INTERMODELLBAU '97 in Dortmund, Germany, covered all aspects of the modelling hobby. The five-day show, in halls 2-8 of the spacious Westfalenhalle Dortmund, was the biggest event in 19 years of INTERMODELLBAU history.
438 exhibitors from 12 countries came to show their products at INTERMODELLBAU '97. Foreign participation reached 10 %, and the show grew by 8 % compared with last year's event. Over 117,000 visitors attended the Dortmund show last year, and it looked like many of the popular booths were besieged again this time. Parking was not a problem around 8:00 - 9:30 a.m., but the first three days of the show saw long lines at the ticket booths.
Companies offering 1:72 scale products were equally distributed across halls 2-8, requiring long marches from one end of the show to the other. The lack of concentration did provide welcome opportunity to study other interesting areas of the modelling hobby. Compared with similar shows, the food service seemed rather spartan. We would have liked to see vegetarian fast-food like Falafel (available at the Stuttgart show), the popular fruit salad with yoghurt (Hannover), vegetarian pizza (Chicago), and the international show special: Ice-cream bars.
Old and new in 1:72 scale
Freundeskreis Napoleonische Geschichte (Napoleonic History Association) showed a segment of the Battle of Waterloo, the Prussian action at Plançenoit. The large scale diorama included 5,000 painted soldiers, many of them conversion of Italeri, ESCI, Revell, and Airfix figures. Not surprisingly, this diorama attracted large crowds. We would have liked to wargame on a beautiful table like that, perhaps another time.
Interessengemeinschaft Historische Figuren (Historic Miniatures Association) displayed a number of excellent dioramas in 1:72 scale. Many converted miniatures, realistic terrain, interesting themes, professional presentation and lighting made these dioramas a feast for the eyes. The booth was well staffed, and many questions were answered. Anyone who wanted to, had opportunity to watch the experts at work.
Interessengemeinschaft Militärfahrzeug-Modellbau (Association of Military Vehicle Modellers) had a booth full of dioramas and rare conversions of military vehicles. There was a Jugoslav Stuart tank hunter conversion mounting a captured PaK 40 anti-tank gun, a German Panzerdraisine rail tank with complete interior detail, and a whole display case of Churchill variants based on the now unavailable ROCO model. IMM publishes a professional looking magazine with scale plans and modelling articles. IMM member Peter Laxy announced a regional modelling meeting, Modellbau in Windhagen - Bürgerhaus, which will take place 03. - 04. May 1997.
Revell combined their own 1:72 scale figures with 1:76 scale vehicles and diorama bases originally produced by Matchbox. The new Revell boxed sets include booth scales. An unusual combination suitable primarily for beginners. Several of the boxed sets were on display at the Revell booth. Vehicles and figures were mounted on a wooden base, painted, and decorated with flocking. Simple diorama projects like these are designed to introduce new customers to our creative and inexpensive hobby. Unfortunately, the finished displays are hardly ever seen at the retail level, where they might be used to recruit new modellers. Revell distributes 1:43 scale CDC die-cast cars in Germany, but it is not know if the company intends to pick up the CDC 1:72 scale military vehicle range as well.
Kai Fuhrmann showed diorama accessories like tents, gabions, trench sections, and bunkers cast in Porzelin, a very hard plaster. Figure sets produced by Jörg Schmäling and Frank Germershaus sold out quickly, particularly those sets covering the Napoleonic period.
Fine Scale Factory had a number of interesting new releases, mortars, fortress and siege guns, ammunitions trailers, limbers, and a gatling gun for the American Civil War. New armoured vehicles were available, Sherman variants with added armour, Sd.Kfz. 233 armoured car with 7.5 cm Stummelkanone, a German A7V and a French St. Chamond tank from the Great War. We shall review the St. Chamond and a German supply wagon for you very shortly.
M.G.M brought samples of new SHQ Wehrmacht cavalry with them to Dortmund. Horses and riders look very attractive, they should be available soon.
KARTON-MODELLBAU International from Munich is looking for designs of 1:72 scale paper buildings and accessories. Paper models are a cheap alternative to resin, pewter and plaster models, but 1:72 scale has been virtually ignored by paper model manufacturers.
Scheuer & Strüver from Hamburg offers Usborne paper models which are compatible with HO/OO figures from Airfix. The company also has a few 1:70 and 1:75 scale buildings which may be used in conjunction with 1:72 scale figures.
Rai-Ro tool makers did not have a booth at Dortmund, but Andreas Brune of IMPERIAL showed us a number of interesting applications for wax adhesive, wax filler and sculpting wax available from Rai-Ro. The company offers a thermostat regulated soldering spatula with which the wax is applied to figures, buildings, and vehicles. We intend to cover this interesting modelling technique in more detail shortly.
IDL Software introduced Rollview pictures of models and other objects. Rollview is an innovative photo technique specifically designed for Internet and CD-ROM applications. Objects photographed with Rollview may be manipulated freely, and viewed from any perspective. Models may be animated, doors open, turrets turn, guns recoil, lights blink, crew members enter and exit a vehicle. Rollviews are compatible with standard web browser software, and Military Miniatures Magazine intends to upgrade to Rollview imaging later in the year.
A number of booths offered new HäT and IMEX Figures. HäT has re-released the popular Airfix WW1 figure series, including the British Horse Artillery, and all the infantry sets which have been unavailable for years. Airfix Prussian Landwehr, and WW2 Italian infantry is back as well. The HäT releases are produced in colours different from the original Airfix sets, in order to minimize confusion with the expensive collector's items. Prices of the original Airfix sets should stabilize or decrease slightly, now that wargamers and modellers have access to the cheaper HäT figures. The IMEX play set "Custer's Last Stand" was for sale at Dortmund. Even the Confederate cavalry produced by Gulliver was there in quantity, the one and only product of a short-lived company.