I posted a question on the scale18.com message board for Ulf, the man who provided a lot of the pictures shown above:
do you experience any effects of the economic recession? For example less manufacturers present of less novelties?
Yes, I do thinks so.
My impression, a strictly subjective outsider view and only after a short check (I was there for maybe 3 or 4 hours, that's all):
Spark must be a success story, niches filled up with long awaited specialist cars.
No-one could actually do so many news without the backing of success. Split from PMA for distribution, too.
Big mid-price players as AA and PMA seem to flood out new molds, but with hope to generate quick money.
It appears like they try very hard right now.
Kyo mostly relying on re-hashs, clever ones though, and 43s. Maybe a way to get new money without high investment.
Exoto? Who? Only dusty old stuff, I missed to see any new stuff at all, not even the catalog corpses.
CMC must be a hit. Always stuffed booth.
But then they seem to attract a specific kind of collector, people who put craftmanship above the idea of the slavishly accurate real car, just smaller.
Mainstream cheapo labels appear dead. Lack direction and focus. Welly and such, yawn.
SunStar seems to do good stuff, mainly US classic and rally. Ascona 400 not yet there but confirmed.
GMP and TSM appeared in optimistic mood with their successful new ranges and directions, with quality and fresh ideas.
Luckily, because these guys are really good ones.
They are - like Spark are - the car nuts, the enthusiasts, the race fans.
And another user:
My first Toy Fair was 2004 and I remember being blown away by how busy it was. If you stopped in the walkways to look at some displays the tide of people moving through would pick you up and carry you away. Steadily, year after year, the tide got slower and the aisles wider (less rows of stands so they widened the walkway) to the point where last year you could have had meetings in the walkways without having to worry about getting in anyones way. Even on Saturday which is usually the busiest day.
It's a shame really but shows the state of the industry as a whole but also, with the internet and e-mail a lot of stores/manufacturers will wait for e-mails with pics and info rather than travel to the fair to see what's going on. Last year Spark had no official stand as Minichamps handled it and then this year they go it alone and seem to be the star of the show.
The focus of the message board is on 1:18 models but I guess we can extrapolate it to other scales.
Have a look at the Alfa-novelties list of Minichamps. The 1:18 8c 2900 B Lungo is spectaculair, but the 1:43 list is poor, most models being new colors only. Seems a lot of manufacturers are reluctant to invest but if they do, it's only for models that will sell in big numbers.
Another thing, last three years I kept track of the Nuremberg Alfa Romeo novelties, scale model forums and websites around the world were buzzing all day. Now it's much harder to find pictures. Foxtoys, Minicarshop, Vieux Tacot, they all remain silent. Let's hope we get more news this weekend.