Tuesday, January 08, 2008

z scale: let's get small

At the 1972 Nuremburg Toy Fair a German company called Märklin released the first model trains in Z scale.

Z scale (1:220) is Really Small. So small that you can create a complete (and satisfying) layout in a fraction of the space it takes for even the next-larger scale.

Over the last year, z scale was one of the fastest-growing segments of the model train industry (according to Model Railroad Magazine), with new manufacturers cropping up on both sides of the Atlantic on a constant basis.

The unique value proposition of z scale sets it apart from the other segments of the model train industry - in an age when people are pressed for space and very sensitive to quality, z scale promises to deliver both. Even the "Z Scalers", as they call themselves, are different than traditional "model train enthusiasts". Taken together, this is a formula for transformation.

As a marketer, I find it fascinating to watch niche markets emerge from within mature markets. It's clear to me that these are not your grandfather's model trains - they are something entirely new and compelling. Well, they're new to me.

(Hand photo care of Marklin, Marklin Solar care of FAB Railways)

No comments: