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Industry News - April 2009

Published: March 11, 2009
Trinity to become Team Epic
Trinity's owner, Ernest Provetti, confirmed rumors of the company's impending move to Florida in an open letter on Tuesday, April 7.

In the letter, Provetti said that he needs to be more "involved" in the every-day operations of his business, and that the move to Florida would allow him to do so.

Trinity's office in New Jersey will close on April 30, and will re-open in Florida on June 1 under the new name, Team Epic Inc. Key members of the Trinity staff will remain in place, including Tony Przybylowicz, Jim Dieter and Paul Lemiieux.

Team Epic will be the new U.S. agent for Sirio nitro engines.

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Silvergate adds Atlas, Atlas O to offerings
Silvergate Distributors announced April 7 it has added Atlas Model Railroad Company and Atlas O products to the lineup of products available to retailers. Atlas produces locomotives, cars and accessories in N, HO and O scales.

"With a history dating back to 1924, Atlas is one of the greatest names in model railroading," said Mark Rocha, Silvergate's Vice-President of Sales & Marketing. "Atlas model trains, track and accessories are a tremendous value too, and in today's economy, that makes them very popular with both retailers and consumers."

Silvergate will initially concentrate on the Atlas O, 3-rail Industrial Rail and Atlas Trainman lines of train sets, as well as Atlas Trainman N and HO sets and add-on track packs. The distributor expects to begin shipping products to authorized retailers in May.

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Jaures Garofali, 1967
Founder of Super Tigre Engines dies
Jaures Garofali, founder of Super Tigre engines, died on Thursday, March 26, at the age of 89.

Born in Bologna, Italy in 1920, Garofali began designing model engines at 17, originally producing engines under the OSAM brand name. He founded Super Tigre engines in 1949. The first Super Tigre engine produced was the G-19, a 4.82cc diesel engine. In 1950, Garofali produced the G-20, a 2.47cc glow engine that was flown by modelers around the world. Garofali continued to upgrade and improve the performance of this engine, incorporating ideas he received from modelers, especially the speed fliers.

Mr. Garofali is survived by his wife and children. Daughter, Sandra, and sons, Leonardo, Romualdo and Fabio continue to work in the hobby industry at the Italian distributor, Safalero.

Excerpted from Great Planes press release

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NRHSA and GAMA shows team up again
The Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the National Retail Hobby Stores Association (NRHSA) are teaming up again this year to bring hobby retailers two shows for the price of one.

At the GAMA Trade Show 2009, you'll be able to attend the full track of seminars and visit the exhibit hall where you can talk to game manufacturers and distributors. Then your your value doubles as you visit the NRHSA Table Top Expo. There, you get a look at the latest products in the hobby industry, including trains, R/C, models, slot cars, and more, plus access to its seminar series.

GTS 2009 runs April 14-17, 2009 at Bally's Las Vegas. The NRHSA Table Top Expo takes place April 13-17 at the Las Vegas Hilton, just a quick monorail ride away.

Double the value and double the return from your trade show dollars by attending both the GAMA and NRHSA shows in Las Vegas!

Hal Miller, editor of Model Retailer will be visiting both shows.

For details about each show, please visit GAMA show or NRHSA show.

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Flight Miniatures now arriving
Flight Miniatures, a wholesale provider of model airplanes, recently launched a reseller Web site at www.flightminiaturesreseller.com. The site replaces the Genesis Collections Web site and adds on-line ordering, marketing tools and wholesale pricing linked to each registered user's account.

Taking into account customers' suggestions and preferences, the company developed the Web site exclusively for retailers and resellers of snap-fit and die-cast model airplanes in the collector and hobby markets.

Flight Miniatures is a division of Genesis Worldwide Enterprises (GWE), serving as a distributor of merchandise for the model collector market. The company is based in Cottonwood, Ariz.

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R&K Productions to new location
Effective April 1, R&K Productions will be at home in its new location in Kirkland, Wash. The office will be closed for the move from Monday, March 30-April 3. Orders will not be fulfilled during this time. Responses to e-mails and voicemails may take longer than usual.

R&K Productions' new address is:
8404 NE 139th St.
Kirkland, WA 98034
714-786-8025 phone
866-848-8019 fax

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Rapido unveils True North Locomotives
Rapido Trains Inc. has announced a new product line, True North Locomotives. They are Canadian-specific models, featuring detail unique to the locomotives that ran there. The line's first HO scale release is the GMDD FP9A in Canadian National and VIA Rail Canada schemes.

According to Rapido's Jason Schron, the company is working with the CN Lines Special Interest Group as well as several expert modelers and retired CN employees to make sure the model has all the details of the prototype. They are built with all-new tooling for DC or DCC operation, with sound. Models will feature road-number and era-specific details for CN and VIA, including different grabiron arrangements, winterization hatch style, cooling pipe style, headlight style, and nose details. The sound-equipped version has accurate CN sounds including Canadian horns.

Delivery is expected in December 2009. The suggested price on the units is $169.95 for DC only, $299.95 for DC/DCC/sound. Visit the Rapido Web site for more information.

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NRHSA room rate reduced again
The Las Vegas Hilton has reduced the Nation Retail Hobby Store Association (NRHSA) Table Top Expo hotel room reservation rate to $59 per night. Anyone who has already made room reservations for the April 13-17 show will automatically be credited with lower room rate; there is no need to contact the hotel. The room reservation deadline has also been extended until showtime.

Retailers may still register for to attend the show onsite; the cost remains the same.

For room reservations, call the Las Vegas Hilton at 800-732-7117 or 702-732-5111. Click here for more show information.

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Round 2 launches new Web site
Round 2 Corp., based in South Bend, Ind., launched a new Web site in support of it's licensed AMT, MPC and Polar Lights model kits: www.round2models.com. The Web site has a "retro" design and retailers can buy direct from the site.

Round2models.com contains art work and information about available models, as well as soon-to-be-released model kits. A "Workbench" section features articles about building and detailing Round 2 model kits. Customers can vote for a favorite kit to be released, or click on the distributor list to find the nearest hobby shop.

In addition to the launch of its Web site, Round 2 is also developing a free e-newsletter. Users can register at the Web site's "contact us" page to receive special offers, monthly updates on upcoming releases, and breaking news.

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Exhibitors invited to CHA Summer Show
The Craft & Hobby Association's 2009 Summer Show, July 28-30, 2009 will be its first in Orlando, Florida. According to a release from the organization, the relocation allows exhibitors to take advantage of the booming craft industry in the southeast United States.

A series of special exhibitor benefits for the Summer Show are available through the CHA Power Marketing Program, including free publicity in CHA's digital and print publications; access to the CHA's mailing list to target pre-registered buyers; inclusion in the CHA's Innovation Showcase at the show and in the Show Preview Guide, as well as the Buyer's Action Pack; and complimentary on-line exhibitor directory listing complete with exhibitor links and images. To sign up, contact Anthony Licata at alicata@craftandhobby.org or at 800-822-0494. Sign up by April 6 is encouraged.

For more information, visit www.chasow.org.
WotC announces Retailer Rewards and new Internet Sales Policy
In a press release, Wizards of the Coast announced a new Retailer Rewards program that will take effect on April 6, 2009. Retailers that reach the "Core" level in the Wizards Play Network will be eligible for exclusive product and promotions throughout the year. For details about WPN levels and requirements, visit click here and then click on "Levels and Requirements."

This year's Magic From the Vault release will be the exclusive Retailer Rewards product for 2009, and the free point-of-purchase promotion will start with the Magic 2010 Core Set.

WotC's new Internet Sales Policy also goes into effect on April 6. The new policy clarifies guidelines for online sales of WotC's product, and requires that retailers register with Wizards by signing an Authorized Internet Dealer Agreement.

To learn more about the Internet Sales Policy, call WotC at 800-821-8028 or by email retailerhelp@wizards.com. You can access the Authorized Internet Dealer Agreement by visiting www.wizards.com/retailer.

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Team Associated, Lucas Oil ink off-road series deal
An agreement has been reached between Team Associated/RC10.com and Lucas Oil Products Inc. to make the Team Associated/RC10.com the official R/C car company of the Lucas Oil Off Road Series.

"This is a very exciting time for everyone at Team Associated/RC10.com. We are honored to be named the official R/C car company of the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series. Our goal in joining forces with Team Lucas is to partner with a premium racing organization that shares our uncompromising commitment to the highest level of excellence. With this partnership we look forward to increasing the brand awareness of Team Associated/RC10.com within the vast group of off-road racing fans. After all, we are passionate racing fans ourselves, and working with Team Lucas is a natural fit," said Team Associated/RC10.com vice president Cliff Lett.

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Quique Somenzini Joins Horizon Hobby
Horizon Hobby is announced that radio-control aircraft designer and champion flyer Quique Somenzini will be joining its product development team.

The originator of models like the Python and Yak-54 series, Quique has been called "The Godfather of 3D Flight," and will now add his experience, and expertise to Horizon, helping create products for a variety of brands.

Currently the F3A World Champion, Quique has been a member of Team JR since moving to the United States from Argentina in 2002.

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$2 billion negative impact on toy industry
In mid-February, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) surveyed manufacturers, importers and retailers in the wake of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act's (CPSIA) implementation. Almost 400 manufacturers and importers responded, along with more than 220 retailers, to give the TIA an indication of the CPSIA's effect.

After reviewing the survey's data, with respect to the respondents, the new law's requirements appear to have caused a $2 billion negative impact on toy companies. More than $1 billion worth of inventory has been returned to manufacturers or is currently sitting in warehouses, unsellable due to noncompliant levels of lead or phthalates, or awaiting certification before shipment to retailers (see $1 billion in unsellable inventory).

Approximately $800 million in inventory already on retailer shelves could be sent back to manufacturers. These products were compliant with laws at the time of manufacture, but are not compliant with the new restrictions under the CPSIA, and therefore cannot be sold without risk of legal ramifications.

On top of the implications for lost sales, more than 40% of the respondents indicated that they will be cutting jobs as a result of the CPSIA. That works out to about 1,200 imperiled jobs.

Between the lost inventory, sales and jobs, TIA says that the toy industry stands to lose nearly 10% of its retail value.

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Mark Cleveland
Hobby Lobby International sold
Hobby Lobby International Inc. announced this week the company has been acquired by Family Time Hobbies LLC, a holding company controlled by Nashville area entrepreneur Mark A. Cleveland.

The company is a designer and distributor of radio-control products headquartered in Brentwood, Tenn., where it also operates a retail store. According to a release, the 43-year-old company is recognized as the third largest hobby aircraft company in North America. Hobby Lobby is the exclusive U.S. distributor of Graupner products.

Cleveland, a novice R/C pilot, has experience in a variety of businesses, including transportation, sportswear, communcations and insurance.

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AMA announces membership drive for hobby stores
The Academy of Model Aeronautics will start its first nationwide membership drive through hobby shops beginning April 1. The program, themed "Bringing Modelers Together Begins with You," runs through September 14.

Dealers can participate in the membership drive if they are part of the AMA Hobby Shop Program. For each new member the store signs up, it will receive $5 for an Open membership; $4 for a Senior membership; $3 for a Park Pilot membership or an Introductory membership. If your store would like to participate in the AMA Hobby Shop Program, contact Erin Dobbs, programs coordinator, at 765-287-1256, ext. 272.

Membership drive prizes will be announced after September 15. Awards include recognition in Model Aviation and Park Pilot magazines with a quarter-page ad and on the AMA Web site. Individual recognition bricks with the hobby shop winner's name will placed in the AMA "Walk of Fame" at the International Aeromodeling Center in Muncie, Ind. A plaque will also be presented to the winning store.

The AMA is also offering special benefits to stores that sign up for the Hobby Shop Program at the National Retail Hobby Stores Table Top Expo or by contacting AMA during the week of the show. Each store will receive their hobby shop's name in Model Aviation, Park Pilot and on AMA's Web site, T-shirts and three custom name tags for store employees.

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Dealer sign-up open for RCX
RCX, Model Airplane News Expo and Die-Cast X Collectors Expo will be April 18-19 at the Fairplex in Pomona, Calif. Retailers can sign up now to attend the show free.

Billed as the biggest radio control event in the country, all three shows offer retailers a chance to talk to the many manufacturers in attendance. The show will also feature new product releases and live product demonstrations. For more information and a full lineup of entertainment, visit the show Web site.

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Walthers to offer full Lionel line
Starting with new releases for 2009, the entire Lionel line of O gauge models will be available from Walthers. More than 500 new items are planned this year, however, their production will be based on advance orders, which must be placed on or before April 8, 2009. Orders for the new Vision line of models are due by April 30, 2009.

Details are being finalized and updates will be posted at walthers.com when available.

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