Despite being an ardent modeller and a lover of model shows in general, I actually find that I don’t have much time to get to them. Most occur during the summer, and I always find summer weekends to be very busy; it seems there’s always a lawn to cut, a car (or two) to wash and let’s face it, Faust needs to go for a run sometime too. However, there is one show that I always go to, and that’s the one in Hamilton Ontario, at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. This shown, known as HeritageCon, celebrated its “Lucky 13” this year, and was a bigger show than ever before. Since starting thirteen years ago, the Hamilton crew have continued to impress with continually improving show.
One area of a show that always catches my attention, of course, is the Vendor’s Area. Clearly, it’s dangerous to let me loose, and I will admit that a not-inconsequential amount of my stash does, in fact, trace its roots back to the HeritageCon vending area. This year was no different, and I managed to pick up a great cross section of almost every genre, except armour. Nobody was selling cheap Matchbox armour at this show, and they and the Fujimis in 1/76 are pretty much the only things that get my attention. There are a few others, but of course, I already have them. (Think 1/35 S-Tank…)
On our way to the HeritageCon show, my brother and I also make a “hobby shop” run, hitting up the shops between London and Hamilton for supplies and any interesting kits on the Saturday before the show. Sometimes, we do find some models we are looking for, but usually we just wait to see what we can find on Sunday. It’s amazing the number of times we’ve “held off” on a kit at new prices to find it significantly reduced at the show less than a day later!
The real draw, though, of a vendor’s area is that you can find old stuff, weird stuff and things you might not have otherwise even known existed. A lot of people sell from their personal collections, or those they’ve either inherited or bought outright from deceased modellers. If, like me, you are a lover of classic and weird, sometimes out-of-production stuff, this can make the experience a lot like a treasure hunt. True to form, this year yielded its own unique and eclectic booty!
The Run In:
The hobby shop run on the way in yielded a lot of paint, including two jars of Aqua Gloss, which are invaluable for building cars. (For more info on why, check out my Video!) However, I doubt anybody wants to see a pic of a bunch of paint jars. However, I did encounter one kit that was so bizarre and cute (yes, cute) that I couldn’t leave it behind. It was the Meng Kids version of the He-177 Greif, the only four-engined(ish) bomber that Germany mass produced in WWII. The Greif was a beast, prone to catching fire, due to its coupled engines, and not well-liked by anyone. There have been some very nice 1/72 Revell Germany versions of this plane, but a 1/72 Greif is just too big for my display area. (Okay, so why do I have the 1/72 Shackleton, 1/72 Lancaster Mk.II and 1/72 Halifax you ask? Well… because… Who asked you??)
Thankfully, the Meng folks realized that by making the Greif into an SD form (Super Deformed, but not the same as an egg plane), those of us who wanted a Greif could have one, save space and get a good laugh too! The box is so cutely serious (like their Warship Builder Lexington) that you can’t help but love it, so I tossed him on the stack.
As I said, there are a lot of people selling a lot of stuff at HeritageCon. Below, you can see the outcome of my weekend’s work. The Meng Grief, as I said, was the only thing I didn’t get at the show. The rest, well… it’s a mix of Matchboxes, weird planes robots and of course, some 1/32 ‘80s Snap Tite trucks. If that’s not a varied diet of styrene, I don’t know what is!
One kit that I’ve been searching for for decades is the Matchbox Brewster Buffalo. I already have a Buffalo in the form of the Farpro Buffalo (I also have an ancient Revell one, too), so why do I lust for the Matchbox, you ask? Well, if you have to ask, you clearly haven’t been through my site very much! I LOVE Matchboxes, with their combination of weird subjects and savage simplicity. I have bought some kits I don’t even care about because they ARE Matchboxes. The Buffalo, though, has been on the list a long time. Ages ago, my brother bought one for his friend as a birthday present. This was back in the late ‘80s. Since then, I’ve never seen another one. Until, that is, this year’s HeritageCon!
There was someone there selling what seemed to be a collection, and among them were many Matchboxes. In amongst the rather well-preserved boxes was one that was all mangled and crushed. Curious as to what kit could have succumbed to such a fate, I was excited and worried when I saw it was indeed the Buffalo! Here was a grail kit (Yes: the Matchbox Buffalo is a grail kit for me. Told you I was weird…) but in the worst shape I could think of. I gently opened the box to find that many pieces were loose, but that they were all there, and the canopy was intact! Hell’s yeah! Onto the stack it went!
Searching through the rest of the stash, I found two more Matchboxes I didn’t have and did want, namely the Sea Harrier FRS.1 and the Fairey Seafox! I like the Sea Harrier, despite its relative uselessness compared to the AV-8B, and since I have both a 1/72 Forger and the Matchbox Harrier GR.3, I thought it would make a neat comparison. Since I also have a T.10 and a T.4, it also seemed like a great idea to sort of “complete the family” in a way. The Seafox was a plane I’d only barely heard of. It was ugly, ungainly and oh so very, very British. I love Fleet Air Arm cammo, and I figured it would be a cool kit to practice rigging on. It’s also neat because the pilot is exposed, but the observer/gunner is enclosed? Oh Fairey… what won’t you do?
Sadly, that was the end of my Matchbox luck, but only sort of. I did turn down a Sword FJ-3 Fury because, quite honestly, I wanted an FJ-4B (I have bullpups in the stash). I also didn’t feel that the Sword was worth what the seller wanted. Thankfully, not one row over and 10 minutes later, I came upon the Emhar 1/72 FJ-4B Fury! Fate? Likely. Awesome? You bet!! This was made even better when I discovered that the Emhar Fury is a far cry more primitive than their (rather nice looking) Demon. The Fury looks like, and even sounds like, a Matchbox! It has the same thick, shiny plastic and thick canopy too! As it turns out, it’s made in England by Pocketbond, and thus I anoint it an Honourary Matchbox.
I also had the good luck to find two of the (now rather old) Macross 7 Valkyrie two-packs! I love Macross, and I love Valkyries. I don’t like kits that transform. There have been a lot of Valkyrie kits that don’t transform, in both Fighter and Battroid mode. However, some of the cooler ones were issued for Macross 7. These kits were in 1/144, which made them too small to be transformable, so Bandai simply gave you a Fighter Mode and Battroid Mode kit in the same box! This seems unusually generous by today’s standards, but that’s how it was. There were a number of kits in this series, and unfortunately the seller only had the first two, but that was good enough for me! They’re simple, well-engineered and well-proportioned kits in both modes. Interestingly, they use the same polycap rack as the V-Gundam 1/144 kits of the early 1990s. There’s also almost no build around, either.
I’m always on the hunt for Chinese fighters, and I was surprised to find the Trumpeter J-31 for sale at the show. This is a fighter that’s currently in a state of limbo in China. Since its debut, there have been only a couple of prototypes and not a lot has been heard about the program. There were thoughts it might be developed into a naval stealth fighter for the PLANAF (People’s Liberation Army, Navy Air Force – there’s a mouthful!). However, to date, there’s no firm commitment from any involved party. Thus, the plane is not well known. You can see there are some <Cough> “influences” <Cough> from both the Raptor and the F-35. Given that this may not make it into production, the F-31 makes a great basis for “What if” planes, another passion I have. I also have a number of other Chinese types (J-20, K-8, JH-7, J10S and J-8II) so the J-31 is a great fit.
On the “odd planes” front, I was also glad to get a model of the J-21R! This is one of the very few planes to ever have a prop and jet form. I have the ancient Heller J-21 propeller-driven version, but I’ve always wanted a jet. This is hole in my collection since I have basically every Swedish-designed fighter ever in 1/72, including the Marivox J-22, the Heller A-32 Lansen, Heller (and Matchbox) J-29 Tunan, Hasegawa Draken, Matchbox A/J-37 Viggens (one and two seater) and the Italeri JAS-39C and D Gripens (one and two seater). I don’t have a kit of the new “Gripen E”, but I’ll get it when the kit eventually comes out.
The Special Hobby J-21R looks like a nice kit, although the box is awfully big for what’s inside! I could have gotten the J-21 prop-drive version, too, but I already have the Heller, and who doesn’t love a Heller, right?
I also ran into a bunch of awesome ‘80s Snap-Tite (Snap-Fit, or whatever you want to call them) kits. Since building my ’64 Chevy Fleetside, I’ve gotten more into trucks. I love cheesy ‘70s and ‘80s striping, and thus the obnoxious “4×4” striping on the Yellow Datsun King Cab really grabbed me. As it turns out, that’s LEGIT, too! I can hardly wait to build it, in metallic brown, most likely. The two Broncos got me because a.) the red one had what looked like legit stripes and b.) you almost never see a Bronco without its topper, as on the blue one! I couldn’t decide which of these I liked better, so I bought them both. They’re basically the same kit, but with a few different parts.
The last thing I got was an Armstrong-Whitworth F.K.8 (Early) from Copper State Models. I got this as a raffle prize. I don’t build WWI stuff, but man, it IS a nice, nice kit! If someone ever wants to buy it from me, I’ll likely sell it cheaper than it would be new, but who knows, maybe one day I’ll build it! There’s a lot of photoetch and rigging to do, but it might be good practice on those arts!
So, that was my haul. It was a lot different than my London 2018 Haul, but no less cool. Both my overloaded basement shelves and my wallet are glad that there aren’t any more shows until next year, now!
Hope you guys enjoyed it! Which kit is your favourite? Let me know. I might review it sooner rather than later, then!