Nuremberg Toy Fair Tour Report 2015

Nuremberg Toy Fair Tour 2015 Report

By Gordon Preller

I would like to thank Rey and Roman for a grand time on the Nuremburg Toy Fair/Miniatur Wunderland Tour – we had a great time!

Arriving in Frankfurt, my brother and I boarded an ICE to Lichtenfels, which would be our home base for 4 days.

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We arrived at the Preussischer Hof about 1:30 pm, secured our rooms and went into the restaurant for lunch.  The restaurant does not serve lunch, but we didn’t know, and the proprietor seated us and fed us a great goulash and a beer each – and would not accept payment.

In the evening, the group assembled for the first time, a congenial bunch from all over the states, and Bruce from Regina, Saskatchewan and Colin from Australia.  Roman gave us the plan and schedule for the next day’s visit to the Toy Fair (Spielwarenmesse).

On Sunday morning we rode the train to Nuremburg and got off right at the Trade Show Hall.  After naming a rendezvous time and place, we were turned loose on the unsuspecting presenters.  And there was everything that could remotely be considered a toy!  Of course we concentrated on the model railroading section, which was about the size of two or three high school gymnasia – and that was only about 1/20th of the Toy Fair.

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Naturally, there are too many photos of the Fair to post here.  But we had a grand time, and it took nearly all day to explore just the model railroading stuff: trains, new releases, laser cutters, 3D scanners and printers, accessories.  Fred and I had only about 1/2 hour to stroll through the aviation section of the Fair to marvel at the planes, helicopters and great number of drones.  Beware!

After the Fair, we all went to a local model railroading shop, where Rudi, a friend of Rey, opened up for a couple of hours, just for us.  Trust me, we made it worth his while!  Then off to dinner and the train back to Lichtenfels.

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The bus met us in Bleckede, and we rode into Dresden. As most of you know, Dresden was fire-bombed in World War II – and is now rebuilt, completing the world’s hardest jigsaw puzzle.  Imagine trying to rebuild these buildings, stone by stone, using the original stones.

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Back to Lichtenfels for a light dinner.

On Wednesday, we again boarded the ICE, but this time to Hamburg, taking our luggage.  It is good to pack light – less to carry and more room to buy goodies!  We had the afternoon free, and did a bit of exploring.

The next morning the group enjoyed the harbor tour.  February.  Northern Germany.  We were prepared for the worst, but not only was the weather mild, but we should have known that Roman and Rey would book a fully enclosed, heated, tour boat with a bar.  Nice to be sipping a Weissbier while admiring the harbor’s container facilities.

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Then off on a bus tour, getting an orientation of Hamburg.  And it seems from later events that Jennifer was more intrigued by the —– never mind, what goes on in Hamburg, stays in Hamburg.  Dinner was Italian, at Locanda’s, a very nice, close and cozy restaurant.

Friday, the Miniatur Wunderland.  What can I say?  If you are a rail fan of any sort – American, European, whatever – this is the Mecca for model railroaders!  GO!

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The “behind the scenes” tour was quite informative.  This is the charging station where the busses, trucks and fire engines recharge their batteries.  And the vehicles don’t just drive around – the lights and turn signals work, too!

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That night brought a visit to the Hofbrau Haus (of Munich) in Hamburg.  A grand time was had by all, notwithstanding the “Great Currywurst Scandal.”

Our last full day, Saturday, brought us a ride on our own private train, pulled by a diesel/hydraulic switcher.  We each got to ride in the cab for a while, and stopped several times for photo ops.

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Thanks to John, Colin, Bruce, Darren, Darlene, Bob, Tom, Roger, Jennifer, my brother Fred, and of course Roman and Rey for a great tour!  A great bunch with whom to travel!

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The model railroading section of the Toy Fair was focused on European trains, though some North American trains made their appearances – but very few. Nearly every company that I know in this genre was represented.  The presenters were friendly and eager to talk about this year’s new releases.  Some even spoke English.

For those of us with the Fleischmann N scale Rail Jet lok, the good news is that Kato/Hobbytrain is re-releasing the matching cars and control cab.  Ever since I was baited into getting the Rail Jet, DCC with sound – and thus going over to the DCC side, it has been very frustrating trying to obtain the matching passenger cars.  Hobby Train says they will be out in June, and I’ve got dibs on the first set to make it to Reynauld’s.

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Also of interest were the 1:1,000 train sets.  Yes, 1:1,000!  They fit in a bell jar.

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At the other end of the spectrum were the garden railways:

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There were several 3D scanners being demonstrated.  One was hand held.  I saw the presenter scan a man from several different directions with something that looked like a 60′s era microphone, and then the laser 3D printer created a statue of the guy about 5″ tall, with all the details.  You could put yourself and your whole family onto your layout, in any scale.  I think that I am going to have to make a trek to the north library (70 miles round trip) to learn about this 3D stuff!

I have reviewed the literature that I collected at the Toy Fair and lugged over half of Germany, a number of new items are worth mentioning.

Preiser:  A full collection of Bier Garten figures (in HO, not N, darn it!), plus library or bookstore figures, and more shoppers.

LUX-Modellbau: A track cleaning car (in N scale!) that scrubs and vacuums.

Star Tec Products: They have a very nice, ergonomic battery powered soldering iron, with foam cutter and carver attachments.  I’m very much thinking about getting one of these. www.startecproducts.de

Herpa: They feature a great selection of vehicles, militaria, cranes, wind generator, and accessories, as well as an Audi Showroom.  Most of these are in 1:87, but other scales are represented, also.  Fire engines and equipment are always a big thing; this year is no exception.  For me, it was disappointing that there was nothing new of note in 1:160 scale.  But for those with HO layouts, and doing militaria, there is an extensive selection of trucks, armor and aircraft.

Viessmann: In HO, they produce a powered flat car, which can push non-powered locos such as the telescopinc crane “Gottwald” from Kibri.  There is also, for MOW, a functional ballast tamping machine car.  In electronics, Viessmann has a new selection of lighting, power modules, sound module, and eMotion figures.  The man drawing beer from a keg would go well with the Preiser Bier Garten figures.

Vollmer:  The new tunnel portal, with crenellated top, is available in HO, TT, N, O & G scales.  “Feels like stone, as heavy as stone, looks like stone.”  Brick arcades, in HO and O, and wall plates and roof plates, are new and improved.  The new cobblestone street plates, laid roman style, have manholes, street drains, instersections (particularly hard to do if you are trying to cut these from straight pieces yourself!) non-right angle junction, and a right angle junction.

Kibri: Announces a new selection of buildings in HO, and an electrical substation with blue LED’s simulating arcing (something that shouldn’t be happening!).  For the Bier Garten crowd, there is a tractor with parade float, and guys in lederhosen drinking Bier.  Nothing new in N scale.

Gamesontrack:  This is exciting, especially for those with extensive layouts!  It is an indoor GPS system that tracks your trains, and can project your layout, and the position of every train, onto a computer or TV screen.  This was one of the more interesting items at the show.  It consists of two or more overhead satellites, and GPS chips to put into your train (loco or car, any scale) and a “GT-Xconnect” unit which communicates via radio with the satellites and the sending units.  It draws the position of each train at a rate of 12 positions per second.  To start, you put one train with sending unit on the track, and drive it around your entire layout a couple of times so the unti can map your set up.  Cool!  www.gamesontrack.co.uk

Igra Model: A fairly new company on the model railroading scene (2011), Igra has a wide range of offerings in N, HO and TT scales.  Not only does Igra have structures, scratch-building supplies, vehicles and rail cars and details, but, according to their flyer, “As a new, evolving company can offer production models according to customer requirements and in lower numbers than the normal mass production.”  This may be a company to watch!  www.igramodel.cz

Auhagen: This company’s 2015 catalog includes a very nice curb/gutter edging for your street scenes, new and interesting houses, factories, and near-seamless bridge piers, and details of factory interiors.  One particular item of note is what appears to be an Era II or III train destination board for a Bahnsteig, with name-boards operated by levers.  Probably non-operable, but a great detail for those HO modelers doing those eras.  A nice selection of items for N, TT & HO.  www.auhagen.de

Noch: A perennial favorite!  Station personnel with lighted signal wands, in, yes!, N and TT scales now.  An intriguing bunch of new figures – I especially like the HO Bier Stand, with figures, for your carnival or fest setting.  Must be the year for beer drinkers.  New materials and instruction for creating your geography, and some more realistic overpasses, culverts, and tunnel portals.  For those into electronics, there is an HO film screen and stage for outdoor concerts and such.  This is the centerpiece of Noch’s HO offerings this year.  www.noch.de

And that’s all, folks!  There was much more, but my mind was so boggled by it all, that it is impossible to remember everything.  So, the only answer for my deficiencies is for you to go and see for yourself next year.  Take the Reynauld’s Tour, keep a light heart, be flexible, and most of all, have fun!  While the Toy Fair and the Miniatur Wunderland were great, the best part of the trip was travelling with a congenial group of train enthusiasts……”I’ve been working on the rail road….”

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Response to Nuremberg Toy Fair Tour Report 2015

  1. Fred Preller says:

    Well said, Gordon. Indeed an enjoyable and fun trip thru cold – but gemuetlich – Germany. I know you will all pardon my baby brother for his understandable memory lapse: I refer, of course, to his omission of our trip to Leipzig to tour the central city and Hauptbanhof on the day after the toy fair. My friends Klaus and Marita Schumann (“Cousin Klaus” on my mother’s side, but no real relation. We think…) joined us that day, and they sent us off with eine kleine Flasche Meisterschuetz, out of concern for our “digestion.”

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