Author Topic: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale  (Read 3793 times)

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peteski

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #30 on: March 25, 2024, 05:07:06 PM »
0
I have also dealt with Plaza Japan, both from eBay and directly from their website.  No problems whatsoever.  Over the last 30 years I have dealt with multiple Japanese companies  and never had any issues  Being in Canada, you might see additional duty or fees on the package (luckily for  me in USA I never pay any fees or duties on my foreign purchases)
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MK

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #31 on: March 25, 2024, 05:17:33 PM »
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I've ordered many things from Plaza Japan and always had a great experience.  With shipping fees, the price can just about double so I try to combine orders.  Sometimes they will arrive quickly, clearly shipped air.  Sometimes it takes a month or so. I suspect they are just picking what is cheapest.  At least in the States, I've never had to pay any sort of duty.  Plaza Japan often (always?) sends a little gift in the package, usually a small foam/rubber toy more centered around their animi business.  Some day I need to gather these up and use them in a gondola load.  Be sure to look at the Japanese newspaper they use for packing material.

My experience exactly other than the shipping times.  It highly depends on what you select as the shipping method.  If you select any of the express services, e.g., EMS, DHL Express, FedEx Global, UPS Global, they are pretty consistent in getting the package to you, usually within a week once the carrier receives the package.  If you select other methods it's pot luck but it does get to you eventually and the shipping is significantly cheaper.

My last order was near $600, shipped DHL Express.  It took 4 days or so from Osaka (I think) Japan to NYC Metro.

My gift was a pretty cool toy eraser.  There was even a Thank You card with the Manger's direct contact if you have any issues.  And everything was packed amazingly well.  I had a mix of locos, passenger cars, freight cars, bridges, buildings, vehicles and a bunch of nick nacks.  Nothing damaged or even shifted inside the shipping box.

EDIT: based on what Peteski said, I experienced no Customs duty.  I think in the US it's under $800 for duty free.

Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2024, 04:25:17 PM »
+7
On TRW, we tend to see our share of problems, shortcomings, frustrations and general wtf’s. 
Having had a truly wondrous ordering/shipping/delivery experience with Plaza Japan and UPS, I was compelled to share.

The UPS label was created by Plaza Japan two days ago, and my wee order is in my hands already.  TWO DAYS from Osaka to Toronto, and 4 hours earlier than their estimated delivery time.  There was a sticker on the box notifying the shipper that the package was heading to “an important person who is looking forward to getting their purchase”, and kindly requesting that they please handle the item with care.  A small white eraser in the shape of a seal was included as a gift.

Suffice to say, I’m overly impressed with the timeliness and efficiency demonstrated by both organizations.  Here are the various goodies:



I’ll be trying to fit the Tomytec chassis ($22 Cdn) to the Bachmann streetcar shell shown behind it, and will likely include an ESU LokPilot with 0402 led head- and tail-lights.  I don’t have any immediate plans for the small, powered 4-axle Kato drive unit ($19 Cdn) but I couldn’t resist getting it for some down-the-road project.  And the Kato articulated tram ($98 Cdn) is something that I’ve seen operating at several local train shows - it’s an exquisite little model, and I simply had to have it.  Shipping was $37, and I had to pay another $36 for duty & tax upon delivery, so that’s $212 Cdn all in.  Not bad, for a few interesting little items that will occupy my time for a while.





peteski

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2024, 04:58:46 PM »
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Yes, Japan has a whole different culture.  What you experienced is not uncommon when making purchases from vendors in Japan.
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thomasjmdavis

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #34 on: March 28, 2024, 05:26:32 PM »
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It is also worthwhile noting that the Japan-US exchange rate is particularly favorable for US buyers right now- so dollars go a long way when buying from Japan.  Those chassis are priced (in US dollars) well below what they cost a few years ago.  I can't speak to current US customs policies.

Looks like our Canadian brethren are getting a pretty good deal as well.
Tom D.

I have a mind like a steel trap...a VERY rusty, old steel trap.

MK

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #35 on: March 28, 2024, 05:39:50 PM »
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What????  No picture of the seal eraser?   :D :trollface: :ashat:

Is it typical that Canadian Customs would tack on tax and duty for shipments from overseas?  Everyone (small sample size) that I've talked to who ordered from Plaza in the US, myself included, never gets duty added.  Maybe US Customs is just lazy.   :P

But still, even with the high cost of shipping and in your case tax and duty, it's worth it as many items can't even be purchased in the US (like parts!).  And if they are available there's no really one place in the US (probably Canada too) where it's a one-stop shopping for Japanese N-Scale trains, especially parts.  So you end up paying just about the same shipping, if not more, for multiple orders to different places.

Yes, the currency exchange between US and Japan is through the roof, advantage US.  It's been the highest in 30 years!  I use a credit card that doesn't have any foreign transaction fees.  And since credit cards typically have the best exchange rates - win!

johnb

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #36 on: March 28, 2024, 06:51:22 PM »
+1
another good source is Volkmar in France, he is a really nice guy and a pretty good designer too...

https://interurban-models.myshopify.com/

Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2024, 09:48:42 AM »
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I just did a test run of my new acquisitions from Plaza Japan using my DC test loop. 

All is good.  The two Kato products are perfect.  However, the wheels on the Tomytec chassis are quite a bit out of spec, being far too narrow to run well on Kato Unitrack.  The spacing between the inner wheel faces needs to be widened. 

Rather than putz with them, I thought it best to check in with TRW … any instruction on how best to bring the wheel spacing on the trucks into spec? 

bbunge

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #38 on: March 29, 2024, 10:23:36 AM »
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  However, the wheels on the Tomytec chassis are quite a bit out of spec, being far too narrow to run well on Kato Unitrack.  The spacing between the inner wheel faces needs to be widened. 

Rather than putz with them, I thought it best to check in with TRW … any instruction on how best to bring the wheel spacing on the trucks into spec?

I don't think I've experienced this before, but now I'll have to check the gauge on the Tomytec's that I have.  I have recently used a 3018 CNC machine to experimentally turn down the flanges on a TM04.  While they weren't pizza cutters, when I've run them on FreemoN, they are large enough that they make noise if a module as any sort of ballast on the ties.

Bob

Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #39 on: March 29, 2024, 12:59:24 PM »
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Thanks Bob - I look forward to hearing back what you find out.  In the meantime, any advise on how to alter the wheel gauge?

Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #40 on: March 29, 2024, 01:13:05 PM »
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I should have included this pic with my last post - you can see how out-of-gauge the wheels are.  All four axles are the same, which makes for a sloppy fit on the Kato Unitrak.




Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #41 on: March 30, 2024, 12:53:58 PM »
+1
Right then … no worries … I managed to set the wheels to the proper gauge.

A slim, small screwdriver head placed between the back face of a wheel and the bogie frame, followed by a gentle, barely perceptible twist, eventually does the trick.  I suppose the wheels are just a friction fit on some sort of half axle or something.

Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #42 on: April 01, 2024, 02:03:01 PM »
+3
I made a start adapting an N scale Tomytec chassis to my old Bachmann PCC Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) streetcar, and thought “what the heck, why not make a build thread and give folks something to have a look at”.

So, first, the obligatory pic of the real thing:




Next, here’s the Tomytec frame with all its included goodies that recently arrived from Plaza Japan:



The chassis I ordered had the closest wheelbase match with respect to getting the trucks centred within the “fenders” on the shell.  However, you can see how the spacing is not quite good enough:




Fortunately, this particular frame is adjustable, having 3 ‘detent’ settings whereby the chassis can be progressively lengthened (43.8, 46.4, or 49 mm).  This is simply a matter of pulling out a small double-pronged pin (circled in the pic), pulling the sliding chassis to a longer length (as per the arrow), and replacing the pin.  For this shell, the middle setting of 46.4 mm was pretty much perfect:




To be continued ….
« Last Edit: April 01, 2024, 02:05:22 PM by Dwight in Toronto »

Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #43 on: April 01, 2024, 02:38:22 PM »
+1
The next step was to add the small weights from the kit to the plastic holders, which then, in turn, press fit into the ends of the chassis.  I used some sticky-tac compound to keep the weights in place:




Although the prototypes did not have any sort of side bolsters (they were simply open-faced bogies), the Tomy kit came with 3 varieties of suspension assemblies.  These too were a simple press fit, and I used them to help cover up those glaringly shiny chrome wheelsets:



The trickiest aspect so far has been figuring out how to attach the shell to the frame.  There is nothing in the way of pins/slots/tabs nor protuberances of any sort.  After some deliberation (and pointers from bbunge - thanks Bob!), I settled on 3 attachment points. 

First, I fashioned a small styrene bumper, painted it black, and glued it to the rear of the trolley to form a short shelf upon which the overhang on the weight retainer can rest (circled area on right side of pic).

The chassis is significantly thinner than the shell.  To build out the thickness of the frame, I applied two layers of 3M double-sided foam tape to each side, leaving the red protective film in place so as to be able to snuggly slide the shell onto the chassis. 

Note the notches along the lower central section of the shell … these are remnants of the original factory attachment method.  I fashioned a narrow strip of styrene for each side, removed a corresponding length of red film from the bottom edge of tape on the chassis, and pressed the styrene in place.  I then glued a small styrene tab on each side to pop into the cutouts on the shell (circled area in centre of pic):




As shown here, the shell ended up popping right in place, forming a pretty darn good fit, if I do say so myself!




I’m planning to fit an ESU LokPilot nano, along with a white led headlight and two red led tail lights.  I’m not bothering with sound, since these trolleys were super quiet underway, and I can live without the bell.  I’ll post some more when the decoder shows up.

« Last Edit: April 01, 2024, 06:50:08 PM by Dwight in Toronto »

johnb

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #44 on: April 01, 2024, 09:00:34 PM »
0
that bump out might be a perfect 3d print item