In a message dated 3/4/02 9:52:27 AM Eastern Standard Time, ztrack@...
> Interesting comments. The perspective of looking down compared to looking
> the trains is a topic of much discussion here lately in the Ztrack offices.
> One of our subscribers recently mentioned he really does not like the
> of Ztrack. His concern being that with covers putting the viewer at track
> level, you cannot tell exactly what the scale is. Also, he feels it brings
> out the flaws of Z scale. These flaws being cast on horns and other small
> details that have been compromised because of the scale.
Magazine covers can be a thorny dilemma can't it? You're trying to satisfy a
specific "crowd" that you already have "capture", but at the same time you
have to make that cover have enough impact to get new viewers of it to want
to open the cover and see what's inside it. Then you have the cover text,
article titles, and mailing labels, etc., that has to be clear also. But if
the writing is too prominent, then you have it competing with the first
"Impact" point, the picture. "Common" images often do not do the job as it
just looks like a page from a regular article. Impact is needed for a
multitude of reasons.
Also if your magazine is sold on newsstands, you can't usually show too much
"fine work" as the overall appearance has to have that special "bold"
attention drawing capability from 5-10 feet away yet you have to balance the
boldness with enough detail to have them still impressed once they get it
within their hands. And of course an editor can't forget that it's competing
against every other magazine surrounding it so a bold "initial impact"
different from others is needed as often as possible.
Yet when subscribers get their copies they don't realize the need for cover
images to "catch attention from a distance" as they have already been caught
and now want more substantial details. It's a tricky line to balance on for
sure as you need to make sure you satisfy your "caught" audience but you also
need to catch new people or you can't expand your capital base, and without
that you eventually won't be able to satisfy anyone as you won't be able to
keep up with new needs and demands as the hobby progresses.
> For me, the best comment I can get is when someone sees a cover of Ztrack
> cannot tell if it is Z, N, or HO. This places our scale on the same plane
> with the other scales. Also, these extreme close-ups show the detailing
> intricacies that Z does offer. I spend most of time working above the
> It is an amazingly different world when you can get down to track level.
> Rob Kluz
Rob, People are always saying that I look at things differently from the
"norm" but then in many ways the bottom line is the same. I personally like
to see when passerby's eyes are "caught" by the graphic image, and then they
see the magazines title and say you hear them mutter no way....
For example, If they see a track side scene that looks real and then see
"Ztrack" they stop in their tracks and say no way. When you are successful at
stopping people and then making them focus on your own magazine they will
often pick up the magazine and look inside.
What happens then, once the impact picture catches their attention, the title
perks their wonderment, the article titles catches their curiosity, and from
there they get drawn inside the magazine and perhaps the hobby. It''s called
using human instincts of curiosity, etc. (AKA marketing).
Even if they don't buy the magazine (we all wish but know there are limits)
or enter the hobby at some point they will tell someone, a friend, family
member, etc., that they saw a really amazing thing on the cover of such and
such magazine and that helps spread the hobbies positive image more and more.
That's what I like to see and often the impact of the image is created
because of an "uncommon viewpoint". Your right in that the realism images
without giving away what scale it is (except by magazine title) does equate
all scales closer together. However as you know the problem is getting those
type of images with good enough impact to not only catch and hold attention
but to also meet the particular needs of magazines for title spaces, etc.
In the movie/TV fields scale models aren't built for perfection or overall
impact, or even to play with (except rough mockups to plan what final
viewpoint models are needed). They are built to emphasize and add to a
particular preplanned camera angle. They are a set for a well thought out
camera scene. That's why they are so realistic when viewed on the film, the
end use dictated the way the model was built.
Unfortunately modeling magazines often have to cope with things backwards
from that as they have to get images of models that really weren't built to
have great camera angles. And even then you have to allow "vacant" space
areas for the titles, etc. I realize how hard of a job it is to produce a
great cover for sure and admire those that can do it time after time. I have
other ideas as to how the modeling magazines could really help spread the
hobby more also but I am taking too much of this groups time right now. I
look forward to being able to subscribe to Ztrack when I am able to (funds
are very short due to medical problems within the family, luckily I get
stress relief, most days, from this great hobby). I know you already realize
all of what I have said as you are involved in it daily, but thought the
comments might help others to understand your daily balancing acts also.
BTW, my starter set I got via Ebay arrived yesterday and I am now in full
blown planning/experimenting mode in preparation to getting my own Z empire
built. I have already decided that it will be a very simple track line
developed through the Snevaeh Mountain range with an "excursion train stop"
developed at a scenic vista location. [Read Snevaeh backwards to catch the
"hidden" message within this project :-) ]
Take it easy,
Night Owl Railways
PS, while asking for suggestions, etc. from present and past acquaintances
concerning Z scale matters I found out that you know one of them also, Fred
Miller who had high praises for Ztrack and the scale in general. small Z
world isn't it :-)
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