By Maz Woolley and Rod Ward
In years gone by the Nuremberg international toy trade fair was a major event with toy and model manufacturers announcing their programme for the year and showing off prototypes of what was to come. Am I alone in feeling that this year’s event has largely passed collectors by? At one point almost everyone wanting to sell models would exhibit at Nuremberg, however small a space they could afford. But times have changed. As Rod Ward has noted in previous MAR issues, those shop owners and wholesalers who visited Nuremberg to place their orders for the coming year, and who made it worth the model manufacturing companies exhibiting, are mostly no longer in business. So this year even fewer model manufacturers were present.
Some companies, like ModelCarWorld who produce Neo, Premium Classix, BoS, and Whitebox models, just invited trade buyers to their headquarters while they were visiting Germany to see other companies at the Trade Fair. In other cases, many of those companies who were present at Nuremberg had, in many cases, already announced their production plans in advance.
This includes Oxford Diecast, images of whose prototypes had already appeared on Facebook or in other advance publicity, so there were few surprises at the fair.
In a world where some collectors’ models are now made in editions of as few as 50 or 100 on a rolling monthly programme, sold direct, or through smaller dealers, a world where even the larger diecast firms make editions of only 500 or 1,000, and where the only mass sales seem to be by partwork or series publishers selling direct or through the newstrade, maybe the old-style trade fair is irrelevant.
Perhaps the business model needs to be re-examined? As a parallel example, the SBAC air show at Farnborough used to be solely a trade fair, displaying the latest aircraft to potential buyers; airlines, air forces and corporate customers. Those deals are no longer done at an air show, so Farnborough lost its original raison d’etre. The show in Hampshire is still highly successful, however, but it is a totally different beast; it is now a public air display with lots of trade stands and ‘family fun’ attractions. Nuremberg in February may not be as attractive for a family day out, but the International Toy Fair may need a makeover to have a relevant role in future years.
MAR Online has always tried to cover some of the partworks and subscription series that traditional collectors magazines have tended not to cover. Readers are often interested because these series may include models that they are interested in, but which may not be sold in the country where they live. So, if you are collecting a partwork or subscription series, please send us pictures and notes that we can share with fellow collectors. We would be particularly interested to hear from anyone collecting the current 1:43 scale buses and coaches range being offered in European countries, as well as from collectors of many of the Atlas series selling in continental Europe at the moment. We would also love to hear about partworks from further afield; Japan, South America, Eastern Europe or Russia. You don’t have to write an article, just send a few photographs of your models, details of the vehicle and your opinion of the model. That will be enough for us to put together articles of wide interest. And of course we will always welcome material from you, the reader, on your own collections and interests to share with us all. Whatever your modelling interest, please take some pictures, write a few words and share your interests with other MAR Online readers.
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