1999 National Model & Hobby Show
This is my first time at Chicago's famous annual Hobby and Trade Show and had no idea what to expect. Thursday and Friday were reserved for trades people and the press, while Saturday and Sunday were open to the public. First off, the show is held in a hall the size of nine football fields. The subjects range from radio controlled aircraft and cars to model railroading, from die-cast collectibles to hobby tools, and most importantly (for us), models! Each of the manufacturers and distributors brought their wares, displayed in everything from multiple glass cases to entire pavilions installed inside the hall. There were train layouts, R/C car tracks, and even a small hobby shop within the hall (the hobby shop was the only area where folks could buy anything other than refreshments). The primary purpose of the show is to display the current and future products that they'll be offering and trying to convince each of the average hobby shop owners to carry their products.
I visited with most of the manufacturers and distributors at the show, and came away with some really great information to share with you. First off, contrary to the rumblings going on online, there is a bunch of cool stuff coming to hobby shelves in the next year. Some of the manufacturers, like Revell-Monogram, have restricted their new-release information to cover up through the Spring of 2000. They will release the latter year's schedule at the Nuremberg Hobby Show in February. Nonetheless, there was lots of good news and great stuff at this year's show.
Some of the interesting highlights of the trip: Accurate Miniatures' future, Ocidental Replica's NEW Spitfire Mk.IX, Frems' 1/48 MB.339, HiPM 1/48 MiG-19, and many other great surprises. Browse the show for yourself below!
Here we go:
Model Rectifier Corporation (MRC) set up a large pavilion in center to showcase the full spectrum of hobby products that they either produce or distribute to the marketplace.
On the MRC model side, they had each of their current 1/35-helicopter kits on display. The big news is the release of their 1/35 MH-60G Pave Hawk sometime next year! If they follow the release strategy of their previous kits, we'll have plenty of Blackhawks coming!
MRC is also the North American distributor for Academy kits. As many of you know, Academy is releasing a 1/72 Boeing 377 Stratocruiser. This is not a typo this is a 1/72 kit! This first one is due out in December, followed by a C-97A Stratocruiser in February 2000, and a KC-97G in April.
As you also know, they are continuing to add on to their line of 1/72 kits. Pictured here are the latest Bf109G and Hawker Tempest kits.
One new item that surprised me is their soon-to-be-released 1/48 F-117A kit. Looking similar to the Tamiya kit, this release is also features a gold-tinted canopy and nice markings for Colonel Whitley's personal mount. This kit will also boast a lower retail price too!
Academy also continues to turn out some nice armor kits. Here is a look at their latest the Merkava Mk.III
The Academy Titanic and Limited Edition Gold Titanic were on display the gold ship was a show-stopper:
Rounding out the Academy news, they are going to be releasing a huge number of 1/144 kits. They had samples of a number of them on display, but I'm afraid the photo didn't turn out. If you are a builder of the wee scale, you are in for some exciting stuff!
Interview with Bill Bosworth, Owner of Accurate Miniatures
I spoke with Bill Bosworth about the rumors that were going around on the Internet about the health of A-M. Bill had been seeing some of the same comments floating around cyberspace as well and these have been concerning him. He emphasized that Accurate Miniatures is in great health, they haven't filed any sort of bankruptcy paperwork, nor do they need to.
While one of the things that triggered the rumors has been the clearances of older kits off of their website, this has been an attempt to clear the floor space of older inventory so that they can work the incoming releases. They are also attempting to make their kits available, via the Internet, to people around the world who otherwise cannot obtain Accurate Miniatures kits.
Another aspect of these rumors has been the delays in releasing the B-25 and F3F kits. The operational and logistical realities of running a model manufacturing business finally caught up with A-M and it has taken a little time to adjust. Their original goal was to release a new kit every six weeks. Bill says that they are striving to get that goal back on track again.
The two F3F kits and the three B-25s will be starting to ship soon. Immediately following these kits, A-M will release a series of 1/72 Il-2 Shturmovik (see photo). Unlike its big brother, the 1/72 Il-2s will feature some improvements in detail and even include wing options for wood and metal wings.
Also announced at the show will be a new line for A-M "Start-Finish Line 2000" these will be 1/24 NASCAR racers. The first one out will evidently be the Valvoline #6 Ford Taurus.
On the horizon, A-M has 13 addition releases in the works. They are tight-lipped about what these kits are going to be.
The majority of the news from Airfix this year is re-release. They are planning to re-release a number of kits that havebeen off their shelf for many years. One re-release that is most welcome is their 1/24 Harrier kit, though they are re-tooling portions of this kit to provide a Harrier GR.3 version. Now this is big news (sorry, bad pun).
The bad news is that Airfix confirms that the molds for the SA-2 Guideline missile kit are indeed lost. Don't look for a re-release of this kit unless someone else finds the molds stashed in a distant basement somewhere
American SATCO serves as the US Distributor for the Aoshima line of kits. One of the new releases from Aoshima includes the 1/700 IJN Battleship Nagato.
This company is releasing a series of custom wheels and tires for 1/24-1/25 scale cars and trucks, including some that will nicely elevate your scale 4x4!
AMT/ERTL has confirmed that they are out of the airplane business, with the exception of an occasional re-release of one of their previous kits. On the other hand, they are going like gangbusters on their scale auto line. They've started retooling/new tooling a number of their older kits. One of the first is their 1971 Dodge Charger.
One of their most popular kits is (ironically) the Edsel!
They've also released a new line of 'Slammers' 1/25 snap kits with pre-decorated bodies. Now this is one way to get a kit done and on the shelf quickly!
In addition to the Slammers, AMT/ERTL has also released a number of more detailed kits in their 'Custom Shop' series that also feature pre-painted bodies (for the intermediate modeler). These include a 1941 Ford Woody Rod, 1958 Edsel, 1932 Phantom Vicki, 1957 Chrysler 300C, 1966 Riviera Low Rider, and 1962 Custom Catalina.
On the science fiction side, the only new kit currently planned is the Star Wars Episode One Gungan Submarine. However, they've taken their pre-decorated automobile idea and applied it to a number of their existing Star Wars releases. These will include the flying Battle-Droid, the three Battle Droid set, and the Trade Federation Battle Tank. These kits are not only pre-painted, but also feature very impressive weathering. Take a look at the photos below:
Many of us have been hearing great things about Black Box. This is the one-man company that features the same sculptor/artist that did many of KMCís better cockpit sets. After KMC sold off their molds to concentrate on their kit business, Black Box was created to continue developing high-quality cockpit detail sets. His first two offerings were the 1/48 A-6E Intruder Cockpit Set for the Revell kit, and the 1/32 F4U Corsair Cockpit Set, also for the Revell kit. These sets are nothing less than spectacular!
1/48 FA-18C Hornet
1/48 F-16C (Block 40) Fighting Falcon
1/48 F-14A Tomcat
1/48 F-15C Eagle
You'll be getting a good look at these sets in the next issue of Internet Modeler. Stay tuned!
Classic Airframes SATCO
CA is continuing to provide nice kits of previously untouched subjects in 1/48 scale. The upcoming kit list includes some exciting topics indeed:
#428 Fairey Battle I
#429 Fairey Battle T (Trainer)
#430 Fairey Battle TT (Tow Tug)
#431 Curtiss F11C-2
#432 Curtiss BFC-2
#433 Curtiss BF2C-1
#434 Curtiss Hawk III
#435 Bristol Blenheim I
#436 Bristol Blenheim IV
#437 Bristol Blenheim V
A note about the Blenheims, according to CA, while their previous kits all featured vac canopies, the intricate framing and fit of the Blenheim's transparencies will make this kit be the first of the series to feature injected clear parts.
Historic Plastic Models (HiPM) is one of the lines imported by Condor Models International. HiPM has produced some daring topics, including a 1/48 two-seat MiG-21UM, and a 1/48 Bv141. Coming up next is a 1/48 Petlyakov Pe-2, which will be released in several versions, and then a 1/48 MiG-19 Farmer, also to be releases in several versions.
One picture that drew peopleís attention was the F3D-2Q/EF-10B Skyknight ñ this is a potential kit subject in 1/48 after the Farmers. Look for some great stuff from HiPM!
On the armor side, HiPM is planning a Spanish Civil War Modificado light tank, followed by a Sdkfz.231 armored car, both in 1/35.
Another line carried by Condor is Professional Model. They provide a wide variety of 1/35 armor conversions and have broadened their scope to include 1/48 aircraft. Some of the current and/or upcoming 1/48 aircraft details/conversion sets include:
Su-22M-4 Wild Weasel for the KP kit
Weapons set for the Su-25 (OEZ or Monogram kits)
MiG-21MF Fishbed J detail set (Academy kit)
MiG-21PF Fishbed D detail set (ditto)
A line of resin ships also carried by Condor is Samek Models. Some of their upcoming topics include:
1/700 Bechelaren (Germany 1941)
1/700 Novogorod (Russia 1873)
1/700 Battleship Bismarck
The folks at Precision Parts were proudly displaying the 'corrected' Ocidental Spitfire kit. The original Spitfire Mk.IXe had an interesting 'bug' in the shape of the nose. Their new Spitfire Mk.IXc features the corrected nose. The camouflaged aircraft below is the original IXe kit. We'll be doing a first-look at this kit in the December issue of IM.
Precision Parts has been on the leading edge of the aftermarket business, distributing such notable names as the Aires and Belcher Bits line of resin conversion/super-detailing parts, and Leading Edge decals.
In addition, they are carrying a new line of kits from an Italian company called Frems. Their first offering is a 1/48 Aermacchi MB.339! This first kit comes with markings for the Italian Frecce Tricolore aerobatic team. Their next release will be the MB.339 with Italian AF/Dubia AF/Argentinian AF and two other national options. Also coming next year a 1/48 Lockheed F-104G! If it is anything like their MB.339, the Starfighter will be magnificent! Look for a first-look of this kit in the December issue of Internet Modeler.
Well, the sign says it all. The folks at Marco Polo have a deal in-place with Hasegawa that ensures that you'll see the latest Hasegawa kits on your shelves before they are available from Japanese sources. Coming up very soon is the 1/48 Hs129B-2 Tank Buster. Also on display with Marco were some of the limited re-issue series, including a new 1/48 VIP VH-3 Sea King helicopter. Marco Polo also provides participating shops with the 'Advanced Scout' program, which allows you to see and examine new kits weeks before they are formally released. If your hobby shop doesn't participate in this program, try to get them aboard so you can see the 'good stuff'.
Heller was present at the show, displaying their current line-up of kits. These kits are continuations of their ongoing product line. The only new items announced include the French aircraft carrier Foch, which features Rafales, Super Etendards and a Hawkeye on the deck.
Also announced and on display is the round-the-world 'Breitling' balloon. The envelope is actually inflated for display.
As you'll see in other reviews in this edition of Internet Modeler, ICM is a new force to be reckoned with in the modeling world. Their products have been nicely done, aggressively priced, and each release is better than the last! As you'll see from the test shots, their 1/72 TB-3 bomber is coming out soon. Also on their list:
72071 I-16 Type 24 Fighter
72081 Su-2 Light Bomber
72091 TB-3 Heavy Bomber
48014 Yak-9 of
Ace I. Stepanenko
48035 Yak-7 of
Ace A. Vorozheikin
35091 British Comet Tank
35111 2S19 Self-Propelled Howitzer
There is a complete list of the current and upcoming items on their website.
Testors has jumped into the die-cast kit world in a very big way. While other folks are producing completed die-cast cars, Testors has been working on die-cast kits, giving die-cast enthusiasts the best of both worlds. What is even more interesting, they are now moving into the die cast kit aircraft world, where no one else has gone before. If you'll take a close look at the F-4B picture, it is actually a die-cast kit that comes pre-decorated. And by the way, that F-4B is 1/48, which equates to quite a heavy model in die cast metal! Their upcoming releases include:
F-16 Wild Weasel
Also in their new lineup are new Weirdos kits. This new line represents some of the characters that are appearing in an animated series that is airing on television.
On the Italeri side, there is also plenty of action:
Cant-Z (Ltd Edition)
Ju188 (Ltd Edition)
Do24 (Ltd Edition)
F-19 Stealth (Re-release)
AC-47 Gunship (Re-release)
F-16A/B NATO Falcon
Boeing X-32 JSF
LockMart X-35 JSF
BAE Hawk Mk.100
WAH-64D Longbow Apache
U-2R Senior Span
F-15E Strike Eagle
AC-130 Spectre Gunship
Steyr (Ltd Edition)
Panzer IVH (Re-release)
Chevrolet Gun Tractor (Ltd Edition)
M-36 Tank Destroyer (Ltd Edition)
Demag D7 w/Nebelwerfer
LAV-25 Mortar Carrier
Maultier w/Flak 38
Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle
Willys Jeep (Re-release)
Kendall Model Company has just about readied the anxiously awaited 1/72 kit for release. The kit is a spectacular combination of injected plastic and resin parts, with markings for American Airlines. According to KMC, the next offering will be the Boeing 737-300 in 1/72 if sales of the 727 go as planned. In addition, several aftermarket companies are readying a variety of alternate markings for the 727, so if the bare metal American Airlines scheme intimidates you, no worries! There are alternatives coming out soon.
Lindberg was present to showcase a new series of 'Movers and Shakers' – a series of car kits that feature working mechanisms for hopping the cars, and lifting the truck beds. They also displayed their new 1953 Ford Convertible, 1948 Lincoln Continental, 1937 Cord Convertible, 1935 Auburn Speedster, and others. The great news is the release/re-release of their 1/12 Big T in a set that will build any of three versions. This will be a limited release item as was their Big T release last year.
Modelcraft displayed their latest releases, which include the 1/48 T-6G (Ocidental kit) with nice marking options, a 1/35 Centurion Mk.III, a 1/100 L-1011 with PSA (and one other option) markings, and the U-581 Type VIIC Submarine. We'll be doing a first look at the Centurion kit in next month's issue.
Polar Lights is the plastic model arm of Playing Mantis, most famous for their recreations of old Aurora kits - and new kits, such as the classic Lost in Space Jupiter 2, that Aurora should have made. They announced nothing new at the show, but did have on display buildups and test shots of figure kits and classic race cars previously announced.
Phantom of the Opera, Robby the Robot (Dec '99)
Beatles (Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band) - 1 a month starting in Oct '99)
Three stooges - one a month, starting Nov '99
Headless Horseman (very fine large kit) Nov '99)
Hunchback of Notre Dame, Guillotine (yes, the old Aurora head chopping machine) Mar '99
Salem Witch April '00
Dick Tracy, June '99
Two New Mustangs – Gus Ronda's Aug '00, 2d TBA
Danny Allison, Sunny King and Ben Schumacher's Stardust, all planned for Dec '99
More planned if these do well.
Just as we get used to the logos for united Revell-Monogram, they've announced that they will de-hyphenate. The Revell line will feature their mainstream kits, while the Monogram line will now serve the Hobby-Exclusive line, which includes the Pro-Modeler series and the 'Monogram Classics' series of limited re-releases. The 1/48 F-86D, Do217E-5 and F-84G kits are still planned for release early next year.
Also coming soon to a hobby shop near you are the 1/32 Tornado GR.1 kit that Revell/Germany released last year. They will also be offering the 1/48 Rafale M, also tooled by Revell/Germany and is in high demand.
Revell-Monogram has also focused their attention on regaining the interest of young modelers with new packaging and options in their snap car and aircraft series. Judging from the excitement of the kids at the show, this will be a popular program!
Some exciting news in the 'Classic' series the 1/12 1969 Camaro kit will be released sometime next year!
Squadron Mail Order
Squadron was on hand to show the extensive product line-up that they produce, distribute and/or import in their role as Military Model Distributors (MMD). These are the same products that you will find in the Squadron Mail Order flyer and website
The big news was that Squadron has purchased the KMC line of resin detail molds, which will start to be released in early 2000 under the banner of True Details. According to the Squadron staff, SMO /MMD are hard at work on a new database and the 2000 Catalog, so the detail sets will have to wait until these deadlines pass.
In their 'In Action Series', you can expect to see:
Fiat CR32/CR42 in action March
British MTBs in action April
Walk Around F-86 Sabrejet is due out January
Walk Around M4 Sherman is due out February
357th Fighter Group is due in June
Panzer IV Special is due out in May
And in the 'In Detail' series:
B-24 Liberator March
F4F Wildcat May
No surprises from Tamiya. Tamiya/USA was present in a big way at the show, with one of the busier pavilions. Understandable since a good portion of Tamiya's income is still from the RC car world. The 1/48 Fairey Swordfish is still on track for release soon, as is the 1/35 18 ton Famo Halftrack.
Upcoming releases include:
1/72 Mosquito FB.VI/NF.II
1/32 F-15J Eagle JASDF
1/35 Kubelwagen Afrika Korp
1/700 LST-4001 Ohsumi JMSDF
No word on any of the other items that have been kicked around the rumor mill.