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IPMS/USA 2013 National Convention

IPMS/USA 2013 National Convention

By Michael Benolkin

(Note: you can click on most of the images to see a larger view)

Contest Room

Friday, 16 Aug, Day Three of the National Convention

Here is a look at a selection entries as seen on Friday. There were still models arriving and I was only able to shoot roughly 1/3 of the entries, so attendance was even greater than anticipated.

Day Three

Friday, 16 Aug, Day Three of the National Convention

Thanks to everyone who attended my 'Color Accuracy in Scale Modeling' presenation. Once again it was great to get some questions and feedback on what we're doing on Cybermodeler for color and paint correlation between the standards and the available products on the market. It was also nice to show the tools we use to do our analyses and see how they perform against other folks' questions versus our own.

This was unfortunately our last day at the Convention even though there is one more day of convention and the awards banquet. It was nice to see many old friends from my IPMS Albuquerque days at the show and I hope they do well in the awards count.

There wasn't much news to be found that we haven't reported below, but I'll share some interesting tid-bits that I did obtain throughout the day today:

The folks at Free Time Hobbies had announced yesterday the upcoming release of the Trumpeter 1/200 USS Enterprise CV-6. What hadn't been mentioned was the Merit International 1/200 USS Hornet CV-8 kit on display at the convention and sure enough, it is actually a Trumpeter kit. Look closely at the image and you can see for yourself.

IPMS/USA 2013 National Convention

On a completely unrelated subject, I was talking with one of the vendors who I see at other hobby industry events and who has developed some strong relationships with key folks throughout the industry. We were talking about the WingNut Wings series of kits and how they've raised the bar on the kit industry. As you may know, WingNut Wings is one of Peter Jackson's companies whom you might recognize as the film producer behind the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings trilogy, etc. My friend had been invited down to New Zealand to talk with the folks behind WingNut Wings and as she was describing her experience, she pulled out her iPhone and flipped through the pictures that she had taken during the trip of the variety of World War I aircraft in Peter Jackson's collections that serve as reference and inspiration behind their kits. So next time someone asks you where WingNut Wings obtains their research material, tell them that they start in their own hangar!

I had a chance to visit with Billy Crisler, the man behind the now defunct Aerospace Modeling Magazine. When Billy ceased publishing AMM several years ago, he did have an issue in the queue that was ready to go which I had an opportunity to thumb through today. The information in this issue, as well as his past issues, is timeless and would be useful to modelers and historians today. The good news is that AMM may be coming back. Billy was canvasing a number of folks at the show to see how a relaunch of AMM would be received by the modeling community and of course I added my YES vote to the chorus. If you get a chance, you might want to add your own voice. He's posted on a number of forums, find one and let him know if you're interested as well.

I also had a chance to visit with Ralph Forehand who led many of key positions within the IPMS/USA National e-board, not the least of which was overseeing the numerous IPMS websites that make up the US portion of IPMS in cyberspace. I was honored to win the very first IPMS/USA Webmaster of the Year in 1998 and Ralph has fostered this promotion of excellence in the online IPMS community from the very beginning. I was really pleased to hear that the IPMS/USA Webmaster of the Year award has been renamed the Ralph Forehand Award. Congratulations and thanks for your own hard work Ralph!

I did an informal survey around the vendor rooms as well as with some of the regular attendees at these IPMS Conventions and the concensus is that this is one of the best shows we've seen in some time. Once again, kudos to the IPMS Colorado teams that worked to make this a reality. It is also a good sign that the attendance was strong and that the vendor rooms were getting picked over very well. This is an informal economic indicator that will hopefully be repeated in Virginia next year. To all of the companies that didn't attend this year, the loss is yours, and those who did attend made notes to bring more of the new releases next year as the hottest items sold out quickly. Good luck trying to find an Academy 1/48 F-4B after day one.

I did get a chance to photograph many of the entries in the IPMS contest room and I'll publish these hopefully Sunday evening after we've returned home. In the meantime, here is a look around the convention including glimpses into the vendor rooms as well as the contest room:

Day Two

Thursday, 15 Aug, Day Two of the National Convention

Thanks to everyone who attended my 'How to be a (hobby) Webmaster' presenation and Friday is the 'Color Accuracy in Scale Modeling' seminar. It is always a pleasure to see old friends and make new ones.

There are reportedly over 500 models on the contest tables and registration is still open. While I haven't attended every IPMS National Convention, you can sense by entering the contest room and the vendor room(s) at different points over the course of the convention just how well the event is performing. This is one of the best shows I've seen in terms of attendance and entries. While there aren't as many vendors here as past shows, all of the vendors tables sold out and some companies/individuals were turned away. Of the tables sold, only a few vendors had not yet arrived by Thursday which means that the vendor rooms are full. Not only full of vendors, but with fewer vendors and more customers, things are getting sold out rather quickly.

We're camped with Free-Time Hobbies and they sold the batch of Academy 1/48 F-4B Phantom II and 1/350 USS Indianapolis kits very quickly and have taken orders for more that will ship when they return. They had also arrived with a stock of the new Italeri 1/35 PT-Boat accessories and was down to the last set which I made disappear (time to finish my own PT-Boat project).

Around us are aftermarket resin companies that are having problems keeping inventory on their tables. One of them had to call of an overnight delivery of more stuff because they sold out of too many things too quickly. You can see this with other vendors around the show. In short, some of the vendors that attended past shows assumed that this convention would perform at the same pace and didn't bring sufficient inventory.

By every measure so far, this show is a great success.

So back to the news from the show:

Alliance Modelworks

Here is an interesting hobby company that was displaying a huge number of products for the naval and aircraft modeler as well as showing some new subjects coming soon. They produce a significant number of photo-etched detail sets for a wide range of 1/350 and 1/700 subjects including some very interesting photo-etched diorama bases that include cobblestone and railroad track details. Why railroad tracks? In the third image below, you'll see an entire 1/700 resin and photo-etched train which can be posed dockside with a 1/700 passenger liner. Their freight cars and other rolling stock will also support a wide range of other naval diorama or vignette themes.

The first two images below are prototypes for a new series of Steampunk figures and vehicles including a submarine and a surface craft. Stay tuned as we take a closer look in the coming months.


Eduard is back with many of their recent releases and a new release that was timed to coincide with our National Convention - the 1/48 MiG-21PFM Fishbed F. This is their first Generation 2 (Gen 2) MiG-21 in the series with all of the previous releases (MiG-21MF/SMT/bis/etc) representing Gen 3 MiG-21s. I was delighted to hear that the next Gen 2 variant will be the MiG-21R Fishbed H recce bird which is due around December. On display was the test shot of the upcoming Merlin engine BrassIn set that will work with their own Mk.IX and other industry Spitfire Mk.IX kits.

Among the planned releases through the end of the year:

  • 1/48 MiG-21R
  • 1/48 Spitfire IX (early)
  • 1/48 P-47D Thunderbolt (second in series)
  • 1/72 MiG-15 (new variant)

Free Time Hobbies

Here is an interesting hobby group. When I was invited to operate out of this booth, I had assumed (incorrectly) that this was a hobby shop. Well, it is, but it is also a growing manufacturer of resin ships and details. They have acquired a number of well-known resin ship manufacturers and are growing an impressive list of new subjects under their own banners. You can see in the images below the nice array of resin battleships that are coming available soon. They are also producing a new series of hobby paints that will be color-accurate for naval subjects (initially) that are acrylic-based and produced in the US to avoid all of the shipping restrictions that are now in place with enamel and lacquer-based paints. More on these in the near future.

Here is a list of upcoming releases:

  • 1/350 Blue Ridge Models USS Growler
  • 1/350 Blue Ridge Models Alaska and Guam
  • 1/350 Blue Ridge Models Montana
  • 1/350 Blue Ridge Models Ohio with 18" guns
  • 1/350 Blue Ridge Models Maine with 20" guns
  • 1/350 Blue Ridge USS Georgia Ohio Class
  • 1/700 Tom's Modelworks USS Enterprise CV-6
  • 1/700 Tom's Modelworks USS Yorktown CV-5
  • 1/700 Tom's Modelworks USS Arkansas Late War
  • 1/700 Flyhawk Models German Derflinger (plastic)
  • 1/700 Blue Ridge Models USS Montana BB-67 (with full hull option)
  • 1/700 Blue Ridge Models USS Ohio BB-68 with 18 inch guns (with full hull option)
  • 1/700 Blue Ridge Models USS Maine BB-69 with 20 inch guns (with full hull option)
  • 1/700 Blue Ridge Models USS New Hampshire BB-70 1952 Version (with full hull option)
  • 1/700 Blue Ridge Models USS Louisiana BB-71 Regulus II Missile Version (with full hull option)
  • 1/700 Blue Ridge Models USS Arizona BB-72 1990's Arsenal Ship Proposal
  • 1/700 Blue Ridge Models USS Indiana Class BB-1, BB-2, and BB-3
  • 1/700 Blue Ridge Models USS St. Louis
  • 1/200 Trumpeter USS Enterprise CV-6
  • Pacific Front Ship Model Colors - Acrylic Air Brush Ready Paints

MPM (Azur/MPM/Special Hobby/CMK)

The gentlemen from the Czech Republic are back with a huge display of their wid range of kits and aftermarket detail sets. On display were quite a few new kits as well as a wealth of aftermarket details and conversions. In the category of upcoming releases:

  • Special Hobby 1/32 Tempest II/V/VI
  • Special Hobby 1/72 Vampire Mk.I/3/5/6 (Swiss)/Export
  • Special Hobby 1/72 AH-1G/Q/S Cobra
  • Special Hobby 1/32 T-2C Buckeye
  • Special Hobby 1/48 F-86K Sabre Dog

Day One

Wednesday, 14 Aug, Day One of the National Convention

Greetings from the IPMS Nationals in Loveland, Colorado. I don't know what has happened up here but this quiet corner of Colorado has turned into a major suburb of Denver. The convention is being held in a relatively new (and nice) conference center connected to an equally new Embassy Suites. This in turn is located between a new Budweiser Sports Center and a series of other hotels and nice restaurants. This is a nice location!

The folks staffing the convention combine the talents of the IPMS chapters in Colorado Springs and Denver and they've done a great job. After picking up our convention registration package and dropping off another stack of raffle prizes, we found our hang-out at Free Time Hobbies from where we'll operate during the convention. If you're coming to the convention, please stop by and say hello!

There are two rooms of vendors and there are a nice variety of major manufacturers, aftermarket companies, as well as hobby retailers and kit resellers. On display were a number of new items and I've only scratched the surface. And now for the news:

MRC (Gallery Models/Academy/Italeri)

The recently released Academy 1/48 F-4B Phantom II and 1/350 USS Indianapolis models were on display along with some new release news (no test shots yet):

  • Gallery Models 1/350 USS Intrepid (Essex-class SCP-125 angled deck)
  • Gallery Models 1/48 HH-34 USAF (V-legged landing gear)
  • Gallery Models 1/48 UH-34 USN (bent-legged landing gear)
  • Academy 1/48 F-4C/D Phantom II
  • Italeri 1/35 X-Craft Submarine

No firm release dates though most by the end of the year or early 2014.


The masters of super-detailed model kits were back and their display as impressive as ever. In addition to displays of their current kit range up through and including the recent He 219 Uhu kit, they had displays of their first two kits in 1/48 scale as well as their next 1/32 scale installment:

  • Zoukei-Mura 1/32 J2M3 Raiden
  • Zoukei-Mura 1/48 J7W1 Shinden
  • Zoukei-Mura 1/48 Ta 152H-1

Detail and Scale

Author/publisher Bert Kinzey is back with his Detail and Scale as well as Colors and Markings series transitioned into the 21st century. First up: the F3H Demon now in digital format with full-color walkarounds and no more of the page count limits of the hardcopy volumes. Each image can be expanded with zoom in and out features. Each volume consists of both the Detail and Scale and corresponding Color and Markings coverage as well as relevant kit reports.

The F3H as well as future titles will be available through iTunes for the iPad and through Amazon for the Kindle. Updates and corrections can be flowed out though the iTunes and Amazon update services. All of this will be available in the next few months with retail pricing around $10 USD.

IPMS/USA 2013 National Convention

Revell - Monogram - Revell/Germany

Revell had a test shot of the upcoming 1/48 F-105D Thunderstick II version on display as well as the 1/72 Type IX U-Boat (U-505), along with some other interesting release updates previously covered in our news:


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