Locomotive Size Comparisons - Kato

On a previous post comparing some relatively random locomotives from several countries, a great question was raised about how Kato is 'scaling' its trains given that it produces most of its product for its home market of Japan (where all but the Shinkansens are at 1:150) in addition to some key items for the US and Europe.

So, I thought it would be fun to compare an obvious 1:150 model (I think); the Series 787 Relay Tsubame, and compare this to Kato's European offerings; the Thalys and the Class 66.

The Relay Tsubame comes in at just over 12 feet, according to this wiki entry.  I had difficulty getting the height for this model of the TGV used for the Thalys, the closest data I could find may not be quite right for the version of the TGV that Kato used for the Thalys model. The Class 66 data came from here.
 So....eyeballing the above photo...they look pretty much like you'd expect I think.  I could get out a ruler and measure the actual height, but in this case, that doesn't matter.  What's important to me is "do they look appropriately sized for their relative scales"? I'd have to say yes, but you can come to your own decision.  Nice work Kato.


  1. What scale are the other two supposed to be at? I presume the Thalys would be 1:160? And the Class 66 1:144?

    The Relay Tsubame model is surprisingly wider than the Thalys model. Do you know anything about the widths of the prototypes?

  2. Based on this comparison, I think the Class 66 is 1:160...I actually wasn't all that sure as the prototype runs in both th UK and on the continent, but I'm pretty sure that Graham Farish or Bachmann already makes a 1:144 version of this for the UK, so it makes sense for Kato to do the Class 66 in 1:160...which is what I think they did relative to the Thalys.

    Great point on the width, I almost added that into the comparison becuase I noticed the same thing.

    The 787 is 2944mm wide, according to the JR Wiki. The TGV, by comparison, 2810mm wide, and the Class 66 is 2640. Yes, the Relay is a "Wide Body"...and for a Narrow Gauge train, that's quite remarkable. Its almost hard to believe, but it does 'agree' with the photo. I do wonder if the prototype data (gathered from the links in the post) is correct though.

  3. Thanks Jerry for the comparison !

  4. Hi Jerry,

    I own several Minitrix ICE1 and ICE3. I was thinking of getting the Fleischmann ICE2, but was concerned with difference in dimensions despite both being N-scale.

    Do you have any thoughts on this since you have both Fleischmann and Minitrix? I know you don't have any ICEs, but would appreciate your advice. Thanks.

  5. Hi Alvin! I wouldn't worry too much. The locomotive comparisons here are pretty severe...1970's era stuff from Minitrix compared to modern Kato is a pretty extreme comparison...especially since I believe anything prior to 2000 is not up to 'today's' standards for accuracy, detail, etc...
    So I think if you're comparing similar, modern models from Fleischmann and Minitrix there won't be any noticeable differences (at least in size). I would aslo try comparing the catalog specifications for length to see how they match up...you may also want to try a Google Search (use advanced search and select "German" as the language) with the model numbers to see if there's a more comprehensive review/comparison of these models in German. My experience is that someone has probably already made a comparison, although maybe not in English!
    Good luck! Let me know how it fares!