iHobbyExpo 2014 Report
With one or two exceptions, we've attended the iHobbyExpo (formerly RCHTA) shows continuously for the last 10+ years. This US-based hobby show was annually held in Rosemont, IL, just outside the Chicago-O'Hare airport perimeter and at one time was one of the triad of major global hobby shows that gave modelers a glimpse at what was coming to store shelves in our (then) futures. Of course the other two shows are the Shizuoka Hobby Show in Japan and the Nuremburg Toy and Hobby Fair in Germany. Manufacturers would usually have surprise announcements to share at each of these shows to help keep their businesses in the spotlight.
Over the years, a variety of factors have affected the attendance of the RCHTA/iHobbyExpo show including online alternatives and the slow economy. This year's show was in the same facility in Schaumburg, IL as last year, but in a much smaller footprint. The number of no-shows has grown significantly both in terms of displays as well as attendees. Rumor has it that this will be the last iHobbyExpo and we're supposed to hear on Friday what will follow.
While there were no new kit release surprises at the show, there were some nice things to see including those below:
The big news from MRC/Academy was that the MH-60S is almost here. In fact, MRC is sponsoring a helicopter contest here on Cybermodeler Online and you can have a chance to win one of three of these kits. MRC had a variety of other recent Academy kits also on display as you can see below.
Eduard brought many of the same items that we saw at the IPMS/USA 2014 National Convention as well as a look at the kits we published for next month.
Minicraft is back under new ownership and leadership. Since the iHobbyExpo last year, several of their announced projects were released while a few are still on the queue (projects on the right side the image below).
Pegasus had their latest releases on display as well as examples of some of their prebuilt/prefinished models as well. The star of their show was the first full test-build of their MLEV-5. Check this out:
Moebius Models continues to push forward new kit subjects and here are three that you'll be seeing in the near future. Look at that incredible paint job on Catwoman on the left with two different options, both of which are definitely Julie Newmar. Next is the Death Dealer preview and lots of folks are really excited about this kit! Behind Death Dealer is the Jonny Quest 'Dragonfly' test shot.
Speaking of test shots, here is one of Colonial One, the improvised flagship from the recent Battlestar Galactica series.
Round 2 Models
Round 2 Models was there and had a variety of current and recent releases on display. I'll have their upcoming releases posted in the kit release tables shortly.
The Squadron/MMD booth featured the Meng line of kits which include a new ship that is coming soon. The new CEO of Squadron/MMD showed the new Taiping Steamer ship kit that is the centerpiece of the new John Woo movie 'The Crossing'. While this is Meng's first kit of a ship subject, this model is as nicely detailed as their other recent kits.
While iHobbyExpo was much smaller this year, and it looks like this will be their last show. We'll see what comes along in its place. In the meantime, go build something!