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About Ewan.in.gz

  • Birthday 12/27/1979

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Guangzhou, China
  • Interests
    Since I am on this forum, obviously a major interest is Japanese trains.... But I'm also into other countries' railways, as well as other forms of transport. Also into wider culture, music, history & language, especially Japanese & Chinese.

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  1. Ewan.in.gz

    Chinese High Speed Trains

    Bachmann did an 8-car HO scale CRH3 a few years ago.... Not sure if it's still available. For N scale, I know they also do a static 3-car CRH3. I have seen KATO E2-1000s converted into a CRH2. The CRH2 cars share the same body shells as E2-1000 Series trains, although they are 8-car sets rather than 10 car sets. Ewan
  2. hmmm.... Interesting.... Did you ever try it on a TOMIX Spacia? The coupler pockets appear to be "low profile", with significantly less vertical height than I've see on other Japanese stock. Though they remind me of my old Bachman Amtrak Amfleet cars' coupler pockets.... Ewan
  3. Todd, Now that is AWESOME! Nicely detailed and painted engine too! Looks much nicer than any of my real cars ever looked under the hood.... Ewan
  4. Kvp, That's right! The Tomix Tobu Spacia is designed ONLY for bogie mounted couplers, it has those small metal plates covering the sockets so you can pop out the Arnold-Rapio coupler. Unfortunately, the info I found online indicated that they took body mount couplers, which is what I ended up buying. When I pulled the body off a cab car, I saw there is no provision at the end cars to simply snap in body mount TN couplers. I have a several packs of Kato's Shibata style bogie mount couplers with the moulded jumpers, but they are designed for different pockets.... For the time being, I also decided to leave the track cleaning car as is, I bought the set number 6433, it includes an ED61 locomotive for traction, so I figure that I'll just leave them with factory couplers, since they wouldn't be a normal train anyway! Anyway, I tried to unscrew the bogie with several different sizes of cross head screwdrivers, from small jewellers sizes right up to an IKEA household tool set, but they just wouldn't move, and I did check both clockwise and anti clockwise..... I gave up because I did;t want to break anything. So next time I'm in either Hong Kong or Tokyo I'll have to remember to pick up the recommended bogie mounted TN couplers from the Tomix catalogue. I personally prefer using body mounted couplers if possible, as that is generally the way couplers are mounted in real life, and I have found that with modern body mounted close coupling systems, it also reduces the gaps and huge swinging of gangways on tight model curves. However, I do have several Kato trains that use bogie mounted couplers (Saikyo Line 205 Series, 253 Series N'EX, Hokutosei, Cassiopeia, M250 Super RailCargo) and they look fine to me, but maybe it's because none of them use Arnold-Rapido couplers! Ewan
  5. On the other hand, I spent about an hour trying to unscrew the bogies on the cab cars of my Tomix Tobu 100 Series "Spacia" in order to work out how to remove the Arnold/Rapido couplers.... They wouldn't budge.... It's like they'd been welded on! Or maybe Donkey Kong works on the Tomix assembly line now? I also had the same problem with my new Tomix Track Cleaning Car.... I gave up trying, as I didn't want to ruin the screw head.
  6. Hi Phil! From my experience of swapping out the couplers on a MicroAce track and catenary inspection set & reading the current catalogues of both MicroAce and GreenMax (I was spending lots of money on train stuff in Honshu last month), both manufacturers have designed their cars to be directly compatible with body-mounted Tomix TN Couplers. Pop the bodies off the cars, and you'll see pairs of circular pips moulded into the side of the baseplate/floor of the cars at either end. The body mounted replacement couplers that both Tomix and MicroAce produce will simply snap into place over the pips. You'll need to remove the Arnold/Rapido coupler and it's pocket too. On my MicroAce model, the coupler pockets were clipped onto the bogies, so there wasn't even a need to chop up any parts of the train. Hope this helps, Ewan!
  7. Ewan.in.gz

    "Official" Tomix store?

    I was in the Akihabara Yodobashi Camera the week before, but I didn't notice if they had the the add-on sets in stock. The staff in the Kyoto Yodobashi Camera said the add-ons would be back in production later this year, I asked when I was in there buying spare couplers.... As I said, I was traveling with my friend, so I didn't really have that much time to go overboard with train stuff.... That's the main reason I didn't buy one of the TOMIX full 12 car sets of the E1 Max in original livery.
  8. Ewan.in.gz

    "Official" Tomix store?

    Hey Serotta, not yet! I’m traveling with my Chinese housemate. It’s his first trip to Japan, and he doesn’t speak English or Japanese, so I am both his tour guide & translator. It’s been a very hectic 14 days.... This time I really haven’t had much time for train related stuff....
  9. Ewan.in.gz

    "Official" Tomix store?

    At least none of the girls in my company asked me to buy them high heels or dresses this time around....
  10. Ewan.in.gz

    "Official" Tomix store?

    Hahahah, they want those from everywhere.... I’ve been asked to buy them from Australia, the UK and Russia too.... 😵😵
  11. Ewan.in.gz

    People’s Republic of China N Scale trains

    Hi Gavin, I've been in China for nearly 15 years, living and working in Guangzhou. I am an English Teacher, the senior foreign teacher in a small locally owned training centre there. Yeah, China is truly a bizarre place, and the events of the 20th Century in China have just made it even weirder. I never really got culture shock, as such. But right from when I first moved to China, I made efforts to not insulate myself from the country or people. Most of my friends are Chinese, the only waiguoren in China I socialise with are the staff in my company, or ex-staff who are still in the country. However, the poor public behaviour, lack of cleanliness and illogical thought processes really do drive me crazy, probably because it is something that is hard to miss when I live in a city with 16 million people! As far as languages go, many locals in Guangzhou are Yuehua speakers, but that doesn't really matter, because almost all Mainland Chinese also speak Mandarin. As is the case in most major Chinese cities, a significant part of the population are not locals, or from local families. In my experience, the only place where Cantonese is really useful is Hong Kong. Outside the big tourist places there, no-one ever speaks English, just Yuehua. I speak Mandarin and read and write both simplified and traditional Chinese. I have enough Cantonese to do what I need when I am in Hong Kong, too. Living there has made my Japanese reading skills better (more recognition of Kanji), but my spoken Japanese has suffered. I think that living in an environment where Mandarin is the primary form of communication for a large population (such as in China or Taiwan), is the best way to get a handle on how to use the language effectively. It's probably also useful that the person I share my home with (an old friend I've known since 2005) speaks no English! Ewan
  12. Ewan.in.gz

    VPNs blocked?

    When not using a VPN in China, it seems to be both.... Ewan
  13. Ewan.in.gz

    KATO E4 Series coupler part number

    Cool! Thank you, Gryphr! I'll try to get them while I'm still in Japan. Ewan
  14. Ewan.in.gz

    People’s Republic of China N Scale trains

    Yes, "Harmony" is the overall brand name for the Chinese high speed rail network. I am not surprised that it is a difficult topic to research, as the industry in China seems to be mostly focused on manufacturing for other markets (e.g.: Europe, North America, Japan). In regards to riding the high speed networks, Chinese CRH network is quite extensive, but for the very long runs, there are not so many services that carry on all the way through. For example, the Beijing-Guangzhou High Speed Line only has 4 trains a day that run all the way from Guangzhou South to Beijing West, which often means that you need to break the journey several times. For the trains themselves, they are pretty comfortable, and have similar ride-quality to Shinkansen, especially when running on dedicated lines. However, the atmosphere and environment onboard is very different. Chinese people are very noisy, both at home and in public spaces, it's not uncommon to be onboard a train (or a bus, or in the metro) and feel like you are in the middle of a crowded street. People will yell at each other both in person and over the phone, meaning that everyone hears what they are doing. They even make video calls or watch TV or movies on their phones or tablets with the volume turned ALL the way up and no headphones.... A lot of people in China also have very little concept of what is appropriate behaviour in public or shared spaces, so they will sit in their seats and take their shoes and socks off and put their feet up on the adjacent seat, or place all their luggage in any empty space, even if it's the aisle or other seats. There is also very little concept of keeping spaces clean, so people will drop their trash literally anywhere as soon as they're done with it.... Which means you can find all sorts of junk in ridiculous places.... Even empty food packages or leftovers like banana skins shoved between the cushions of the seats..... As a country, China is also bad at queuing and waiting their turn for things. People will try to push themselves into a crowded train before the doors are even open, and will complain loudly if the passengers getting off get in their way.... Overall, I find it is much more pleasant to travel by rail in Japan, even the local commuter or subway trains in rush-hour are far more pleasant places to be than the equivalents in China.... Because Japan is a cleaner, more polite society, and has far better behavioural standards. Sorry for the long(-ish) rant! I'm kind of dreading going back to China on the 15th! Ewan
  15. Ewan.in.gz

    "Official" Tomix store?

    Hmm.... Thanks for the heads-up! I'll have a look at some other stores.... We're doing the shopping for people back home tomorrow.... Makeup & medicine.... What Chinese people ALWAYS want to buy from Japan! Or I might have to ask Japanese friends if they can get them for me and I'll pick them up next time I'm here.... Probably won't be back until next CNY.... Ewan