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iHobbyExpo 2008 Report

By Michael Benolkin


I’ve attended this show now every year over the last 10 years except for the one year it was held in Los Angeles. The year that it was held in Las Vegas was a blast and I wish they’d reconsider that location in the future, but the remaining years have been held in the convention center in Rosemont, IL, right outside the perimeter fence of Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Why here? The area used to be the hub of the US hobby industry and many of the larger sponsors of iHobbyExpo are still based nearby.

So what’s new in the 2009 show? It was clear that while the stock market so high over the last year that many of the companies presenting here were spinning up their product lines. The tragedy is the market crash that hit just before the show was reflected at the show as well. Attendance at the show was definitely off on day one. Every year that I’ve attended this show, I park in the multi-story parking garage across from the convention center and I usually have to park on the fourth or fifth level due to all of the cars for all of the attendees and exhibitors. This is the first year that I actually arrive a little late for the show and still park on the first level. While I’m certain that the public days of the show on Saturday and Sunday will be well attended and we’ll see the usual press releases on the record success of the show, the real gauge of success of the show are the trade days and hopefully day two (Friday) will be much busier that day one.

What else was new and interesting was the presence of what I’ll call the ‘branding police’. You’ll remember over the last few years the campaign that the hobby industry pushed on the US Congress to keep defense companies from licensing military products like F-16 Fighting Falcon and M1 Abrams that were developed under taxpayer dollars. That effort backfired last year and now many defense contractors are indeed branding their aircraft, combat vehicles, engines, etc. I witnessed one member of the ‘branding police’ inspecting several booths to ensure that the packaging of any products for certain aircraft type that they represent were properly licensed and labeled.

Okay, back to the fun part – as I said, a number of companies were spooling up their lines in anticipation of a growing consumer demand for new and popular products. What follows is a detailed run-down of what was on display at this year’s show, plus a few pleasant surprises. I won’t bother listing those attendees that were displaying the same old announcements from last year’s show.


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  • USS Oliver Hazard Perry FFG 7


  • F-22A Raptor
  • MH-53E Sea Dragon


  • Lightning F.6


Airfix has definitely emerged from receivership (bankruptcy) after the duo of Airfix and Humbrol were purchased by Hornby. We’ve seen a number of kits released since then including the 1/48 Canberra and the 1/72 Nimrod. They’ve also released the first of the Dr. Who and Shaun the Sheep series kits which are doing well. Coming very soon are the next installments of the 1/48 Canberra, including the B-57, and the 1/48 TSR-2. What was also good to see were the CAD drawings of the 1/24 Mosquito fighter. While some of these kits have already hit the streets, here is a list of what’s coming from Airfix:

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  • HMS Montgomery
  • HMS St. Albans


  • Bedford Tactical Aircraft Refueller
  • Bedford Mk.II
  • Churchill Bridge Layer
  • Landrover (hard top)
  • Landrover (soft top)
  • Landrover 1-ton FC Ambulance
  • Landrover 1-ton FC Truck
  • LCM III Landing Craft and Sherman Tank
  • M113 ACAV
  • M113 Fire Support Vehicle
  • M119 105mm Field Gun
  • Matilda Hedgehog
  • Saladin Mk.II
  • Saracin Mk.I/II/III
  • Sherman Calliope
  • Vickers Light Tank


  • Alpha Jet
  • Canberra B(I).8
  • Canberra PR.9
  • Chinook
  • Hawk 128/132
  • Horsa Glider
  • Meteor F.8
  • Mistel (Fw 190/Ta 154)
  • Sea King HAS.5/AEW.2
  • Spitfire Mk.IXc
  • Tempest V
  • Typhoon (Eurofighter)
  • Wellington Mk.Ic/Mk.III


  • B-57B Canberra
  • Canberra B(I)8
  • Canberra B.2/B.20
  • Canberra PR.9
  • TSR.2


  • Mosquito NF.2/FB.6/NF.30


  • Dr Who Dalek Encounter
  • Shaun the Sheep w/Tractor


See Round 2

Classic Airframes

The big show announcement:



  • F2H Banshee
  • Fiat Br 20
  • Fokker D.XXI Dutch
  • Gannet AEW
  • P-6E
  • Sea Venom


Eduard was on hand to display the wonders of their wide range of hobby products including the new F6F Hellcat Royal Class (that we just reviewed) and a test shot of the upcoming 1/32 Bf 109 series. As a definite sign of their success, Eduard has given up trying to print catalogs containing the breadth of their photo-etch, mask, and kit lines, and have moved to CD-ROMs to make life much easier for them as well as for those of us carrying around those catalogs at the show!

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  • Bf 109E-1
  • Bf 109E-4


Hawk was present again with a variety of kit re-releases that were pending from last year's release list, though coming online VERY soon are the Japanese submarines. On display as well is their new-tool, HUGE, 1/187 Graf Zeppelin aircraft carrier due out late next year:

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  • IJN C-1 class I-20 w/HA-20 Midget Submarine
  • IJN C-3 class I-53 w/Kaiten 'kamikaze' Torpedoes

The BIG new from this company was this surprise announcement:


  • Graf Zeppelin Aircraft Carrier

Hobby Boss

This wasn't announced at the show, but the news came in at the same time:


  • F-100D Super Sabre
  • F-100F Super Sabre

No more waiting on Accurate Miniatures for their long delayed releases!


Last year, Hobbycraft announced an ambitious list of kits that were delayed while they sorted out some production and quality challenges. The company is re-launching their brand with a line of interesting subjects with an eye on accuracy and at the same time, keeping the prices low. As you read this, the long-awaited P-51, P-51A, and A-36 kits are here and will be heading to distributors and hobby shops in the coming weeks. On the list of kits to follow:


  • Bf 109B/C/D
  • Spitfire VII/VIII/IX
  • T-6 Texan/SNJ Harvard


  • A-4 Skyhawk series (reissue)


  • B-36B (reissue)
  • B-36D (reissue)
  • GRB-36 FICON (reissue)
  • RB-36E (new)


Italeri's new 1/35 Schnellboot Typ S-100 was on display at show-center of the MRC model showcase and it looks magnificent! In addition, the long-awaited PT Boat crew was also shown in one of the cases.

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  • MAS 500


  • Hawk T.1
  • SBD-5 Dauntless (Accurate Miniatures kit)


  • Carro Armato L6
  • Elco PT Boat Crew
  • Schnellboot Typ S-100
  • Schnellboot Crew


Stevens International had the F-16AM on display and we'll be taking a closer look at the kit soon.


See Hawk above.


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  • E-3 AWACS
  • E-3 AWACS (trainer version)
  • E-8 Joint Stars


  • PBM-5/5A Mariner


  • C-20B/C Gulfstream III VIP


Moebius Models continues to turn out some interesting subjects. Among their scheduled releases:

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Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

  • Flying Sub


  • Conan the Barbarian
  • Frankenstein
  • Invisible Man
  • Iron Man
  • The Mummy

Monarch Models

Monarch Models started their release of Aurora-styled figure kits with Nosferatu and are releasing the same kit in a glow plastic. On display were resin prototypes of what will be styrene kits coming over the next year including:

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  • Ghost
  • Glowing Nosferatu
  • Gorgo
  • Nosferatu
  • Sinbad


MRC was present at show-center with their well-rounded hobby pavilion and a nice array of plastic models at one end. Academy's kit line well represented as was Italeri. You can see details of both brands under their own headings. The hot news from MRC is the introduction of their new brand of kits - Prestige Models, the first of which is the 1/350 Wasp-class LHD. MRC was also displaying the upcoming releases in their Easy Model pre-finished model line.

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  • USS Wasp-class LHD


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  • A6M2 Model 21 Zero
  • Fw 190A-3
  • P-51B Mustang 'Tuskegee Airmen'
  • P-51D Mustang 'Tuskegee Airmen'
  • War of the Worlds War Machine


  • War of the Worlds Attack Diorama


  • Apollo 27 Rocket
  • Area 51 UFO AE-341.15B
  • Nautilus Submarine (20,000 Leages Under the Sea)
  • NSEA Protector (Galaxy Quest)

Polar Lights

See Round 2


It is very clear from their presence here that Revell was diversifying their hobby kit line-up for 2009 and they're re-issuing a number of their classic kits that haven't been on the market for a while. For 2009, one of the cool campaigns Revell will be running will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing. You can look forward to seeing:

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Babylon 5

  • Starfury Mk.I – 1/72
  • Babylon 5 Space Station

Star Wars

  • Republic Gunship
  • Sith Infiltrator

Universal Studios Monsters

  • Dracula 1/8
  • Frankenstein 1/8
  • Mummy 1/8
  • Wolfman 1/8


  • Saturn V – 1/144
  • Lunar Landing – 1/48
  • Apollo Spacecraft – 1/32


  • EF-111A Raven – 1/72
  • A-26B Invader – 1/48
  • Bf 109G – 1/48
  • Do 217E-4 – 1/48
  • F-14D Tomcat – 1/48
  • Ju 52/3m Transport – 1/48
  • PA-18 Super Cub – 1/32


  • M3 Lee – 1/32
  • M4 Sherman – 1/32


  • ’32 Ford 5-Window Coupe 2’n1 – 1/25
  • ’36 Ford 2’n1 – 1/24
  • ’62 Corvette Convertible 2’n1 – 1/25
  • ’64 ½ Mustang Convertible – 1/24
  • ’69 Chevy Nova Yenko – 1/25
  • ’09 Dodge Challenger SRT8 – 1/25

Round 2

Remember all of those great kits from AMT, MPC, and Polar Lights that were put away a few years ago when Racing Champions bought up Playing Mantis? Well a new company has come online called Round 2 and they've acquired that tooling. We're already seeing some of these classic kits coming onto the street and more to follow. Here's a look at what we can expect in 2009:

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  • '25 'T' Coupe/Roadster
  • '50 Merc
  • '62 Buick Electra
  • '62 Pontiac Catalina
  • '08 Challenger SRT8
  • '08 Challenger R/T
  • Daisy's Plymouth
  • Depth Charger
  • Double Dragster
  • Fruehauf Flatbed Trailer
  • General Lee Charger
  • IH Transtar 4300 Eagle
  • Ivo Front Engine Dragster
  • Munster Koach & Dragula
  • Peerless Logging Trailer
  • Roscoe Police Monaco
  • Scooby Doo Mystery Machine
  • White-Freightliner Dust Drive
  • Willys Paddy Wagon


  • Mr Spock
  • Pteranodon
  • Robby the Robot
  • The Witch
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex


  • Starcruiser C-57D Forbidden Planet
  • USS Enterprise NCC-1701A - 1/350
  • USS Enterprise NCC-1701E - 1/1400
  • Interplanetary UFO Mystery Ship
  • USS Thunderchild (Akira Class) - 1/1000


Stevens International was on hand to show off some of the upcoming releases from this prolific manufacturer. Note that kits marked with an ** were just announced in Asia and not at iHobbyExpo:

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1/12 Scale

  • Ford GT40 Mk.II

1/16 Scale

  • Sd.Kfz.182 King Tiger

1/24 Scale

  • Fw 190A-6/8
  • Hurricane Mk.IID/Trop
  • Ju 87D-3 Stuka
  • P-51B/C Mustang III

1/32 Scale

  • A-4E Skyhawk
  • A-6A Intruder
  • A-6E Intruder
  • AV-8B Harrier II (early)
  • AV-8B Harrier II (night attack)
  • AV-8B Harrier II Plus
  • F-8E Crusader
  • F-8J Crusader
  • F/A-18F Super Hornet **
  • F-100F Super Sabre
  • Harrier GR.7
  • Lightning F.3
  • Lightning F.6
  • Mustang Mk.III
  • P-40E Kittyhawk
  • P-40M Kittyhawk
  • P-40N Kittyhawk
  • P-47N Thunderbolt
  • Su-30MKK
  • Swordfish Mk.I
  • Swordfish Mk.II
  • TBD-1 Devastator
  • Typhoon EF-2000A
  • Typhoon EF-2000B

1/35 Scale

  • BMP-3 IFV
  • BMP-3M IFV
  • BP42 B57 German Armored Train
  • German Railway Flatbed Car
  • German Railway Gondola
  • LAV-M
  • M1134 Stryker ATGM Vehicle
  • T-62 MBT
  • T-62M MBT
  • VK3001(H) Panzer VI A

1/48 Scale

  • DC-3

1/72 Scale

  • A-6A Intruder
  • Be-6 Madge
  • F-100D Super Sabre
  • F-105G Thunderchief
  • Fw 200C-3 Condor
  • CH-47A Chinook
  • CH-47D Chinook
  • Lightning F.1a/F.2
  • Lightning F.3
  • MiG-19PM Farmer E
  • Su-15TM Flagon F
  • Su-15UM Flagon G
  • Su-27 Flanker B
  • Su-27 Flanker C
  • Tu-22M2 Backfire B
  • Wellington GR.XIV

1/144 Scale

  • Type XXIII U-Boat

1/200 Scale

  • USS Arizona BB 39 1941

1/350 Scale

  • HMS Repulse
  • USS Arleigh Burke DDG 51

1/700 Scale

  • HMS Eskimo
  • SS Jeremiah O'Brien
  • SS John W. Brown
  • USS Quincy CA 39
  • USS Minneapolis CA 36
  • USS Tuscaloosa CA 37
  • USS Vincennes CA 44


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