Never had a blog but now seems just as good a time as any to start one. I think that I never really had a good subject to write on but chronicling the creation of my first layout seems like a good place to start.
When I was in high school my parent moved to Japan and I went from a suburban neighborhood to living in an apartment in Tokyo. I had always looked forward to November which is when my dad and I would pull out the boxes of train parts to set up a layout for Christmas. Each year the boxes seemed to grow with more and more stuff but they couldn't make the trip with us to Japan. That is where I discovered Marklin Z. I purchased a basic starter kit and amazingly it fit on the register that was under my window in my room. I was hooked.
While in Japan I collected a few more cars and the T1+T2+T3 and E expansion sets. I even brought some of them along to college and set them up during Christmas. The real excitement came later when I discovered eBay. Years had passed between college and that moment and I had all but forgotten about my trains. After a friend had showed the eBay to me I had fun poking around at all the vast diversity of items available. That is when it hit me and I quickly did a search on Marklin. I was astounded at the listings, over 100 items!
Over the next several years I purchased items here and there and stashed them away in my basement. The trouble began when my wife found the collection. I was surprised and a little embarressed at how large it had grown. And thus I was given and ultimatum, do something with them or get rid of them!
It has been nearly two years since that statement and I have finally begun to create. Where it will lead, only time will tell . . .
Creation actually began in January of 2008 as part of a New Year's resolution to get my trains up and running. I had looked at book and magazines for years dreaming and planning but finally time to make a reality.
I decided on a lightweight bench work with a quick set of supports that I could embellish later if needed. Most books seem to lean toward about 50" as the ideal height but I opted for something a little lower (42") because I thought it would be easier to work on and a better height for my kids to see.
The framing was done with 1" x 4"s topped with 1/8" plywood. 1" x 3" cross braces were added about 18" apart for a little extra support. The plywood was left over from another project so I build the frames to match and ended up with two platforms, 5'7" x 2' and 5'10" x 2'. The legs were 2" x 3" screwed to the underside 1" x 3" supports. An addition 1" x 3" frame was added 6" from the bottom of the legs for increased stability.
All screws were pre-drilled with a counter sink bit to keep the wood from splitting and provide a smooth finish. 1" x 4" were attached with 1-1/4" drywall screws, legs with 2" drywall screws and plywood with #8, 1/2" wood screws. Corner clamps were used to ensure everything was square.
I added 1" pink foam board on top and secured it with Liquid Nails. Not the best choice as it is rather thick and it was difficult to compress the foam against the plywood and force the Liquid Nails to spread out. As a result the foam stood off the plywood a bit in some areas.
I arranged the tables in an L formation and that is where they stood for nearly a year until Ifinally decieded what to do.
A few days ago I received the set that I REALLY wanted in the first place - the 81862 30th Anniversary set from 2002.
For some inexplicable reason Marklin only do their starter sets these days - big or small - as German Era I/II or US steamers. Great, if that's you're thing, but not too cool if you want a more recent layout (as I do). Not only was the old set a draw because of the Era IV electric loco and generous rolling stock included (6 cars in total), but the track layout includes 3 electric turnouts and one electric double slip. In comparison to the very much bare bones starter kits like the 81560, this is a LOT more interesting!
I'm still some time away from doing a proper layout... looking at doing a small suitcase layout to hone my skills - it's been a while! - before tackling a larger 600mm by 1500mm (2'x6') custom-cased layout based on the KC Cornish layout at ZTrack, your typical post war German layout. Ideally I'd like to have it completed in time for exhibition next year at our local Model Hobby Expo...
Until then, I needed some way to set up the track properly so I could run the trains... a simple small oval works ok on the table but with points and wires everywhere I really needed to get a board and mount things properly. I ended up getting a 1200mm x 600mm (roughly 4'x2') sheet of MDF, elevated with two chunks of hardwood to keep the wiring off the floor, etc. I didn't have any track nails, so the track is held in place with thin hookup wire, looped over a tie then twisted and secured with tape at the other end. It's not perfect but it stops everything from falling off when moving around the board. Wiring in the power and turnouts took a while but it all works great now and is a lot of fun, even without scenery and structures.
Hi all! I am attempting to model the Milwaukee Road in Western Wa during the early 70's. Lot's of Milwaukee to come!! My one problem was the Milwaukee road used old boxcars, cut down to flats, welded on uprights, and used them for log trains-no one makes those! So I did, using Micro-Trains flats and Stone Bridge Designs "Log Bunks". Looks good for me! I've made six so far, just need a trip to the paint shop!
Well here goes, my first (and hopefully not only) attempt to blog my layout, it's progress (or lack), problems etc.
As a youth I first came across Marklin when Z first sprang up, started to collect it, plan vast layouts, then discovered work, girls, parties etc etc etc. Now some 25-odd years on I have come back to Z having rediscovered it via Ebay.
As an owner/operator of a small hotel in Norfolk I do find that I have a little time on my hands so thought that now would be a good time to try again.
I am humbled when I see the standard of modelling on this site, so hope that you do not find my sad efforts to be too pitiful. I must say straight away that I have decided that my layout will be be for me to enjoy (I doubt that I would ever get to exhibition standard anyway), running stock that I want to see with buildings and scenery that I like the look of, rather than try to be exact in my authenticity.
I have decided on a 8 foot by 2 foot baseboard, split into two 4 foot by 2 foot sections, bolted together. While buying track (the usual Ebay red mist frenzy I'm afraid, will probably be selling the vast amount of excess off at some stage I am sure), and drawing up various plans I have encountered what I am sure that you will all be familiar with - the "because it's Z I can fits lots and lots in a small space" delusion. Although I have started to use the Any Rail planning software, which I find to be excellent, I still find that what looks good on paper.....
My layout is called the GREAT WEST ROCKY MOUNTAIN, KENORA-SUDBURY RAILROAD COMPANY. The general scenery is modelled on my hometown, Kenora, Ontario as I remember it in the 1940's and 50's. The engines and rolling stock are a blend of steam and diesel, matching the 1950's steam/diesel conversion era. I also enjoy running engines and carriages such as the Marklin's Orient Express and european, urban commuter and steam trains, which create a bizarre effect as they stop at the local hometown scale model former CPR station! It's coffee table size, consisting of a figure 8 track with steep inclined mountain and tunnel route, crosses a high trestle made of matchsticks with track connecting to a railway yard parking spurs in the center of the layout. It also has a 'long distance' national line as an oval shape running close to the front and back edges of the layout. The layout is wired for sound. I recorded the striking of the original town hall (formerly the old Post Office/Federal building) clock bell, and re-recorded the hourly strikes every two minutes on each side of a C-60 cassette tape, which acts as a z scale 24 hours per tape. All buildings have interior lighting.
Hi all! My name's Ben, from Australia, and after years of dreaming I'm finally getting into Z. I'm going to use this blog to track my experiences starting out with two Markin starter sets - the 81560 and 81862 - to create a portable, easily stored large-case layout with a IV-V era German alpine theme. I've received my 81560, and have unfortunately been suffering from forward slow-speed issues which are apparently indicative of Marklin's recent quality control (or lack thereof). You can follow my progress in this thread.