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I've posted one a few things in the handbuilt track forum about my experiments with "finer" Z gauge, and I'm pretty happy with the trackwork, so I'm moving on with the layout plan I have in mind for this. Z Gauge has caught my interest for quite some time, but I began to develop a more serious plan after a holiday hiking in the Black Forest in 2016. The combination of dramatic scenery and railways around the seemed quite hard to beat!

post-3740-0-74575100-1516837277_thumb.jpg
Picture - my own copyright

The line that had really caught my eye was the Höllentalbahn (literally "Hell Valley Railway"), a single electrified track branchline running from Freiburg to Neustadt (Schwarzwald), and then continues as a diesel only line, known as the Hintere (lower) Höllentalbahn to Donaueschingen (the source of the Danube).

post-3740-0-61293800-1516837515_thumb.jpg
Picture - Creative Commons 0 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%B6llentalbahn_(Black_Forest)#/media/File:Doppelstockzug_auf_der_Fahrt_ins_H%C3%B6llental.jpg

The really dramatic section is around Hinterzarten, where the line crosses the famous Ravenna Viaduct (in the first picture).

post-3740-0-56951400-1516838176_thumb.png
Map - Wikipedia user Lencer - Creative Commons CC-BY https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%B6llentalbahn_(Black_Forest)#/media/File:Verlaufskarte_H%C3%B6llentalbahn_2.png

The trip certainly gave me thoughts about modelling this kind of scenery in a scale that would allow me to make the most of it. When I realised that Märklin had released a track pack of the distinctive combination of Br143 bo-bo electric loco and double deck coaches, it wasn't long until my wallet took a hit. I gather that the Br143's have now been replaced, but their boxy old GDR styling quite appealed to me.

post-3740-0-34257400-1516837712_thumb.jpg
Photo with the loco and two of the three coaches on my coffee table

The obstacle to building a layout, for me though, was the fact that the track available from Märklin is pretty awful. Points are not only expensive, but look terrible, with one-piece pivoting switch rails, plastic vees, and strange sprung metal contacts through the crossing flangeways. Slightly better trackwork is now available from Japanese manufacturer Rokuhan, but this is moulded with solid ballast shoulders, like Kato Unitrack in N and HO. Not bad, but not really at the standards I'd like.

Then I noticed that RMWeb user WillVale (who unfortunately doesn't seem to be active on the forum anymore) had had a similar idea, and modelled the Hirschsprung stretch of this line in Z. Intriguingly, I noticed that he had adapted the Z gauge flex track to look quite a bit better. The trick was to slide the existing rail (code 60 I think) out, and replace it with code 40 flatbottom rail, which, luck would have it, fits nicely in the existing chairs. A solution for finer looking Z gauge track!

But what about points? Will's solution was to only have plain track in the scenic section and confine the points to the fiddle yard. I decided to experiment with using the same code 40 flatbottom rail with 2mm Scale Association narrow gauge PCB sleepers, and templates printed from Templot with the Z-NMRA settings. The process of arriving at something that worked is documented in this thread. The long and short of it is that I ended up with a standard based around accommodating the existing Märklin wheels boiling down to: track gauge: 6.6mm; check gauge: 5.9mm; crossing flangeway: 0.7mm; check span: 5.2mm.
It works pretty nicely!

 



So, for the actual plan. I'm aiming for a single track roundy-roundy that will allow for at least a little operational interest - a small station, more or less inspired by the now closed Posthalde, perhaps with a hint of the also closed Hirschsprung, with just a passing loop and single goods siding. This will allow two trains to pass, and potentially even a very small amount of shunting. I'm planning to experiment with Microtrains (Kaydee) couplings.

post-3740-0-75397500-1516839396_thumb.jpg

I'm still working on finalising the details of track plan, and the actual trackwork through the station will be drawn in Templot, so the Anyrail plan here is just an approximation. It should give an idea of the concept though. I'm aiming to fit the whole thing in 120x50cm (the size of a sheet of pink insulation board). The ruling radius is 195cm, which is Märklin's second radius. I had tried the first radius (145cm) for the hidden sections, but the Doppelstockwagen are so long (real things are 26m) that they really struggle at that radius - the flanges rub against the bodywork!

The other key features will be a significant viaduct crossing a central valley, and some suitably idyllic (OK, twee) Black Forest scenery - farmhouses, stables, maybe a watermill, and certainly a castle perched amongst the pines. I've just got hold of some Z scale versions of laser cut kits of Black Forest prototypes by Thomas Oswald of MBZ. The laser engraving is pretty much the finest I've ever seen!

post-3740-0-46451600-1516839638_thumb.jpg
post-3740-0-99923100-1516839765_thumb.jpg

I think I now have everything I need to finalise the design, so hopefully making concrete progress soon! Any thoughts or suggestions much appreciated!

Justin Edited by justin1985
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Oh!

Very pretty indeed, I'm enjoying this already.

I do like your 1st picture that shows loco, coach, driving trailer coupled with the drivers cab next to the coach! If you did that at a model show, some 'know all' would soon be along to say the prototype never does something like that.

Cheers,

John.

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Still DD set+loco when I visited in 2016 - see my trip as far as Titisee over here: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/111836-eastwestdivides-italian-escape-via-the-black-forest/?p=2328788

 

The line's closed for upgrading with bus replacement for most of 2018 - I was looking up times for this summer's jaunt with the idea of covering the rest of the line, but not in a bus!

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The MBZ range is really impressive, both in range, and in quality. The prices are enough to make you wince though! You can browse the kits without downloading the PDF here: http://www.mbz-modellbahnzubehoer.de/produkte/index.htm I suspect the PDF is more up to date though. All of the kits can be supplied in any scale.

 

I've tried to draw up a Templot plan for the trackplan through the station area, using the Anyrail plan as a general guide to how it will join the hidden sectional track, and the overall radius. 

 

post-3740-0-30073700-1516990841_thumb.png

 

It might be a little clearer without the background plan:

 

post-3740-0-49526000-1516990885_thumb.png

 

I'm far from being confident with Templot, in fact I find the interface and the peg snapping arrangements etc really counter-intuitive, but I struggled through. The outer track of the loop isn't going to have a platform, its simply a loop, so I let the transition curve flow as smoothly as I could, rather than attempting to straighten it out to be perfectly parallel. All of the turnouts are B6, so pretty sharp, but not as sharp as the Marklin ones!

 

This project is about atmosphere and fun, rather than real prototype fidelity. Nonetheless, I've tried to capture something of the character of a small German wayside station like Posthalde, with the goods siding running closest to the station building, which will have had an abutting small goods loading bay. The ruler marked "22cm" indicates where the viaduct (a Faller product that I will detail and narrow down) will run across the valley. The mainline will disappear into tunnels just where the curves kick in at either end.

 

The platform, and certainly the siding, will probably be so short that it will only be plausible to operate them with steam era stock - I suspect the 3 coach doppelstockwagen train would look ridiculous trying to stop in the platform! Still, I don't really want to expand the overall footprint much beyond the 120x50cm area - this is a "bit of fun" side project, after all! 

 

Any suggestions on optimising the track plan would be appreciated

 

Justin

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  • 3 weeks later...

One thing this layout is going to need a lot of is trees. Contrary to stereotypes, probably actually close to equal proportions of conifers and deciduous trees. I'm planning to make the majority of these using a variation on the Gordon Gravett method using wire and static grass. Some amazing N scale trees of all varieties can be found on the Stummiforum site. I'll copy this method for Z using thin copper wire wound around a thick wire, and looped every third or fourth turn, superglued, loops cut, and bent out to form branches. Long static grass (4.5mm) then gets applied from below to make the small branches, and finally 0.5mm static grass for the needles.

 

I decided to try and adapt this technique with the cheap "bottle brush" conifers to provide some background trees to bulk things out.

 

post-3740-0-37124200-1518290595_thumb.jpg

 

For this tree I attacked the "branches" with some nail scissors to thin the tree out by about 1/3. I also trimmed the branches to get it into a more natural shape, tapering in at the bottom, and also hacking in randomly.

 

Then I did a first pass with some 4.5mm static grass using a Green Scene "Flock it" I recently inherited. I wasn't actually that pleased with this - using just a small amount of fibres, they just seemed to end up clumped stuck to one of the sides. So probably not enough of these fibres to make much difference on this one. Then I added some very short dark green fibres (an old bag from 4D model shop - perhaps 0.5mm, certainly no more than 1mm). I used my old home made fly swatter static applicator for this, and it seemed to work much better for this small close work.

 

You can definitely see the difference, although I'm not sure I'm entirely happy with it. I'll try another tomorrow and cut more branches out, and add more of the 4.5mm fibres to try and get more of the filigree look.

 

Justin

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Another attempt at improving a bog brush tree. First attempt is on the left, second attempt in the middle, and the beginnings of one from scratch on the right. This time I attacked the brush branches a lot more, and added a lot more 4.5mm fibres using the fly-swatter static grass applicator. Much more pleased with this one, but its still definitely background material, I think.

 

post-3740-0-00753000-1518477502_thumb.jpg

 

I've made a start at making a tree using the method described by user "N-Modellbahner" on Stummiforum. This started with a core of piano wire, wrapped with 0.25mm copper wire, and twisted into a loop roughly every 4th or 5th turn. I managed to solder it on at a few points, but it was difficult to get enough heat in, so the rest is superglued as recommended in Jürgen's tutorial. Maybe next time I'd use a small kebab stick or something rather than the metal central pin (easier to glue and less danger of impaling myself!), and I probably left too far between some of the loops this time. 

 

In the photo I'm half way through the next step of cutting the loops and bending them out to form branches. Next step is a coating of bark PVA\plaster mix, then few applications of 4.5mm fibres, then 2mm fibres, then 0.5mm fibres. I'm not sure how easy it will be to keep them off the main trunk though!

 

J

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  • 1 month later...

Just to show there has been a little bit of progress ... I've been getting together more of the scenic parts to help plan out the final track plan and layout.

 

I finished the first of the MBZ laser cut card kits - the linesman's cottage. The detail is absolutely exquisite! I was planning to use a Kibri plastic kit for the station building, but I don't think it will stand up against the MBZ buildings. Might need to extend my credit card limit to order one of his stations ... 

 

post-3740-0-05483100-1522018902_thumb.jpg

 

One plastic kit I am using is a Faller viaduct. There was a Z viaduct in their range WAY back, which looked more suitable than the equivalent Kibri ones, but it hadn't been available for a very long time. Then I noticed that their N viaduct looked a little top heavy - and actually very similar to the Z one I'd seen pictures of. Looking more closely, it seems like the Faller N viaduct IS the Z scale one, but with a wider generic ramp\viaduct decking section sat on top. So I ordered one, and left off the decking, and added a new parapet and deck from thick plasticard. Obviously not as fine as the laser cut textures, but there don't seem to be any suitable viaducts in the laser cut ranges, and I really didn't fancy scratchbuilding all of those arches. I've got a 1:200 etched fence from the 4D Modelshop which I think will improve the look a bit once its finished - but as its brass rather than nickel silver its as soft as anything, so I'll leave it until the last moment to add it.

 

post-3740-0-06675300-1522019875_thumb.jpg

 

The viaduct needs some more attention with filler and sanding to disguise the joins before painting. 

 

The design of most small German stations, with the goods shed attached at one side, means that the track plan depends on the structure that I end up using. Inevitably the Kibri kit I was planning to use has the goods shed to one side, whereas the more authentic MBZ kit needs the siding on the other side. So I really need to reach a final decision on that before building the track bed.

 

Justin

 

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I've posted one a few things in the handbuilt track forum about my experiments with "finer" Z gauge, and I'm pretty happy with the trackwork, so I'm moving on with the layout plan I have in mind for this. Z Gauge has caught my interest for quite some time, but I began to develop a more serious plan after a holiday hiking in the Black Forest in 2016. The combination of dramatic scenery and railways around the seemed quite hard to beat!

 

attachicon.gifhollental_IMG_0521 2.jpg

Picture - my own copyright

 

The line that had really caught my eye was the Höllentalbahn (literally "Hell Valley Railway"), a single electrified track branchline running from Freiburg to Neustadt (Schwarzwald), and then continues as a diesel only line, known as the Hintere (lower) Höllentalbahn to Donaueschingen (the source of the Rhine).

 

attachicon.gifHollental_Doppelstockzug_auf_der_Fahrt_ins_Höllental.jpg

Picture - Creative Commons 0 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%B6llentalbahn_(Black_Forest)#/media/File:Doppelstockzug_auf_der_Fahrt_ins_H%C3%B6llental.jpg

 

The really dramatic section is around Hinterzarten, where the line crosses the famous Ravenna Viaduct (in the first picture).

 

attachicon.gifhollental_Verlaufskarte_Höllentalbahn_2.png

Map - Wikipedia user Lencer - Creative Commons CC-BY https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%B6llentalbahn_(Black_Forest)#/media/File:Verlaufskarte_H%C3%B6llentalbahn_2.png

 

The trip certainly gave me thoughts about modelling this kind of scenery in a scale that would allow me to make the most of it. When I realised that Märklin had released a track pack of the distinctive combination of Br143 bo-bo electric loco and double deck coaches, it wasn't long until my wallet took a hit. I gather that the Br143's have now been replaced, but their boxy old GDR styling quite appealed to me.

 

attachicon.gifIMG_20160929_163205.jpg

Photo with the loco and two of the three coaches on my coffee table

 

The obstacle to building a layout, for me though, was the fact that the track available from Märklin is pretty awful. Points are not only expensive, but look terrible, with one-piece pivoting switch rails, plastic vees, and strange sprung metal contacts through the crossing flangeways. Slightly better trackwork is now available from Japanese manufacturer Rokuhan, but this is moulded with solid ballast shoulders, like Kato Unitrack in N and HO. Not bad, but not really at the standards I'd like.

 

Then I noticed that RMWeb user WillVale (who unfortunately doesn't seem to be active on the forum anymore) had had a similar idea, and modelled the Hirschsprung stretch of this line in Z. Intriguingly, I noticed that he had adapted the Z gauge flex track to look quite a bit better. The trick was to slide the existing rail (code 60 I think) out, and replace it with code 40 flatbottom rail, which, luck would have it, fits nicely in the existing chairs. A solution for finer looking Z gauge track!

 

But what about points? Will's solution was to only have plain track in the scenic section and confine the points to the fiddle yard. I decided to experiment with using the same code 40 flatbottom rail with 2mm Scale Association narrow gauge PCB sleepers, and templates printed from Templot with the Z-NMRA settings. The process of arriving at something that worked is documented in this thread. The long and short of it is that I ended up with a standard based around accommodating the existing Märklin wheels boiling down to: track gauge: 6.6mm; check gauge: 5.9mm; crossing flangeway: 0.7mm; check span: 5.2mm.

It works pretty nicely!

 

 

So, for the actual plan. I'm aiming for a single track roundy-roundy that will allow for at least a little operational interest - a small station, more or less inspired by the now closed Posthalde, perhaps with a hint of the also closed Hirschsprung, with just a passing loop and single goods siding. This will allow two trains to pass, and potentially even a very small amount of shunting. I'm planning to experiment with Microtrains (Kaydee) couplings.

 

attachicon.gifravenna-nogradient-2ndrad.jpg

 

I'm still working on finalising the details of track plan, and the actual trackwork through the station will be drawn in Templot, so the Anyrail plan here is just an approximation. It should give an idea of the concept though. I'm aiming to fit the whole thing in 120x50cm (the size of a sheet of pink insulation board). The ruling radius is 195cm, which is Märklin's second radius. I had tried the first radius (145cm) for the hidden sections, but the Doppelstockwagen are so long (real things are 26m) that they really struggle at that radius - the flanges rub against the bodywork!

 

The other key features will be a significant viaduct crossing a central valley, and some suitably idyllic (OK, twee) Black Forest scenery - farmhouses, stables, maybe a watermill, and certainly a castle perched amongst the pines. I've just got hold of some Z scale versions of laser cut kits of Black Forest prototypes by Thomas Oswald of MBZ. The laser engraving is pretty much the finest I've ever seen!

 

attachicon.gifIMG_20180124_215106.jpg

attachicon.gifIMG_20180124_215158.jpg

 

I think I now have everything I need to finalise the design, so hopefully making concrete progress soon! Any thoughts or suggestions much appreciated!

 

Justin

 

A really nice looking project which should show Z at its best.

 

Just one small correction. Donaueschingen, as the name suggests, is on the Donau (Danube).

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A really nice looking project which should show Z at its best.

 

Just one small correction. Donaueschingen, as the name suggests, is on the Donau (Danube).

Of course! As you say, the clue is in the name, and after having spent a few hours poking around the town, I don't know how I got that wrong. A proverbial slip of the tongue! Original post edited to save any confusion.

 

I think I'll spend some time shuffling around mock ups of the various station prototype options on a print out of the provisional track plan tonight to make my final decision.

 

I think whether the goods shed, and therefore siding, is on the left or right of the station building will make quite a difference to the visual balance of the layout. As the main concept of the layout is a valley scene, with mountains left and right and a viaduct between, having the bulk of the station building off set toward the middle to accommodate goods facilities on the right would be visually jarring (especially if I go with a larger prototype). Of course I could switch the whole station from right to left to accommodate this, but something makes me instinctively want the station on the right hand side (being right handed?)

 

(You can tell I've read plenty of Iain Rice and Barry Norman layout design books!)

 

Justin

Edited by justin1985
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So, after making up some placeholders from foam board, and using the plastic base of the Kibri Rodach station I have, I shuffled things around and concluded that while the Rodach station and the only slightly smaller Bonndorf station (available from MBZ) would be close to prototypical for this line, they would both be too visually dominant on the relatively small layout that I have planned. 

 

So, borrowing from the nearby Elztalbahn (which runs north from Freiburg rather than east), I found some much smaller station buildings, which do still include a small goods shed. MBZ do a kit for Kollnau, which looks like it fits the bill quite nicely.

 

post-3740-0-19730900-1522101714_thumb.jpg

Picture Andreas Schwarzkopf via Wikimedia Commons - CC-BYSA

 

Although it is a brick building, it does still have the style of roof overhang that I find characteristic of the area. The only picture I could find copyright free is portrait, but the format with two small wings should be clear. Most importantly it is a real prototype from not too far away, and looks in scale to the quite constrained scene I'm aiming to create. 

 

Talking of scale, here is the little Schloss Lichtenstein that I got second hand but re-painted a while ago. I think this is a Faller model, but now seems to be sold with a furry flocked base as part of the Noch range. Compared even with the crossing keeper's cottage, this castle is dramatically under scale.  I stumbled across a thread on a German forum where someone worked out that the version for HO actually scales out at 1:155. So the one sold for N would presumably be more accurate for Z than this! However, by putting it up one of the hillsides, towards the back, I'm hoping it will help to emphasize a diminishing scale into the background.

 

post-3740-0-19801600-1522100096_thumb.jpg

 

Justin

Edited by justin1985
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  • 1 year later...

Hi, Any more updates on this project, just been reading through and would be great to see more. Visited this line in December as part of a pre Christmas market trip to Freiburg and then Rothenburg ob der tauber.  Wanted to go to the Christmas market they host at the bottom of the viaduct but it was wet wet wet and only opens certain days over Christmas and didn fit with our schedule.  Im a LGB garden railway modeller but was bought a Z gauge Christmas set and was thinking of making a my first smaller scale venture a scene of the Revenna + Market and this post has been very helpful and inspiring already.  Thanks, Richard

Christmas-Market-at-Ravenna-gorge-bridge-with-train-©-Hochschwarzwald.jpg

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On 02/08/2019 at 11:46, team_kona said:

Hi, Any more updates on this project, just been reading through and would be great to see more. 

 

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the reminder to update on this. To be honest I haven't actually made much progress, but it certainly isn't forgotten. I've been focusing much more on my 2mm scale projects recently.

 

The two things I had been doing most recently were building the MBZ kit of Kollnau station, and restoring an old Märklin BR.78 4-6-4 tank loco in epoch 1 livery, which was a non runner. 

 

Tin of Humbrol for scale in this photo!

IMG_20190806_223737.jpg.c87c5f9e23d7fe9172ecf1439d01883e.jpg

 

The loco needed a new motor (I failed to try and get the worm off the old one to fit to a Nigel Lawton motor, so I relented and got a new 5 pole Märklin motor). It also needed a snapped piece of valve gear replacing - I used some nickel silver etch offcut and soldered it to the existing rods. Also it needed a plastic cylinder that was missing from one side - which I designed in Fusion 360 and printed on the Photon 3D printer. Finally I blackened the wheels. Pretty pleased with the result!

 

So slow progress, but I'm dipping into it every so often!

 

Justin

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On 06/08/2019 at 23:19, justin1985 said:

 

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the reminder to update on this. To be honest I haven't actually made much progress, but it certainly isn't forgotten. I've been focusing much more on my 2mm scale projects recently.

 

The two things I had been doing most recently were building the MBZ kit of Kollnau station, and restoring an old Märklin BR.78 4-6-4 tank loco in epoch 1 livery, which was a non runner. 

 

Tin of Humbrol for scale in this photo!

IMG_20190806_223737.jpg.c87c5f9e23d7fe9172ecf1439d01883e.jpg

 

The loco needed a new motor (I failed to try and get the worm off the old one to fit to a Nigel Lawton motor, so I relented and got a new 5 pole Märklin motor). It also needed a snapped piece of valve gear replacing - I used some nickel silver etch offcut and soldered it to the existing rods. Also it needed a plastic cylinder that was missing from one side - which I designed in Fusion 360 and printed on the Photon 3D printer. Finally I blackened the wheels. Pretty pleased with the result!

 

So slow progress, but I'm dipping into it every so often!

 

Justin

Excellent, can i ask, did you Buy the MBZ kits direct with them in Germany or are they stocked locally int he UK anywhere ?  What type of solvent do they use ?

 

cheers

 

Richard

 

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On 09/08/2019 at 15:18, team_kona said:

Excellent, can i ask, did you Buy the MBZ kits direct with them in Germany or are they stocked locally int he UK anywhere ?  What type of solvent do they use ?

 

 

I ordered them direct - the order process is a little old fashioned - sending forms by email - but nonetheless quick and painless. I used TransferWise to send payment via IBAN bank account transfer without the horrendous fees charged from UK current accounts. The prices themselves are still enough to make you wince! But I'd definitely recommend the kits - the quality is superb!

 

The kits are made from a pretty normal feeling greyish cardboard, with the thinner parts from very thin ply. Window frames etc from normal card. So, no solvent, but the recommended UHU Hart glue does seem particularly good as a modelling glue for card - as the name implies it dries harder than normal UHU but sets nice and quickly. You can get it from 4D Modelshop, amongst other places. 

 

The instructions for the MBZ kits recommend their own range of powder pigments to "paint" them, but I've just used Vallejo acrylics. I did prime the card with shellac/button polish to harden it up.

 

J

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On ‎02‎/‎08‎/‎2019 at 11:46, team_kona said:

Hi, Any more updates on this project, just been reading through and would be great to see more. Visited this line in December as part of a pre Christmas market trip to Freiburg and then Rothenburg ob der tauber.  Wanted to go to the Christmas market they host at the bottom of the viaduct but it was wet wet wet and only opens certain days over Christmas and didn fit with our schedule.  Im a LGB garden railway modeller but was bought a Z gauge Christmas set and was thinking of making a my first smaller scale venture a scene of the Revenna + Market and this post has been very helpful and inspiring already.  Thanks, Richard

Christmas-Market-at-Ravenna-gorge-bridge-with-train-©-Hochschwarzwald.jpg

that is an interesting train there- a driving trailer in the middle of the set and facing the loco.

 

Les

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On 10/08/2019 at 23:36, justin1985 said:

 

I ordered them direct - the order process is a little old fashioned - sending forms by email - but nonetheless quick and painless. I used TransferWise to send payment via IBAN bank account transfer without the horrendous fees charged from UK current accounts. The prices themselves are still enough to make you wince! But I'd definitely recommend the kits - the quality is superb!

 

J

Cheers, I have been dealing direct with Germany for my own business to purchase products and also for a large personal purchase for a few years now and have found the German systems for business/banking /customer relations nothing but a farce and giant pain in the "Peach" German efficiency my.....

 

But guess thats all just cultural and generic differences at play....  ha ha I will have a go and yes already use transferwise its great.   THANKS, Richard

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  • 4 months later...

More than 6 months since the last post, but I promise this project hasn't been forgotten! 

 

For a long time I was mulling over the track plan, and wasn't entirely happy with how short a run I got at the front when trying to squeeze the return curves onto the same 120cm board. Eventually I decided I should give up the hope of getting a layout I'd be happy with onto a single board. I've gone with a pair of "end caps" for the return curves, which I'll bolt onto the ends of the scenic board to give a continuous run. As a bonus, with each being a 180 degree semicircle, the idea is the two end caps could be bolted together to form a circular test track. 

 

I guess I could have simply built square boards for the ends, but I liked the idea of them being circular. So, having joined a MakerSpace with a very nice Trotec laser cutter, I decided to draw up some plywood origami using a "living hinge" pattern to allow some 3.2mm ply to take a 220cm radius. This was quite a design job ... And I'm less than sure about my geometry skills. So first off I scaled the plan down to fit on A4 and cut it from 160gsm card on a Silhouette cutter. To my surprise, it worked first time.

 

IMG_20191220_121927.jpg.28f1891da3887c731593c41bb74b6fb0.jpg

 

So, off to the MakerSpace to cut from 3mm ply. Which, of course, they'd run out of, and I hadn't brought enough from home. Still, I managed to cut the pair of flexible curves, and one of the four semicircle parts. Proof of concept - it works!

 

IMG_20191220_185355.jpg.1cf01b89a9dabe9aa7d1e347ae45d843.jpg

 

So as soon as I can get another slot on the laser cutter, and some more 3mm ply, I'll have a complete kit for a pair of semicircular boards 220mm radius, to accommodate a circle of 195mm radius Märklin track (2nd radius).

 

The idea is to then clad the outside of the curves with some thin (1mm?) ply as a decorative skin, which should make things even more rigid. The end plates have circles cut for pattern makers dowels, plus M6 bolts. I'm thinking of finishing with a black pigmented oil type finish to keep the nice birch grain on the outside faces of the boards, while toning down the colour ...

 

J

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I managed to make some progress with this project over Christmas, but it's still coming together quite slowly. The main thing I've achieved is that I finished assembling the semicircular boards. 

 

IMG_20191231_114127.jpg.67b4fe5ecab982afe1ac223876bf4728.jpg

 

I finished the board with a black "glaze" type finish (actually from IKEA) which I brushed on, then wiped off, and finally finished with Ronseal satin varnish for protection. The idea was to keep the nice birch ply texture, while still ending up with something that will sit in the background of the finished layout, rather than being prominent in their own right. The brass pattern makers dowels are from Station Road Baseboards, and are 3mm thick - exactly the same as the ply, so they sit nicely with another layer behind. 

 

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I've now laid the track using Märklin "set track" second radius track (195mm radius), soldered to some PCB milled down to 0.9mm at the board edges, with some extra feed wires further around for luck. The board itself is equivalent to Märklin third radius at 220mm radius - so it's only 44cm across. 15cm/6inch ruler for scale!

 

The other Z gauge activity over Christmas has been improving a bog standard Märklin "train set" wagon. End result next to a "fresh from the second hand rummage box" banana wagon version of the same moulding. Humbrol tin for scale!

 

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I've blackened the wheels and replaced the Märklin fish-hook couplings with Micro-Trains knuckle couplers - hopefully to build up a rake of wagons to shunt the station goods siding with. The magnetic delayed uncoupling works impressively well!

 

I weathered the wagon beginning with a coat of Testors Dullcote and then some MIG weathering washes - "rust streaks" on the metal roof, and "dark brown" on the sides and vents - these were largely taken back off with white spirit. Finally, after another coat of dullcote, I used some Vallejo greys in the airbrush to tone down the roof. The inspiration was this photo on Wikimedia: Gedeckter-G%C3%BCterwagen-Gs210.JPG 

 

Here's the before shot:

 

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So, now I'm convinced I'll incorporate shunting on the layout, now I don't have to worry about including the return curves on the main layout, I might see about revising the station track plan to allow a bit more shunting. Rather than the rather chunky Kaydee/Microtrains electromagnets, I might look at mounting small magnets on a servo arm for this. 

 

While I'll definitely build the turnouts for the scenic section from scratch, I've been buying up second hand Märklin straight turnouts for the fiddle yard. I'm aiming for at least three, or maybe four, hidden loops along the back, perhaps each divided into two isolating sections, along the back of the layout. Building the frame of the board and the fiddle trackbed will be the next stage ...

 

J

 

Edited by justin1985
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Its good to see this Z scale layout and I wonder why RmWeb doesnt have a dedicated Z Gauge forum, since there is evidently some interest. My activity has been limited to updating the GCR 'Bridge' diorama shown here [page 24] but I'd like to see more.

Dava

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