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My Tomica World - Introductions
#1
Big Grin 
[UPDATE - Username has since been changed; Thanks to Super for helping with that, and to DalaGStanator for pointing the potential issue, which I otherwise would have never spotted out in the first place; I've always liked how helpful people are on here, and this only further shows that - You guys are awesome, thanks for your help!  Big Grin ]



Hey guys; I'm new here, although i've been lurking for advice over the last few weeks prior to making an account, so consider this an introduction lol  Big Grin Cool

Well, with the current situation as-is, I've not been going out much, and while working on the railways for a time [unfortunately no longer] recently, I decided to construct a new model railway layout, to help pass the time.

In short, for as long as I can remember I have had 2 key model rail systems, my Hornby 00 scale system, and the Tomy Plarail system [in it's many guises], amongst others - I've been into trains since a young age, thanks to Thomas and Freinds, which was where Plarail entered for me.

As a hobby model collector now, as well as being interested in Japanese culture [I would love to travel there some day], it seemed to be a logical step to expand into making a Japanese themed model layout; The issue I had was that I had a lack of funds, and I was not hot on the idea of dropping £300+ on Kato trains, and possibly more on scenery to achieve my layout Tongue .

Fortunately, my prayers were answered by a chance encounter back in 2014; I discovered my old copy of Thomas and the Magic Railroad on VHS, and decided to give it a watch for the nostalgia; Anyone who has/had this tape knows where this is going now, but the first trailer on the tape was for none other than Tomica World [This one - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWM7c9IlZRI ]; that was the eureka moment when I realised all my old Thomas track could be augmented with Japanese trains, making my Japanese layout a bit closer to realisation!

That said, until this year, I had little in the way of funds to properly expand the layout exactly as I wanted it to be - That's all changed, and as I type, I have 2 consignments of Plarail and Tomica gear underway to my address here in sunny London, including the biggest expansion to my fleet ever; To note, I began this year with 3 Japanese trains, presently I now have almost the complete Tomica World train lineup as of the 2000 catalogue [not including the Thomas gear], as well as a couple of Plarail imports; some 15 trains, and this is to be expanded with another 25 or so currently in the safe hands of FedEx.  The other consignment [EMS] includes stations and other accessories to expand the layout Cool.

Here's a picture, although please note this is still incomplete; the raised outer loop is going to be a Shinkansen line built with the Plarail Shinkansen style tracks [in with the EMS consignment], the ground-level tracks are unfinished, I'm planning on a longer section of the Tomica World road and the scenery is incomplete, but it's coming together.

[Image: local-media385352784.jpg]

One more thing to note is that I've since added a lot more buildings [Tomica Hypercity type], and plan on 3D printing further buildings in the new year when I have a new 3D printer - I've been working on a CAD template for a basic Hypercity standard building model, with the idea being I'll use that to create all sorts of buildings. I've got a tower-block model in the pipeline as the first test print. Fortunately, the only thing I need for those that I can't easily print is the pavement sections, but those seem to be readily avaliable as new-old stock on Ebay UK  Big Grin .

Anyway; that's my layout introduced, now for me  Wink .

I'm a MA student, currently preparing to study an MA degree in Creative Writing at the University of Westminster in London, and aside from my interest in railways, I have a passion for film, Japanese culture, anime, manga, travel, electronics, model-making, writing, home-brewing, video games and cosplay, among other things. For those of you who are curious, Futaba Sakura, my account's namesake and profile picture is my favourite character from the video game Persona 5, who is my current cosplay project, to debut as soon as the next London Comic-Con takes place.

As implied earlier, I've been connected to Plarail from a young age, starting with the very tail-end of the Tomica World line's Thomas selection, graduating to the Thomas Motor Road & Rail line; I never upgraded to Trackmaster as it never appealed to me as much as the TOMY gear. When Tomica Hypercity first dropped in the UK around 2010/11 I collected several of the trains and the Mega Station set [blissfully unaware they were repackaged Plarail units and actually real-world JR models], and then when I became interested in Japan a few years later, I got back into Plarail all over again with the few Japanese bits I had, leading us to now, and the genesis of this new, dedicated layout with more Japanese gear than ever before.

For those of you who are interested, I'll be posting updates about the layout in this thread here on Blue Plastic Tracks [if that's allowed?] but also to my personal blog, 'Making Tracks' [not a dedicated Plarail blog, but a project suggested by my uni] which can be found at [url]https://makingtracks.weebly.com/[/url]  Wink .

Well, with that, I'll finish up, and hopefully I'll see more of you around here on Blue Plastic Tracks - This site is amazing by the way, truly a fantastic resource for all of us in the Plarail/Tomica World community, especially with all the information on obscure and unusual TOMY and Plarail products; Sometimes I'll just sit on here for hours reading up on all the awesome and obscure stuff  Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin .

Anyway, that's all for now.
Later! Cool Big Grin
Been building Plarail worlds since 2001; still building in 2021 - Not bad really  Cool
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#2
Welcome aboard Futa (I hate typing)

A very nice history of your interest in these trains. I am interested in seeing your 3D printed buildings when that happens. You have already amassed a lot of items and I am anxious to see whats on its way and your progress in setting up your Layout. Please keep us informed Smile
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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#3
The legendary Super  Big Grin  I've seen loads of your posts on here! 

Yes, I will definitely keep things updated as they progress; I realised just now the picture I uploaded was from over a week ago; before I added a load of extra Tomica Hypercity road and buildings including the Honda dealership and the Tomica garage they released  Cool  It looks more complete now, although obviously will be better with the extra track, accessories and other stuff added  Big Grin .

It's been a good ongoing project so far actually, it's bought myself and a number of my university freinds together over the web, most of whom had the Plarail track system under the Thomas Motor Road & Rail line as kids, but never realised there was a wider range of Japanese equipment for the same line  Wink   They've all been rather surprised at how good it looks, most saying that they never remembered it being so good, so maybe I've created some Plarail converts, who knows lol.

I'm hoping to add one of the Mr Motorman RC units in January so I can actually take full control of some of my collection out on the layout; That was another thing I learned about thanks to this blog, as I was mulling over getting one of the elusive Tomica World RC units with the Series 300 RC train, but I prefer the idea of a unit that works with basically any of the Plarail system via the battery reciever/power unit that the Mr Motorman uses.

Incidentally, I've also been working on my first custom train too, as recently Fisher-Price bought out a TrackMaster model of the Thomas character 'Kenji'; a Series 0 Shinkansen. Needless to say, it's not nearly as accurate as the TOMY models of the Series 0, and it's not in the correct JNR/JR livery as-bought, appearing in flat aluminium silver [incidentally, the prototype carried the correct JNR/JR livery, and had connecting rods  Confused ] but that's what I'm changing, as I bought 2 units to make a 6-car consist [the shortest that ever ran under JNR/JR] and am in the process of re-painting it into the correct livery; I also removed the face and replaced it with a home-made nosecone; I wanted an accurate Shinkansen as opposed to the Thomas character, and I had to remove the gearbox on one power unit to create a rear-facing power car [Unlike Plarail, the newest TrackMaster trains don't free-wheel when turned off]  Tongue

Prototype [with connecting rods and correct livery]
[Image: 71xs2o-EY-w-L-AC-SX425.jpg]

Production [Aluminum silver, no connecting rods]
[Image: 71-SUgv-DL2-LL-AC-SX679.jpg]

It's been a fun challenge, but I suspect I'll get a genuine Plarail unit when I can, since the 0 Series is such an iconic train for Japan, and to date the only Japanese train I've ever seen in real life at the National Railway Museum in York, so it's kind of a favourite of mine  Cool .

In any case, thanks for the welcome, and I'm looking forward to seeing where things go from here  Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin
Been building Plarail worlds since 2001; still building in 2021 - Not bad really  Cool
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#4
[Image: rolling.gif]

Legendary...I think not...Just Old  [Image: walking-stick.gif]
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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#5
Well, you guys are legends to me lol

Seriously though, some of the really old TOMY stuff you've found and recorded is incredible, I thought I had a few rarities but you guys blow mine out of the water lol

I find it especially fascinating how Plarail actually sold in the UK under Palitoy, as for years I had assumed that Tomy only introduced Plarail to the UK via the Tomy Trains system that directly preceded Tomica World, when it's very apparent that Plarail has been here for considerably longer, if not always under the TOMY label... I knew it had been avaliable in Japan as far back as 1959 but never knew it had gone international any earlier than the late 80's/early 90's, so I've learned loads from just lurking...
Been building Plarail worlds since 2001; still building in 2021 - Not bad really  Cool
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#6
I have learned everything I know from the Members here at BPT's who are very generous in sharing their knowledge. I honestly would know virtually nothing about these if it weren't for Ucwepn creating this fantastic site.
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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#7
Updated layout photo; This has the extra Hypercity road and buildings this time out xD

[Image: eefc8424e4954f1fbc78e1979960650b-0.jpg] 

Now I just gotta wait for a combined 4 kilos of Plarail goodness to arrive from Gunma Prefecture to move the layout forward [HobbyLink Japan, what a great place for a collector, not so much the bank account Tongue ]

Incidentally, does anyone know what attaching a 'signature' to a post means, and how can I do it? Thanks in advance Big Grin
Been building Plarail worlds since 2001; still building in 2021 - Not bad really  Cool
[-] The following 2 users Like Plarail Man UK's post:
  • Super, Mister No
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#8
Looking good Futa

I am getting excited waiting for your packages to arrive.  I no longer receive the truck loads anymore.  I now have to live those times with all of the members here who receive the big boxes of fun. I miss those times. Confused
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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#9
Big Grin 
Well, the aforementioned 4 kilos of Plarail gear from Japan arrived, and needless to say, it's looking great. The delivery, all considered was surprisingly efficient, with both shipments taking only about a week; Interestingly the trains, which came by FedEx, went through 6 countries before the UK [Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Belgium, France, Germany] and yet still arrived first, the accessories arriving 2 days later via EMS.


[Image: DSC-0083.jpg]


This photo is all the boxed gear that i've amassed over the last month and a half or so, give or take, including the new Japanese gear. Most of this was funded from where I had been until recently [sadly no longer] working on the railways myself, on the High Speed 1 network out of St Pancras [to fill time prior to my University resuming in January]. 

Most of the track has come either from my own personal stock that I have had for many years, or where needed from the 4 sets that I bought recently, including a boxed Tomica World City Set [pictured], a Tomica World Super Deluxe Set, a Tomica World TGV set, and a Plarail [Tomica World era] 'Series 300' set [pictured].

The newest Japanese lot consists of around 26 trains to augment my existing fleet, enough 'Shinkansen' type track to make a loop around the edge of my grass matting [a 2x2 meter square], several stations, several Tomica road/city accessories, and a few extra level crossings, among other things.

So yeah, the next stage is to start building, and when i'm done, the results will be posted here  Big Grin

I might actually post some more detailed pictures of the '300 Series' Plarail set in a seperate thread as it's probably right up you guys's alley...

It's a complete set [although missing a promotional VHS that would have contained a rare Japanese promotional video for the Tomica, Plarail and B/O Tomica/Motor Tomica [so basically Tomica World] system [avaliable on YouTube but in horrible quality], but i'm not sure how rare the set [sans VHS] is so you guys might be able to shed some light.

It only cost me something like £15, from a UK seller no less, and I bought it mainly for wanting a 300 series, wanting the VHS [fail Big Grin ], wanting a Japanese set [I hadn't planned the Japanese order at this time] and the fact it has a special station, which IIRC is the same as what would later be released as the Amtrak station in the Tomica World line? 

[Close ups of the rest of the gear]


[Image: DSC-0086.jpg]

[Image: DSC-0087.jpg]

[Image: DSC-0088.jpg]

[Image: DSC-0089.jpg]
[Image: DSC-0084.jpg]

[Image: DSC-0085.jpg]
[Image: DSC-0090.jpg]
Been building Plarail worlds since 2001; still building in 2021 - Not bad really  Cool
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#10
Wow...we have had members here at BPT's that have had huge delivery's, including me, but I think you have taken the cake with this haul Futa. Some great items there. Look forward to seeing any Layouts you build.
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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#11
Hey guys!

Just posted a little heads up in the Tomica World section regarding what I think might be a rare Japanese Child Guidance set for you guys
to follow up on;
This ends in 3 days, and has no bids, so i'd get on it if it's really a rarity.

Anyway, not the main point of this post lol  Big Grin

The main point is an update; I built my layout, which is more or less complete now [I do re-position things occasionally], and I'll get some pics soon; However, I also managed to get my hands on some more unusual Plarail components to add to the layout. 

For reference, I'm not looking to buy any more trains, except for the ones in the Tomica World [1990's export] range that I haven't got,  as i've now got some 40-odd trains which is more than enough to be getting on with; that said, a complete [as per the catalogue] set of the exported Japanese trains would be nice - Same goes for tracks, i'm trying to actively avoid track unless I can help it, as i've got more than enough. 

In any case, the unusual components include a 300 Series 'Nozomi' train case, similar in concept to the 'Giant Thomas' from the Tomica World range, except this one's a 300 Series Shinkansen that opens up to reveal 9 tracks and also the 'Plarail' add-on for the Sega Pico, which appears to be a controller that you attach to your console, then connect directly to your layout, with the aim being that you use one of your trains to control the game on-screen; I'll probably make a post about this when I've got it and had it running.

The final one, which i'm sure might be of interest is the Japanese 'Tomica World' promotional VHS that was missing from my 300 Series track-set. Believe it or not, I managed to track down a copy, and I'm going to digitize it and upload it to YouTube so the community finally has a decent-looking copy of at least one of the Japanese promo tapes [the only one I could find on YouTube was someone filming a TV screen as the film played] Angel   

Anyways, stay tuned, as I'll be sure to get some pictures when the new stuff has arrived  Big Grin
Been building Plarail worlds since 2001; still building in 2021 - Not bad really  Cool
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#12
(01-02-2021, 10:14 PM)FutabaSakura/ThePlarailManUK Wrote: the unusual components include a 300 Series 'Nozomi' train case, similar in concept to the 'Giant Thomas' from the Tomica World range, except this one's a 300 Series Shinkansen that opens up to reveal 9 tracks and also the 'Plarail' add-on for the SEGA Pico, which appears to be a controller that you attach to your console, then connect directly to your layout, with the aim being that you use one of your trains to control the game on-screen; I'll probably make a post about this when I've got it and had it running.

I never knew either of those existed, though I should've guessed there would be a Japanese themed item that's like Giant Thomas. Are there any dates or other info anywhere on the 300 Series so we could get an idea what time it was from? The Pico peripheral sounds even more exciting, and I'll look forward to seeing it in action complete with the console. I assume by connecting "directly to the layout", there must be a special track piece that another wire from the controller plugs into (like how model train track is powered), and the game somehow detects a train's movements. I can only wonder exactly how it works and what the game does.
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#13
(01-03-2021, 07:56 PM)DalaGStanator Wrote: Are there any dates or other info anywhere on the 300 Series so we could get an idea what time it was from?
This? New in 1994 catalogue, this pic from 1995 catalogue. 未来特急のぞみ号コントロールセンタ. Future Limited Express Nozomi Control Center.
 
[Image: Untitled.png] [Image: image.png]

For the Plarail Pico device, google this: プラレール・ピコ
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#14
Diolch yn fawr, Chris! That's exactly it. Not only does it predate the Thomas version (as I thought), but it even looks to have more play value and doesn't look awful in station mode. I unironically like how the cab turns into a control tower and the orange tracks become the roof. They even made platforms in addition to the stop/go bars! It might even be passable as a central station in one of those large urban themed layouts (or maybe an entrance to an open air railway museum). Again, thanks for the info on it.

[Image: g102433582.3.jpg]

So, the device makes more sense than what I imagined. It does have track connectors at both ends, but it uses a turntable and stop/go bar (along with switches, levers and buttons) to detect what the engine is doing. I couldn't seem to find gameplay of the actual game, so I'm still holding out for Futaba's video. I even found a similar device for Tomica cars, which must mean there was also another game for them.
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#15
Hey Futa. Well jealous of that train collection you had delivered from Japan. I'm a collector of the Japanese trains mainly myself (we also collect Thomas and vintage Tomy Train as well, but more by chance). I'm currently assembling a parcel on Jauce with a few more trains and accessories so looking forward to receiving that, but nothing compared to the quantity on your order Smile

Looking forward to seeing all that in action!
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