Monday, May 24, 2010

WonderFest 2010

Last weekend my friend KW Monster and I went to WonderFest 2010 in Louisville. It's an annual model kit convention, but over the years it's grown to include toys, books, DVDs and even some sci-fi and horror celebrities.

Unlike the terribly overcrowded HorrorHound Weekend we attended back in March, WonderFest was much more pleasant. There were crowds there to be sure, but they were just right for the size of the venue. We had a really good time there.

As always, Wonderfest is packed full of cool model kits and merchandise. It would be very easy to spend your entire month's paycheck there, and then some. I managed to restrain myself and only bought a few items.

Click below to read the rest of this entry!

One item in particular that I very much wanted to get was a model kit of the Protector ship from the movie Galaxy Quest. As that's one of my all time favorite movies, it was my Holy Grail-- I've been waiting for someone to make the ship since the movie came out in 1999! I was finally able to find one there at the show. The model came in two versions: unfinished and pre-painted. As I don't have a lot of spare time these days, and knowing my skill level when it comes to assembling models, I opted to pay a few dollars more and get the pre-painted version.

In addition to the merchandise in the dealer room, there were also a lot of finished model kits on display, built by people far more talented than me. Like this model of the Enterprise from the new Star Trek movie. It's hard to get a sense of scale here, but it was a good three feet long. The engines were also rigged with an impressive display pulsing and rotating lights. I wish I knew how to wire models for lighting like that.

This model of the Jupiter 2 from Lost In Space was also about three feet wide. It also featured an intricately lit and detailed interior, barely glimpsed through the windows here. There was even a tiny crew standing in the suspended animation chambers!

Here's another large model with custom lighting; a Viper from the original Battlestar Galactica.

You can't tell it from the photo, but this "model" of an AT-AT from The Empire Strikes Back was about five feet tall! That little orange Luke Skywalker figure on top of it is about three and a half inches high, making this AT-AT in scale with him. Very cool, but... where do you keep something like that in your house? It seems a bit big for the living room or parlor.

Speaking of Star Wars, here's something you'll probably only see at WonderFest: A couple of copulating AT-ATs next to a model of Divine from the movie Pink Flamingos.

Now here's something you don't see every day: a twelve inch, G.I. Joe sized action figure of Argentine revolutionist Che Guevara. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the figure inside the box, but it was a very good sculpt and looked exactly like him.

There were also a few celebrities in attendance, including Lou Ferigno, TV's Incredible Hulk, and Claudia Christian of Babylon 5. The biggest thrill for me was meeting James Karen, star of Poltergeist and another of my all-time favorite movies, Return of the Living Dead. You can read about my encounter with James Karen here.

Ray Meyers was also there. I have to admit that I'd never heard of Mr. Meyers until now, but I was unknowingly familiar with his work. He sculpted many of the original Aurora Company's monster model kits back in the 1960s, including Godzilla and the Bride of Frankenstein. I spent many an hour as a kid building some of Mr. Meyer's kits. He's 92 now and retired from sculpting, but it was interesting to talk to him and learn how model kits were sculpted and created.

As always, there were also a few people who dressed up and wandered around the show. Here we see Iron Man caught without his helmet.

And later here we see him haggling over the price of a model kit. For Stan Lee's sake, you're a billionaire, Tony! You can afford it!

Here's a Drazi from Babylon 5 who wandered into the show. I heard him speak as he walked by and he had a very unexpected Kentucky accent. I guess he's from the Southern part of the galaxy.

Everyone was having a great time until a Predator showed up and ripped out a couple of dozen spines. By the way, I don't know the guy in the photo.

Only at WonderFest. Apparently Gamera, the giant flying turtle from Japan and friend to children everywhere was in attendance, as seen here by his personalized license plate.

It was a fun time and I look forward to blowing more money there on things I don't need next year!

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