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gerryo

T-Track - "Z"

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I am interested in doing Z scale T-Track modules.  There are Z clubs in America but there is obviously no interest in Japan layouts.  Mine would be Japan.

 

I have some interesting layout plans using my design Z modules.  I can't seem to be able to find any interest in Z scale

either in America or Japan.

 

gerryo

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Are you looking for z scale clubs? I've seem to remember one in Japan. They had both german and japanese prototype layouts.

 

How about sharing your module designs with us? I've been using Rokuhan tracks for some time now and find their track system great.

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I find it difficult to deal with groups who advertise one thing and do the other.  I found a club in the US who say they have Japanese layouts in their membership, but they won't show them to me.  I have even applied for membership in their club and was willing to pay their dues, but after waiting 3 weeks for a reply on my membership I figured that was too long, so I gave up.

 

When I spoke about my module plans last week I was mostly ignored, except for you.  I can't see enough interest on this site to make it worthwhile.  There are a few who profess to do Z scale, but like I say, there is not much interest.

 

I will attach one of my simpler plans, just for interest sake.

 

gerryo

 

Now the site says I can't load that type of file.  I give up.

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I think the forum is limited to only gif and JPEG files to upload due to security precautions unfortunately. Can you save out some of the plans as jpegs to share?

 

Yes z is a minority in general and Japanese z even more. The addition of a lot of Japanese z in the last 5-7 years has helped a lot, but still I think you will be hard pressed to find a lot of Japanese z Modelers in easy driving distance in North America. But that's not to say doing some won't start some interest. It has to start somewhere! Having a few modules at shows in n or z Ttrak layouts is an easy start to get some interest going in Japanese. I guess your tabletop z won't be easily movable to take to a show or meeting?

 

There will always be some in module clubs that will shun the non standard stuff they are use to. When I first moved to DC I was going to do a big double module Japanese ntrak module that was also 3' deep to have ntrak lines in a big station and local loops running below that on the two modules. Some in the big club were against a non American module, but most were enthusiastic and I was over the hurdle of worrying about the shunners... But at that moment I bumped into a few other Modelers (outside of the ntrak club) who were into Japanese modeling and we quickly got together to do our own Japanese layouts and ended up forming our own club. So you never know until you start doing something where it may go.

 

It's worth putting out your z scale Ttrak ideas here, you never know what interest it may spark or maybe later someone comes across it in a Google search here and gives them an idea down the road.

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

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I will try to redo a couple of simple files in AnyRail and see what happens.  Maybe to start, I will do a couple of the more special modules I have done.

 

gerryo

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As a starter, you can just make a screenshot and post it as a jpeg. Also listing the module types and sizes could be done as simple text.

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Z is definitely a minority interest in the States. Trainfest (the huge show held every year in Milwaukee) generally only has one or two Z scale layouts out of the hundred or so that are there.

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Calgary's Supertrain, which is billed as Canada's largest train show, had only one Z scale layout last year as well.

 

Todd

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I think the percentage of japanese Z compared to japanese N is roughly the same as the number of japanese trainsets produced for Z versus N.

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post-2768-0-77358900-1475439552_thumb.jpgpost-2768-0-57445500-1475439604_thumb.jpgpost-2768-0-82632200-1475439652_thumb.jpg

 

I think I have some that will copy.  And one that can't be copied to this site.  It's in CadRail.

 

The one that won't copy is the one that combines all of these in a 3 legged star.

 

gerryo

Edited by gerryo

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Interesting! The first two are actually t-trak compatible, while the 3rd one is unique, if not really prototypical.

 

I've done similar single module U turn modules for N, using Kato mini curves. T-trak suggests going with 90 degrees for added flexibility, but this is only a matter of taste.

 

Gerryo i think your ideas are viable, the problem is finding enough people locally. (on the net it's easier)

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You're sure right about not finding enough people locally, even in all of Canada.  We have a local (that is within 50 miles) T-Track-N club near Ottawa that I used to belong to.  They have a few dictators in the club who insist that T-Track was never meant to be used for Z.

 

When you are doing these small layouts, and want some unique variations, anything but 90 degrees is better, I think. 

 

My reason for doing a double wide, double extended U-turn is to provide a place for a turnout on each side.  This allows the possible attachment of a double wide yard, exiting from the 220mm on one side and back onto it on the other.  Note that the turnout would be one 110mm track length from the module split, keeping the turnout from transport damage.

 

I will keep working on the layout drawing, to see if I can get it into AnyRail.  It's harder to do angles in anyrail than in cadrail.  But we shall persevere.

 

gerryo

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Gerry,

Have you mocked up any basic z Ttrak modules? I ask because you might find different sizes and proportions work better for z than just using the standard out there that was done to just match n Ttrak conveniently. While Z is not all that smaller than N, there is a difference there that may have an effect. Area and thus scene changes by the square of the module size so it changes faster than the scale does! Just a thought as something interesting might come out of it since you are playing with Japanese Z now.

This is one issue that I have with the other Ttrak scale standards is that they were not really developed with the scene and scale in mind. The original was by Lee when she started with the A4 board and she saw how well it worked for small trains and vignette scenes, just happy coincidence for n scale. She was a superb dioramist and really had a fantastic eye for mating scene with space and visa versa. Later when Ttrak here was ratcheted up for bigger and longer trains this aspect has fallen apart quite a bit. 

 

I found this out when t scale first came out and I started talking to lee and other Ttrak folks about potential module specs for t scale. Ill present what I found there as it might have some relevance to playing with your z modules some with these ideas in mind. as long as you keep standard track spacing and have matching length module pairs you can fiddle with the module sizes and proportions and still eventually run with a club.

 

With the T scale ttrak folks seemed to want to just have it match n scale Ttrak dimensions as close as possible and follow box design and everything. First off I realized we were talking having to do 9x the amount of scene on a standard module due to the scale change, this could get expensive fast! I also spent a good chunk of my youth doing exhibit and architectural models and realized right off how what you do at different scales will dramatically change in the focus and effect presented and what you want to do. Also T is so tiny I realized this was not looking right when I mentally pictured it and also I saw a few small dioramas that were done in Japan and saw there seemed to be a happy proportion and size of scene size when doing the t scale and it was not anywhere near what folks were proposing.

 

So with the idea of coming up with module proportions and sizes for t scale ttrak based on what scene size and shape looked right for t scale, I took a bunch of t scale track and set it up on a bunch of bits of foamcore cut to different sizes and shapes from very small to large and then put down the t scale buildings in had along with small blocks of wood about the sizes of small building ans a few larger buildings that I taped up from PDF papercraft buildings (hey i try to practice what i preach!). I tried everything a bunch of different permutations and I found that there were three happy sixes/shapes that really stood out in t scale. Others seemed to sort of work and could work well for certain scenes but in general these three stood out as probably working more universally for starting point standards to go by.

First was the basic module, pretty much just a scaled down original n scale Ttrak module but a bit bigger, it was about a 3x5 card. A small scene with one or two tracks and a few small buildings worked very well as a small vignette. This made a lot of sense as Lee designed n Ttrak from the concept of just doing a little vignette like this, so scaling down the t scale a lot like this made sense. T is so tiny that doing a small vingnette needs to be big enough to see, but also it needs to be limited so the viewer will really focus into it but not be too distracted or they won't focus on it much.

The second was a long thin scene like 12-14" long and 3-4" wide. There was something nice about having a long scene strip. The length was nice small bit to take in easily and adding depth seemed to detract from the train strip a lot and quickly needed a lot of structure (cost) and scenery to fill in on small scale which is hard to do well. Something just felt nice about the strip scene at about that size. It was great for a station, siding, bit of track meander, or a long scenic bit like a rock wall, forest edge, water, etc. Corner modules looked much better with the front and back corners lopped off (either straight or curved or both) as well to turn them into more of a scenery strip as well.

The third was a big module (for t scale) like 12-18" square. This worked well to do a big town/city scene. It's a lot of modeling space a t scale! The cool thin with t is that this would be like a 3'x3' or more n scale city scene which is a lot. Doing this in scale gets massive and a bit almost hard to take in, but the beauty of t scale is it really could handle a lot in this size. Also the tiny scale worked to your advantage, like it does with large architectural models, that you could reduce the overall derail a lot on the big module as the eye went to the big aspect of the scene and not the details as much as t did with the small modules where you focused tightly in and also your mind's eye tended to fill in the details from memories with the big scene much more quickly. 

The cool thing then was I realized this gave a lot more flexibility in the overall layout look, feel, and functionality with these different size and shaped modules and helped remove the monotony that n Ttrak layouts can have. With the types of modules changing and doing different things they each shined as the viewer gets a nice zoom in and out and look at the layout different ways which usually leads you to really appreciating the modules and overall layout so much more than regular n Ttrak usually does. Also a huge amount of t scale can fit on a couple of folding tables that would not be much by n ttrak standards! It also opens up the potential of doing interesting urban to suburban to rural to scenic and back again and even having multiple separate layouts along the way that are not just the classic loops w/in loops of larger n ttrak layouts.

 

I also looked at the module face height as well. putting T ttrak on a standard 2.75" high face n ttrak module was awful. it so totally overwhelmed the top scene (its bad enough on n scale this way and i think just wrong) that it was joke. it really wanted something about 0.5-0.75" high for the face and it needed to float off the table some in a delicate way like an inch or so. the face and the float dramatically affected the look of the scene on top, much more so than n scale, i think as t is so tiny and delicate the modules needed to feel delicate as well or they overpowered and contrasted the scene easily. luckily as they sizes were small they could easily be made of materials like foam core, ultraboard, styrene, etc and not have to be a big heavy wood construction. foam core with small strips of wood moulding on front and back ends and a few cross pieces of moulding underneath at the ends and center could stop warping and be sawn up easily by anyone w/o a lot of woodworking skill or tools.

 

I didnt take a lot of pictures of the first set of tests as i was experimenting a lot and just getting a feel for it. I was going to do a second nice round to do a more formal presentation and proposal, but at that point the folks working on the t scale stuff sort of all drifted off and I didnt have the energy to do the second phase and presentation for just a theoretical presentation. I also kind of lost my steam with t scale as well for presentation as the early trains required a lot of fiddling to keep going well (we were doing some at shows to show it off). Someday i want to come back to it as it was still intriguing when i had a table's worth of these three sized modules mocked up with blocks of wood lichen and track and some trains and it was very cool what you could create in a small space and with a very very interesting presentation that was really unique and i think well focused on getting the eye to make each type of scene work to its best.

 

Sadly I dont think n ttrak works so great at the current usage of bigger trains and scenes. its lead to bigger modules and less emphasis on scene as track and train lengths. It really shined so well with what lee started out with thinking small trains or trams and small vignette scenes or small modular layouts like she did that were just awesome scenes in a table or two of modules. the limitations of the 30" table width has kind of caused some stagnation when the layouts go big. they just feel like large loops and the scene aspect seems to go to the bottom of the list more. There are lots of exceptions with some really interesting setups in shape and scenes, but its the mega aspect that i find gets so much attention for resources and is the least value in return and when done wrong is a negative. I liked a lot of the japanese ttrak as they really did focus on variety of module scenes, 1 and 2 track, having odder shaped layouts and just a lot more playing with the idea than its gotten here. Im hoping the resurgence of ttrak in japan will bring some of this back and the japanese culture is more into looking at the scene presentation as being more important than size or length of track and trains.

 

With your Japanese Z i think playing with this some and finding the best combo for Z may help you do some yourself that really are compelling for others to jump in and try it as well. It has to start somewhere and the more right it feels by looking at it the better chance folks will say cool i want to try that! Also for you the Z may be better in modules for you in the long run if there is a move as they could get set up on a table quickly to play with and worked on in a very small space and stored on a small bookshelf or glass cabinet for presentation. Also z ttrak is i think a bit of a blank slate so there is a lot of room to fiddle and maybe come up with some better solutions.

 

Good luck and enjoy your Z!

 

jeff

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post-2768-0-80392600-1475456050_thumb.jpg

 

You are so right, Jeff, about the scale size for the diorama as opposed to the scale size of the trains.  I'm wondering if some smaller scale might be better for the diorama.  It's really hard to know before trying.  I think, for now, I will work on getting some modules made and see how some Japan diorama looks with the trains.  I've got that 1/500 scale castle to try things.

 

Anyway, for now, I got the plan finished for my "Z Star Layout".  See what you think of it, kvp.

 

gerryo

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Gerry,

 

Even just mocking it up with some track and foam core, a train and some buildings or even just cardboard cutouts for rough buildings can be a big help to see what works best for z and also your ideas. i think you can do what you you think best and set a standard based on what works well for z scale presentation, not just what was used in n scale! again track spacing is the only real issue for running elsewhere if that were to happen later. even the setback of the tracks may feel better at a different proportion on z than n scale.

 

foam core is great to do for mockups like this as its inexpensive and pretty sturdy and you can do a lot with just a straight edge, ruler, matte knife, and hot glue gun! you can make ttrak boxes in like 10 minutes to try out and even glue tracks on temporary to play with. even corrugated cardboard can be very stiff when hot glued up into boxes like this and you can find it cheap at some craft and art stores. I built a ton of 1/4 and full scale exhibit models that were really robust and inexpensive (and easy to hack up and modify when needed!) out of corrugated cardboard. use to get it in big bundles of 3'x6' sheets from the local janitorial supply store of all places!

 

cheers

 

jeff

 

btw i think lee made a 6 sided junction that i think was only used at one show, but it was an interesting idea to have each branch a different overall scene but connect them up! I was going to do a T junction for our club so we could have a way to have three different branches and also have standard and alternate spaced branches as we have both in the club. but we never got that deep into ttrak to get to it yet, maybe in the future.

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Even with t-trak N or Z scale, i like realistic or at least somewhat realistic operations. This means having a show layout with a bunch of fully separate loops is not really my style, but may work well for people who enjoy running the trains only or in case there is only one operator for the whole table.

 

For HJMTC's t-trak i've built a 3 track station and IST is building a side platforms stop. This allows a real looking layout with a double main. I'm also planning a U or corner module with a single track branch coming off the outer loop just like how you described the connection possibilities for your Z U module. Now this will be hard to do right with t-trak in N, so shows the limits but i'll try. With your design, this would be a lot easier.

 

Geometry wise i think the 3 straights variant is good for Z as the track geometry needs this for an island platform or a 4 track yard. The N equivalent of it would be a 2x248mm module, which would be imho a nicer number than 310mm.

 

The depts for Z also come from the curve radii, but making the straights narrower is always an option. The thinnest variant could go down to the tracks only and having the same amount of land on both sides.

 

Rokuhan also has small turnouts and curves that would allow a tram/interurban standard, like 3x55mm and R120mm on the inner curve (matching the turnouts like Tomix mini curves). Most german branchline equipment runs fine on this but there is no japanese interurban stock for it in Z. (similar to what Tomytec makes) This makes a mini or tram standard not really useful for japanese Z at the moment.

 

Gerryo, i think your ideas are good for special modules but the bulk of the modules are usually straight through ones as the rectangle tables make them the easier choice. This might be the reason most japanese t-trak setups have around 4-8 corner modules and lots of straights, with special delta and star modules turning up mostly on US layouts.

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I think that for now I will use the star layout as it is for home use only.  There is no-one else to worry about.  I already have a double straight, and a triple straight module, depending on just however long you want to make the arms.  I even have double wide and double wide straight modules, as most arms will be doubled wide.

 

The T-Track junction was another fun one because of the different shape and curves.

 

I have about twenty different modules including inside single curves, and outside single curves.  More pics will follow as I get them adapted for anyrail.

I also have at least 10 different layout plans.

 

gerryo 

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post-2768-0-41065800-1475621504_thumb.jpgpost-2768-0-22373400-1475621541_thumb.jpgpost-2768-0-50693800-1475621594_thumb.jpgpost-2768-0-71041600-1475621636_thumb.jpgpost-2768-0-77073100-1475621685_thumb.jpgpost-2768-0-62964500-1475621720_thumb.jpg

 

I have a couple more module plans and layout plans.  Easy ones.

 

gerryo

Edited by gerryo

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They are huge modules.  N scale t-trak is 210-300mm deep on a regular straight module.  So 295mm deep on a Z scale is massive.  Rokuhan 2 story square houses for example are 25mm x 25mm.  Nothing wrong with lots of scenery, but even 200mm deep would still allow near perfect realism and save you 33% on your scenery costs. 

Edited by katoftw

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I think the idea here is to have modules as deep as the corners. The deep ttrak intentionally leaves a strip out for inserting a background image or scenery divider between the modules. Using the smaller N scale 210mm depth, i could construct R150 based end modules for small table traction running, still leaving a small slot between straights for a divider.

Edited by kvp

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Right on, kvp.  Also there is a 75mm strip outside the tracks for additional tracks such as sidings, turnouts for small yards, etc.

 

I also don't see the point of leaving a hole in the middle , just to have a hole.  It makes more sense to have the space for your diorama, whatever it is.

 

It should be noted that I have not built these modules using Rokuhan track.  With the different track connection than Marklin, there could be an adjustment in dimensions of 1 or even 2 mm. 

 

gerryo

Edited by gerryo

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It wasn't criticism and sorry if it came across that way.  Just thinking out aloud using the keyboard.  Does make sense the way you are doing it with no gaps.

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It all depends on how much of an overall scene you want to do vs strips of dioramas. The idea with the original ttrak was to have each side of the table be its own scene, so that you had to walk all the way around tables to really appreciate the whole layout as a long strip rather than one big unit. It makes things seem bigger and also gets folks closer to the modules focusing in on the scenes as they were meant to be really detailed and vignettes to focus closely on and go to the next, not be only taken in as a larger unit (especially if highly mixed modules).

 

Full depth lets you do a larger diorama/sectional layout approach, but non visual meshing modules butting up against each other in the back can clash visually. There have been a lot of peninsulas like this in the last few years with long section of straights full depth and then 180 that is all one big scene. they do increase the surface area to scenic, especially with smaller scales and n scale sized modules.

 

Original ttrak used skyboards to break the sides and hide the pit, but they are tough for the average modeler to do well and have not been very popular and not part of a lot of clubs module specs now. But even with just the gap they can visually do well to separate the two sides and have pretty different stuff back to back w/o to much visual interference. The gap does tell the mind scene ends here some. Both work. we do the JRM streetcar ttrak with half full depth/scene. do need to put down some black cloth or foamcore in the pit to cover up wires and such down there!

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Yesterday i've seen a good example of the full depth single scenery concept. post-1969-0-14469100-1475741239_thumb.jpg

(my club is setting up for a show and this layout was placed near a door, so i just made this picture while leaving)

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When I initially started the T-Track Z, it was because in the N club there was such a defiance against Z that I had to do something.  All my layouts were meant to be small and able to be built in the average sized small bedroom and be kept set up to be used as a home set.  There were no other Z members to have to deal with so I was free to do my thing.

 

I had built about ten N modules so I gave them all away to other N members, left the club and joined a British 00 club.  Some change, what?

 

Now here I am again with the need to do Z, and nowhere else to set it up but at home.  So that is why I'm keeping my Z ideas and making use of them.  Besides there are now some very nice Z scale Japanese outline sets being made by Rokuhan.

 

So please keep in mind that the modules probably will never be attached to anything but my own, so my diorama does not depend on anyone else.  It would be nice if they could.

 

gerryo

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