IPMS Nationals in Chattanooga, TN

I haven't posted anything on the club's blog for a while.  I know Facebook is the preferred method of communicating, but I hate FB.  Sorry, FB.  It also looks like no other club members have posted to this blog since 2015!  Well, in honor of our site admin, Hypertex, I am going to use this blog to share my experience in Chattanooga at the IPMS Nats.

First, several have already praised the folks in Chattanooga for their hard work and yes, it showed.  The show was very enjoyable.  The venue was great: the contest room is the largest I think I have ever seen.  The Vendor Room was also huge and packed with vendors selling kits, tools, paints and supplies.  I dropped a lot of money (actually went over budget a bit) and could have spent a lot more.  It was good to see Wingnut Wings, Tamiya, Eduard, Zoukei Muru and other kit manufacturers there with new releases and exciting news about future releases.  The announcement from WWW that they are releasing a Fokker Dr. 1 Triplane made a lot of folks happy.  Finally!  I heard a lot of buzz about that announcement.

With such a huge contest room, space was provided to display models.  I spent a lot of time looking at both contest models and for display only models, but I know I did not see them all.  One would think that you have all the time in the world at a Nationals, but there is just so much that you try to cram into a few days. Ultimately there are some late arrivals that I am sure I did not get to see.  I will surf all the pictures I can find to see if I missed many.

Friday night was judging.  This was my fifth time judging at Nationals and it was very enjoyable.  I was teamed up with a very informed and experienced judge from upstate NY, and an OJT from Arizona.  One of our announced team members was a no show for some reason.  Our team leader said he knew the missing member and had had a late lunch with him earlier in the day.  I hope everything was OK with the missing member.  We were given an Out of Box Aircraft category to judge and had it wrapped up around 9:45.  After asking if there were more models to judge and volunteering to help judge other items such as armor and figures, we were given permission to stay and look or go home.  I stayed for a little while and then headed back to my hotel room to check on my grandsons.  All was good there.

It would be good to see more of WFSM members participate in National judging.  I get the impression that some are a bit intimidated, but judging at Nationals is just like any other contest.  While there are a lot of models on the tables, basic construction still seems to haunt the majority of models that don't place.  There were at least 3 Tamiya 1/48 Bf 109 G6 kits in our category, but all of them had alignment issues with the horizontal tail.  While these issues were minor, there was 1 other 109 G (either a Fujimi or Eduard) that had everything aligned correctly and that placed 3rd if memory serves.   The other kits that placed were a Russian biplane (an I-153) and a Dragon Fokker Dr 1.  Both of the multi winged kits were well built and everything was aligned.  So don't be intimidated by National judging.  They even require OJTs to complete a  course to help you be comfortable and familiarize you with the National rules and standards.

I will not be going to Texas next year: too far.  I most likely won't be going to Vegas in 2021 so I will have a bit of a drought in judging.  Thankfully we have the Cincy show in October and WrightCon next April.  I came away from Nationals, however, with new inspiration and have been working on a couple models to complete them for the next club meeting as well as have them ready to enter the above mentioned contests.  It was good to meet some new people and also spend time with WFSM club members and get to know them better.