Thursday, March 14, 2013
Saturday, September 13, 2008
and some new sets..
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
tomy rail tower
tomy rail tower ... I decided to try and make a high tower using all the 'A' rising curved rails I had (32)... and then put normal straight and curved rails in the empty spaces left going down... (because a complete circle of eight 'A' rails will rise two levels)... this is all one track... the train doesn't return on the same rail
using my IR controlled JR700 shinkansen
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
homemade, but it works OK. A nice set of Dremel mini-drill cutters etc. would make it easy and much neater.
Friday, November 10, 2006
older sets by Tomy......
Saturday, November 04, 2006
make your own track.....
For the adult enthusiasts...
1 & 2 getting it straight...
3 hit with a mallet...
4 the result
5 keeping it in place...
6 staple gun
7 & 8 the result
9 an earlier try with twin track
11 a diamond crossing
12 lots of bits... cut up curves half and full straights
13 joined up
10 this was a rail sold to make a rise to a higher level for the monorail train and was intended to be used on its side... but I thought it looked useful and got a pack of four. They are as long as the sloping rails, but unfortunately are no longer on sale as the monorail system was obviously not popular enough. You can make your own though!
Sometimes the quarter size rails are too short and the half size too long... make your own! Make your own adapter connectors of any size and length, straight or curved.
I think that although it looks nice watching a train go down a long straight section, especially if it is a long train, it looks even better if there is a slight wiggle in the track, like an 'S' curve.... so make your own and enhance the view.... especially good for those who like to make video clips and send them to youtube for others to watch!
click on the photo for a larger one...
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
Sunday, October 08, 2006
this one takes about 3min.20sec. from the upper level station and round to the same point. Although the other layout took longer, it was actually shorter because with the auto 3-way point it used the same bit of track more than once. This 'joiner' is not as neat as the last, they get a bit difficult to construct in photoshop when they are so big, and using a fairly wide angle lens and low viewpoint gives perspective problems...
I could add more in the spaces, but then my kids would have nowhere to sit, and it is hard enough to move around it as it is.
Using three or four levels might not be too unrealistic in Tokyo, but for the rest of the world gets a bit far from reality.
(need a bigger house....) actually I have a huge unused loft..... but it is so hot up there it is unuseable.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
my notation system for track plans
the notation system I use on my plans
the latest layout as in the 'joiner' ... before the added level
Whenever I have completed a complex layout I make a plan of it. I devised my own notation system to describe the different rail types. I can understand my own plans, but if for another person to understand perhaps it would be better to make a seperate one for each level, or maybe use different coloured inks for each level (of track height).
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
a 'joiner' of my layout..
Monday, October 02, 2006
Japanese TakaraTomy site
don't worry about not being able to read the Japanese....... just follow the links wherever they go.... some good stuff.
and new items out this year.... which usually take some time before reaching the west.... if ever!
a look at the sets in japan...
and a nice little video clip of their latest station.... (quicktime.... just right click and 'save target as..' then watch at home)
many of their web pages have little sound files you can click and hear..... if you want to save the sounds but don't know how or where they are stored on your computer..... then ask me and I'll tell you.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
Friday, September 22, 2006
my latest layout....
This is a special track piece I made myself especially for this layout.
and this one too......
they aren't hard to do using some old rails and staples fired from a gun... no need for glue
this layout is made to run a train on three cicuits, which one it goes on depends on which track the auto-3-way points put you onto. from station back to the same station takes 4 minutes for the fastest train I have.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
I have found that the new range of trains are not as robust as the older Tomy ones.
In the rush to make things smaller, cheaper or quicker, quality sometimes falls by
the way-side. The old saying goes "something can always be made a little
cheaper...... and a little worse".
A common problem with the battery driven engines is that when the batteries run out
little hands try to push them along instead. Which is OK if the switch is set to
'off', otherwise the gears and cogs are still engaged and damage can result. This
can quite often be easily repaired by the following method...
first unscrew the two screws holding the motor onto the chassis......... the wheels on their axle will then fall from the clips under the motor.
You will probably find that the little gear cog on the axle shaft will turn on the shaft fairly easily.... which it shouldn't. So you slide the cog along the axle shaft and you can now see the knurled part of the shaft which should hold the cog firm. By forcing the train along when the gears were still engaged has caused the knurling to act like a file and remove some of the plastic cog so that the two no longer hold together tightly.
Slide the cog back and forth along the shaft whilst wiping with a tissue, try to remove all the oil or grease on the shaft, a little alcohol or thinner may help. When clean and dry apply super glue to the knurls and slide the cog back into place on top of the knurled part.
Re-assemble and you should be good to go.....
Trying to teach the 'little hands' is probably a tougher job.
Friday, September 08, 2006
I have found that the original couplings are difficult to 'hook-unhook' and much prefer the old magnetic ones.
A case of over-engineering by Tomy, in trying to make them fool-proof they inadvertantly made them child-proof which defeats the object.
To get around this I've started to 'clip' off a part of the 'thumb' which meets the hook and almost closes it, using a nail clipper or similar. this allows easy hooking-unhooking but doesn't come loose in play (often). The real trucks in the Thomas stories often come undone too... so the kids won't mind.
Monday, August 28, 2006
There is a very large set in the Thomas and Friends range called the 'Ultimate' set. I don't know where it has been on sale in the UK... probably Woolworths as they seem to get some special sets which are hard to find elsewhere and often discount the price considerably.(now I know ....it is at Toysrus.co.uk) I believe it retails at GBP. 119 and it seems to me to be a very good value considering all the trains track and accessories in it. It also has the Cranky the crane set which always seems to attract a lot of buyers on ebay when sold secondhand, and reaches a good price. I refuse to pay over the odds for this though, just because the dealers are hiking the prices up. I have been trying to get an Ultimate set for some time, and once or twice a month they appear on ebay in almost new condition, usually because someone has bought the set for their kids, only to find it is too large to erect fully in their homes.
Often these sets are sold by people in the USA where they get them at the super cheap price of US$100. That is about half the UK price considering the exchange rate, and even less if you consider that their wages are higher than in the UK.
Sometimes they will only accept bids by US residents and sometimes not. The postage may seem considerable, but if one can secure the item for about $60 with the postage added at another $40 it is still cheaper than in the UK.
I though I had got one today, but some 'Dealer' slipped in another $1 above my bid at the last minute. Some may say "all's fair in love and war"....... but I was pretty pissed off. Some of us have to work and need to sleep when the auction is ending, whilst the dealers hover over their keyboards waiting to snatch the candy at the last minute. What is worse is the fact that they then break up these sets into smaller lots, to sell again next week at a big profit.
If you think that money is god and profit is king then I feel sorry for you...... as you have no conception of fair play or fair trading....... and you will never achieve happiness in your life because you will never be satisfied with enough!
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Looking at the stuff available on ebay... there is a huge amount of different sets and bits out there. The older Tomy sets with the dark blue rails are 'mostly' compatible with the newer stuff with the light blue rails. The main difference being that with the earlier sets, the locomotives are bigger than the present ones and may not fit under the bridges of the new sets. These older locos also are able to be reversed by the special reversing track, which flicks a switch under the loco body between the wheels. These special switches are often built-in to some of the things like the 'Engine shed' with the workmen hanging upside-down from the roof, and the train wash and lumber tipper. Of course, they have no effect on the new locos which do not have the reversing capabilities. Another thing I noticed about the older sets is that the long sloping rails to take a train up and down from the high track have 'teeth' along the sides which engage in similar teeth on the outside of the loco driving wheels, obviously to help the train ascend the incline without slipping back. The new locos do not have these teeth on their wheels so if used with these steeper inclines may come into difficulties. The red high track supports of the older sets are quite a bit higher than the newer series, and are needed to go with the dark blue sloping rails. They can be combined with newer stuff, just be aware of the differences when planning your layout. I find that, because I tend to make my layouts as a long continuous track, I have the trains ascending the newer style slopes and rising curves to get to either a 'double-height' or 'one and a half' height which is similar to the red supports, and then descending by the steeper dark blue sloping rails.
The older Tomy sets came out before the Thomas & Friends craze took-off, so the engines and trucks are more 'toy' like. They and the stations and other accessories do have 'Lego' type studs though, so they can be built upon and added to with the huge range of Lego bits and blocks. For example the truck bodies often remove from their chassis, leaving a row of lego studs which could be added to.
There is a large four legged Crane which has little wheels built into the base for moving around, and can lift logs with a special hand. No longer part of the Tomy range, this goes well with the Timber yard set which dumps logs into a special tipping wagon which then tips them into a hopper beside the track.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
the large turntable and 'roundhouse' engine sheds
... in close-up
The small red/yellow turntable has seven connections of the standard type.
The problem is that the new large turntable has only four standard connections... at N.S.E.W.
the remaining six connections are of an entirely new diamond shape. If you buy the full set with the engine sheds then you will get a few of the straight rails with this type of connection at one end, but not enough for all six places to connect to the turntable. If you lose any of these special pieces then there seems to be nowhere to find replacements.
I have noticed in ebay some sellers selling the turntable in a used condition, and often without any or all of these rails. Also, there appears to have been a special extra large set of Tomy Thomas and Friends for sale called the 'Ultimate' set. Exactly where it has been on sale I don't know, it certainly looks to be a bargain. I think it probably went on sale for about GBP.100 in the UK and US$ 100 in the USA. I have seen a couple on sale, new and unused on ebay in the last month. What I have also noticed is that some sellers have obviously got hold of these Ultimate sets and broken them up, for sale in smaller lots, and at a good profit. The trouble is that this Ultimate set has the new turntable, but none of the special diamond-ended rails, so the sellers are selling the turntable as new and unused, but on its own. Unsuspecting buyers will find themselves frustrated when they try to find the special rails needed.
I wrote to Tomy.co.uk about the problem, suggesting they contact Tomy and ask for special short adapter rails to be made available. Unfortunately they either did not read my message properly or just misunderstood it. Anyway they sent me some ordinary straight rails (two boxes of four each), which was very nice of them, but it didn't solve the problem. I f I write to Tomy Japan, they will see I am English and just refer my message to Tomy UK...... :-(
UPDATE... I got onto Tomy UK again and directed them to this post to see if they understood the problem....they replied that the 'diamond' shaped rails are available from them, so contact their careline.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
look in ebay...
I have given links to a couple of ebay stores, 'Panpon' is a dealer in Thailand, whilst 'kittymagic23' is based in HongKong. Both can get most of the stuff I have shown you below, and even including postage are no more expensive than if the items were available at home.
more track items
a wide twin-track tunnel which can also receive a normal curve on top (although actually getting it to fit in a circuit is difficult). The parallel straight and curved rails are shown too.
the tunnel on its own
a loop to reverse direction
there is also available a single curved rail which has a larger radius than the standard one, actually equivalent to the outside curve in the twin parallel curves.
I have also seen an extra long straight piece which is the same as two standard straights in one, and a similar extra long curved piece.
There is a new 'wiggley' piece which is multi-segmented and as long as two straights which can be bent to fit almost any situation where track ends do not come together right and in line.
Monday, July 03, 2006
some track etc. available here in Thailand
This end shows the side with the single track.
The overall view.
a wide parallel point.
stop track, crossing, and 3-way points.
standard points, parallel points, y-parallel points and y-points.
the two or three way auto points. can be put to manual or to be tripped auto change by train approaching points from the right-hand end.
auto and manual switching from one parallel track to another