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Getting Started with Kato Unitrack

Image of CRAIG WEATHERLEY.CRAIG WEATHERLEY explains how to get started with this innovative track system.


In this article I will be looking at how to get started the with Kato track system, Unitrack - which is available in both OO/HO and N Scales. Some modellers may view this track system, with its clip together pre-ballasted design, as a step back from 'proper' modelling. However with some scenery and weathering Unitrack can look very realistic with much less work than laying unballasted track. Because of this, Unitrack is ideal for those starting in modelling and can be easily expanding upon, with additional track available in both expansion packs and packs of 2-4 lengths.

slide Unitrack together.
Just slide the track together and it will clip into place.

The main advantage of Unitrack is that it is so easy to put together and lay, and also can be taken apart easily. All you have to do is push the track together on a flat surface and it will clip together with a strong hold. The track can be gently pulled apart again, meaning it can be packed away after use. Another benefit of this that comes to mind is that if you are planning a layout it can be temporarily laid on the baseboard, and moved around until the desired layout is complete. Then just stick it down and blend it in!

layout built with Kato track.
My own layout built with Kato track. I was demonstrating scenic modelling with it at Bahnfest 2016 and you can see how I have started to blend the track into the scenery.

The Unitrack turnouts are fantastic, they allow you to change over polarity to electrofrog and have a self latching mechanism. I wrote an article about Kato Point Power Routing in Right Lines Issue 22 in which I explained how to change over the power routing setting to isolating and electrofrog.

As I mentioned before, extra track lengths are available in handy packs of 2-4 lengths, with a wide range available in N Scale and OO/HO Scale.

Personally this track system got me hooked on exploring different ways on creating a model railway, it has also allowed me to explore the different geometries of the Kato track system.

The basic Starter Sets in both N Scale and OO/HO Scale are referred to as Master Sets. These contain a basic oval of Unitrack, and a Kato single track controller, which has a rather nice rotary speed controller!

To compliment the 'M' sets are the 'V' Sets, which stands for Variation. These add to the basic oval, in the same way as the Hornby Track Extension packs add to their Starter Sets. You can add a second loop to make the layout double-track, or to add sidings and elevated rails. CLICK HERE to view the N Scale Variation Sets, and CLICK HERE to view the OO/HO Variation Sets.

Kato offer a variety of Starter Sets with locomotives, rolling stock, Unitrack and controller, ranging in N Scale from Swiss, Japanese, and USA. There are a selection of HO Scale Starter Sets as well, covering America and Japan.

We at Gaugemaster have also utilised Unitrack in our range of N Scale British Outline Starter Sets. These sets contain the basic N Scale M1 Set, as well as a suitably themed train.

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The pictures below are an example of using the Kato track system and Kato buildings to their full potential to make a fantastically detailed, and were taken at Wroxham Miniature World and reproduced here with their kind permission.

Wroxham Layout 1.

Wroxham Layout 2.

Wroxham Layout 3.

Wroxham Layout 4.

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