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WONDERFEST HOBBY EXPO
May 26th-27th, 2012

After years of wanting to, planning to, or just plain forgetting about doing this show, we finally followed through with the decision to set up at this year’s Wonderfest Hobby Expo in Louisville Kentucky.  We have known about this show for years, but just never made it there.  It either didn’t work out schedule-wise, didn’t have the money, or any number of excuses that I would come up with that would keep me from going.  But over the last few years, I have started to grow tired with the usual conventions that we go to.  Not to say we’re not having fun at them, but they have changed dramatically since I first started going to shows, more than 25 years ago.  In the past, these conventions where a place to celebrate the movies and the people who made them.  But now it seems that your normal convention is all about buying autographs.  They pack in these celebrities (which is a very loose term these days) so they can sell their autographs to the massive line of cattle.  Some of the shows at least do Q&A’s with some of the guests, but a majority of them are just there to sell their autograph.  It seems we as fans have forgotten that these conventions should be a celebration of these movies and the people that worked in front of and behind the camera, not about the guests (and their managers) making money.  But I digress.

But this is where Wonderfest comes in.  Because this show is completely different.  Yes, a majority of the show is about model kits, from the sculptures who design them, the painters who give their colors and bring them to life, and those that are selling them.  From the wide range of kits out there, from some being very common to some of the very obscure ones, these are being made with love and care and more importantly, the passion for these movies that made an impact on their creators.  Wonderfest really is about the movies that we love and the people who made them.  Sure, there are tons of dealers at this show that are trying to make money, like any other show.  But here, the only competition they have is with other dealers, not the celebrities.  So that was a nice and refreshing change of pace.

Don't get me wrong.  There were a few guests attending this show.  The more common guests were Joanna Cassidy, Julie Adams, Bill Moseley, and TV personality Giorgio A. Tsoukalos.  But the main kind of guests that Wonderfest attract are people like Eric Chu, the designer who worked on the new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, or Mat Irvine, who worked on Doctor Who as a visual effects designer, and of course Bob & Kathy Burns.  But again, most of them were there to have fun.

Most of the dealers here were selling model kits.  If you’re not into them, then you might be a little bored here.  There were still a few other dealers there, like myself, Cinema Wasteland, Don England, and a few others that were selling non-model items.  But it really is a model kit show.  There are even classes on model kit building, from the beginner to the more advance classe.  If you’re even remotely interested in them then you need to come to this show.  As you can see in the photos below, some of these are just jaw-dropping amazing.  Lot of talent here, my friends.  Even you don’t paint, just seeing these incredible works of art is pretty entertaining.

One of the dealers there that we came across was Paul Schiola from Sputnik Supplies.  We’d been a fan off his work since 2006, but had never actually met Paul until this weekend.  I was at a Monster Mania show in ’06 and one of the dealers was selling a replica of the title character from William Castle’s THE TINGLER.  We immediately knew we had to have that in our collection and quickly purchased it.  We didn’t care what the airport security was going to think when they seen that in our luggage!  Since then, that has been one of my favorite items in my collection.  Over the years, I have always wanted to get a model kit of Beulah from Roger Corman’s IT CONQUERED THE WORLD but never did.  Then at the Cinema Wasteland show this last April, there was a new pre-painted kit out, standing almost 10 inches tall.  After drooling over it for most of the show, I decided that I needed to get it.  It was at a pricy $100, but for a pre-painted kit of this size and quality, it was well worth it, which now proudly sits atop by computer desk, watching me work.  So what does all of this have to do with Paul Schiola?  Well he is the mastermind behind both of those products.  In fact, what got our attention to his table this weekend was another product of his that we knew that once again we had to add to our collection.  He had made little figures, again pre-painted, of the creatures from the film ISLAND OF TERROR, starring Peter Cushing.  We’ve always loved that move and the unique design of them.  Simply and effective, especially when you were a little kid first watching this movie on TV.  Paul was also selling and displaying two of his latest products, ‘super-deformed’ versions of the title character from THE SHE-CREATURE and Marty the Mutant from THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED.  We had a couple of great conversations with Paul over the weekend and just love his work.  So please take a second to head over to his website, Sputnik Supplies, and take a look at his wonderful products.  There’s not a lot made, since most of them are limited runs, so if you see something, you better order them right away.  But whatever you get, you can expect some high quality work from them.  Trust me, I know.  I’ve now got 3 of their pieces in my collection and love each one of them.

Another dealer that we came across was a place called Morbid Monsters.  Now, I am the first person to frown upon poster reprints.  The ones that I have seen usually look pretty much like a reprint and are not worth my time, let alone my money.  But when we started to look at the poster reprints they had on display, they really blew me away.  The colors were clear, crisp and bright.  We couldn’t help falling in love with some of these old poster arts from the sci-fi/horror films of the ‘50s.  They really knew how to make them back then.  The prices were pretty reasonable, especially when you see the quality of these things, and even more so since we know there would be no way in hell that we could afford originals of them.  They had a bunch of 22x28 size posters from a ton of classic movies, which we finally narrowed it down to 4 of them that we had to pick up: TARANTULA, INVASION OF THE SAUCER-MEN, REPTILICUS, and ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS.  Just beautiful.  And browsing through their website, I can see me picking up quite a few more of these in the future.  You can visit their website HERE.

One of the events that were going on in the evening after the dealer room closed was a screening of a new documentary called BEAST WISHES: THE FANTASTIC WORLD OF BOB AND KATHY BURNS.   Now if you don’t know who the Burns’ are, it doesn’t matter.  After watching this, not only will you now them, but you’ll want to know them even more.  If you are a fan of horror and sci-fi films, then you will love this documentary.  We have a full review of this posted, so you can head over to our Reviews section to read more details about it.  But filmmakers Frank Dietz and Trish Geiger have done a wonderful job here.  Highly recommend this.  You can find more information about the site HERE.

With all the other projects that I have going on, not to mention all the ones that I haven’t started yet, I had committed myself in NOT buying any kits at the show.  I still have one here at home that I bought probably close to 10 years ago that I haven’t finished.  Plus, I know it would just take more time off of what I really want to get done.  But some of these kits there were really tempting me.  There was an amazing PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES one that I almost broke down at the end of the show and picked up.  But I stayed strong.  There was also a couple of different GREEN SLIME ones that were also very well done.  Then there was the OCTAMAN which was priced pretty low and looked great.  Of course, there were plenty of mini-busts that were tempting me, like Blacula, Lugosi’s Dracula, Karloff’s Frankenstein, and quite a few more.  You can see photos of all of these and more below.

We’d like to give a shout out to Joe Wallace from Turntabling.net for taking his weekend off to help me at the show.  My wife and son couldn’t make this time out, so Joe was nice enough to come and be my helper for the weekend.  Even though he wasn’t setting his own booth up this time, we both still had a great time at the show.  Also hanging out with the England’s is always a good time.  We had a great time there and I know I will be back there next year, and really looking forward to it as well.  Again, thanks to everyone who stopped by our table and see you next year!

For all the information you need to know about the show, head over to their official site HERE.

And now...the models.  Enjoy!