Day 1 at iHobby

It’s the end of our first day at the iHobby Expo in Chicago, IL. It has been a long day, but a productive one as well.

It started out with breakfast at our hotel, where we happened to run into Mark Cleveland, the CEO of Hobby-Lobby International. We sat and chatted about the industry over our morning meal. It’s not every day you get to sit down and chat candidly with a CEO of a major player in the hobby world, and it was an enjoyable chat we had with him.

Afterwards, we hurried to get to the convention center. As soon as we got to the show floor, three major booths were right there: Great Planes, Horizon, and Traxxas. Which means that we didn’t get any further until after lunch.

But enough about the actual event… you guys want to know about new releases. So here goes.

Traxxas came out swinging today, with a number of new releases. Probably the most surprising one is the Stampede 4x4 Brushless. It’s priced around $400, and shares many parts in common with the Slash 4x4, along with some slick new ideas, like shock guards on the front a-arms. I’ll embed a video of Roger driving it on the test track they had there. I suspect this will be a great seller, and perfect addition to our product line. It’s due out early-December.

The “Spartan” also was in attendance – you might know this boat as the Titan. Part of the delay was the name change. Other than that, though, nothing else changed. Traxxas said it should start shipping soon, but we’ve heard that before, right? ^_

Other Traxxas releases included two new Slashes: One that is a throwback to the first version of the truck and does not include the battery or charger ($200), and the other one is the long-awaited Slash VXL. This one is the same 2WD Slash everyone loves, and finally comes with a Velineon Brushless System onboard ($350).

And finally, some new 1/16th scale cars are making their way to store shelves this holiday season. The new 1/16th Summit ($320) and the 1/16th Rally ($300) are coming this year. Traxxas also announced a partnership with Ford for a couple of 1/16th scale cars: the Ford Fiesta, and the Ford Boss Mustang. I don’t remember pricing on these, but they should be out next year sometime.

Horizon also had a strong showing. Their Electrix line added one vehicle, the Ruckus. It’s a 1/10th scale monster truck, and is priced at $130. It looks like a solid add on for the brand, and we’ll know more when it ships. I also had a chance to talk at length with Mark Reed, whom I had conversed previously for my Electrix Circuit review. It was an absolute pleasure to meet him in person, and I look forward to talking with him again.

Rog and I chatted with QuiQue Somenzini about his new project, the Carbon-Z Yak 54. He really believes in the technology of composite design, and after looking at it, I can’t blame him. It’s as rigid as a balsa plane, but nowhere near as heavy. Look for that on the store shelves ($400 for the Bind-N-Fly model, also available in Plug-N-Play).

Parkzone has a new P-47 Thunderbolt BNF out that will have warbird fans drooling. It looks great, but it ‘s also “retracts-ready”, meaning you can add retracts to the kit with minimal effort. You can also add the flaps as well, just by adding the servos to the wing. This airplane can go from 4-channel to 6-channel in no time ($250 for the Bind-N-Fly).

E-Flite released the new UMX Extra 300 BNF today as well. It’ll be perfect for the Ryder Center indoor events. It runs $160, and is due in late November. There were no helicopter announcements regarding E-Flite or the Blade line this year, which kind of disappointed me. I’ll have to keep waiting for my 120SR collective-pitch heli.

I’ll save the rest for a future update. But here are some cool things I can’t let wait.

The Traxxas hauler was here, and so was their full scale TORC truck. They invited us into the hauler to check out the digs. It was spectacular.

Until the next update, guys!