JMTN blog

(Japanese Model Train Newsletter)

MicroAce A8404 ‘Asia’ train 8 car set review

Santa arrived a couple of days early on the 21st, bringing my MicroAce ‘Asia’ passenger train set. The actual train ran in China during the 1930’s when the Japanese had taken over part of the northern regions of Manchuria. They rolling stock came from Japan and the locos were actually made by Kawasaki.

Not having bought one of these when they were first released many years ago, and seeing how sought after they were, I had to get one, even if it doesn’t fit in with all my other trains. Of course, it could even be treated as an investment, when the value rises in years to come 🙂

Unlike the previous two sets, with grey and blue locos, these both have black locos – I’m not sure why there is a difference, although I gather the locos are different numbers to last time. And this is a hefty loco – weighing in at around 220g, I’m sure it is heavier than anything else I have come across in N scale !!! The loco is packed at the top of the case, in the normal MicroAce fuzzy bottom and clear top shells, but also inside a clear plastic sleeve. There is a spare coupler – I assume for the end of the observation car, as there is no facility for a coupler at the front of the loco.

The passenger cars are an olive green, with a light gray roof, and are also hefty looking with their 6 wheel bogies. I’m sure they are as large as the Shinkansen cars, also these would be 1/150 scale and the Shinkansen are 1/160. 2 of the 3 axles have power pickup, so I assume you can add either Tomix or the new MicroAce interior lighting units. The observation car has a small red tail light, and both it and the loco’s headlight come on at quite low voltages.

The loco runs quite smoothly, but is a littler noiser than some MicroAce steamers I have tried, however it may just need running in a little. With a basic Tomix power pack, it runs nice and slowly, and with those big 2m Pacific drivers, I’m sure it will be quite fast too (the prototype had a top speed of 130km/h !!!). Running with a full train was no problem on any of the grades on the club’s layout, and no-one could pick the trains heritage at first 🙂 Even the hatches on the top of the tender open, so you can see the coal load inside.

The loco and cars couple together far too far apart for my liking (considering that the passenger cars also have full width diaphragms), and there is no provision for Tomix TN couplers, so I will have to experiment and see what can be done to bring the cars a lot closer together.

 ace8404b.jpg        ace8404c.jpg


There is also the A8403 set, which is basically the same except that it has only 6 passenger cars rather than 7, and also the loco is a little less streamlined.

ace8403b.jpg        ace8403c.jpg



January 4, 2007 - Posted by | MicroAce, model review


  1. I just purchased a new set and when I tried it out…no go! I am using Kato track and DC power supply. My other Kato locos run just fine. Is there something I am missing on the Microace products? The Box says that it was made in China, so I am assuming that this is where all Microace products are made now. Has anyone else come across this problem?

    Comment by shawn | February 18, 2010 | Reply

    • If other trains run OK on your Kato track and DC power supply, then there is a fault with the train itself. It has nothing to do with being MicroAce or being made in China. I would suggest you contact the dealer you bought it from and get them to check it out …

      Comment by redracer | February 18, 2010 | Reply

  2. It definitely will operate on Kato Unitrack. I run mine on Unitrack 315 mm radius with no problems. Since the set doesn’t have close coupling couplers, it will run on 249 mm (10-inch radius).
    This is an interesting train and railway. Check out South Manchuria Railway links on the net – or drop me a note for a compilation of information and photos.
    Paul Ingraham, Coordinator, AsiaNRail: N scale Asian prototype modular railway modeling.

    Comment by Paul Ingraham | December 31, 2009 | Reply

  3. Why shouldn’t it Robert ? Any N scale train should run on any N scale track !!!

    Comment by redracer | March 9, 2009 | Reply

  4. I recently purchesed a brand new Micro Ace Model A8404 Manchurian “Express Asia” train set consisting of steam loco and seven passenger cars. Can some one tell me whether it will run on Kato unitrack are not, if not what is it compatible with

    thanks Robert

    Comment by Robert | March 9, 2009 | Reply

  5. […] 302 – MicroAce A8404 ‘Asia’ train 8 car set review […]

    Pingback by Most popular posts for 2007 « JMTN blog | January 13, 2008 | Reply

  6. Thank you for the nice review

    Comment by Kai | February 3, 2007 | Reply

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