By Randy Rusk
Editor’s Note: Every March in the suburbs of Chicago, USA, a group of 1/43 collectors come together to meet face-to-face. After all year reading MAR Online and interacting on various virtual groups like Forum 43, it’s very nice to meet in-person, socialize, buy and swap, and ‘talk toys’. The guys (it’s all guys unfortunately) come from all over the US, Canada, and occasionally even the UK. The weekend is very full with Friday dinner for early-birds, BuzFest on Saturday, and Chicago deep-dish pizza that night. Sunday morning is the Countryside Classic Toy Show where many of the 1/43 guys have tables. Then we all head back home with our various purchases!
Here are my impressions from the Countryside weekend for those who weren’t able to make it. After checking into the venerable Holiday Inn, I ventured off to BuzFest. Buz’ gracious “hostess with the mostest!” wife had a great spread of sandwiches, snacks and desserts out – but I was saving myself for the deep dish pizza that was to come. More on that in a minute.
There was already a solid group of guys in the room when I got there, full of tales about models they recently acquired – or were about to:
But what stopped me in my tracks – and had me immediately reaching for my wallet – was the surprise arrival of a new Conquest woody, the 1959 Mercury Colony Park Station Wagon in red, black or white (with or without roof rack):
These came in just a day earlier from overseas so the timing was perfect. I nabbed the red one. Several others snapped them up as well. Regardless of the model that weakened your knees, Buz was very happy to get us into that next new car:
With stories shared and money spent, it was off to Giordano’s for Chicago-style deep dish pizza. A big thanks to Frank for once again coordinating a good meeting space with hot pizza at a great price.
And while you might look at these pics and wonder why no one is smiling, it’s because they all took their pizza consumption very seriously! With lighter wallets and full bellies, it was time to retire to the hotel for a fresh start in the morning.
Sunday was bright and sunny and felt like it was at least 20 deg F warmer – a very good sign. Another good sign was the long line waiting to get into the toy show.
Now, normally I’m not a big fan of crowds, but for the future of our hobby, it was really nice to see a big turnout of avid collectors pouring over the tables.
Word on the street is that they were all lining up to see John’s latest pink and green masterpiece in model making excellence:
OK, well, maybe not so much, but it was great to see all the dealers who support our hobby out in force with lots of great stuff to buy. You might spot Automodello in the collage below.
Finally, at the Forum table, our thanks to Esval for sending several boxes of models, as well as to Sergio for a sneak peek of prototype samples of some of his latest offerings from Goldvarg. That newest woody (top left) is a must-have for me:
Well, all in all, it was a great time to catch up with old friends and new models. I always think of this show as the first sign of spring… and with the mix of scale models viewed (and purchased) over the two days, I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2018 holds!
I hope everyone made it home safely and I look forward to seeing you all again next year. A shout out to Dick Browne, our fearless leader at Forum 43. I hope all is well and that we’ll see you all back in Chicago in 2019.
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