The Nuremberg International Toy Fair is a highlight on the annual Toy Fair circuit and is hailed as the biggest of its kind in the world. This year was the first time that I had attended the event which took me on a brief two day trip to Germany at the end of January.
The Toy Fair is far ranging in its content and the model railway and hobby sections are just part of a grand event which takes over 12 halls in Nuremberg’s exhibition centre which is a short U-Bahn ride from the city centre.
Having landed at the airport the first part of my journey across to city centre was on a automated U-Bahn train which took me to the central station to change routes. I took the opportunity to venture upstairs onto the main line platforms and I was pleasantly surprised to see that locomotive haulage was still a part of everyday life as well as Nuremberg Central Station retaining a station pilot.
A second U-Bahn, this time an older unit with a driver, took me to Messe and the stop for the Toy Fair. The event is huge and it took a 10 minute walk through halls and corridors to reach the model railway and hobby sections.
I’d heard great things about the event and knew there would be a lot of European outline stock on show (a good thing for my personal interests), but what I was particularly looking forward to was the array of scenic accessories which would be on display. On that front the show did not disappoint.
The likes of Faller, Busch, Noch and Vollmer all had impressive stands showing products which would, in many cases, be just as usable for a British outline layout as they would on continental models. Plus there were stands for Marklin (including LGB and Trix), Roco and Fleischmann, Brawa, Kato, ESU, Tillig, Piko, Fulgurex, Tomy Tec and many more. For British modelling there were stands from Bachmann, Hornby Hobbies, Oxford Diecast/Rail and Peco too.
I couldn’t fail to notice the Gauge 1 demonstration layout on the KM1 stand though as it had a smoke generator equipped German Railways V100 B-B diesel as well as a ’75’ 2-6-2T. The tank engine took things to another level though as not only did it have a smoke generator in the chimney, but it was able to emit steam from the cylinders as it set off adding greatly to its realism.
One of the highlights for me was Faller’s car system which on the display stand included a fully automated road system with vehicles which could change routes, indicate and junctions and manoeuvre around the town scene in a realistic manner. Sadly this advanced system is currently only available in Germany (and with ‘HO’ scale vehicles) but it was quite something to see in action.
A similar but more basic system was displayed on the Tomy Tec stand which had a working road system with a bus running around a town scene together with an automated tram system in ‘N’ gauge.
When it comes to scenic products the European manufacturers are streets ahead, literally. The Noch stand had it own display layout while new products ranging from ‘O’ gauge figures to hay bales in ‘HO’, cabbages, ornamental plants, winter scenes including Santas Groto, new cobbled road surfaces and more were on display.
Next on the scenics list was the Busch stand – another treasure trove of potential. Products for 2018 on display ranged from garden details to street repair sets and I was impressed by the dioramas that had been created especially for the event.
Visiting Nuremberg’s Toy Fair was a perfect reminder of how much potential the European manufacturers products ranges have for the British market. So many of the detailing items and scenic accessories are perfectly suited to the British market. I’ve always enjoyed working with products from Noch and Busch, but I’ve come back from Germany with new inspiration and ideas for the future.
Keep your eyes peeled on future issues of Hornby Magazine for more.
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