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Ralph Nardone

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Ralph Nardone last won the day on September 13

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    IPMS/Mid-Carolina Swamp Fox Modelers
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    Newberry, SC USA
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    Somewhat eclectic

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  1. I agree. One thing that gets lost is that new folks to the hobby will get turned off if you're going deep into their pockets before they even walk through the door. And it is often overlooked that you will get money from them sooner or later, either via raffle ticket sales, SWAG purchases (T-shirts, pins, and the like), or indirectly via the vendor tables. That last one sounds odd, but the better the vendors do, the more likely they are to come back year after year, and the patrons will get that taste for the excitement that the Convention brings and they'll likewise keep coming back. That's one reason our local show doesn't charge for walk-ins. Our vendor table rentals cover most of the venue costs, the contest supports itself, and the raffle fills the gap. As long as we break even on our local show, we're happy. Cheers! Ralph
  2. Always a tricky issue. I believe a discussion was held on this forum years ago about how other organizations (I believe the popular one at the time was the AMA) charge much more (as in half again the member cost) for non-members to attend their annual convention, but the counter was that IPMS wants to encourage non-members to come it, look around, and see what we're about. If memory serves, we didn't do "Family Passes" in 2016. We did offer a 4-day pass, though, and it was slightly more than paying a registration. We used the goody bag as incentive to pay the registration--you save $5 or $10, and you get a pin, a decal, and (IIRC) coupons for special deals with various vendors. Cheers! Ralph
  3. And once again, IPMS does not judge accuracy.
  4. Modelers spend weeks and months researching what the relief tube looked like on some minor sub-variant of an insignificant airplane, but can't take ten minutes to review flag ettiquette before they use one as what amounts to a tablecloth? For those who weren't aware: https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/celebrate/flagdisplay.pdf Ignorance is no excuse. "I've seen..." is no excuse. "They do it..." is no excuse. The code and rules of flag ettiquette for the United States flag are published and available to anyone who asks. I found this by doing a simple Google search--it took all of a minute. Ralph
  5. Another great tool to use, especially when sanding on something cylindrical, is a Flex-I-File. It is a sanding belt held in an aluminum frame, and if you gently squeeze the frame, it puts some slack in the belt that conforms to the rounded surface. Cheers! Ralph
  6. I built that kit, and with careful cleanup the seam is not too bad. The key to the exercise it to test fit until the parts fit tightly together when you simply hold them together. If I recall, I managed to get a tight seam that only needed a light sanding. I used Tamiya Extra Thin cement, and applied a little pressure to the two halves once they were together to pop out a small bead of plastic that had been softened by the cement. Let it dry overnight, and sand that bead of plastic down--you should have a smooth surface with no (or a minimal) seam to deal with. I use super glue most of the time when I need to fill a seam. Work slowly and in small sections, sand it as soon as it can be sanded, and don't leave it un-sanded overnight--it gets harder as time goes on. You can mix it with talcum powder, artists pigments, or microballons, too--it sands easier, but doesn't leave as smooth a finish. Try it on a scrap kit to get the feel for it. Cheers! Ralph
  7. And this is why that "survey" was doomed from the start. The status quo crowd knew exactly what was on the table. The open judging crowd couldn't define (as in "were not allowed to") what they wanted to do. Yes, it was my statement about asking a kid what they wanted for dinner, pizza or something else. The something else could be liver, it could be ice cream and cake. I was happy to see that half of those who did take the survey opted for the "something else", but I suspect the other half voted for what they knew. Or thought they knew--as I discovered in June, I would wager 98% of modelers who put a model on a contest table (any contest table, not just IPMS) never bother to read the rules in the first place. But that's another story for another time. And I referenced the ladder system as something familiar to most Americans--to be a "National Champion" at most endeavors in the States, it is generally understood that that team had demonstrated that they are consistent winners at the division and conference level before they get to the playoffs, and they have to win in the playoffs before they can get to the "Big Game".
  8. There is no requirement to crown a "National Champion" written anywhere--the highest award available at the IPMS/USA National Convention is Judges' Best of Show, but it is far from being a "National Championship". There is no "ladder system" requiring models entered in the National Contest to have won before at (first) the local and (then) the Regional levels. The only requirement is to hold a "National Contest". It is an open contest--any member in good standing can enter as many models as they please. They can be previous local and Regional winners, or models recently completed. The folly of "healthy competition"... Ralph
  9. They sponsored the T-shirts and decals at the Columbia convention, but only had a small table where they were doing more promotional activity than anything else. I seem to recall they only had a small table outside the vendor room at Chattanooga, too...and at both, they were doing giveaways via a small raffle. R
  10. AMPS allows the same model to be entered time and again, modified or not, but discourages it for the same reason any other sanctioning body should discourage it--go out and build something new! How many times have you seen the same model trotted out, year after year, show after show? It is the scale modeling equivalent of Al Bundy's career as a high school football player... I like open judging, but frankly, I'd rather see a different change. Make "Display Only" a recognized class within the rules structure and standardize how they are to be tracked at the Convention. Use the same forms, with an added line or box for the modeler to indicate that the model is not to be judged. Up until now, I have seen it done several different ways. Chattanooga was on the right track with formal Display Only forms, it just needs to go that one step further and make it a standard recognized class in the rules. It shouldn't take a whole lot of work to make the change. If one of the mods wants to split this out into a new thread, go for it. Cheers! Ralph
  11. Columbia had a shopping trip to the Charleston shopping district that ran with the trip to Patriot's Point and the USS Yorktown.
  12. And they usually wind up in a box at the bottom of a closet.
  13. We buy medals for $2.85 each from Mission Awards. Initially, we ordered 100 each, and that lasted us through two "traditional" IPMS-style shows. We refilled the stock, again with 100 each, and that should last us another three or four years. They are undated and can be used from year to year. We buy plaque kits from BestPlaques.com that range between $7 and $19. We design the artwork (I like Microsoft Publisher, but PowerPoint works, too--even Word will work in a pinch), print it on to card stock, and assemble the plaques ourselves. Cheers! Ralph
  14. Exactly. Charge the power supply and plug it in. If you're worried about running time, have two.
  15. It all goes back to reading and understanding the rules. In the IPMS/USA Modelers Guide to Contests (formerly known as the Competition Handbook), here is what it says about accuracy: ***** Accuracy Absolute accuracy is a noble, but probably unattainable, goal. Despite the fact that no scale model is ever 100% accurate, some people urge that models be judged principally on their accuracy. This is a real minefield. While gross inaccuracy is easy to spot in some instances, the situation quickly becomes murky past obvious things and can lead to unfairness in judging. For example, suppose one of the aircraft judges spent the better part of twenty years as the crew chief of a particular aircraft. That judge will probably be able to find inaccuracies of one sort or another on every model of that type of aircraft entered in a category. But, there's a real risk he will unfairly penalize those who entered those models if he judges solely on the basis of accuracy as he can readily spot their flaws while he may miss inaccuracies in other aircraft types with which he does not have the same level of expertise. Along the same lines, modelers who know the minute aspects of a subject often mistakenly believe judges also have similar detailed knowledge. This may or may not be true. It's simply not possible for all IPMS judges to match the expertise developed by our disparate and incredibly knowledgeable membership. The Chief Judge and Class Head Judges take pains every year to remind the judges to be aware of these problems and to be fair to all on this issue. You can also help yourself by not assuming the judges know all the details you know. Help them and yourself by putting such information on the entry sheet or any other display material you put with your model. Judges are instructed read that stuff and it could make the difference for you. Lest we get too wrapped up in the accuracy debate, remember that IPMS/USA judges concentrate first on the modeling aspects. A model with every component built absolutely accurately probably still won't win if seams between the components aren't filled properly. Conversely, a superbly built model containing an inaccuracy could win. ***** In the past, several Senior National Judges have made a claim that they use accuracy as a tie-breaker. Given what was said by the NCC above, I fail to see how, after they've been instructed not to judge on accuracy, all of a sudden they should use it as a tie breaker. Given how judging teams are assembled, there is a very tiny probability that a four-person team can posses ALL of the knowledge needed to pass judgment on ALL of the models in the category. Possible? Yes. But you have a better chance of being hit by lightning. None of the other modeling organizations I know of uses accuracy as a yardstick in a contest, either. I haven't looked lately, but the National Model Railroad Association may use it as a grading point as people climb the ladder to Master Railroader (a non-competitive program), but that is possibly the only incident of using accuracy as a yardstick. Cheers! Ralph
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