It’s a little hard to navigate but if you want to find out which DCC decoders Kato recommend for their Japanese-outline locomotives, the Kato Custom Shop site can assist. From the left-hand menu click “蒸気機関車” for steam locomotives, “ディーゼル機関車” for diesel locomotives and “電気機関車” for electric locomotives. Don’t be mislead by the locomotive series numbers in the left-hand navigation - the full range of locomotives is only shown if you click on the headings that I’ve mentioned. Click here to visit the Kato Custom Shop site.
Playing with my Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansens - on the left is Kato’s N700 series, centre is Kato’s early version of the 500 series and right is Tomix’s original 300 series.
Awesome. I actually Rode on a Shinkansen from Osaka to Tokyo, and back. ‘Twas a supurb ride:) .
There’s a good chance that you rode on the N700 then. A ride on the Shinkansen is always amazing - I love the huge amount leg room, something that often doesn’t get mentioned!
Rail Wars! Episode 12 Review
So, we’re at the end. Rail Wars! has completed it’s journey and perhaps ironically that’s what the last episode is about, with Naoto getting to ride on one of his favourite trains - the gas-turbine powered KiHa 381, which is based on the KiHa 81 but has been brought into line with the later classification system as a fictional train.
And that’s really almost as much as there is to it. No bad guys, no fighting and certainly no epic battle to save the Japanese National Railways from being nationalised.
Maybe this episode is meant to be an extra treat for railfans after the action of the last two episodes. However, it’s hard to imagine that anybody of the age to be truely nostalgic about the KiHa 81 would have picked up Rail Wars! to watch, let alone get to the end of the series without having been put off by the fan-service.
The verdict on this episode is that - as with the rest of this series - you either have to be a railfan or a fan of any excuse for service to enjoy it.
I’ll be wrapping up Rail Wars! with a full series review, so keep your eyes out for my honest opinion on the whole series!
Previous Episode: Rail Wars! Episode 11 Review
After struggling with my first installation of Digitrax’s DN13K0A DCC decoder into a Kato EF210-100, I’ve come up with four top tips for a successful DCC conversion of Kato locomotives:
- Give your locomotive a thorough service. Unless your locomotive is brand new, it’s likely that it will need a little bit of TLC to get it working it’s best. Use some denatured alcohol and pointed cotton buds to carefully clean metal wheels and contacts (don’t get any alcohol on plastic parts). Use a cocktail stick to remove any debris and tangled fluff from gears and axles.
- Tint the motor pads on your decoder with a small blob of solder. This will make it easier for the motor pickups to make contact with the pads.
- Trim the bumps around the pickup rails on the plastic motor chassis with a scalpel. These help hold the rails in place but they also make the decoder board sit too high. The rails can stay in place without them, so trim away.
- The chips on the decoder board sit higher than the normal lightboard and this can interfere with the roof moulding. Pop off the roof from the body and you’ll find a hidden roof that you can cut holes into to accommodate those pesky chips. Try not to cut too much as you’ll weaken the body. If the body doesn’t clip onto the chassis very well afterwards, use some double-sided tape to help fix in place.
Thanks go to Inobu from JNS Forum for the advice on making the body modifications to the EF210 and http://raicho.home.xs4all.nl for advice on maintenance of model locomotives in general.
Rail Wars! Episode 11 Review
Episode 11 continues the story from episode 10 with the K4 unit defending Prince Bernina from a nefarious kidnap threat - at least, it would been nefarious if the director could somehow convey it.
The action in this episode is equally hollow and forced. It’s a shame as the plot gives potential for some exciting scenes but poor animation and staging let it down.
Koumi’s defensiveness from the previous episode seems to have been just a fluke as there is no connection in this episode and every other character’s development is near non-existent.
Given that we’re nearly at the end of the series, it’s pretty disappointing that we haven’t been built up to a more dramatic conclusion. There’s just a couple of episodes left now and Rail Wars! really has to make a big jump in terms of plot and delivery in order to up it’s game.
Finally, quote of the episode goes to Sakurai for “You’re such a limp noodle, Takayama”.
Previous Episode: Rail Wars! Episode 10 Review | Next Episode: Rail Wars! Episode 12 Review
Controlling Multiple Locomotive Consists with the Roco LokMaus II and MultiMaus DCC Controllers
Can you control multiple unit consists using the Roco LokMaus II and Roco MultiMaus?
If your consists are set up using Advanced Consisting (programming of CV19), yes. On the LokMaus II you can only control consist addresses up to 99, as the LokMaus II only supports two-digit addressing. The MultiMaus however can control the full range of possible consist addresses.
Can you set-up and disband multiple unit consists using the Roco LokMaus II and Roco MultiMaus?
If your decoders support programming of CV19 (Advanced Consist Address), absolutely. You are constrained though by what is possible with Advanced Consisting and the limitations of the Roco controllers.
On the LokMaus II you can only program values from 0 to 99. This means that you can’t program consist addresses between 100 and 127. This also means that you can’t change a locomotive’s normal direction of travel with CV19, so you’ll need to make sure the consist locomotives will all travel in the right direction when placed on the track. Finally, when programming you will need to program each locomotive one at a time on their own.
These issues don’t apply to the MultiMaus, which can program the full range of possible values. The MultiMaus also supports Programming On the Main (POM) so you can set up and disband your consists without having to remove other locomotives from the track.
Can you control a locomotive’s speed and direction using it’s normal decoder address if it has also had it’s Advanced Consist Address (CV19) set?
No. At least, not with my Digitrax decoders. I’m assuming that this is by design and that all decoders will behave in the same way. If you need to control a locomotive individually then you’ll need to clear it’s CV19 value to 0.
What does the inside of a model railway locomotive look like? Like this.
I’ve stripped down a Kato EF210-100 locomotive (from their 10-010 starter set) for a thorough service and thought I’d lay out all the parts for you to see. It’s not a complete dis-assembly as some very delicate detailing and the motor have been left as they are but it’s unlikely that you’ll need to disassemble your own locomotive to this extent.
Rail Wars! Episode 10 Review
If Rail Wars has been leaving you feeling like there hasn’t been enough locomotives featured then episode 10 makes up for this by featuring a whole swath of them in one go - whilst some of the characters are gushing their enthusiasm of trains, of course.
With that said, let’s move onto what actually happens. The K4 unit has been assigned to guard Prince Bernina, of a completely fictional country because of course you can’t use a real country, as he visits Japan and rides the Hokutesukei sleeper train from Ueno to Sapporo. The Prince himself is a railfan and spends a fair amount of time gushing about trains or being gushed to about trains - helped by an amazing fluency in Japanese, despite never having studied in Japan…
As the K4 unit is guarding the Prince there is naturally something to guard him against and there is some action in the episode, as well as your normal dose of service. It’s a pretty average episode with a reasonable balance of all elements, which given the quality of the series is actually good in relative terms.
There is a tiny amount of character development as we get to see Koumi being a lot more defensive than she normally is. It appears to be not to hard to suss out but then again this episode is the first of a two-parter, so there is potential to find out more about why Koumi is being as cagey as she is.
Judging by the next episode preview, the best might have passed of the two-parter but it would be unfair to totally judge it before it’s out there.
Previous Episode: Rail Wars! Episode 9 Review | Next Episode: Rail Wars! Episode 11 Review
Thanks to chinbeard on the JNS Forums, I’ve discovered a wonderful Japanese website for the Tokkou Yarou B-Team. They appear to be a team of model railway enthusiasts that specialise in modelling with Bandai’s B-Train Shorty range. Their modelling philosophy extends to a fascinating variety of micro dioramas, layouts and original creations. There’s some great ideas in there and I hope to draw some inspiration for my own efforts!
Our cat, Mo, enjoys watching the model trains going round when I have my track out on the floor. Normally he’s well behaved but today he’s forgotten that his tail is on the track and holding up passengers on the E6 Super Komachi Shinkansen.