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gavino200

Kato production cycles?

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46 minutes ago, bill937ca said:

It is important to note that Kato Japan is actually two companies.  Sekisui Kinzoku Co., Ltd. is the engineering company and KATO Co., Ltd.  is the marketing company.

Or more like 5 or so but imho that's not really important:

http://www.katomodels.com/info/aboutus_e.shtml

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They have a small factory.  So they may have to double up on shifts to get their production line going as fast as they need.

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It's nice to hear that he seems to be very friendly and helpful. 

 

@bill937ca Thanks for the link, I don't know if anyone knows but am I right in thinking that in the "Release" column if it has an "I" is that to indicate a repeated date? also interesting that they are two different companies, that's something I didn't know. 

 

@brill27mcb

7 hours ago, brill27mcb said:

 

Well, clearly, that makes him a "friend of Mr. Kato." That does not mean that the reciprocal is also true.  :-)

 

Rich K.

 

I know right :P 

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I heard once that Kato also produce trains/models in China. Is that not true? Anyone know?

 

Also, I have a question about spare parts. Are they handled in the same way as the main product release? ie if you want a spare part do you have to pre-order it? Can you pre-order a spare part? I like to get second motor units for some trains. I was surprised last year that for a train I pre-ordered, motor units were already unavailable at the time of release.

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Posted (edited)

Each train / building / piece of track will be marked Made in......   I just looked at a couple of Diotown building boxes and they were Made in China.  The 23-300 Long Engine house, R150 and R183 track curves, Unitram curves are marked  Made In Japan.

Edited by bill937ca
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1 hour ago, gavino200 said:

Also, I have a question about spare parts. Are they handled in the same way as the main product release? ie if you want a spare part do you have to pre-order it? Can you pre-order a spare part? I like to get second motor units for some trains. I was surprised last year that for a train I pre-ordered, motor units were already unavailable at the time of release.

If a shop offers them as preorder items, then yes. Afaik the sellers have to preorder spare parts or at least order them at the time of the release as stocks are relatively low and backorders might not succeed.

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Just a suggestion.Go to the Kato website (the one referring  to Unitrack) and enter it.The monthly posters are down bottom right and entering it gives you all the posters back to late 2011.

That tells you when a model was last produced

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Last year I found a ancient Japanese language website with many old Kato train numbers on it.  It is interesting to look at with a grain of salt. It appears to no longer be maintained.  Many of the trains listed are shown as "out of print".  Why? Newer motors and drives perhaps. Many old product numbers were discontinued with upgrades to features like DCC compatible in recent years. 

 

http://www.geocities.jp/wps27d/KATO-hinban/KATO-SET10-001.html

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1 hour ago, bill937ca said:

Last year I found a ancient Japanese language website with many old Kato train numbers on it.  It is interesting to look at with a grain of salt. It appears to no longer be maintained.  Many of the trains listed are shown as "out of print".  Why? Newer motors and drives perhaps. Many old product numbers were discontinued with upgrades to features like DCC compatible in recent years. 

Many just got completly replaced by modern variants. For example the Kato kokuden series uses the old 103 series molds. (low cab original series variant) They are really outdated compared to the new high quality products. This means the old molds and product numbers were retired and new ones created with more modern technologies. The kokudens were just brought back as a cheap starter kit series (even one car shorter) and use more modern motors, but the same old and very cheap to produce running frames and bogies as the original products. Tomix uses the Tomytec brand for these old style sets where headlights are often just painted on and detail parts are either molded in or left off.

 

ps: actually older sets with less details and almost no extra detail parts were more robust for playing with by kids, but they often lacked the detail level we got used to nowdays

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TBH I'd make another run of Kokudens. The orange one I have cost me £22 including postage from Japan, which is ridiculously cheap. Ok, the detailing is basic, there are no lights and the KuMoHa bodies are a bit loose, but as a way of getting newbies into the hobby I doubt they had many equals. And with a set of 11-703 couplers and some careful painting you can improve them hugely.

 

Or buy the detailing parts pack from Greenmax and you can do anything between adding aircon to modelling some of the rebuilt units with through gangways. The chassis is standard Kato minus traction tyres, and mine run as well as any other non-flywheel Kato unit. One of mine has been fitted with aircon pods and cab roof aerials as a Tsurumi Line unit, I still need to modify the single headlights to the twin type.

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Yup, the orange one is what got me started, not having done anything with model trains since the mid 80s (rather clunky and temperamental British OO) I was impressed by the smooth running and detail, and didn't even know at the time that things such as directional lighting are normal these days.

 

24771928267_6dd0d9a876_z.jpg

Kato 103 KOKUDEN + 0 Series Shinkansen by Rail Squid, on Flickr

 

They were pretty common in shops until recently, so I guess the last batch has sold out.

 

Mine are on the very long waiting list for improvements when I get round to it...

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I would have liked a blue one as well, but they seem to have sold out first.

 

Doesn't look as if they ever made a MoHa 103 with the old tooling either? I realise parts are easy to swap but you really need more intermediate car shells to do that. Otherwise you end up with a lot of leftovers!

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3 hours ago, Welshbloke said:

I would have liked a blue one as well, but they seem to have sold out first.

 

Doesn't look as if they ever made a MoHa 103 with the old tooling either? I realise parts are easy to swap but you really need more intermediate car shells to do that. Otherwise you end up with a lot of leftovers!

Some of the older sets had more cars:

Kuha103: http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10003749

Moha102: http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10003750

Moha103: http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10003751

Saha103: http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10003752

Moha103: http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10003753

 

and the 4 car sets used for the 3 car kokuden series:

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10003450

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10003453

(Kuha 103 / Saha 103 / Moha 102 / Kumoha 103)

 

Edited by kvp

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Those are the later models, I have one of the four car sets in orange. They use the same tooling as the most recent 103 boxed sets apart from not having blackened wheels or Shibatas (again, very easy to fit 11-703) The glazing is flush and the windowframes are painted, they also have aircon pods and directional lighting.

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10 hours ago, Welshbloke said:

Those are the later models

If you check the 4 car sets linked below, you can see those are the predecessors of the kokuden sets with non flush glazing and painted lights. (Kuha 103 / Saha 103 / Moha 102 / Kumoha 103) Kato just left out the saha103 car for the new sets. (HS even links the new sets to the old ones)

 

ps: Why did Kato choose a kumoha103 car with Mcp-M'-T-Tc setup instead of the more common for later series Tc-Mp-M-Tc setup requiring less tooling? Imho the reason is shortening for smaller layouts. You can prototypically shrink the set down to 3 cars by leaving out the trailer (later sets did this by default) and somewhat unprototypically go down to two cars (Mcp-Tc), by leaving out the pantographless motor car (the control trailer also has a compressor and would just need a MG unit added to work as a 2 car set). With a Mp-M' pair in the middle it would be impossible to do this. For anything above 4 (lately 3) cars, you can get the newer, better quality sets. This setup obviously leaves out the Mp car type (moha103) and for recent releases the trailer too.

Edited by kvp

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