June 01, 2015

Shizuoka Hobby Show 2015 Highlights

Here is some summary from Shizuoka Hobby Show 2015.  I am sorry taking long time to upload this information.


1. Tomytec (TOMIX)

Tomix booth was located in front of main entrance.  So this is the first place you check and see.  Very populated booth as Tomytec has lots of product line up other than TOMIX.  First one on display was Moving Bus system BRT.  Appealing to make layout with Sanriku Railway train or KIHA40 Tohoku color.

New announcement for TOMIX is Tobu Series 100 Spacia with "Nikko Moude" coloring and Series 103 skyblue color.

Limited item at Shizuoka Hobby Show is TOMIX 98946 - KIHA66/67 (Huis Ten Bosch).  Pre-order already available.

Many other item listed and below are just a part of it.  Another variand of K-ON train is also listed.  H5 Shinkansen will be coming.


Newly announced Tomytec "Romancing SAGA" train.  Also Kumamon train shown.

Also coming more buses



2. Microace

There was no new announcement from Microace but their showcase having different model from previous events.  You see the big "Greenmax" signboard but the booth itself is Microace.

Very interesting JR Shikoku's Shinkansen Hobby Train

Nankai Rapit with both color variants


3. Greenmax


New announcement from Greenmax is for their new motor unit.  Their existing motor unit is very noisy but their new motor unit is very quiet now with using coreless motor with flywheel.  Also their new motor unit is designed highly compatible with TOMIX item.  They have holes for installing BMTN coupler and bogie side frame compatible with Tomytec's railway collection item.  As far as I talked with Greenmax rep, they are not yet ready to sell as an individual parts but this new motor unit will be available from their newly announced product of E653.  This motor unit is seems very promising.

Announcing E653.  New motor unit seems nice but the price...

Multiple Tie-Tamper.  Greenmax delayed release to August or later due to quality issue.



Normally nothing to be announced from KATO on Shizuoka Hobby Show.

They are now developing new sound card for E233.

Showing announced products.


5. MODEMO (Hasegawa)

Announcing new color variant for Tokyo Toden 8800


6. Popondetta

Popondetta displayed plastic container with JR container design.  Really looks nice and can hold about 13 book case.  Collapsible and stackable.  Really seems convenient.  Also showing bus and announced they will produce new Annaka freight train model.


7. Aoshima

Really surprised they announced 1:45 OJ scale DD51 Hookutosei.  Aoshima is so serious on this product and displaying this on front of entrance.

This item is non painted plastic kit but very made in detail.  Also designed for installing LED for lighting.

February 25, 2015

KATO Sales Meeting - Feb. 17, 2015

Here is the summary from KATO sales meeting for February.

Business Update

- SoundBox can't be used in Europe due to non-compliance of CE standard.  Now they are developing CE compliant model.

- Also developing additional sound card for sound box.  Now preparing C56 steam locomotive, 1 type of Shinkansen and 1 type of commuter train.

- Due to an epidemic of influenza at KATO's factory employee, they are sure those new product release will be delay.  Especially those models they just announced (RhB "Allegra" and Series 381 "Panorama Shinano") will be impacted.  To recover this situation, Mr. Kato and his team suggested alternative plan to make some re-run of certain train model and asked retailers for opinion.  As it was a serious conversation between KATO and retailers, you may find unexpected announcement of re-run of certain item.

- There is an issue with KATO 10-1184 (ED19 and Myojo Cement freight car set).  Enclosed knuckle coupler is different and KATO is planning to send out replacement.  ModelTrainPlus is now suspending sales of this product until replacement coupler comes in to avoid 2 shipment.  I am sorry for the inconvenience.

Product Showcase

1. Tokyo Metro Series 10000

Now with new destination and additional decals to reflect current operation unit.  Already released.

2. Steam locomotive D51 Tohoku type

Another nice looking steam locomotive.  Already sold out at KATO, so secure yours now as it will running out quickly.

3. Hopper Wagon HOKI9500 (Yabashi Industries)

Upper cover and load (limestone) shown.  The wagon shown on photo is not correct model.  It is KATO 8066 used as sample.

4. RhB ABe8/12 "Allegra"

Minimum turning radius is R150.  Can be coupled with Glacier Express.  Now interior lights compatible.

5. Series 115-300

To be released with 4 car basic set and 4 car add-on set.  Prototyping model around 1978, so the model may different from later model like no radio antenna, etc.  To be played with KUMONI83-800 and KUMOYUNI82-800 which KATO is releasing together.  Tomix also announced same model (different period), so which do you think better?  Personally, KATO will have better painting....

6. Seibu Series 101

Another variant with distributed air-conditioning.

7. E3 Shinkansen "TOREIYU"

Now logo printed on side of body.


Other Topic

- I am sorry to inform HO fans but release of HO product will be very slow.  This is because KATO's production capacity and capability.  Their factory is optimized for producing N scale product which is a mainstream.  So producing HO is in lower priority and availability.

- Following item may be produced in near future

1. E531 with current design

2. One model of TGV or Eurostar kind of European prototype

January 25, 2015

Tomytec New Product Showcase - Jan. 14

Here is some summary from new product showcase event by Tomytec, which was held on January 14.

Please feel free to ask any inquiry on the products shown.

I am sorry but due to so many products introduced, information listed may be limited.

- Series 285 Sunrise Express (soon to be released in HO gauge)

Soon to be released.  Very detailed design and impressive.  Will be coming to ModelTrainPlus soon as well.

- Hakone Tozan Railway Series 3000

- W7 Shinkansen and Package design for W7 Limited Edition

Another limited designed package from Tomix.  A must have item.

TOMIX's new package for basic set now fits for small packet shipment for reasonable shipping.

- TOMIX 92878 (series 485/Niigata T18 unit)

Unique rooftop head light

- Series 415

Still having rough painting.  Hope they fix before shipment.

-Tomytec Trailer Collection Vol. 7

Various Trailers with containers (some comes with no container)

Including JGSDF trailers. 

Very unique Nippon Konpo's full trailer might be interesting.

- Tomytec Bus Collection  (Airport Limousine and Nankai Bus)

- Tomytec Building Collection and other visual accessories

Tomytec keep releasing new structure item and planning more and more.

- Tomytec Railway Collection "K-ON" Train


- Other information

1. Tomytec will be starting revising (raising) price of "TM-xxxx" motorizing chassis from April shipment.  Some of recently released new products are reflecting new pricing scheme.  For existing products, please consider getting before they change price in April.

2. Some TOMIX track packing will be changed.  List price will be doubled as number of track per pack will be doubled.

3. Next Tomytec new product show case will be on sometime in April.

January 19, 2015

KATO Sales Meeting - Jan. 13, 2015

Here is the summary from monthly sales meeting at Kato.

Please feel free to contact for any product inquiry.

Business Update

Due to recent severe product shipment delay, KATO decided NOT to announce any new product on January (which supposed to be April release).   Also they reset oncoming release forecast.  This means all of Jan., Feb., Mar. release is now all to be reorganized except few item which will be soon released in January.  Some item might be released earlier than the other which should be released in advance.

Mr. Kato was unable to attend this time but Mr. Sakai, who is a general manager at KATO's factory in Tsurugashima, Saitama made first attendance and will continue to be present for future meetings.

Product Showcase

1. Iida line sets (10-1182/1183)

To be released on Jan. 27.  Final prototype shown.

3. ED19, TAKI10600 (3078/10-1184)

Small locomotive but getting attention from customers.  KATO 10-1184 (ED19 and TAKI10600 set) is already sold out at Kato.

4. TAKI35000 (8050-3)

The difference is only for painting like company logo, etc.

5. Tokyu 5050-4000

Some change made on coloring from last time.

6. Tokyo Metro series 02 "Sine Wave" (10-1249/1250)

Only upper body is shared.  As mentioned in previous meeting, they will come with newly designed underfloor parts.

7. EF71/ED78/series 50 coach

1st prototype and still developing.  Series 50 coach was only available from TOMIX for long time and KATO fans are really interested.

8. Toreiyu Tsubasa

Prototype shown.  Looks very nice painting.


Other Topics

- Price for DCC decoders to be changed soon.  This is due to recent currency change.  Price will be higher but may not impact those popular decoder like EM13/FR12/FL11.  Please check for further announcement.

- KATO is now developing promotional movie for SoundBox (like the one they made for turntable).


Issues/Requests from other retailers

- TAKI1000 in HO

This request came from multiple shops

- EH200, Odakyu SSE, Salon Express Tokyo in HO

- Some performance issue identified for flywheel motor.  Even same model, sound and/or speed doesn't match.

According to Mr. Sakai, KATO already looking into the issue and changed production procedure on motor unit with flywheel.  This will be better from release of ED19.

Request from ModelTrainPlus

- SL Hitoyoshi, and other active steam locomotives

December 17, 2014

KATO Sales Meeting - Dec. 16, 2014

Here is the summary from monthly sales meeting at Kato.

Please feel free to contact for any product inquiry.


Business Update

- Product release keep delaying.  Mr. Kato explained some but no active improvement.

- SoundBox is the item KATO recommends to enjoy sound with DC environment.


Product Showcase

1. Odakyu Type 3100 Romance Car NSE (10-1181)

Final prototype.  To be released within December.  Also package was shown.

Really nice finishing and impressing model.  To make similar to actual train, they used 5.2mm diameter wheel to lower body.

Kato is really confident on this model as they passed QC check at first time by Odakyu, who is very famous for checking model detail before giving green light to model manufacturer.

Kato recommended to seat some figure on front seats.  However, due to design limitation, legs for those figures needs to be cut.

Actually this model having very good turning characteristic.  Not officially announced but can pass tight curves way smaller than R282 (as it is not official, please ask me in private).


2. Hankyu 6300

Using mould with previous release but refined design and painting.  Old logo version (10-1243) is only for first release, so just take it before its gone.

3. Sound Box

To be released soon.  Comes with 1 sound for generic steam locomotive.  Kato is now planning to release more sound.  Very nice item to enjoy sound.  As it comes with Mic In terminal, you can play with announcing by yourself if you like.  If your wife doesn't like those sounds all over your house, you can connect headphone to enjoy silently.  Kato recommends to use high quality audio cable, speaker, amplifier, etc to make maximum performance.

4. ED19 and TAKI10600 (Myojo Cement) - 10-1184

Now ED19 with motor unit.  It has spoked wheel on front.

Myojo Cement logo is printed.  Secure yours now as it is quickly running out as this item is only package you can get TAKI10600.


5. Tokyu 5050-4000

It is very difficult to show over photo but the painting is something different from normal Kato and very brilliant.

Very well designed and silver painted emergency escape ladder inside of cab also can be seen.  And this is cheaper than Greenmax!!

6. Series E7 Hokuriku Shinkansen "Kagayaki" (10-1264/1265/1266)

This item will be replacing current "ASAMA" version (10-1221/1222/1223).

Move quick if you like those ASAMA version.  The difference is only following

- Road number is changed

- Destination changed


7. Series W7 Hokuriku Shinkansen "HAKUTAKA" (10-1262/1263)

Kato is now releasing this item but having plan to consolidate E7 product to "KAGAYAKI" in future.  Move quick to secure if you like to have W7 version.


8. Series E233-3000 Tokaido/Ueno-Tokyo Line (10-1267/1268/1269/1270)

This will be mainstream product for Tokaido/Ueno-Tokyo Line

On the other hand, Kato will still keep E231 series (10-594/595/596/522) as Shonan Shinjuku Line.


9. Series E3-2000 Yamagata Shinkansen

Will be produced with newly designed mould, so will reflect change in headlight shape from E3-1000.

On the other hand, Kato will discontinue old version of E3-1000 (no future re-run).


10. Electric Locomotive EF81-81

Used with Imperial train on 1985.  Kato will not be releasing imperial train set (10-853).  Instead, recommended to pull Hokutosei.



Requests from other retailers

- Series 201

Kato list this item in 2015 catalog.  So there might be a possibility for re-run.

- DD51 Hokutosei


- E233 Chuo Line

- Hokutosei (with current formation)


Requests from ModelTrainPlus

- 14-803 - Manyo Line MLRV1000

- 10-511 (Series 500 Shinkansen add-on set A)

Kato will look for re-run

- Limited Express train by JR Hokkaido (like 789, 261, etc)

Other retailer also raised similar request

- Enhancing product line-up for Eidan/Tokyo Metro like 08, 8000, and other

November 22, 2014

KATO Sales Meeting - Nov. 18, 2014

Here is the summary from monthly KATO sales meeting.

Please feel free to contact for any product inquiry.


Business Update

- Mr. Kato committed release of "Soundbox" by end of year.

- Odakyu NSE pre-order is selling very well and trying to release by end of year as well.

- Still making delay on many of the item release and Mr. Kato will take the situation serious.


Product Showcase

1. KATO 10-1181 - Odakyu Romance Car Type 3100 NSE

First time to show final prototype.  Looks very well designed and made. Also check body coupling.



2. D51 Steam Locomotive (Tohoku version)

2018-1 - 1st type will be released by end of Nov. (with slug shape upper body)

2016-5 - Standard type will be released on December

This item sold out at Kato already.  Secure yours now.


3. KATO 3078 - Electric Locomotive ED19

Very small locomotive.  Looks like B train shorty locomotive.

To be released on Jan., 2015


4. KATO 10-1184 - Electric Locomotive ED19 and TAKI10600 tank wagon (Myojo Cement)

TAKI10600 will not be sold as standalone freight car product.


Other New Products

Went through new products introduced recently announced Feb, 2015 release.

With the new announcement, KATO is focusing on "Itaya Pass" which is on Ou Main Line, where steep passage required special locomotive.


1. Electric Locomotive ED78/EF71

Both are used at Itaya pass.  Double heading is also good.

Both locomotive includes headmark "AKEBONO" and "Rapid KAMOSHIKA".


2. Diesel Train KIHA181 "TSUBASA"

New design for car #1 for coupling with EF71

Cab cars on add-on set (10-1254) doesn't come with head/tail lights.


3. Series 50 coach

Finally to be released from KATO.

Available in 5 car set or individually.

OHAFU50-2461 which is included in 5 car set (10-1276) doesn't have working tail lights (can be added by replacing parts)

Compatible with body mount coupler

October 17, 2014

KATO Sales Meeting - Oct. 14, 2014

As usual, attended monthly sales meeting at Kato.

Business Update

- Recently announced Tokyu 5050 is hot topic among end users.

- Mainstream item is selling quite good.

- Announced delay for new release...

Some item slipped to November.

Series 185, Series 115 Nagano, Pulman Diner Car...


Item introduced (pre-order available - please check with us)

1. Electric Locomotive ED75-1000

Prototype around late 70s to 80s

Double heading is also good.  Comes with head mark for "AKEBONO" and "YUZURU"


2. Series 43 Coach Express "HAKKODA"

Includes guard's van with wagon WASAFU8000 which comes with tail-end lights.

Good to play with EF57 locomotive

3. E233-3000

This item is highly expected and popular among customers.

4. Hankyu Series 6300

Renewed paint.  Check the difference.  Top one is the one for oncoming model (not yet finalized).  Bottom one is previous release.  Now the paint texture is more like polished or solid and quite similar feeling with the actual train, isn't it?

5. Tokyo Metro Series 10000

Re-run but some difference like different road number, default destination changed, etc


6. Tokyo Metro Series 02

Comes with newly designed underfloor parts.


7. Tokyu Series 5050

KATO is now trying similar approach like Tomix (releasing limited complete package along with standard split package).  Very interesting moment was when KATO rep did briefing on this item and some retailer just asked "please do not release HIKARIE version".  Maybe KATO will not be releasing HIKARIE...


8. DD13 variant (from Roundhouse)

Pretty nice painting.  According to KATO rep., new paint is applied over existing painting but really doesn't look so bad.


To be released soon.  Final prototype

10. Soudbox

Final prototype shown.  Now with printed label.

Requested Products from Retailers

- Steam Locomotive Type 8620

- Odakyu 9000 (to play with Eidan 6000)

- Series 485 and 583 in HO

- HO viaduct or elevated tracks


From ModelTrainPlus

I have messaged following item from customer.

- Requested to enhance line-up of UNITRAM track like single track or Wye-turnouts (Mr. Kato gave me a positive answer on this)

- New and re-run item like Pokemon Train, Series 285 Sunrise Express, D51-498 Orient Express, and freight train sets.

- Also requested for East-i as can't expect Microace does re-run at this situation and many customers are expecting this.

October 02, 2014

All Japan Model & Hobby Show

I am sorry for uploading information on the event a week ago.


Please feel free to contact us for any product you interested.

Here is some summary of the show.

The event was held at Tokyo Big Sight.  This is my first time to attend this event but felt like Shizuoka Hobby Show is bigger in size with more companies.

1. Greenmax

Greenmax Booth was located just next to the entrance.

Their main item is Plasser & Theurer Multiple Tie Tamper.

They are showing moving sample to show how the item move slow and smooth.  It seems very nice.

Other oncoming products also seems interesting like Keikyu Yellow Happy train or Seibu Red train, Tokyu Hikarie...



Rokuhan booth at next to Greenmax.  Showing various Z scale products.

Series 500 Shinkansen coming early 2015.

Also announced turntable and roundhouse.

Other products are coming.  As Rokuhan makes products with really in detail, so it is bit expensive but their quality is really nice.



Having quite a space but seems not much product shown.... 

Toei Oedo Line Series 12-000

Keihan 800

The car has marker lights on the side of train.  According to Microace personnel, the lights will not work.  However, the plastic parts are extended to inside of the train, so if you install interior lights, it may possible to illuminate a bit.  To be sure, some DIY work to add some plastic piece to directly connect between interior light and side marker may needed.

Yokohama Subway Type 3000

Sanyo Series 3050



Not a particular announcement made for new product.  Just showing items as usual.

As already mentioned in the monthly meeting report, they displayed SoundBox.  I think a good product but a bit expensive.  Also wondering how fast they can supply sound line-up.


5. TOMIX (Tomytec)

Showing lots of new and interesting item. 

Announcing new product in both N and HO scale.

Very interesting that TOMIX trying to expand HO line-up while KATO is not releasing HO product in months now...

E233-8000 Nanbu Line

Series 500 Shinkansen "Kansenger" and "Pla-Rail"

Banetsu Monogatari and its package... looks gorgeous.  This package is for Tomix 98933 and limited product.  If you like it ask us for availability.

Kintetsu Shimakaze

TOMIX 98937 EF65-1000 Electric Locomotive.  TOMIX takes order only at this show.

TOMIX HO-610 Hakone Tozan Railway Type 3000 (HO Scale)

New product announcement.  Tomytec Trailer and HO scale bus


6. Modemo

New products



Having very big area but very small part for B Train Shorty...

September 21, 2014

KATO Sales Meeting - Sept. 16

It had been quite a time passed since last meeting since it was not scheduled one in August.

Sorry to say in advance, but there was no chance to speak up from my end due to other activity/discussion during the meeting and we ran out of time to get feedback from most of retailers.


Message from Mr. Kato

There will be coming Hobby show on Sept. 26-28 and it will be a starting point of year-end sale.

Eidan series 6000 is getting good feedback and oncoming FEF-3 is highly expected from customer mainly in U.S. even with higher pricing.

There is some minor issues raised from end user regarding recently released product.  KATO doesn't consider as product error but understands some communication needs to be made clearly if possible to minimize miscommunication between customer.


New Product Information

1. Sound Box

KATO showed product demo (sorry no photo as they just take away right after demo).  Planning to release by 2014 year end.  Suggested price is 25,700 Yen.  Here are some specification

- Comes with Mic-IN and Line-Out ports

- 6 function buttons for additional sound feature like brake sound, whistle, etc

- Synchronizing knob will be equipped to adjust sound with actual speed of each motor car.

- Can work with Tomix power pack as well (you need to change terminal ends)

* Sorry for misleading information.  Kato tested with Tomix power pack but will not guarantee the compatibility of course.  Officially, this sound box will only work with KATO power pack.

- To be released together with few sound media and to be increased in future.


2. KATO 10-1181 Odakyu Type 3100 NSE

- Totally new design

- Car #1 and #11 will be having interior light prism by default.  No need to use plastic bar comes with interior lighting kit.

- ASSY parts will not be available for sale


3. KATO 3078 ED19 / 10-1184 ED19+Cement transport freight car set

- KATO 3078 will be prototyping ED19-6 and Locomotive with 10-1184 will be prototyping ED19-2.  So there will be some difference even with ED19.

- No plan to sell those Myojo Cement TAKI tankers individually.


4. KATO 12605-2 - Union Pacific Steam Locomotive FEF-3

- KATO announced they will not sell ASSY parts but will consider it as there was some complaints from retailers.


5. KATO 10-937 - Shinkansen E3-700 "Toreiyu Tsubasa"

- Basically using existing KATO E3 Shinkansen.  So there will be no difference except exterior coloring.


6. KATO 10-936 - KIHA110 DMU "Tohoku Emotion"


7. KATO 10-1237 - Series 583


Next meeting will be on Oct. 14.

July 28, 2014

Error on Orient Express

Kato recently announced error on 10-1231 Orient Express.

The detail was that Kato missed painting 1 layer on the emblem of car #12, which is included in add-on set.

Very small difference and KATO even didn't notice this error until a report from an end user from one of retailer.  Just put a photo to compare.  Car on top having error while the one at the bottom is correct car.

ModelTrainPlus already got replacement parts for this and notified to all the customer purchased.