Hello all! Z scale starter questions

Taymar Dec 30, 2017

  1. Taymar

    Taymar TrainBoard Member

    Hi all,

    I am returning to the model railroading hobby after a long break, and would like to give z scale a try.

    Space is at a premium, and I'm looking at using some flex track to test minimum radii before locking anything down.

    I plan to eventually run three steam locomotives - 0-6-0 or 0-4-0 if I can find one, a mid size such as a 4-6-2 and a larger locomotive which will likely have 8 main wheels (Mikado or similar).

    Is there any relatively inexpensive piece of rolling stock I can buy purely to test corner radius, before committing to the cost of a large locomotive? And/or will my 8 main wheel locomotive likely be the limiting factor when it comes to corners? I haven't found much in the way of dummy locos in this style.

    Thank you very much in advance for any advice here.
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  2. Greg Elmassian

    Greg Elmassian TrainBoard Member

    Have you figured out a minimum radius, or track plan?

    No, you really need to test with a loco, but you can find the minimum radius on forums by asking questions. As with all of model railroading, wider curves means better operation.

    Why not buy a good quality target loco and work from there, like the Mikado? That is a good start, then you can thing about a challenger or big boy.

  3. Taymar

    Taymar TrainBoard Member

    Thanks Greg, I have a pretty good idea of the track plan - it is going to be a few feet wide, but not very deep multilayer layout that will work best if the hidden (by tunnels/scenery) track curves can be as tight as possible.

    When looking for a loco, is number of non-bogey wheels the main factor in how tight of a curve it'll go round? E.g. if a Mikado handles the curves, anything with fewer wheels would be fine too, or are there other factors? I'd like to test with a 'worst case' scenario first.

    Thanks again for the help!
  4. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

    Your question has two answers depending on your "druthers". If you would like a four-axle steamer, then that determines the tightest radius you can install. But if you have a small space which restricts your widest radius, then that determines the largest steamer you can run. Yeh, I know...decisions, decisions, decisions. Don't worry, we all had to face reality at some point...DARNIT!!!! :rolleyes:
  5. wingnut1974

    wingnut1974 TrainBoard Member

    if you check the info on the locomotive the manufacturer usualy lists what the minimum radius is I would go a little larger for good operating sake 2 ft deep might work out in z scale. check the z scale forum out they will gladly help you out.
  6. Taymar

    Taymar TrainBoard Member

    Thanks very much all,

    I can probably make the layout as deep as necessary to accommodate the turn. Sounds like the best course here is to buy one of the larger locos, see what radius it's happy with then determine layout depth from there - sound like a good plan?

    Really appreciate the help here, looking forward to getting started!
  7. Ironhorseman

    Ironhorseman Staff Member In Memoriam

    One other consideration you may need would be, how a ''tight'' curve will effect the swing of the couplers. Can cause derails. :)
  8. Taymar

    Taymar TrainBoard Member

    Thank you! Hadn't thought about that.
  9. WFOJeff

    WFOJeff TrainBoard Member

    Welcome Aboard Taymar! I'm an N scaler and also went this smaller scale because of the room to build a nice layout in garage.

    Z Scale Forum probably has lots of great Ideas here in TrainBoard.

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