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2013 RONDO AWARD
WONDERFEST HOBBY EXPO
We headed down to Louisville Kentucky for the 2nd time to the Wonderfest Model Expo. We had such a great time there last year; we knew we wanted to make this a regular stop for us. This time out, joining me were the Kryptic crew of my wife Dawn and son Nick, making it their first time to this show. Also joining us is our buddy Phil Meehan, who was also making his first trip to this show. Not only did we have a lot of fun last year, we did pretty well at our table with our selection of books, so we were hoping for another repeat. Wonderfest has been around for almost 25 years, and is one of the few remaining shows that have not been corrupted by the whole autograph thing. This show is still about the dealer room, the fans, the movies and the people that made them. Such a nice change of pace.
One of the things that is different about this show that it really is only a 2 day show, Saturday and Sunday. Friday night is used for dealers to set up. But there is some shopping going on between the dealers during set up. Always does. We got there in plenty of time to get set up. We were in the same spot as last time but decide to try something different and put our table sideways. Not sure if it was the best plan, since it really didn’t give a lot of people room to walk in and look around. Maybe next time we’ll figure something else out. But we got set up, and cruised around the dealer room for a bit to check out any new models or anything else that might spark our interests. Since this was Dawn and Nick’s first time here, they got to see some of these incredible models for the first time. Always amazing work around this place. After a bit, with Don England joining us, we covered our tables and headed off for some food, and then get some rest for the show tomorrow.
The one great thing about this show, that really sets it apart from just about every other usual convention out there, is the fans are coming here mainly to spend money in the dealer room. While there are a few guests here, that is not the main draw. So when the doors opened Saturday morning, the crowds came flooding in, with cash in hand. Really gives me a nostalgic feeling when you see that, something that is sadly missed at other shows. The main guests at this show were Brinke Stevens, Lee Meriwether, and Sara Karloff. There were also other guests in more of the technical side of the business, like effects artists, illustrators and designers.
Being an ex-model builder, it is very tough being at this show and not buy a kit. There are so many amazing ones throughout the dealer room, and some of them at very good prices. Although I will say, I wasn’t as blown away as I was my first year, since I was seeing these dealers and a lot of the kits for the first time. Not to say there wasn’t some cool ones this year, just that there were a lot of repeats. One of the cooler kits this year was that of Coffin Joe. That is the one great thing about these dealers here; you never know what obscure character or movie title they will decide to make a kit out of. If we were still building kits, we would have come home with a Coffin Joe kit. Though I don’t think they sold too many of them since I believe they lowered the price once or twice during the show.
For me though, the biggest find at this show was a book. Now as a collector, one of the bits of advice I give to newer collectors is that patience is what you really need. If there is something that you want to have in your collection but never see it at a cheap enough price, just wait. You just never know. There have been many times that an item, like a book, that usually is way out of my price range that has eluded me for years, will suddenly be sitting on somebody’s table, with a price tag that is hard to believe. This time, it was the book titled The Zombies that Ate Pittsburgh, a rare book on George Romero and his films. Not sure why the high price tag, or why the book has never been reprinted, but this little guy usually goes for anywhere from $75 to over $100. So as I was strolling through the dealer room and noticed a copy of this book on a table, I quietly asked how much he had on the Zombie book, figuring it was going to be way out of my price range. When I heard “Eh…$20”, it was all I could do to contain myself. So I quickly fished out a $20 bill out of my pocket and made the purchase. The dealer told me that he knows they usually go for more but just priced it to move it. Once I had the book in hand, I mentioned what they normally go for and I could see a quick moment of regret in his face before he replied with an “Oh well.” At that point, the convention could be over with and I’d be a happy guy. This is one of those Holy Grails of horror reference books that was missing from my collection. Again, I know I could have gotten a copy of the book years ago, but I wasn’t going to spend that kind of money. But as I said, bid your time, have patience, and you will find one.
I also picked up some more reprint posters from Morbid Monsters. Very seldom would I even think of buying a reprint, but not only do these guys do some amazing work, but the reprints that I’m buying I know I would never be able to even come close to having the money to buy the originals. So to be able to pick up some of these ½ sheets of classic movies like FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, THEM, and so many more great titles, for about $25 each, it really is a great deal. You can visit their website HERE.
Overall it was a fun time once again. Since last year was our first time there, it didn’t seem as amazing this time out. Not that it wasn’t, but as we said, I see a lot of the same kits being sold as the year before. Plus, it didn’t seem to be as many dealers this time either. Even the model competition seemed to have quite a few less kits in there, which was kind of disappointing since they are so cool to look at. But at the end of the day, it was still a good show for us and we are planning to come back next year, which is going to be there 25th Anniversary show. So that could be a good thing.
As usual, we took plenty of photos of the amazing kits there, but ones being sold and ones that were in the model competition. So take a look below at some of these amazing kits and the even more amazing talent that made them come to life.