HPI has sent most of the wrecking crew to Chicago, Illinois, to participate in the RCHTA National Model and Hobby Show! RCHTA stands for the Radio Control Hobby Trade Association, a group of industry professionals that organizes shows like this, and much more. To read more about RCHTA (pronounced RICK-tah), see their website at http://www.rchta.org.
The National Model and Hobby Show is the largest show in the United States and North America for the hobby association. We can't tell you the square footage right now of the Rosemont Convention Center (where the show has been held for several years), but it's BIG, and it's FULL! Radio control companies are not the only ones that make it to this once a year event, although that will be the focus of our coverage here. Also in attendance are companies that specialize in radio control airplanes and boats, and scale models of all sorts (car, boat, plane, military figures, etc.). Railroad replica companies actually make up at least half of the overall show's population, and more companies specialize in other varied segments of the hobby, such as collectible trading card games.
Anyway, enough of the talk, let's get to our first area of coverage: The HPI Racing Booth!
HPI Racing Booth
Around the HPI Tower
Next to the Nitro MT is the 1/8 scale Proceed racing car (one built, and one with radio gear and engine/pipe) and the new Saleen Mustang body. Saleen (based in Irvine, CA) was gracious enough to provide us with videos of their car in action at LeMans and other races, and our TV monitor plays the tapes during the day so customers can see how their scale car can look on the track!
Around to the right we have a layout of all the Nitro Star and Nitro Star Pro engines, next to a cool new display of all of HPI's tires, inserts and inner foams. The Nitro RS4 2 chassis is also at this table, as well as a painted example of the new BMW 328Ci Coupe body, which looks really good!
Continuing around, we have two Super Nitro RS4 kits facing the Straightaway. One kit, topped with the new Chevrolet Corvette C5-R body, is a box stock example of the kit, except for the chrome mesh wheels. The other kit is a full-option Super Nitro with our newest Super-size body, the Toyota GT-One! This is definitely the best-handling Super-size body we've ever driven! The body will come with a new front shock mount and rear body mounts because the body is so low to the ground. We'll have it available in kit form as well, stay tuned to the site for details!
Wrapping up the tour of the HPI Tower is a computer monitor, keyboard and mouse, behind which you will most likely find Frank. He's adding hobby shop listings to the Dealers page and talking with many of the people that have sent him email in the past. "Semi-live" updates are also being done from the show's floor, with uploads to the web site happening in the evening. Tonight's upload is an exception! :)
Something you already know about,
and something you didn't...
Now for the "something you didn't know about". HPI will be releasing a 2WD Nitro-powered truck as a Ready To Run (RTR) kit in the first half of 2000! That's right, we'll have a racing-inspired 2WD gas truck ready to go out of the box and in a nearby vacant lot or racing track! So far the kit is SO new that we don't even have a name for it, much less part number and pricing information. As always, stay tuned!