Re: [z_scale] Z Scalers Building Session in Houston
- 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
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
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,
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