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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The latest issue of Aster newsletter contains some interesting news which I thought that I'd share here:
a) the style of piping attachment on the C18 in development is going to follow Aster's old practice of using screws and brackets rather than soldering used by Accucraft. See the first page of the newsletter.
b) then look at page 3 and what you will see is the narrow gauge beauty - the famous Benkei which once stood in Kanda and I used to pass it while cycling to Akihabara, Nihonbashi, and central Tokyo. It is one of the first locomotives imported to Japan from the US and is designated as JGR Class 7100 (JGR standing for Japanese Government Railways rather than Japan Garden Railway;-)) JGR Class 7100 - Wikipedia
The link to the newsletter is here: http://www.asterhobby.co.jp/pdf/21.pdf
Best wishes from Indoors,
Zubi
 

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Thanks for the link Zubi, do you know what scale Benkei will be in as it's a 3'6" prototype? True to scale and gauge it probably should be 1:24 scale, but they may make it like their other Japanese engines in 1:30 scale. I like the idea of removable piping on the C18 as soldered pipes can be a problem when trying to get the loco apart for repairs or repaint.
Russell
 

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My Japanese reading is not as good as it was when I worked there.... is that loop of track have the extra wiggles to test the loco?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the link Zubi, do you know what scale Benkei will be in as it's a 3'6" prototype? True to scale and gauge it probably should be 1:24 scale, but they may make it like their other Japanese engines in 1:30 scale. I like the idea of removable piping on the C18 as soldered pipes can be a problem when trying to get the loco apart for repairs or repaint.
Russell
Russel, Benkei will likely be in 1:20 as it will use valve gear design from Aster's Baldwin B1 from 2009 which is also in 1:20. Anyway, I should be able to confirm this soon. Regarding the C18 pipes, I kind of got used to soldered pipes on Accucraft, but times are changing and it might be interesting to see the evolution of Accucraft design towards Aster design style. The marriage of both companies seems to be working and the two begin to be more alike;-)... Best wishes, Zubi
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My Japanese reading is not as good as it was when I worked there.... is that loop of track have the extra wiggles to test the loco?
Greg, there is no mention of this. Perhaps someone did not have enough straight pieces of track;-)... All the text is saying is that one can use that stuff shown in the photo to reinforce the ground. Best wishes, Zubi
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Russel, Benkei will indeed be in 1:20 scale (more or less as it is a cape gauge locomotive). This should not be a great deal as pushing inward the drivers by 3scale inches on both sides should not distort the locomotive too much, it might make it slightly less stable though. Benkei is a fairly large loco for Porters, so in 1:20 it will be quite sizeable. But I am sure that it will be a beauty. Another variant of the 7100 Class could be Yoshitsune which is now restored to working conditions in Kyoto. A fascinating development and another splendid model to release together with Benkei if Accucraft/Aster will see the potential in more names. I personally find one of the surviving cars which were imported together with the locomotives absolutely amazing and perfectly fitting with the great Benkei. It has been manufactured by Harlan and Hollingsworth Co. in the US, and I do not know how popular this maker was on the US Narrow Gauge scene, but eight of these cars came to Japan with the Porter locomotives and the car and the little Porter Mogul make a fabulous old fashioned set (perfect to be reproduced in brass with all the detailing):
https://flic.kr/p/nb27J6 https://flic.kr/p/nb2x1k Best wishes from Indoors,
Zubi
 

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Thanks Zubi, with Benkei in 1:20 scale on 45mm gauge it would have wider appeal for people and Yoshitsune is my favourite of the early Japanese locomotives so that would be a great model. I didn't know about the Harlan and Hollingsworth coaches and they are a really good example of early style American coaches and they should be popular for people to freelance on their railway with a repaint and renaming.
I obtained an old secondhand book "Steam locomotives in Japan" printed in 1960 that is all in Japanese ( limited English captions on pictures) so I can't read it but it has images of every steam locomotive from the first 2-4-0 by Vulcan foundry to the modern C62 and D61.
The huge variety and number of different classes of locomotives is staggering and so many American locomotives were imported especially from Baldwin, Porter and Vulcan. The early American influence on the trains was quite strong but also English builders supplied loco's in great numbers too as well as German designs. Japan' steam and railway history is a fascinating country for the steam enthusiast and I didn't realise this until I came across this book.
Thanks for the info Zubi
Russell
 

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Benkei is a fairly large loco for Porters, so in 1:20 it will be quite sizeable. But I am sure that it will be a beauty.
Given the similarity to US 2-6-0s in use in the early days I think it should find a wide audience over here.
 
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