I’ve been in both a reflective as well as a looking-forward mood the past week or so regarding things that pertain to Z scale, the overall community and my own Ztrains.com. Earlier this year I moved my site to this new software platform and overall I think it’s has been a solid success. Bit of a learning curve but that was to be expected.
There are still tweaks here and there that are needed but on balance, I believe it’s a solid online place for Z scale. As with any online resource I think controlled growth is a good idea, sort of a publish or perish thing.
In addition, this past week by coincidence, I’ve had to good fortune to speak to a few really good guys on the phone about Z scale and it’s been interesting and a little enlightening for me. What I found most interesting was their participation, or lack thereof, on the public Z scale forums. The guys I spoke with are exactly the kind of people I’d like to see on forums: thoughtful, excited about Z scale, talented and moving forward… but currently they’re not keen on the forums.
Of all the guys I spoke with, only one frequents the forums and even he told me he doesn’t go there all too often as he thinks there’s not enough modeling talk going on. Much as it pains me to say it, I agreed with him. Maybe it’s the fact that we’re in what some consider to be a cute scale but I’m so tired of reading a promising forum thread that degrades into some weird mix of baby talk (I wish I was kidding about this) and inside jokes. To be fair this doesn’t happen in all threads, but it happens enough that many modelers just don’t participate.
I figured I might be being a bit unfair, maybe too harsh, so this past week I’ve been checking out several pay forums as well as forums for our larger scale cousin, N scale. In an objective frame of mind, I was impressed about how good some of the threads were. Lots of great information and ideas were passed around… and not a snippet of baby talk.
No forum is perfect and I realize I might have just caught these other forums on a really good week, but given the phone conversations I had with these other Z scalers, I’m not alone in my frustration.
Between being a bit unhappy with some of the current forum tones and looking at my own Ztrains.com and what direction I need to go in, I’ve been (once again) kicking around the idea of establishing a new Z scale forum. Earlier this week I wrote about how change is often a good thing maybe I need to make a change, in this case a forum addition right here at Ztrains.com.
Great long threads about Z modeling: do I use this airbrush or that, how do you build your deciduous trees, the best way to dissemble an MTL or AZL loco. You know, real modeling talk. Maybe I’m just a cockeyed optimist, but I think it’s possible. As I wrote earlier in the week, I might even charge a few bucks to join and have policies that are enforced.
We’ll see, but it’s a heck of a good dream and frankly I think it would be a good, no-nonsense resource for the scale. Goo goo gaa gaa baby!
What do you think?