An awesome nationals – followed by the usual stupid complaining

I’m back from the nationals, and I can report that it was a fun show that was remarkably smoothly run by the guys from Phoenix. There were virtually no hiccups to be seen on their part, and as a result there was very little drama other than as a result of the contest.

A lot has been written about the show, and a lot of photos can be seen in the gallery section of the Silicon Valley Scale Modelers’ website  including almost every entered model. That’s a lot of photos! The people section shows many of the club’s members at their finest (I mean, in the bar), and the winner’s presentation from the banquet is there, even, so you can find out who won. This was the result of the hard work of John Heck and Vladimir Yakubov, who made sure the “slide show” went without an error. It was truly a smooth show.

There’s a lot of good things to said about this year’s nationals. From the tenor of some of the conversations on Hyperscale, ARC and other on-line sites, there’s also a lot of bad things to be said – criticism, indictments, suggestions posed out of ignorance, and outright falsehoods. It’s especially galling when people rip the show and weren’t even there. (I won’t dignify these morons with links to their posts; that would only give them the attention they hoped for when they launched into their antics.) For instance, over on Hyperscale some yokel tried to take the IPMS to task for not having results and photos up the night of the awards banquet. There are always angry rantings about some model or another that did not win, always posted by someone who has never judged anything, let alone the model in question. And there are oodles of suggestions that the “suggester” is sure that the IPMS will never take because the officers are aloof, arrogant and dictatorial. When you read them, you realize they’d never be employed because they would set in motion a series of unintended consequences that would lead to significant damage to the event.

The thing about the Internet is that it gives everyone a soapbox. It does not require them to do the research needed to inform their comments before they ascend that soapbox, nor does it require them to be intellectually honest. Even in the afterglow of this very successful nationals, I’ve seen the usual suspects take minute, supposedly negative details (like the length of the banquet – which timed in at a very reasonable 2 hours and 5 minutes this year) and use them to attack the elected officers. This sort of spiteful, stupid behavior is where the impression of the “IPMS attitude” of years gone by has its roots. Just think how it looks to non-members: even after an event that gets everything right, by all accounts, there is still a loud mini-minority carping about anything they can find to carp about.

Here’s my promise: if I see any of this behavior, I’m not going to allow those malcontent morons to become the de facto spokesmen for the IPMS. They’re going to get it right back, couched in facts and backed up with statistics. If you’re an IPMS member, I hope you do the same. I’ve had enough of the nitwit, crybaby, criticizing, know-nothing, do-nothing numbskulls trying to rain on our parade at every turn. Enough’s enough.

Except when it comes to shows like this year’s nationals. Enough was not enough – that show could have gone on for two weeks and every moment still would have been fun. Thanks to Steve Collins, Dick Christ, Mike Reeves, Jim Clark, Paul Bradley and the many other members of the organizing board. Remember, guys – if you see me on an Internet forum badgering some snarky naysayer in the next two weeks, I’m doing it for you!

Thoughts on Bidding for the IPMS Nationals, or “Hey, haven’t I fallen off this cliff before?”

Every week, a bunch of us modelers meets up at D&J Hobby in Campbell, then after the shop closes at 9 p.m. head over to the Mini Gourmet, one of the few all-night diners in San Jose. The crew is made up of some regulars – Laramie Wright, Randy Ray, Woody Yeung, Mick Burton, Mike Meek, Vladimir Yakubov, John Heck, Greg Plummer – and some occasional guests, including Roy Sutherland, Barry Bauer and Frank Babbitt. We’re so consistent that visitors to the Bay Area come and hang out with us on occasion.

Last night, the discussion was an interesting one. John and Vladimir are seriously discussing the idea of bidding for the IPMS/USA Nationals, either for 2012 or for some year in the future. Having served as the chairman of the 1998 event in Santa Clara, I’m a walking reference for them on what to do and what to avoid. What to avoid: the Fourth of July weekend; badly-written contracts; members of the committee who don’t do their jobs. What to do: pick the right people for key roles; put together good seminars; do as much as you can as early as possible. Nothing to it, right?

Well, not quite. Although John couldn’t quite envision it, the planning process is a lot of work. The first stop has to be the facility – if either Santa Clara or the San Jose Convention Center can’t offer a decent rate, the whole effort is stillborn.

However, it would be fun to be part of hosting the nationals again. When I chaired, I did a bunch of things, including ordering the hats, designing the T-shirts, editing and laying out the program, researching the decals for the AeroMaster sheet, and coordinating all the efforts. Mike Braun was a great vendor chairman, and the team from San Joaquin Scale Modelers (at the time, the Stockton Tomcats) provided security. We suffered around the contest and the trophies, so if we do it again it’ll be important to pick good people for that role.

Of course, at the end of the 1998 show, we were all completely exhausted, physically and mentally. The process speeds up rapidly in the 30 days leading up to the show, and you become very busy (that was the only nationals I’ve ever been to where I didn’t buy anything in the vendor room – I never had the time!). We’ll see where this all goes. It would enable me to build some bug subjects and get them safely to the nationals – but it seems like an extreme way to facilitate that!

Cable enabled

Good news – my father gave me a spare cable for my old camera, so I can start getting photos up on the blog starting tomorrow. I apparently lost mine in Virginia Beach, or maybe it’s lost on my desk… I’m not sure which.

Anyway, there are photos of the landing gear on the FM-2 in there – before it was broken. The new version is okay, but since I built it in situ, I don’t actually know what it really looks like – it’s pretty dark in that wheel well.

Here’s a question for you all – is there anywhere one could get the Xtrakits Sea Vixen or Canberra PR.9 besides Hannants? I bagged my Meteor at the Orange County show, but I saw no sign of these kits in Virginia Beach. Have the Brits hogged them all for themselves?

Wildcat Redux

The FM-2 competed in the nationals, and now it sits in a largely disassembled state: no prop, no prop shaft, no landing gear, no landing gear doors, and certainly no wheels. The trip back took such a toll on the gear I had to pull it completely out (the triangular truss was just rattling around inside the well, and the hose detail I added just plain fell out). The wheels, by True Details, are abominations, but a good Samaritan on Hyperscale’s going to send a Dragon F4F-4 wheel that I’d like to copy in resin to replace this wheel. The prop shaft never looked right and it needs to be replaced with something a little more convincing. Had it not been for the damage, I’d have left it alone; as it is now, I’ll get the parts that bugged me right, including the missing aerial antenna.

Will it ever be finished?

Another great IPMS national convention is in the book. I don’t want to repeat too much of what will end up in the IPMS Journal, so I’ll keep it to what happened specifically to me.

My FM-2 was finished, but Southwest Airline’s pilots seem to be shooting for the 1-wire on landing and, as a result, the landing gear was broken on both ends of the trip! Not a problem – I can fix it, and squeeze yet more modeling enjoyment out of the Sword FM-2. It won’t really be done until I locate another Dragon F4F-4 and cast the wheels from that kit – they’re far better than even the Hasegawa wheels (no ejector pin marks on the back sides) and make that kit worth snapping up even if you don’t wish to fold the wings.

I didn’t win anything yet again, but that’s okay. My wife was enraged, however, and demanded to know what was wrong with the judges. I told her that they were clearly encumbered by perfect eyesight and a thorough understanding of the judging rules.

What did I get? Well, I found the CMK landing lights I wanted (and some 1:72 heads and hands), and I got all the show specials – the HL-20, the ECM pod for missile simulators and the decals for the Oceana A-4s that flew with them – but not much else from my list. The Fine Molds A6M2 Type 21 was picked up, with its accompanying magazines, from Hobby Link Japan for about $26, and I got some neat resin stowage and an F-105 interior from Goffy. Warhorse now makes decals for the A-6B Mod 1, so I grabbed them since I can now actually use an Obscureco product. I also picked up some B-24 decals and a couple 5-figure 1:72 packages from Prieser, and that was about it.

Obscureco did great – we moved a lot of resin. I shipped back some inventory, but it shared space with stuff Ben Pada bought, and I essentially emptied one large box of merchandise. Several items sold out, so Bill Ferrante will be busy the next week or so!

The show was wonderfully organized, and Vladimir Yakubov’s winners presentation went flawlessly. Vlad shot something like 5000 images at the show, so we have much fodder for the Journal and for the SVSM Website.

More stories will come later…