Saturday, September 19, 2009

To join or not to join.

I have sitting somewhere in my room at the moment an application form for NZMRG membership. Normally I would have fired it off ages ago, but I'm in 2 minds.

On one hand its $45 for 4 issues, which is cheaper than at the local magazine shop, however if I buy there I am supporting a local business.

I'm finding the articles are all either on other scales or feature prototypes that I'm not particularly interested in ( they have even stopped drawing the plans in NZ120). The age old argument of course is 'why don't you write them yourself?' In this case that's not particularly valid (after all, you are reading this aren't you, and I did write it). Its not overly easy to actually write an article for the journal any more. the pictures that they require are 3000 pixels square (or something similar, it comes out to 2MB per picture). Now for a man who is a point and click photographer and wouldn't know where to start looking for these settings ( and I'm not sure if my 7 year old camera is even good enough for that) that's a bit of an ask as well. Compare that to the demented ramblings here, where I bang of the pictures, reduce the file size (to make it easier for those on a dial up connection), and upload them with a bit of drivel in between to connect them. All from the comfort of my wee computer room hole (sort of like a hobbit hole but with more alcohol and less wizards).

I'll admit that old journals are a great source of plans (the guards van saga is an off-shoot of this) but that's going back over 30-40 odd years (I'd love to see the whole older collection PDF'ed so that you could buy them).

I guess the most important function that the Guild does provide is a first up point of contact. It must be awfully hard to find information on how to model NZR in any scale from the outside.

Its just a pity there could not be some faster more up to date method of passing information.

(This post brought to you by a mixture of boredom at work, as there is only so much office golf you can play, and several beers at home. Cheer's).

PS, I'll probably join, but only if they throw in a quarterly column :v)


Greg said...

Its a perennial point of debate for us all, but the value of joining the Guild & partaking of the Journal for a piffling $45 p.a ( its now 48 pages) should not be a concern for an NZR modeller - a number of the postings on this blog would make great articles as they are - the Journal team are happy to assist neophyte, garrett- based stuggling authors to see their name in lights - the Journal plans can all be rescaled quite easily thanks to modern technology & there have been a number of NZ120 plans of bogie wagons & diesel locos recently - you also get a discount on the 50 wagon plans & 43 plansets ( latest ones include Waimate station - I would encourage you to (1) find & fill in the form; (2)submit a few articles to the Editor, so he starts an NZ120 column (3) encourage other NZ120 modellers to flood Journal headquarters with comments. As to helping local business - why not start at home and help fund the amateur organisation which tries it best to foster NZ rail modelling, rather than a bookshop which earns its crust from peddling womens, petrol-head & x-rated items.

Amateur Fettler said...

I'm going to play devils advocate on this one. I've been wandering about the hobby in many different capacities ever since we first shifted to Wellington in 1992. Since then, I have met several "names" in the hobby, worked on layouts with several of them, been a member of several weeknight groups, been to several conventions (well okay, 2), built things, wrote things, debated things....and all of this I did without being a member of the guild. Admittdly I am in a position at the moment where having access to their plan packs isnt really a bonus for me, and I have always been more of a "lone wolf" modeller with only close links to a few (such as Kiwibonds and the Head Druff) to provide support. To quote a well known editor of the journal when I asked him at a convention why his name tag was upside down, "The people I want to talk to know who I am"....

Do I sponge off the guild by not buying the journal and reading it either in the library or at work? Probably. Do I support the peopel that I know and who know me with their modelling whether they are guild members or not? Absolutely.

manaia said...

@sice mag , I once thourt abut subscribing to this mag. but when will it arive??? or will it? any mag that removes its month so as to not show how late it acculy is is doge, remember the rails mag?,
I spent more money chasing my sub than it totel cost (still never got it!

lalover said...

For me personally, having my small library of Journals is priceless!
I never never get bored with flicking through a volume, to get inspiration or just to reaquaint myself with some facet that is of interest.

Motorised Dandruff said...

I'll reply to your comments Greg.
I remember writing articles for the Journal in the 1990's, and we basically just wrote them and they were printed (well, maybe a we bit of editing, but not much). Granted the Journal is now a more polished item than it was then, but its possibly lost some of its local uniqueness along the way.

Rescaling plans is a big of a problem as the transition factor is 0.53333 etc so you can't get it exactly right.

The various blog posts that turn up here are items that will never make it to a magazine. Some of the series would be good, but they are already up at, and they could never be published in the journal as the photo's are of insufficient resolution ( and are not able to be repeated). This is an enormous barrier.

As to supporting local business, of the shops I do buy at, one is a dedicated magazine shop with a wide range of craft magazines, and the other is a local independent bookshop. I guess my local is just (quite) a bit smaller than other peoples local.

Greg said...

just to prove that older rail modellers stay awake to odd hours too, here are a few more comments on this vexatious little subject:

1. previous post word should have been "struggling" not "stuggling"

2. yes, agreed - it takes all sorts to progress our hobby, and any avenue/medium is valid - this blog is far and away one of the best about active NZ rail modelling, and "lone wolf" modellers are one of the reasons the Guild was formed - to be of assistance to same

3. the Journal, since it went to a quarterly after the 2008 Taradale Convention AGM , has been published in the months per the Guild member's mandate there i.e June/Sept/Dec/March - issue 367 (September - arrived Friday) - a number of other notable model railway mags long ago adopted the practice of numbering their issues - eg MRJ - UK, Roy Link's long winded little mag etc - there is no shame in that, nor any ulterior motive.

4. its perfectly fine to read a copy at work and or the Library - in fact a few of the "better" class of those latter institutions even subscribe to the Journal for their collections - if they don't already encourage your local to so do. Wellington/Chch/ P Nth do

5. you don't have to be a member of the Guild to be an NZ rail modeller - its just that a lot of the stuff available to people to aid in their modelling of the NZ scene has come via members of the Guild - and the "bursts" in the Journal by members who were happy to share stuff, such as for example, Maurie Duston, John Rappard and some contributors to this very Blog were of benefit to the establishment and nourishment of NZ120

5. I suggest the way to get some 'local uniqueness" back into the Journal, and make it work effectively as a complimentary aid to progressing NZ120 is to have a go at an article, or a set of notes, or a letter to the editor, or a collection of pix, no matter how old your camera is - heck some of the stuff is still shot on old single lens reflex jobs using film.

6.rescaling - I was implying the computer based scan and recalibrate approach, r.t than dial up photocopiers - still its the actual prototype measurements which count, as even in the best of drawings errors can occur through shrinkage, expansion, mistake by draughsman etc

7. local businesses - to each his/her own - my implication was to put the $45 towards the Guild to improve its aids to the hobby, r.t $48 to a bookshop owner, albeit they are nice people too.

Anonymous said...

Actually chch library don't hold it any more. They did when it was supposed to be a 2 monthly, then it went missing for months and months and months, and they gave up getting it (as I would have too if I had been a subscriber).

Yes I used to glance through it at the library too, and since they don't hold it, I don't see it any more. And I don't find my life lacking and unfulfilled.
But then I am another one of those 'lone wolves' and I don't need any NZR plans either. If I did I may have a different take on it.

And yes, I have provided an article for it recently (at the request of the editor), although he has enough stuff at the moment, so you won’t see it for some months yet. And when you finally do, I bet all those 3/16th modellers will probably complain about their precious pages being wasted on some other funny scale.

Glen Anthony

Greg said...

Awake again and trying to get rid of a "malware' called "Total Security" - contrary to popular belief the Chch Public Library is still a fully fledged financial member ( #750) of the Guild - so is receiving the Journal for FY2008/9/10 each quarter.

When the Guild did a member's survey a few moons ago, NZ120 modellers made up 8% of the membership, plus there were a goodly smattering of N scalers too.

Now I know and appreciate that quite a number of this chat group are already members and get the Journal, plus others support their local bookseller - that's great - but if the whole 107 were Guild members, then that would be the second largest bloc in the Guild - the mind boggles at such potential.

There is some really inspirational modelling on this blog, and good NZR modelling should be oblivious to "scale blindness" - just as good modelling techniques from other modellers ( military/vehilce/aircraft/ US/UK/ French etc) can assist us to create that special NZ item - look at what is shared at the annual TraiNZ meets by the modellers of all scales and prototype interests as a positive example -

The Guild is in the throes of considering a massive upgrade of the website for members, and a few of the thoughts in this slim trail are being considered - but the more comments provided from modellers about "stuff" they want, the more likely it is to happen.

I will look forward to your article Glenn in the near future - I have already been encouraging certain people to contribute stuff on NZ120 happenings, challenges etc -

I hope to see a great blossoming at the Chch Convention and at the SIG there.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Greg.

Now I will go and enquire what the chch library do with in. Because it doesn't go out on the shelf like it used to do.

And p.s. when I mentioned ‘funny scale’ before, I wasn’t referring to nz120, it was another scale.

So what % of the Guild is 3/16th? There is nothing wrong with knowing what your market is and giving them what they want. If I was a 3/16th modeller I probably wouldn’t be so interested in the mag being filled up with other scales either.


Darryl said...

Some interesting points raised here from all sides, which is always healthy.

For what it's worth, I've been a member off and on since the mid 1980s. I forgot to renew about ten years ago and at the time I was probably going through a fiscal crisis (which is also why I dropped out during my university years).

I have a stack of journals and I enjoy going through them every few years. I'll often pick up a journal at the shop if I see one, as most of them have something or other of interest in them (as much content and quality as an MR mag from a country 1% the population of the US is pretty impressive), but for me the journal is the only *tangible* thing the guild provides. And while I belive in supporting the cause, at this stage I haven't been compelled to rejoin, strange though that seems.

So I guess my first rhetorical question is: what does, or more importantly, *could*, the Guild provide that would tempt the (obviously) large number of bystanders to get off the sidelines and join, and more importantly remain a member? An internet infrastructure similar to the fledgeling Online membership signup/renewal? Automatic renewal to a visa card to take the hassle or remembering to renew away? Discounts on plans, the journal, conventions? Arranging more Pokaka style events? Ways to get in contact with other local members?

Secondly, if 8% of the guild said they were interested in NZ120, either the guild membership has shrunk dramatically, or there are an awful lot of very quiet NZ120 modelers out there. Why not show us what you're up to? I've always been a lone wolfer as well, but without the inspiration of others I'd mose interest.

I suppose it wouldn't hurt the cause if one of us was to submit something or some pictures to the Journal. Even something to let the world know the blog and exists.

Darryl said...

mose interest? I wish this had a spell checker...

Greg said...

I shall add one last posting to this interesting & informative thread then endeavour to refrain, as I should get back to doing some modelling - thank you gentlemen for the opportunity and the positive comments - so nice to be part of a group which is able to refrain from vitriol - for subscribers to this blog hare are a few more information points:

1. for Glen - I was most impressed with you foray into "grandad" scale and mining which I viewed at the recent Timaru show - fantastic modelling - I trust the Journal Features Editor is chivvying you to share this with the Guild. - the Chch Public Library has its Journal addressed to "Resource Management" section - what ever that is.

2. General commnets - other benefits of being a Guild member - (a)you already do receive significant discounts on plans, plan books, back copies of the Journal etc - have a look at the prices per the website - or in the Journal.
(b) there is a list of area reps, who cover most parts of NZ - their contact details are in the Journal and you can email them off the website - please get your suggestions etc to them.

(c) the biennial convention (next one Chch 2010 Easter)is organised by NZAMRC and the host entity - the Guild is potentially NZ's biggest model rail club, but doesn't have anything to do with the costs to attend etc -

(d) Pokaka style events - having attended these & TraiNZ xx I am sure they are good value and there is more potential there at a local level - talk to your area rep about the options and maybe link it to one of the Model Rail or hobby show weekends of which there are now a fair number.

Darryl - per your thoughtful ponderings - the way the survey question was posed it allowed modellers who "had an interest in" a scale to include NZ120,(so a degree of replicated counting thus arose - e.g I model in 9mm, but enjoy the NZ120 site, and am thinking about a running layout in NZ120, so would have flagged interest in NZ120)

My point was if the 107 Yahooers were all members you have much more potential say - the NZ120 articles in the Journal a few years ago probably arose because there were some active NZ120 ers on the Exec.

the proposed Guild website revamp will include several of those features you noted - viz internet membership renewal, e-mail publications ordering, members only section, visa/mc payment secured option, blog, local area news pages, scale specific otions etc - again any thoughts you guys have on what would be nice to have will be graciuosly considered - just e-mail us.

the Sn3.5 head count was about 43%, but again I would have figgered there too: US & UK prototype/modelling interest was also quite high (i.e above margin of error point)as a matter of interest, although the Journal has hardly ever included stuff on those interests.

you are right of course - and in response to Rhys comment about a quarterly column being all he needs to motivate him to part with the $45 - a submission of materials from this group, including some of the stuff off the blog (to encourage other scalers to move) could easily fill one of those extra pages - if the wairarapa, christchurch, taranaki, westies, NSMRC, southland etc can get into print so can the NZ120'ers

finally ( & it is) the Guild website is short on links to trade suppliers for NZ120 stuff, apart from Graeme D's link - here is a key opportunity for some free promotion via the suppliers link page, or give us a "go to" link dude to add to the "area rep" list i.e an NZ120 man (or woman).

Darryl said...

Sorry to drag this thread out, but just thinking out loud, could the NZ120 rep be listed as the website?

(Unless someone has already raised their hand)

Greg said...

That could work perfectly well for this electronically savvy group - someone would presumably hold their hand up to respond to queries, but I guess you would have the power of potentially 107 "area reps" to assist queries, EOIs etc - if people are happy to try this linkage I can get current site modified and it can be built into the new one which should be with us before year-end - collective thoughts to darryl's suggestion

Amateur Fettler said...

The thread that refuses to die...

I think Darryls suggestion has some validity. There are a group of admins on the site, as well as a lot of very enthusiastic it would be the perfect "first point of contact" for the scale. Its easy to be a beginner in a welcoming group!

lalover said...

And a quarterly column in the Journal would serve to promote this link, and let other modellers not already following 120th developments, see what its all about!

Motorised Dandruff said...

I knuckled under and sent the form off today. In the new expanded format journal finding space for a column should be no problem at all.
I guess that qualifies us to be the Nz120 contact personage as well (at

Greg said...

I await with relish receipt of the pristine membership form from RB - the Guild is "listening" to your thoughts and as I stated the new web-site should see many of the electronic "labour-saving" devices incorporated ( including a spell check!!).

the Journal team await with bated breath the proffered NZ120 column and I shall get the NZ120 org group added to the Guild contacts list on the present website in the near future.

thank you gentlemen, and continue to enjoy the hobby.