Countryside 2016 – Part I

Preface by Karl Schnelle

For several years now, a group of 20 or so  1/43 model car collectors have gathered for a March weekend outside Chicago, IL, USA, in the Chicagoland area. This ‘convention’ grew out of the now-defunct Strictly 43rd Show and is now a series of events centered around Countryside, IL! Early arrivals gather for dinner on Friday night, then Saturday morning is the annual Ferrari Art and Literature Show at Continental AutoSports in Hinsdale (a Ferrari/Maserati dealer).  Following closely on Saturday afternoon is Buzfest, hosted by Route 66 Model Car Store in LaGrange Highlands.  After a group dinner, in a traditional Chicago style pizza place, we all wake up early to attend the Countryside Collectors Classic Show.

In 2016, we had many people from the Midwest US (such as IL, IN, OH, MI) but also folks from NY and TN! Even our regular from England showed up again!  It’s a real tradition now but we hope new collector’s will join us in 2017.   Our common theme is detailed model cars in 1/43, but we all have other collecting habits from toy cars to models in other scales.

Randy is providing his perspective on the weekend in Part I; Harvey will do the same in Part II. (Click the photos to enlarge.)

By Randy Rusk

Well, after some very effective prodding from Karl Schnelle last year telling me that I really needed to extend my Countryside trip to more than 1 day, I relented and booked a room at the Holiday Inn this year. And boy am I glad I did! I had no idea what camaraderie I was missing out on. Let me fill you all in… While some start the weekend on Friday night, I drove the three hours from Fort Wayne to meet up with folks at the Ferrari Club get-together on Saturday afternoon. Karl’s face is the definition of sticker shock:


The Ferrari/Maserati dealership opened up floor space for dealers. Lots of European-centric models and paraphernalia to tempt the wallet:



And then on to the 1:1’s… These were all out back awaiting service and maintenance:


I’ve never walked into a garage like this!


Karl found an Alfa to his liking:


After getting our fill, it was on to Buz’s house for Buzfest! Funny that as soon as I introduced myself, the common response was “Hey, you’re the guy who collects that oddball stuff.  “Here, people debate who’s wallet is going to hurt the most:


The fun part! The time to buy is when you see something you have to have; Harvey eyes one of Buz’s newest releases, based on a car from Buz’s youth,  the1964 Buick Wildcat by Madison . Yep, that’s Buz waving in the old pic:


The big dilemma was hardtop, convertible or soft top up? Karl helpfully suggested one of each. Eventually, Skip zeroed in on the red convertible. Wise choice!


Special models just for the show, only 10 of each, based on the 1963 Ford Galaxie sedan by Conquest. The black police cruiser was modeled on the car driven by Officer JD Tippet, who was shot by Oswald shortly after the Kennedy assassination.


The only other thing we seemed to crave was food. Giordano’s pizza hit the spot. Thanks to Frank for coordinating the great pizza buffet.


Our fearless leader, Dick Browne (center) watched over some cherished (and rare) Motor City models.


First time I’ve ever seen the Town & Country in the flesh. Too rich for my blood, though. My “Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell.” understanding with my wife would be destroyed if I came home with this…


Greg Gunn surrounded by his many Matrix, GLM, Whitebox, white metal and other 1/43 goodies:


Behind every good man is the woman ringing up the sales. There was quite a Buz around this display of premium models from Madison, Conquest and WMCE.IMG_1954_(800x600)

Bob Hooper of Dominion Models had a great selection – and some deals for those looking to fill in a few gaps in their collection.


For the first time ever, I paid the premium to get into the show 2 hours early and avoid the line and the crowds. It was money well spent. This was taken before the doors opened for general admission at 10 am.


Mikhail with his 1/43 jewels from EMC helping lighten someone’s wallet.


I had a blast catching up with Jim Cowen at Automodello. A real gentleman, he was full of stories about the origin of his amazing 1/24 and 1/43 models, many of which grace the shelves of my personal collection. You can see just a bit of the 1/24 Kaiser Darrin prototype in white. It should come with a magnetic door to pose in closed or slid open position.


So, that was my two day experience. What a great group of fellow collectors. Sign me up for next year!

We welcome your comments and questions.     Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page.