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General Category => N Gauge Discussion => World N Gauge => Topic started by: trevboy on October 19, 2011, 03:39:04 pm

Title: kato track
Post by: trevboy on October 19, 2011, 03:39:04 pm
Hi,
Just returning to the hobby after 30years previously had n gauge with peco streamline and farish locos was not impressed,has it improved,I have been looking at the Kato track, but I don't know what it would look like on a british outline layout of the mid 50s any suggestions.

        many thanks
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Lawrence on October 19, 2011, 03:50:01 pm
Hi Trev, welcome to the forum, there are a few members on here who use Kato track, for what you can make it look like take a look at Bob (K)'s layout here http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=335.0
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Newportnobby on October 19, 2011, 03:53:10 pm
Hi Trev and welcome to the forum :wave:
Great era you're thinking about :thumbsup:
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: EtchedPixels on October 19, 2011, 04:23:43 pm
Hi,
Just returning to the hobby after 30years previously had n gauge with peco streamline and farish locos was not impressed,has it improved,I have been looking at the Kato track, but I don't know what it would look like on a british outline layout of the mid 50s any suggestions.

        many thanks

Sleeper spacing is about right, rail is quite thick (like Peco code 80) so definitely wants the sides painting. Ballast moulding is pretty basic but if you are ballasting properly around it then disappears into the scenery just fine and can be painted easily. Points are electrofrog but without the need for complex extra wiring and also have nice built in motors.

Biggest problems to my mind are
- Very weak against vertical deflection so must be laid flat or you get bumps at the joins
- Much higher voltage drop than long pieces of flexitrack
- #4 points don't like some of the old deep wheel profiles

The best plain track visually for the period without a doubt is the 2mmSA easitrac, although it's a fair bit of work to make it flow nicely into pointwork from other manufacturers (needed unless you are making them from bits) but doable.

Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Pengi on October 19, 2011, 06:58:41 pm
I have been using Kato track for the past month or so having moved from OO. I was originally going to buy a Farish starter set and supplement it with flexitrack but having researched Kato user comments on this site and others I decided to go with Unitrack - particularly as my main interest is in fast modern trains.

What I like about Kato is that they seem to have thought of so much to make it easy for the user to set up a great layout. For example, setting up the points is a doodle and the point switches just clip together. I use a Gaugemaster D controller and it works fine and you can get an adaptor to connect the points to it. There is no flexitrack equivalent in Kato so you are limited to 'set track' type designs - although there is a very wide range of curves, I am using super elevated curves. You can also buy the track with bridges and making elevated sections is also supposed to be easy (although I do not have any elevated sections myself). The straight sections can be purchased with wooden or concrete sleepers but all of the turnouts have wooden sleepers. The Master and Variation packs can save quite a bit of money when compared with buying the parts separately.

The scissors point is amazing - just plug it into the switch and it works straight away. I can run an eight coach Eurostar backwards and forwards through it at max speed without any glitches.  It is a great space saver for the fiddle yard.

The possible downsides are:

It needs additional ballasting to make it realistic particularly at the rail joiners.
There is an issue with the height of the track when using non-Kato stations.
The track is noisy - personally I like the whooshing noise but then I am into fast trains.
Set track designs only

There is a good supplier, fastrack99 on e bay and Hattons have good prices on the unitrack variation sets.



Title: Re: kato track
Post by: trevboy on October 19, 2011, 08:08:28 pm
Thank's everyone after seeing those pictures kato it is, now using the anyrail program will keep you updated
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Pengi on October 19, 2011, 08:47:12 pm
Forgot to mention that there are no curved or Y points with Kato
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Deltic9001 on October 21, 2011, 11:50:01 am
Hi,

I converted over to Unitrack a number of years ago and despite the limited point geometry, have found that Kato can be adapted to almost any situation. The Kato USA website has a number of plans which show how to construct reversing loops and triangular junctions (see http://www.katousa.com/track-plans/n-plans.html).

My dad, now in his eighties, is also using Kato as he isn't able to have a permanent layout and Kato is well suited to building a layout and then taking it apart again. There are a number of suppliers of Kato but I tend to use this one - http://www.traintrax.co.uk/ - as they seem to have most of the track and aren't too badly priced.

Enjoy the Kato experience!

Best Regards,
Andy Hoskins
Falkirk
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Pengi on October 22, 2011, 10:14:55 am
Yes - I use traintrax - they are Fastrack99 on eBay. They are very fair in refunding postage for multiple items.

For me Kato has put the fun back into running a railway. It has made all of the electrics and point connections so easy so I can concentrate on the trains and not wiring and setting up point motors and point switches - or worrying about loose connections or derailments. The automatic level crossing looks fantastic although expensive so I have ensured that I won't need a level crossing on my layout (to stop me buying one).

I have also bought a couple of the one-sided platform kits. I think these are good value as they are over 900mm long and have subways, fencing, station boards, roofs, seats, kiosks and loads of other stuff. They do a good value kit of two modern signal boxes. Probably not for the era you are modelling though. They do some rural platform and freight platform kits too.
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: trevboy on October 23, 2011, 08:13:54 pm
Still using the anyrail program does anybody the Kato part number for the piece of track that comes with the points 20203


          cheers trevboy
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: poliss on October 24, 2011, 09:48:08 am
Are these the ones you want? Part number 20-150. See http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/718mm-28-1-4-15-Curve-Track-R718-15-Kato-20-150-/360372248631?pt=Model_RR_Trains&hash=item53e7dc2037 and http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/6-Right-Turnout-718mm-28-1-4-EP718-15R-Kato-20-203-/120776664365?pt=Model_RR_Trains&hash=item1c1ed9a52d
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: trevboy on October 24, 2011, 11:15:43 am
Thank's you sent me in the right direction it was 20-171 that i was looking for.
next question i know you should use the largest radius curves possible,but what is the minium i could get away with, the curves would be hidden ,but i would want them to be able to take a Minitrix Brittania and possibly a Farrish b1 at slow speed


              trevboy
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Pengi on October 24, 2011, 11:39:57 am
Hi, the minimum for express trains is 315mm. The article below might help. They make 216mm but it is too tight.

http://modeltrains.about.com/od/layoutconstruction/tp/track_curves.htm

There are links at the bottom to other useful articles
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: trevboy on October 24, 2011, 12:19:44 pm
what is that in degrees i have been looking at using 20110 at each end of the layout
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Pengi on October 24, 2011, 12:48:41 pm
Try this link for all of the curves:

http://www.kato-unitrack.co.uk/kato-n-unitrack-ground-level-curved-track-1096-0.html

There is a load of useful stuff on this site - including downloads of the track parts.

Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Lawrence on October 31, 2011, 08:33:01 am
Kato have just released some new track plans to show what can be done, have a look at http://www.katomodels.com/unitrackplan/
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Gordon on November 11, 2011, 01:15:51 pm
I have used Kato unitrack for some time now mainly as a 'set it up when you get there' fiddle yard for the club French N gauge .

I have just built a new all-Kato Unirack layout (French N gauge again) which will be at Warley. To tone the tracj down in an instant, I sprayed it with Tamiya red-brown model spray paint, even the points will stnd up to this treatment. Once painted just scrub off the paint from the top of the rail and it worls just as well as unpainted mint condition track.

I have limited the amount of blending in that I have done on the layout because I find the one drawback to permanently fixed down Unitrack is that fixiing it rigidly compromises some of the 'free play' that helps stock to run well on Unitrack.

Purists at Warley will probably complain that the ballast doesn't blend in quite well enough  in parts but experience of running layouts at shows for 35+ years tells me that trouble free running causes fewer issues with the watching public than inch perfect visuals.

Like others, as a not that brilliant electrician, the 'plug and play' aspects of the electric points (and just recently I've bought the automatic colour light signal) are a godsend for a simple set up. I actually like the 'real signalbox size' chunkiness of the point levers as well.


 
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Pengi on November 11, 2011, 01:32:31 pm
Hi Gordon, any chance of some pictures of the layout and the track as Warley is too far for me to travel. I have Kato track and will want to do something with it - particularly at the enjoiners. Know what you mean about the points, they have really made my life easier! interesting point about the 'free play', I am a new to Kato and my track at the moment is just fixed with the point wiring - perhaps I will leave it that way.
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Oldman on November 15, 2011, 02:42:14 pm
If either of you contemplating doing more with Kato Track are local to the Surrey area, feel free to contact me via PM and you can try your stuff in conjunction with the large box of track I have.
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: bluedepot on November 15, 2011, 08:01:22 pm
did kato change their track recently or produce more realistically ballasted track????

gordon, i'm looking forward to seeing your layout on saturday if i can get there. i love sncf locos and dmus and railcars, i wish i could afford french n gauge but minitrix, piko etc are so expensive.

cheers


tim
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Bob(K) on November 26, 2011, 08:40:45 am
Hi all.
I have noticed that Kato now produce ballast that appears to match closely the grey moulded plastic track bed. This should assist in blending the track into the layout. I have not tried it, having used light grey very fine ballast in the past, which requires a bit of painting to get an even appearance. I will try the Kato stuff on another layout I am planning for the future. Has anyone else tried it yet?

Here is a link to some on sale on ebay:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NEW-KATO-UNITRACK-24-039-BALLAST-200GM-/120797230783?pt=UK_Trains_Railway_Models&hash=item1c201376bf
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Pengi on November 26, 2011, 09:21:07 am
I use both the concrete sleepered and the wooden sleepered type. I may or may not ballast but what I really want to do first is to disguise the unijoiners. Do any of you paint them and, if so, what colour paint is the best match?
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Bob(K) on November 26, 2011, 11:06:46 am
I use both the concrete sleepered and the wooden sleepered type. I may or may not ballast but what I really want to do first is to disguise the unijoiners. Do any of you paint them and, if so, what colour paint is the best match?

I am not sure whether this is the best match, but I paint my rail sides, including the joiners in a mid brown colour. In fact I use Humbrol 29, which is available in enamel, acrylic and spray versions. I think in this scale you should not paint the track too dark a colour and genuine rust looks too stark to my eyes.
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: poliss on November 26, 2011, 12:20:55 pm
Kato Y point due out in December.
http://www.osbornsmodels.com/kato-20-222-electric-y-turnout-no2-1-17992-p.asp
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: johnson on November 26, 2011, 07:34:57 pm
Hi I have used Kato track extensively - a bit limited sometimes but it is reliable especially the pointwork - Woodland Scenics do a great ballast to "blend in" the track - most makes seem to be able to run on it.
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Tank on November 26, 2011, 08:18:21 pm
I was looking at buying some track, as it does sound great. 

How do you plug in the points to make them work?  Is it literally a case of plugging them in a Kato Point Switch, and that connects to the power supply?

I'm looking at getting a crossover.  Does anyone have one?  Is it hard to wire that up, and what does it need?  Bare in mind I have nothing, other than a Gaugemaster controller!
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Oldman on November 26, 2011, 08:27:50 pm
I was looking at buying some track, as it does sound great. 

How do you plug in the points to make them work?  Is it literally a case of plugging them in a Kato Point Switch, and that connects to the power supply?

I'm looking at getting a crossover.  Does anyone have one?  Is it hard to wire that up, and what does it need?  Bare in mind I have nothing, other than a Gaugemaster controller!
If you want, can pop over to yours sometime and bring a Kato Controller, Points,instructions, crossover,loads of track and the switches for you to see how they all work together
May even do a deal on it,All just sitting in a box.
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Tank on November 26, 2011, 09:13:38 pm
Sounds like a plan!  Thank you.
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Gordon on November 28, 2011, 11:05:49 am
For Warley, I used a Gaugemaster Combi. All you need to do is link all the track connector leads together (eg three track feed leads into the three ports of the one of the 3-into-1 extension leads (ref 24-827), then attach the single lead (ie one pair of wires) coming out of the adapter to the (dc) track output terminals on the controller.

For the points, attach the various point leads to the point levers (using extension leads 24-841 if your layout is as long as mine is now!), then link the bank of point levers (using the standard DC converter 24-842) to the ac terminals on the Gaugemaster.
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Gordon on November 28, 2011, 11:09:25 am
Kato Y point due out in December.

Also new are 150mm (6 inch!) and 183mm (7 inch) radius curves
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: EtchedPixels on November 28, 2011, 02:46:43 pm
Looks like they are trying to catch up with Tomix and their tram track sets (which go down to 103mm radius!). They've also re-released some of the "pocket line" stuff which was their old brand of 'starter' cheapy trains. The Y is a useful addition that has long been mising from their range.

It's surprising what will do 6" curves (or even 5"). I built a BP&GV microlayout which uses Minitrix wagons, and small shunters as per the prototype, but with the addition of a passenger railbus service. It'll happily handle Tomix 150mm curves although the Peco hoppers won't (hence the use of older Trix ones)
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Gordon on November 28, 2011, 03:07:20 pm
It's surprising what will do 6" curves (or even 5").

Totally agree.
 
Most of my European outline stock will do the existing tightest Kato 216mm curve, including full length TGVs and 26.4m (ie 165mm in 1:160) coaches, so I'm sure a fair amount will probably do the even tighter radius (certainly did on my old Peco tracked layout where one curve was laid to about 4.5 - 5 inch radius - with Peco streamline to boot!)
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Tank on November 28, 2011, 10:02:44 pm
Thanks for the useful information Gordon about setting up the Kato track and points. :thumbsup:
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Pengi on December 21, 2011, 07:45:22 pm

I am not sure whether this is the best match, but I paint my rail sides, including the joiners in a mid brown colour. In fact I use Humbrol 29, which is available in enamel, acrylic and spray versions. I think in this scale you should not paint the track too dark a colour and genuine rust looks too stark to my eyes.

Some questions. Do you just paint the sides with Humbrol 29 or paint the whole of the Unitrack? Does the enamel adhere better than the acrylic? I am not relishing painting the rails at all.
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Bob(K) on December 22, 2011, 08:34:04 am
I tend to paint the whole rail as it is almost impossible to do just the sides neatly, and then with a damp rag wipe off the top where the wheels pick up power. For this reason I paint small sections at a time. It is easier to paint the track before it is laid, then just touch up the rail joiners in situ. The acrylic paint is fine on track, but it dries very quickly, so regular wipes with the damp cloth will save elbow grease later. I have used enamel on other layouts and it does adhere much better, but you will need to use white spirit or thinners to clean the running surfaces of the track. I mask off the point blades and pivots to avoid getting paint in these areas as it is very difficult to remove later.
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Pengi on December 22, 2011, 11:06:54 am
Sorry, was not clear in my question. Do you paint the whole of the Unitrack including the ballast? I have seen this done on another site. They recommend putting oil on the top of the rails to make it easier to clean the paint off the tops. I have the concrete sleepers so a bit concerned about painting everything brown and then having to paint the ties.
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Bob(K) on December 22, 2011, 11:34:44 am
Sorry, was not clear in my question. Do you paint the whole of the Unitrack including the ballast? I have seen this done on another site. They recommend putting oil on the top of the rails to make it easier to clean the paint off the tops. I have the concrete sleepers so a bit concerned about painting everything brown and then having to paint the ties.

Sorry, misunderstood - I just paint the rails, which as mentioned is much easier to do before laying the track, although once ballasting is complete I give the whole thing a very thin wash of grime (mix of black and brown) colour, just to tone it down a bit and blend the colours.

Bob
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Pengi on December 22, 2011, 06:36:07 pm
Thanks Bob, have found your pictures on another thread. This will be the method that I use although I am experimenting with various brown paint/marker pens to do the rails as got fed up after spending an hour just doing one track section - and only one of the tracks in it. I have the concrete ties double track so not sure yet how to do the bit between the two tracks. Bit worried about getting any of the ballast in the locos. What proportions did you use for your wash?
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Bob(K) on December 23, 2011, 08:31:47 am
Thanks Bob, have found your pictures on another thread. This will be the method that I use although I am experimenting with various brown paint/marker pens to do the rails as got fed up after spending an hour just doing one track section - and only one of the tracks in it. I have the concrete ties double track so not sure yet how to do the bit between the two tracks. Bit worried about getting any of the ballast in the locos. What proportions did you use for your wash?

You could try masking the sleepers between the track and at the edges and then use a spray can? Tamiya do a range of narrow masking tapes.

I am not sure what ratio I use for the wash, but would advise that you start light on a small section, let it dry and adjust. I would recommend about 1 : 5 paint to water as a start and see how it looks. It will always dry much lighter than the initial impression. I put a tiny drop of washing up liquid in with mine as it helps flow. I do the same with my ballast pva mix. I made up a test track with one long length of Kato track and experimented on it.

Bob
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Gordon on December 23, 2011, 11:56:08 am
As I have said on the parallel Kato Unitrack thread, I'm generally very limited for time in my modelling, but needed to complete my new layout in time for Warley. Therefore, I just sprayed my track lock stock and barrell with Tamiya Red-Brown spray paint. I didn't even cover the point blades on some points and everything still runs OK. All I did was take the paint off the top of the running rail.

On the wooden sleeper track because of the way it is constructed, the sleepers still look a slightly different colour to the ballast after the all over spray so even that doesn't need any more work!

The one thing I have done after reviewing the resuilts is to craeta a bit of variation on colouring by distressing the resulting painted ballast with a wire brush so that in places, hints of the original light grey appear.
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: BRCW26010 on December 24, 2011, 12:36:15 pm
Hi :wave: Thank you all. This is a very useful thread for me as I am looking into N for the first time and although my eyes are shot and I have no room for even a very small oo scale layout in our new flat N gauge seems ideal - especially if i don't have to solder :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown:  Frankly if I'd known about Kato/ Tomix I'd have built a layout long ago :) So thanks for all the info. I have a Dapol 66 which I intend to fit with the new magnetic couplings cos for me shunting is what it's all about. I presume the new couplings can be adjusted to match the magnet height on Kato or Tomix track? The only off-putting aspect is that I read somewhere that Dapol 66's can have trouble with even #6 points. Does anyone know if that is so or have any ideas? Thanks in advance and Happy Christmas :)
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Pengi on December 25, 2011, 11:45:06 am
Have tried the Gordon method brushing on some brown acrylic paint all over a single track concrete tie track and I am pleased with it. A fair match for the track at Dawlish.

Used a piece of cork to remove the paint from the top of the rails whist they were still wet and also ran a piece of cork over the tops of the rail ties and some of the rails so that the base concrete colour showed through. This worked well.

Next step is to experiment with the double track. The Dawlish pictures show grey ballast piled up between the tracks - so my Kato grey ballast won't be wasted.
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Lawrence on December 25, 2011, 11:51:47 am
Can you do some pictures please Pendy, would be useful to see the stages yo carry out  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: BRCW26010 on December 26, 2011, 12:20:25 pm
In a Railway Modeller earlier in the year there was a great layout featured using Kato Unitrack. In the accompanying article which I kept but now seem to have lost :( :'(  I think the author mentioned that Dapol Cl 66's have difficulty with one type of Kato points. My problem is I can't recall which one!! If anyone has the article can they please clarify/ correct me where I am wrong? I would hate to spend money only to discover that I have the wrong thing!! Cheers.
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Pengi on December 26, 2011, 04:52:47 pm
Don't have any experience of the Dapol 66 but there is quite a bit on the internet about #4 points causing derailments and needing to be 'tuned'.
Title: Re: kato track
Post by: Pengi on December 30, 2011, 08:33:15 pm
Having practised on a straight piece of wooden tie track and been reasonably pleased with the result, started work on the layout.

Nightmare! I have double track with concrete ties  and the concrete ties are lower profile than the wooden ones. So the method of using a brush to smooth out the ballast between the ties did not work because it just brushed out most of the ballast. Even worse was the banked curves where the ballast just slid downwards! Have now resorted to using a fine brush and painting the glue between the ties. So it is all a bit messy and time consuming. I now wish that I'd just painted the shoulders of the track with glue and not bothered with the centre. It has also decided me to hide the sidings and points from view so I don't have to ballast them.

Only saving grace is that most track that I have looked at recently in my patch has heaps of ballast down the centre of the track covering part of the ties and ballast heaped up at the side and the pictures I've looked at of the Dawlish area are showing the same thing. And this looks messy too! So I might just get away with it if I put a line of ballast down the centre of each track.

Title: Re: kato track
Post by: johnson on January 02, 2012, 02:46:47 pm
Hello Pendy
                    I had similar trouble and decided just to  ballast up to track shoulders.
I used a Woodland Scenics ballast which I am told was designed to match Kato track base preformed ballast - looks ok  -  Good Luck !

Johnson.