Z gauge in a coffee table.

f2shooter Dec 15, 2020

  1. f2shooter

    f2shooter TrainBoard Member

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    Evening everyone,

    For a few years now I have been pondering doing a Z gauge layout inside a coffee table. I’m thinking a table something like 18x36 inches or whatever is a standard table size. I want one that has a glass top that will open and glass sides. I’d like to build an oval shape single track with one train and dedicate the rest to scenery. I don’t want to model a specific era just build a conversation piece. There are almost no model railroaders in this area so I think it would be unique and would be a way to show off the hobby without taking up as much space I am using for three other scales. My wife might even go along with it. Maybe. What would the cost be for a modest layout starting from scratch? I would go with DC for simplicity and economy. Not worried about sound, the emphasis here would be visual. I’ve not priced Z at all and have only seen a few layouts at shows so I don’t know where to start. Any ideas? Thanks.

    Rick H.
     
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  2. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well considering micro Micro Trains makes starter sets that can sell for anywhere between $225-$350 on various auction and websites, that should give you a decent starting point.

    This would give you everything you need to get started and then you could probably add a few pieces of track to accommodate the dimensions you were working with.

    Now buildings and vehicles as were things tend to get a little bit pricey to though. Depends on how complex you’re going to make the layout. But figure on average each structure is going to cost you $20-$25 or more for quality ones.

    Surf EBay under their Z-scale listings and you’ll get a clearer picture.
     
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  3. bostonjim

    bostonjim TrainBoard Member

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    Hi, Rick. Welcome. I would start by looking at the MicroTrain Desk top sets. They have various roads and locos (no steam) that will get you started. You will need a power pack which is also available from MTL. There are a few makers of track to choose from, too. I would also check out Zscale monster and Z scale hobo. They both are primary sources for most things in Z. Marlin Starter sets are a bit more expensive but do come with track and power pack. They also make some American prototype locos and rolling stock. MTL manufactures American prototypes only and are much better detailed than Marklin's offerings. I hope this helps. There are a lot of very wise and helpful folks on board that can add to this. The size you have mentioned should be large enough for two tracks and some switches. Take care. Jim
     
  4. ztrack

    ztrack TrainBoard Supporter Advertiser

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    I would avoid the MTL starter sets. MTL's recent run of F7 have been very unreliable. If you are looking to run Z in a coffee table, then you are going to want reliability. I highly suggest looking at American Z Line starters sets. AZL is the leader in North American Z scale. We package their starter sets with Rokuhan track and controllers. Rokuhan has the largest selection of Z scale track on the market. And their turnouts are the most dependable. Our base Z starter set is $199.00. Our larger starter sets range anywhere from mid $200 to over $400 for our largest set.

    We will also custom create starter packages if one of the ones we offer does not meet your needs. We often do this for guys looking for certain road names and rolling stock combos.

    Full discloser is that I am wholesale distributor for AZL and Rokuhan. But I am also a MTL authorized dealer. So I know these brands extremely well. See the selection of starter sets we offer here:

    http://www.azldirect.com/starter-packages

    Also check out the rest of the site to get a good idea on what AZL has to offer.

    Rob
     
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  5. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    OK I will switch gears in this conversation and concur with Rob’s recommendation.

    Never having bought an MTL desktop set, but rather buy individual components, I did not realize that starter set does not have a power source. That would add another $50+ to the mix.

    Based on the link Rob sent over, indeed AZL is a better bargain for a starter set.
     
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  6. tjdreams

    tjdreams TrainBoard Member

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    I have to agree with Rob and recommend AZL Loco's & rolling stock. AZL has a much larger selection of Loco's and their attention to detail is far superior to MTL.

    For Track if you want Roadbed track Rokuhan has the best selection, and for non roadbed track I would go with Atlas.
     
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  7. bostonjim

    bostonjim TrainBoard Member

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    I was not aware that AZL had starter sets. It has been many years since I bought any starter sets. AZL is definitely the way to go then. Jim
     
  8. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    Now Rob, about those AZL F7 A’s and B’s.......:whistle::whistle:
     
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  9. ztrack

    ztrack TrainBoard Supporter Advertiser

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    Sorry no starter sets with the F3 A and Bs right now. But you may see select F3s show up as an AZL Friday Special very soon. ;)
     
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  10. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    ATSF F3’s ???? ;)
     
  11. ztrack

    ztrack TrainBoard Supporter Advertiser

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    Those are sold out.. The ATSF F3s went quick! But you will see them again when we release them as F7s.
     
  12. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ahhhh, music to my ears......
     
  13. ModelWarships

    ModelWarships TrainBoard Member

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    I am still working on mine. It's built in a roughly 3 ft sq glass top coffee table. The table had 3 drawers that slid our either way. I combined the top 2 to allow for some depth. The bottom drawer (cut into 2 sections) houses controls and loco and car storage.



    More on the build here.
     
  14. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nice!!! Well lit, and appears to be a smooth running and well laid out track plan. Great to see a youngster excited about trains as well. I've got three grandsons that will be introduced to the hobby as well.
     
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