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The Introduction Thread...

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#41 kashirigi

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 02:37 PM

Thanks for the warm welcome!

I never thought I was a model railroader, although I've always enjoyed travelling by train, because that way I don't have to cut my legs off to fit in a seat. On a whim, because it was in the bargain bin, I bought Trainz Railroad Simulator 2006 on Boxing Day (2006). It turned out to be much more amusing than I had anticipated.

I went to Japan on a vacation last year and made the error of entering many hobby shops. I was/am/whatever a wargamer and modeller, but the vast array of lovely trains convinced me that I should try and have a layout in an apartment that has no business holding a model railroad layout. However, I figured if it's possible to have a layout in Japan, it should also be possible in North America. Given that the apartment I live in is about the same size as a Japanese one, I also thought it would be a worthy cross-cultural experiment.

My layout still looks like the ice-planet Hoth, but it's coming together slowly. Besides, if I finish quickly, then I'll have nothing to work on . . .

Everyone is more than welcome to see what it is that I'm doing, because I'm documenting my errors so that others can avoid them.  Feel free to come by and learn how I no doubt did it wrong: http://yamanotesen.thruhere.net/
No room for a layout? Is your place tighter than a capsule hotel? Hang your layout on the wall!


#42 Guest_bill937ca_*

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 03:40 PM

Aren't the hobby shops in Japan something else?  Model railroading is supposed to much higher per capita in Japan than North America.  Then there's the figures, gundam, garage kits and plastic models which all seem to at least as popular in Japan as model railroading. And at least there are hobby shops in Japan.  Over here hobby shops seem to be heading for the endangered species list.

Actually before I came across Japanese trains I never had done much with model railroading either.  I started a HO traction layout but that was moving along very slowly.  But since I placed my first order about this time last year I've been a non-stop express!

I can relate to the lack of space in an apartment.  I've always lived in an apartment and  some of those apartments have been very chopped up.  I'm fortunate that the one bedroom apartment I have now has a living room over 20 feet wide. 

Great to have you with us.

#43 Bernard

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 06:07 PM

Welcome aboard! There are some really great members who have taught me a lot about prototype trains and modeling with their posts.
I also got interested in Japanese RR when I went to Japan for business, I had a morning off and went to 3 hobby shops and I could have stayed all day if I didn't have to get back to work.
It was easier to find a LHS there than it is in NY.
I enjoyed your link, and as for mistakes, I just remember this saying, "experience is what you get, when you were looking for something else", and Gee, have I gotten a lot of experience through the years. I look forward to your posts.

#44 Luxjapan

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 07:09 AM

Greetings from the very small country of Luxembourg, Europe!

Does anyone know where is it possible to buy ARUMO / ARU Nine engines?



#45 Bernard

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 05:57 AM

Welcome to the forum. Do you have any more information on the trains you are seeking, or a photo of one? Some of the other members might be able to help you by posting a photo. I checked a couple of sites and came up with nothing so far.

#46 Guest_bill937ca_*

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 06:20 AM

I found Arumo's Japanese language web page.


LuxJapan, you'll need a machine translator. We'll start with Google.


It does not look like they are set up for foreign orders.  In many of the smaller shops no English is spoken.

I would suggest you try contacting Dauplin Ltd in Tokyo.  They do export and have an English language web site.  There are similar models on Dauphin's Japanese language web site.


Japanese language web page:  http://www.mmjp.or.jp/tramway/

When you inquire be sure to specify the gauge in mm as the Japanese often have several variations. I see HO in 9mm and 16.5mm and I have seen 12mm elsewhere.

Good luck!

Bernard, you'll have more luck if you search for 'Arumo N gauge' rather than 'Arumo'.  The N gauge really cuts out all the......      ;D

#47 Bernard

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 06:58 AM

In my search I came upon this link:


is this something similar?

#48 Guest_bill937ca_*

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 09:04 AM

Pro Hobby is 1/144.  Plaza Japan, Hobby Search and Hobby World Japan carry some of their items.  Those small engines are actually JR engines used for maintenance trains at night in Tokyo.  I couldn't believe it when I saw a picture of one once lettered for JR.

#49 Luxjapan

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 06:30 AM


Thank you very much you all!

I will see which site could post to Europe.

I am looking for the engine in attachment.

And I do 1/150.


#50 CaptOblivious



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Posted 05 May 2008 - 07:15 AM

Darren Jeffries asked if we wouldn't mind introducing ourselves in a little more detail. So, here's a thread for those of us who aren't interested to do so.

Being a habitual lurker (on other boards...), I'd like to reach out to the other lurkers on this board: If you only post once, post here?

My name is Don Goodman-Wilson, but my college buddies called me Captain Oblivious, for my innate ability to totally fail to notice important things, hence my screen-name. I live in St Louis, Missouri, United States (really in the city, too, not out in the 'burbs, a point of pride for me :D )

I'm 32ish, married to the most wonderful woman ever  :D, with our first child, a little girl named Acadia (in honor of my maternal grandparents, who are Cajun---hence the name) on the way. I can't wait to meet her.

I'm working on my PhD in philosophy at Washington University in St Louis, specializing in philosophy of science; I study causal inferences of the sort that scientists use when performing controlled experiments. I want to know whether it is a justified inference system, and the assumptions we have to make to get science off the ground in the first place.

Grad students---especially those with familiies---don't get a lot of free time, but I spend mine playing with Japanese trains, spending quality time in my darkroom, and wargaming (from which I get my interest in modeling---I'd rather assemble and paint minis than actually play with them, it turns out). I post my photographs to my other website, Artificial Science.

I got started in Japanese model trains after a trip to Tokyo. My wife and I, being academics, get a lot of time off over winter break, so we spent the 2006--2007 break---3 weeks---living in an apartment in the shitamachi (blue-collar) sector Tokyo (Monzen-Nakachou, for the curious---and a delightful place to stay!). We bought groceries (what fun!) and learned about Japanese home-cooking, and of course we took the trains everywhere to see the sights. Each day started with a walk to the subway station---in the grocery store, no less! Some days we only went a few minutes down the line; some days our trip would take a few hours (and yet, we never left Tokyo!). It was really amazing to us that our little grocery store was a gateway to all of Japan, just a couple of blocks' walk away. But although for the most part neither of us, except on a couple of occasions, took explicit notice of the trains, having them so strongly in the background of our life---just knowing that that gateway was there, waiting for us---they made their mark.

One of the first things we noticed on our return to St Louis was how impoverished our own trains system was! I felt strangely isolated suddenly: Our local train station was a gateway to...the 'burbs. That's it. And practically no-one rides it, either. It was so lonely taking the train to school (as I began to do). That's when I first began to take explicit notice of the trains we'd been riding in Tokyo, and where my interest in modeling them came from. My dad used to have an N-gauge layout when I was a child and still collects rolling stock today, and so I was already familiar with the Kato name---it was all downhill from there  ;D

So now I'm starting a model of one of the train stations we visited, Akihabara Station, as a nice, if belated, momento from our trip, and a reminder of how wonderful the trains there were.

So, that's me! Who's next?

My job: Slack

My hobby: Railstars

My other hobby: Akihabara Station

#51 Martijn Meerts

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 03:14 PM

I'll give it a go ;)

Name's Martijn Meerts (just Martin will do pronunciation wise ;)), I live in Oslo, Norway, just outside the city center. I'm originally from The Netherlands however. I also have some vague intention of moving to for example New Zealand, Australia, Canada or America at some point, possibly even Japan. It would likely only be for a few years, but I figure that's the best way of "visiting" a country and seeing all the sights ;)

I'm 31 at the time of this writing, single, no kids, tiny little room with access to a kitchen and bathroom, which I'm renting from some people that used to be friends, but are now roommates. I try to avoid them as much as possible. There's some hopes I can rent a basement apartment sometime later this year. At this point, I have no space whatsoever for any kind of layout.

I studied car mechanics, business administration and information technology. I worked as a car mechanic at Renault/Chrysler and later at a company specializing in car electronics. It was at that company where I got to work on some nice cars including various Ferrari's, and one of my personal favorites, the Dodge Viper. After a while I lost interest in the standard everyday car workshop activities, so I quite that job and started working as a web designer/developer and 3d modeler. After moving to Norway I continued as a web designer initially, and I currently work as web designer/developer, Flash/Flex developer and system admin. I still do a bit of 3d modeling in my spare time, and recently also started learning video editing. I work almost exclusively on a Mac at work, and recently also made the switch to Mac at home, where I now have an 8-core Mac Pro as well as a Core 2 Duo Macbook Pro.

As for the trains, I grew up with them. We've had them for as long as I can remember. We used to have a large H0 layout with Dutch prototype up on the attic. While getting older, we wanted to look at a bit more realistic operation, but H0 didn't allow that due to being too big. We sold it and bought a Minitrix N-Scale start set. That collection steadily grew into a reasonable sized one by now. My father still works on it, and I believe he has about 23 digital locomotives. The layout is entirely computer controlled as well.

As for myself, when I moved to Norway, I didn't take any of the trains with me. In stead I "re-started" in Norway with Marklin H0. I have a variety of locomotives and I still buy the occasional new locomotive. I intend to at some point build a static layout in H0 based on the Era 1 Royal Bavarian Railways.

My first contact with Japanese N-scale was Kato's 800 series shinkansen. I'd known of the existence of Japanese N-scale models, and I'd often been looking at shinkansen pictures, but at the time I didn't know of any dealers. At some point the local train store in Oslo had the Kato 800 series in stock, which he got through Noch (Noch imports a few Japanese models into Europe.) The quality impressed me so much, that I immediately ordered the Kato 800 series shinkansen as well. I also started searching for a dealer that had more to offer and that knew more about the various brands. I ended up using Japan Model Railways in Germany, because the owner proved to be by far the most helpful of the ones I contacted. I would say about 98% of everything I have by now is from Japan Model Railways.

I'm also planning on buying some Lenz 0-scale at some point. I've seen some of their models, and they are quite frankly amazing. Initially they'd be for displaying only, as they need quite a bit of space to put up. Of course, they're big and sturdy enough to be run outdoors.

Other then that, I'm also into building model kits of any shape and size. I have for example 1:350 versions of the Yamato, Musashi and Yukikaze with appropriate photo etched detail sets. I also have some Japanese castle kits, several Gundam models (4 of which are scale 1:144, and I intend to make a module using them), and a 1:16 scale remote controlled tank. And then of course there's the 1:24 scale all metal kit of the C62-2 steam locomotive of which I have 24/100 issues so far.

Currently I'm working on various decoder installs (as you have seen already), as well as 1 diorama and a 2nd diorama in planning stages. I've also slowly started work on the 1st of 6 or 7 modules based entirely on various Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki movies. And then I've started early planning work on the Tokyo Station modules, which will likely turn out into a nightmare project, but that's the fun part of it =)

Other hobbies are playing the occasional game, for which I not only use my Mac (which also has vista installed using bootcamp), but also 1 of several consoles. I also listen to music almost constantly, and watch plenty movies. For this I've bought a mid to high-end sound system which will later be expanded to a 7.1 surround system with full HD projector etc.

Having a rather well paid job, a fairly cheap place to live, and no real money sink (otherwise known as girlfriend/wife), I tend to spend somewhere around 450-550 euro per month (700-850 USD at the exchange rate on the date of this writing) on train related items, but that's really just a rough estimate. Sometimes it's a bit less, often it's a bit more =)

So, that's that. If you want to know something more, let me know =)
Mixed Japanese N-scale: http://www.jr-chiisai.net

#52 kuletungeb

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 12:11 PM

Hi everyone. Ive recently become intrested in model railway collecting. I believe i want to get Kato N Scale gauge but i dont know where to go from there. I have spend a lot of time searching on the internet and i havent found anything really useful. Could someone tell me how hard it is to make a train circuit, and where can i buy trains and tracks online if i live in the UK? What set would you reccomend? A starter set would be good. Futhermore i dont know what power packs to get >.>. Im such a begginer i dont know where to start:'(

#53 CaptOblivious



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Posted 16 May 2008 - 06:15 PM

You've come to the right place! I don't know where best to get stuff in the UK, but both Kato and Tomix put out excellent starter sets, which include a train, an oval of track, and a throttle (will need a converter for the throttle), for not very much. The determining factor will be whether you want to invest in Kato's Unitrack system (better because it is more widely available) or Tomix's FineTrack system (better because it has a larger selection of track). (compare: http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10049696 and http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10050583 )

My job: Slack

My hobby: Railstars

My other hobby: Akihabara Station

#54 alpineaustralia

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 03:40 AM

The other threshhold question which I think you need to ask youself is whether you want to go with the straight out of the box DC set up that comes with those sets or whether you want to invest in a DCC set up. I say this is threshold because you dont want to expend money one way if you decide to go the other way later down the track (pardon the pun).

A good source of UK stuff is:

MG Sharp

Rail of Sheffield

Holt Model Trains

Tonys Trains

#55 Darren Jeffries

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 07:42 AM

MG Sharp are good. I have had good experiences. Also try JR Models on eBay. They carry lots of KATO.

My experience though is that buying from the UK is quite expensive and that you would be better off buying from Japan.
Why not choose an avatar? Go to "Profile" and explore what options are available to you.

#56 Bernard

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 09:55 AM

Hi kuletungeb and welcome to the forum.
The best advice I can offer you is to ask lots of questions! A lot of the members here are extremely helpful and can offer lots of information. You might even want to try starting with a small layout plan before building.
Here is a link to small layout plans:


You can even discuss with members here their opinions of the plan an maybe some modifications you might want to do to it.
Whatever you do, it's great having you part of the forum.

#57 kuletungeb

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 11:44 AM

So would you guys reccomend the 500 series shinkansen starter set. I really like the 500 shinkansen however i think i prefer the original 0 series shinkansen. So nostalgic! If i was going to purchase the 0 series i would have to buy the other parts by myself but i dont know what to buy for a track. Also could someone reccomend me some train stations. I would also like to know about DC and DCC. Thank you all for your comments so far. I guess the best places to buy are ebay and japanese shops.

#58 CaptOblivious



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Posted 17 May 2008 - 01:52 PM

Oh, I just linked to the 500-series sets because they are so popular. Buying the bits separately costs a bit more, but not so much as to make it unpalatable. In fact, my first purchase was a nice Kato commuter train (Yamanote line E231-500), and a Tomix set that came with an oval of track and a throttle, but no train (the My Plan LT, but also check out the My Plan DX, which is bigger).

My job: Slack

My hobby: Railstars

My other hobby: Akihabara Station

#59 kuletungeb

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 04:58 PM

I would also like some help deciding between the kato unitrack or the Tomix track.

#60 CaptOblivious



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Posted 17 May 2008 - 05:46 PM

Here's a link to Kato USA's page on Unitrack: http://www.katousa.com/N/unitrack.html
Lots of good info on Unitrack there, including a list of what's available, and how the various pieces fit together. Sadly, there is no good similar page for Finetrack, at least not in English. Anyone else got a good link for that?

My job: Slack

My hobby: Railstars

My other hobby: Akihabara Station

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