Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by CN1, Dec 30, 2003.

  1. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    What's the benefit of belonging to the NMRA?

  2. Wow...talk about a loaded question! (just kidding :D )

    There are several people who have several (strong) opinions about this, but here's mine. I think the NMRA has done a lot of good for the hobby, but also think that they are not currently fullfilling their entire potential. I am not a member, as I think the dues are astronomically high, given the benefits received from the membership. I would much rather support a local club with the dues, but alas there is no local club in my area. Nevertheless, I think the NMRA needs to change from within to become relevant again.
  3. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    What Eddie said!
  4. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    What is needed?

    What do you get when you are a member?
  5. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    The NMRA did a lot to establish standards for the various scales and guages both for the modeler and the manufacture. They also did a lot to promote the hobby and to promote fellowship among modelers. I don't belong (once I did) but I don't have any arguement with them. Its a good organization if you like being a member of a national organization with respect to your hobby.

    As far as benefits go, I don't know what they offer now. It used to be when It was a member a quarterly magazine and a membership card and special rates to the conventions, but that was a long time ago.

    Why don't you check out their website www.nmra.org and it should tell you what they have to offer now.

    Me, I'm not a "joiner" anymore!!!:p
  6. CN1

    CN1 Active Member


    Just asking. Curious about it:confused: I don't think I will join at this time:rolleyes:
  7. Brunob1

    Brunob1 New Member

    I agree. Used to belong. They're much to commercial now. Their magazine is just like the other monthly mags. No benefit that I can see.
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I belong to the NMRA. I really don't care so much for what "I get out of it." I think having a national organization to set standards and be a voice for the model railroader to the manufacturers is important. I think they could improve. It is a shame the dues are so high, I think some previous administrations engaged in too much deficit spending and now we "pay the piper." As far as the argument that they set standards for the various gauges in the past, but that is over now so we don't need them anymore, it wasn't that long ago that there was no dcc. Two companies made command control systems. Both were very expensive, and totally incompatible with each other. The one major gripe that could have been laid at the NMRA is that they sat on their tush for 20 years and came out with standards for command control 20 years too late. Of course digital wasn't available when command control first came out, but if they had lead, maybe more than two manufacturers would have done something with it. Even now dcc is changing and developing, and the NMRA is looking at those changes to see if they need to change their standards as well. If the NMRA had not set dcc standards for the various manufacturers to build product to, the choices would not be there today. The interchangeability would not be there with regard to decoders. Finally, I think you could safely add a zero in front of the decimal point on the prices of the dcc systems. I'll get off my "soap box" now.
  9. rsn48

    rsn48 Member

    I think part of the problem of NMRA dues is that many years ago they almost gave away life memberships without using proper underwriting procedures to establish proper lifetime dues. I know two of my friends are life time members and they both purchased life time memberships in the early 70's for around $100. Now when you consider these guys were in their early 20's at the time, you can see how unsound the practise was.

    There are a lot of these life time memberships around. Now in Canada, its almost $100 a year for a membership (around $85 to be precise).
  10. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    I agree essentially with what Russ has said. I am one of those old "cheapie" life members; but I do occasionally send them a contribution to help make up for the lack of life membership planning that took place "back when." I am also a life member of two NMRA regions, NER and NFR. I do agree that some mistakes were made in past NMRA administrations, but I think the current one is trying very hard to bring things back to the right way. It will take some time, however, and perhaps now is the time that the organization needs support.
  11. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Dave, as you can see the Order is not in very good standing amongst the general population of modelers.Awhile back an article was published(i'm sure you read it) regarding the NMRA as old political wannabe cronies running thier own elite little club and spending members dues irresponsibly.IMHO the N scale community in particular has been ignored to the point of being inflammatory at the mention of the NMRA.
    Years were spent getting the reputation amongst the community and i agree it will take a long time to repair the damage.
    My question to you and any other Member of the NMRA is How?
    How are you going to improve things??
    The manufacturers have gotten together and are quite well organized.They are in a better position than the NMRA and can dictate to the NMRA how things will be.The manufacturers themselves have done a better job in the last 10 years than the NMRA has done in bettering the hobby,improving products and encouraging new members to the hobby.
    So I ask again,How is the NMRA going to improve things??
    Show us a plan, tell us what you have in mind.Dont say
    "perhaps now is the time that the organization needs support"
    Give us a reason and let us determine wether they deserve support now,or ever.
  12. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    Whoeeewww!! I wouldn't dream of trying to answer that last. All I saw there was condemnation.

    I'm in the NMRA to support the Standards process and for the camaraderie that I have found in my division. I'll let others make up their own mind. You can take a look at:

    Member Benefits:

    and see what Model Railroader's Lionel Strang had to say about the N.M.R.A. at: http://www.nmra.org/working.html

    NMRA Beginner Pages:

    Central Indiana Division:

    If you don't look, you'll never know.
  13. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Condemnation? I dont think i condemned them.I did make some statements as to what the general consensus seems to be and stated that N scalers seem to have written the NMRA off as an organization that will even acknowledge them.I also added a bit about IMHO(in my humble opinion)I didnt condemn them however.I did ask for some specifics on how they plan to improve thier standing amongst modelers.And improving thier standing amongst N scalers should become a priority.
    Who would have believed that N scale would become as popular as it has.Obviously they didnt.And the N scale community feels more than slighted.So was it unreasonable to ask for specifics on what they intend to do?I dont think so considering they are asking for money,do you?
  14. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    N is popular. N modules are popular. NTraK came back to us to get a good copy of the plans for their Standard layout. I was delighted to help them out. For an organization that is supposed to be against N scalers, we certainly have a lot of them. :)

    I personally don't know what happened in the past and I don't really care. I do know that it is silly to carry a grudge way past the time to lay it down. If someone wants to do that, I can't help it. I'm willing to share our great hobby with anyone. And I can say that most of the folks that I know feel that way.

    Oh, BTW, you want a plan? It's on the NMRA web site. It's the LRP (Long Range Plan) designed to bring the organization into today. 'Tain't perfect by any means, but it's a start.

    Parting remark. $23 US is too much? You can join the NMRA for $23 if you don't want the magazine. Otherwise $46 US. I just bought a book about the New York Central that cost more than that, and it wasn't even a very big book. :)
  15. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Rodger,the NMRA in your part of Indiana (possibly all of Indiana) is not the same as the NMRA here in West Michigan.As you know I, like Larry Gilbert am a rabid N scaler but also support the other scales.

    Several years ago the NMRA here approached my group about joining the NMRA. We were really receptive of the idea until these guys found out we were N scalers and turned their backs on us (literally) and walked away.

    Supposedly the new people in charge don't feel that way but we have seen nothing to indicate this.

    $46.00 a year is a lot of money to a young family.When the NMRA wises up and lowers the rate to a sensible amount I think you will see more people joining.

    But first the NMRA had better educate themselves to the fact that the NMRA is about allscale model railroading and not just a large HO club.
  16. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Roger, to me its not about the money.I would love to see the NMRA be an effective organization that worked for everyone.I think it would be great to have people that are at the top of thier game in modeling take the time to really give this hobby a shot in the arm.
    I am not against you here,i am not your enemy,I would just like to see some changes that justify supporting the group.I am noteven asking them to be all things for all people.But fair and equitable treatment of all modelers regardless of scale,regardless of freelance or prototype,regardless of DC or DCC.In other words,An equal opportunity club!!
    Is the LRP open to the public,or can it only be viewed by members??I'll go see if i can find it :)
  17. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    Everything on the NMRA web site is open to all except for the two 'Members Only' discussion lists.

    When you visit, you will notice that there are changes coming in the Standards and RP area as well as potential changes in the structure itself.

    No, the NMRA isn't dead. It may have been sleeping, but dead it ain't. :)
  18. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Roger, you shoulda told me it was going to be 50 pages+ of reading.I was up 1/2 the night :)
    OK, i do see a couple things.
    #1-finally a genuine acknowledgment that a change is necessary
    #2-Added benefits to the common member in the form of an actual modelling segment in the magazine Scale Rails rather than just organizational notes,awards etc etc.
    #3 a benefit to our overseas cousins(albeit a bone) for added representation

    You were right,its a long ways from everything that needs doing but it is a shove in the right direction.I still see an awful lot of good ol boy protections for the heirarchy.They certainly will not be displaced before death!!!
    reminds me of a monorchy LOL
  19. Doug Trouten

    Doug Trouten New Member

    I am a member of the NMRA and I am also an N Scaler. The local Division (Division 10 of the North Central Region) has a couple others who are N Scalers.

    One thing that the NMRA does that helps promote Model Railroadings many aspects is the Achievement Program. If you look at the individual sections they arent as hard as it seems.

    Lets use the Master Builder- Structures as an example. I will be paraphrasing some of the examples that the NMRA gives to limit the total lenght of the post.

    To Qualify for the Master Builders- Structures certificate:
    1. You must construct twelve (12) scale structures:
    a. At least six (6) different types of structures must be represented in the total. A wood frame station and a brick station are different types of structures, but a wood frame station in California and one in Kansas would count as being different types unless you can show signifigant construction differences.

    b. One of the six types must be a bridge or trestle. The brigde doesnt have to span over the Grand Canyon, a short span over a creek or a dirt road may be enough. All you need to do is demonstrate that you know how to build the bridge that is appropriate for the situation and that will support the load it has to carry. You could also replace a grade crossing with a bridge to carry the road over the tracks, or even build a foot bridge- it doesnt have to go on your layout.

    c. At least six (6) of the models MUST be Scratchbuilt. The following are exempt from the scratchbuilt requirements (although you can scratch build them for additional points:
    • Light Bulbs and eEectronics
    • Paint, Decals, ect...
    • Figures
    • Basic shapes of wood, plastic, metal, ect... (example I Beams)
    For this you can use the plans from a structure kit as the basis or you can design your own plans as long as you go and purchase the materials yourself and assemble them.

    d. The rest of the six (6), if not Scratch built, must be super-detailed with scratch built or commercial parts (for extra points). Super detailing incudes weathering and adding little details such as, signs, ladders, electrical fixtures, window details, roof details, ect. For buildings including an interior (and a way to view it) is definitely recommended, with as much scratch building as possible for extra points. Including some sot of "scene with in a scene" is a good way to catch the judges eye. Adding detail to the structures will not only meet this part of the requirement, but wil also add to your score, and add to the over al appeal of the model.

    2. You must earn a score of as least 87-1/2 points on six of the twelve models in either an NMRA sponsored contest or in AP Merit Award judging. Notice only 6 of the 12 must earn 87-1/2 points. The others dont even need to be judged! They do all have to be described in the State ment of Quailification.

    3. You must submit a Statement of Qualification (SOQ- avalible from the Regional AP Manager) which includes the following
    a. An attachement giving a detailed description of each of the twelve modes, including:
    • Identification of all scratch built features
    • All commercial components used
    • Materials used in building the models
    • A notation thet the model is operational, if it is intended to be
    • If the Model is a kit, whose kit is it?
    b. Verification of the Merit Awards (photocopies of the certificates or signed Judging Forms).
    c. Photos of the modle are helpful, though not required.
    Your twelve structures Do Not have to all be of the same scale or era or on the same layout. In Fact, in most cases, it's better to build the structures spereately, have it judged (either in a contest or in seperate Merit judging), and then install it in its final location. In this way, the judges can get a better look at the model.

    Note: Many Contests require that structures NOT be mounted on any kind of sceniced base, or they will be considered "Displays". However, for seperate Merit Judging, they can be part of your layout.

    Now that we have viewed the AP requirements for the Structures we can see that many of use probly have already qualified. If i am reading this correctly the Walthers Sunrise Feed Mill N Scale kit that John Doe there just build would qualify as one of the structures, he will get bonus points for it is he goes above and beyond just building the kit by adding working lights, figures, wood pallets, crates, barrels, a detailed interior, weathering ect... An example of someone who possibly would already have qualified would be Robin, look at all the scratchbuilt structures he has blessed us with.

    The NMRA does have its benifits the Achivement Program is one of them, it encourages modelers to go the extra mile and to try something new.

    I think that I will let someone else take it from here, this post looks to be long enough for now.
  20. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    I'm a member of the NMRA. I joined so that I would be able to go to the convention last summer here in Toronto, which despite the SARS panic and a lot of people pulling out, was a rousing success and well worth the money.

    I attended lots of clinics, went on layout tours, met a lot of other modellers and had a blast. I even won a kitbashing award which thrilled me no end.

    Being on the limited membership plan is not quite so pricey. I also belong to the Niagara Region group and the CN SIG. That last group puts out a magazine which is an excellent resource for those modelling CNR. There are plans of stations, in-depth articles on motive power (with tons of pix), rolling stock, route maps etc. That magazine has been worth its weight in gold to me.

    I'm also planning on entering more contests, and will be attempting to get master modeller certificates in the future. The NMRA is providing the venue for this and for that I'm grateful.

    I'm sure the criticisms are real. But most of them, the bureaucracy, the cliques, the resistances to change are symptoms of any large organization. As long as I don't have to sit through the meetings it doesn't bother me!


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