Having made it back in one piece from Palmerston North (John, Cleese was correct in his views, but he didn't get to stay there on Easter Sunday, lucky bugger) I have returned to offer my opinions. I've seen some reports from the convention, but nothing too detailed. Also, there have been photos uploaded onto the Nz120 yahoo group, but no one has sent any message out to say that they are actually there, which all seems rather pointless. A report from those involved on any sort of public forum would be nice.
(UPDATE; Earwicker as some pictures and discussion on his freemo site)
The most important convention discussion was probably wheel standards in that some wheels just won't run on some track. Now while the Peco wheel has served us for far longer than it should, Maye its time for it to shuffle off into the night. (I still think if it was scaled up it would look like an old triang wheel). I've already put my 2 cents worth in on the forum, but I'll post it here as well. I think there should be a recommended practice where people are encouraged to use the NMRA standards. NMRA wheels will still run on Peco track. Those wishing to use finer scale measurements could use the 2mm groups standards and just alter the track gauge. The minus is that NMRA standard wheelsdon't tend to have spokes, which is a bit of a bugger for those of usnot modeling container wagons.
I've also heard that the J5 wagon tops went down faster than a sailors trousers on shore leave. Everyone liked them, but no-one brought one. Seriously, its things like this that do distress me somewhat. Here is a kit that is the equal of anything in the larger scales. People say that they are looking for more detail etc, yet don't seem to realise that things like that do cost. I didn't think that the price was set too high compared to similar items in the larger scales (in fact they seem quite good value wise). I'm currently assembling one and while its not an easy build by any stretch of the imagination, its going to give a few hours modeling pleasure, and will look exceptionally good on the layout.
I've also been privy to the resulting conversations where the group behind this (as well as a few other projects) is seriously reconsidering their options and just what they want to do in the scale. My large steam loco project is suddenly looking different in that I may not make any more than I need as there doesn't appear to be much point if no one is going to pay what it actually costs to make (and the numbers are starting to stack up). I've had a check at the cost of Phil Badgers models in Australia, and his steam loco kits currently retain at $320 Au, which is about $400 here. I can't see it being any cheaper here, and this is the reality of the situation.
This is a worry I have. Even if a manufacturer does his research and sums, if the product is released and doesn't sell, what then? Shorter production runs that are more expensive due to lack of numbers?
Maybe the next question should be, what does everyone want,and what price do they think that they should pay to get it. The difference between that and the actual cost may well be surprising...