By Mark Frauenfelder at 5:03 pm Wed, May 6, 2009
$1500 buys you this model train set in a briefcase.
But it’s a FENDI!
It’s more fun when you do it yourself.
That picture’s almost as good as a unicorn chaser for model RR fans. Until you see the price.
I remember back in the antediluvian ages before digital control systems for model railroads, my father was contemptuous of anything smaller than HO gauge as toys and preferred O gauge for his own setups. For his last layout, he ran an O gauge tunnel through the foundation walls of our basement into the crawl space under the porch (with a wooden enclosure for the hidden portion in the crawl space). He had to run the trains through there at least a couple of times a day to chase the cats out. It was really rough on the cat if they were facing the wrong way and had to back out of the tunnel quickly to get away from this strange object with a glowing eyeball/headlight approaching them at speed.
Train set in a briefcase, I know, I know… Itâ€™s serious.
I think it’s in Germany. Looks like a lake near Murnau, Germany looking south towards The Zugspitze & Garmisch.
There used to be a Marklin dealer up in Solvang, Mark; I got a look at one of these up there maybe fifteen years ago…
Over the years, this size model train has been called “Z-gauge” (most recent), “N-gauge,” and, originally, “TT-gauge” for “Toy Train.”
Z gauge is about three-quarters N gauge. Interesting article about Z here.
Paul Smith, the British designer, had something very like this made years ago for his own personal use – he used to use it to break the ice in meetings: here’s a link to an article about it. you can see the train set in the foreground of the picture.
you’re right about paul smith, you can buy these in his shop at heathrow airport.
@11 I’m with you, that’s the funniest thing I’ve read all week.
Embedded in the set though would be useful information – to be deciphered by the discovering detective. Train times on the platform wall, that kind of thing.
See, I’m hot on model trains right now – ebay’d a big lot of brio for my kids, and have spent numerous hours being confounded by the unidirectional flow of the system. Active points, passive points … maddening.
Almost as bad as the slugs I hunt at night with my flashlight. But that’s diverting, isn’t it?
I’m no expert on model trains, but I tend to think you could build it yourself for a fraction of the cost.
Marklin’s hobby magazine had an article on how to make one for your Z gauge train in the 90’s. Should have done that!
Looks like Polly Pocket…
Unless that’s a really expensive briefcase, you could build it yourself for much, much, much, much less. And you’d get to choose your own landscape, train and buildings too. I can only assume the outside of the briefcase, out of view in this picture, is completely encrusted with those damn Swarovski crystals.
I think that is pretty sweet. Of course everyone thinks they can build it for $15
I am no model trainista but that might be Z-scale?
Great idea. Not into trains but I am a model maker and have an empty aluminium flight case not being used for anything, and a plan to make a Lovecraft Mountains of Madness diorama. The two may meet!
Here are some other models of the same set, for less than $1000
I dig the snow scene!
Oh, man, I want to see some business executive in
a fancy suit walk into the office with this, close
the door, set it up on his desk and start playing
I bet you could do something like that for $100 and a little imagination, not including the cost of the briefcase.
And why would anyone want one anyway?
HO = 1/87
TT = 1/120
N = 1/160
Z = 1/220
My grandad built a suitcase train set in the 70’s. But not as fancy.
The little trains are surprisingly expensive by themselves.
The train doesn’t fall out of the track and continues to run even after you’ve closed the briefcase.
I made that up.
Eh, I did a quick check of some online hobby shops, and I’ll have to revise my estimate up to about $300 or $400.
Someday in a decade or so when the authorities pick me up off the street, thickly bearded and suffering complete amnesia save for a few snippets of old pop songs that I hum to myself incessantly, I want this to be the sole item in my possession.
our entire universe sits in briefcase owned by jah… rastafari.
Let’s talk about the photo over-looking the very cool train set. Anybody have a guess about where that is? I have a sneaky suspicion I know, but am not 100% sure.
…Looks like what Aurora used to call “Postage Stamp Trains”, or otherwise known as N-Gauge to me. I could be wrong without something to judge the scale, but it could be Z-Gauge.
…There’s also a slot car set in a briefcase for about the same cost. And yeah, if you know what you’re doing and you know how to hit the hobby shops, you can build something like this for about $150.00. Not sure on the battery operation, tho.
Did it escape everyone’s attention that its National Train Day? Gosh.
Trying to dissect the lingo – “Z gauge” is a “scale?” (As are HO gauge, N Gauge, etc.)
Anonymous wrote, “Over the years, this size model train has been called ‘Z-gauge’ (most recent), ‘N-gauge,’ and, originally, ‘TT-gauge’ for ‘Toy Train.'”
Please, whoever you are, do not speak (or write) as if you understand anything about this. Z, N and TT are three very different scales. Z (1:220)was introduced in 1972; N (1:160) in 1965; and TT (1:120) around 1946, and it stands for “Table Top.”
The models in the briefcase are Z scale. As others have noted, you can buy unfinished supplies for much less. Why would anyone want to spend that kind of money on something like this? Perhaps they have a liking for model trains, but have neither the time nor the skill to build it themselves. People spend far more on things of less evident value.
Wow, that is some markup! Here’s the same thing for less than half:
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