogaraka offers models of Japanese freight containers, that can be used on your container cars. Attractive are the colourful liveries of these containers.
Tsugawa makes cars (both modern and 1960s) and a range of scenic accessories.
Where to buy?
A few model shops and individuals have taken the plunge and can supply Japanese models outside Japan. Most of them are located in Australia, the USA or the UK. Most run a mail order service.
In Germany you can get Japanese railway models from Japan Model Railways. Open to everyone. Highly recommended! Shop specialises in Tomix and Micro Ace, but can supply all other makes on request. A 'brick & mortar' shop is open from May 11th 2002 in Kamen, Germany. Well worth a visit!
M.G. Sharp are the UK's leading Kato dealer, they are located in Sheffield, but can supply world-wide by mail order.
Doug Coster's Japanese Trains is a good address to buy Japanese model trains when you live in or nearby Australia. Doug can supply world-wide!
Adrian Cybriwsky offers a service on eBay He is specialised in used (better said: pre-owned) models. More details on his site
The Sato Trading Company is a small business, specializing in smaller Japanese model manufacturers. Besides model trains they also trade model cars, aircraft, ship and figure kits. Mainly Japanese language with some English. Sato Trading also distributes models of Taiwanese trains, some are converted Japanese models
1999 Hobby Search is a Japanese mail order business. Reasonable selection of mainstream manufacturers, including HO scale.
Awaza is a good site to spot new Japanse model railway
products. Japanese language.
In the USA, some Japanese stuff is available from the following suppliers, all run a mail order service.
4Nscale sometimes has Kato Japanese-outline models in stock. For U.S. prototype models this store is highly recommended!
N-Scale Supply is doing some Kato, Kawai, Tomix and Micro Ace.
Station is a new name to me. This Californian shop has a
reasonable selection of Tomix, Kato and Micro Ace.
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The model news page. A quick overview of everything that is announced by the various manufactures plus site updates etc.