Author Topic: Ztrains.com: Model Railroad News Op-Ed  (Read 1927 times)

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Ztrains

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Ztrains.com: Model Railroad News Op-Ed
« on: August 18, 2010, 06:29:50 PM »
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I just wrote this piece for MRN:

http://www.modelrailroadnews.com/

Always like a good discussion!

John
www.ztrains.com

tom mann

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Re: Ztrains.com: Model Railroad News Op-Ed
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2010, 09:53:38 AM »
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I agree with you for the most part.  I disagree on the engines out there.  While Z doesn't have any small switchers, the Geeps from AZL and MT are pretty small.

I've always found it odd that most folks in Z are content with a small layout stuffed inside something.  I always label this metaphorical example as a "Z scale layout built on a toilet seat" so I don't offend anyone with a specific example.  The strengths in Z are rarely realized to their fullest potential.  You can have huge buildings and long stretches of track in a very small area, even compared to N.

One thing that might create an extra-small layout mentality is the historically high expense of Z locos and cars.  After all, if you only have a budget for a loco and a few cars, maybe the thought is that a large layout isn't needed?  And if you're the type of modeler that enjoys short trains and branchline-style modeling, maybe you would consider N or HO to gain access to plentiful equipment at lower prices?

Shipsure

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Re: Ztrains.com: Model Railroad News Op-Ed
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2010, 11:54:18 AM »
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The switcher is the next big project on my wish list for sure. 

I also agree with Tom that we Z folks need to start thinking "outside the box" and quite looking to do things as small as possible.  Most of the kits we've done in the past have been what I consider medium to small size industries...some of that predicated on the price to have the work cut.  We now have a laser in house and I plan on going large with the subjects so we can take up a lot of that empty space on layouts.  Surprisingly the large barn I did a few months ago sold like hot cakes and feed back I got on the Packing house module was encouraging. 

Joe
MTL

DKS

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Re: Ztrains.com: Model Railroad News Op-Ed
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2010, 04:21:00 PM »
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I could probably respond with an equally long editorial (and I may at some point), but for now I'll just say that John's piece made some valid points. I'll also add, however, that I don't quite agree with everything. Yes, one's modeling comes first ahead of any need to be "taken seriously;" that said, it might help grow the market if we saw more serious work being done in Z. It's a chicken-egg conundrum with no simple solution.

As for "where are the switchers," the typical American switcher in Z presents some tough technical challenges to overcome, an issue to which I'm sure Joe can attest. People might be tempted to say, well, Märklin has done that 0-6-0 since forever, why can't we have some diesel switchers? It's much easier to make a short, stocky rigid-axle loco than a slender one with trucks. Consider the $500 SW1/9/900 from Huet-Trains in France: the center two axles are rigidly-mounted, the trucks do not swivel, only four wheels are powered, and only six have electrical pick up. Likely the first affordable switchers we'll see will be newer, chunkier units such as the MP15, which can be reliably powered without having to develop some new cutting-edge mechanism. If I can ever find the time, I'm still going to finish the shell for the MP15 I started way back when.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2010, 04:25:15 PM by David K. Smith »
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Nato

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Re: Ztrains.com: Model Railroad News Op-Ed
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2010, 02:12:58 AM »
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    How about modeling the entire state of Nevada in Z Scale in a Gym. It would be awsome and definately thinking outside of the box. I'am sure someone will beat everyone to it only in T Gauge.                          Nate Goodman (Nato). Salt Lake, Utah.

Chris333

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Re: Ztrains.com: Model Railroad News Op-Ed
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2010, 02:42:20 AM »
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I barely have room for N so Z is good for me, but I do keep any layout(s) sorta small.

Joe, Do MT a favor and make the next locomotive with walkways have a closer to scale width hood!

Shipsure

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Re: Ztrains.com: Model Railroad News Op-Ed
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2010, 11:44:21 PM »
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Sometimes decisions are made for me. :'(   But things are different now and the next go around should see some change there.  The E8-9 is coming along fine and I don't think anyone will have a problem with hood width! 

As for the switcher...yes lots of challenges, but by putting the worm gear next to the motor and the flywheel outside that, I can get in the 21'-27' foot wheelbase range.  The MP 15 would be the easiest to do because I can utilize existing trucks and gear towers.  My heart says S1-2-3-4 or SW...but still early in the process.  Just got some samples of the 6mm coreless from Maxon and they are sweet.  6v is it's max but with it's smaller diameter, proper hood width is within reach.

Joe
MTL

up1950s

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Re: Ztrains.com: Model Railroad News Op-Ed
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2010, 11:53:49 PM »
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Sometimes decisions are made for me. :'(   But things are different now and the next go around should see some change there.  The E8-9 is coming along fine and I don't think anyone will have a problem with hood width! 

As for the switcher...yes lots of challenges, but by putting the worm gear next to the motor and the flywheel outside that, I can get in the 21'-27' foot wheelbase range.  The MP 15 would be the easiest to do because I can utilize existing trucks and gear towers.  My heart says S1-2-3-4 or SW...but still early in the process.  Just got some samples of the 6mm coreless from Maxon and they are sweet.  6v is it's max but with it's smaller diameter, proper hood width is within reach.

Joe
MTL

Maybe a MTL 6VDC powerpack wouldn't be a bad thing to introduce with any MTL Z 6VDC loco offering . It would help sell the 6 V loco then and in the future , and would be included in any ( you got it all in the box ) set .

Chris333

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Re: Ztrains.com: Model Railroad News Op-Ed
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2010, 12:50:38 AM »
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Or you could limit the voltage inside the loco from 8 to 6 volts.

ednadolski

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Re: Ztrains.com: Model Railroad News Op-Ed
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2010, 01:10:43 AM »
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You can have huge buildings and long stretches of track in a very small area, even compared to N.


You mean something like this?




AFAICT there are at least three separate trains in that shot.

Ed


DKS

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Re: Ztrains.com: Model Railroad News Op-Ed
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2010, 06:39:21 AM »
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Or you could limit the voltage inside the loco from 8 to 6 volts.

This option gets my vote. A simple voltage regulator would do the trick.
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
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