THE Cub Report, Version- Get Your Fight On
Yes, I’m still in recovery mode after the HobbyTown USA National Convention in Lincoln Nebraska from last week, but here are some of my thoughts from the show-
1. Why do you even care about HTCON 2015? Well you should, with no iHobby Expo this year (next one is spring ’16), it was basically the biggest surface show in the USA this year.
2. The people running HTCON have their act together. The show runs smoothly, it has a bunch of activities for attendees to do, and they put on a great show. Everyone is well taken care of (even the food was good! and the provided t-shirt is above average!), and with the setting being confined inside a hotel (with many rooms being used as “booths”), it makes it easy to make new friends and or to get to know old ones better.
3. HTCON is a great name. With all the “cons” doing record business, it was about time someone used it in the rc biz.
4. Don’t go out drinking for a night on the town in Lincoln with Hawaiian Chris (one of our staff testers), you will end up getting kicked out of whatever establishment you enter. 🙂
5. What was I blown away by at HTCON this year? The Firelands booth, that’s what. Firelands (Helion/Ares) not only had an incredibly volume of new products, but it was obvious that the new products that were on display are a step in the right direction for them. In the past some of their products looked like they were ordered right out of the Hi-Moto catalog, but products like the Select Four 10SC show that they’ve put in some serious development time and are trying to put out some high-end products. Also, with 3 new MTs on display, it’s obvious that they care about you Mr Joe Average basher. Also… the staffers they had explaining their new products was superb, extremely well spoken and knowledgeable. Props to Firelands, they killed it at HTCON ’15.
6. We dropped by the RedCat booth to say hello, strangely the person working the booth had never heard of us before. If you sell bashing products and haven’t heard of BigSquidRC yet, you are seriously flashing twelve o’clock. As far as the products in their booth went, they have a new truck that has color coded parts. For example, shock towers are red, arms are blue, etc. Wow, has it really come to this? When a consumer won’t even look up a part number, instead they stumble into a hobby shop saying “I need the BLUE part! I don’t know what it does, all I know is I need the BLUE one!!!”? Wow, just wow.
7. There were two companies that I really missed having a booth this year at HTCON, RC4WD and Killerbody RC. Both have supported the show in the past and both have some incredible products, sadly they didn’t make the ’15 show.
8. One of the things I enjoy most at a hobby show is talking with the old school hardcore industry guys. For example, Dubro and Bob Smith Glue are at every single hobby show, and have been for years. Both sell products required at every hobby shop in the country, and both have done and seen it all in this hobby. I pretty much hang on every word from those guys, their perspective is invaluable to me.
9. As I walked the booths I asked a bunch of manufacturers if they would be at iHobby in Jersey next spring. The consensus? There is a whole lot of wait and see out there. Most are waiting to see if any of the big names sign up before they start making plans. Nobody seemed stoked about the Jersey location, but we’ll be there to cover it whether it is big or small.
10. The guys at Pro-Line are super in tune with the hobby industry and I think their products show it. They are just so gnar-core about surface products and doing things the right way instead of the cheap way, man I wish every rc company was like them.
11. Can you believe Hitec is celebrating a quarter century in the rc biz? Attention young companies, if you want longevity, take a look at how Hitec has done business, they are have done it right.
12. New on the scene at HTCON was Fire Brand RC. Now days we tend to see a whole lot more rc companies closing shop than starting up, but I like what Fire Brand is doing. They have immaculate packaging, great marketing, and obviously have a fire burning in their stomach to take the rc world by storm. Good for them, I hope they are around a long time from now.
14. (14 because I really hate the number 13) I didn’t see the Ferrari at this year’s HTCON. Normally there is a Ferrari parked in the entry area, but alas it was missing this year. Sigh, maybe in ’16?
15. Remember a few years ago when you couldn’t walk 2 feet at a trade show without bumping into a LiPo battery booth? Well now it is quads/drones. While the hobby may have been slow to initially react, they are all over it right now. Quads were everywhere at the show. From dirt cheap entry level to high-zoot fully auto everything, HTCON was packed to the rafters with them.
16. HPI was actually showing 3 new products at the show, which was good to see. HPI is a shell of its former self here in the states, but at least they did have some new gear. Btw, it was interesting to see that the Octane Savage was propped high up on a shelf, well out of the best attention area. Stick a fork in the Octane? I think so.
17. I was also really stoked to see Kyosho America at the show. Ya, I know I’ve ripped Kyosho a new one on dozens of occasions, but they do have some very neat products. Heck, they might even sell some of them if they keep getting out and showing them to people.
Ok, that’s all I have in me this week. You know the drill, support your local hobby shops and bash spots when ya can.
YOUR Cub Reporter