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bikkuri bahn

Model RR shop in Osaka and a discovery

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bikkuri bahn

Well, I had a couple of hours on my hands in Osaka yesterday before catching an evening flight back to Sapporo, so I figured I'd check out a hobby shop to kill time (rainy weather kept me way from chasing trains, which is what I'd normally do).  As I'm interested in HO, and thus limited relatively in choices (which could be viewed as a blessing sometimes...), I did a search on the web for local shops.  This one turned up (Mahha Mokei), and what's more, it's located in the Umeda area, convenient for transport links.

 

http://www.mach-mokei.jp/

 

Getting off a Kyoto Line train after a short hop from Shin-Osaka, the following 15 minute walk through the Whity underground shopping mall and a few blocks on street level took me to a nondescript office building, and the third floor location of this shop.  I must say I was pleasantly surprised upon perusal of the stock.  Of course the ubiquitous N scale items were on display, but the HO scale stock is some of the best I have ever seen in my albeit limited experience of visiting model rlwy shops in Japan.  Not only Kato, but loads of Tomix, and Tenshodo stock with stock levels at least as good, if not better than the Tenshodo Main Store in Ginza.  There were around 6~8 of Tenshodo's diecast D51 steamers, including a Tohoku version with the auxiliary fuel oil tank that I have had my eye on, but, discretion got the better of me and instead I opted for (a cheaper by 50000 yen) Tenshodo's kiha 55 with the dual sealed beam headlight in express colors- the steamer will have to wait for another day, hopefully in the near future. I also picked up an out of print picture book on Hokkaido Railways in the early to mid sixties.

 

There was an HO scale display layout, the usual tail chaser type, but nicely done with subtle details and relative restraint usually lacking on these type of layouts:

 

http://www.mach-mokei.jp/img/tenpo18.jpg

 

Not in the picture, but the foreground space was occupied by a separate switching layout (a locomotive depot), apparently a famous one that was profiled back in the late sixties in TMS magazine.  I regret I didn't record the name of the builder. Nice trackwork on that one.

 

Kato and Tomix HO stock:

http://www.mach-mokei.jp/img/tenpo09.jpg

 

Tenshodo HO display case (there was more to the right of the picture):

http://www.mach-mokei.jp/img/tenpo03.jpg

 

Endou and Katsumi stock:

http://www.mach-mokei.jp/img/tenpo04.jpg

 

HO scale kits/parts:

http://www.mach-mokei.jp/img/tenpo12.jpg

 

As for the discovery, there were several Tenshodo models in Japanese TT scale, which is 1/120 running on 9mm track (i.e. n scale track).  A 9600 consol, D51, and passenger coaches.  I wasn't aware of this gauge, called TT9, but here is a website dedicated to it:

 

http://home.t09.itscom.net/tt-9/

 

*I have held the belief (or rather wish) that rather than N scale, TT would have rather become the dominant "smaller scale"- I believe the 1/120 size has the right balance of space saving features and level of detail.

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Martijn Meerts

In Europe, it seems TT is slowly becoming more popular. Of course, the TT system here uses their own track rather than N-scale. More manufacturers have also started doing TT.

 

I guess in Japan TT9 won't become really popular, or at least affordable unless at least 1 of the big brands picks it up..

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bikkuri bahn

Yes, I recall that TT was the scale favored by a (former) East German model rlwy manufacturer, which later tried to promote (without success) American prototypes models.  Anyway, I hope for the future success of this gauge, if not in Japan, at least in Europe.

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marknewton

Thanks a lot, BB. That shop is the LAST thing I needed to know about!  :grin

 

I can see myself visiting there next time I go to Japan and coming out stoney broke and penniless...

 

All the best,

 

Mark.

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Martijn Meerts

Yes, I recall that TT was the scale favored by a (former) East German model rlwy manufacturer, which later tried to promote (without success) American prototypes models.  Anyway, I hope for the future success of this gauge, if not in Japan, at least in Europe.

 

Might be Tillig. I believe they "invented" the scale, and are still promoting it fairly heavily, even though they also do other scales now. (interestingly, the Tillig H0 track is supposedly some of the best. It sure does look good, much better than their TT track....)

 

The (semi-)LHS has several TT starter sets and locomotives on display. It looks quite interesting, but the added size does mean running long shinkansen through wide curves would require a LOT of space again.

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Triplex
*I have held the belief (or rather wish) that rather than N scale, TT would have rather become the dominant "smaller scale"- I believe the 1/120 size has the right balance of space saving features and level of detail.

And I have held that TT should be able to survive alongside the other scales. I don't consider a selection of major scales differing by almost factors of 2 to be fine enough graduation. I won't try to say there's one right balance, so I wish modellers had more choice, specifically in the ability to choose a balance by using scales in between the main ones.

 

In North America, I find it interesting that, while TT is almost non-existent and S small, G is popular and Z has started to rise. That is, scales outside the O-HO-N range rise, while those in between decline.

 

From online forums, it appears most Z scalers didn't begin in the scale, but are N converts - actually, no, most still model N. This raises the question of where TT modellers could come from.

 

I've seen the collapse of US TT attributed to the fact that most TT models were kits. When N was introduced, most models were RTR, making it more accessible to beginners. This does beg the question of why more RTR TT wasn't introduced to compete...

 

I assumed that Japanese TT with correct track gauge would logically exist, and here it is. The next logical question: does anyone make a 12mm gauge Shinkansen?

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