The 5th annual Monster Modelfest took place on the 13th and 14th of September 1997 at the Bayside Expo Centre in Boston. Organised by The Character Shop, it was also combined with a celebration to mark the 10th anniversary of Hellraiser, featuring 3 of the original 4 Cenobites.
The venue chosen was very spacious - it was so nice to be able to move around the dealers and displays without being constantly nudged and jostled by other people. A section of the exhibition hall was set aside with seating for the various free seminars that were running throughout both days of the show (more of which later). A special Gremlins in the Garage entry voucher was available from the web which allowed access during dealer set-up time on the Friday night (I didn’t take this up, & went to explore a bit of Downtown Boston) and also an hour early on the Saturday morning. It was also supposed to give money off the entry fee, but there seemed to be some confusion as to what the full entry price was supposed to be. Anyway, the $10 we paid was money well spent!
I would guess there were about 100 dealer tables, the majority of which were either kit producers or retailers, with a smattering of video, comic & poster vendors. George Stephenson was manning his GEOmetric Design stand - the big item of interest was his new 1/8th scale Predator kit, and very nice it is too! Both the regular version and the limited edition clear vinyl versions were on sale - it sounds like the clear edition will actually be even more limited than originally planned because of yield problems - so if you want one, it’s probably already too late! Also available was a resin base for the Predator, featuring a tree stump on a leafy forest floor setting. Tucked away in the detail are a small rat and a tiny scorpion! Also on show were the 1/8th scale Aliens and diorama bases. Coming soon from GEOmetric will be a 1/8th scale Ripley, sculpted by Mike Hill.
Screamin’ Models Inc. had a big display of all their current kits, as well as a few "coming soon". I was hoping their new 1/6th scale Pinhead would be available to buy at the show, but production was running a few weeks late. The kit features Pinhead clutching a hook with impaled heart and skull in one hand, and beckoning with the other. Peeking out from the bottom of his robe are the mangled remains of some poor victim. Also on display was a new werewolf kit, sculpted by Paul Komoto, and a young lady relaxing in a bubble bath, apparently oblivious to the demon trying to force his way through the bathroom wall behind her.
The Character Shop had a wide variety of stuff on sale, and some nice built-ups on display. The must-haves on their stand were official Monsterfest T-shirts and a really nice commemorative wall plaque sculpted by Mike Hill. This features the heads of the 3 Cenobites in attendance pressing through a wall of stretched skin. They also had some of the infamous Balsa Foam for sale - I was tempted to pick some up because it was so light, but then thought it would probably be relatively cheap to order by post once I’d got back home - and would stand less chance of getting damaged. (Painted plaque picture courtesy of Paul from the Character Shop - ta!)
All three of the major GK magazines were present - Dave & Cindy Fisher and Terry Webb were present at the Amazing Figure Modeler stand - Terry had also brought along a nice selection of rare kits he was "liquidating". Fred DeRuvo and wife Sylvia were manning the Modelers Resource stand, with current issues, back issues and their "Sitting Pretty" kit - and a few feet down the line was Gordy Dutt and friends on the Kitbuilder’s stand.
Sassy’s Satellite had a collection of great stuff for Mars Attacks fans. As well as their Spy Girl, they now have a really nice Autopsy Alien - lying down with his chest peeled open - yeuck! I would guess it’s about 1/4 scale. Also available was the dog with Jessica Parker’s head, and a cute little 2" high super deformed alien trooper. For Hellraiser fans there were some nice 1/4 scale busts of Angelique and The Twins from Bloodline, as well as another female who I didn’t recognise. These have been produced by Bloodline FX artist Gary Tunnicliffe. The piece de resistance was a beautiful 1/4 scale Pillar of Souls from Hell on Earth - this was apparently cast from the original maquette used to produce the full-sized version. Very nice. Very heavy. Very expensive :-(
Alternative Images had a nice selection of built-ups of their kits - I particularly like their "Paramour" which features the Gillman carrying a hapless victim in his arms. The Badger Airbrush Co. were running live demonstrations by Jeff Pitarelli - a very talented guy. He’d brought along a flawless portrait of Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl done almost entirely in blue, and was working on another portrait of Pinhead throughout the show.
Smooth-On were running demonstrations with some of their extensive range of resins and RTV, and had lots of samples on display to look at and take away.
Some other kits that took my fancy amongst the dealer tables:
A competition was held on the Saturday, which attracted a good number of very high quality entries in maybe a dozen separate categories. I didn’t envy the judges job one bit!
During both days there were seminars given by David Fisher on building and painting, and a very nervous Mike Hill on sculpting. Both had brought along some slides of work in progress and finished pieces. Mike also brought along his Universal Monsters tribute kits, which he stunned everyone with by saying one of the 2-figure kits took only a week to sculpt! A very relaxed Q&A session was included in each - it was great to get some of your own questions answered by such talented artists! I think everyone present learnt something new...
As mentioned, the show included a reunion of 3 of the original 4 Cenobites from Hellraiser, to mark the 10th anniversary of the first film’s release. Doug "Pinhead" Bradley, Nicholas "Chatterer" Vince and Simon "Butterball" Bamford. were in attendance - Clive Barker was originally planned to attend, but was unable due to work commitments, and Grace "Female Cenobite" Kirby chose that weekend to get married - how inconsiderate :-). They were signing autographs for most of the 2 days, and were all extremely friendly - taking the time out to have a good chat with each person in the queue. I was particularly touched when Nicholas came over and joined myself and Kathy for lunch - but maybe it was partly the fact that we were also English! We actually spent most of the time talking computers - surprisingly that is now his trade, writing documentation and training. A Q&A session was also held with them on each day, where they recounted many amusing stories of life on and off the sets.
At the end of Sunday, a special cake prepared by the show organisers was unveiled - 2’ by 3’ of black icing with Pinhead’s face on it, complete with pins! This was then ceremoniously cut up and distributed to anyone who wanted a piece - and very yummy it was too!
Overall I had a fantastic time - I came away clutching a suitcase load of goodies - and I don’t know what throbbed more, my feet or my wallet! But when I tot up what some of the things would have cost me back here in the UK, it helps to ease the pain a little :-)