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2009 IPMS/USA National Convention - Columbus, Ohio
Update: Sunday morning, August 23

I was fortunate to be able to attend this year's IPMS/USA National Convention being held from Aug 19-22 in Columbus.  This is my report.


This year I'll be posting most of my photos on Flickr.  It's a free site where you can post and view photos, and it's much easier than generating embedded photos on these pages.  Look here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjmackowski/

For additional photos see
(http://www.ipmsusa.org and follow the links).


Mike Idacavage is photographing models (left) while new IPMS Head Judge Mike Polk (background, light blue shirt) chats with space judges Troy Bidwell, Mike Ronnau and Rob Schorry.  Not sure who is hiding behind Mike.


Some of the attendees from the 2009 Space Modelers Seminar:  (L to R, standing) Dan Rodgick, Ben Guenther, Mike Mackowski, Pete Maliguti, Mark Wright, Tom Long, Manny Gutsche, Rob Schorry; (L to R kneeling) Dennis Rodgick, Brian Nicklas, Mike Idacavage, Linden Sims, Sven Knudson, Troy Bidwell.

Monday, August 17

Although the convention doesn't start until Wednesday afternoon, I left on Monday for Columbus.  Several guys from the Phoenix club also decided to come out early so we can visit the Air Force Museum on Tuesday.  The convention offers a tour but that blows all day Thursday.  I'd rather look at the models and attend some seminars and spend more time in the vendor room.  So off I went.

Tuesday, August 18

Four of us were traveling together - Mike Ronnau, who drove all the way from Phoenix (and carried some of my stuff), Steve Collins and Jim Clark - and after spending Monday night in a hotel in Fairborn, we spent the entire day at the Air Force Museum. They now have four (or five - depending on how you count) hangars of aircraft. That's a lot of stuff to look at and we needed the whole day. Some of the exhibit areas are rather dark making photography difficult. But from my perspective there are always other good sources for photos so it wasnt't a big deal.

I found some books and things in the gift shop and we drove back to Columbus, checked into the Hyatt and found dinner at an Irish pub in their Arena District. A good start.

Wednesday, August 19

Slept in a little and discovered that the adjacent convention center had a nice food court. Hotel restaurants are over-priced so this was a nice convenient option for us. Then we went hobby shopping, checking out one of the local shops. I found some re-issues of some old Aoshima Apollo kits that they brought out for the Apollo 11 40th anniversary. I generally don't buy many kits at these shows but here I was with three kits and the vendor room hand't even opened yet.

The trend continued as the first order of business after registering was to check out the vendor rooms. Once again, several kit manufacturers were re-issuing old models not available for years or new releases of subjects not available at all or at least with any decent quality. The former included those Aoshima Apollo kits and the latter included some neat X planes from the Czech company Special Hobby. I wound up with the Special Hobby X-1B, X-1E and the Skystreak. I also found a 1/228th Buran-Energiya for $6. All that shopping meant I never got to the model room. I hear the turnout there was good and I'll get to that tomorrow.

Tonight we had a group of about ten people go to Barley's brew house for dinner. It included Sven and Krista Knudson, Mike and Carol Brickman, Mike Idacavage, Troy Bidwell, Brian Nicklas and two of Brian's old friends whose names I forgot. That was great.

Don't look for new photos as I didn't take many today. I also had some computer/internet issues that slowed down getting this info updated and uploaded, but that's all smoothed out now. I should have some pictures on Flickr by midday Thursday.

Thursday, August 20

Just a quick report today. Spent a lot of the day looking at the models. Looks like a big turnout and a very good turnout in the real space area. The dozen or so V-2s don't hurt. Pete Malaguti seems to have brought everything he's built, or so it seems. He has several very well done Apollo dioramas. Had lunch and dinner with several of the space guys. Dinner was at Schmidt's German restaurant (stuffed cabbage, cream puffs). Yum. I posted some pictures on Flicker.

Friday, August 21

I gave my annual space modeling seminar this morning to a standing room only crowd of 35 people. I gave an intro on what I had been up to lately re modeling. Then Rob Schorry gave a nice presentation on unmanned lunar probes. I handed out a pile of door prizes and Tom Castronouva had some blinky LED Space Shuttle pins.  The get-together was a lot of fun as usual.

The rest of the day was spent looking at the models and hitting a seminar or two. We got an early dinner in the food court and then the judges meeting was at 6 and from there right into judging.

Judging was tough as there were over 2500 entries and the quality was exceptional. I led a team of three judges and we had the sci fi category (650) to work. The host committee wound up with a lot of extra trophies so we were able to split 605 three ways. The number of entries in Space and Sci Fi was at near records so that was also a factor. We took about an hour to judge each category (the results should be up on the IPMS or convention website). As usual, there were the tough decisions trying to compare two models. Both would be of equal wokrmanship but we'd have to find some discriminator. Usually it was a construction flaw or some inconsistancy in weathering. Then you need to decide which of those flaws is worse. But we got through that and pciked our best of class by around 11:15 pm. The other classes were done by around midnight (I heard) but picking the Judges Grand Award took another two hours. That went to a USS Truman modern aircraft carrier. Some of the space modeler crowd had some drinks afterwards.

Saturday, August 22

I took some notes (for enxt year) in the contest room and attended the start of the convention bid meeting. Dick Christ gave a status on our show and we showed our video (I wrote the draft of the script). Then Idacavage, Gutsche, and Bidwell and I drove to Wapakaneta to visit the Neil Armstroing Museum I have never been there before although a couple of the other guys were some time ago. They had the only remaining F-5D out in front and an Apollo and Gemini mockup also outdoors.

They have a nice little museum here. Lots of Armstrong artifacts, Gemini 8 capsule, some spacesuits, etc. We had a lunch at a McDonalds there with more Armstrong and Apollo memorabilia. We got back around 4:30 and I think I was the last customer at the Tool Man. The contest room was closed and the reception was starting at 5. That was fun, hanging with the spacers and the Phoenix guys. The meal was nice and the service staff was efficient. On the down side, the banquet room was a little small, and after the meal there was really very little room for the additional folks who come in just for the awards. They had multiple large flat screens to show the photos of the winning models.

The presentation went pretty smoothly. TJ, the convention chair, chatted quite a bit before they got to the society awards and finally the contest results. Aris and Bill did their usual good job of reading off the winners. Years ago they used to do planned comedy bits, usually at the beginning. I miss those. But this year, with so many entries, all the splits, and many out of the box awards, it was going to be a long evening. The contest results alone took almost two and a half hours to present.

Our Phoenix club members won several awards. Tom Alexander took several first places, Steve Collins got a third for an armor piece, and I got a second place for my 1/48th Apollo 15 LM. When I saw Pete Maliguti's multiple Apollo dioramas I wondered why I even bothered to haul my LM here. But the judges gave me the "Best Apollo Program" award (the theme was history so they commemorated the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11). That was realy cool. This was one of the awards they hand out at the dinner, as the regular category awards are placed out on the tables. So that was really nice. I don't think I've ever won anything at that level before. Nice.

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This page updated Sept. 8, 2009