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Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi

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5 years 4 months ago - 5 years 4 months ago #13378 by rvn2001
rvn2001 created the topic: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
Fair Warning!!!!! This is going to be a rant so please feel free to not read
it or delete it if you so desire.

I have been asking if any Z scale module groups were planning to display their
modules at the NTS in Grand Rapids, Michigan this year. I have received
information that David George (Mister Dave) will have the only Z scale layout
there. I love Mr. Dave's layout and enjoy seeing it every time I can. Mr. Dave
has represented Z scale very well at every NTS I've been to. You should take any
opportunity you find to see this layout if you haven't yet. I have been building
Z scale layouts and trains since 1972 when Marklin introduced the scale here in
the United States. I used to display a 3-module Z scale layout at some of the
local G.A.T.S.(now GTE) shows in the early 90's. I stopped and dismantled my
layout due to lack of interest from other people and loss of the vehicle I used
to transport the modules.

Having said that, here is my problem. There are 20 Z scale module and interest
groups listed in Ztrack Magazine, the MidweZt HaulerZ being one of them. Of the
20, I know that one is just one person who has brought his modules to 1 show
with us and joins us when he can at other local area shows and one other group
which is listed as being in Germany. Of the remaining 18 there are: 5 on the
west coast, 1 in Utah, 2 in Wisconsin who won't talk to each other, 1 in Ohio
which is pretty much inactive, the MidweZt HaulerZ here in Missouri, Illinois
and Indiana, 5 on the east coast and 3 in Texas. It seems to me that the groups
on both coasts can't or won't come over their respective mountain ranges to do
any shows (Denver is still way up in the mountains). The module groups had a
very good showing in St. Louis in 2001 where I volunteered to help since I was
unaware that any module groups even existed until I read in Ztrack that they
were looking for volunteers at the show. There was a phenomenal showing in
Cincinatti in 2005 when it was accompanied by the Z scale convention in
Columbus. I was sadly disappointed 2? years ago when the NMRA celebrated it's
75th anniversary in Milwaukee. This should have been the one place and time all
Z scale model enthusiasts should have come together with the largest possible
layout. Instead there were the 2 module groups from there with their own little
spaces, since they won't talk to each other. Neither group thought to invite
other module owners to join them for that show...at least I didn't see anything.
The MidweZt HaulerZ have done numerous shows in: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio
and Missouri. Ellen and I even took our modules to Florida to set them up for
John Mui and Uncle Will in Florida. I'm REALLY upset that nobody from Michigan
or either of the groups in Wisconsin could find the time to try to organize a
layout in Grand Rapids this year. Randy Smidt has always said that he would help
as much as he could if someone wanted to organize a layout at the NTS and didn't
know where to start. I don't believe that the MidweZt HaulerZ should have the
sole responsibility of bringing Z scale to all of the states between the
mountains, the Great Lakes and Texas, although, it looks like we've done pretty
well so far. I realize that the people I know of in Michigan don't have any
modules but one of them could have taken the initiave to find out what needs to
be done to start something and started the ball rolling. I would have been able
to bring all 3 of my modules to join the group...if there were one. I might have
even undertaken the task of organizing a layout in Grand Rapids myself this year
if I had known much earlier and if I weren't unemployed and living on what's
left of my savings.

It doesn't surprise me that major manufacturers don't want to take the chance of
making Z scale versions of the models they do in other scales. I applaud the
manufacturers who have taken the chance on Z scale and I buy what I can when I
can to help support their efforts. Maybe we could get a better response if the
NZSC were the weekend before or the weekend after the NTS and near the NTS
location.


That should be the end of my rant. Thanks to those of you who read it all.
This should not be taken as a personal assault on any one person or group.I just
wanted to vent my frustration.

Thanks again,
Thom Welsch

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5 years 4 months ago #13379 by ejshelton
ejshelton replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
I totally agree Thom. I would be happy to take my modules but as good as they are 8 foot of modules would be a sad showing considering the number of modules around the country. I don't have a lot of extra money either with a serious pay cut I took this year.....right after I purchased a condo. Not being a member of the NMRA....for various reasons.....I have no clue how to get in the NTS and I expect its too late anyway. In the meantime the Midwezt Haulerz will continue to cover the midwest showing our modules and spreading the Z bug. But it sure would be nice if we could show the NTS what can be done in Z

It seems a shame that we can't do more here in the midwest
My rant is over....for now
Ellen

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5 years 4 months ago #13391 by rvn2001
rvn2001 replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
Still here.....

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5 years 4 months ago - 5 years 4 months ago #13397 by Kez
Kez replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
(crosspost from Trainboard, for those that don't go there)

It's late, I'm sick, and I don't have the energy to match your rant point by point, but let me just say that I feel your pain. I'm currently in a frustrating dilemma myself regarding Z scale modules, and a trailer, and finances, and a club that has stagnated, lost members, and is struggling to remain viable...........

I was one of those that came to Cincy, AND Philly for the National Train shows there. I really thought the scale had turned a corner after those two years, but the economy and stress and life seem to have gotten in the way for everyone. I just keep my fingers crossed that if the economy returns, then maybe people will be more willing to give up a little online time for some track time.

I remain hopeful, but I'm not placing any large bets on it.........

Thanks for taking the time, Thom. You are not alone in your frustration. Hang in there.

Bryan Keyser
DC Z-Bend Track

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5 years 4 months ago - 5 years 4 months ago #13421 by Socalz44
Socalz44 replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
Kes et al. I just spent an hour composing an answer to this posting. I must have hit the Cancel button by mistake! Bummer. It was probably my longest post here. I will simply try to put my last paragraph here for a new post. I don't have any energy left to rewrite the whole thing!

Basically, in my humble opinion, all these kinds of post eventually end up at the same place with the same questions left to be answered. Namely, is Z a viable scale? Is Z growing, stagnant, or shrinking? Does Z, with only 1 or 2% of the model railroading pie, even exist?

Before that I mentioned the role of Modular Clubs, their plusses and their minuses. I wrote about the lack of Z scale clubs like all the other scales have in various cities large enough to support them. Also, I mentioned what I consider the most serious of Z maladies and that is the apparent lack of at least bedroom size layouts being modeled.

Of course one can say, "It's the economy stupid!" Really? "Really?"

Z has its modules, collectors, dioramas, silverware boxes, but few room size endeavors. Until the bedroom sized layout catches on then all aspects of Z scale will likely suffer. imho. Jim

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5 years 4 months ago #13422 by tealplanes
tealplanes replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi

Socalz44 wrote: Kes et al. I just spent an hour composing an answer to this posting. I must have hit the Cancel button by mistake! Bummer.
Z has its modules, collectors, dioramas, silverware boxes, but few room size endeavors. Until the bedroom sized layout catches on then all aspects of Z scale will likely suffer. imho. Jim


Well said Jim....even the parts that got deleted were good :laugh:

Now, I have to agree with you wholeheartedly regarding your appraisal about room size layouts.

I believe this is the back bone of any scale success.....the home layout that may take weeks, months, or even years to construct.

A layout is never done in the mind of the builder, but there comes a point in time where the modeler says 'good enough, time to play' Part of the enjoyment for many is combining both playing and building at the same time. I'd venture that this is true in almost every case.

For the modeler who is advancing in years, the realization that it might never get to the finished stage can cause some, (me included) to ponder if I really want to start that home empire.

Lack of adequate building space is one factor, lack of money another, and as mentioned previously, the age factor certainly tempers one's exuberance.

For me personally, I feel it is a little late in the game for me to start a home layout, though I have often spent time day dreaming about what it would look like were I to tackle the project.

Jim, you were fortunate to have a designated room that you could call your own and simply close the door when not engaged in your hobby. I believe I still have somewhere a picture of your wife Gayle pushing a vacuum cleaner in your layout room. Ah, that brings up another point I almost over looked. An approving wife is a godsend if you want to have peace in the family while engaging in your passion. A disapproving wife is a sea anchor for anyone who wants to go full steam ahead with the grand scheme of things. Having a wife that is not supportive is such a drag. Remember the saying...."Happy wife, happy life"

I have a silverware box layout as many know and the past several years have been almost entirely involved in modular groups on the West coast and soon to be in Denver.

The one area I still dream about is the 'home' layout. Maybe someday, maybe not.

I believe it is safe to say that almost all photos you see published in most model railroading magazines are taken on home layouts where the time spent can translate to finely detailed layouts.
Z Track Magazine publishes many pictures also, but I think most are on rather small layouts with few exceptions. I can think of yours Jim and also Jim Thomas's in Ohio, Rob Klus's also and there are others I know, but for the most part, the photos are of smaller layouts.

I'll bet that there are many who not ony want, but are planning on the home layout in the future.

Anyone want to chime in and tell us of your future layout plans?

Building for a better Z world.

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5 years 4 months ago - 5 years 4 months ago #13423 by rvn2001
rvn2001 replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
Now that I've been hired by one of the companies I used to work for I plan to build a room layout. I used some of my unpaid time off to clean up and organize the 2 spare rooms I have (the reason for buying the double-wide I did) so that my hobby room now has space to start it. I don't have any particular design in mind. It will develop as I work on it. It will be mounted to the walls but will have parts that will stick out plenty too. It will be loosely based on the C&FW RR from the old Petticoat Junction TV program. I need to start making money first though and that doesn't start until April 9, 2012 when I start my training.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with the original post. Another instance of thread hi-jacking!!

Thom Welsch

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5 years 4 months ago #13424 by tealplanes
tealplanes replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
Thom,
First off, congrats on the new job situation. Long time in coming. I'm glad to hear you have dreams of a large layout. This would be a good project to chronicle in pictures as it progresses.

I hope you will share the adventure as she unfolds.

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5 years 4 months ago #13425 by GNFan
GNFan replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi

rvn2001 wrote: [snip]Of course, none of this has anything to do with the original post. Another instance of thread hi-jacking!!

Thom Welsch


But is it thread hijacking if you started the thread? ;-)

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5 years 4 months ago #13426 by rvn2001
rvn2001 replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
Mike, I didn't hijack the thread....someone else did and I was just responding.
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5 years 4 months ago - 5 years 4 months ago #13427 by Socalz44
Socalz44 replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
Thom, Maybe a hijack, but I think not. Sorry my long post was cancelled by me hitting the wrong button. I think it gave really good reasons for lack of participation. Namely, that module clubs are niche within a niche. If you only see Z Scale from the point of view of a module maker and presenter I'm not sure you are able to see the bigger picture which includes economy, transportation fees, and "I'm simply to old and tired to do shows anymore" guy.

Add these together and I see the reasons for your post and feel your pain. That said, as we all grow older, and maybe wiser, I think the glory days of Z scale participation at trainshows is all but gone on the East Coast and going away in the Midwest. Within 5 years the blush will be off the rose on our coast probably. Then where are we? There must be some other way to attract folks to Z Scale. That way, will ultimately help you in the long run. I'm not sure recruiting at trainshows for new Z scalers really works. Z scale is passion, something you must do and be satisfied with. Unfortunately the lack of passion, for what ever reason is slowling moving West. Time will tell. Jim

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5 years 4 months ago #13428 by tealplanes
tealplanes replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
Amen Jim. I do wonder where I'll be in five years?

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5 years 4 months ago - 5 years 4 months ago #13430 by Socalz44
Socalz44 replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
Thanks Loren, While Thom might think I'm dropping a bomb on him and other module folks, nothing could be farther from the truth. I fear that Z scale would really take a step back without the modules at trainshows and the guys there to answer questions and talk to the patrons. I've never been to show outside of California. Most N, HO, O, and G module setups at these shows are in the 'circle the wagons' set up. The module guys, for the most part, sit in the middle and pay no attention to the patrons. There maybe be one old fart stand up and guard an area that has a kid near it but that is about it for their participation. At least, on this coast, the Z modules are set up in random patterns and there is nowhere to hide from the patrons.

This is why Z Scale at trainshows near me is such a treat for the paying customers. I'm wondering how the modules were/are set up on the East Coast and Midwest? Hopefully not it a square! I get the feeling that Z Scale is predominately a West Coast 'thing" now days. We certainly have our stalwarts around the country, but I hear that zero Z modules and BYOZ can be found on East Coast trainshows. Beyond all this is the real question, 'Will Z Scale always be a niche scale?' Yes, unless someone smarter than me figures out a better plan than we have now for growth. Jim

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5 years 4 months ago - 5 years 4 months ago #13459 by Catt
Catt replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
I am one of "those" Michigan people.It seems to me that nobody has noticed that we are scattered all over the state.I and Steve (Mr.Styrene :) ) are in the Grand Rapids area,Boss is in Saginaw,and I think Thomas lives further away than that.Then there is the Lansing bunch.These guys seem to be in theirb own little world,they give a email addy then do not answer your emails. It's a bit on the tough side to get a modular group going that way.

I think one of the reasons that stops Z from growing are the high prices for everything in Z even the junk. A young person just starting out in the hobby simply will not have the cash flow to buy what a lot of folks in this scale seem to believe are colector items.

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5 years 4 months ago #13483 by ejshelton
ejshelton replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
OK guys.....I think we need to stop making excuses. If you can't do the NTS all well and good. We'll accept that....but excuses don't get it.....reasons do. If I sound like a Mom....its because I am one. All the excuses I here can and are worked around when one really wants to do something. Enough rant

As to home layouts. Thom and I show our home layouts at every show. Then take them home to run there. In fact at the last Indy show we did we had our home layouts set up as they are at home.....and showed running trains and switching activity. Rather than what many show....we show a very doable layout that can easily be set up for a time of play and torn down if space it limited.

I have sent for info from the NTS to try to get at least my layout in so I can show those at the NTS what can be done by the average hobbyist. I hope I can do it. If I get in I will need to ask for help from Rob.....not easy....but its the only way I can afford it. The time I have.....not the money.

Hopefully I'll get my layout in and will see some of you midwezterners there.....
Ellen
Indainapolis

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5 years 4 months ago #13489 by ztrack
ztrack replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
Ellen, just let me know. We would be happy to help

Rob

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5 years 4 months ago #13491 by slugger
slugger replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
Hi Ellen
Thats great that you might be comeing to Grand Rapids for the show. If you have problems getting them to let you show your layout there, please let me know. I know one of the people putting the show on as the local group and i maybe able to help get you in. He is the manager at one of the local hobby stores and ive been going to him for years to special order stuff. Its just a thought.

Steve aka Mr.Styrene B)

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5 years 4 months ago #13495 by ejshelton
ejshelton replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
Steve

No matter if I show or not I'll be at the show at least for a day. Thanks for your offer to help and I may need to take you up on that

Ellen

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5 years 4 months ago #13496 by ejshelton
ejshelton replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
Thanks Rob.

I'll let you know what I need when I know more.

Ellen

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5 years 4 months ago #13551 by ejshelton
ejshelton replied the topic: Re: Z Scale Modules At NMRA NTS In Grand Rapids, Michi
OK guys. I talked to the NTS office and they believe they'll have the space for me. The packet is on the way. I guess I'm really going to do this....... :woohoo:

Ellen
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