Japanese Z or ZJ update
- Here is an update on the Japanese Z scene. If this is not of interest
you can delete this now.
Pro-Z has failed to appear in September as advertised and they had
the hobby shops pull their advertising posters from the hobby shops.
They have not cancelled their product and some of the buildings and
cars have appeared on the Japanese Yahoo auction site. Word is it
should reappear close to the year end. I think they were having
problems with their track on the diorama and with their power pack
with constant lighting circuit. There is talk of December for this
stuff to appear and the joke some are asking is that this December or next.
Akia or RealZJ has continued to produce the 485 Express sets and
release them. In August they released their boxes of 12 pieces of
series 2 unchanged from the first release of this set six months
earlier. So you get a 6 car train at least in one colour including a
motor car, and then 5 pieces of other rolling stock and a battery
power pack. Then in September they released their first series of 485
sets with improved detail and in bookcase sleeve as a 6 cars set with
power car. These sets were a repeat of the series one sets and the
coupler system is unchanged but these new sets have metal pantographs
that raise and lower. They still are selling their power pack which
is quite nice and they have released their new track system which
will connect up with the Micro Trains micro rail product. The way
they get power to the rails is different from what Micro Trains does
and the tie size and spacing is quite different. However the rail,
rail joiners and roadbed joiners seem to be identical as are the
radii of the curves offered. Akia offers a longer option on the
straight track in addition to the standard 110mm section with power
connection they offer a set of 220mm straights without the power
connection feature (I believe that Micro Trains plans to also offer
220mm straights in the near future). I have not received my track
from Japan yet but I have seen pictures of the two types connected
together and reviewed several reports on the compatibility of the two.
The Akia RealZJ EF-81 Electric diesels have not appeared yet and the
specification has changed to eliminate the red tail lights but still
includes the head lights which swap ends depending on direction of
travel. They have had large numbers on show at the recent train shows
in Japan. There seem to be 4 colour schemes being shown but none have
been released yet. The coupler seems to be a small version of the
rapido coupler used in n-scale. As the patent has run out on this
coupler and it has a long history of working well in n-scale they
seem to have resorted to this at least RealZJ and PRMLoco have and I
have not seen the Pro-Z offering yet. Akia has shown test shots from
their molds for two types of passenger cars. The 24/25 sleeping
trains sets from the last days of JNR and into the transition era of
JRE and JRW etc. Theya re to be sold in 6 cars sets with open stock
on the cars as well with 8 types in total I believe. The second type
of cars come from the transition era of steam to Electric and Diesel
and are the 43 series cars and I believe they are only producing 5 or
6 car types in this series and they are to be sold in 6 cars sets
also. I believe the bookcase sleeves will have room to house one
electric or diesel with the 6 cars in the case. The 43 series and
other cars of this era made up the bulk of the passenger services
before EMU's and DMU's were introduced if my research is correct.
Future releases from Akia RealZJ show in November a 4 car add on set
in a bookcase sleeve for the two six cars sets release at the end of
September. These sets do not include a motor car, only 2 x 484 first
class coach with pans and a 481 second class or green coach and a 485
first class coach without pans. (caution here as the power cars I
have seen to this date are not capable of moving a 10 car train so
selling this set without a power car seems pointless) While no
definite release dates are given for the EF-81 electric engines and
two types of passenger cars it is felt that they will appear by years end.
PRMLoco is still showing a box set with power pack and track with an
Electric EF 65 and 3 passenger cars in the 24/25 series of coaches.
They are also showing 4 freight cars and were the first to show the
reduced rapido coupler on their Z-scale stock. No release date has
been set to this set and other offerings from this company.
As for the T or 3mm gauge stuff it was not talked about as being
shown at the last show in Tokyo this month. The web site has not
changed and nothing new seems to have been heard recently. They are
selling their aircraft carrier and other things but not the T gauge
stuff except for some buildings and vehicles at the last show they
attended in August.
Pro-Z some of their sets of cars have been showing up on the
Japanese Yahoo Auction site as well as figures (people) sets.