Is Z scale moving more towards the big, permanent layout model, the Z-Bend Track modular route or the smaller desktop layout approach? Maybe it’s just my own need to categorize things and Z scale is actually growing on all fronts. I don’t know how popular it would be but I’ve again been thinking about a mini-modular system in Z scale, similar to T-Trak, modules approximately 12” wide x 8” deep x 2” high.
Having module kits professionally cut would seem to be ideal. A box with an open bottom sounds simple, but as simple as cutting a group of dead-square boxes or modules sounds, to build them to a high standard requires more skill and tools then you might think. Basic woodworking is itself a great hobby, but in order to develop a real and repeatable standard, I think having them cut by a professional makes sense.
Let’s say we have a woodshop that can produce these wood platforms for us, next I suppose we’d need to establish wiring standards. I’ve read up on T-Trak wiring and have found that even within this area, there are variations developed by different groups and some strongly held opinions on what’s right or what’s actually needed. I have to admit I’m much more a scenery person, not an electrical whiz so I’d think it would make sense to consult with others who have a good feel for module wiring. It would be a good opportunity to get more folks involved from the beginning too!
This is all very much in the casual conversation mode right now but I think if done well would be a good thing for Z scale. It would allow folks to begin building right away without the common obstacle of track planning indecision; this is often something that keeps armchair modelers in their chairs. It would also be inexpensive enough to allow almost anyone to get involved in Z scale right away. It would also take away some of the fear of making a wrong decision early on in the planning, you wouldn’t have to decide between a desktop layout or a much larger layout, these mini-modules could become part of both.
I think this idea could get new users in to the hobby. A couple of simple mini-modules, an inexpensive locomotive and throttle and you’re in! An idea like this would need to be well documented and supported online, you’d want brand new users to know there was real structure and support in place from other users. Most of all I like the simplicity of this idea, building on high quality mini-module bases and being able to arrange and rearrange them quickly and easily. I think this idea could be a lot of fun.