I recently picked up a Z Scale starter set (https://ztrackcenter.com/starter-sets) and decided to build a small layout with the included loop of track in that set, plus a small bridge I purchased and a pack of short track pieces. I didn’t use three of the included straight pieces of track, so a larger layout could be made if you included all of the track included in the starter set. I wanted a layout that was small enough to put on an end table, desk, file cabinet, or other small space, so I didn’t try to include all of the track available in the set.
I used a 24” diameter table-top I picked up from Home Depot a few years ago and still had in the garage as the layout base, but I cut 3” off two sides of the disk of wood to create an oval-shaped base. Then, I built up the layout terrain with layers of 1” insulation foamboard, which I then covered with a. layer of Sculptamold. I painted everything brown, then sprinkled on a layer of Woodland Scenics blended earth turf over all of the layout, and some dirt and small stones in the riverbed area. The trees are all made from clump foliage material from Woodland Scenics along with pieces of Fine Leaf Foliage, also from Woodland Scenics. I used Envirotex Epoxy for the water in the river and used a mix of natural stone ballast, mixed from material purchased from Arizona Rock and Mineral as well as Scenic Express, to ballast the track.
This layout took me less than 10 hours to build, over the course of about one week, and was a nice break from working on the wiring projects I had on the 2x4 foot N scale layout project.
You can watch the full video of how I built this small Z scale layout below.