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gavino200

Tomix distributor in the US?

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gavino200

Was visiting my local train guy today. At one stage got to talking about Kato track. I told him that if I were to start a new layout I'd probably use Tomix track because to the more varied track and junction options. He was surprised by this and very interested. I don't know if he's had people looking for greater track variety, and felt that there'd be a market. He was asking about who distributes Tomix in the US. I told him that, as far as I know there isn't a distributor, but that people just buy it directly from Japan, if they want it. 

 

I think Jeff mentioned that there used to be a bulk importer of Japanese trains in the US but that he retired. Does anyone know if there's a current distributor (Central US/ Midwest)? Or is it feasible for a train store owner to buy direct from Tomix? If so what would the process be like? 

 

 

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cteno4

Walthers is the official tomytec distributor now in the us. You can see what they have on their site and buy directly from them or if your lhs is a walthers retailer they can order it for you. Some places like kliens give a pretty good discount off the walthers SRP, others financially may not be able to. Issue is the walthers SRP is like 50-100% over Japanese SRP.

 

i think the biggest issue with tomix track getting sold here much will be that walthers will need to keep a good supply of all the track on hand in the us so that stores can restock or do the special orders if they don’t want to stock it but a customer wants it. This is something walthers is not know for doing well. With out this folks will never try tomix track here if it’s a six month backorder thru their lhs thru walthers. Chicken and the egg as it takes the easy access of all the track range (and at a competitive price to unitrak) to get a foot in the market, but you need a lot of sales to pay for having a lot of stock of a lot of pieces. This means walthers would need to make a big investment to do this as a wholesaler and deal wirh a lot of smaller special orders until enough sales for lhs to notice and then invest in stocking something like track that needs stocking a lot of parts. On top of the whole stock thing for walthers, they would need to really go on a marketing campaign in the us to push finetrak and get lhs to stock it. If unitrak was not there then that may not be so bad with the other alternatives out there, but it will be a big competition against the already intrenched unitrak

 

jeff

Edited by cteno4
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chadbag

I think if Tomy wants to sell a lot in the US, they will need to go direct, like KATO has.  Since Tomy does not have a line of US rolling stock, unlike KATO, that is not likely to happen.  Unitrack is somewhat popular and available here in the US because KATO has KATO USA and their complete line of US rolling stock.   Unitrack would also be an afterthought if KATO only did Japanese and Euro trains.

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katoftw

The line of conversation goes back to being the same as the other thread with the old guy comparing kato vs tomix youtube video.

 

Tomix is available. But some are so entrenched in their ways. That they a blinkered to one product and how to purchase.

 

I get that reading all the responses from north americans that they/you like to go into a bricks and motar shops and to purchase track pieces in hand. Hence why Kato rules in this sense compared to Tomix.  While Tomix is readily available. Buying online and awaiting shipment isn't the done thing.

 

Maybe it is an age demographic thing also?  Most oldies (which are railway modellers) prefer shop over online?

Edited by katoftw

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gavino200
1 hour ago, katoftw said:

The line of conversation goes back to being the same as the other thread with the old guy comparing kato vs tomix youtube video.

 

Tomix is available. But some are so entrenched in their ways. That they a blinkered to one product and how to purchase.

 

I get that reading all the responses from north americans that they/you like to go into a bricks and motar shops and to purchase track pieces in hand. Hence why Kato rules in this sense compared to Tomix.  While Tomix is readily available. Buying online and awaiting shipment isn't the done thing.

 

Maybe it is an age demographic thing also?  Most oldies (which are railway modellers) prefer shop over online?

 

Kato, mind if I pick your brains a bit. All my track is Kato except for my tram track.. I never even heard of Tomix track before I found this website. I quite like the Kato track for most purposes and don't feel any great need to change. It's an established apple cart for me, and when I need a piece that doesn't exist, I just alter an existing piece. However, I've been very disappointed with Kato's double viaduct selection. While it's possible to custom make and alter that stuff, it's difficult and a PITA. If I make a new double track circuit I'm going to scrap the Kato stuff and start again with Tomix. 

 

So, after reading  your post I did a search and there seems to be a fair bit of stuff on Amazon. That's close enough for me. Waiting for Japan post SAL turnaround is no big deal for me in general. But if I need one crucial piece of track to get a layout change working, that would be a bit frustrating. Who would you say are the best online suppliers of finetrack? In terms of selection and in terms of speed. Are you in the US?

 

By the way, I'm in my mid forties. Am I an oldie? I generally would say I'm an old fart. But I think in model railway terms I'm probably a young whipper-snapper. No? 😜

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bill937ca

Forties isn't old. I'm in my sixties.

 

Suppliers:

 

Hobbylinc

https://www.hobbylinc.com/model-trains

Hobbylinc used to have lots of Tomix track last summer, but its all gone.  Only the catalogs are left.

 

ModelTrainStuff (M B Klein) Tomix

https://www.modeltrainstuff.com/layout/track-accessories/#/filter:custom_scale:N/filter:brand:Tomix$2520(TomyTec)

 

ModelTrainStuff(MB Klein) Tomytec

https://www.modeltrainstuff.com/search?search_query_adv=Tomytec

 

Hobby Search  

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/list/606/0/1

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/list/604/0/1

 

Plaza Japan (prices in US dollars)

https://www.ebay.com/sch/m.html?_ssn=plazajapan&LH_PrefLoc=2&_from=R40&_trksid=p2499338.m570.l1311.R1.TR6.TRC1.A0.H0.XTomix+track.TRS0&_nkw=tomix+track&_sacat=0

 

ModelTrainPlus

https://www.modeltrainplus.net/collections/tomix-track-n-scale

 

 

 

 

Edited by bill937ca
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gavino200
11 minutes ago, bill937ca said:

Forties isn't old. I'm in my sixties.

 

Suppliers;

 

Hobby Search  

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/list/606/0/1

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/list/604/0/1

 

Plaza Japan (prices in US dollars)

https://www.ebay.com/sch/m.html?_ssn=plazajapan&LH_PrefLoc=2&_from=R40&_trksid=p2499338.m570.l1311.R1.TR6.TRC1.A0.H0.XTomix+track.TRS0&_nkw=tomix+track&_sacat=0

 

Hobbylinc

https://www.hobbylinc.com/model-trains

Hobbylinc used to have lots of Tomix track last summer, but its all gone.  Only the catalogs are left.

 

ModelTrainPlus

https://www.modeltrainplus.net/collections/tomix-track-n-scale

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks. I use all those suppliers already. And I generally always use SAL shipping. But for track I'd probably want a shorter turnaround time. That's why I''m glad to see that Amazon have finetrack. For track I'd prefer a North American supplier for speed reasons only. I'd actually prefer an online supplier. 

 

Edit: Duh I missed MT stuff and Hobby clinic. I'll have a look and see what they have.

Edited by gavino200
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gavino200

MT stuff only have a few items. A pity as that's were I get most of my Kato track. Decent prices, fast, and good customer service. Hobby clinic have a few track items if you search under "Tomy" but not much. Only 22 track items. 

 

It was be nice to have a quick delivery source for Fine Track with a wide selection.

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cteno4

Kato, that’s an unfair stereotype. Many still do like to try to keep purchasing from a local hobby shop to keep them around. The decision to go with something they can get local and get support for is part of making a decision on what you want to use.

 

its not an age thing at all. I have a lot of experience (in the hundreds of folks) talking to folks getting into the hobby here in the states, both in person at shows and also them contacting our club. The reluctance of folks to buy from overseas is usually due to just not having done much of that at all. For most folks they just don’t need to order from overseas until they do something different like this that requires it. Many with some encouragement will eventually purchase from overseas, but it takes some nice encouragement not abuse to get them to do it. 

 

Kato is very well entrenched domestically here being one of the biggest players in American n scale. Tomix is very unknown. Tomix’s attempts to use Walthers has not helped as Walthers has an 800 lb gorilla reputation here and their jack up of Tomix prices has not given Tomix a great reputation and thus dissuades some of its use.

 

folks will choose their own reasons to go with what track systems they want to. Just because you like finetrack better does not mean everyone will.

 

jeff

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cteno4
2 hours ago, gavino200 said:

MT stuff only have a few items. A pity as that's were I get most of my Kato track. Decent prices, fast, and good customer service. Hobby clinic have a few track items if you search under "Tomy" but not much. Only 22 track items. 

 

It was be nice to have a quick delivery source for Fine Track with a wide selection.

 

Walthers has not been great about keeping a lot of finetrack in stock as the us distributor.

 

jeff

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gavino200
16 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

 

Walthers has not been great about keeping a lot of finetrack in stock as the us distributor.

 

jeff

 

Yeah, the Fine Track on Amazon is pretty much all coming from Japan. It wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me if/when I make another superelevated double track layout. But it's not ideal. I doubt that I'll ever get to a stage where I don't forget to get a small element that makes everything not work at the last minute. 

 

Not having a shiny new loco is one thing. Needing a small part that makes your layout function could be frustrating. I guess I could always pay for expedited shipping. Or.....patiently wait? Hmmm.

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chadbag

 

The market for Tomix track is very small in the US.   If people want to order it from overseas, go ahead.   That is not in question for the small minority of modelers who KNOW about it and are comfortable doing it.  Most don't know of it, and most won't bother with overseas purchases when the alternatives are "local" and cheaper and easier.

 

The percentage of N-Scale train enthusiasts in the US who care to run Japanese prototype trains is very small compared the whole population of US train enthusiasts.  Miniscule.  And that means that Tomix has no mind-share here, which means no one wants to take the risk at importing it in as reasonable selection and price, as they won't get the volume necessary.

 

Yes, you can order from overseas if you know where to look, and are comfortable with it.  That carries with it a long wait to receive what you want.  So, for most people, they buy KATO, or a US manufacturer of track (Bachmann, Atlas, etc).

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katoftw
1 hour ago, cteno4 said:

Kato, ...

 

folks will choose their own reasons to go with what track systems they want to. Just because you like finetrack better does not mean everyone will.

 

jeff

I prefer Kato for various reasons. But thanks for attempting to speak for someone you know little about. Makes me look wiser. 😂

 

Yes somethings were maybe unfair generalizations. Hence why I used the wording 'maybe' and question marks. They were questions, not statements.

 

I had never really thought of the notion of keeping a business eunning by supporting them. In Australia. Very little shopps exist, and if they do, they cost way more than online Japanese options.

Edited by katoftw

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cteno4

Here in the us unitrak is available at many train shops at good prices due to katousa. Also the site has a lot of unitrak info, instructions, and plans in English. It’s used a lot here in Ttrak as well so well known.

 

Tomix unfortunately is not inexpensive as it’s got thru the Walthers distributorship deal and thus expensive unless ordered directly from japan. Some are even willing to pay more to keep a local train shop going as a matter of principle for them. 

 

The only way i think tomix could try the us market is thru a distributor like Walthers to try to overcome the above, but the high price that ended up (I have to guess from a big markup with direct from Tomix wholesale deal) has killed that pretty much, seems to be sputtering out wirh lest finetrack and tomytec buildings on Walthers innstock. The buildings did not seem to sell well, probably from combination of high price and most not fitting us model rr scenes.

 

These are the things putting “blinders” on some. 

 

Jeff

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Sheffie

I get the impression that Tomix may well offer a superior product, considering the overall set of available pieces (assuming this is good info: http://www.trainweb.org/tomix/track/tomix_track_systems.htm)

 

But chicken-and-egg is a huge problem, especially when there are Kato starter sets with US trains, in local stores and amazon, with basically no Tomix competition 

Edited by Sheffie

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brill27mcb

The U.S. is a small market for their model railroad products, compared with Japan. Tomy has had, at least twice in the past, staffed sales offices in the U.S., but in both cases the model railroad line was not included in the product lines they chose to sell in the U.S. market. Their selection was more pre-school children's toys, Pla-Rail, HO slot cars and so on. I used to talk with their reps at the annual New York Toy Fair industry event.

 

I would guess that their recent experience dealing with major U.S. model railroad distributor Walthers as a method of entree into the U.S. market has also been frustrating.

 

I prefer Tomix and simply buy from overseas retailers.

 

Rich K.

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