Back in the late 70's my grandmother went to Germany to see some relatives. I asked her to bring me back a Marklin HO locomotive. When she returned, she had two engines and a handful of rolling stock in Z Gauge.
I had seen it at train shows and then a local hobby shop. I have been an N-scaler for many years and my primary draw to that was the detail and running qualities of something that small. About a year and a half ago, I wanted to get started in Z so I chose a roadname and started collecting rolling stock. I found this forum and asked a lot of questions.
First found out about Z scale from the Walthers N and Z scale catalog in the early 90s when I was a kid. That was back when you could get Bachmann N scale starter sets from Walmart or KB toys for $20. Back then Z seemed that it was all European, so I didn't even look through that section. Fast forward to 2006, and I ran across a Rob Ray Z caboose kit at the Feather River Train Shop and I figured I would give it a go. Plus all the great model work being posted on the forums at the time convinced me to migrate to Z.
Pretty sure I first saw it at a train show circa 1985. I remember my mom commenting on it and even after hearing the off-the-charts price tag she was still very much intrigued. I was as well, but was in HO at the time and was much more interested the custom MKT power that an adjacent dealer had on display.
More prominently (and magazine being another option missing from the list) was the Feather River layout in MR. I recall that really being an amazing display of creativity using the limited amount of NA-proto stuff that was available at the time.
Sometime back in the mid 1970's Popular Mechanics magazine had an article about model railroading. They covered all the gauges at the time. When they described Z scale as "locomotives less than an inch long" my thoughts were picturing teeny tiny Big Boys. So when I first came across a real Z scale starter kit back in 1999, I was taken aback at how big they were LOL. I still went ahead and bought it anyway. I guess you could say I thought of Z as todays T scale.
Post by kevsmithnkp on Aug 27, 2016 14:20:23 GMT -5
Interesting story for me. The ultimate impulse buy Back in the late 1980s I used to have two large gauge 1 exhibition layouts, one of which was called Mardy Colliery and featured a gauge 1 coal mine and associated yards. It featured a ferociously steep climb out of the fiddle yard on a tight curve.
I went to a very strange swap meet (what you in the states would call a toy fair) held in the Museum of Army transport in a town called Beverley in North Humberside with no thoughts of spending any money at all
To give you an idea of what a strange venue it was her is what was stood being one of the stands
On one of the stands was a Marklin starter set with the 6 wheel diesel shunter in it for £45. I know, I'll hide the fiddle yard with a model engineer club using Z and gauge 1 figures. Sold! When Mardy was sold I kept 'Mardy Model Engineers' as it could work as a stand alone layout in its own right and it eventually was refined and detailed and ended up doing over 40 shows in one form another
I had no plans to do anything else in Z but have ended up building seven exhibition layouts with four being sold on to carry on being shown on the show circuit by their new owners.
It is addictive is Z! I would never have anticipated ending up building layouts like Shasta back in them days (or spending so much money!) but to be honest I love it and I love the surprise of the general public at a show when they see a z gauge layout properly for the first time.
At a couple of shows Shasta and Cuyahoga have won the 'best running layout at the show' trophy and I was asked recently by a very experienced railway modeller in the U.K who had just watched a couple of 12 foot long freight trains go past him at a scale 20 M.P.H "How do you get them to run that smoothly and slowly?" "Simple" I replied "I just turn the controller up"