Re: [z_scale] Re: Z Stigma (long)
Before Rob can answer, I'll put my dime in the pay phone. Make that a
dollar's worth, I'm on my soapbox.
Its not what we are, its what we are NOT, that helps to "trap" us in a
certain image outside of our own small Z scale community.
Small layouts? Heck, we've all seen briefcase layouts that just blow you
away. Countless hours invested in them, and the results are just
outstanding. The Nn3 "pizza" layout would be a great example, too.
Coffee table layouts? There is a Z coffee table layout less than 2 miles
from me, that if it ever comes up for sale, I'll ask the price AFTER I load
it up in my car. Its a priceless piece of work done by a NMRA Master Modeler
(he won Best of NTS show, twice, in N scale). Hand laid track and turnouts,
rock carving that could not be improved by Michaelangelo himself. All
structures are scale craftsman quality board-by-board construction.
Suitcase layouts? At the national train show, Jeffrey won "best of show"
against dozens and dozens of efforts by established and recognized modelers.
You can rest assured it was not a couple of Plasticville buildings rubber
cemented down to a 4x8 foot sheet of plywood, and green grass cut off a roll
to fit in between the tracks. It won because it was a labor of love and
clearly earned the recognition it got. Since it's longer than most sofa's,
I'd be tasked to call it a coffee table size layout.
But the image, in the past, has stopped there. The average person does not
ever see anything bigger. Sure, I've got some bookmarks of huge layouts in
Germany. And some of the list members have shared pictures of some pretty
large layouts they have. But outside of the 426 members on this list, how
many ordinary folks have any idea that larger layouts can exist in Z? Almost
zero I'd bet.
Ask a person familiar with trains what Z is, they may just turn around and
say something like "Oh, that's the briefcase scale; they are so cute."
THAT's the image problem. It is NOT a problem with our scale, our rolling
stock, our abilities or the size layouts we build and enjoy.
What a handful of folks in Europe, Dallas, Washington and Houston are trying
to do is to simply break that mold. The image that Z cannot possibly get
bigger than x by y feet and run with more than 3 cars behind the loco on a
perfect circle of track. That we enjoy "toys," not "model railroading." In
many cases, that Z scale even exists at all.
Within the model community, there are model shows all over the world. N-Trak
displays of enormous sizes show up at GATS, at the Euro equivalent and in
Japan as well. I've even been "down under" and seen HO and N monsters in
public. You see also huge HO, S, TT and G layouts at these public displays.
The model magazines take great delight at showing HO and N scale swimming
pool sized layouts in basements ever month. Layouts that take 5 or more
people just to run.
But what do the magazines publish on Z? A circle of track in a cigar box.
Or two circles on the back of a cut down door (Great Model Railroads 1997 I
That's the image that needs breaking.
We "can" run 100 car trains on 16 miles of track, if we "want" to. We "can"
do serious "operations," if we want to. We "can" run DCC, if we want to. We
"can" go to the shows with big layouts, if we want to. We are NOT bound by
the size of a briefcase or table in our layouts. In short, this scale can do
anything the "big boys" can do.
And do it at shows in front of modelers and public alike; expand the image of
what this scale can be; get more than 425 folks on this list; and attract
some manufacturers to the smell of sales.
Or, if we "want to," enjoy a smaller, highly detailed, layout at home every
day after work (without giving up an entire room or basement like the big
boys have to).
By the way, my first Z layout was a circle of track on a piece of unpainted
board. And I thought it was great.
Hope no one spilled their coffee or tea while reading my thoughts. The
Delete key is just to the left of the "End" key.
On Thu, 2 Aug 2001 03:02:28 EDT, Bill Kronenberger wrote:
[snip a lot]
Had I read Bill's letter before I wrote my own, I wouldn't have
bothered. Bill says it all!
Love for Z has never before been expressed in such an exquisite
regards Ole Rosted
- I agree with Ole... well said, Bill! Keep that soapbox close and
use it often ;-)
--- In z_scale@y..., Ole Rosted <Ole.Rosted@g...> wrote:
> On Thu, 2 Aug 2001 03:02:28 EDT, Bill Kronenberger wrote:
> [snip a lot]
> Had I read Bill's letter before I wrote my own, I wouldn't have
> bothered. Bill says it all!
> Love for Z has never before been expressed in such an
> regards Ole Rosted
- I can understand wanting to create large(r) layouts if you believe it will attract both manufacturers and new users, those I believe are
great reasons. I tend to agree more with Ole here, the beauty is in the precision and detail, not the mass. The recent NTS win was I'm
assuming, because of the level of detail, the creativity and imagination of Jeffrey... not because it was almost as big as the other
layouts. I think things like the NTS win or getting ZTrack into hobby stores will have more impact than a larger layout.
Instead of thinking of small Z layouts as briefcase layouts, I tend to think of larger scale layouts as "roofing trains". It's actually a good
deal more accurate as many of the larger layouts are based on 4' x 8' sheets of plywood.
I read MR (though not religiously) and go through the internet a bit on other train sites, yet the only place I've heard a small Z layout
referred to as a "cigar box" layout is on this very forum. With self-denigration like that, who needs (bigger scale) enemies?
It's not that I don't like larger Z layouts, I really do. But I don't believe they're necessary to validate the scale itself. Again if the goal is to
induce manufacturers and new users, then I'm all for it. If the goal is to be recognized as a peer by the larger scales... maybe I'm too
new to Z and to trains themselves, but I don't see the inherent value in it.