Author Topic: Oh what in 'Z' world am I doing?  (Read 2540 times)

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ednadolski

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Oh what in 'Z' world am I doing?
« on: January 30, 2024, 11:18:12 PM »
+25
I liked the way some of my 3D printed track ties came out in Z scale, so I decided to put together a quick little dio to see what it might look like in a finished scene.   This track has code 40 rail and concrete ties, and the ballast is AZRM sifted to a #80 screen.  The track is on some N scale 1/8" cork roadbed, which seems passable for modern mainline track.  I passed on using any static grass, as I thought it might look a little out of scale for Z (besides, ground foam is a lot faster).  Nothing is weathered here, and it could use some more lineside detail.

I'm thinking perhaps the cars should be lowered a bit, and converted to MT TSC couplers in Jasons's 3D printed pockets.

IDK whether many Z scalers use code 40 rail, or if all Z wheels would be happy on C40 track, but these seem to roll OK (one AZL and one MT).















Cheers,
Ed

mmagliaro

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Re: Oh what in 'Z' world am I doing?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2024, 11:38:55 PM »
+2
I can tell you this.  I'd never have guessed it was Z scale if you didn't tell me.  Take that as a compliment!
Maybe the coupler at the right end of the brown boxcar is sticking out of kind of far?  I don't know the rolling
stock piece, so maybe that's how it's supposed to be.

nkalanaga

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Re: Oh what in 'Z' world am I doing?
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2024, 02:04:44 AM »
+1
The only "Z" I have is Marklin and MT converted to Nn3, but all of it runs fine on code 40. 
N Kalanaga
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wmcbride

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Re: Oh what in 'Z' world am I doing?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2024, 08:26:30 AM »
+1
Ed,

You are a multi-scale master!

I, also, would not have guessed this was Z.

Bill McBride
Bill McBride

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Oh what in 'Z' world am I doing?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2024, 09:45:12 AM »
0
Looks up to your usual high standards.

That said, I think one of the things that still holds Z back still applies: it's tough to build a "comprehensive" railroad. Hell, it's only recently been possible to do that in N.

But scenery wise? Killer possibilities.

Rivet Miscounter

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Re: Oh what in 'Z' world am I doing?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2024, 11:13:13 AM »
+2
it's tough to build a "comprehensive" railroad.

Can you elaborate on this comment?  I find it to be an interesting discussion is why I'm asking. (assuming I'm reading it as intended)
Doug

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Oh what in 'Z' world am I doing?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2024, 11:41:45 AM »
+5
Can you elaborate on this comment?  I find it to be an interesting discussion is why I'm asking. (assuming I'm reading it as intended)

Absolutely.

First a quick analogy: building, what I consider, a comprehensive layout is somewhat like painting a picture. You don't need all of the individual colors that will appear on the canvas, but you need the stuff to blend to get there.

Say I wanted to model something straightforward: Amtrak on the Northeast Corridor today.


In order to represent the subject to a level where I'd be able to say "yeah, that's the NEC", I'd need to be able to run Amtrak's usual lineups: Acelas, Regionals and the occasional long-distance train.

absolutely need the following:
Acelas
ACS-64s
Amfleets

To make it more convincing, I'd want:
Viewliner Sleepers
Viewliner Diners
Viewliner Baggages
Former Metroliner cab cars

Without the stuff in the first category it's tough to have something that realistically portrays the NEC. Without the second group, it'd still be like it was lacking some important flavor.

You can theoretically do this all today in N thanks to Kato and the old Bachmann Acela set. Therefore, I'd consider it viable (although good luck stringing all that cat).

Modeling freight railroading makes this considerably more difficult though, because not only is there a wider variety of equipment, there's much more of a mix of it too. I've had this issue for years: was I doing a convincing job of modeling Conrail in the 1980s without SD40-2s? Sure, not every train had one, but many did, and I strive to recreate the mundane instead of the exceptions (well, generally, anyway).

I feel like this is the challenge of Z. If you want to do something super specific you might luck out (like, if you can get stacks and Gevos you might be able make an attempt at the BNSF Transcon), but it'd be weird if EVERY train had Gevos and no Dash-9s.

That's generally what I mean.

peteski

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Re: Oh what in 'Z' world am I doing?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2024, 11:50:09 AM »
0
Ed, that just covers the rolling stock items.
I am not  very familiar with Z scale products, but how about the selection of track?   Can you for example find a decent looking turnouts and slip switches?  How about structures?  There are plenty available with European flavor, but how about something that looks like it belongs on American prototype layout?    I suspect there are some 3-D printed items available by now, but is there enough variety to build a decent looking layout?  How about vehicles?  Is there a wide enough selection out there?
. . . 42 . . .

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Oh what in 'Z' world am I doing?
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2024, 12:14:27 PM »
+1
Ed, that just covers the rolling stock items.
I am not  very familiar with Z scale products, but how about the selection of track?   Can you for example find a decent looking turnouts and slip switches?  How about structures?  There are plenty available with European flavor, but how about something that looks like it belongs on American prototype layout?    I suspect there are some 3-D printed items available by now, but is there enough variety to build a decent looking layout?  How about vehicles?  Is there a wide enough selection out there?

Oh man, that's a really good point. I didn't even cover that!

But yeah, it's a huge issue.

Flextrack goes a long way, but eventually you need stuff like #4, #6 or #10 turnouts. Hell, with Z scale I'd want even bigger stuff!

sschnabl

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Re: Oh what in 'Z' world am I doing?
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2024, 12:45:30 PM »
+1
As Robert would say, "time to roll your own!"

Does anyone have pics of scratch-built Z scale turnouts in c40?



Scott

Sokramiketes

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Re: Oh what in 'Z' world am I doing?
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2024, 01:06:40 PM »
0
Like any scale, you have to pick and choose the prototype carefully compared to available stuff.  Like, I can't do 1950 Milwaukee Road in Z.  But I can, and have collected, 2006-7 era BNSF stuff for Columbia River/Scenic Sub modeling.  For that, you're golden... minus maybe readily available Dash 9s and Trinity 5161 hoppers.

The track thing was the undoing.  Atlas made a good attempt within their means, as the Code 55 line is way better than anything else out there.  But only one turnout size and it's not Code 40.

So, you fingure out what you're willing to roll on your own to make it all happen.

One thing I'll mention for Ed, I didn't like the proportions of either MTL roller skate trucks or the AZL squished vertically ones.  But the Bowser/Full Throttle trucks are awesome.  If you leave the truck mounted couplers, they are much shorter coupling distance too, aiding the appearance.

Rivet Miscounter

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Re: Oh what in 'Z' world am I doing?
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2024, 01:13:46 PM »
0
In order to represent the subject to a level where I'd be able to say "yeah, that's the NEC", I'd need to be able to run Amtrak's usual lineups <snip> Without the stuff in the first category it's tough to have something that realistically portrays the NEC. Without the second group, it'd still be like it was lacking some important flavor.

Modeling freight railroading makes this considerably more difficult though, because not only is there a wider variety of equipment, there's much more of a mix of it too. Conrail in the 1980s without SD40-2s? Sure, not every train had one, but many did, and I strive to recreate the mundane instead of the exceptions (well, generally, anyway).

If you want to do something super specific you might luck out (like, if you can get stacks and Gevos you might be able make an attempt at the BNSF Transcon), but it'd be weird if EVERY train had Gevos and no Dash-9s.

That's exactly what I thought you meant, and I pretty much agree.  8)

I may have a slightly different attitude about some of it.   In my mind the differentiation between a Gevo and a Dash 9 is less....compared to say a Dash 9 and an SD40-2.   It's not that I don't know the difference of course.   But with the size of Z and at operating distance I will concede to "GE wide nose modern diesel" and "EMD spartan cab long-porcher".   That is sort of oversimplifying my oversimplification but I think you get the idea.

That was one of my over-riding tenets when I decided to take on Z.   At the time AZL had announced an AC4400.  I was thinking...ok, I'm modeling BNSF which is Dash 9 after Dash 9 after Dash 9 for the most part in the 2000's....an AC4400 would provide that "GE Look" and I decided I could live with that. (eventually AZL changed course and did the ES44 instead and proceeded to NOT do the BNSF H-II scheme which has basically left me hanging here for 8 years...to be resolved very soon, see bolow.)

I do model one of the top 10 "viables" in Z.  Not the BNSF Transcon, but practically speaking a very similar makeup of "stuff and flavor".    Since getting into Z, a LOT of the flavor items have been magically appearing...Maxi-I's, Maxi-IV's, and Spine Cars huge among that list.   I would say as things stand today, the major misses/compromises (C44-9W's notwithstanding) for me are:
-Using SD70's as SD70MAC's
-No 5161 Covered Hoppers
-Availability/Schemes for bethgons

As far as track goes, that is a mixed bag.  With Atlas' minimal catalog of core pieces, you can do quite a bit.   But yes there are still holes.   You could use Rokuhan or Marklin pieces in certain situations and blend them in as best as possible, but it's still definitely not a strength of Z for sure.  :oops:

I will say that a LOT of the other mentioned issues can be solved via 3D printing.  I'm not saying it is easy, or that it's perfect.  But in Z, printing freight cars is a very viable thing.   Structures, too.   Both can be done with surprisingly good results.   I had a friend that printed Z RD-4 Coal Hoppers for me that are quite nice.   I'm in the process of tweaking them and doing them using resin but even the standard Shapeways versions turned out great.   The 5161's will be a lot tougher though, so I'm really hoping AZL will come through there at some point.   It is a shame that Intermountain's Z experiment failed so spectacularly as they could fill that niche, more/different other types of covered hoppers, bethgons, etc.    Now, maybe Atlas will jump in the game there....they've done all of the aforementioned in at least one scale.

But anyway...  In summary I agree...I am fortunate to be modeling what I consider to be one of the Z-Viables.   If you squint, I think I can pull it off with relative believability.  (and, buried the lede but it appears that C44-9W's are a possibility sooner than later, from a recent post by AZL on their forum.   And the BNSF Heritage-II ES44's are ready to ship as we speak.   So at least I'll have GE Wide Nose Modern Diesel now.   :D )

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« Last Edit: January 31, 2024, 03:20:43 PM by Rivet Miscounter »
Doug

dem34

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Re: Oh what in 'Z' world am I doing?
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2024, 01:14:30 PM »
+1
Yet another through the grapevine. There is going to be more in the future. Atlas sees possible growth with the considerations @Ed Kapuscinski laid out. Overall the smaller scales are getting more attention as of late as the newer generation of modelers seem to gravitate more to being rubber gaugers and not having the space for HO in general. Quite a few out there now doing
N scale for OPs
Z Scale for mainlines
T Scale for scenery.

I was actually pleasantly surprised how often I saw T show up at Amherst.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2024, 01:17:09 PM by dem34 »
-Al

Chris333

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Re: Oh what in 'Z' world am I doing?
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2024, 03:51:05 PM »
0
I did all code 40 in Z with no problems, but I soldered to PC ties so no spike heads.

nkalanaga

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Re: Oh what in 'Z' world am I doing?
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2024, 02:06:35 AM »
0
I have added a third rail to ME code 40 flextrak by replacing a tie every 3/4 to one inch.  The spikes on the existing rail haven't cause any problems.  Even Marklin's flanges aren't bad, as they match my NMRA N gage for depth.
N Kalanaga
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