EDITORIAL

Dear Friends,

To begin this edition of our newsletter, I would

like to return to the recent Nuremberg fair. As it

turns out, this was our twenty-fifth year of participation. So, our first time would have been

back in 1995, and I confess it’s a little hard to

believe. Back at the beginning, it was quite the

adventure.

We had a desire to take part in this toy fair

from the get go of our company. Being influenced by the reports of Vaclav Sorel in the magazine ‚ABC‘, we were convinced of the fair’s

relevance to world modelling, and this turned

into practical experience when, after our first

participation at the fair, we came home with

our first contract agreements with distributors.

It is noteworthy that we have a relationship

with some of these first distributors to this day.

True, there were more rejections than anything,

but that is a part of any beginning. In anticipation of these little problems, we began to submit

applications to the fair back in 1992, but to gain

access was no easy feat and we were put on

a waiting list. From experienced exhibitors, such

as Kovozavody Prostejov, we knew that this was

the way things went and that it might be necessary to wait through a few years of being on

the standby list, make our way up to the replacement firms, then gain access to display space

among, for example, firms dealing in Christmas

ornaments, and finally a spot among modelling

firms. Being hardened by the facts of life in

a socialist state, none of this was a surprise to

us. It was a normal course of events for a citizen of socialist Czechoslovakia who wanted to

obtain pretty much anything. At the time, none

of us idealized socialism and the reality of the

system was fresh in our minds. We battened

down the hatches and prepared for a long wait,

when surprisingly, the winds of change began

to blow in the fall of 1994. We received news

that the fair would be expanding in size, and

that there was a likelihood of our being able to

participate as one of those replacement firms.

We were advised to to prepare our display table and to get all of our paperwork in order and

to be accessible by phone. If all worked out in

our favour, we would get a phonecall, receive

our invitation to come, and we would set up

our table on the first day and begin displaying

like there was no tomorrow. I was still a bit on

the skeptical side, but on that day, it might’ve

been on February 2nd, I was never far from my

phone or fax machine. Back then, there were

no cellphones, and my patience was rewarded

with the anticipated call. We got our invite! It

was like an air raid siren went off! Our maintenance guys Arpy and Laci jumped in the Avia

truck, nicknamed ‘the Tank‘, which we purchased for transport duties, David Bilek and myself

embarked in the Skoda pickup we had, while

Karel Padar and Slavek Motl went ahead to take

care of all admin needs. The spot that we were

given took our breath away. As mentioned, at

the time, the fair was expanding, and in the locations where they have Hall No.7 and Service

Center Ost today, there were inflatable structures that are still used to hold things like tennis

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matches. The temporary structures were interconnected with wooden boardwalks, because

below them there was a substantial amount

of mud. Amongst all of this was essentially

a construction site. Our table was in one of these

exhibition halls, and we were there, in a corner

at one end, with tables full of Chinese toys. The

exotic atmosphere was supported by the constant blaring of some Chinese pop music coming

through loud and clear from an amplifier, and it

seemed to me that they were playing the same

thing over and over again. By Sunday evening,

I am pretty sure a developed a little twitch in my

left eye from it, and I was terrorized by it for the

rest of the week. Our display area was large. So

large, that we still haven’t matched it to this day

and so large as to make it difficult to use it all up

effectively. As a result, what we were able to do

lost a bit in terms of professionalism. It probably

looked a little odd, but amongst all those Chinese, the effect got lost. They were, on the other

hand, rather surprised by the sudden appearance of Czechs in their midst, but they were very

friendly towards us and brought us Chinese candies and wafers. In the end, our table was ready

in the evening and we had a couple of chairs to

go with it, but we had no visitors, because no

one knew that we were there. We were housed in Amberg, about 60km from Nuremberg

in a hotel Karel Padar and I stumbled across in

a snowstorm. On Friday, surprisingly, we were

located by our then North American distributor

Alexandra (a Canadian with Czech roots) and

her assistant Collin, and after noon, Mr. Ono

landed as well. How he managed to find us only

he and God know. In any case, he came around

the corner in his little hat and that smile of his,

and his Japanese English was an extremely welcome distraction because, there in little China,

we were regarded as somewhat exotic and we

had no visitors, of which there were generally

very few anyhow, and there was little interest in

what we had to show there. None of our colleagues in the modelling world thought to come

and look for us there. Remember, there were no

cell phones back then, and no way to announce our location. We countered the situation by

wandering around the halls housing the relevant participants of our hobby through Saturday, and notified all distributors, reporters, well

known modellers and really anyone else, of our

location and how to find us, and warned them

of the mud between the inflatable halls. A big

event there was the awarding of the Model of

the Year by Modelfan, at the time done in a conference hall during a well done ceremony, unlike today when the the directors walk from stall

to stall giving out the respective awards in person. There, we could announce our existence at

the fair to a large audience, and we were able to

become a major attraction in a big hurry. Partially thanks to our presence in the inflatable hall,

we were were visited by people who normally

might not have much interest in what we do,

and we were able to increase the traffic in our

Chinese hall threefold. Laci and Arpy returned

on Sunday with the Tank, took everything apart,

loaded it all up, and we entered into the cold,

snowy, icy night, making our way through Cheb

on the Czech side of the border, home and to

bed, where there was no Chinese pop blaring,

no creeking of inflatable structures were heard,

and there was heat. It was pretty cold in the

display hall. There was also the border and its

related inspections that had to be endured, on

the way there as well as on the way back. There

was a lot of paperwork that had to be inspected. Back then, EU membership and the Schengen area were science fiction. But, we survived

and have continued our fond participation with

the show to this day. A year later, we were able

to obtain a real table in the proper hall among

actual modelling companies. In the meantime,

new exhibition halls were erected, borders

were eliminated, a freeway was built, and the

future arrived. We moved from Amberg to the

hotel Palmengarten in Nurimberg where we

stay to this day, and I don’t even want to calculate how any years we’ve been staying there. Perhaps, the lady that runs the place knows

and we’ll get a commendation for what might

be our twentieth visit. The one we got for our

twenty-fifth participation at the fair is silver and

has the emblem of the show incorporated into

it.

I should have a few pictures of the 1995

show, including our table there. From them, it’s

clear that we displayed the Yak-3 and the first

Tempest kit, as well as our at the time current

First World War subjects. Unfortunately, I can’t

show you them here, because they are buried

somewhere in a closet at home, and I am currently in the Alps on vacation. And that I would

be writing this, I still had no idea yesterday,

when I left for said vacation. As usual, I begin

writing these things with very little in my head

as to what the final outcome will be. Maybe

next month, I will desribe how it was that we

got into the Palmengarten in the first lace. It’s

a pretty cool story on its own.

This year’s fair certainly had no fewer visitors

than last year. I must have been hearing musings about there being fewer and fewer visitors

and participants from ’95. If this were the case,

there would be none of either by now. Even in

terms of modelling companies, there were no

fewer than this year. My colleague Ferkl took a

head count and claims that all were represented. At least the ones from last year.

So...what have we got for the month of

March? After the last two months, when we

INFO Eduard - March 2019