I was speaking of iHobby show.........it is NOT a consumer buying/selling show. It is a trade show for the trade....IE wholesalers and retailers. Years ago you had to be a trade member to even attend. The public was allowed to come to offset the cost of the show. If you don't think the way Revell announced their 2013 product line is a sign of the future you are not being realistic. ZERO dollars to do much the same thing $25,000 did a free years ago is the way to do it.
Personal consumer buying is done best at a LHS and that what I do when I can but 3 hours is a long drive for a single item......so remember not everyone has a LHS within ever an hours drive.
I think in this day and age 'internet horror stories' should be a thing of the past. Order from trusted established sellers, use a credit card that has buyer protection and you are safe from losing money or getting less than you wanted.
Dave, you have it very, VERY RIGHT! A trade show is just that, a trade show. Now, let's take a look back at hobby industry trade shows in their heyday (and that was decades before RCHTA (Radio Control Hobby Trade Association and "iHobby":
From the 1930's until its breakup, it was the Hobby Industry Association of America (HIAA), and their annual trade show began on the 3rd Sunday of January, EVERY year, held in Chicago (for the first 40 yrs or so, Chicago and Suburbs was THE epicenter of the hobby industry, and Chicago was the heart of hobby wholesaling (Companies such as Trost Modelcraft & Hobbies--where I first got to know the late Bill Lastovich, United Model Distributors, Midwest Hobby Supply, Walthers -- the train people--were just up the road in Milwaukee, Sig Manufacturing--balsa and airplane kits was a couple hundred miles west in Iowa, Midwest Model Products in Hobart IN). With the exception of Revell (California back then) and Aurora (West Hempstead NY), the major plastic model companies (certainly in the model car field), AMT, MPC, JoHan, Monogram were all within 250 miles of the Windy City. Chicago was the most centrally located city in the US with tremendous access by road, railroad passenger trains, and airlines (even Greyhound and Trailways).
Those early HIAA shows were held in downtown Chicago (the Loop), at the former Sherman House Hotel, where they took up every ballroom, meeting room, banquet room in the building. HIAA shows opened at 8am sharp on the 3rd Sunday in January, to a literal mob scene (pretty much equivalent to a movie premiere in a basketball arena).. Hobby dealers from ALL OVER the country were there. There was no public admission--one had to be a "member of the trade" in order to gain admission. In the spirit of a true trade show, deals were offered, and deals were made back then, at HIAA (the show continued through the coming week, with serious buys being made by anyone who was a buyer for a hobby shop, department store, even chain stores. There were no "advance showings" back then (today, trust me, the relatively few hobby wholesale houses and buyers from large retail chains stocking hobby or model kits will have seen the new announcements well in advance of iHobby or the NY Toy Fair!).
From the first of July 1964 through the middle of August 1973 (with leaves of absence in the summer of 1966, 1967, and the 12-months from June 1969-May 1979) to finish my college degree, I worked for Leo and Berdina Weber and alongside their younger son Mike, here in Lafayette--Weber's Hobby Shop, then one of largest, most comprehensive hobby shops in the Midwest outside of Chicago or perhaps St Louis. In pretty short order, I became their plastic model kit and HO model railroading buyer (subject to Leo's approvals, of course!). So, by the time I was 20 years old, the Weber's annual trek to HIAA was when I became a young man on a mission--to scope out all the new announcements (and they were many!), and with Leo's guidance, putting together my recommendations as to what (Weber's would stock most anything in hobbies--at the minimum of "onesy-twosy" to case lots of kits I was convinced would sell very well.
So there I was, only a couple of years out of high school, rubbing shoulders with not only other hobby dealers from all over the US, but also marketing guys, design/product development people, you name it--I had to be the one to dig into newly announced product lines, determine was being carried over into the new year, learn what the projected release dates were--in short, see all the glitter, glamor and excitement, but also learn enough to be able to tell my boss what we should bring into the store in the areas of my interest and knowledge. (Sure, I made my mistakes over those years, but Leo would always remind me of Green Monkeys--he kept telling me he had to have been drinking Green Scotch when he ordered in those things in the early 1950's!). By 1967 or so (the year the HIAA Show was nearly called off by the Great Blizzard that year, I found myself having to sign pre-orders based on what is called "Open To Buy" (a dollar amount that a buyer is authorized to commit to on behalf of his company/employer). Looking back, even though that notion really frightened me at the outset, Mr. Weber was more than supportive, and if I made a mistake, ordered in something that didn't sell well, or too much of something, he was entrepreneur enough to cover my rear end, and help me look good (something for which I will always remember him--my mentor for sure!).
But the bottom line is, that is what a classic trade show was all about--and there were some funny, certainly interesting things. Take the AMT Peterbilt 359 "California Hauler" for example: AMT first offered that, based on a box art painting, at the 1968 HIAA Show--not enough interest, so it didn't happen. 1969, same painting, same result. 1970 (and the Webers paid for a hotel room so that I could come in from Iowa--where I was a Senior at Parsons College at Fairfield) so I could be there--it was very apparent that the Webers, Father, Mother and Son, wanted me back as soon as i graduated --in fact they matched the starting salary I could have wangled from even a Fortune 500 Company to achieve that!), and what did I see? The IMC Dodge COE, AND a hand-built prototype of the AMT Peterbilt 359 California Hauler! Now that was how things often happened in the industry back then.
But, a trade show should be a trade show, first and foremost--and both RHCTA and iHobby pretty much forgot that, if they ever knew it. When Hobbico sets up to sell to hobby dealers on the early "Trade Days" and then quickly takes down the Hobbico sign and plasters up "Tower Hobbies" for the general public to see on Saturday, well who does that offend? Yeah, your LHS. As a result, more and more, LHS owners simply have ignored iHobby and its predecessor, RCHTA--why should they go, and see their arch-competitor right in their face? And, along those same lines, with the internet and a website, why does a model company even need to show up at iHobby, get exposed to a very limited audience of very mixed interests, when they can, as did Revell and Moebius, hit NNL and the Collector's Toy Fair in Sylvania, and reach an audience specific to what they were announcing? Hmmm?