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Monday, April 16, 2007

Star Trek Convention and IAW

I was able to schedule my business trip to the West Coast so I was in LA this past weekend for the annual Creation Grand Slam Convention, which I knew It's a Wrap was scheduled to have a booth at. I wanted to meet their team and see what goodies they brought to the event. I also wanted to meet both Anthony Pascale, the editor of Trekmovie.com, the premier site for Star Trek news (who published my weekly reviews on his site) and Brett Jones of Federation Supply. Brett produces what are without doubt, the best Star Trek prop replicas in the business.

This post would have had lots of photos, but I left my camera on the airplane last night and of course some clean-up guy walked off with it and now has a nice shiny digital camera (with lots of Star Trek convention photos).

THE CONVENTION

Now I used to go to the Grand Slam Convention when I lived in LA. This was Grand Slam XV and I went to the first 5 and then one about 6 years ago. Sadly, with the diminishing interest in Star Trek, this con, which once had huge crowds and filled the Pasadena Convention Center, now is relegated to the Burbank Airport Marriot. Now, the location was actually quite nice, rates were reasonable, as the facilities were compact and more than adequate. But there may have been 2,000 patrons total, where this convention used to attract 10,000. My understanding is that the Vegas Creation Star Trek convention is now the best and biggest Star Trek con. I know everyone there was talking about Vegas and I am planning on going as are a bunch of other prop collectors I know.


THE IAW TEAM


When I arrived on Friday, I immediately found the IAW booth as there were probably only about 20 booths in the whole show. IAW had a 10x10 booth stuffed with costumes and a table with some props. I got to meet the whole team and spent a lot of time chatting with them over the three days. It was very informative as I got a good feel for the way they run their operation, what each of them does and the challenges they face with the limited resources they have and the restrictions that Paramount has put on them. Colin, the project manager, is a great guy who was very open about their operation (while not revealing anything of what they have to sell!). I think if there was one thing that became obvious, it was that the frustrations we sometimes have with IAW are not because anyone is not trying or not working hard, but because it takes so much work to get these auctions done and they don't have a technology system that can really help them streamline the workflow.

I always say to be patient as there is an enormous amount of product in those warehouses, and you shouldn't overpay as there are a lot of many of the costumes. But from now on I am also going to tell you to be patient with the IAW team because they really do try very hard and are working under difficult circumstances. I think that last piece is something we don't realize, and something Colin helped me understand. So if you have a problem with your shipment or item, don't assume IAW isn't interested, they are just overwhelmed.

Of course everyone wants to know how long the auctions are going to go one for, and what they have in stock etc. But Colin was pretty consistent in not letting on any "inside" news. I can appreciate that despite our insatiable curiosity. I can only tell you that there are a lot more auctions to come!

THE IAW BOOTH

IAW had only a 10x10 booth, so that isn't a lot of space, but they packed in a lot of stuff. On the table were two Nemesis style Phaser rifles, one of resin and one of Rubber. A rubber Xindi Reptile rifle (truly a beautiful piece), a Bat'Leth that was wood, a Mek'Leth made of rubber, a rubber Reman rifle, a resin Romulan Disruptor Rifle and two Klingon masks from Star Trek VI. The costume selection was limited to background costumes, no main character costumes, but this was a smart move considering the audience they were playing to at the conventions. (Not a lot of money in the crowd, and what there is is generally sucked out by Creation).

On the costume racks were a host of Star Trek Voyager costumes that were incredibly cheap at $ 600. There were some Enterprise jumpsuits around $900, a few TNG jumpsuits at the same price, and some great Nemesis style black and gray jumpsuits at $ 800. Yeah the last was a fantastic deal. There were about a dozen ST: TMP costumes of various types, some Bajoran uniforms, several Romulan Senate Robes, a Vulcan Zombie costume from Enterprise, a Vulcan Captain costume, a Klingon costume and an Enterprise style Klingon costume. They also had a Xindi Reptile costume, a Reman costume, a Nemesis Romulan Officer costume and a couple two piece Next Gen costumes. There were more, but I cant remember them all. You could walk into the booth (small as it was) and go through the two racks of clothes and check out each costume. Over the three days the IAW team wore different costumes every day, which added a lot to booth.

IAW was VERY smart in their selection of costumes and props for the event, as they had great prices because they focused on the background costumes, which are very affordable. I highly recommend that you all save your $ and come to the Vegas Star Trek Convention and browse their booth!

MY PURCHASES

And what did I buy? Well, it turned out to be a Nemesis event for me. I bought a nice Nemesis resin Phaser rifle for $ 2,000 (which I have wanted for some time, and this had a working flashlight), a Reman costume (which has also been on my hit list) for $ 2,000, a Romulan Officer's Uniform for $ 600, a Romulan Senator's robes (which were really amazing and came with the Romulan Empire pin) for $ 600 and a Bat'Leth. The Bat'Leth was a rare wooden one which is why I bought it. You all know I am not a big fan of rubber, and while the rubber they used on many of these props is much denser (I am told they mix resin in with it) you still have the problem of paint flaking and cracking over time. So a wooden one was most welcome!









Well, that is all for now! And if you have photos from this weekend, please send me them!

Alec

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