Z scale questions and introduction

I posted most of this in the introduction but figured I would post it here as well and then post a few more questions/comments.

I am glad to have found his forum as I have alot to learn. While I am not new to modeling trains (and toy trains)., I have not been involved in some time. When I was a little girl my grandfather got me interested in Lionel, but when we moved across country from NJ to Oregon my father threw them away (1959) and I had always wanted them back! In 1980 I started an N scale layout (3' X 6')  and while it was up and running it was only in the beginning stages, few buildings , roads etc. A divorce ended this endevor.

Now I decided to do a Z scale layout. Having learned alot from mistakes I made on the N scale layout I am approaching this much differently. I am devoting a room to just the layout and workbench. I am starting with a 4 x 8 layout and making room for expansion. I drew the layout on a chalk board several times then when I was satisfies I blueprinted it including elevations, wireing.  I am gathering materials in advance and while not working on the layout, I am building the models, both kits and scratch as well as kit bashing. This time I got an airbrush ( I also build custom guitars so it has a dual use). 

I am planning a valley with mountains on one side of the layoout and foothills on the other with a city and waterway in the valley. I am using foam sheets and ramps as well as plaster cloth for terrain. Noch road tape and a few other brands as well as some paved with a kit. I want at least 50% emphasis on the layout that is not trains. There will be a subdivision, small country towns in the mountains and perhaps a ski area, a city with a subway (catenary) in the valley and a large town by the suburbs in the foothills. And a military base.

Things I need to buy yet and what I have aquired already are quickly getting to the point where I need to make some key descisions. Trains have changed alot in many ways like DCC that I am not familiar with, so I am hopeing those of you who have alot of knowledge can help me avoid costly mistakes. I will post more questions and give a better idea of what I already have to work with and budget in the Z scale section. I really want to do a good job on this and hope to hear back from those who can offer constructive advice. 

Because of the room I have to work with and the amount of trains and models I have as well as the distances involved to fit all I want in my layout the Z scale isn't open to discussion. I am going to build a HO layout for my grandson to get him started but I am not open to a scale change as a suggestion.

Things I do need help with are things like is DCC worth it since I am stariing from scratch, or should I wait until more is available in Z scale? I have about 200 cars, all either new limited edition or old C-10 condition cars, would weathering these destroy resale value? I have 3 locomotives, a Marklin switcher, a Markin F7a and a powered car for a Japanese catenary system. The switcher is a good quality engine, the other 2 I am not too shure about. I want an Amtrack F7,  2 GP series friieght engines, and a late model stramline locomotive. My questions are should I get them DCC ready? Is 5 pole motors  the best way to go?Is brass really worth it? Who makes the best engines with these features without breaking the bank.
If I buy brass engines I will have to compromise elsewhere like buy 1 amtrack passenger engine and one GP or "gasp" sell a guitar (not realistic). Should I use electric lights or fiber optics or both? What about the new wireless controllers, DCC switches are expensive for those what other hidden expenses are there? anyway those are the types of things I hope to learn from you vets so I don't end up with an expensive basket case to sell on e bay.



  • How is your project coming along. I am just starting Z scale, always had HO.
  • Hi Tamlyn

    We have not heard from you. Are you still at it?
  • hello i have a faller structure item 282726 and have miss placed assembly instructions, can anyone help with a copy, jaysbird43@live.com tks

  • BR42BR42 Auburn

    I would email Faller directly, very helpful.


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