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Photo : Eiki Sekine

The world’s high speed train by KATO

Class 800 Development stories

Were there any unusual design issues with the class 800?

The hardest part was the top shape. The shape of the front part deviates from the curved surface where the front glass and the plate below it is connected from left and right, and the tooling had to ensure that he dent in the centre part is reproduced and that the painting clearly matches the shape. Printing on such curves is never easy for model, especially in N scale.

Photo : Eiki Sekine

When creating the 3D data for body shell mould, we had to consider how to clearly and neatly model the curve as well as how the stepped part of the side doors connects to the other surfaces so that painting and printing can be connected neatly.
And on the manufactory point, the cost is the key to bring a cheaper and quality model. We divided the front cover into two parts by their body colour and warning colour. In this way we can improve production efficiency so that GWR and LNER versions can be made.
Another challenge was the cabin door; it was difficult to produce as part of body shell, so we made the cabin door a separately part.

Photo : Eiki Sekine
Photo : Eiki Sekine

Did any engineering issues need imaginative solutions?

The performance of the lights faithfully follows the lighting pattern in the actual train. Firstly, the five lights at the front use two different colours, just as the prototype. Since the length from the circuit board to the lenses are all different, adjustments were needed to maintain the balance of the lightness and colour, which was difficult to do. To be as realistic as possible we had to try out many different design. 
Secondly about the lighting pattern, the lights at the bottom are yellowy-white when going forwards but change to red when reversing. In another words, there are two light colours needing fit into a single lens. Since both of them need to shine brightly and equally, we had to design this very carefully with consideration of the reflection angle and the shape of lens.

What is the design philosophy behind Kato models?

Kato are able to maintain the high quality of our models because we follow our philosophy, that is, to work on the best precision moulds and keep stable production. Of course, the railway model has to follow the prototype. The designers are carefully designing and testing each steps, trying out designs to see what works, and thinking about how this process can reach the desired quality when shaping moulds, creating parts, doing the injection moulding, painting, printing, and finally assembling the model.

©KATO 2021