The Northwest Pacific Z Scalers are currently recovering from our
weekend show in Monroe, Washington. Jim Glass, Tom Gilchrist, Lyn and
Cindy St. Laurent, and I were the crew this time. Bob Grant dropped
by to make sure the trains were running on schedule. All in all, it
was a great show.
Lyn and Cindy displayed Lyn's square "My Golden Empire" four-seasons
layout, fresh from its Model Railroader photoshoot. Lyn hung the MR
article from one side of the layout, and visitors enjoyed comparing
the two. His weathered locomotives and rolling stock looked great and
ran well through beautifully modeled mountain tunnels and forests,
across the high desert, and along the Pacific shore. Lyn's running
roster ranged from Daylight passenger service and Black Widow freight
diesels to kitbashed steamers with oil tenders. A northbound
passenger extra of rare Pennzee heavyweights was spotted. Jim Glass's
Santa Fe A-B-A and varnish took advantage of their trackage rights on
Lyn's Southern Pacific divisions too.
Near Lyn's layout we set up around 32 feet of Z-Bend Track modules.
These included our two big yard/station/roundhouse modules, a winding
two-module mountain pass, a 30-degree bent module with an industrial
park, a brand new 10-degree bent module with a high trestle, an
alpine end-cap module, and our big superelevated end-cap. A branch
line led across a brook to our nonstandard backshop/workbench yard
The main line was a bit finicky at opening time on Saturday morning,
but once the section gang got the problems under control the trains
ran smoothly for the rest of the weekend. Tom put a lot of mileage on
his custom-painted Union Pacific passenger consist. He stretched out
some long passenger trains behind a variety of locomotive lashups,
including a UP C44/SD45 team and a six-locomotive A-B-A-A-B-A set.
Jim ran his Märklin Burlington Zephyr set along with the
aforementioned Santa Fe consist.
I joined in with an eight-car Baltimore & Ohio passenger train behind
an AZL E-8 for a while, and then switched to freight duties with
doubleheaded Belmont Line 2-8-2's. As a testament to Tom and Jim's
skill in setting up a level layout on the sloping pavilion floor, the
two heavy Mikados pulled a 50-car drag for an hour or so without
noticeable wheel slip -- their longest train to date. They
doubleheaded freights in the 30-50 car range virtually nonstop for
the whole six-hour session on Sunday.
As he often does, Jim also manned a little Noch pre-formed layout at
a separate table with a mix of European equipment, American
equipment, and dinosaurs. Naturally, it was a hit with the kids. :-)
I revived a couple balky locomotives at the backshop and did a little
switching work with an FR boxcab. On Saturday afternoon and Sunday
morning, I gave the trestle module a couple quick scenicking jobs to
turn most of the bare pink foam into brown and green landscape.
Tom displayed samples of his resin casting work. His kitbashed
covered hoppers made their debut. He placed hand-cast trailers,
flatcar loads, freight containers, and chemical tanks here and there
on the modules. He purchased an odd LED gadget at one of the vendors'
tables and set up a convincing arc-welding simulation inside one of
his car shops.
We've been developing our relationship with the United Northwest
Model Railroad Club, the hosts of the big Monroe show. They're great
guys to get to know (even if they are mostly N scalers <wink>), and
they have a lot of fun with the hobby. They had a lot of compliments
to offer us, including some they'd received from the public. One of
their members even set up a large-format camera and floodlights for a
layout photo session on Sunday afternoon. We're waiting to see how
they turn out! We had some good conversations with the public,
including a few that are getting quite curious about trying out Z
scale for themselves.
Tom took some photos and some movie footage; hopefully he'll post
some soon. With the Monroe show over, we're on the homestretch
heading towards NTS 2004! We've got a stack of projects to work on
before then; we'll see how much we can get done. Hope to "Z" you
there in July!
-- Andy Hunting
Northwest Pacific Z Scalers
"Z" WARNING! HANDLE WITH CARE! Highly addictive in Small DoseZ!
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