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z-gauge advice

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  • Charles Henebry
    I posted the following query over on MarklinBandG@yahoogroups.com, and got a mixed bag of advice. A number of users there warned me away from z-gauge as being
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 31, 2009
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      I posted the following query over on MarklinBandG@yahoogroups.com, and
      got a mixed bag of advice. A number of users there warned me away from
      z-gauge as being more finicky and prone to error from dirt, etc. But
      one of the users there suggested I might get more favorable advice
      from the folks over here. I'm sure there's some overlap in the two
      user communities, so if you saw this message a few days ago, I'm sorry
      for the duplication.

      My father built up a great collection of Märklin HO when I was a kid
      in the seventies, but I've never had space for it in the various
      apartments I've lived in as an adult. So even though the collection
      became mine when my father passed away, I've left it in storage at my
      parents' house, taking it out to play with during visits. During those
      vacations, my son (now 13) has showed a strong interest, and so I'm
      considering starting a z-gauge collection, as I figure that would be
      better suited to the space we live in.

      What advice do you folks have for me? What are the pitfalls of z-gauge
      for people used to HO and how easily can they be overcome?

      Thanks,

      Chuck
    • Larry Card
      ... Z is more affected by dirt, a very big rock in HO becomes a boulder in Z. So, in Z you must be very picky while building your track (but of course, you
      Message 2 of 9 , Mar 31, 2009
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        > What advice do you folks have for me? What are the pitfalls of z-gauge
        > for people used to HO and how easily can they be overcome?


        Z is more affected by dirt, a very big rock in HO becomes a boulder in Z. So, in Z you must be very picky while building your track (but of course, you should be anyway, right?) and you must keep it clean (but then again, you do anyway, right?) so that the boulders don't get in and wreck the trains.

        On the plus side, you can put a lot of trains into the same space. A common misconception is that you can take an HO layout and shrink it down 50% for N scale, but all you do then is shrink the problems (or make them worse). The 19" curve in HO becomes an 8 1/2" curve in N, and that will give you no end of trouble for all but the shortest locomotives and rolling stock. An 8 1/2" curve is doable in Z, most locos and rolling stock will negotiate a curve that sharp, so you can shrink the HO layout by 50% for Z.

        What's better, though, is to build Z in the same space as HO. You can fit more than twice the train in the same space. The 19" curve that comes standard in the train sets in HO is a good radius for N, and it's awesome in Z. But, if you must have a smaller layout, you can pack plenty of action into a 2 foot by 4 foot piece of tabletop in Z scale.

        V/R
        Larry P. Card

        Franklinton NC

        _________________________________________________________________
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      • Chris
        I started in Z-scale 18 months ago and have exhibited my layout twice as a work in progress. At both exhibitions (a total of 3 days) I found it was almost
        Message 3 of 9 , Apr 1, 2009
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          I started in Z-scale 18 months ago and have exhibited my layout twice
          as a work in progress. At both exhibitions (a total of 3 days) I found
          it was almost un-necessary to clean the track. Obviously I had a go at
          it before each exhibition. I have very little trouble at either
          exhibition.

          What I have found, though, is that it is very easy to get one of the
          fishplates (joiners?) go under the rail rather than around it. So,
          when you start laying track, check each joint by running a finger
          lightly over each rail in both directions and feel for any change in
          level.

          As to how much you can pack into a small space, have a look at my
          layout (http://trains.manvell.org.uk/z-scale/). There is 30m of linear
          track in the 1800mm by 610mm board.

          BTW, G scalers will try to put you off - they are into BIG stuff. My
          eyes aren't perfect so I use a magnifying headband when I need to and
          have no trouble at all.

          Best wishes,
          Chris.

          2009/4/1 Larry Card <lpcard@...>:
          >> What advice do you folks have for me? What are the pitfalls of z-gauge
          >> for people used to HO and how easily can they be overcome?

          --
          Chris Manvell
          http://trains.manvell.org.uk, http://family.manvell.org.uk,
          http://skye.manvell.org.uk, http://bahai-faith.manvell.org.uk.
        • Larry Card
          ... I didn t start this thread!!!!!!!! just so you know. I was answering the guy that asked the questions above. Please be careful when trimming messages, but
          Message 4 of 9 , Apr 1, 2009
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            >
            > 2009/4/1 Larry Card <lpcard@...>:
            > >> What advice do you folks have for me? What are the pitfalls of z-gauge
            > >> for people used to HO and how easily can they be overcome?
            >


            I didn't start this thread!!!!!!!!

            just so you know.

            I was answering the guy that asked the questions above. Please be careful when trimming messages, but please do trim them!

            V/R
            Larry P. Card

            Franklinton NC

            _________________________________________________________________
            Rediscover Hotmail®: Now available on your iPhone or BlackBerry
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          • ztrack@aol.com
            Chuck, I think you will really enjoy Z. First, let me touch upon the negatives. As mentioned, track work is critical. Smooth track is essential. Fortunately,
            Message 5 of 9 , Apr 1, 2009
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              Chuck,

              I think you will really enjoy Z. First, let me touch upon the negatives. As
              mentioned, track work is critical. Smooth track is essential. Fortunately, both
              Marklin and Micro-Trains make section track lines. The Marklin line is more
              complete with many more options. The MTL line has preballasted roadbed that
              both looks good and makes joining the track together much more simpler.

              Keeping track clean is essential. Due to the fact that there is less surface
              contact to exchange electric pickup between the locos and rails, any dirt can
              greatly reduce the pickup. Fortunately, a simple cloth and alcohol does the
              trick. I also recommend Gaugemaster electronic track cleaners for those not
              running DCC. These devices help a lot.

              Along these lines, keeping locos wheels clean is also a must.

              After these key points, most other issues come down to size. You must be
              comfortable working on at this size. Kits and dealing with small parts may be more
              challenging to work with. The same is true when doing routine maintenance on
              locos and rolling stock. Lot of small parts to work with!

              Another consideration is number of items available. It can't be overlooked
              that Z has less variety of rolling stock, locomotives and accessories as the
              other scales. You may find a real challenge if you are trying to model a
              particular roadname, era, branch line etc. Fortunately, Z is growing. If you already
              have Marklin HO, I am going to assume you may be looking at more of the
              European products. Marklin is still king with years of product releases and variety.
              Also look at companies such as FR in Germany for options. Companies like MBZ
              and Luetke have releases amazing structures and kits for Z.

              As for the North American market, if you go this way, be prepared for lots of
              new products and releases. American Z Line, MTL, Marsilius, Full Throttle, FR
              and others all are releasing new rolling stock and locomotives. We have seen
              a boon of kits available. It is really a golden age for Z scalers.

              One of the benefits of Z is being able to do more in the space you have. This
              can't be overlooked. Z is incredible if you have a small space, or a
              basement. You can do so much! Also compression is not an issues. All Z scale locos
              and cars are too scale. For instance 85'passengers are a scale 85'. You won't
              necessarily find this in the other scales. Just something to consider.

              Rob Kluz
              Z Scaler since 1985

              Ztrack Magazine Ltd.
              6142 Northcliff Blvd.
              Dublin, OH 43016
              phone/fax: (614) 764-1703
              www.ztrack.com
              www.ztrackcenter.com
              Distributor American Z Line



              **************
              Worried about job security? Check out the 5 safest jobs in a
              recession.
              (http://jobs.aol.com/gallery/growing-job-industries?ncid=emlcntuscare00000003)


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Ed Dalman
              Hi Chuck, Welcome on board.  Visiting some nearby Z-scalers may be a great source of info for you. In which part of the country you live? BTW I am building a
              Message 6 of 9 , Apr 1, 2009
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                Hi Chuck,
                Welcome on board.  Visiting some nearby Z-scalers may be a great source of info for you.
                In which part of the country you live?
                BTW I am building a 2-level layout [44" x 88"] that will be stored in the storage compartment of a motorhome.
                All the beZtzzz,
                Ed
                Lakeside, CA

                --- On Tue, 3/31/09, Charles Henebry <chuck_henebry@...> wrote:


                From: Charles Henebry <chuck_henebry@...>
                Subject: [Z_Scale] z-gauge advice
                To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2009, 8:16 PM






                I posted the following query over on MarklinBandG@ yahoogroups. com, and
                got a mixed bag of advice. A number of users there warned me away from
                z-gauge as being more finicky and prone to error from dirt, etc. But
                one of the users there suggested I might get more favorable advice
                from the folks over here. I'm sure there's some overlap in the two
                user communities, so if you saw this message a few days ago, I'm sorry
                for the duplication.

                My father built up a great collection of Märklin HO when I was a kid
                in the seventies, but I've never had space for it in the various
                apartments I've lived in as an adult. So even though the collection
                became mine when my father passed away, I've left it in storage at my
                parents' house, taking it out to play with during visits. During those
                vacations, my son (now 13) has showed a strong interest, and so I'm
                considering starting a z-gauge collection, as I figure that would be
                better suited to the space we live in.

                What advice do you folks have for me? What are the pitfalls of z-gauge
                for people used to HO and how easily can they be overcome?

                Thanks,

                Chuck

















                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Loren
                Rob, Reynard, Both very good answers. I d add one thing to your list........a fearless attitude ofc I can do this, yes I can Z can be daunting when you
                Message 7 of 9 , Apr 1, 2009
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                  Rob, Reynard,

                  Both very good answers. I'd add one thing to your list........a fearless
                  attitude ofc "I can do this, yes I can"

                  Z can be daunting when you look at the challenges, but truthfully said, once
                  you get into it and dedicate yourself to Z you begin to have a new love
                  affair and it usually, most often is not curable. Just be careful your new
                  lover doesn't take too much time away from your wife or girl friend. They
                  can and will get jealous if you don't balance the equation.

                  In my case I am very fortunate, as my wife loves the stuff and is immersed
                  in it up to her elbows.....still a little ways to her eyeballs... :o)

                  Chuck, years ago I took up racquet ball as a sport and for exercise. I was
                  told early on that a person either loves it or hates it.
                  Fortunately for me, I fell in love with it even though I got a few bruises
                  and bumps along the garden path.
                  Same goes for Z scale. You either love it or abandon it along life's
                  walkway and go looking for some magazine to read or some John Wayne rerun on
                  TV.

                  "Feel the force Chuck.........feel the force"

                  Enjoy the adventure as we are all in this together and are very willing to
                  offer advice and help as you need it.

                  Go forth and conquor.
                  Loren

                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: <ztrack@...>
                  To: <z_scale@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 5:46 AM
                  Subject: Re: [Z_Scale] z-gauge advice


                  > Chuck,
                  >
                  > I think you will really enjoy Z. First, let me touch
                  > ...........................
                • Loren
                  Chuck, Picture this.........Ed pulls into a camp site or RV park and sets up camp. He then opens his storage compartment and pulls out his Z layout and
                  Message 8 of 9 , Apr 1, 2009
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                    Chuck,
                    Picture this.........Ed pulls into a camp site or RV park and sets up camp.
                    He then opens his storage compartment and pulls out his Z layout and
                    commences to run it right there in plain sight of all who pass by. If you
                    have ever camped in the woods, or some other nice place, then you know that
                    vacationers who walk by your camp site often stop and chat.

                    Won't they be blown away by Ed's layout!! What a marvelous opportunity to
                    share Z and spread the diseaZe......Ed will become a true roving Z
                    ambassador and put smiles on many a face. Now, that's living!!!!

                    I'm kind of envious really,
                    Loren

                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Ed Dalman" <dalman220z@...>
                    To: <z_scale@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 7:39 AM
                    Subject: Re: [Z_Scale] z-gauge advice


                    Hi Chuck,
                    Welcome on board. Visiting some nearby Z-scalers may be a great source of
                    info for you.
                    In which part of the country you live?
                    BTW I am building a 2-level layout [44" x 88"] that will be stored in the
                    storage compartment of a motorhome.
                    All the beZtzzz,
                    Ed
                    Lakeside, CA
                  • Reynard Wellman
                    Hi Chuck, Good questions to ask. The Marklin HO would be something to hold on to, especially for younger folks where it is slightly easier to handle and put
                    Message 9 of 9 , Apr 1, 2009
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                      Hi Chuck,

                      Good questions to ask. The Marklin HO would
                      be something to hold on to, especially for younger
                      folks where it is slightly easier to handle and put
                      together than the smaller scales like N & Z.

                      For myself, I have always loved Z since it came
                      out back in 1972. It has taken time but today there
                      are far more choices for the Z modeler.

                      Z requires less space but more fastidiousness in
                      assembly and track-work. A good hatband
                      magnifier, good lighting and some jeweler's tools
                      will serve you well.

                      Yes, Z is well suited to small spaces.

                      One pitfall might be in accidentally bumping the layout
                      and literally heaving all the engines and rolling stock
                      into the railway ditches.

                      Another very common pitfall is in losing tiny parts,
                      coupler springs, Preiser folks, etc. when working
                      with them.

                      As a whole I find the scale to be utterly charming,
                      with well made engines & rolling stock. There is the possibility
                      of excellent track even in small spaces. One can
                      now chose between building with code 40 "Fast Track"
                      materials or starting off with some of MTL's excellent
                      roadbed track sets. Back in 1997 I acquired my first Marklin
                      Z trainset and set it up on the coffee table. It ran perfectly
                      right out of the box! (BTW, to avoid confusion,
                      stick to the Marklin transformers for a while. You will find
                      out about Zthek's great innovations in Z power supplies
                      and electronics when you are ready for some extra fun!)

                      Best regardZ & enjoy!

                      Reynard Wellman
                      http://www.micronart.com
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