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Arms Fair

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Basically, a market for military items, ranging from crates of automatic weapons and rocket launchers to tanks, helicopter gunships, and fighter jets along with other tools for starting and finishing small wars, such as bombs and missiles. Nonlethal military gear is also sold, such as communications gear, bulletproof vests, and naval navigation systems.

Coming in two forms:

  • Legal: Organised by a government, big corporation or trade organization and taking place in a conference centre. Attracts buyers, weapon manufacturers, and peace protestors. Manufacturers set up exhibitions to demonstrate their products' capabilities and there are also keynote addresses from top defence officials and military leaders. Defense officials and leaders from many countries come to sign multimillion dollar contracts for weapons systems.
  • Illegal Black Market: Criminal Conventions by crime gangs or terrorist groups, located in an isolated field or hangar. Attracts criminal, terrorist and mercenary customers. Authorities such as police and intelligence agencies are on the lookout for these illegal bazaars; for this reason, the locations are isolated and secret.

While it has obviously occurred in fiction, having a Hood Ornament Hottie in skimpy camo bikini holding a large machine gun sounds too much like self-parody for any real company to actually do it, regardless of what occurs at E3.

Science Fair is a more subtle and general version of this, while Mad Science Fair plays down the subtlety.

In Real Life, there are legal civilian gun markets, also called "arms fairs", where dealers sell small arms up for private ownership, but this is not this trope.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A short for Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray shows Lowe and the gang at a fair on Earth and getting in trouble after he buys the head of a BuCue containing sensitive military information.
  • Steamboy is set at a grand exhibition in Victorian London of the Empire's best science and technology, with an emphasis on its philanthropic benefits for mankind. However, arms manufacturers inevitably set up shop as well, and the O'Hara Foundation intends to use Steam Castle as a giant advertisement to foreign governments for its advanced armaments.

    Comic Books 
  • The first The Punisher Summer Special opens with Frank visiting one, and coincidentally meeting an old Vietnam War acquaitance there. Said acquaitance turns out to be a villain of the story.
  • Robin (1993): Ulysses Armstrong, otherwise known as "the General", first meets Ali Ben Khadir, the young leader of a country bordering Qurac, at an arms fair. The two become friends and Ali gives Armstrong some influence on his military, until he realizes just how violent and blood thirsty his new friend is.

  • Babylon A.D. opens with Vin Diesel striding through a rain-drenched arms market in Eastern Europe to complain about a pistol he bought for only $20 that misfired on him.
  • Black Hawk Down features extensive sequences showing off that the entire city Mogadishu qualifies as an arms fair, despite being under the control of a ruthless warlord who will kill people trying to get the food supplies sent by various aid groups.
  • The plot of Deal of the Century revolves around one.
  • Lord of War shows several black and gray market weapons fairs. One even had women dancing on tanks in somewhat racy Russian military–themed outfits. It was the closest to legitimacy, being run by corrupt elements of the post-Soviet military and hosted by a laissez-faire Middle Eastern state.
  • One appears in Street Fighter being run by M. Bison. Chun-Li ends up rigging a truck full of explosives to crash into the main tent, but Bison and everyone else manage to escape.
  • In the Action Prologue of Tomorrow Never Dies, James Bond must infiltrate an arms fair for international terrorists and the like to confirm its location and is observing the event. Over the objections of M, who wants Bond to finish his recon, British and Russian generals order a Tomahawk missile to destroy the equipment. As the missile is launched, Bond discovers an L-39 Albatros with nuclear torpedoes on board, fights his way to it and rides away just in time before the place is obliterated. (Realistically, an external explosion would neither set off the bombs nor cause anything close to a Chernobyl-level event, but even spreading that amount of material would certainly produced unacceptable collateral damage and political fallout).
  • In War Dogs two low-level wannabe arms dealers attend a massive (real-world,legal) arms fair.

  • An example of the second variant exaggerated for comic effect in Spike Milligan's Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall "memoirs":
    Any Sunday, down Petticoat Lane, you could find some of the lads selling lorries, jerrycans, bullets, webbing. “Git your luverly Anti-Aircraft Guns ‘ere.” It got so that Military Depots were shopping there for supplies. Often London-based regiments sent their Quarter Blokes out for ‘a gross of three-inch Mortars and a dozen bananas’. It was common knowledge that Caledonian Road Market was a German supply depot. The true story behind Hess: he flew here for cut-price black-market underwear for the S.S., but on arrival he chickened out when Churchill told him the price, unconditional surrender.
  • The Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Interference, is partly set at an arms fair where Sarah Jane Smith is undercover writing an expose.
  • In An Instinct for War, At the Fair is set in one of the Association of the U.S. Army's trade shows.

    Live Action TV 
  • Airwolf had mini-ones.
  • Chuck has "Weap Con," of which Casey was an enthusiastic attendant every year.

    Video Games 
  • The 2010 GoldenEye remake features a level taking place at an arms fair as an expanded version of the original's Frigate level.
  • The second stage of Tomorrow Never Dies, "Arms Bazaar", based on the movie's exact scenario. Bond even hijacks a jet plane and uses it to blow up half the place, just like his movie counterpart.
  • In Virtua Cop, there is a level called Arms Black Market where you have to take down an illegal arms fair going on at a shipping port.

    Real Life 
  • DSEi, held every year in London.
  • Similarly, small gun shows held in various places all over America.
  • The Gun Markets of Pakistan from Vice TV.
  • After the collapse of the Soviet Union, just about anything military was up for sale, from KGB badges to mothballed fighter planes.
  • The annual Las Vegas SHOT show, probably the most publicized convention for high tech, brand new, and just plain interesting weaponry. It's not open to the public and it is difficult to get an invite: you must either be part of the gun industry, be an important member of an organization that is heavily tied to the gun industry (such as the NRA or other outdoors companies), or be part of a prominent Youtube channel that focuses on firearms with a lot of subscribers.
  • The gun markets in the Bakaara Market in Somalia during the civil war there. Gained infamy for being the place where you could buy an assault rifle for less than fifty dollars.