Today I welcome a new Shinkansen to the stable - Tomix’s recent 300-0 series (late version) from the Tokaido Shinkansen.
This is a particularly meaningful purchase as this was pretty much the first Shinkansen that I travelled on. That was way back in 2008 on my first trip to Japan when I returned from a tour of Hakone from Odawara station to Tokyo station. At the time I was hoping to travel on one of the newer Shinkansen series but looking back I’m glad I had the chance to travel on the 300 series given that I’ve since been on the 700, N700 and N700A series on the Tokaido Shinkansen.
This purchase gives me a chance to test out some features that Kato Shinkansen models don’t have.
The first and probably most prominent of these features are the ‘power couplings’. They’re precisely what you might think they are - electrically conductive couplings between the cars that basically means that the whole length of the train can act as an electrical pickup and minimise the effect of dropouts. It isn’t a substitute for clean tracks and wheels of course but it does mean that the end car lighting is almost constant, even at low speeds. It also means that motor stalling at low speeds is less likely although I don’t tend to find that happening with Kato Shinkansen models anyway.
I do have one major concern with the coupling mechanism. It appears to restrict the free movement of the bogies just enough to cause them to ‘stick’ in certain positions. This causes what I call ‘flying wheel’ syndrome and I noticed it happening even when using a rerailer to put the cars onto the track, as well as general running, which could be an issue on a layout with turnouts. Although it didn’t result in derailments, my test layout was an elevated figure of eight so I didn’t have the chance to see what happened with turnouts. I’m hoping with some running this will loosen the joints and allow it to run a bit more freely but it is disappointing to see such a unique feature having a negative side effect like this.
The second of Tomix’s unique selling points are the two motor cars, at mid-points in the full train consist, which I think helped the train a more consistent speed over the elevated section and inclines than the single motor Kato Shinkansen.
The third and final feature are the ‘silver wheels’ which are meant to give better electrical contact with the track. With the all-wheel pickup, power couplings and dual motors I must admit it is hard to tell if these made a difference. Visually they do unfortunately look like toy train wheels with their bright finish and large flanges, so I think it is more of a gimmick than a real-life necessity.
Reviewing the 300-0 Shinkansen generally, it has the usual high level of quality that you’d expect of Tomix and Kato. I’m always impressed at the level of moulded and printed detail, and of course it looks great when all two and a half metres of it is running. My only niggle are the inter-car gangways which haven’t improved much since Tomix’s earlier models of the 300 series. This is an area where I feel Kato does much better.
Wrapping up this review, it’s an impressive model and Tomix have got a really clear focus on delivering a product that from an electrical point of view runs as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately the execution is slightly flawed with the side effect of the sticking bogies and I’m really hoping that running will loosen them and stop them sticking.
This RailDriver desktop train cab controller looks the business - I’m sure it wouldn’t take too much work to turn this into an awesome model railway controller!
Cosplay by ポチ as Aoi Sakurai from Rail Wars
I’m envious. I want to do RAIL WARS! cosplay too, even it means cosplaying Naoto!
Series 201 train in Lego by PrinceWilliam (source). Looks great!
More photos of Tomytec’s impressive 1/12th scale (e.g. doll, action figure, Figma) train carriage set, with built-in lighting, hanging straps and advertising poster holders. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had it’s own functioning air conditioning system!
A Tetsudou Musume ‘wrapping’ train for your edification - Tomytec’s model of the Keihan Type 600 in Tetsudou Musume decals running on the Keihan Otsu line.
One of the best things about Rail Wars is the gorgeous art by Vania 600. You will have a hard time resisting Aoi and Haruka.
(Pixiv source http://moe.vg/1kqjDtb)
I love how Vania600 injects so much character not just into the people in his artwork but into the trains and scenery as well. Great to see his work being more widely recognised!