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2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED

  • Alaska Railroader
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3 years 10 months ago - 3 years 10 months ago #16202 by Alaska Railroader
Alaska Railroader created the topic: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
Unfortunate turn of events for the Z scale community....

"It’s with great disappointment that I share this news, but as the administration and owners of the NZSC, we have decided to cancel plans for the 2014 National Z Scale Convention that was schedule to be held in Kansas City, MO in May 2014. There are a number of factors that have ultimately led us to this decision. We will be communicating this more publicly on the convention website and by email to last year’s attendees very soon, but wanted to contact the core contributors to the previous conventions first.

Thank you for your understanding and thank you for your participation in the previous two conventions.

Best regards,
Ben Thielemann

NZSC Convention Coordinator

MTL Marketing Director

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it."

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3 years 10 months ago #16203 by TheWag
TheWag replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
Bugger. I was hoping to make this one. Hope they will plan one for 2015 or 2016.

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3 years 10 months ago #16204 by GNFan
GNFan replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
In so many words: Dang!

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3 years 10 months ago #16205 by shamoo737
shamoo737 replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
Thank You philosopher Mike. :D

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3 years 10 months ago #16206 by Alaska Railroader
Alaska Railroader replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
I believe we need to be more creative and to be more motivated in order to keep Z alive and kicking.

Its just my opinion but I attribute this cancellation first to a bad location. KC is really nowhere near the center of the Z universe so I'm guessing that the majority of participants would end up flying in. If you're going to fly into a city anyway why not have it in a location where you might find the most local, or near enough local Z scale modular groups? If you don't have enough club participation and you make it costly for vendors to ship their goods and themselves in then you have a perfect fail scenario.

I'll pick the West Coast as an example because I don't know enough about the East coast contingencies. If you put this convention anywhere near the Bay Area or anywhere near the LA area they could have a great convention even if nobody else showed up. Why? They have very active clubs with many, many modules to show. Several vendors are in those areas or can drive their goods to the location. They have weekend meets more often than most of us touch our trains. The public is huge on their Z and they know how to draw them in. What will make Z grow? Exposure. Kansas podunk City is not "it". Then, while in the area they can go to Disneyland, other parks, wine country, the Silicon valley and many museums and see or ride 1:1 trains.

Secondly I believe Z scale needs more. Just more. More diecast vehicles like N scale, more choices in affordable plastic injected small items, more affordable everything. But manufacturers shy away. Have you noticed how few laser kit companies have released new Z scale kits? They haven't, not even MTL has done a Z kit in a very long time. We've pulled a lot because they need revamping and when we re-release them hopefully we can lower the cost to the modeler. Right now Z scale is full of locomotives and rolling stock, something we've been dreaming about for a long time. Now we need to see them actively running on layouts so that we can give Z "exposure".

I'd love to hear others give counterpoint because we need to find out what we're not doing right then remedy it. Is this cancellation a "symptom"? Let's find the fix - for the future....

Sad sad.

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3 years 10 months ago #16207 by rvn2001
rvn2001 replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
I don't think the location is the problem. KC is fairly centrally located in the COUNTRY....not just convenient for the West/East coasters and has plenty of things for the family to do. There's a large, nationally-known amusement park and plenty of museums and other venues for families to enjoy. One of the problems is the time of the year...kids are still in school and some people would prefer to take one vacation to cover everything. Maybe if the Z convention was held the weekend before or the weekend after the NMRA national convention and near it people would be more inclined to attend both. That's how the very first Z scale convention in Columbus was held and it worked out very well. When it comes to attending any event, there has to be some commitment on the part of the participants. Ellen and I drove from St. Louis and Indianapolis to attend the NTS in Sacramento, Grand Rapids, and Atlanta. None of those cities is close to us yet we were committed to display our modules in both Grand Rapids and Atlanta. We would have displayed in Sacramento if any of the west-coast groups had expressed the desire to have modules from other groups there. It seems to me that the folks on the coasts need to get off their a$$es and take their modules to the rest of the country. The same goes for any other group that only does shows and events in their own back yard. Only doing shows and events in your own back yard is "preaching to the choir". We encounter people at every show who have never seen Z scale before and are impressed with how much can be done on the relatively small layout we put together with just our 14 feet of modules. John Mui joined us in Atlanta with his street-running module which brought a lot of attention. I asked for modules to join us there and John was the only one to respond and show up. How can we expect manufacturers to develop an interest in producing Z scale items when they don't see Z at shows...or anywhere else for that matter. Keep in mind that David George's excellent Z scale layout has won many awards and we've had several Z scale displays/layouts/modules win "Best of Show" at several of the National Train Shows. Z scale is more of a closet scale than most of the others but we need to get out there and show people what can be done.

Sincerely,
Thom Welsch

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3 years 10 months ago #16208 by tealplanes
tealplanes replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
Thom,
Some or all of what you say may be true in this case, but I also think other factors may also be contributing to the situation. You and Ellen racked up a lot of miles to attend the different shows you mentioned and I and others on the West coast have also put in some miles in our prior show attendances.

The economic times may also be a factor that affects many these days. Sometimes the effort and dollars available just don't quite balance out even though the desire to attend is there.

There may be more to it than dollars available for show attendance though what it is is hard to say. Back in 2005 Z fever seemed to affect many and the excitement generated by any new product announcement drove the hobby quite a bit. Why the fervor over Z seems to be waning is not an easy thing to figure out.

I can think of a number of Z manufacturers who are not currently producing product and that certainly plays into the equation to some extent.

I also believe life in general gets in the way of our hobby interests. I used to be heavily involved in radio controlled boats, but my boat hasn't touched water in over 12 years. Still love the idea of racing across water, but my boat sits in a cupboard. Other interests take priority.

I believe many will continue to enjoy their Z hobby, but for the future of show attendance and conventions......who can say?

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3 years 10 months ago #16209 by rvn2001
rvn2001 replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
Loren,
I don't want to hear that the economic times are causing problems. I've never made more than $25k a year. I don't have any savings nor retirement account....what little I did have went bye-bye when I was recently unemployed for 20 months and denied unemployment benefits because the employer lied about why I was fired. I pay for all of my health, vision and dental insurance. I own my own home on 4 wooded acres and I own 2 cars. I have the same financial responsibilities that everybody else does. My 2009 Subaru Forester has over 100K miles on it. I suspect a good amount of those were used going to and from train shows. I only get one week of paid vacation now that I've been working again for over 1 year. I'll admit that I probably wouldn't have been able to do as many out-of-town train shows without Ellen's help.

I'm also aware that life gets in the way. I have to do everything for myself...from home and auto maintenance to cooking, cleaning,laundry and shopping. I've been married and divorced twice and paid child support for 15 years. I've declared bankruptcy, had a car re-possessed, and the bank start foreclosure proceedings on the day I was supposed to close on the sale of my house. I have to work full time and have had 2 jobs just to make ends meet. I've been self-employed, had mean and stupid bosses and been a supervisor.

Now......who is planning to go to Cleveland for the NTS next year? I have paperwork for it that I can fill out if anybody besides Ellen and I are going.

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3 years 10 months ago #16210 by Mr.JA
Mr.JA replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
I will repeat myself... something stinks... and, it ain't the fish. :angry:

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3 years 10 months ago #16211 by zbarr474
zbarr474 replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
So far none of us knows what is happening. One thing I have not seen mentioned on any of the train forums is the possibility that some of the other manufacturers were not planning to participate. In Atlanta a few weeks ago, there was very little Z being sold as there were almost no dealers other than ZTrack and AZL itself. Z layouts consisted of two areas [3 modules]. Ben represented MTL but had nothing to sell. There were visitors around Mr Dave's layout, but I don't recall any asking WHERE they could buy Z. A couple wanted to know if Mr Dave was a seller but seemed to lose almost all interest as soon as we said "No." One other thing is take a look at the advertising MTL has done recently in many of the train magazines. Month after month of no advertising at all, except occasionally an N scale ad. You can't expect folks to get fired up if there is nothing to talk about.

My dimes worth.

...don
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3 years 10 months ago #16212 by Alaska Railroader
Alaska Railroader replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
I certainly do not fault MTL for their decision. Yes, they raise money to fund these things but they also have to pay their salaried help to do all of the planning and execution. The more time they have to devote to a convention half the country away the less time they have for making trains.

Thom, you and Ellen are a dedicated modelers and show attendees, there is no question of that. Its just that few others have your level of devotion. We have always loved it when you guys would come out this way for shows and hope to see you again and again.

I don't feel this should turn into a blame game. No one else has stepped up to take over this huge responsibility so we need to watch our words in regards to Ben's announcement. I think this should also include not blaming the west coast guys for being too lazy for not hauling *literally* truck loads of modules a couple of thousand miles to a mediocre city. I used the west coast guys as an example because, as I said also, that I don't know the east coast clubs and their setups. I just know there just isn't much Z action in KC normally.

I agree that St. Louis or Chicago would have possibly attracted more participants but you would still have had the problem of a very small modular layout and probably heavy on the BYOZ which is not exactly a public magnet for Z.

As I had mentioned earlier, lets think of creative ways to put the spark back into Z and not find fault with each other.

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3 years 10 months ago #16213 by rvn2001
rvn2001 replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
KC is as much a "happening" city as Medford, Oregon!!!! There's a lot of ground and people interested in Z scale between the east and west coasts!

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3 years 10 months ago #16214 by Alaska Railroader
Alaska Railroader replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
Oh, I agree. Medford was not an ideal location and it had its own built in problems. But it was a start and much was learned from it. The last convention was in Denver, also a bit remote, and it had great attendance. But it was a logistical nightmare and the Best of Show layout was destroyed in the shipment.

I guess there is no right or wrong answer here, it is what it is.....

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3 years 10 months ago #16215 by shamoo737
shamoo737 replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
I say Pembroke Pines. It has two international airports within 30 miles. It has nearby beaches, fine dinning, convention centers left and right, and its really close for me. :D

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3 years 10 months ago #16216 by ejshelton
ejshelton replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
Its a shame that the convention is being cancelled but I'm sure you had reasons. The mistake you made is to start making up reasons to explain. The reasons given didn't make sense and thus the arguments. If you want to explain please come up with a real reason...not just excuses. If you choose not to explain that's your right. I agree with Thom's arguments and I think you brought it all on to yourselves by making excuses for something you didn't need to excuse.

Yes Thom and I are enthusiastic Zers and we enjoy it and try to go even when times are tough. Not much was sold at Atlanta..but htose who had any did well. We sent many from our layout to the few dealers who had Z. We also had many....as we do at all shows that asked if we had any for sale and went on. Those who are really interested will stay long enough for us to give them the information as to what is for sale....including sources not on the premises

The Z convention is a different animal from an NMRA show. Its the choir preaching to the choir and is not a way of promoting Z. I'm sure its fun and wish I could get to them....but the timing is all wrong for me.

Good luck on planning another and hopefully I'll make one someday if they're still happening when I don't have to work during the school year

Ellen
Indianapolis
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3 years 10 months ago #16217 by tealplanes
tealplanes replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
Ellen,
I'm a little confused by your first statement regarding excuses and arguments as MTL made no excuses at all in their announcement.

No one is arguing about reasons for the cancellation, rather just sharing thoughts about location, sales and interest or lack there of and manufacturer's presence at shows.

Thom, I can relate to your situation in several ways and I'm not unsympathetic to the issues you have faced in the past. You and Ellen's dedication to the hobby is exemplary and I imagine many wish they could attend as many shows as you have in the past and will continue to it seems.

For whatever reason MTL had for cancelling is their business and I'm sure they regretted having to do so. I still maintain that money has something to do with the whole issue and usually does in most of life's goings on. It certainly cost MTL an arm and a leg to put the first two shows on.

Several have offered positive encouragement and hopes for a better Z future and I'm sure many would jump at the chance to attend a convention if conditions were more favorable to their situation.

What we need is for some very rich guy or gal to foot the bill for all of us to fly first class or drive with custom rigs and put us up in 5 star hotels and pay all our expenses including raffle tickets.

Let's hope that somehow the enthusiasm and excitement of 2005 can once again return to our hobby.

I'm not negating the value of other shows in the past, but for those of you who do not understand the significance of 2005, just ask a few who were there. Now that was a great time for all. Right Rob?

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3 years 10 months ago #16218 by ejshelton
ejshelton replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
"I'm a little confused by your first statement regarding excuses and arguments as MTL made no excuses at all in their announcement."

Loren....In you earlier post you attribute it to location. Denver worked and Kansas City is in the middle of nowhere just as Denver is. You blaming location doesn't make sense to any of us. That is why the objections. We just didn't buy it.

Ellen

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3 years 10 months ago #16219 by JoeD
JoeD replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED
There wasn't enough Bitchin' and Moanin' so we thought we would stir the pot a bit :silly: . Finally, one of my plans works!!

Joe
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3 years 10 months ago - 3 years 10 months ago #16220 by tealplanes
tealplanes replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED

ejshelton wrote: Loren....In you earlier post you attribute it to location. Denver worked and Kansas City is in the middle of nowhere just as Denver is. You blaming location doesn't make sense to any of us. That is why the objections. We just didn't buy it. Ellen


Actually Karin said KC was a bad location, based upon perhaps a lack of participating modules, and maybe corporate sponsorship was lacking.

No matter where the convention were to be held, it wouldn't be possible or expedient for some no matter what.

Ellen, you just gotta buy my comment,......it's the only thing I have left to sell after Uncle Sam and I talked recently.

Medford had one main negative to it though it was in MTL's back yard and very handy for us especially, the lighting was terrible and that was a real negative, plus I believe that weekend there was a local home show which took away from possible attendees. But the banquet.....oh that was a great time for all.

Anyway,....now we have woke up Joe and that's not a good thing to do when he is hungry and has been told he has to work overtime and his latest ideas for MTL aren't going to be approved.

We needn't guess any further as to why MTL cancelled. The deed is done and I'm sure that if MTL feels it necessary to reveal the reason, that Joe will pass it on to us. These are tough times economically for many personally and manufacturers too.

One last thought and I'll let it drop...I know Joe well enough and the workings of MTL to say with confidence that they thought long and hard to come to their painful decision of canceling.

Now, let's all go check under our sofa cushions for any loose change that we can put in our travel expense jar for the next show.

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3 years 10 months ago #16221 by ModelWarships
ModelWarships replied the topic: Re: 2014 Z Scale Convention CANCELLED

Stonebridge Models wrote: Kansas podunk City is not "it". Then, while in the area they can go to Disneyland, other parks, wine country, the Silicon valley and many museums and see or ride 1:1 trains.


Podumk?? Ben, you need to do your homework. First of all there is more to Kansas City, than just Kansas City, MO and KS. There are many suburbs with population and even in today's economy $$ to spend. Let me say that while, I am new to Z-scale, I have been around Railroad Modeling for many years. My real hobby is plastic ships, but that is more work to me than hobby these days. In the model kit world, the IPMS (International Plastic Modelers Society) is the body that hosts and organizes the conventions. Local Chapters make bids to the main body to host the annual conventions. They put together the plans and hopefully have a good balance of convention center and local attractions to draw in the audience. KC ran the 2006 IPMS nationals and it was a big success. We had people from all over the world attend. I helped run the show and it took a lot of dedicated folks working hard to pull it off. You can bet when we run another show, there will be no second thoughts about coming back. In contrast last year it was in Orlando. Guess what, the vendors hated it. Why? Well there was no money left to spend after hitting the parks. So stop thinking about it as a vacation, and more like promoting Z scale.

Some things you outright missed about KC (just who did you talk to anyway?). We have the best train watching in the country. Perhaps it was the Convention center that was initially picked. That is up by the airport and while convenient for those flying in, it is a poor choice for those who want to see the sights. We held ours at the Hyatt downtown. Perhaps Station would have been a better choice for a RR convention? Also there are two tourist RR's nearby, and a nice 16" gauge line that would be fun for the family and would leave you with enough money to spend with the Vendors. KC is centrally located and I am willing to bet would attract a good sized crowd.

Now, like I said I am new to Z, but you might consider expanding your city selection process and work with locals who can provide better info. If you want to see Z scale grow you need to stop thinking on a 1/220 level and think on a larger scale.

Timothy Dike
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