> home > news

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 manufacturer's or dealer's sites for more complete information.

bullet April 2017

Tams Elektronik have announced a new handheld controller for theit EasyControl DCC system. It's an updated version of their earlier HandControl. Also new is the wControl interface for use with (Android) smartphones or tablets.

handcontrol wcontrol Handheld and smartphone interface (Tams Elektronik)

Tomix announced a few new freight cars: Taki1000 oil product tank car and  Koki106 container cars. The Taki1000 tanks cars will come in green/grey and blue versions. These cars will have sprung bogies, suitable for power pickup.

taki1000 taki1000 Taki1000 tank car (Photo:Tomix)

More Tomix: 115 class commuter EMU, 189 class 'Asama' express EMU and EF63 class banking locos, as used on the Yokokawa - Karuizawa section of the Shin-Etsu main line, type 14 'Moonlight Kyushu' coach set, older passenger ars of the 62 and 45 types.

189 Asama ef63 115 189 'Asama'  EMU and EF63 banking locos, class 115 EMU (Photo: Tomix)

suha45 suhafu44 Suha 45 and Suhafu 44 coaches (Photo: Tomix)

suhafu62 suha62 Suhafuu 62 and Suha 62 coaches (Photo: Tomix)

bullet  March 2017

Micro-Trains have introduced new finescale couplers. These are non-automatic when it comes to uncoupling; you'll need an uncoupling toool to uncouple by hand. These couplers add realism, but at the price of hands-free uncoupling.

mt1301 Micro Trains True-Scale couplers (photo: Micro-Trains)

Uhlenbrock Elektronik announced a variety of new items:  A compact DCC command station with built-in 2 Amp booster, a whole range of N-scale suitable DCC loco decoders, a small function-only decoder, a decoder test unit and small sound modules that plug into the SuSi interface found on many Uhlenbrock loco decoders. The compact sound modules consist of the sound electronics and a loudspeaker in one enclosure.

daisy_2 digitest n decoder Daisy II DCC command station with 2 Amp booster, DigiTest decoder tester, new N-scale decoder. (photo: Uhlenbrock)

micro modul kompaktmodul kompaktmodulSound modules: micro module (left) and compact modules with built-in loudspeaker (middle and right) (photo: Uhlenbrock)

function Function-only decoder (photo: Uhlenbrock)

bulll January 2017

DCC News: Viessmann have announced a new DCC Command Station, the Commander 2, which has some new features: it uses a computer monitor, TV, Android tablet or smartphone as an external display. The SmartMaus is a hand-held controller that can be attached to a smartphone, which serves as a large display.

commander 2 smartmaus Viessmann: Commander 2 DCC station and SmartMaus hand-held (photo: Viessmann)

bullet December 2016

2016 is coming to an end and there are exiting new things announced that will become available in the new year. First some DCC news:

Lenz Elektronik from Germany, the inventors of DCC have announced a new hand-held controller that will replace the ageing LH100 controller. The new LH101 will feature a large LCD display, more functions and a rotary speed control that replaces the buttons of the LH101. All in all, a new modern controller that can face the competition.

lh101 LH101 handheld DCC controller (image: Lenz Elektronik)

A selection of the new announces by Kato: 521 class dual-voltage commuter EMU, C11 steam loco, C50 steam loco, a limited editon model celebrating 50 years of Kato N-scale.

521 c11 c50 New Kato: 521 EMU, C11 and C50 steam locos (photo: Kato)

ef70-1000 hb e300 meterbox More news from Kato: EF70-1000 electric loco, HB-E300 hybrid MU and an add-on box that ads speed, brake presuure and other meters and gauges to your controller. These are a non-functional papercraft which can be downloaded here. (photo: Kato)

20 kei 500 eva Kato: 20 type sleeper coaches (match EF70-1000 loco) and 500 type EVA shinkansen promotional image (photo: Kato)

A nice gimmick by Tomytec is this miniature miniature train, than can be pupulated with Tomytec figurine models:

minitrain Tomytec Minitrain promotional image (image: Tomytec)

ibraki bus This bus model by Tomytec depicts a 'Girls und Panzer'advertising livery (photo: NGI)

Fresh Hitachi E653 class express EMU 'Fresh Hitachi' by Green Max (photo: NGI)

Apart from the Plasser tamping machine, the E653 class EMU is a true highlight by Green Max. The prototype trains all have their own distinctive colour. The model features a new chassis with a flywheel drive and coreless motor to ensure smooth running. Modern Green Max models have mounts for TN-couplers for close coupling.

A selection of the new announces by Tomix:

de10--104 72-73 485_sendai DE10-1104, 72-73 type EMU and 485 class express EMU (photo: NGI)

500 eva 500 eva kiha47-500 Niigata  500-7000 type EVA Shinkansen, Kiha47-500 Niigata DMU (photo: NGI)

c11-325 50 kei mooka Mooka Railway: C11-325 steam loco and matching class 50 coaches (photo: NGI)

spacia ho dd51 Tobu Railway 100 class 'Spacia' and HO scale DD51 diesel loco, photo shows a pre-production sample (photo: NGI).

A selection of the new announces by Micro Ace:

1000_shink e653-1000 1000 class prototype Shinkansen, E653-1000 Shirayuki (photo: NGI).

kiha59 furano kiha28 Kiha59 Furano Express and Kiha28 school excursion DMUs (photo: NGI).

bullet October 2016

More news from Digitrax: the Empire Builder II and Super Chief DCC sets have been replaced with the new Evolution sets. Available in both 5 and 8 Amps capacity they come in IR, simplex and full duplex radio versions. Apart from the new command station/booster unit they feature the new DT500 throttle. The new command station has a USB connector and thus saves a seperate computer interface.

evulution New Evolution DCC starter set (photo: Digitrax)

Tomix have announced a new control system, at the moment not everything is completely clear, but it seems like some kind of automatic control unit. It is the central part of a whole range of new control devices. Announced are a wireless train-mounted camera and a station automaton controller.The units have a slot in which a smartphone or tablet computer could be placed an act as a video screen or touchscreen controller. Tomiix is also working on a sound unit. Watch out for updates!

tomix controller setup New automatic controller by Tomix (photo: Fujigaya2 blog)

Green Max

Apart from tha many new train models Green Max announced a new motorised chassis with a coreless motor to ensure smooth operation. New trackside details: new signals, including semaphores (japanese lower-quadrant type)

gm coreless  gm signals Green Max: new power unit and signals (photos: Green Max)

bullet June 2016

Digitrax has announced a new top-end DCC command station, the DCS240. Digitrax has been working silently on this project, as their last change on their webiste dates back to February 2016. Very promising unit with 3 LocoNet sockets, 5 or 8 Amp output at controllable voltage, 400 active locos and 400 active throttles it could handle any layout.  A new HO-scale sized loco decoder complets the news. Tje DH126MT dceder has a MTC21 socket (Märklin type) and seems very suitable for a number of european loco models.

dcs240 dh126mt DCS240 DCC command station and DH126MT loco decoder (photo: Digitrax)

bullet  January 2016

Well, a yaer that showed many new items and new trends and new trains. I selected a few highights. Kato has recently developed a new chassis for steam locos, with the motor mounted inside the boiler, which is the ideal in terms of weight distribution. There's also room for a pretty large flywheel, so smooth running is guaranteed.  More Kato: A type 10 sleeper train witht he unique 12-wheel luggage van. The C59 would be a good match for the type 10 sleeper coaches.

c59 chassis Kato: C59 chassis (photo: NGI) 10 ei Kato: Type 10 sleeper train (photo: NGI)  c59 Kato C59 steam loco (photo: NGI)

Tomix also introduced a steam loco: C57-1 the one that is preserved for steam services on the Yamaguchi line. More news: Kiha 82 express diesel train. New HO: EF510-500 class dual-voltage electric loco and type 24-25 'Hokutosei' sleeper train.

c57-1 Tomix C57-1 (photo: NGIkiha82 Tomix: Kiha82 (photo: NGI

ef510-500 Tomix: HO EF510-500 (photo: NGI24-25 Tomix: Type 24-25 sleeper coaches (photo: NGI)

And finally a new controller by Tomix, featuring a 'Mascon' design with on control lever used for both accelarating and braking. Rated at about 1 Amp this controller is suitable fort HO and long illuminated N-scale trains. As usual there are seperated outputs for Tomix points (on the left side), controlled 0-12 V DC and 12 V DC for TCS units.

masconA new controller by Tomix (photo: NGI)

Micro Ace introduced a larger number of new models, I would like to mention the 485 class express EMU 'Grade Up Hokuetsu'and the EF67 banking loco, used near Hiroshima

Hokuetsu Micro Ace: 485 EMU (photo: NGI) ef67-2 Micro Ace: EF67-2 (photo: NGI)

Popondetta took over the Kawai range and extened it with new models. Very welcome are the 20 ft tanktainers. Further: Toki25000 and Taki 1200 wagons used for transporting zinc concentrate to the smelter at Annaka on the Shin-Etsu line between Takasaki and Yokogawa.

tank1 tank2 tank3 Tanktainers by Popondetta (photo: NGI)

taki1200 toki25000 Taki1200 and Toki25000 wagons by Popondetta (photo: NGI)

bull October 2015

DCC News: Roco and Ffleischmann have announced news components for use with their Z21 DCC control system:  Z21 Booster light. a small 3 Amps DCC booster, Z21 Booster, again 3 Amps but configurable by PC, tablet or smartphone, Z21 Dual Booster, 2 x 3 Amps and configurable and Z21 Detector, a DCC trac circuiit which connects by CAN bus or R-Bus to the Z21 Command Station.

booster light z21 boosterr dual booster detector New add-ons for your Z21 DCC system (images: Z21)

More DCC News: Uhlenbrock have announced a number of new products, including a LocoNet -> TCP/IP interface that makes control of a LocoNet based DCC system with a smartphone or tablet computer possible. Suitable apps are under development. Further, there will be a module that serves as an interface between the 'TrackControl' control panel modules and an analog layout.

tcp-ip ub panel Uhlenbrock: LocoNet -> TCP/IP interface (left) and LocoNet plug-in panel (right) (photo: Uhlenbrock)

ALAN computer block control. This is something new, a modular computer block control system that is made up of pluggable modules that is controlled by a PC, tablet computer or smartphone. Distributtion is done by Busch. The manufacturer has announced modules that can drive single-coil solenoids like the ones used in Kato, Tomix and Rokuhan turnouts.

alan system phone The ALAN computer block control system, that can be controlled by pc, tablet or smartphone (photo: Toy-Tec)

SEEP, made by Gaugemaster, have announced an alternative to the Peco PL-10 point motor. The SEEP GMC-PM10 is both a successor to old SEEP point motors and the Peco PL-10. The GMC-PM10 is a twin-solenoid point motor that draws about 1 Amp from the power supply, which is more friendly to your switches and wiring.  However, I would still recommend a capacitor discharge unit when using these new SEEP poitn motors.

GMC-PM10 New SEEP point motor (photo: Gaugemaster)

Märklin have announced a range of new mfx/DCC ompatible decoders, with or without sound. To program these decoders a programming device that plugs in an USB port on your computer completes the range.

programmer mfx/DCC decoder programmer (photo: Märklin)

bullet July 2014

Lots of news during this show season. Micro Ace has announced a model of the 4-car Keihan 800 class subway train, which is the successor of Keihan's Otsu line. These trains are narrower and lower than normal trains. The Micor Ace model will have these smaller dimension and also have smaller wheels. A nice light blue livery gives the finishing touch. Another model that will attract attention is the ´Crocodile´, the EF13 electric loco. This was an auterity design that was built during WW2 and shows its characteristic lines. Micro Ace had announced this model nearly a year ago an finally it becomes available.

heiahn 800 Keihan 800 class small-profile train (photo: Micro Aceef13 EF 13 electric loco (photo:NGI)

More Micro Ace: Sanda Kan, the manufacturer of Micro Ace (and many other brands) now use LaBelle lubricants as ex-factory lubricants. This means that you don't have to guess for a compatible lubricant, just grab the orange-coloured package! LaBelle has also introduced a number of new lubricants with PTFE (Teflon), mainly aimed at the R/C model market

The withdrawal of most of the loco-hauled sleeper trains and lots of the older MU stock leads to many 'sayonara' commemoraitve sets. Both Tomix and Kato will bring these sets. Tomix have announced a 285 class 'Sunrise Express' in H0 scale. That would make an impressive train! Tomix also announced the 'BanEtsu Monogatori' steam excusrsion train, consisting of C57 180 and 7 matching coaches in a new livery.

sayonara akebono Sayonara Akebono commemorative set by Tomix (photo: Tomix)

c57 C57-180 with 'BanEtsu Monogotari' train
(photo: Tomix)

New Shinaknsen too: the E7 series (and the similar W7 series) are being built for the Hokuriku Shinkasen (extension of the Nagano Shinkansen). No surprise that both Tomix and Kato have introduced models of this new train.

e7 E7 Shinkansen by Tomix (photo:NGI)

Control news:  Layout-IoE offers a new control system for HO and larger scales. Their system is based on Wifi network technology and allows for direct controller-to-loco communication. Controllers are modern smartphones running a special app, accessories are connected to special 'nodes' that control the accessories. Across the tracks there's normal 12V (or more) DC. Main advantage over DCC is better signal transmission and a more modern and easier to understand user interface. When you take a good look at this system it seems that DCC is based on outdated technology and that the DCC manufacturers should seriously cnsider a better human interface. Let's hope for lower prices and smaller Loco-Nodes!

ioe app ioe mesh Layout-IoE: Control app (Android) and network schematic (photo: Layout-IoE)

bullet June 2014

It has been quiet recently, but this doesn't mean that there's nothing happening. 2014 is the 50th anniversary of Japan's most famous train: the Shinkansen, which set new standards on speed and reliability. Micro Ace and Tomix will bring commemorative models. Tomix will release a 12-car 'Hikari' set in original 1964 formation. Micro Ace will do the 1972 version with small windows, introduced with the opening of the Sanyo Shinkansen.

Sanyo Hikari Hikari 0 series Shinkansen (Micro Ace, photo by NGI)  tomix 0 Tomix 0 series Shinkansen, note the translucent nose cone (photo by NGI)

More news:

Green Max will bring a modern tamping machine, a japanese version of the Plasser & Theurer 09-16 and ballast spreader KSP2002E. These machines will add a lot of interest on your layout, when you build a track building scene. For those who want a little more detail: add LED-lights to the front ends and bottom of these machines as per the real thing. Further Green Max news include the more usual private raliway EMU trains, too many to mention now.

gm tamping machine Green Max: Tamping machine an ballast spreader (photo by NGI)

Kato has intoduced a turntable to match their Unitrack track range. The turntable is very detailed and has a concealed drive mechanism. A roundhause kit completes the turntable.

kato turntable Kato: turntable and roundhouse (photo by NGI)

bull November 2013

The japanese N-Gauge Information site has moved to a new location. From now on it can be reached at

bull July 2013

I have added a report on the 2013 Nuremberg Toy Fair. A report on the recent announcements from Japan is to follow soon. 

Good news for all those interested in the Kawai range. Production of the freight cars has been ttaken over by Popondetta, most of the Kawai freight cars are now available again, new versions will follow soon.

bull December 2012

Well, it has been quiet here for a while, but that doesn't mean nothing has happened since. I'll try to catch up with recent developments, both from Japan and elsewhere.

First, some DCC news. Viessmann showed their first expansion of their 'Commander' DCC system. Now a dedicated booster unit will become available. At the moment of writing, no further expansions are announced, we still hope for handhelds or a WiFi expansion and an 'app' to convert your mobile phone into a controller.

eco4 Viessmann's Eco 4 DCC booster (photo: Modellbahntechnik Aktuell)

Hornby announced something new and interesting for 2013: eLink, which is a DCC booster and command station that is connencted and controlled form your PC. Hookup is simple: connect tte unit to a PC, your layout and a power supply. The Railmaster software (see below) makes everything run. eLink will come as a starter kit without or with DCC decoder-fitted trains. This set will also be availabkle in continental Europe.

elink Hornby eLink computer-controlled DCC (photo: Hornby)

RailCommunity: a new interface plug for N-scale and other small scales: the Next18 plug/socket combo. This new combo offers more contacts than the existing NEM651 plug/socket combo (18 instead of only 6) and better contact reliability. There are several other new plug/sockets on the market, an overview will follow soon. Disadvantage is that there is more space needed to mount the decoder.

next18 Next18 interface plug/socket combo (photo: RailCommunity)

bull Sad news from Japan: Kawai went bankrupt. It's a pity that these nice little models (remember their freight cars, steam loco and scenic accessories) will sell out and never return. I am the lucky owner of a range of freight cars and the 'Onsen' kit with outdoor pool. ** Update ** Most of the railway models range is taken over by Popondetta, who has already announced new models.

bull October 2011

DCC news: Zimo have showed their new DCC main unit, the MX10. It has a massive 400 VA output, very suitable for use with garden railways like LGB and Gauge 1 systems.  It still has Zimo's CAN-bus connectors, a (USB) computer interface, function inputs, adjustable max. output voltage and power, an antenna for use with wireless handhelds and lots, lots more... One of the connectors is an Ethernet connector. This can be hooked up to a wireless router. Hmmmm, what about an app that turns your smartphone into a model railway controller???  All-in-all, the most versatile DCC command station available, but at a price, RRP is fixed at a staggering € 1,290.00, which includes the power supply, but no hand-held controller.

mx10 front mx10 back  Zimo's new MX10 DCC main unit (Photo: Zimo)


All of the mentioned new items will be available at Modellbahn Union. 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.

ModellingLayoutsModeller's Corner Train Simulators Various

Document made with KompoZer