Category Archives: Z-Modellbau

Railex versus Z-Modellbau: Kof II showdown

Until Z-Modellbau took the challenge to manufacturer a Z Kof II with a Motor (!!!!) our choice was limited to mechanical rolling non-motorized Kof’s by Schmidt and Railex.

The Railex example here is cast brass (red paint scheme lettered for DB with open cab and black running boards) with fine detailing inside the cab, it was a very good example of a Kof II that Railex produced along with variations of this type.

Headlamps are non-working in both locomotives but Z-Modellbau rendered them white in perfect circles versus Railex which are hand-painted silver.

What to do with a non-working model train: use it of course! Before brushless motors manufacturers of Z gauge had certain limitations placed on their ambitions. Z gauge is already small in size so therefore modeling the smallest prototypes yield problem after problem including where to put a motor and gears. The solution with their larger steam locos and tenders was locating the drive mechanism within a passenger or freight car hence they were called “ghost cars” because they became hidden locomotives, but they allowed the locomotive to pull cars so to speak figuratively not literally. I collect Railex, they are beautiful and fun to behold. As for ghost cars I have never owned one, I understand they can be temperamental and many I see for sale are offered “not working”. Ghost cars can be built by industrious engineers with a clever creative side which describes most of us Z-scalers, if you choose the to take the challenge the rewards are big and stalled trains from 19th century Germany may come to life on your railway line.

Photo: no couplers on Railex, Z-Modellbau uses Marklin compatible couplers of their own design that unobtrusive in this small loco

Now the time is ripe for ambitious manufacturers to create smaller locos in Z that function, today brushless motors from Switzerland are available in a variety of small sizes so releasing new locos with this motor should be easy? Wrong. From idea to final market ready model is a design and manufacturing “Matterhorn” so to speak. Having the idea is the first step followed by researching the prototype’s blueprints, putting into scale, designing the parts and assembly. Every step is time consuming and difficult with a fair share of creative thinking, ingenuous problem solving and sheer expertise in tooling and production. The latter always flabbergasts me, how can anyone be gifted with such abilities that tiny tiny tiny details appear in such small locos at the same time concealing their build.

With the Railex Kof which is cast with add-on parts in cast brass the model is beautiful with a securing plate screwed to the undercarriage that simply holds the wheel-sets on: simple and beautifully designed. This example does not have couplers thus making it a stand alone model train.

Photo: Railex Koff hauling livestock boxcar both lettered for DB

The Z-Modellbau Kof II for NSB has an enclosed cab with glazed windows and their own unique design for a Marklin compatible coupler. A 10 volt coreless motor runs the show including gearing that allow smooth acceleration and deceleration but without working headlamps. Headlamps are beautifully modeled as if lit. Locomotive is weighted and balanced due to its metal nature throughout so pulling power is very good.

Photo: Railex Kof II is true to prototypical scale giving the boxcars the impression of great size

Small locomotives serve very important functions including shunting and branchline while others not covered here serve MOW (Maintenance of Way) service, they (speeders) are still smaller than the kofs  with one purpose: track inspection.

Siding: seen here are the two livestock boxcars comprising the Marklin 2 car freight set: 86602. For the first time this car type features interior detailing in the form of gates, it also includes laser cut build kit for loading ramp and movable fence sections.

Z-Modellbau builds the legendary ML 2/2 in Z!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maffei built the ML 2/2 steam locomotive in 1906-1908, Z-Modellbau built it first as a Z scale model. The observation has been made many times equating the appearance of early German steam locos with toy trains, but the ML 2/2 was a hardy locomotive that proved it’s worth.

 

Built for the Bavarian State Railways the ML 2/2 was equal measure to the PtL 2/2 built by Krauss. Service duties included all such description on branchlines, and it could be operated by a single driver due to its semi-automatic gravity fed firebox. 24 locos were produced until it was retired in 1924.

Z-Modellbau has done it again with one of the finest Z scale locos ever available, the fine detailing of this loco has no rivals. And it is very small and true to scale with the prototype’s external cylinders modeled with smooth moving side rods of an ingenious design. This little gem is all metal construction featuring brushless motor and window glazing in the cab.

The ML 2/2’s place in history has been preserved in Z by Z-Modellbau, every inch of this is a masterpiece even though it’s total length is less than inch.

Running performance is superb at slow idle through full throttle.

Marklin’s 82391 (2005) high capacity coal hopper lettered for K.Bay.Sts.B is a perfect choice for this loco as well as Marklin small loco repair shed 89805.

Photo: here the ML 2/2 details are seen with coal bin in cabin roof and Marklin compatible coupler.

The scaling of Z-Modellbau locos creates a dramatic appeal on the layout due to their small size. Juxtaposed next to larger more powerful stream loco the ML 2/2 will stand out next to those towering express locos. Train sheds and buildings will also offer interesting juxtapositions and already there are buildings by Archistories and Marklin that fill in this time-frame for authentic prototypical railway scenes.

Photo: on a siding or near a loco shed the idling ML 2/2 will have great appeal on rural railway lines hauling passenger and/or freight.

Group Effort: introducing E 69 electric Z-Modellbau

Faller and Marklin will help me introduce the superb Z-Modellbau E 69 02 “Pauline”  electric locomotive for DB (article #2101).

The prototype was built in variations starting in 1905 culminating in 1930. A beautiful model of the prototype never offered in Z except by Z-Modellbau.

I will be posting some interesting research on electric locos coming in the future but for now many photos and not many words.

 

Handrails and add-on parts bring great detail to this loco that is not surpassed by any manufacturer.

Metal construction with brass gearing and brushless motor are standard features of Z-Modellbau.

Z-Modellbau locomotives are delivered in a small blue box lined with foam and small instruction sheet noting this locomotive is maintenance free and should not be taken apart.

Z-Modellbau: NSB shunting locomotive

Well covered in other scales is the small shunting locomotive types, Marklin has yet to release a motorized/non-mortorized version of the the Kof, but with new advancements in brushless motors perhaps they will in the future.

Z-Modellbau like other small precision ‘Z’ manufacturers offers locos and rolling stock Marklin does not.

Engineering masterpieces of the smallest size Z-Modellbau has lead the field in releasing not just Kof locomotives but also railbuses and steam locos.

Years ago Railex and Schmidt were the first to release non motorized Kof’s, but Z-Modellbau is the first and only to offer motorized versions.

Impossibly small size without limitations on operating characteristics these are precision locomotives with brass gearing and 10V motors.

The manufacturer cautions taking these apart, but they also explain they are maintenance free so no oiling just cleaning the wheels and track is sufficient to keep things working well.

Aesthetically these have a 5 star “WOW” factor, they are beautiful to behold with separately applied nickel handrails and brake hoses plus crisp lettering and flawless paint. This loco has window glazing too!

Description of the model: painted and lettered for NSB (Norwegian State Railway) class Skd211 (Kof II). Enclosed cab with non working headlamps. Maintenance free brushless 10V motor. Marklin compatible couplers of unique design. Z-Modellbau article #3113.

Perfect Partners: Archistories, FR, Z-Modellbau

Three manufacturers from Germany are probably the best small manufacturers in Z gauge today, each complementing one another with prototypical accuracy, precision engineering and design plus high quality material build. Each has their niche filling in where Marklin has not including early Prussian building kits, Scandanavian locos and rolling stock plus small locomotive classes untouched by any other manufacturer of Z.

The smallest operating locomotive in Z is represented in the offerings of Z-Modellbau, here is a Kof II painted and lettered for the NSB Railway coupled to FR Freudenreich’s container car for the SJ.

Far smaller in length than a single container car this locomotive features a brushless motor and brass gearing with metal shell.

In another photo a Prussian car-shop is juxtaposed alongside the tiny Kof II locomotive classified Skd211 for the NSB.

Siding: Kof style locomotives are essential for shunting and regional service with simplified operating procedures, a no nonsense locomotive with many useful duties. I plan to operate this one along a pier for shunting harbor freight.

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Z-Modellbau: Locomotives

Z-Modellbau locomotives are the smallest working z gauge locomotives today. And they run perfectly despite their small size and relative weight. How do they do it? Precision engineering and manufacturing are evident when you have one of these superb locomotives in your hand. Z-Modellbau also produces models of prototypes not covered fully by Marklin including operating shunting locos for NS.

_DSF9310 _DSF9311 _DSF9312 _DSF9314

Z-Modellbau – Nederlandse Spoorwegen – NS (Dutch State Railways) class SIK shunting locomotive, full metal construction with coreless motor.

Siding: Marklin has produced several car sets for NS including 82376, 82522, and 86304, all were Marklin “Export” models for the Netherlands.