Newbie wondering where to start

buckaroo Jul 14, 2013

  1. buckaroo

    buckaroo New Member

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    Hi - Newbie to the scale hobby, so wondering what people think about tracks - what at my choices? Which do you all prefer?
    Thank
    Matt
     
  2. JoeS

    JoeS TrainBoard Member

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    I like the MT sectional track with roadbed. I find it very reliable. As of now they only have one turnout available. Also the smallest radius curve is 195mm. Rokuhan has more variety, but the tie spacing is much wider.
     
  3. Garth-H

    Garth-H TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hi Matt welcome to Z scale

    if you are new to model railroading and to Z scale you might want to consider roadbed track as it is the fastest way to good running Z scale trains. Thee are two maker Micro Trains (USA) and Rokuhan (Japan). Both are easy to find in on line stores that cater to Z scale community. They are less easy to find in your local hobby store. If you are just starting out you need to get an oval of track and engine and some cars. for engines there are two choices that are under 100.00 dollars one from American Z lines and one from Rokuhan. It is here that you determine your future. As these two engines use different coupling systems. The ROkuhan unit does have a conversion to North American knuckle from the mini rapido that it comes with. The AZL unit has a dummy knuckle and that fits with cars from either Micro Trains the biggest supplier of North American rolling stock or AZL. On the track side Rokuhan has the most options for track pieces and curved track radii and turnouts while Micro Trains things are more limited. The two track systems do not fit together without some conversion work. Rokuhan has the advantage also in that all the wiring is plug and play so wire stripping and soldering required. Rokuhan has several controllers to choose from and all work fine with a choice of battery power or an optional wall transformer. For Micro Trains does sell a controller but it is a modified N -scale controller and you do need to hook up wires to power the track, which means stripping the ends to form around a screw terminal on the controller and to go into clips on the track feed piece, and using their turnouts requires wiring and purchasing a control switch to power the turnout unless it is a manual type. With Rokuhan the turnouts are all plug and play and one controller already has two turnout switches included in the case but you can add other to the side of it. The other big difference is for electrically operated turnouts the Micro Trains turnout has a box on the side of it while Rokuhan has the motor buried in the roadbed which can be operated either manually or remotely.

    probably enough to get you started.

    regards Garth

     
  4. Garth-H

    Garth-H TrainBoard Supporter

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    Foe those of us beyond the beginning stage we like using flex track either Peco or Micro Trains and for turnouts either Marklin or we build our own, or use skeleton ones purchased from various sources . Unless you have experience laying track in another scale this is probably the quickest way to getting discouraged in z scale.

    regards Garth
     
  5. FrenchieZ

    FrenchieZ Permanently dispatched

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    First of all... WELCOME to big world of Z! There are a lot of choices and even more opinions. If you own nothing right now... you may want to consider the CANADIAN NATIONAL starter set being offered by "Ztrack Center". It includes a loco, rolling-stock, track, and a power-unit/controller. Great price to get started in this scale!
     
  6. markm

    markm TrainBoard Supporter

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    Matt,
    Welcome to Z. I think Garth covered all the points of your question, but I'd suggest looking into a rail CAD program if you're going to build much more than an oval.

    Mark
     
  7. buckaroo

    buckaroo New Member

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    Thanks, Garth, for taking the time to get back to me with such great info. This is very helpful. I am coming from a HO world and had a consist using the Kato track with road bed,and I did like the ease of that. had couple of powered turnouts but nothing extremely fancy of complicated. i am not trying to be ext in detail so am not adverse to track with roadbeds and the Rokuhan sounds like a good track to look into. I see so much on Marklin online (and a friend gave me an oval track to play with) and I found the track slightly challenging (not awful) to work with. I gather like HO, the different engines will work on different track without a problem, correct? But will I need to have different couplers for the various locos/rolling stocks?

     
  8. buckaroo

    buckaroo New Member

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    Thanks Mark. What do you recommend for a Mac OSX?
     
  9. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    All rolling stock and locos will work on each other's track. Its all code 55-60. Looks quite different but all joins together.
    There are a lot of knuckle coupler options that will, in general, all connect together. Some automatically, some of AZL's ealier ones you will have to pick up to knuckle over or on. All will require manual uncouple except for Micro-Trains (MTL) can magnetically uncouple. Märklin's coupler you will have to manually uncouple (except for their uncoupler track section) but the claw is soooooo huge that most do not run this type unless they are running the Euro cars. It is easy to make or buy a conversion car (one MTL and one Märklin couple on one car).
     
  10. Garth-H

    Garth-H TrainBoard Supporter

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    hi Matt as Jeff said there allot of coupler options but the standard for North America is pretty well the Micro trains magnematic. however for some reason micro trains selling there trucks with couplers to other oEMs so there are a variety of compatibles out there now.
    you can convert most cars to one variety by purchasing them yourself and installing them. American Z lines has them with metal wheel sets and their auto latch coupler which is compatible with micro trains then Micro Trains, then Micro trains has a variety of trucks and couplers but with plastic wheels and a number of us have changed those plastic wheels for metal ones as the metal ones do not get dirty like the plastic.

    lots of help here when you need it

     
  11. tjdreams

    tjdreams TrainBoard Member

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    Welcome to Z Scale
    Most all locomotives and rolling stock will run on any brand of track. But some will not run on the 145mm and smaller radius track.
    As for couplers if you do a Google search for the words "Z Scale" and "Monster" you will find a dealer that sells ready made conversion cars that have one brand coupler at one end and a different brand at the other end. I also made the switch from HO to Z and the biggest difference I noticed was that HO will run on a dusty or even a dirty track sometimes, but Z scale Locomotives forget it. They need a clean track.
     
  12. markm

    markm TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm afraid I'm not familiar with software available for the Mac. I think if you search the site for CAD and Mac you'll find plenty of opinions for both commerical and shareware products.

    Mark
     
  13. buckaroo

    buckaroo New Member

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    Thanks Garth and Jeff. I'm glad I found this forum and page. Nothing like getting some tips and experience from others before I shell out lots of money on items not required. Big fan of metal wheels so glad they are interchangeable. Is there a good track guide out there for the Rokuhan track? I mean, I've see Marklin track layouts, is there a conversion matrix or tool available? (If I am asking too many questions - just point me to the right place.) Many thanks

    matt
     
  14. markm

    markm TrainBoard Supporter

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    Matt,
    As it stands right now Rokuhan makes every mechanical section type that MTL or Marklin makes. So any Marklin design can be done in Rokuhan. I'm not aware of any part number to part number conversion list (although that's not a bad idea).
    Aside from the Marklin layout books, both Rokuhan and MTL have some suggestions on their web sites.
    For more general info, you might want to check out :
    www.guidetozscale.com or
    www.z-world.com

    Hope this helps,

    Mark
     
  15. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    Matt, Rokuhan also makes even larger radii than märklin so you have additional flexibility in making far more than the basic oval and have less sharp of a curve for long cars. You can also use the various radii to make transition curves which significantly reduces 'side-swipe' on long cars when going to/from straight/curves.
     
  16. EngineerBlake

    EngineerBlake New Member

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    Have you ever heard of Rail Modeller? I've used it for years now. Google it.
     
  17. webskipper

    webskipper TrainBoard Member

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    Who makes z gauge meter long flex track?

    I need one to complete my fine gauge trio test track of N Z & T for the work bench.
     
  18. tjdreams

    tjdreams TrainBoard Member

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    I don't think anyone makes Meter long flex track in Z Scale
    The only Flex track I know of is:
    Marklin #8594 Flexible Track - 660mm (26" long)
    Rokuhan #R016 Flexible Track - 330mm (13" Long)
    Micro Trains #599 Flexible Track - (12-1/2" Long)
     
  19. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    Peco's SL-200 is near absolutely identical to märklin's 8594 Flex, except it is comepletely flexible. Same exact 660mm long.
     
  20. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

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    One must'nt forget Peco's. I don't remember its accurate length but I guess it's a little bit more than Marklin's. I would say in the 70 cm range...

    Dom
     

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