Nürnberg Toy Fair Report 2009

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About the Nürnberg Toy Fair
The Nürnberg Toy Fair is a major event for the international toy industry and this year it celebrated it's 60th anniversary. Despite the global economical crisis and perhaps more than before, it is THE place to be for the "who's who" of the toy branch. It is a unique opportunity for them to showcase new products and talk about business.

Of course, the plastic model kit industry is well represented in Nürnberg. In fact, virtually every manufacturer is present there. If I started a list, it would take ages. However, the plastic model kit industry only represents a very small part of the whole event - I would say about 15 to 20% if we add railroad and RC. Nevertheless, covering only the aircraft plastic model kit branch took me two full days and I probably missed a lot of things. Going from one end of the Toy Fair's site to the other, it takes about 30mins to walk through the alleys of the exhibitors. Fortunately, most of the plastic model kit manufacturers are located in hall 7 and 7A within a relative small perimeter.

It seems that this year there were fewer people than before. Saturday was pretty busy, but Sunday was quieter. While this helped me to shoot better pictures because there were less people in the way, it is an indication that the toy industry is also affected by recession. To be honest, the contrary would have been a surprise for me. However, there were still enough new releases on show at Nürnberg to keep us modellers busy for a long time and the real indicator of our hobby's health will probably be the next Toy Fair in 2010. Until then, here's a full report of this year's edition.
Adventures in the land of pretzels
My trip to Nürnberg started just after the 16:30 hour bell rang at the school where I'm working. I jumped in the car and headed eastwards. My goal was Ettlingen, a town near Karlsruhe where Steffen Arndt (alpha_tango) lives. I arrived safely two hours later to Steffen's surprise since he expected to see me only at 20:00 hour. He was in the middle of the uploading process to his IPMS Germany website of the first batch of Toy Fair pictures. Each year Steffen and his friend Volker work very hard to provide the modelling community with the first pictures of the Toy Fair. He agreed to take a break so we could go to the restaurant, but later in the evening he couldn't resist uploading the rest of the photos Volker sent him. He worked until 01:00 hour in the morning then we went to bed for a short night's sleep.

Steffen woke up first and then it was my turn. At 07:00 we headed for the railway station to eat something for breakfast. Steffen bought some publications (you can imagine what kind of stuff he reads) and I couldn't resist either. I've purchased a Flugzeug Spezial about German WWII fighters and an AirDOC about the He 177. The day couldn't have started better and it was with much optimism that we headed to Nürnberg on a two and a half hour trip. We arrived before 10:00 and easily found a parking place in the press area thanks to our e-tickets. I must say that the organisation of the Toy Fair was flawless during the whole week end.

We spent only a short amount of time at the Press registering desk and soon we had our precious ID cards. Before going to the Press Centre, Steffen wanted to pick up some catalogues so we headed to the first hall to pick them up against one calling card. The latter act as some kind of currency at the fair. If you want something, you have to "pay" with a calling card (thank you Steffen for having told me that before). On the way back to the Press Centre, we passed near the ICM stand so I used the opportunity to arrange an appointment with them for the next day. It worked and I was reassured at my capacity to talk to the exhibitors because it's not something I'm used to doing. At work, my audience is more a class of 14 years pre-pubescent teenagers than business men or women.
Meeting with the exhibitors
I won't bother you with a litany of all the meetings I had during the Toy Fair. I think it would be tedious. Later in this article, you will find small reports, classified alphabetically, of each exhibitor I covered during the Fair. However I must say that in most cases I received a warm welcome at the stands. The reactions of the people I spoke to about Aeroscale were very positive overall, even if there were, of course, some exceptions. Sadly, there are manufacturers who still haven't understood the importance of the internet.
Press Centre
During the two days, I must have visited more than 20 exhibitors and it was nice, from time to time, to have a break at the Press Centre. Every time I returned there, I found Steffen who was working on his Laptop uploading even more pictures to his website. The Press Centre has to be seen and experienced, it was so pleasant. The working conditions were excellent with many computers available for the journalists, internet access, free bar, free food etc... Everything was made to make the press people feel as comfortable as possible so that they would write in the most positive way about the Fair.

At the Press Centre I met with Jim Rae (Managing Editor Newsdesk of the KitMaker Network) several times. It was nice to see that we were not working alone and it was always very interesting to share our feelings about the Fair and the results we've achieved with the exhibitors. However, I must confess that I had my problems with Jim's terrible accent! LOL! But in the end, I think we've made a great team. As you can see in the accompanying photo, we planned everything down to the smallest detail, Jim wears the green of Armorama while I wear the blue of Aeroscale.
Return to normality
Sunday evening at 19:00, the Nürnberg Toy Fair was finished for us. Steffen and I left the Press Centre with regret and we headed home to Ettlingen. After a two and a half hour trip, we arrived at destination. Guess what Steffen did when he arrived home? He uploaded one more batch of photos which Volker sent him. If that's not dedication to the cause, I don't know what is! While he was working I took a photo of his "messy desk" and a photo of a very small part of his now legendary Luftwaffe Book collection. Around midnight it was time to close our eyes and dream... of plastic model kit boxes.

On Monday morning I drove Steffen to the place where he currently has a training course and we said our goodbyes. I then drove to Niederseebach, which is one hour of drive away from Ettlingen, to meet Marc Toillié from Mark58. Marc is a very talented model display base manufacturer (amongst other stuff) and I picked up a winter base for Rowan Baylis' winter camouflaged Fw 190 F-8 there. After another two hour drive, I finally arrived home and was very happy to see my wife and my two year son again. I was only away for four days, but it was as if I hadn't seen them for weeks!
I really want to express my gratitude to Steffen Arndt for having made of my visit to the Toy Fair such an interesting and enjoyable experience. Without him it wouldn't have been the same. Steffen, I owe you one! - and I really hope to be able to pay it back in some way in the future. I am also very happy to have met Volker and his wife.
To see a detailed report for each manufacturer, go to pages 2, 3 and 4.
  • 01ToyFair
  • 03ToyFair
  • 04ToyFair
  • 05ToyFair
  • 06Bretzels
  • 07Cake
  • 08Cake
  • 09Steffen
  • 10Jean-Luc
  • 11JimRae
  • 13ToyFair
  • 14MessyDesk
  • 15Books

About the Author

About Jean-Luc Formery (TedMamere)

I'm mainly interested in WW2 aircraft and I build them in 1/48 scale.


Hi Rowan, That is no wine, it's Apfelshorle! Oh! Oh! That is a sliperry slope! Jean-Luc
FEB 15, 2009 - 06:25 PM
You are both so mean Wojciech and I were discussion the historical relations of our two countries for half an hour or so and while we agree on most points we also have sights that will never fit. This was quite exhausting and then our nice friend J-L wanted to have a photo for his report. No wonder we both look rather strange..... greets Steffen
FEB 15, 2009 - 07:51 PM
Ahhh.. now we know. Aeroscale were obviously getting provided with pastries which Armorama WEREN'T getting Obviously, the bottles of vintage Champagne which were probably available for Aeroscale weren't photographed EITHER Sheer discrimination...
FEB 15, 2009 - 10:10 PM
Hi Steffen More proof (if needed) that Jean-Luc has a wicked sense of humour - I'll have to be careful if I'm ever lucky enough to meet up with him. All the best Rowan
FEB 15, 2009 - 10:13 PM
Hi Rowan He will bring you a nice bottle of heavy French wine and then he will refuse to help you killing it and then comes out the camera BTW J-L ... here is a short report from another person ... Mein erstes Mal... (German only) cheers Steffen
FEB 17, 2009 - 06:17 AM
Hi Steffen, This is the Russian* method. I saw the guys from ICM and Zvezda use it at the fair (not with me fortunately). Only that wine was replaced with whisky or vodka. Ja, ich habe es bereits gelesen. Sehr interessanter und frischer Text. Meine complimente an Volker's Frau. Jean-Luc * ICM aren't Russian but from Ukraine, but the method is very similar.
FEB 17, 2009 - 07:28 PM
Hi Jean-Luc and Steffen French. Russian... it sounds good to me! I'm always partial to a nice glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape... All the best Rowan
FEB 17, 2009 - 07:38 PM
Great to see Tamiya have re-issued the Lanc. I have always wanted one but refuse to pay £100+ on evilbay. Any idea of a release date and/or cost? cheers Steve
FEB 20, 2009 - 11:48 PM
hi Steve announced for February at HLJ. so should be out soon. Price there 6400 Yen (~48 GBP / 53 Euro) ... multiply by 2 to get the Europe prices ... I know it is a little exaggerated, but thats why I try to buy Tamiya and Hasegawa in JP online shops .. even with p&p; import sales tax and customs you are usually still much better than buying locally al the best Steffen
FEB 21, 2009 - 12:21 AM
Thanks Steffen, will definitely keep an eye out for this. Thanks for the advise to buy from Japan too, they way the GB pound is at the moment I should save a packet.
FEB 21, 2009 - 12:03 PM