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 Early Tomy N-Gauge

Early Tomy N-Gauge Model Railway Products (Pre-Tomix)

by R. D. Kerr

This page covers N-gauge model railway products issued by Tomy before it created the Tomix brand name. Their history is not entirely clear, and what is presented here is what I know about them.


The early Tomy locomotives came in yellow-bottom flip-top plastic cases, with cast (raised) black lettering including "TOMY." Later, these early locomotives came in similar black cases cast with raised gold lettering. Still later they came in blue cases with silver lettering with both "TOMY" and "TOMIX." These cases, and some of the locomotives, are cousins of early Bachmann products sold in the U.S. Production in Hong Kong seems to have been shared with Bachmann. Some of these locomotives appeared in the first Tomix sets. (The 1977 Tomix catalog even includes a section for American Bachmann items like Amtrak Metroliner MU cars and Auto-Train lococmotive and coaches.) The early drive is not as refined as in later Tomix locomotives. I have indicated the first year of manufacture, where I know it.

image HN-501 ED-75 Electric Locomotive (1974) - The first electric locomotive modeled in N-gauge by Tomy. A two-part metal frame sandwiches the motor vertically.
image HN-502 C-Type Steam Locomotive (1976) - Tomy's first steam locomotive was this little side-tanker, with a coal bunker. The Japanese "C" class designates a three-axle design. Note how the box lids flip up.
image HN-503 DD-13 Diesel Locomotive - Brown DD-13 locomotive with yellow stripe. This early Tomy diesel is a Japanese center-cab design. The chassis is a classic split-frame design, sandwiching the motor laterally.
image HN-503-3 DD-13 Diesel Locomotive - Here is another variation of the DD-13, blue with yellow end "wings." It is unclear what the "-3" suffix in the product number denotes.
image HN-504 Plymouth WDT Diesel Locomotive
HN-505 Plymouth WDT Diesel Locomotive
HN-507 Plymouth WDT Diesel Locomotive
This U.S. industrial switcher design was also sold by Bachmann for decades. While the model is called an "MDT," that Plymouth version was a four-wheel design. The WDT was the six-wheel version. This photo shows the Tomy HN-504, the HN-505 and the HN-507 from top to bottom. The red and grey paint scheme was a Japanese National Railways standard, while the brown scheme was indicative of maintenance-of-way or construction assignment.
image This photo shows the "Burlington" Bachmann version of the loco and its plastic case in comparison to the Tomy HN-504 and its case.
image HN-506 B-Type Steam Locomotive - This small saddle-tanker "teapot" has two driver axles, hence the "B" class designation.
image HN-508 DD-13 Diesel Locomotive (1975) - This diesel uses the same shell casting as HN-503 above.

JNR Freight Wagon Series

image The early freight wagons were packaged in yellow cardboard boxes with a front acetate window. Also produced in Hong Kong, they are mostly two-axle designs, and those that I have seen have "TOMY" and "HONG KONG" cast on the underside. The apparently were produced from 1974 to 1976. Reportedly their production was taken over later by another Japanese company, Kawai.
image Tomy 01 Covered Wagon WaMu (ワム) 50000 - Here is a basic Japanese two-axle "goods wagon" in black.
image Tomy 02 Open Wagon ToMu (トム) 50000 - This is a black two-axle gondola with simulated coal load.
image Tomy 03 Refrigerator Wagon Re (レ) 2900 - This two-axle refrigerated wagon is either white or silver, as it appears in this photo.
image Tomy 04 Flat Wagon Chi (チ) 1 - A black two-axle flat car with three logs loaded on it.
image Tomy 05 Refrigerated Container Wagon KoMu (コム) 1 - A brown two-axle flat car holding two white refrigerated containers (actually cast in one piece).
image Tomy 06 Regular Container Wagon KoMu (コム) 1 - A brown two-axle flat car holding two lime-green regular containers (actually cast in one piece).
image Tomy 07 Tank Wagon TaMu (タム) 6000 - This is a silver two-axle tank car with an "Esso" logo.

image Here is another variation of the Tomy freight wagon box. Note that this tank wagon does not have the Esso logo applied.
image Tomy 08 Tank Wagon TaMu (タム) 6000 - This version is a black two-axle tank car with "Esso" logo.
image Tomy 09 Covered Wagon with Conductor Room WaFu (ワフ) 28000 - This two-axle black box car has a brakeman's cabin at one end.
image Tomy 10 Open Wagon ToRa (トラ) 55000 - A two-axle black gondola with high ends and a simulated coal load.
image Tomy 11 Stock Wagon Ka (カ) 3000 - This model is a black two-axle livestock car.
image Tomy 12 Covered Wagon WaMu (ワム) 23000 - This black two-axle box car simulates riveted steel construction.
image Tomy 13 Ventilated Wagon TsuMu (ツム) 1000 - Yet another black two-axle box car, this one being ventilated.
image Tomy 14 Coal Wagon SeMu (セム) 8000 - This is a black two-axle hopper car, with a simulated coal load.
image Tomy 15 Open Wagon with Conductor Room ToMuFu (トムフ) 1 - This black two-axle gondola has a center cabin (no load).
image Tomy 16 Bogie Covered Wagon WaKi (ワキ) 1000 - This is a black double-truck "bogie" car with two pairs of doors and four windows on each side.
(Click on photo to enlarge it.)
image A different version of Tomy 16 has a yellow stripe applied.
(Click on photo to enlarge it.)
image Tomy 17 Bogie Autorack Ku (ク) 5000 - A red double-truck two level auto carrier car.
(Click on photo to enlarge it.)
image Tomy 18 Bogie Tank Car TaKi (タキ) 3000 - This is a black double-truck "bogie" tank car with the Japan Oil Transportation (JOT) logo.
(Click on photo to enlarge it.)
image Tomix 2787 106-Type 30th Anniv Container Wagon - While not itself historic, this Tomix container car, issued in 2006 with special containers to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Tomix, pays homage to the original Tomy freight wagon product line in its packaging.
These lists appear on the backs of the freight wagon packages. Both end with number 18, but left room for additional products. Thanks to "Bikkuri Bahn" on the JNS Forum for the description translations used on this page!
(Click on photos to enlarge them.)
image Tomy HN6600 Power Pack - Some indication of the close relation between early Tomy and Bachmann Hong Kong production is given by this Tomy power pack, which also has Bachmann's name and U.S. address printed on it.

Images are used here for non-commercial illustrative purposes only.
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