Text: Jakub Nademlejnský
After a long two-year hiatus caused by the COVID epidemic, the Eduard team was back to the Nuremberg Toy Fair once again. The event took place from February 1 to 5 and was held in sixteen halls of the local trade fair center.
It has to be said right at the beginning that this year fair was different from the previous ones. There were significantly fewer exhibitors. In our market segment of plastic model kits, the fingers of just two hands would be enough to count the participants. However, count me in – Eduard/Special Hobby, Italeri, Tamiya, Revell, Airfix. What else? Let’s add to the credit the Art Scale Kit distributor and Zvezda, which had a stand in one of the tucked away booths due to the organizers’ restrictions against Russian companies. Any others? No, nobody else. Other companies from our business chose a more economical option and came only to have a look and go round the stands. And more than we expected stopped at our stand. Among them, even those we hadn’t counted on beforehand. Others didn’t come at all. For example, representatives from China, USA and Ukraine were missing, and the representation from Poland was also quite weak.
But no wonder. The situation is not rosy, so many companies have opted for low-profile and very economical forms of participation. We also chose a more economical option than in the past, and as more attentive readers may have noticed above, we joined forces with a friendly company, Special Hobby, reducing our stand to only two-thirds of its former size. Of course, this led to more intensive communication with our colleagues from Special Hobby, so we were able to discuss further possible cooperation on future projects. However, when more visitors arrived at one point, the booth was a bit tight ... Nevertheless, we handled it without any problems. We also split our team into two parties and rotated with our colleagues after three days at the fair. Saving money is necessary nowadays!
If you have not attended this fair in person in the
past, I guarantee you would be impressed anyway. It’s a huge event, with 2,843
exhibitors from 70 countries taking part this year, and over 62,000 visitors
from 136 countries visiting the fair over five days. But something in the mood
was simply missing. Talking to other people in the industry, it was clear that
they had mixed feelings about attending. As the number of exhibitors in the
industry dwindles, the importance of the event for us and others is
diminishing, and if the situation does not improve, we would at least be very
hesitant to decide on participation in future years.
However, as usual, there was a silver lining. In this case, thanks to the low participation of the companies from our business, we were able to conduct more intensive negotiations with visitors to our stand. Several very pleasant meetings took place in a friendly atmosphere with companies from the industry, but also from outside the industry, which may have an impact on the future, for example on our future releases. For example, we arranged the reboxing of Su-25 Zvezda kit and sketched out the negotiations on reboxing of Airfix kits. Representatives of Airfix, Italeri or Revell liked our 3D prints or SPACE for a change, and so possible windows of closer cooperation are opening up for us in the future. As far as the design of the stands of these companies is concerned, Airfix was part of the huge Hornby presentation, where it had its own space among about ten brands that fall under Hornby. And you’ve got to get ready for their new Gannet in 1/48, they say it’s going to be cool! The Italeri booth reminded me of an Italian coffeehouse. Lots of round tables and chairs everywhere, a reception desk, and delicious Italian coffee or a shot of grappa, which gave the negotiations there a touch of Italian flair. The booth was dominated by two large display cases with built models featuring new releases, 1/72 AMX and 1/32 Mc.202 graphics. Revell traditionally had a stand in Hall 12, among the dominant companies in the whole toy industry, such as Lego, Playmobil and Mattel. Revell revealed various new products for 2023, among which I would highlight the Gloster Meteor in 1/32 scale. The only representatives of the exhibiting companies that we didn’t exchange too many words with at the fair were from Tamiya. Their stand was by far the largest in our Hall 7A and was dominated by a track for RC models. So maybe next year ...
The award ceremony of the Modellfan magazine with
prizegiving of the Model of the Year awards is one of the traditions of the
fair. This year the award went to our Wildcat in 1/48th scale. We
are of course happy that our kit is among the chosen ones, but so many are
awarded by Modellfan every year that it kind of degrades the whole thing. We
already have a bowl full of medals and judging by the display cases of other
companies, almost everyone regularly wins a medal for one of its product. We
chose to present the awards in the aforementioned bowl this year, as if we had
placed them in the display cases, there probably wouldn’t have been much room
left to present our products.
To sum up, I would like to say that I was personally impressed by the magnificence and high level of organization of the fair, as it was my first time at this event. They say organization is a common thing in Germany, and it was demonstrated on the spot by the German police, who completely packed up the stand of a Chinese die-cast model seller in short time, and the owners of the stand then sat on a few boxes for the rest of the fair. It all was done supposedly because of plagiarism. In contrast, we had to pack our own things by ourselves on Sunday and arrived home safely. So, hopefully next year again!