year I have a routine that tells me it's time to get ready
for the new flying season that is approaching. Now for most
people that routine includes things like pulling their models
down and getting them cleaned up, checking batteries to see
if they are in good condition, and checking radios to see
if they still work. But my list also includes one additional
item, and that is our annual trip to Toledo. This year will
be the 58th year that the Toledo Weak Signal RC Club has put
on their RC Expo, which is more commonly known as "The
Every year that I have been to Toledo it has been with
my great friend Mike Buzzeo (a.k.a.
Minnflyer) as we always cover the show together. In
fact, the first time that I met Mike in person was at
Toledo. For the last 2 years we have been joined by Geoff
G.Barber) that has helped us cover this show. We always
have a great time at the show and I look forward to it
for months in advance of the show. As we were prepping
for the show this year I was on the phone talking to Mike
on the Monday before the show and we were making plans
for how we were going to cover the show this year, as
well as hitting this great little Chinese restaurant we
had found not too far from where we stay. Tuesday morning
I received a call from Geoff and he started off by saying
that they weren't going to be coming to Toledo. Immediately
I thought this was simply a joke and I braced myself for
the punch line. It was then that Geoff told me that Mike
had passed away during the night. Mike's death was
absolutely unexpected and it leaves a huge hole in the
world now that he is gone. He will be missed as both my
friend but also as a huge part of RCU. I would like to
dedicate this year's coverage of The Toledo Show to
my good friend Mike Buzzeo.
In Peace Mike
Joining me this year to cover the show was Burc Simsec who
is one of our reviewers here at RCU. He brought his camera
along in order to capture the booths and what was going on
with all the vendors at the show. For more details on Burc's
photo coverage of the show check out the thread running in
our forums, Toledo
2012 thread here .
the country having problems with the economy for the last
few years the trip to Toledo is always done with expectations
of wondering how the show is going to turn out. We worry that
people won't show up to attend the show as well as worrying
if vendors are going to be there if the crowd does turn out.
I can report that 2012 left no worries at all as to how the
show went. A look at all the vendor booths showed no empty
booths, with many booths being filled by new companies with
their first trip to Toledo. As for the crowd, all I can say
is that getting around on the floor was just as difficult
as it is every year at the show. That means it's good because
there were plenty of people attending the show this year.
So overall I would report that the show, and the hobby in
general, are in great shape!
One of the first things that hits you when you first walk
into the show floor is that there is a LOT of new things to
see. Everywhere you turned there were new products from vendors
as many vendors use the Toledo Show as a launch pad for their
new products. The larger companies such as Hobbico, Horizon,
Aeroworks, Hobby Lobby, Hobby People, Airtronics, and many
others all had new products never seen before on the market.
In addition there were many new businesses at the show that
were using the Toledo Show as a place to introduce themselves
to the hobby world.
Horizon Hobby is always a great place to stop at the show.
They have expanded their booth over the year and now take
up an entire isle on the showfloor, and they fill that space
with all of the many different corporate offerings. E-Flite,
Hangar 9, Evolution, ZP Engines, Spektrum, JR, Parkzone, and
others are just some of the many companies represented by
the companies of Horizon Hobby. The new Spektrum DX18 18-channel
radio was almost a work of art and is sure to make a huge
mark on the radio market. One of the neatest things that I
saw in their booth as they new Parkzone Albatros electric
plane. I thought is was really interesting as it is a companion
plane to their already released S.E. 5 WW1 airplane, and with
the introduction of a sonic combat module allows the 2 planes
to actually "fight" each other in the sky. Too cool!
is another huge stop at the show. Their many companies include
Top Flite, Great Planes, OS Engines, Futaba, Aquacraft, Tactic
Radios, VS Tanks, and Flyzone. Just like others at the show
they had plenty of new stuff to show off this year. Top Flite
introduced their new Gold Series F4U Corsair ARF. This plane
was built on their already highly successful Giant Scale kit,
so it's already a proven airframe. The new ARF offers a level
of completion that will leave even experienced modelers drooling.
The plane even included covering with flat military covering
to accurately portray the original plane. Futaba raises the
bar with both their new T18MZ and T8J radios. Another of their
offerings that caught my eye were the VS Tanks that let's
people purchase small highly detailed tanks that would allow
them to have a tank battles right on their desktop. There
goes getting anything done at work anymore!
is always a fun stop at the Toledo Show. Over the last few
years they have raised the standards for ARF warbirds with
their P-51 ARF. The plane was a complete ARF that came out
of the box with detailed features that were unheard of in
an ARF in the past. These included scale cockpits, installed
retracts and sequencing gear doors, detailed guns, and many
more features. They continued this year by introducing a P-51B
model ARF that has all the same details as their previous
such as Balsa USA and Hobby Lobby showed us that model building
from kits isn't dead. Hobby Lobby has re-engineered their
entire line of Telemaster kits and have reintroduced them
with improvements that include laser cutting. The line of
Telemasters range from their tiny Micro Telemaster with a
34" wingspan all the way up to their Giant Telemaster
with a 12' wingspan. There is definitely a size there to fit
anybody. In fact, I tucked a Micro Telemaster under my arm
for the trip home to my own building table. I can't wait to
get it built. Balsa USA brought out 2 new planes for kit builders
as well as reintroducing a 20 year old favorite. Their new
offerings include a 1/3 scale Albatros and DR1, and the old
favorite was the reintroduction of their Sky Baby kit. Speaking
with Mark Enderby of Balsa USA he tells us that the plane
has been off the market for many years and there has been
a lot of demand for it lately, so they brought it back for
a new generation of builders to enjoy.
also good to see companies that are expanding their offerings
past what has been their bread and butter in the past. One
such company was Fibertech-N-More. The company started out
as Stan's Fibertech and offered the modeling world new and
replacement fiberglass parts for airplanes. The new owners,
Rick and Brenda Lick, and taken over the company and have
expanded on the fine product line that made the company one
of the best in their field. In addition to the line of outstanding
fiberglass parts Fibertech will soon be offering two kits
for builders. These kits will be a Super Chipmunk and a Staudacer,
both will be designed for 50cc power. Both planes will be
offered as full as well as short kits. Keep your eyes open
for the release of these kits.
Toledo Show is not just a show of the hobby business, but
it's also a competition with many modelers entering their
"pride and joys" to compete against each other.
To me this is one of the greatest parts of the show as the
level of detail entered into the competition is simply boggling.
Every year they award one entry the "Best Of Show"
award and that goes to the one model that simply had everybody
stopping by to see it. This year that award went to Rick Hamel
for his "Mythical Beast", and trust me when I say
it was truly a mythical beast. His entry was a complete fire-breathing
flying dragon. Yes, a dragon! He built from scratch a complete
model of a dragon that was powered by a turbine engine. The
dragon was equipped with a system to breath fire as well.
It as truly a sight to see. My only regret was that I didn't
get to see it fly! Check out the video
below highlighting the model.
It's almost impossible to cover all of the features of the
Toledo Show here with words. I invite you to simply sit back,
scroll down, and enjoy the Toledo Show in both video and pictures
of our visit to the show. We've included videos of booth visits
with many of the vendors at the show. We hope you enjoy the
the past few years of a woeful economy, it really seems like
the show is coming back in full force. New companies are growing
while the time-honored veterans are reestablishing themselves.
I hope that this is an indication of a brighter future for
If you couldn't make it to the show this year or if you just
care to reminisce, please feel free to enjoy the sights and
sounds that we present below! - Ken Isaac (for the RCU Staff)