Contests, New Kits and the Economy

On Friday, I went to the Fremont Hornets meeting – which is always fun. This IPMS club has been at this for a long time – not 46 years, like the Silicon Valley Scale Modelers (who existed before there even was such a thing as Silicon Valley) but long enough to have started out as an affiliate of IPMS Canada. The club is doing a couple of group builds – F-16s and Spitfires. I missed the previous meeting and I was unaware of this – I may have to switch projects to get a Lawn Dart or a Spit ready for October!

In any event, the club’s not having a contest this year, for reasons that re rather topical. The club got the venue it was using, the Newark Community Center for free – pretty remarkable, actually. That was until this year, when municipal budget cuts caused the center to be closed for most events, and it was certainly no longer free. There are plans in the works for a 2011 show, and I expect the club will execute on those plans, but 2010 is a tough year for model contests. We’re beholden to the economy – contests can be expensive to travel to – and even the largest contest in Northern California suffered a 20 percent drop in attendance, as did the Seattle Spring Show, which is easily the biggest contest on the west coast.

Contrast that with all the new models announced at the Shizuoka Hobby Show – and there were plenty of them, especially in 1:32 and 1:72 aircraft. There’s a correlation, I think – the economy is keeping people at home, but they’re still buying and building models. And why not – modeling is one of the least expensive hobbies out there, and you can practice it at home. So, what I suspect is happening is that people are foregoing contests but are still working away on models.

My prediction is that when the economy recovers, we’re going to see some really big contests, with more attendees and attendees with more models, since they’ll have a couple of years worth of entries saved up and ready to show.

That’s my guess, at least. Do you have any guesses of your own?


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