Kato Unitrack is sectional model railroad track for HO and N scales. While opinions on model railroad track vary greatly, Kato Unitrack has specific advantages and disadvantages that are relevant to a decision to use Kato Unitrack for your model railroad.
Kato Unitrack – Advantages
Kato Unitrack makes laying model railroad track very easy because of its plastic roadbed. Laying track on a model railroad layout has traditionally involved laying your own roadbed and ballasting sectional track or flex track. The roadbed on the Kato Unitrack eliminates the need for laying your own roadbed, and the sectional track makes it easy to create an interesting model railroad track plan by experimentation, trial and error.
Another advantage of Kato Unitrack is its reliability. While flex track makes it easy to create a freehand track plan, flex track can be difficult to cut and align the rails to prevent derailments. By contrast, Kato Unitrack is known in model railroad circles for its reliability and lack of derailments, especially for N-scale Unitrack.
Kato Unitrack – Disadvantages
There are two main disadvantages to Kato Unitrack: cost and lack of realism. Although Kato Unitrack is simple to use and allows for reliable operation, Kato Unitrack is significantly more expensive than competing sectional tracks such as Atlas True-Track or Bachmann EZ Track.
Although the roadbed of the Kato Unitrack is generally held to be more realistic than the roadbed of competing sectional track, the plastic roadbed is not realistic in appearance compared to traditional model railroad track ballasting methods. While it is possible to ballast Kato Unitrack (and any model railroaders who use Unitrack do so), the need for ballasting to obtain a realistic appearance can mitigate the appeal of Unitrack for its ease in laying track. For the model railroader who just lies to run trains without being concerned for realism, the appearance of Kato Unitrack may not be an issue. However, Kato Unitrack may not be the best solution for the model railroader who strives to obtain the highest degree of realism.
In conclusion, the main advantages of Kato Unitrack are its simplicity and reliability. The main disadvantages of Kato Unitrack are its prohibitively high cost and the lack of realism in Unitrack roadbed. If you are looking to create a model railroad layout with speed and simplicity, Kato Unitrack is an ideal choice, if you can afford the track and have money left over for scenery. However, if you are looking to create a highly-realistic model railroad layout, traditional sectional or flex track, combined with separate roadbed and ballast, would be a better choice.