Locomotive Roster: Nankai Rap:t 50000; MicroAce A0751

I've had this beautiful set for well over a year, but other projects, and a real lack of time for actually running trains, has prevented me from writing up my thoughts on this train.  The good news is that last year these sets were pretty rare, but MicroAce has recently re-released this, so start shopping now if you want one!

And why wouldn't you want one?  This thing is amazing.  And that amazing-ness is-for me anyway-due to the bold design the creators of this train decided to use.  I think we can all agree there is nothing else like it (even if this isn't your cup of tea)!
I was very fortunate to get the MicroAce A0751 that popped up on eBay in the limited edition wooden box set.  Absolutely beautiful!  Again, the Japanese makers have such an amazing commitment to how they market these sets it makes their products all the more desirable.  And under $200 for a six car set? That's nothing for Kato, Tomix or Microace, as a single locomotive often costs the same, or more, from my European friends.
I found the details to be adequate.  Unfortunately, it comes with Rapido couplers between the cars, which present a fairly wide gap between the cars and are very noticeable with the advances made in 'close couplers' in many sets these days. Notice the super-cool oval windows?  Awesome!
 The MicroAce F0004 'knuckle couplers' are available to replace the as-provided Rapido couplers.

 The Rapido couplers come off easily enough by squeezing two tabs on the bottom side of the bogies/trucks.

The new 'knuckle couplers' snap on easily once the Rapido's are removed.  
One thing to be very careful of are the springs, which provide electrical contact to the cars, as accidentally bending or distorting these springs in any way will lead to the kind of 'tilt train' you don't want! As you can see from the photo below, I had a bit of an accident with these springs, which I was later able to repair successfully, but better to be warned and prevent!
To access the motor car, the shells are removed with the typical gentle prying that us N-Gaugers are so used to.  The tabs to release the seating to access the motor are clearly evident and with gentle pressure come off easily.
Like all Japanese trains, the gears are plastic.  I'm not sure if this makes any difference long term, but I expect its one of the areas where Japanese makers economize a bit (the European brands typically have metal gears).
Given how busy I was at the time (and lately) I decided to 'out source' the installation of the DCC decoder and have new lighting installed for the end control cars. Again, Japanese makers haven't adopted any sort of 'plug and play' DCC ability in their trains (although Kato seems to have changed their approach to this with newer models).  DCC Train did the install for me with about a 4 week turn around.  They did a nice job and I was relieved of having to do this myself!  Alex from DCC Train even posted a nice little video of his work! Here it is:

For the motor car, Alex installed a Zimo MX620 decoder.  Below is a photo showing the smart placement towards the end of the car so its not too visible in the windows!
For the end control cars, TCS FL2 function decoders were installed. Again, a shot showing the placement of these decoders.
While I haven't given this set a lot of running time, what little time I have run it reveals a super-quiet motor! Not sure how much of that is due to the Zimo decoder or the motor, or both, in this train, but is remarkably silent!  The knuckle couplers, as described above, improve the close coupling, but not as much as I'd like.  Also, the F0004 knuckles connect by being pressed together (no springs) and bending the plastic knuckles to snap into place.  I hate 'snapping' plastic as I fear I will break it. Oh Well.

I've also installed the G0004 interior LED lighting kits.  They look good, although maybe a bit too bright! Again, need to something to address the flicker that is a notorious problem for illuminated passenger cars of all makes (another project some day!).  There's more good discussion about this set over on the JNS forum if you'd like to read more *UPDATE: Check out this great overview of the Rap:t and other bold railway design at Sumida Crossing)!


  1. Hello,

    A very beautifull train in your collection , a little bit strange ;-))

    but so original .


  2. Yes...DEFINITELY strange! :-)

  3. Reminds me of someone in Star Wars, or something out of Flash Gordon.

    Very cool.

    /Magnus M

  4. It reminds me of the train in Golden Eye. Where Jame's bond has to use his watch to cut a whole in the bottom of the train to get out before it blows up...or the train he rams with the tank.

    Cool train Jerry.

    Also thanks for the link to my flickr account too. :D