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Toledo R/C exposition 2013

Toledo R/C Expo 2013

Anybody with an interest in aeromodeling that has never been to the Toledo R/C Expo, or simply The Toledo Show as most call it,  is missing out. Anybody that’s been in this hobby for awhile has probably heard those words many times before. Well it’s that time of year again when a modeler will hear talk of the Toledo Show because as this article is being posted, a janitor is very likely sweeping up the last bits of trash from the 2013 show.

The Toledo show is billed as North America’s largest and longest running R/C model expo. It has been such a big deal for so long that every year, many R/C magazines dedicate several pages of an edition to a “Toledo show special”. They tell everybody that didn’t go how cool the show was and even rub it in with plenty of pictures of all the nifty new gear and airplanes on display.

Now in the internet age, several R/C websites have gotten into the Toledo action too. They provide live updates of what’s happening and podcast interviewing those that brought the latest R/C must have. With several people running around the place taking pictures, collecting information and sound bites for the rest of the world; what kind of R/C columnist would I be if I didn’t join in bragging that I was there too?

I’m lucky that Toledo is a relatively short drive from my front door. Within two hours I can be at the SeaGate Convention Centre rubbing elbows with leaders of the industry. I have been going to this show off and on for a couple decades now and in that time have seen lot of changes with the show.

When I first started going it was held at an arena on the other side of the Maumee River. The move to the SeaGate Centre was certainly a positive one. It provided room for many more vendors, more room for attendees to walk around, better parking and it put the show within walking distance of many establishments to visit for lunch.

The old arena did have one aspect I miss and that is arena seating. One can only do so much walking and shuffling around other people before needing to take a break. At the old venue we would relax a bit by sitting in the stands. This provided a nice vantage point looking over the main show floor. Without a doubt we would spot things we missed earlier and plan our visits to those booths.

Among all the positive changes there unfortunately has been one disappointing trend that started a few years ago, and that is the declining quality of the show. The Toledo Weak Signals Club does one heck of a job hosting this show, so don’t get me wrong there. What they do is top notch. The disappointment is beyond the control of the host and is with the quality of vendors and quality of display.

As a modeler I go to Toledo be wowed and that just has not been happening in recent years. What I have noticed is that the major players have scaled way back and several of the smaller companies, that are staples in this hobby, were no longer coming. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out all of this is due to the poor economy. I’m certain the industry as a whole just has not had the budget to wow. For some, strained finances means they could no longer justify making the trip.

The unfortunate shift that has taken place is the booth spaces once filled by cool stuff was being taken over by toys. You know those so called “R/C” things that can be found at a kiosk in the center of a mall? I’m sorry but that is not aeromodeling.

After the show last year I too decided I could no longer justify making the trip. Unless some truly revolutionizing gear was promised to be on display, I was skipping the 2013 show. I’m not the only that came to this conclusion as several guys in my local club also decided to break a very long tradition of traveling to the R/C Mecca. In the heyday we would have jokingly called missing Toledo blasphemy but the fact is the show had lost much of its luster.

Just a couple days before this years show I changed my mind and decided to go. The sole reason was learning somebody I was in email contact with, regarding information for an article, was going to be at the show. Figured it was worth the four hour round trip and the $10 entrance fee to meet that somebody in person.

Glad I went, and not because the trip generated a couple of very good interviews, I saw a much improved show. The major players had impressive displays and the number of booths with cool, REAL modeling stuff was up. I will go on record to say was officially wowed.

l’m already planing to be back next year and have marked those dates on my calendar, which are April 4th, 5th, 6th 2014. Here is a link to the show’s website, if you would like to learn more.

If you read this article hoping for peaks at the latest and greatest R/C stuff you’ll have to wait just a little bit for that. That is because the things that truly impressed me, along with the people responsible for them, will get their very own articles over the next couple weeks. So please stay tuned as I’ve got some really cool stuff to talk about. Will also say that a couple topics very likely will only be found here on All R/C Flight.

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Have you attend the Toledo R/C Expo before? Did you attend this year? What did you think? Please share your comments below at the “Speak your Mind” section.


Statci display Bi-plane at Toledo 2013

Hobby Lobby booth at Toledo 2013

Helicopters at JR booth Toledo 2013


Batplane at Toledo 2013


Static display Jet at Toledo 2013



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  1. The four of us went to the 2013 show, and we have been for the last several years; enjoyed it as always and our already planning on going for 2014! The swap area upstairs is outstanding!

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