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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.
Dutch DCC controls manufacturer Digikeijs went bankrupt. A pity, as this manufacturer offered a modern and affordable DCC command station and a wide range of accessory decoders.
Micro Ace announded a model of the Hokuso Express Railway 7000 class commuter EMU with the destictive 'Sigma' shaped cab fronts.More Micro Ace: JR-East E257 'Wakasio' express EMU and the Taki 19550 tank car.
Hokuso Express Rwy 7000 class, E257 class and Taki 19550 tank car, new models by Micro Ace .(photo: Micro Ace)
anounned a model of the EF55 class electric passenger looc, a class of
which only a few were built. EF55-1 is preserved in the Saitama Railway
Museum. Being a Kato a very smooth drive and fine detail is what you
may expect, an easy DCC conversion is an extra bonus.Other Kato: 113
class commuter EMU in an attrative gold colour and the 455 and 475 cEMU
classes, typical of the Hokuriku mainline.
Kato: EF55, 113, 455 and 475 cllasses (photos: Kato)
Headmarks of Tokaido mainline express trains (photo: Kato)
Green Max announced a Keihan 9000 class express EMU in the traditional Keihan livery. Very nice are the Kiha 110 class DMU, typical for rural lines in the Tohoku area
Keihan 9000 class commuter EMU (photo: Green Max)
Kiha 110 class DMU for use on rural lines (photos: Green Max)
The wheels on the bus...
announceda wide range of bus models ib their 'Bus Collection' range.
Worth mentioning is the Nara city bus, with an unusual 3-door
configuration. Very nice is the model of the Utsunomiya
Light Rail HU300 class tram car, which can be motorised with a new
powered chassis. The wing body truck is typical for Japan and a few
other Asian countries; the sides fold open to make loading and
unloading of pallets, crates and barrels much easier. Tmytec will not
only bring the truck but also a set of accessories including cargo and
Nara City Bus (photo: Tomytec)
Utsunomiya Ligh Rail HU300 tram car (photo: Tomytec)
Wing body truck withh cargo and forklifts.(photo: Tomytec)
Although they are no longer running on the JR networks, sleeper train remain an item of interest of many modellers. Tomix announed a Tokaido mainline sleeper train with type 14 sleeper cars and a matching EF65-1000 class electric loco.
Tokaido mainline sleeper train: type 14 coaches and EF65-1000 locomotive (photos by Tomix)
Minitrix hava announcced a new N-sclae
track system.The track geometry is the same as with their existing
track range, but with a modern concrete-sleeper appearance, and a code
60 rail profile, itmatches today's demands. Minitrix dropped the R1
radius curve (192,8 mm) for the new range. A transition track of
standard length will be available for those who want to use both track
systemsa on their layout. In my opinion it's a pity that Minitris made
no improvemnets to the point motors and point geometry. Expected Q3 2023.
Buffer stop and track detail (photo Minitrix)
Curve radii of the new Minitrix code 60 track sytem (image: Minitrix)
An overview of the 2023 Minitrtix new items (German language) on the Märklin official channel
The dream train
Kato announced an H0 scale (1:80, 16.5 mm track gauge) model of the 'Yume Kukan' class 24-25 luxury sleeper cars. A special feature of this train is the dining car with a large panoramic window at the end. The model will have working table lights, interior lighting and will be DCC friendly so that fitting a DCC decoder will be a relatively easy job. Matching loco will be a red EF81, which is also offered by Kato. EF81-95 will be a nice match!
'Yume Kukan' dining car and matching EF81-95 loco (photos: Kato)
Signed, sealed, delivered
More Kato: An N-scale Kiyuni 28 Diesel
Pastal Van, a variety of the Kiha28 that was used to carry mail traffic
in regular passenger trains. Matching cars are the Kiha 28 and Kiha 58
classes of DMU, that found a widespread use in Japan.
Kiyuni 28 diesel postal van (photo: Kato)
The daily commute
Kato announced a model of the E127-100 2-car EMU. Trains like these are used for communter services in rural areas. This train belongs to a whole family of trains based on more or less the same technology and differ mainly in amenities, like seating arrangement and having a toilet. Liveries diifer also with the area served.
E127-100 commuter EMU (photo: Kato)
Noch have introduced a new technique to make small figurines: Multiclour 3D printing. This technique at Noch is limited to N and Z-scale figurines, which are 3D printed in realistic colours. The horses pictured are Z-scale (1:220). In N-scale there will be a choice of human figurines to start with and animals could follow later.
Multicolour 3D printed horses (photo: Noch)
Green Max announced an entrance that
could be used on a platform to give access to underpasses, subways or
metro stations. Being a modern design it may find other aplications too.
Metro station entrance (photo: Green Max)
Tomix have put their focus on models of
older trains. Very promising is their model of the C55 Pacific type
steam loco. With a matching express train it will impress yu and your
friends when running on a layout. More modern, but equally impressive
is the DD51 diesel loco. These locos found widespread use all over
Japan until withdrawn recently. Tomix wil make a highly detailed model.
C55 prototype photo and digiutal render of the oncoming DD51 diesel (photo and render by Tomix)
One way or another
Tomytec announced a very nice model of
the Asa Coast Railway's DMV-001 Dual Mode bus. This is a Toyota minibus
equipped with train wheels that can be raised or lowered to run on
either road or track. You can see the DMV in action at NHK's Japan Railway Journal The model features retractable train wheels and will come with a section of adapter track.
Asa Coast Rwy DMV dual-mode minibus (photo: Tomytec)
Toby Railway's 'LaView' express EMU was designed to blend in with the surrounding landscape. Used on the scenic route from Tolyo to Nikko, this luxury train boosts a remarkable design. MicroAce made a model of it.
Tobu Rwy 'LaView' EMU.photo: Micro Ace)
Green Max announced a model of Kintetsu's 'Aoniyoshi' tourist train. Tourist or sightseeing trains are typical for Japan; these trains often have luxury interiors, extra large windows and a special livery. 'Aoniyoshi' runs between Kyoto and Nara, linking two cities that played a major ole in Japan';s history.
Kintetsu 'Aoniyohi' tourist train.(photo: Green Max)
Of course there are lots more new models announced, please follow the links to find if there's something for your taste.
Kato have announced a new flextrack. It's a PC type of track, with concrete style sleepers. Rail profile is the same as with Kato's Unitrack sectional track range and has a code 83 rail height. Being a flextrack, the new track has no roadbed and is meant for more permanent layouts, dioramas or modules. Including the sleepers, the track is 3.7 mm high and compatible with most other code 83 N scale track,like Atlas, Minitrix or Fleischmann.
New concrete sleeper flextrack by Kato (photos: Kato)
A large number of new traisn are
announced by the manufacturers. A pity is that both Kato (first, this
time) and Tomix announced the Shinano Railway SR1, Kato willmaken both
SR1-100 (bleu) and SR1-300 (red) versions, as Tomix will only make the
SR1-100 variety. Tomix has made a better choice by annpuncing the JBR
Wamu6000 4-wheel van (box car), which is a welcome addition to a range
od period freight cars. The 453 class EmU represents a Tohoku express
EMU. Older liveries still look good, even on modrn trains like the
Tomix E2 in the classic ivory white and green livery of the Tohoku ansd
Joeysu Shinkansen lines shows you. An older train ina new livery is the
KAto 381 class 'Yakumo' express EMU. The ED75 and EF66-100 electric
locos will made again, but with better detailing and new motor
types for better performance.
Shinano Railway SR1-100, SR1-300 and SR1-100, as announced byKAto (leftmost 2) and Tomix (right) (photos by Kato and Tomix)
Details of the Tomix version of the Shinano Rwy SR1-100 (photo by Tomix)
An old livery on a new train, E2 Shinkansen by Tomix (photo by Tomix)
453 class express EMU and Wamu 6000 van respresent the JNR era (photos by Tomix)
A plate girder bridge by Tomix (photo by Tomix)
ED75 and EF66-100 electric locomotives by Tomix (photos by Tomix)
381 class EMU for the 'Yakumo' limited express service (photo:: Kato)
Micro Ace has announced a wide variety of new models. the images below show a slection.
Keikyu 600 in blue livery, Tsukuba Express TX1000, JR-East E721 and Abukuma Express Rwy AB900 class EMUs, all nnnounced by Micro Ace (photos: Micro Ace)
Toyota Sora FCEV bus (photo: Tomytec)
HB-E300 and HC85 hybrid trains (photos: Kato (L) and Tomix (R))
GV-E400 and H100 diesel-electric MUs (photos: Tomix)
E-129 electric MU (photo: Tomix)
Tomix also announced a new track item: a wide somwhat flexible curve on an embankment. This new element make building embankments really easy. It can be bend in a wide curve or s-curve.
The new flexible curve (photo: Tomix)
Bew traisn are not the only application of new technology. Airbrus manufacturer Sparmax develeoped an airbrush with exchangeble paint bottles. These bottles contain a nozzel and a special seal so that paint will not dry put when stores. The nozzel size is 0.4 mm which is rather large, so a compressor capable of delivering a high volume of compresssed air is needed.
Sparmax Flyer SR airbrush wiht exchangeble paint bottles. (photo: Sparmax)
This video demonstrates how easy it is to work with this new airbrush.
The NMRA Gateway 2022 convention was held from August 7th to August 14th 2022 in St. Louis, USA, this event is often the place where new developments in model train technology are introduced. This year SoundTraxx introduced the 'Blunami' bluetooth loco decoders. This system offers direct control of your locos from your smartphone or tablet by means of a bluetooth connection. At the moment of writing 'Blunami' decoders are only available for H0 scale and larger, decoders have full sound options and are a little more expensive that the 'Tsunami' range of DCC sound decoders offererd by SoundTraxx.
'Blunami' direct to loco decoder by SoundTraxx (photo: SoundTraxx)
TCS introduced their DCC command station
together with a few accessories. The TCS CS-105 DCC command station is
one of a new generation and the first to include LCC connemctions for
stationary accessory modules. LCC modules can be more 'intelligent'
than stationary DCC decoders and feature more programming options.
Often LCC modules are built around an Arduino or similar small
computers with a suitable interface.The CS-105 has connectors for NCE
Cab Bus devices, XpressNet for Lenz / Roco / ZTC controllers and has a
built-in WiFi for use with TCS wireless controllers, smartphones or
tablets and has a built-in 5 Amp booster. More information on the TCS website. More (very technical) information on LCC can be found at the LCC section of the NMRA's website or at the OpenLCB website (LCC working group website).
TCS CS-105 DCC command station (photo: TCS)
Introduction of TCS DCC system in Ken Patterson's What's Neat This Week weekly vlog.
Your everyday train
Your everyday train, that's the one you use to commute to work or school, take for a night out in the city or to meet up with your friends. This time a choice of new models that fit in the picture.Let's start with Green Max, they have announced 2 new Meitetsu (Nagoya Railway) trains, a 1200 class express EMU and the 1800 class commuter EMU. For the Tokyo area there's an Odakyu train celebtrating 100 years of the Tokyu Group.
Green Max: Meitetsu 1200 class (left) and 1800 classs (right) EMUs (photo: Green Max)
Tokyu Group's 100 Years anniversary is celebrated with this train. (photo: Green Max)
Micro Ace also announced a few new models: A Shin Tobu 8800 class EMU in a colourfullivery cheers up your working day. The Izu Kyuko 3000 class may be used to travel to the Izu peninsula where there are several seeaside resorts to escape the busy city.
Micro Ace: Shin Tobu 8800 class and Izu Kyuko 3000 class EMUs (photos: Micro Ace)
Moving freight is also an everyday activity and Tomix depicted that in H0 scale with the Kumu 1000 class 'piggyback' or 'Kangaru' cars and matching 4 ton lorries. The EF66-100 would be a nice choice for a matching loco.
Piggyback cars and matching 4 ton lorries in H0 scale by Tomix (photos: Tomix)
In N-scale Tomix announced a JR Kyushu DD51 diesel loco with matching 50 type coaches, a JNR Kiha 35 commuter DMU and a very modern JR Hokkaido H100 DMU.
Tomix N-scale: DD51 loco and type 50 coaches, JNR Kiha 35 DMU and JR-Hokkaido H100 DMU (photos: Tomix)
The Aizu Mount Express AT-700 class represents the smaller railways of Japan, trains like these are typical for rural areas of Japan.
Aizu Mount Express AT-700 class EMU (photo: Tomix)
Kato announced the JR-East E531 in 'Akaden' livery. This 5-car train is used on the Mito line, a branch of the Joban mainline, the 8600 class steam loco and matching train runs on Kyushu, Kato will make a nice model of it.
E531 'Akaden' and preserved steam train (photos: Kato)
Green Max have announced a stainless steel colour paint to paint their (and other's) model kts in a nie stainless steel colour. Badger Airbrush have introduced metallic coloured primers in their Stynylrez range.
Green Max stainless steel colour paint and Badger's 'Stynylrez' primer range (photos: Green Max and Badger)
Z21, the DCC equipment by Fleischmann and Rooc is now becoming more and more a brand on it's own. Their popular 'Multimaus' handheld controller will now be branded as 'Z21' instead of Fleischmann or Roco. A silver / white and a black version will be offered.
Z21: Multimaus branded as Z21 instead of Roco or Fleischmann (photo: Z21)
At the presentation of the new Märklin
items for 2022 Mr. Wolfrad Bächle, CEO of Märklin announced a new track
program for Minitrix. This track range will be announced officially
later this year (expected late summer 2022). I think this is good news,
as the Minitrax track range has come in it's years now. The video
(german language) discusses the new Minitrix track, as well as other
new Märklin items (BTW, I really like the Bavarian S2/6 setam loco in
Gauge1!, can be seen when you rewind to the start of the video) Well,
let's see what will become of Mr. Bächle's words, so watch this space!
The dsitibutor for kato in Germany,
Lenke, has introduced a DCC decoder that could fit many
Japanese-outline Kato locomotives. Originally intented for use in the
Swiss Re620 class Tri-Bo electric loco it may be a good match for
Kato's EF81, DF200, EF70 and other locos. The decoder is a simple PCB
board replacement and a conversion would take 30 minutes or even less.
The decoders are made for Lemke by Zimo, who make top-quality DCC
components and decoders.
Lemke: DCC decoder to fit Kato locos (photo: Lemke)
have announced non-functional model of a modern colour light signal,
more detailed than the ones already offered by Green Max. 3 and 4 light
versoins are announced. Further new products are the building sheets to
build reinforcements for slopes and retaining walls. 2 varieties are
affoerd, the one with the wafer pattern is used to strengthen embankments
and ather earthworks, whilst the other is meant for retaining walls,
'Concrete' building sheets (images: Green Max)
New colour light signal(images: Green Max)
Tomytec announced a greenhouse kit, with 2 different greenhouses and models of photovoltaic panels, which are widely used across Japan.
Greenhouse and solar panels (photos: Tomytec)
A number of new train models are announced, I will mention only a few. Green Max announced the BEC 819 claass of JR Kyushu, a train that can operate from the overhead or use power stored in bateries that are charged when the train runs under the wires. Tomix introduces the 185-200 class express EMU used on the popular 'Odoriko' service from Tokyo to the Izu peninsula. New H0: the classic 45 class express EMU, widely used across Honshu and Kyushu. Each model comes wiht a set of headmarks and add-on sets an be purchases seperately.
185-200 and BEC 819 class EMUs (photos: Tomix and Green Max)
New H0: 485 vlass EMU and headmarks (images: Tomix)
The mail train
Kato announced a range of mail coach models. They will come in a set of coaches and smaller sets of 2 cars and single cars to extend your train, together with a loco of your choice you will have a nice mail train that surely will add interest to your layout and operations.
Basic 6-car set (photo: Kato)
Mani36, Mani44 and Mani50 mail coaches (photos: Kato)
Suwafu8000, Suni40 and Suyu44 mail cars (photos: Kato)
announced a range of construction equipment in N-scale. Apart from the
buildings under construction there wll be a crane model, heavy-load
trucks, concrete mixer trucks and a concrete pump, which is often used
on larger sites to pour concrete to higher levels or large volumes to
construct floors or columns.Fences and a yard office will complete your
Contruction site, concrete pump and concrete mixer (photos: Tomytec)
Pre-fabricated parts transporter and low-loader (photos: Tomytec)
Kato announced a tool that really should
be in your tool case: a pair of precision tweezers. Kato's will come in
a deluxe wooden chest. Kato's tweezers have a special tip that is
designed to hold small parts that you have to mount on your models,
like air whistles and antennas.
Tweezers and a closer look to the tips.
The new Tams mc2 command station will also be available in a black finish, with the same red edges as the current aluminium finished model. Apart from the colour, thes command stations are the same.
Black mc2 command station (photo: Tams Elektronik)
Zimo announced a range of N-scale suitable DCC decoders, with and without sound. These decoders are very small and may suit many, if not all, N-scale locos and MU power cars
New decoders: MX615, MX616 and MS500 DCC decodrs, the MS500 is a sound decoder.(photos: Zimo)
Decoders made to fit Kato MUs (photos: Zimo)
2021 was the last year that the DD51 diesel-hydraulic locomotives were in regular service. Tomix
made a model of the loco that ran this last service, complete with its
train.The set includes container cars with containers of a type not yet
offered in model form, like the bulk containers. The DD51s are now
replaced with DF200 diesel-electrics, a 2 cab design wheras the DD51s are of a centre-cab type.
Sayonara DD51, loco, headmark, containers and train composition (images: Tomix)
Not Sade's debut song, but a new type of
introducd by Kato. The new 'slotless' type of motor offers superb slow
runing, even on plain DC. The slotless motor has a new type of
armarture that ensures very little 'cogging' and therefore a very
smooth torque. The motor also starts at a very low voltage. It's
available as an aftermarket part and I think that it will come to
regularl production models very soon. At the moment of writing the new
motor is only avaialble as an aftermarket part; I think it will appear
in regular production models soon.
Kato's new 'slotless' motor and comparison to the older GM-3 motor (from Shigemon's video on YouTube)
A few classics
Tomix is in a process of upgrading their
range, with finer detail and better motors and mechanisms. The EF66 is
a classic Tri-Bo electric locomotive used to haul heavy freight trains
and long-distance 'Blue Train' limited express sleepers. The later
EF66-100 variant will be offered in H0 scale. The N-scale model is
modelled after a freight loco in its later days, when an air-condioner
was added. Another 'Sayonara' is that of the Kiha40 and Kiha48 classes
of DMUs. Some are still in service with 3rd sector railways, but on
JR's tracks their service life has come to an end.
EF66 electric loco (photos: Tomix)
H0-scale EF66-100 (photo: Tomix)
Kiha40 and Kiha48 DMUs (photo: Tomix)
The Kiha40s metioned above are partly
rteplaced with new DMUs, but this time with a diesel-electric
propulsion system. The GV-E400 is a new DMU and Tomix will make a model
of it. 2 different liveries will offered initianlly.
GV-E400 diesel-electric DMU (photos: Tomix)
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.
MIcro Ace: storage cases for H0 (left) and N (right) scale trains.(photos: Micro Ace)
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 and guests (images: Tomytec)
City buildings, rail workers and soldiers in action (images: Tomytec)
Hkusan and Hokutetsu buses (images: Tomytec)
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 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.
JNR 113-0 class commuter EMU (photos: Tomix)
JR 12 class 'Daisen Sakuma' express coaches (photos: Tomix)
JNR Kiha82 and Meitetsu Kiha8200 express DMUs (photos: Tomix)
New H0: JR Freight EF81-400 loco and Ueda Kotsu Moha 5250 railcar (photos: Tomix)
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 Taiwan Shinkansen, JR Kyushu 800 class Shinkansen and N700S-3000 'Nozomi' (photos: Kato)
JR East 701 commuter EMU. IGR 701 EMU, JR West Twilight Express (photos: Kato)
M250 container EMU, Chikoho Express HOT7000 DMU (photos: Kato)
ED76-500 AC electric loco annd E235 Yamanote commuter EMU (photos: Kato)
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.
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'
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!
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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