Industry News

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Industry News - September 2008

Published: August 14, 2008
David Gray inducted into AMA Hall of Fame
Long time employee of Du-Bro Products, David Gray, was recently inducted into the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) Hall of Fame for his contributions to the radio-control model/hobby industry.

Gray is best known for developing the first flyable R/C helicopter. This achievement earned him a place in the Smithsonian Institute, which still has his original helicopter on display.

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MTH to get some Broadway Limited tooling
MTH Electric Trains and MKT (formerly Korea Brass) announced that the companies have resolved their longstanding legal battle in a settlement that includes a cash payment and the transfer of some tooling for Broadway Limited HO locomotives to MTH. Also resolved were two other cases involving a patent for Digital Command Control sound effects and a QSI patent infringement suit against MTH.

"It was so frustrating to negotiate the settlement due to all the moving parts," said MTH Electric Trains president Mike Wolf.

Terms of the settlement, announced Aug. 12, include a payment by MKT to MTH of $950,000, the transfer of some HO tooling from the Broadway Limited product line and Lionel HO product line (both manufactured by MKT), the granting to MTH of a sub-license from Precision Craft Models for the DCC patent held by Real Rail Effects, and dismissal of a QSI patent infringement case against MTH and Real Rail Effects' case against three other manufacturers.

A previously published version of this story made additional references to Precision Craft Models and Broadway Limited without clear attribution to MTH.

Real Rail Effects had filed patent infringement lawsuits against QSI, Atlas, and American Hobby Distributors in federal court in Florida. These suits alleged violations of Real Rail Effects' patent for combining DCC with a sound decoder. MTH stated that it felt it needed a license with Real Rail Effects to prevent a possible lawsuit between Real Rail Effects and MTH at a future date.

According to Wolf, "I wanted to wrap up all of this litigation in one big settlement even though some elements of the resolution would have benefitted my competitors, so I insisted that the QSI suit be resolved as well as the Real Rail Effects suits against the other named parties. This was one of the reasons this thing took so long, but in the end it was worth the wait."

The Broadway Limited HO model tooling that now moves into MTH's hands includes the Union Pacific die-cast metal Big Boy steam engine, Pennsylvania die-cast metal GG-1 electric, Alco PA diesel, Alco FA diesel, EMD F3 diesel, and EMD F7 diesel. Also included were the tools for Lionel's HO Union Pacific die-cast Challenger and Union Pacific die-cast Veranda Turbine. MTH plans to use the models in its own HO line once changes are made to incorporate MTH's sound and control electronics and external body details are modified.

The settlement stems from a federal trial in U.S. District Court in Michigan in 2004 that ended with a verdict in favor of MTH. Korea Brass and its co-defendant, Yoo Chan Yang, were found liable of misappropriating MTH's trade secrets. After the verdict, Korea Brass transferred assets and purchase orders to a new Korean entity named MKT, according to MTH.

In 2006, MTH filed a lawsuit to contest claiming the transfer of assets from Korea Brass to MKT was intended to avoid the court judgment. In April 2008 MKT was ordered to make good on Korea Brass' debt.

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iHobbyExpo booth space sold out
If you're a manufacturer looking for exhibition space at this year's iHobbyExpo, you may have waited too long.
The 24th annual event, scheduled for Oct.16-19, 2008, in the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, Ill., has sold out all exhibitor booths. More than 269 exhibitors have reserved booths in the 70,000 square-foot space, 64 companies appearing at the show for the first time.
"Exhibit floor space is sold out again this year, and we have a waiting list of companies desiring to enter the show," said Ed Rogala of Midwest Products, chair of the Hobby Manufacturers Association (HMA) Show Committee. "We'll fill booth spaces from this waiting list as booths become available."

Registration materials have been mailed to over 20,000 dealers and distributors in the U.S. and around the world.

Pat Koziol, HMA executive director, said new buyer categories have been introduced, including specialty toy, gaming and computer stores, general merchandise and gift shops, all of which have received registration brochures along with hobby, craft and toy stores.

The "Hobby University" series of business education seminars will premiere at this year's expo, offering classes on finance, store location and design, Internet sales and advertising and promotion.

Retailers can also get product instruction from 10 manufacturer-sponsored workshops and ongoing floor demonstrations and events.

Consumer days events (Oct. 18-19) include the Monster Truck Track and Tractor Pull, the Chibotica/Robotica Fall Competition, 4th Annual World Micro Heli Cup and the new Phoenix Cup Airplane competitions. Kids' activities include a new Thomas the Tank Engine train ride, pinewood derby races and an interactive Legoland display.

For registration information, call 800-TOHOBBY or visit www.ihobbyexpo.com.

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Silvergate into new San Diego facility
Silvergate Distributors has completed its move to a new facility in the San Diego, Calif., area and is looking to grow its business with new product lines, manufacturing and service components.

The company also has a Freehold, N.J., warehouse.

In June, Silvergate assumed distribution of LGB of America. Large-scale trains are still a specialty, with Silvergate distributing Piko G-scale locomotives, cars, buildings and track. Silvergate President Tony Castellano says starter sets will be available for the holiday season. Additionally, Silvergate will also represent the company's HO-scale line.

Related model railroad products include Bridgewerks' line of transformers for large-scale trains. The company recently added a model sized for HO, too, according to vice president-development Jonathan Meador. Silvergate is also distributing Just Plain Folks G-scale figures, in addition to Brawa locomotives.

The company has also entered the manufacturing arena, producing Hillman's Rail Clamps in the San Diego warehouse. Meador says Silvergate is also interested in doing sound installations in large-scale rolling stock.

Other product lines Silvergate is distributing include the Alpha Force line of pre-built models. Die-cast lines include surface vehicle manufacturers Motorart, Emek and Schuco, and aircraft maker Schabak.

Castellano notes one line Silvergate is particularly excited about is Noch scenery products, especially its Ziterdes gaming products.

For more information, visit the company's Web site, SilvergateDistributors.com. Customers can still call 858-795-0700 or the company's 800 number for support. For updates regarding availability of LGB products, visit the News section of lgboa.com.

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AeroTech unveils new motors
AeroTech introduced a number of new model rocket motors at the Manufacturer's Forum held July 27 during the historic 50th anniversary of the National Association of Rocketry's Annual Meet (NARAM) in The Plains, Va.

AeroTech/RCS President Gary Rosenfield unveiled AeroTech's first new "standard" model rocket RMS hardware in 17 years, the RMS-24/60, which is 24mm in diameter, 95mm in length, and is intended to fit all motor mounts designed for black powder E models. The first reload to be made available for the new 24/60 hardware will be the F35W, which uses AeroTech's White Lightning propellant.

Rosenfield also displayed a new 29mm single-use G motor, using the company's Mojave Green propellant, the G78G. The G78G will be manufactured in LMS motor kit form as the G78G/L.

According to Rosenfield, AeroTech is planning to re-release the previously discontinued 24mm F21W single-use motor, possibly in time for iHobbyExpo.
AeroTech is considering resuming production of its RMS/Hybrid system, which was last manufactured in October 2001. More information will be released as it becomes available.

AeroTech Consumer Aerospace is a division of RCS Rocket Motor Components, Cedar City, Utah.

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SCORE helps businesses get online
Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and Concentric, a Web domain and e-mail service provider specializing in business, have partnered to provide a free online workshop to help small-business owners define and implement a Web site strategy.

Entrepreneurs can learn how to plan a Web site, choose a service provider, create Web content, hire a third-party Web designer and promote the Web site after it goes live.

SCORE offers nearly 40 free, online workshops that cover starting, managing and growing a business.

Find this workshop and others at www.score.org and click on "Learn Online."

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Briarpatch wins multiple honors
Briarpatch, maker of board, card and travel games as well as puzzles, received honors this spring for several of its games.

Games and awards are as follows: I SPY Private Eye, Mr. Dad 2008 Father's Day Seal of Approval; Animal Soup, Parents' Choice Awards 2008 Silver Honor and iParenting Media Awards Spring 2008; Clothespins, Parents' Choice Recommended Seal Spring 2008 and iParenting Media Awards Spring 2008; Beddy-Bye Baby, iParenting Media Awards Spring 2008 and National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval 2008; Thomas' Great Race, Parents' Choice Awards Recommended Seal Spring 2008 and National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval 2008; and Sea Monsters, Mr. Dad 2008 Father's Day Seal of Approval.

Briarpatch is based in Millburn, N.J. For more information about its products, visit briarpatch.com.

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CHA recognizes industry stars
The Craft & Hobby Association announced the winners of its industry awards, which it presented July 19 at the 2008 CHA Summer Convention & Trade Show in Rosemont, Ill.

The Innovations Showcase brought together the newest ideas and most original products from exhibiting companies. Winners included: Kodomo, Best of Show, for original designs from Japanese artist Zigen; Paverpol USA, in the art materials & framing category, for its non-toxic, environmentally friendly textile hardener; Clover Needlecraft, in the fabric/quilting/needlecrafts category, for its Jumbo "Quick" Yo-Yo Maker; Duncan Enterprises, in the general crafts category, for its Crafty Chica Products by Kathy Cano-Murillo; and Fiskars, in the scrapbooking and paper crafts category, for its Push and Print Stamp Factory.

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PSI hosts Gen Con 'Game Night'
Publisher Services, Inc., (PSI) has committed to hosting its successful PSI Game Night event for the Gen Con Trade Day, Wednesday, Aug. 13, in Indianapolis, Ind., at the Westin Hotel.

PSI represents three dozen companies, from Avalon Hill to Z-man Games. The game night will be an exclusive preview of the exhibitor hall's best titles. All trade day attendees are welcome to free drinks all night while demoing games from different publishers.

For more information, call 800-529-EXPO or visit www.gencon.com.

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4Kids signs licenses to Dinosaur King
4Kids Entertainment, Inc., the children's entertainment and media organization, has signed several key licensees to help launch a worldwide licensing program for the children's property, Dinosaur King.

Master toy licensee, Playmates Toys Inc., will release a product line in June 2009 that includes dinosaur figures and role-play items, inspired by the Dinosaur King animated adventure series currently airing in the 4KidsTV block on Fox.

Upper Deck will launch an all-new Dinosaur King trading card game (TCG) in October 2008. Additionally, Dinosaur King trading cards will be included in the Playmates Toys' dinosaur figures, providing special strengths and abilities for the Dinosaur King TCG and lending to cross marketing.

Sega has also been licensed for a video game based on the Dinosaur King property.

Currently airing its first season on Saturday mornings, Dinosaur King primarily targets boys, ages 6-11. The second season will premiere this fall.

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Serrano to IHC
Lydia Serrano recently joined the staff at International Hobbycraft Co., Northbrook, Ill., as export manager. Previously, she handled the international customer service department at Revell-Monogram USA, and prior to that, spent 10 years at Medica International, another export management company. Serrano started at IHC July 7.

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