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These days there is a lot going on regarding Japanese-outline railway models. Many new models are released or announced by the manufacturers. This page lists the most recent and most important developments. This page is updated from time to time and only announcements of new items are included. No information is given on delays, availabilty and pricing. Please check at the manufacturers' retailer's or distributors' sites for further details. Photographs on this page are mostly by NGI of RC-Awaza and usually size-reduced, unless stated otherwise. This page does not claim to be fully complete, please check manufacturers' or dealers' websites for more complete information.


** The Covid-19 (Corona) virus pandemic may delay the introduction of the items shown below, please refer to the manufacturers' and your favourite shops' websites **

bullet October 2021

Autumn has come, the weather gets worse, time to stay indoors and do some modelling! It's no surprise that in this time of year many new models are announced and models announced earlier will find their way to the shops I made a selection of the new models announced and some new DCC stuff as well.

Let's start with some new models annpounced by Kato: to cater for a growing interest in H0 narrow-gauge Kato will bring a 4-wheel diesel loco as a kit to fit the N-gauge 4-wheel steeple cab chassis. The result is a nice diesel loco for industrial use. In N-scale there will be a class 117 express EMU, the E351 tilting body express EMU, a Kiha181 express DMU and a Kumoya90 class parcel/mail EMU.or better said a power car. Some focus on the north with the class 50 coaches and matching ED78 AC electric loco. City life is represented by a set of office bloicks and the class 103 EMU

ho naro H0 narrow gauge diesel loco (photo: Kato)

50 ed78 Class 50 coaches and matching ED78 AC electric loco (photos: Kato)

117 103 117 and 103 classes EMUs (photos: Kato)
office These office blocks will complete your business district (photos: Kato)

dd51-800 kiha181 DD51-800 diesel loco and Kiha181 express DMU (photos: Kato)

kumoya90 e351 Kumoya90 parcels/mail electric railcar and E351 express EMU (photos: Kato)


I do not report very often on Green Maxmodels, but there are some interesting products in their range like the powered chassis, that can be used to power Green Max' own models or be a base for your scratchbuilding project. Green Max ghave upgraded their chassis with an adjustable variety and now some chassis hava a coreless motor and flywheel drive to ensure smooth runnning. The Toyoko-Inn hotel is typical for many cities. Hotels of this chain are all of a similar archtecture and the Green Max model replicates this very well.

gm gm Green Max powered chassis (photos: Green Max)
toyoko Toyoko-Inn chain hotel (photo: Green Max)


Tomix takes a step back in time with their new announcements. Most new items have something nostalgic like the old DMUs that are now disapearing from Japan's rails. Modelling is a way to capture these old times. Well let's start! New are the ED76-500 AC electric loco that was used on several routes in northern Honshu, Tomix announced two different liveries, all-over red and red with a light grey lower body. Matching type 50 and type 14 coaches are also announced. JR Kyushu is represented by two 485 class express EMU varieties: Red Express naturally in red and the Kirishima Express in dark green. The latter is interesting as it is a 3-car EMU, making it suitable for smaller layouts. The DD51 diesels are now taken out of service by JR Freight, Tomix will bring a detailed model in both freight and passenger (Izumo sleeper) versions. Allthough looking very modern, the 300 class Shinkansen is already history, a good reason to bring a model of it. Modern and already history is the class 215 double-decker EMU, once introduced for longer distance commuter routes, but proved unsatisfactionry as its fewet doors, high passenger capacity forced longer stops at stations.The model is in an advanced state of development and may be available soon.

215 215 215 class double-decker EMU (photos: Tomix)

ed76-500 ed76-500 ED76-500 AC electric loco (photos: Tomix)

14 50 oha60 Matching coaches for the ED76-500 electric and DD51 diesel locos
(photos: Tomix)

dd51 dd51 izumo DD51 diesel loco in both freight andsd passenger versions
(photos: Tomix)

300 485 red 485 kirishima 300 Shinkansen, class 485 Red Express and class 485 Kirishima Express
(photos: Tomix)

Sometimes, when a route is transferred from JR to a 3rd sector railway, as is othen the case when a new Shinkansen line opens,the rolling stock is also transferred to the new 3rd sector railway. In many cases old DMUs extend their life under a new owner. Tomix will bring KTK's ex-JR class Kiha40 DMU in a 2 nice liveries.

ktk40 ktk 40 40 KTK Kiha40 DMU (photos: Tomix)

New H0: class 115-100 DC commuter EMU and Kumoni83 DC electric motor parcels van, again models that have a nostalgic touch, as they are being phased out by JR.

 115-100 kumoni83 New H0: 115-100 class commuter EMU and Kumoni83 motor parcels van (MPV) (photos: Tomix)

DCC news: Digitrax have introduced an 8-output accesory decoder that drives 8 servos and has inputs for switches, track circuits etc. Their DS78V does it all!

ds78v 8 output servo accessory decoder (photo: Digitrax)

Tams Elektronik from Germany extends their mc2 DCC command station with a power splitter that divides the 6 Amp output of the command station into 3 2 Amp outputs, very suitable for alarge layout in a smaller scale like N-scale A 6 Amp booster in the same design is also announced, more suitable for larger layouts in a larger scale (H0, 0 or G scales)

ps2 ps2 b6 DCC Power splitter and DCC booster (photos: Tams Elektronik)

bull July 2021

Love it - keep it -store it; Micro Ace have announced empty storage cases, in versions for H0 and N scales. As usual these cases are of the book case type and are lined with a foam that protects your valuable model trains.

ho n MIcro Ace: storage cases for H0 (left) and N (right) scale trains.(photos: Micro Ace)

Tomytec have announced a numer of new bus models, this time they are almost all from the Hokuriku region on the Sea of Japan coast (west coast of Japan) Nice new items are the city buildings and the high-rise hotel. More figurines to come as weell, such as rail workers and soldiers in action (from the Diocolle Combat range)

hotel guests Hotel and guests (images: Tomytec)

city rail workers soldiers City buildings, rail workers and soldiers in action (images: Tomytec)

hakusanhokutetsu1hokutetsu2hokutetsu3 Hkusan and Hokutetsu buses (images: Tomytec)

hokutetsu4hokutetsu5komatsu Long-distance buses (coaches) as operated by Hokutetsu and Komatsu Bus (images: Tomytec)

And finally a nice tram model, which can be motorised with a powered chassis which is available seperately

tram Tram model (image: Tomytec)

Tomix announced a few less modern trains: JR 113-0 class commuter EMU, 12 class coaches in a set for the Daisen-Sakuma express train. More diesels: JNR Kiha82 as used on the 'Hida' service and its Meitetsu counterpart: the Kiha8200 class, which ran the 'Kita Alps' service, that shares a great part of the route with JNR's 'Hida' express trains. New H0: a JR Freight EF81-400 class electric locomotive  and Ueda Kotsu's Moha 5250 class electric railcar.

113-0 113-0 JNR 113-0 class commuter EMU (photos: Tomix)

daisen JR 12 class 'Daisen Sakuma' express coaches (photos: Tomix)

kiha82 kiha8200 JNR Kiha82 and Meitetsu Kiha8200 express DMUs (photos: Tomix)

ef81 5250 New H0: JR Freight EF81-400 loco and Ueda Kotsu Moha 5250 railcar (photos: Tomix)

Finally Kato, who announced the following: A 700T Taiwan Shinkansen train, as used on the Taipeh - Kaohsiung high speed line in Taiwan, a re-run of a model made several years ago, with updated technology ( now suitable for Digitrax or Zimo plug-in DCC decoders), JR Kyushu's 800 class Shinkansen (same model announced by Tomix) the Chikoho Express HOT7000 express DMU, the unique M250 container EMU, JR East 701 commuter EMU as used in the Tohoku area, aloso in a variety as used bu the 3rd sector Iwate Ginga Railway (IGR), JR West Twilight Express deluxe sleeper train, hauled by a green liveried EF81 electric loco. On the last weekend of July Kato announced the N700S-3000 'Nozomi' Shinkansen, the ED76-500 AC electric loco, as used on teh Ou mainline and other lines in northern Tohoku and the E235 commuter EMU, as used on Tokyo's Yamanote Line (loop line around central Tokyo), which will also come in a new starter set.

700t  800 nozomi 700T Taiwan Shinkansen, JR Kyushu 800 class Shinkansen and N700S-3000 'Nozomi' (photos: Kato)

701 igr701 twilight JR East 701 commuter EMU. IGR 701 EMU, JR West Twilight Express (photos: Kato)

m250 hot7000 M250 container EMU, Chikoho Express HOT7000 DMU (photos: Kato)

ed75-500 e235 ED76-500 AC electric loco annd E235 Yamanote commuter EMU (photos: Kato)


megapoints MegaPoints Controllers are new to me, this UK based firm offers a control system for points, track circuits and signals. Compatible with both analogue and DCC train control. They also offer a mimic panel design and manufacturing service.

More control: Digitrax have announced the DS74 4 point accessory decoder with some extras. See the promtional video and link to the Digitax website.



bullet June 2021

Micro Ace will introduce a 12 class 'Joyful Train', that will be available in 'Yasuragi' and 'Southern Cross' versions. Matching locomotives are  the EF64-1000 and ED76 (special livery) electric locos. These can be found in the Tomix and Kato ranges. The Hankyu 2300 class commuter EMU will come in 4 and 7 car varieties. The JR 167 class EMU will come in two different versions, with stainless steel coloured trim. Two 'C-Type' locos complete the news.

12 12 Joyful Trains of the 12 Class, in booth Yasuragi (left) and Southern Cross (right) liveries (photos: Micro Ace)

167 2300 JR 167 (left) and Hankyu 2300 (right) class EMUs (photos: Micro Ace)

Kato will bring 2 varieties of the E3 Shinkansen. Being a 'mini Shinkansen' type of ttrain, these trains can find a home at many layouts and the stunning liveries may attract lots of atention when in your collection or running on our layout. The E3 will come as E3-2000 'Tsubasa' and as E3-700 'Towariyu Tsubasa', both run from Uneo (Tokyo) to Akita via Yamagata, a very scenic inland route. The 521 class commuter EMU and teh Hokuetsu Express 681 class express EMU run in the Hokuriku region on the west coast of Japan. Both trains have colourful liveries that brighten up your layout or collection.

e3-700 e3-2000 E3 mini Shinkansen varties, E3-700 (left) and E3-2000 (right) (photos: Kato)

681 521 Colourful Hokuriku trains: Hokuetsu Express 681 and JR-West 521 class EMUs (photos: Kato)

Tomix is going north with a Kiha40-1700 / Kiha40-700 aet. Used on rural routes on Hokkaido. The small windows are typical for older Hokkaido trains. The standard Kiha40-0 will come in a nice special livery. Shinkansen trains always had special attention of Tomix, and this time Tomix will introduce a special-liveried class 800 Kyushu Shinkansen and the brand-new N700S class as used on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen. The 'S' in N700S stands for 'Supreme'.

tmx_kiha40-700 tmx_kiha40-1700 Kiha 40-700 and Kiha40-1700 DMUs (photos: Tomix)

800 n700s New Shinkansen: class 800 Kyushu Shinkansen and N700S as sued on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen (photos: Tomix)

kiha40 Kiha40-0 in a special livery (photo: Tomix)


bullet May 2021

Kato have announced a few new items and have set up an english language website promoting their range of figurines, which can be found at https://www.kato-figuanimal.com/ This range includes animal figures in both H0 and N scales and the Surrealistic Figures in H0. More figures are planned and these incude birds, fish and mythical figures from both the East and the West. Of interest are the classic JNR class 485-200 express EMU and the Hiroshima trams 'Piccolo'and 'Piccola' each in their own livery. In H0 sclae a 2-car open wagon set of the ToRa45000 class is announced. As Kato co-operates with Noch it is no surprise that Kato will distribute the Noch 'Grassmaster' static grass applicator and static grass fibres in Japan. At the moment of writing there are a few other manufacturers offering similar devices and if you're familiar with electrnics you can even build one yourself, but be careful as there is a high voltage in these units.

485-200 Classic JNR express EMU of the 485-200 class piccolo Hiroshima Piccolo and Piccola trams  (photos: Kato)

mani44 MaNi44 parcels/mail van tora45000 HO scale ToRa45000 open wagon, comes in a set of 2 (photos: Kato)

grassmaster The 'Grassmaster' static grass applicator with a selection of static grass fibres (photo: Kato)

If you want to build a layout but don't want to do the carpentry, you can have iit done for you! In the USA and UK there are several companies offering ready-built baseboads or benchwork modules that save you time and effort. In the Netherlands Bentink Modelspoor in Apeldoorn offers a range of module kits, even with backgrounds and lighting options and in Germany Auhagen now offers a range of ready-made baseboards in a wide variaty of sizes annd all can be combined with each other to form larger layout baseboards. Auhagen can also supply a range of modelling tools, aimed at plastic kit assembly.

 A video demonstrating the Auhagen modular baseboards.(Auhagen)


Tomix
, being the largest make on the Japanese market, have announced a load of mew models. Of interest are the KiHa35 commuter DMU, an older type that combines with a number of other DMU types. The 475 class commuter EMU is a type that is typical of the Hokuriku mainline. The model will come in the later white with blue side band livery. A typical city-type of train is the 103 class, which will come as an Osaka version in a bright green livery. Another city-type is the Tokyo Waterfront Railway 70-000 class, much more modern than the JR 103. The 200 class Shinkansen will come in the remewed version. In H0 sclae the EF66 electric loco will make quite an impression on your layout.

kiha35 kiha35 KiHa35 commuter DMU (photos: Tomix)

103 103 103 classs city type EMU (photos: Tomix)

475 475 475 commuter EMU as used on the Hokuriku main line.(photos: Tomix)

twr 70-000 Tokyo Waterfront Railway 70-000 class (photo: Tomix)

ef66 H0 scale EF66 electric loco (photo: Tomix)


Tomytec
have announced the  usual number of new bus models, all of Japenes bus operators. The Tetsudo Collection will see a new 2-car DMU and the Truck Collection will have another 10 new truck models added. Thes enew trucks include the Hino TH-80 medium truck and the Hino Super Dolphin ( 2 model gerations) heavy truck and aloo a new body type: a animal transporter. Matching animals (cattle) can be found in the Tomytec range or in the Noch, Preiser and Merten ranges from Germany.

hybrid  super dolphin Hino trucks: Profia Hybrid and Super Dolphin heavy trucks (images: Tomytec)

th-80 cattle Hino TH-80 medium truck and Hino Super Dolphin (older type!) livestock transporter (images: Tomytec)


New Micro Ace: Seibu 'Red Arrow' limited express EMU, Keihan 5000 class EMU in old and new liveries, JR East 715 class commuter EMU as used in the Tohoku region and the Kintetsu 'Vista Car' limited express EMU with 2 dome cars. The latter will come in 2 different liveries.

715 red arrow JR East 715 class and Seibu Railway 'Red Arrow' limited express EMUs (photos: Micro Ace)

vista car 5000 Kintetsu 'Vista Car' and Keihan 5000 EMUs, both in their old livery.(photos: Micro Ace)


bullet April 2021

Lots of new items form Kato, Micro Ace, Tomix and Tomytec. Let's start with Kato: they will bring the E257 class express EMU as used on the 'Odoriko' service to the Izu peninsula, in co-operation with the Izu Kyuko Railway. The new train will come in a white and dark blue livery and is a matching pair with the E261 'Saphir Odoriko' luxury express. New Shinkansen: the E2-1000 cllass as used on the Tohoku Shinkansen. New H0: a re-run of the impressive EF58 DC electric loco with matching type 20 sleeper coaches. More shinkansen: the new 'Doctor Yellow' test train

e257 odoriko e2-1000  Kato E257 'Odoriko' Express EMU and E2-1000 Shinkansen (photos: Kato)

ef58 Kato H0: EF58 DC electric loco (photo: Kato)

Tomix have announced many new items, almost too many to mention! First: a 485 class variety in withe and blue: the 'Super Raicho' express that ran on the Hokuriku mainline on the west coast of Japan. The model will be in the 'high grade' range with fine detail and many add-on parts. Tobu Railway's 'Spacia' will come in a new livery. More private railways' trains: Odakyu 4000 class comnmuter EMU and Hitachinaka Rinkai Railway Kiha205 DMU (ex JNR). New H0: ED76-0 class AC electric loco as used on Kyushu with matching type 14-15 sleeper coaches and the Hoki5700 cement hopper withe yellow Chichibu Cement logo.

485 485 485 485 Tomix: 485 class 'Super Raicho' (photos: Tomix)

e231 231 e231 Tomix: E231 commuter EMU as used on the Joban and Narita lines (photos: Tomix)

kiha205 buffer anchor Tomix: Hitachinaka Kiha205 DMU, concrete sleeper rail buffer stop and anchor masts for the catanary (both DC and AC) (photos: Tomix)

ed76-0 14 kei hoki5700 Tomix H0: ED76-0, type 14-15 sleeper coaches, Hoki5700 cement hopper (photos: Tomix)

Tomytec will bring new collectable train models and a range of new models, mostly new bus models. First a green bus made by Chinese manufacturer BYD, it is a K9 battery-electric type that runs in Morioka by Iwateken Kotsu and has a distinctive green colour. The Isuzu articulated bus ('Bendy bus') is opertated by Keisei in the Tokyo coastal area that is under redevelopment and the area faces growing traffic, so larger buses are a good option to meet this growing demand in a short term. A BRT system is built much quicker and far less expensive than any rail system. The trolleybus was used on the Alpine Route, a popular tourist route that makes use of various modes of transportation. It is now replaced with battery electric buses. Finally some structures, with the canopy that covers a preserved train being worth mentioning. Canopies like these cvan be found in many places in Japan, with a preserved loco or railcar under the roof. The 100th annivarsary off the Yokohama Municpal Transportation Bureau is celebrated with a model of a 1000 class metro train.

byd k9 byd k9 BYD K9 type electric bus (photo: Tomytec)

isuzu keisei  Isuzu articulated bus (photos: Tomytec)

trolley trolley Alpine Route trolley bus (photos: Tomytec)

canopy yokohama 1000 Preserved railcar canopy and Yokohama 1000 class metro train (photos: Tomytec)

Micro Ace has fewer new models, but interesting ones. Shinkansen fans will wlecome the 300 type that was used on the Sanyo and Tokaido routes. The Seibu 3000 class L-Train is promoting the Seibu Lions baseball team and come in a colourful livery.

300 seibu 300 series Shinkansen and Seibu 3000 class L-Train (photos: Micro Ace)

Green Max hav e announced many new models, as usual most of them are models of trains of the many private railways in Japan. Interesting is the blue version of the Meitetsu 1000 class. Meitetsu's 'Blue Liner' will come in a 3-car layout and will surely catch attention on your layout. The Kintetsu 12200 class is a classic Kintetsu express train in its ochre yellow and dark blue livery. The Tokyu 6000 class is a modern city type train that runs in the southwestern parts of Tokyo.

blue-liner 12200 6000 Meitetsu 1000 class 'Blue Liner', Kintetsu 12200 class and Tokyu 6000 class EMUs (photo: Green Max)

A new manufacturer, MAX ambient, have announced 3 special DCC accessory decoders, that are meant to animate your layout. At first the range will consist of a light effect decoder (control-l), a configurable signal decoder )control-s) and a audio effect module (control-a) that plys back sound files stored on a microSD memory card.

control-l control-s control-a Special DCC accessory decoders, by MAX ambient (photo: MAX ambient)

bullet March 2021

Micro Ace have announnced a few new models: to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the parent company Arii, a 1/50 scale plastic kit of a C11 tank locomotive will be made. In N-scale there will be more news: the small Seibu E31 and E32 electric loocotives, built on EMU bogies and used to haul ballast and other work trains. Matching cars will also be available. More spectacular is another Seibu type: the award winning 001 class 'Laview' express EMU, designed to blend with the surrounding scenery.Other railways are also represented like the Nankai with the 7100 class commuter EMU and Kintestsu with their 26000 Sakura Liner express EMU

c11 7100 26000 New Micro Ace: 1/50 scale C11, N-scale Nankai 7100 class and Kintetsu 26000 class EMUs (photos: Micro Ace)

laview e31 wagons Seibu Railway 001 class 'Laview' express EMU, E31 and E32 electric locos and engineering duties wagons c

Tomix cannot leave behind and announced an overwhelming amount of new models. Very welcome is the new underslung girder bridge, that combines nicely with Tomix' Fine Track and other bridges. New trains too: 700 class Shinkansen with 'Ambitious Japan' branding, 117-100 class EMU, Kiha56 JR Hokkaido DMU, Kiha40 and Kiha47 DMUs. A new freight car: Taki3000 tank car, an older car used for petroleum products. New locos are the EF65-1000 DC electric and ED75-700 AC electric. A train made up of 14 type cars and the Mani50 type 'Moto Train' match these locos perfectly. Finally: the class 521 EMU will come in two 3rd sector versions: Ishikawa Railway and Ainokaze Toyama Railway. These are the same type as used by JR on the Hokuriku mainline and used on sections of that line that are transferred to regional 3rd sector companies after opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen.

ef65-1000 ef65-1000 rainbow 14 mototrain Tomix: EF65-1000 DC electric locos, 14 type passenger cars, Mani 50 'Moto Train' motorcycle transport car (photo: Tomix)

ed75-700 taki3000 taki3000 ED75-700 AC electric loco, Taki3000 tank car (photo: Tomix)

kiha56 kiha47 Kiha 56 (cold weather version, JR Hokkaido) and Kiha47 DMUs (photo: Tomix)

521 ainokaze 521 ishikawa 3rd sector 521s: Ainokaze Toyama Railway and Ishikawa Railway (photo: Tomix)

bridge bridge New bridge: underslung girder bridge to match the Fine Track track system (photo: Tomix)

Some DCC: I found a DCC manufacturer from Taiwan that makes replacement PCBs with a DCC decoder. They are made to fit Kato locomotivers and a conversion is a matter of minutes. Accessory decoders, function-only decoders and LED coach lights are also offered. More information can be found at the drM website.

drm kato mu drm kato loco drm coach light drM DCC decoders and coach light unit (photo: drM)

bullet February 2021

The annual Nuremberg Toy Fair, that is usually held at the end of january has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as travel is limited. As an alternative, most manufacturers held online events or just published their new items in a *.pdf file. Most interesting are a range of new decoders by ESU, including the smallest sound decoder made ntil now.Further, as this is a new year, japanese manufacturers have announced a number of new models as well.

ESU: New decoders, including board-replacement decoders that fit Atlas, Intermountain and Kato USA models. ESU also annnounceda sound decoder that fits Kato's EMUs. Simply slide it in! The accessory decoders rewached their 3rd generation and now have a small OLED display that allows you to program the decoder without the use of the command station, a PC or an app on your smartphone.

esu_slide-in esu_nani New, very small, sound decoders by ESU (photo: ESU)

esu_switchpilot3 esu_switchpilot3plus esu_swwitchpilot3servo diplsay New accessory decoders with a small OLED display to assist you in programming the decoder (photo: ESU)


Tomixannounced a number of new models, including Tobu Railway's striking 'Revaty' express EMU. Very welcome is the modular station footbridge kits, that can be built in various configutrations. The E235-1000 in the blue/cream/stainless livery is a modern commuter EMU, based on the type used on Tokyo's Yamanote line. The fun part is represented by the C11 steam locomotive in 'Thomas' guise, as used by the Oigawa Railway, a matching train will also be on offer. The E235-1000 is a modern commuter train used on the Yokosuka and Sobu lines in the greater Tokyo area. The 223-5000 'Marine Liner' is used on routes across the Seto Ohashi bridge, which joins Shikoku with the Kansai area. The top deck of the double-decker end car guarantees great views!

tmx_e235-1000 thomas E235-1000 commuter EMU and Oigawa Railway 'Thomas' train. (photo: Tomix)

revaty reavaty Tobu Railway 'Revaty' Express EMU (photo: Tomix)

passarelle passarelle Modular footbridge system derail Safety siding (trap point, derail, Flankenschutz) set (photo: Tomix)

583 New H0 class 683 'Thunderbird' Express EMU (photo: Tomix)

marineliner e233-6000 223-5000 Marine Liner and E233-6000 commuter EMU (photo: Tomix)

Older trains are represented by a range of diffrent types: :the Kiha81 express DMU as used on the Tohoku and Ou main lines before electrification, an EF71 AC electric pusher locomotive, used on the Ou and main line and the EF60 DC electric locomotive and a nice old freight train.

ef60 ef60 ef60 ef60 EF60 DC electric locomotive (photo: Tomix)

kiha81 kiha81 ef71 Kiha81 express DMU and EF71 AC pusher locomotive (photo: Tomix)

freight freight kamotsu 1960s era freight train (photo: Tomix)

kiha261 kiha261 Kiha261, a modern express DMU used on Hokkaido (photo: Tomix)


Micro Ace have announced several new train models, I found the Chichibu Railway's limestone cars and amtchin lectric locomotives most interesting. The locos will come in different colours (blue, brown and yellow), the cars feature a new coupler that allows for much closer coupling than the ones of the first production run.

deki200 deki500 deki500 limestone Chichibu Railway electric locos and limestone cars (photos: Micro Ace)


Kato have announced a number of new items.

 New express EMUs, the E257-2000 and E261 classes, the latter is a very luxurious train tha runs on the Tokyo - Izu peninula route, serving popular seaside resorts. The Toyota minibuses come in a wide varierty, including police vehicles. The forlifts are very suitable for a freight yard or a large industry.The H0 scale cats come in a variety of life-like poses and adda nice touch to your layout Put them wherever you like: near homes, on the quayside begging for a fish or even on a station.

e261 e257 E261 'Saphir Odoriko' ans E257 Express EMUs (photo: Kato)

forlifts Toyota minibuses and TCM forklifts (photo: Kato)

kotoden 'Kotoden' 2-car EMU (photo: Kato)

neko The 'purrfect' touch to your layout (photo: Kato)



bullet December 2020

Tams from Germany have announceda new DCC command station / booster device. The new Master Control2 is a very modern design that supports several cab buses, apart from their own EasyNet the mc2 supports LocoNet and XpressNet cab buses. The booster section is regulated and can supply up to 6 Amps of power. The LAN network connector allows connection to almost any computer without the trouble of using an USB connection. To make adjustments, just hook up and open the setup page through an internet browser. All in all, a new and modern design that lifts the Tams DCC system to new heights.

mc2 Tams mc2 DCC command station / booster unit (photo: Tams Elektronik)


bullet November 2020

Digitrax introduced a new hand-held throttle (controller) to coplete the modernisation of their product range. The new UT6 throttle has a large LCD display as per the DCS52 all-in-one system, number buttons grouped around the display and large backlit buttons. Thew new throttle will be available in wired and two wireless versions (wireless for US and EU/UK markets)

 ut6 New UT6 hand-held throttle (photo: Digitrax)


bullet July 2020

Digitrax have announced a new starter system, the Evolution Xpress, with the new DT602 handheld throttle. Available in both wireless and tethered versions. A EU version for the wireless set is available, just as there will be versions for the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

 EvoX Evolution Xpress wireless DCC starter set (photo: Digitrax)


Green Max has aanounceda number of new modles. Among them are several Kintetsu trains, the 2680 class is worth mentioning. It has an all-over red livery and apart from thet it's a common commuter-type train, like many Japanese trains. Further there are a few Meitetsu trains, a 1850 class 2-car EMU in Meitetsu express livery (white with red waistban) and an all-red 1380 class commuter EMU

2680 Kintetsu 2680 class EMU (photo: Green Max)

1380 1850 Meitetsu 1380 and 1850 EMUs (photo: Green Max)


Kato has announced new items as well. Of interest are the Hiroshima trams of the 1000 class. These will come in 3 versions: Green Mover LEX, Piccolo (purple) and Piccola (red). Further a JR Shikoku N2000 tilting express DMU and the classic KiHa58 DMU.

hiroden1000 hiroden-piccolo-piccola Hiroden 1000 class trams in LEX, Piccola and Piccolo liveries (photo: Kato)

N2000 kh58 DMUs, JR Shikoku N2000 express DMU and classic KiHa58 general purpose DMU (photo: Kato)

It has been a little quiet at Micro Ace, but now they have announced a number of new models, among them are 2 versions of the Sagami Railway's 9000 class commuter EMU, former JR type 12 coaches as used on Chichibu Raailway's steam special 'Paleo Express' and a rebuilt KiHa40 'Hayatono' DMU and a JR 113 class EMU.

sagami9000 9000 Sagami Railway 9000 class (photo: Micro Ace)

paleo hayatono 113 Coaches for the 'Paleo Express', KiHa40 'Hayatono'DMU and a JR 113 class EMU (photo: Micro Ace)

bullet June 2020


Tomytec announced a series of kits that are meant to be used as 'battleground' for wargames, but are equally suited as ruined buildings on your model railway. Although of Japanese prototype, they can find a place on almost any N-scale layout.

comabt_top combat1combat2combat3combat4 Diocolle Combat range by Tomytec (photo: Tomytec)


Kato have announced a few interesting items: a 701 class commuter EMU, in two different liveries and a very nice station that could be used for a small village or as a suburban station.

kat_701 kat_701-1000 kat_local_station Kato: 701 and 701-1000 class EMUs, small station (photo: Kato)


Digitrax has been working secretly on a new hand-held controller, the DT602, which will come in both wired and two wireless (US and EU) versions. This new controller is a great step forward in ergonomics and now has a colour LCD, similatr ro the the DCS52 all-in-one system.

dt602  New DT602 hand-held controller (photo: Digitrax)

Tomix has announced many new items, I have selected a few:

Kintetsu 'Hinotori', a luxury express train that operates betweeen Osaka and Kyoto in competition with JR-Central's Shinkansen. Finished in a beautiful metallic red, this train will be a real eyecatcher on your layout.
tmx_hinotori Kintetsu 'Hinotori' luxury express train (photo: Tomix)

The 485 class has long been one of my favourites, Tomix will bring a HighGrade series model of a 485 class as used on the Kuroshio service. Being a short train, it may find a place on many layouts.
tmx485 485 class 'Kuroshio' express EMU (photo: Tomix)

Freight train fans will welcome the ISO 20ft tanktainers. These will fit many container cars, but a Koki200 class is built to carry two of them. Tomix will bring both the tanktainers and do a re-run of the Koki200 container cars. Matching locos are: EF64, EF66-100, EH200, EH500, EF510, EF81. Diesels: DD51, DF200, DE10

tmx-tanktainer Tomix ISO 20ft tanktainer (photo: Tomix)

bullet March 2020

Tomix announced many new items. I will list a few oof them:

205 yamanote A class 205 EMU as used on Tokyo's Yamanote circular line (photo: Tomix)

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The Hokutosei sleeper train, that used to connect Ueno with Sapporo passing the Seikan tunnel on its route to the North. A complete train will be made, with matching electric and diesel locos.(image: Tomix)

Hokutosei Hokutosei sleeper train (photo: Tomix)

A new freight car: the Taki1900 cement tank car. A widespread type that offers amny possible liveries, although most are black with a company logo. Tomix will offer a Taiheiyo Cement version first.

taiheiyo Taki1900 cement tank car (photo: Tomix)

More EMUs: a class 117 express EMU. This type is now being withdrawn, some are to be rebuilt in special trains.

117 117 class EMU (image: Tomix)

sanriku A splash of colour with this Sanriku Railway DMU (photo: Tomix)

The Sanriku Railway suffered heavily from teh 2011 tsunami, but is recovering! Colourful trains attrack both tourists and railfans.

depot1depot2depot3depot4 A complete MU maintainance depot (photo: Tomix)

Intersting is the new MU depot, which incudes a 'speeder' vehicle for light track inspection and maintainance duties. Work platforms, walkways and a shed complete the set, which could be extended as you like.

In H0 scale (1/80) there will be a model of the popular DD51 diesel loco, and Koki107 container cars, which could be loaded with a choice of new containers.

dd51 container1container2container3container4 New H0: DD51 diesel loco and a choice of containers (photo: Tomix)

To commemorate the end of the regular use of the 251 class EMU on the 'Super View Odoriko' service Tomix will bring a superb model of this train. Despite its modern looks, this train is over 30 years old!

svo Super View Odoriko, 251 class EMU (photo: Tomix)

Some items announced by Micro Ace, I selected a few

100 The class 100 Shinkansen as used on Hikari services on the Tokaido and Sanyo shinkansen (photo: Micro Ace)

sagami8000 An 8000 class commuter EMU as used by the Sagami Railway, this is the newer livery (photo: Micro Ace)

odq3000 The Odakyu 3000 class 'Romance Car', an interesting express EMU of the 1950s (photo: Micro Ace)

hoki800 taki1900 Hoki800 limestone hopper and Taki1900 cement tank car (photo: Micro Ace)

e130 Colourful DMU: Kiha E130 (photo: Micro Ace)

Kato will also introduce new train models. First a class 8620 steam loco, the cold weather version is depicted, as used in northern Honshu. The loco will have great detail! Further there will be many EMUs like the 381 class 'Suoer Shinano' and teh E353 class used on the Shinjuku (Tokyo) - Matsumoto services. Of interest is the EF64-1000 class DC electric locomotive. The one depicted has a rotating coupler (buckeye/scharfenberg) and is suitable to haul new MUs from their builders to the variuos depots of JR and some private railways (track and loading gauge permitting)

862 Kato: class 8620 steam loco (photo: Kato)

ef64-1000 EF64-1030, used to haul new MUs (photo: Kato)

foxes badgersAnimal life:H0 scale Foxes and Tanuki (raccoon dogs) (photo: Kato)

surreal Human? life (photo: Kato)

New figure sets depict wildlife with sets containing foxes and raccoon dogs (tanuki). Something different is the set 'Surreal Straat', to celebrate surrealism. The set contains items from well-known works of art ('The Scream' and the Girl with hoop) and famous artists of surrealism (Salvador Dali and René Magritte)

decoder Zimo decoders for Kato MUs (photo:  Lemke)

This set of decoders made by Zimo are meant for Kato's ICE4 high-speed train, but will also fit other Kato MUs. These decoders have more features than the ones made by Digitrax and may be easier to get hold of in  continental Europe.

bullet August 2017

The Moraco modelling contest was held, this is an annula competition for which high school classes and groups of students could make an entry. The level of modelling is usually high and entries were possible is several categories. I will present you the winners by short videos (source: N Gauge Information)

Module category: the categry with the most entries, as a module is compact and takes less time and resources to build. The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Award (for Best Prize) was won by a team of the Kyoritsu Junior High School with their module 'Fukaoka'

'Excellent Prize' was won by a team from Nara National College of Technology Mechanical Study Group with their module 'Ginzan / Yukemuri Monogatari'

A second 'Excellent Prize' was awarded to the team of Keio University Shigaku High School with their module 'Seibu Akitsu - JR Shin Atsu'

Finally the Yuji Kato Award was awarded to the team of Chiba Prefectural Funabashi Higashi High School Railway Family Association with their 'Furusato' module

And now my favourite: the 1 Tatami Mat category, a complete layout in the size of 1 tatami mat (approx. 1 x 2 metres). This years' winners are the team of Tokyo Metropolitan Osaki High School Paper Diorama Department with their layout "Paper World! A journey of a magnificent Switzerland". Making use of the RhB models issued by Kato and depicting several famous scenes of the Rheatian Railways in Switzerland like the Landwasser Viaduct and the loop viaduct at Brusio they have created a stunning layout in this relatively small space. Finally, the layout was built by an all-girl team, enjoy!

Most of the mentioned new items will be available at DM Toys. Reserve early if you don't want to miss a new model!

Well, that's all folks! For more information see the manufacturer's web pages. Those can be reached from this page.


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