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Offline Michael4  
#1 Posted : 20 July 2021 18:20:32(UTC)
Michael4

United Kingdom   
Joined: 02/02/2017(UTC)
Posts: 522
Location: England, South Coast
I'm an analogue HO enthusiast with a reasonably 'involved' 'M' layout with catenary which is approx 2.2m x 2.6m in an L shape. Mostly metal rolling stock and aged locos of all sorts.

Problem is that I may have to give up space and so may need to reduce the amount of room given over to trains.

Life, as they say, gets in the way...

I have often thought of Z gauge and wonder if anyone would like to give their experience of downsizing and whether the result was as rewarding as HO?

Opinions please!

Offline Michael4  
#2 Posted : 20 July 2021 18:24:09(UTC)
Michael4

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Joined: 02/02/2017(UTC)
Posts: 522
Location: England, South Coast
I should add that apart from tunnels and bridges I have not spent much time on scenery.
Offline ocram63_uk  
#3 Posted : 20 July 2021 18:27:56(UTC)
ocram63_uk

United Kingdom   
Joined: 07/01/2015(UTC)
Posts: 552
Location: England, Suffolk
Michael14, I have problems seeing details on H0 locomotives at 58 y.o.
I do not know how old you are but Z as well as N have never been in my list of train models because of their size and when I started, 1975/1976, I could see extremely well :-)

That said N is good for limited space and Z should be even better but ...... the level of detail for the amount of money involved to buy a model is not really appropriate, IMO

If I could I would move to 1 getting older :-)
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Online Mman  
#4 Posted : 20 July 2021 20:46:10(UTC)
Mman

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/05/2021(UTC)
Posts: 77
Location: England, Guildford
Originally I had room for a nice size HO but adding children and then ‘treasured’ furniture from late relatives whittled the space down such that a permanent HO layout was no longer possible. I have kept the rather large amounts of HO and have often thought of just having a loco depôt with turntable or transfer table or a shelf for end to end running.
As far as being able to have a continuous running layout it was Z or nothing.
There are one or two downsides to Z, pulling power is not there unless you can find locos with traction tyres, the passenger coaches seldom have any interiors, auto coupling is certainly challenging and catenary requires some extra patience and is fiddly.
Servicing or repairing involves illuminated magnifiers, a very steady hand and lots of patience.
Nevertheless, getting Z up and running is rewarding in its own way. There is certainly a lot of second hand Z out there and a choice of track which includes the Rokuhan with built in track bed and points that can be isolating or not. Post year 2000 locos perform better than the original 3 pole motor ones.
I miss the camera cars, the speed measurement coach, I don’t miss the sounds which to me are annoying, I miss long trains that can climb gradients effortlessly.
Read up on zscale.org to get a good idea of what is involved.
ChrisG
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Offline Michael4  
#5 Posted : 21 July 2021 14:25:03(UTC)
Michael4

United Kingdom   
Joined: 02/02/2017(UTC)
Posts: 522
Location: England, South Coast
I think I am quickly going off the idea...
Online Ranjit  
#6 Posted : 21 July 2021 14:30:13(UTC)
Ranjit


Joined: 18/06/2003(UTC)
Posts: 2,918
Location: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, INDIA
Yay ! Once a HO modeller, always a HO modeller.

Cheers,
Ranjit
Modelling in HO Scale - Era III & IV. K+M Track, Analogue + Digital
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Offline JohnjeanB  
#7 Posted : 21 July 2021 15:24:53(UTC)
JohnjeanB

France   
Joined: 04/02/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,732
Location: Paris, France
Hi Michael
Here are a few thoughts
- you switch from HO to Z which is a pretty drastic jump. The modelling approach is totally different but I suppose you have considered that already
- My first train was Märklin HO from 1961 with electro-mechanical block system more than 100 (IBM) relays.
- then I went to the French army in Germany and by lack of funds I sold my trains, then I got married and because of lack of space, I switched to N Gauge (from 1975). Totally different modelling. Because of 2 rails I switched to current detection. This was prior digital and wiring was crazy and so was current picking issues. So I went back to HO from 1986 and found back all the fun of 3 rails operation.
- as you age, you sight is not getting better and seeing all the detail in Z gauge takes a good vision.
- most of Z gauge modelling is analog and being well into computer control, I would not consider one second to go back to analog operation.
- Z gauge operation being so sensitive to dust and bad contacts you need to have a full protection (total glass casing) and no humidity (avoid cellar layouts)
- one of the big advantages of Z gauge is to install your layout vertically to do the wiring
- Z gauge would be wonderful if it could work reliably in digital.
- in HO as in other gauges, you can increase the fun by increasing the number of levels in your layout. I have 3 levels and the size is 4 m by 3.5 m L shaped
- another solution is to mount your layout on cables so to can lift it to the ceiling and use the space below

Cheers
Jean
My layout videos
latest vid
hump yard
Offline DaleSchultz  
#8 Posted : 21 July 2021 15:51:12(UTC)
DaleSchultz

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2006(UTC)
Posts: 3,864
I would consider a highly detailed HO diorama that takes up minimal space along a wall. Engine yards and switching yards come to mind but it could also be a bridge with a track on top and one below so you double your modelling potential by having two levels (which are not connected).

If you can eek out enough space for two dioramas you could build two end stations and have a single line connecting them even if not visible along the whole route.
Dale
Intellibox + own software, K-Track
My current layout: https://cabin-layout.mixmox.com
Arrival and Departure signs: https://remotesign.mixmox.com
Offline ocram63_uk  
#9 Posted : 21 July 2021 18:27:19(UTC)
ocram63_uk

United Kingdom   
Joined: 07/01/2015(UTC)
Posts: 552
Location: England, Suffolk
Michael4, made mistake previously with your handle, eye sight again. Do Not abort necessarily! I do not know how much a Z starter set costs on ebay, but if it doesn't cost much you could give it a go and see directly what it entails. HTH
Cheers - Marco
Offline Michael4  
#10 Posted : 21 July 2021 23:18:02(UTC)
Michael4

United Kingdom   
Joined: 02/02/2017(UTC)
Posts: 522
Location: England, South Coast
Probably on my 14th childhood.

Yes, I was wondering about that, get a little set up and just have a go.

Online Mman  
#11 Posted : 22 July 2021 12:40:58(UTC)
Mman

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/05/2021(UTC)
Posts: 77
Location: England, Guildford
I started Z with a tiny summer starter set containing an oval of track, a battery holder with fwd/rev switch , an 0-6-0 tank and one wagon. The best thing I bought was a Noch ‘Tessin’ two circuit built layout in an aluminium case 29”x20” (740x510mm). Small, self contained and ideal to get out and put on the dining table for odd hours of enjoyment.
As far as eyesight goes mine is far from perfect but good lighting and a lamp with magnifier are adequate for any repairs/maintenance. There is plenty of detail in Z to savour although almost anyone would need a magnifying glass to appreciate some of the printing on the wagons etc!
Only other thing I would say on the subject of Z is avoid pre 2001 locos with 3 pole motors and avoid early rolling stock with plastic wheels, both are trouble.
All in all it was well worth adding Z to my model railway collection.
ChrisG
Offline grnwtrs  
#12 Posted : 23 July 2021 00:36:49(UTC)
grnwtrs

United States   
Joined: 18/06/2005(UTC)
Posts: 645
Location: El Sobrante, California
Originally Posted by: ocram63_uk Go to Quoted Post
Michael14, I have problems seeing details on H0 locomotives at 58 y.o.
I do not know how old you are but Z as well as N have never been in my list of train models because of their size and when I started, 1975/1976, I could see extremely well :-)

That said N is good for limited space and Z should be even better but ...... the level of detail for the amount of money involved to buy a model is not really appropriate, IMO

If I could I would move to 1 getting older :-)


Thats' what I did. Is there anything larger :)))

Seriously, the new I gauge stuff is beautiful. Just be sure to have the friendly company to take the MURGESTOY (SP :))) ) OFF!

NOW counting my 84th winter ahead. I only bought the birthday car in ZZZ.

Regards, gene
Offline grnwtrs  
#13 Posted : 23 July 2021 00:52:30(UTC)
grnwtrs

United States   
Joined: 18/06/2005(UTC)
Posts: 645
Location: El Sobrante, California
Originally Posted by: ocram63_uk Go to Quoted Post
Michael14, I have problems seeing details on H0 locomotives at 58 y.o.
I do not know how old you are but Z as well as N have never been in my list of train models because of their size and when I started, 1975/1976, I could see extremely well :-)

That said N is good for limited space and Z should be even better but ...... the level of detail for the amount of money involved to buy a model is not really appropriate, IMO

If I could I would move to 1 getting older :-)


Thats' what I did. Is there anything larger :)))

Seriously, the new I gauge stuff is beautiful. Just be sure to have the friendly company to take the MURGESTOY (SP :))) ) OFF!

NOW counting my 84th winter ahead. I only bought the birthday car in ZZZ.

Regards, gene
Offline Carim  
#14 Posted : 23 July 2021 09:49:43(UTC)
Carim

United Kingdom   
Joined: 15/09/2014(UTC)
Posts: 518
Location: London
Originally Posted by: JohnjeanB Go to Quoted Post

- Z gauge would be wonderful if it could work reliably in digital.


It does....you just swap out the entire board on your loco for a new one from Velmo (sound decoder is already installed). Plenty of videos on Youtube.

Carim
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Offline Carim  
#15 Posted : 23 July 2021 09:59:45(UTC)
Carim

United Kingdom   
Joined: 15/09/2014(UTC)
Posts: 518
Location: London
Originally Posted by: Michael4 Go to Quoted Post
.......get a little set up and just have a go.



Just a word of warning: there is a lot of junk on ebay. If you get a duff loco, it will ruin your entire Z experience. Generally, diesels and electric locos are easier to maintain than steam locos.

Carim
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Offline Michael4  
#16 Posted : 25 July 2021 17:17:38(UTC)
Michael4

United Kingdom   
Joined: 02/02/2017(UTC)
Posts: 522
Location: England, South Coast
I've gone off the idea of Z, apart from anything else I really enjoy bringing old Ebay junk HO locos back to life.

Instead I'm looking at building an L shaped layout with stations etc at either end to save space and allow a bed to go back into the spare bedroom/train room.

I have two functioning 6600 to facilitate shuttle operations and another that is fried (see other post). I should be able to make things interesting and involved with that lot.

1 Gauge is wonderful but I just do not have the space!

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Offline orionstars  
#17 Posted : 28 July 2021 04:52:06(UTC)
orionstars

United States   
Joined: 15/02/2018(UTC)
Posts: 65
Location: Midwest
Just to pitch a bit of a compromise (maybe?) how about an Nn3 (Nm) layout? N scale with Z gauge. Essentially narrow gauge N scale. There is a great Nn3 (and other name conventions) email group on groups.io and some amazing modelers in it (from around the world).
Pete
Offline Goofy  
#18 Posted : 29 July 2021 21:04:37(UTC)
Goofy


Joined: 12/08/2006(UTC)
Posts: 8,438
What about to try train models in N-scale with the sounds?
Mini-Trix offer a lot of fine train models.
N-scale are half the size of the H0 scale.
You should have enough of the space for that.
CS3...H0...
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Offline carlos.rivas16752  
#19 Posted : 30 July 2021 18:15:17(UTC)
carlos.rivas16752

Spain   
Joined: 03/12/2020(UTC)
Posts: 16
Location: Vigo
Well, I have been aH0 modeller for 50 years now. In 1983 I got a Märklin Z starter set and got engaged.

For a lot of years I had a small Z layout, very nice and a joy to play with. Now I´m planning to sell all my Z stuff just because I rarely use it...I use to go for the H0 layout.

Anyway, Z scale details are amazing given the size of it!

Regards
Carlos
Offline zoooctan  
#20 Posted : 31 July 2021 07:40:26(UTC)
zoooctan

Singapore   
Joined: 07/09/2019(UTC)
Posts: 51
Location: Singapore, Singapore
Hello Michael, I found this thread rather timely as I was just about to post a new thread in the small scale section of our forum. It's a little different from what you asked but I'm approaching this perhaps from the opposite direction and would love to hear comments from others.

UserPostedImage

I found my old notebook recently and can trace back my z scale hobby to precisely 2002. I have only ever modelled in one scale since then. It's been like a marriage with numerous fights and thoughts of different scales but I've never purchased anything else. Finding my old notebook gave me a sense of nostalgia and pride but also made me seriously consider...do I want to continue modelling z for the next 20 years?

It's an honest question and one I hope others can share. Like others mentioned, I'm not getting younger. I'm 49 today but in 20 years...I would be 69. Like many, I still have children at home so I have space constraint too...which is why z has always been the choice for me. But I did do some serious thinking...in the next 10 - 20 years:

- my eyesight isn't getting better
- I may have more space with my kids growing up
- If I "wait" until I have space...and my kids grow up..then start on a new scale...we may be talking at 15 years...I don't think 64 is a great age to start brand new in a new scale (sorry, I really mean no offence to anyone).

So these are just my thoughts...
HO is often a consideration but frankly a bit intimidating with all the choices...I've often been thinking of 009 or HOe where I could use HO scale but on N scale track.
Regardless of scale...should I start "NOW"? Start collecting...build in stages...and then wait till later to join them up. Is this foolish, given that the technology would probably look very different in 10 - 15 years time...so I might as well wait until I do have space?

Just wanted to hear thoughts and experience from others. Especially those who have changed scales and are happy - and maybe those who have changed and then gone back (why?)

Thank you and stay safe!

Gavin
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Offline Alsterstreek  
#21 Posted : 01 August 2021 13:57:00(UTC)
Alsterstreek

Portugal   
Joined: 16/11/2011(UTC)
Posts: 5,171
Location: Southwesternmost
Yes, the old eyesight vs. space argument. Between my youth and early old age (fortysomething) period I had a brief N scale affair, which did not last long (traction, contact, switching...). As long as one has at least a 3 x 6 "footprint" (even if confined to an alcove with access from one long side only), I feel that ingenuity (plus traction tyres) allows H0 scale to beat smaller scales. I used to have permanent and "meaningful" (= not boring) H0 scale layouts under a staircase and subsequently in a laundry room between washer-dryer combination below and a warm water boiler above (a triple level twisted dogbone in the latter case). And the use of a lightweight insulating panel as baseboard makes the job much easier.
Offline 5HorizonsRR  
#22 Posted : 01 August 2021 20:29:02(UTC)
5HorizonsRR

United States   
Joined: 05/12/2004(UTC)
Posts: 3,100
Location: CA, USA
Hi all,

I'm a little bit late to this thread, but if you are downsizing scales there are countless reasons to go for "N" and not "Z". In fact the only reason I can find against "N" is the fact Marklin doesn't make any!

But in all seriousness, here is a list:

1- Digital/DCC in N
2- Sound in N
3- Countless track systems with countless track geometry in N
4- Thousands of rolling stock options from dozens of brands
5- That little size difference vs Z does count for a lot when you are actually working on a train or layout
6- Huge selection of building kits, structures etc are available.

I really struggle to find a reason for Z unless you are overwhelmingly pressed for space, and Z is literally the only thing that will fit.
FS + SBB Era 2-5 and Vintage Marklin
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Offline Carim  
#23 Posted : 02 August 2021 00:23:01(UTC)
Carim

United Kingdom   
Joined: 15/09/2014(UTC)
Posts: 518
Location: London
Originally Posted by: 5HorizonsRR Go to Quoted Post


1- Digital/DCC in N
2- Sound in N
3- Countless track systems with countless track geometry in N
4- Thousands of rolling stock options from dozens of brands
5- That little size difference vs Z does count for a lot when you are actually working on a train or layout
6- Huge selection of building kits, structures etc are available.

I really struggle to find a reason for Z unless you are overwhelmingly pressed for space, and Z is literally the only thing that will fit.


1. You can get this in Z.
2. You can get this in Z.
3. Märklin, Atlas, Peco & Rokuhan in Z are the bulk producers - there are a number of specialists and that's even before we get to handbuilt track.
4. Märklin, Rokuhan, AZL......lots of small producers.....so probably thousands of rolling stock options.
5. That can be a positive.
6. This is growing in Z.

Space - well that's the real scale USP. I wanted to run express trains, yet be able to pick up the layout, walk with it through my house and just stick it under a bed when the layout was not in use.

I have modelled trains in "OO", "N" and "Z" scale; I don't think there is any one optimum scale, it all depends on what you want to get out of your model railway and what your skills and available resources are like. The only downside with the smaller scales are that good eyesight (well, you can always get glasses!) helps and maybe its helps if you have better dexterity in your fingers. That said, I doubt that I will move back to the larger scales.

Carim
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Offline zoooctan  
#24 Posted : 02 August 2021 03:45:12(UTC)
zoooctan

Singapore   
Joined: 07/09/2019(UTC)
Posts: 51
Location: Singapore, Singapore
Originally Posted by: Carim Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: 5HorizonsRR Go to Quoted Post



I have modelled trains in "OO", "N" and "Z" scale; I don't think there is any one optimum scale, it all depends on what you want to get out of your model railway and what your skills and available resources are like. The only downside with the smaller scales are that good eyesight (well, you can always get glasses!) helps and maybe its helps if you have better dexterity in your fingers. That said, I doubt that I will move back to the larger scales.

Carim


Carim, could you elaborate on why you wouldn't go back to larger scales?
Each time you "switched scales" did you sell your equipment - or did you keep stock of all the material and stock for both scales. I think all of us know that apart from rolling stock etc, other things...kits, houses, even raw materials like trees take up space with their boxes. This has also been one of the things I've considered. It's "easy" to just purchase a starter set or locomotive in another scale. I just couldn't imagine the space I'd need to have to contain all the other stuff I'd need to purchase and keep stock of..in building a layout in a second scale.
Offline Carim  
#25 Posted : 02 August 2021 10:00:05(UTC)
Carim

United Kingdom   
Joined: 15/09/2014(UTC)
Posts: 518
Location: London
Hi Gavin,

I have kept all my old trains - all boxed up and in the loft.

Subject to my physical condition as I get older, I wouldn't move back to the bigger scales because I am getting all I want from a model railway in Z. I now have more rolling stock in Z than I had in the other scales and I have embarked on a bigger detailing programme than I had in the other scales. My original layout is only about 60% finished and I have already started on a part II - so at my rate of work, I am going to be busy for the next 10-20 years!

Carim
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Offline zoooctan  
#26 Posted : 02 August 2021 15:53:05(UTC)
zoooctan

Singapore   
Joined: 07/09/2019(UTC)
Posts: 51
Location: Singapore, Singapore
Would love to see photos of this Carim!
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Offline Carim  
#27 Posted : 02 August 2021 16:25:08(UTC)
Carim

United Kingdom   
Joined: 15/09/2014(UTC)
Posts: 518
Location: London
....you really don't want me to finish my layout don't you? Flapper

Carim
Online Ranjit  
#28 Posted : 02 August 2021 16:38:18(UTC)
Ranjit


Joined: 18/06/2003(UTC)
Posts: 2,918
Location: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, INDIA
Hi All...

Well, in my case, I started with HO a long time ago and I will continue to stay with HO. In comparison to other scales, HO scale is popular and has a somewhat "middle-of-the-road" status. You see, HO is large enough to accommodate a great deal of detail in finer models, and also, it can be easily handled by children ! As HO has a larger audience worldwide, the resultant 'economy of scale' drives the prices of HO down. In short, in my view, HO scale provides the balance between the detail of larger scales and the lower space requirements of smaller scales.

No doubt, I fully appreciate the fine details of manufacturing that Märklin and other well known manufacturer have brought to z-scale.

Cheers,
Ranjit
Modelling in HO Scale - Era III & IV. K+M Track, Analogue + Digital
_____________________________________________________________________________

#Get Vaccinated
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need" - Marcus Tullius Cicero
"Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come" - Victor Marie Hugo
"If you can dream it, you can do it" - Walt Disney
Online Mman  
#29 Posted : 02 August 2021 20:18:45(UTC)
Mman

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/05/2021(UTC)
Posts: 77
Location: England, Guildford
“Picking the layout up, walking through the house with it and putting it under the bed” as a matter of interest what size is the layout Carim?
ChrisG
Offline Carim  
#30 Posted : 02 August 2021 21:27:12(UTC)
Carim

United Kingdom   
Joined: 15/09/2014(UTC)
Posts: 518
Location: London
The original layout is 125cm x 55cm:

Overview of layout with backscenes.jpg

and then with the backscene, 15cm high - that's all that could fit under the bed with the cover on:

Layout cover.jpg

Carim

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Offline Alsterstreek  
#31 Posted : 03 August 2021 00:51:53(UTC)
Alsterstreek

Portugal   
Joined: 16/11/2011(UTC)
Posts: 5,171
Location: Southwesternmost
I love the mini-max approach! Minimal space requirement and maximal space usage by doubling the space with the central divider.

Cool
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Offline Michael4  
#32 Posted : 05 August 2021 17:39:24(UTC)
Michael4

United Kingdom   
Joined: 02/02/2017(UTC)
Posts: 522
Location: England, South Coast
Thanks for all the comments so far. I am going to look at a layout shortly and will let you know what I think...though I suspect I may remain HO!
Offline Eurobahnfan  
#33 Posted : 05 August 2021 23:07:39(UTC)
Eurobahnfan

United States   
Joined: 09/08/2008(UTC)
Posts: 318
Location: Stockton, CA
I've been following this topic for some time and can relate somewhat: when I first re-entered the hobby, I was an N scaler due to space concerns, and still have the locomotives and wagons. However, when I think of returning to the smaller scale full time, I realize I've been into HO for so long, such a return would be cost prohibitive -- not to mention a strain on my eyes. (I have some Z items as well, but have never considered going in that direction as an alternative.) While my space is still somewhat limited, I make do with what I can to allow for my HO trains and accessories and am quite happy.
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