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Re: [z_scale] Z Scalers Building Session in Houston

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  • billy roden
    Hello Bill and list. The issue is perspective on the module heights. When we worked out the specs. for our z-mod system we looked at the other module specs. we
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 22, 2000
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      Hello Bill and list.
      The issue is perspective on the module heights. When we worked out the
      specs. for our z-mod system we looked at the other module specs. we knew of,
      and worked out the pros and cons. We talked about the air plane perspective
      and the top of a box car looked the same in any scale. We thought a view
      closer to a track side would show more of what could be done in z scale.
      this would show more detail on the trains and theirs some great work by the
      manufactures out there and the scratch and detailed pieces by many
      individuals. The 50" part was easy cut a 8' 2"x2" in half and it's 48" leave
      1" on top for scenery and a 1" adjuster = 50" maybe not scientific but it
      works. And yes a wonderful secondary benefit is "Kid Control". The only time
      I've heard anything negative it was from modelers of other scales hmmmm.

      Congratulations Bill on that 50' mark tell the group I'm impressed. I will
      be giving you a call on that convoy.

      Have a Great Day
      Billy Roden
      -----Original Message-----
      From: bjkronen@... <bjkronen@...>
      To: z_scale@egroups.com <z_scale@egroups.com>
      Date: Tuesday, August 22, 2000 8:25 AM
      Subject: Re: [z_scale] Z Scalers Building Session in Houston

      >> Tell me that was a typo, 50" high for your modules?? Seems awfully tall.
      >Nope. 50" is correct. The issue is "perspective" of the viewer.
      >> If that figure is accurate, is there a specific reason for that height?
      >> The Cascade Z Modelers standard is 35-1/2", floor to top of rail. And my
      >> current stand-alone layout that was at the NTS has a height of 33".
      >Marklin's Insider magazine has had articles that sited 48" to 52" as the
      >perfect viewing height. The N Scale Bend Track standard is at 50" too.
      >many of the two layer home layouts in other scales have the upper deck at
      >as well. Our small group in Houston decided on 50" for its Z-Bend Track
      >standard solely on the issue of viewing perspective. We didn't even know
      >that the Dallas group existed at the time. I'm not positive how the Dallas
      >group came to decide on the same identical height. Bill Roden, "phone
      >and tell us.
      >Why? Haven't you ever found yourself bending over a layout to see the
      >from an "in-the-scene" perspective? Most of us have. The alternative is
      >standard airplane view of a 40" high layout. Nothing wrong with that, but
      >you tend to see the roofs of rolling stock and buildings instead of the
      >of them.
      >For the group of folks who like "operations" rather than "round-d-round"
      >running, the height also is an asset, from a realism point of view. Great
      >for walking along with the train. Remember, both the Houston and Dallas
      >layouts are large layouts that take a while to walk around them. By
      >we should pass the 50 foot mark, in overall length. That's over 100 feet
      >(29m) to walk around both sides of the layout.
      >Problems? Not really. At shows, parents loft their kids up to see the
      >trains. That has a benefit of "kid-control" as well. With permission,
      >lifted a ton of kids myself to help multiple-kid mothers. Since Z-Bend
      >puts us on the outside of the layout, not inside a module fortress, we take
      >the advantage elevated kids to reward them with a piece of rolling stock to
      >hold. They just love that. Then the now-involved parent starts to ask
      >questions. That's great. We are always looking for new folks to take an
      >interest in trains. Otherwise, perfectly good folks who may have an
      >just look, then walk away, wishing, and never get bold enough to ask
      >Of all the shows and something on the order of 30,000 viewers to date, we
      >one normal height childless lady complain of the module height. She also
      >complained the trains were "cute, but too small." On the other hand, we've
      >had hundreds of compliments on the perspective, and requests from a ton of
      >folks to come inside the ropes for a close up look.
      >Teenagers? Most of them just wander around the show looking for other
      >teenagers, not trains. But I'm trying. This new module "L" set will have
      >town square with a Pokemon figure on the pedestal in the town square,
      >of some fat man sitting on a horse.
      >Besides, think of all the train "junk" you can store under a 50" module
      >its set up at home. <smile>.
      >I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Truth is, I'll run trains at
      >any height and enjoy them.
      >> Your module building project sounds great. How about writing a small
      >> article for ZTrack on how you go about organizing, publicizing,
      >> planning, and carrying out this project. I believe a lot of us Round2its
      >> could use the inspiration from your success to develop similar
      >> activities for our local groups.
      >I'll put that thought in my "round2it" file as a great idea. If the
      >I took come out decent, it will probably move to the "get2it" file. <grin>
      >Bill Kronenberger
      >Z: model railroading on a smaller scale.
    • Jeffrey MacHan
      Hi Bill and Billy and Terry and all, This is an interesting discussion concerning layout height and optimum viewing angle. I would like to wade in with my
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 22, 2000
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        Hi Bill and Billy and Terry and all,

        This is an interesting discussion concerning layout height and optimum
        viewing angle. I would like to wade in with my .02$ Canadian worth (about
        .013$ US!)

        First of all, my layout is placed at the height of the supporting structure
        at the train show, i.e. standard banquet table which stands at a height of
        30". Add another 5" for the depth of the suitcase and the viewing height of
        the track would be 35" at train shows.

        At home, I install all 3 suitcases on top of a counter unit (36") on which I
        have placed an IKEA table top (1.5") which brings track viewing height to
        approximately 43".

        I find this height of 43" quite acceptable for my viewing since I don't have
        to crouch down very far to get that ground level perspective! On the other
        hand, I can still reach over the layout to do maintenance and uncouple cars
        (I use the MacHan manual uncoupling technique!).

        I agree with those of you who enjoy the view of a passing train from the
        perspective of a ground hog rather than from an eagle's point of view. This
        is especially true for operating sessions amongst fellow initiates.

        Where I tend to differ from the norm and side with Terry's observation that
        lower may be better, is when I participate in a train show. Train show
        audiences tend to be highly appreciative of the kid friendly presentation of
        our trains. In fact, at the NTS, our layouts were the only ones that
        allowed the very young and the very old alike to approach the trains up
        close and personal...no height nor crowd barriers.

        Parents can relax while their offspring marvel at the trains at their eye
        level. For the kids, the Z trains become 'their' trains at the show because
        they can get close while the big folks tower far above them and also because
        the trains are "cool" to the small and "cute" to the tall.

        I think that I have said before that I personally enjoy seeing the kids
        having fun with my trains. I am not for an instant suggesting that everyone
        should adopt my presentation style. My choice is based on a pragmatic and
        easy to obtain support for the layouts and my very personal preference to
        allow the kids to approach the trains. Yes, there is some risk to allowing
        them to breathe on the trains. Once in a rare while there may be a
        derailment because of a curious finger wandering onto the right of way. But
        derailments seem to entertain the kids just as much as having the trains go
        by. Why do you suppose that is?

        There is much more that I could share with you about the numerous very
        enjoyable and touching moments that I have had with youngsters and the not
        so young leaning over the layout or peering into the depths of the car shop
        or turntable or discovering the dinosaurs in the forest! When the crowds
        thin a bit, I have been known to let a wee friend run the trains and blow
        whistles. You should see their faces then! Perhaps I have been lucky to
        have never lost anything from the layout or had anything more serious than
        some bent shubbery in over 7 years of train shows and exhibits. It
        certainly has been worth it.

        The great thing that I am reading in these posts is that there is a good
        chance that we'll have a Super Zone at the NTS 2001. Who knows what kinds
        of mischief we can get into with Terry Sutfin, Rob Kluz, Bill Kronenberger
        and Billy Roden, all in the same place at the same time!!!

        I shudder to think of the cosmic implications of such a conjuncture...

        Best regards to one and all,
        Jeffrey MacHan

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