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Ralph Nardone

IPMS/USA Member
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Everything posted by Ralph Nardone

  1. Even if it comes out of a bottle and you thin/reduce it for spraying (or spray it straight), you need to wear the PPE. It doesn't matter if the paint thins with water or acetone, protect your lungs (and the rest of your body). R
  2. Or a respirator, or both. Not a dust mask, not an N95, but a cartridge respirator. Respirators are cheap--big-box home centers sell them for around $35. Buy one. Use it. Your lungs will thank you. Cheers! Ralph
  3. Since my two terms as Chief Cook and Bottle Washer in the Columbia chapter are over and I'm back in the peanut gallery, I'm not in a position to officially comment. The Columbia chapter is under new management, so anything is possible... Cheers! R
  4. I used it to point out that the annual version of the rules aren't always ready on 1 January. Nothing else was intended or needed to be read into it. Whatever the reason, we were told that the rules are ready when the NCC says they are.
  5. Beginning of the year at the earliest. If memory serves, the National Rules package for 2016 wasn't complete and ready to post until at least May, maybe later that year--I recall getting a lot of traffic on that subject, as in "When will the rules be released?" Our answer then, as it is now, is "That's the NCC's baby and when they release them, they'll get published". So, Jim is absolutely correct--This is nothing new. R
  6. My thoughts exactly. When I saw the announcement, my first thought was "How long before the Philadelphia Lawyers come forth with all sorts of questions, having over analyzed these new rules for five minutes?" Just making observations...
  7. Columbia did, too. We bid in '12 for '14, lost that bid, then bid in '14 for '16. If you plan it well, there's not much rework to do on the bid package--do a price check, amend the numbers, and present the bid.
  8. A few things that have been touched upon: Smaller cities. Atlanta, Miami, NYC, LA, etc., are pretty much out of anyone's budget. That's why (here in the former East rotation, anyway) we've seen Columbia, Chattanooga, and Hampton Roads host conventions in recent years. Resort cities: Orlando and Vegas had good shows, I'm told, but that comes at a price, especially when IPMS/USA touts it as a "family vacation". How many of you guys had to curtail your vendor room expenditures in those two cities because mom and the kids wanted to go see the sights? As they say, you pays yo' money, you takes yo' chances... Multiple hosts. The first "official" convention hosted by multiple Chapters was Orlando in '99. While they flew under the "IPMS/Florida" banner, it was a collection of members from the various R11 Chapters. That was also in the days before the National office was directly involved on the financial end of the Convention, too... Fast forward to 2016: We (IPMS/Mid-Carolina) co-hosted with the IPMS/Piedmont Scale Modelers. Having a co-host makes it easier, especially if both clubs are small. A few other notes from 2016: We had a small committee of 6 people. Everyone had clearly-defined jobs. The more members you have on the committee, the more confusing things can get. We had heard of some conventions that had 20 and 30 people just on the committee alone, not to mention the work force. Our total work force for the Convention was around 20 people... You have to have buy-in from your Chapter members. Without them, you are sunk. Come game time, you need to have your aces in their places--and, as the commercial says, you need to have "no cussin', no fussin', and no backtalkin'"...everyone should be ready to go, and they should know their jobs. We made a deal with the Columbia Visitors and Convention Bureau before we even thought about bidding. If you work with the municipality, have past numbers handy--get the last three or four financial statements. Why? Because any good CVB will ask "What will this do for us economically?" Be Johnny-on-the-spot with numbers. See what they're willing to do for you--we wangled a deal where the convention center came to us at no charge IF we filled a certain number of room nights at the Convention hotels. (By the way, for you guys that squeeze the nickels until you get buffalo chips, this is the prime reason you should consider staying at the "official" hotel.) So, yeah, cities like Knoxville, Tucson, Charlotte, Greenville (SC), Richmond, etc., might be good choices. And who knows? If someone on your organizing committee in, say, Daytona Beach, San Diego, or Jacksonville, has an "in" with the CVB, you might get lucky... It is the age old thing. You never get anything if you don't ask. What's the worst that can happen? They can tell you "no".
  9. I find that acrylics tend to be tenacious when they start to dry on a metal surface, and the field strip is the best way to keep it clean. I've tried everything else, including different products that are supposed to break down paint, but nothing beats a quick disassembly. After a while, it doesn't take longer than 5 minutes to do. Lacquer and enamel users can get away with spraying thinner until it comes out clean between colors, but should still field strip the airbrush at the end of a session. This might be interesting to you, as well: https://modelpaintsol.com/guides/airbrushing-tips-v4-airbrush-cleaners Cheers! R
  10. You didn't same which model airbrush, or what type. I use a Badger 105 Patriot and a Grex Tritium TG.3. Both are gravity feed dual action airbrushes, the Badger a traditional trigger type; the Grex a pistol-grip type. Cleaning is similar for both... I use acrylics, and between each color I "field strip" the airbrush--remove the needle, tip, and nozzle and clean them thoroughly. I use Iwata's airbrush cleaner for this, followed by a flush with clean water. For stubborn spots, I use alcohol or lacquer thinner. Tamiya's Airbrush Cleaner works well, too. I use twisted paper towels to get into those small spaces, or you can buy dental paper points online--they do the same thing. Some folks use a torch tip cleaner consisting of small brushes. If you can find a pipe cleaner that doesn't have a wire center, you can also use it. IF you use one with a wire, be careful not to scratch anything. Old paintbrushes and toothbrushes come in handy, too. After each cleaning, I use a dab of Iwata's "Superlube" airbrush lubricant. Badger markets theirs as Regdab. Just a dab will do ya. Every year or so, I disassemble the airbrush and inspect for worn seals, etc., and give it a complete cleaning with lacquer thinner. As with building models, the key is to be patient and careful. Be careful not to bend the tip of the needle or deform the nozzle opening. For the most part, threaded parts should be finger snug--no need to He-Man the parts together, even if they do require a wrench or similar tool. And, follow the manufacturer's instructions. Now, on to the disclaimers: Disclaimer #1: Some airbrush manufacturers say you shouldn't use anything containing ammonia to clean their airbrushes--it erodes the plating and will eventually corrode the brass under the plating. However, you can use ammonia to clean--just be sure to give the airbrush a thorough flushing with clean water afterwards . Disclaimer #2: Badger says not to use alcohol--it is a drier, not a cleaner, they say. However, alcohol can do a good job of cleaning--it might take some more effort to remove small spots of dried paint. Badger says you can use ammonia to clean the airbrush--the same comment about a thorough flush with water still stands. Disclaimer #3: Most of them say not to use industrial chemicals to clean their airbrushes. They're speaking about Toluene, Acetone, and MEK, mostly, and they have a point--if you airbrush has any sort of soft seal (synthetic rubber), these chemical can cause them to either soften into goo or become embrittled. Some folks swear by carburetor or brake cleaner, but the same caveats apply. In all honesty, there hasn't been a case of a dirty airbrush that I have encountered that cannot be solved by good, old, hardware store brand lacquer thinner. Cheers! Ralph
  11. Yeah, but there's that pesky "as may be noted in kit instructions" thing, though... 🙂 I like thermal receipt paper. It is thin and strong. You can make the belt hardware from paper (card stock is ideal) as well. Rolled epoxy putty (my favorite is Aves Apoxie Sculpt) can be used, too, for both belts and hardware. Cheers! Ralph
  12. If you already have an Optivisor, you can either get a different lens or add a loupe... https://doneganoptical.com/product-category/headband/ Cheers! Ralph
  13. For figures, I will still splurge for the Windsor and Newton Series 7 brushes, and use them ONLY on figures with artists oils--despite them being labeled "watercolour" brushes. If it was good enough for Shep Paine... I have tried a bunch of the others. The Grumbacher line is pretty good, as are the Royal & Langnickel and Daler-Rowney brushes--these are all available at Michael's. Some are sable, some are synthetic. The "store brands" (Artists' Loft, etc.) are hit and miss, so shop carefully. Incidentally, I find that shopping in person is important when buying brushes... SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT! However, if I have to go online for brushes (or any other art supplies like pigments, oil paint, etc.), I like using The Merri Artist in McMinnville, OR. I have ordered from them several times, and they are great. The fastest I ever got anything from them (normal shipping) was two days from Oregon to South Carolina. https://merriartist.com/ If The Merri Artist doesn't have what I need, I turn to Blick Art Materials. https://www.dickblick.com/ I'll always support the smaller business first. But that's just me... In the hobby world, the Army Painter brand gets high marks (I have yet to try them). You can do the sprue nub trick Rusty outlined above, you can use the eye end of a sewing needle or a short length of wire shoved into the eraser end of a pencil as a glue applicator. I break a sewing needle in half--the pointy end gets chucked into a #1 handle and is used as a scriber. I then cut the "loop" end of the eye (leaving a fork), shove the shaft end into the pencil eraser, and I have a glue applicator. The smaller the needle, the smaller the eye, and the smaller the eye, the smaller the drop of CA that it will hold. When I use wire, I'll put a slight kink in it--that helps it "grab" a bit more adhesive. Cheers! Ralph
  14. I can't speak for Vietnam era (or any era) military aircraft maintenance, but in the civilian world, yes, axle jacks can be used on some types--it is a lot easier to jack at the axle than at the jack points, since jacking the axle takes one jack (the jack points requires multiple jacks and personnel). Aircraft with dual mains can also be "jacked" on a ramp--the wheel that isn't being worked sits on a ramp while the "bad" wheel is free to be removed.
  15. 1971? Scalemates shows the Minicraft/Academy PBY-2 hit the market in 1993, followed by the -5, -4, and -5A. The -5 was the first straight Academy release after the split, and that was 1996... In any case, I checked my database...none in the stash, sorry... Ralph
  16. I get 300 medals at a time from Mission Awards for our local shows, and that lasts for two or three years (depending on attendance, of course). The package is smaller than a standard box of copier/printer paper. Extrapolating that out, 1,000 awards would likely be two copier paper sized boxes. If you stick with the current format, you use about 600 category (1st/2nd/3rd) awards at a National show, which means there will be maybe 400 surplus medals. So we're back to something the size of a copier paper box as far as goes shipping/storage. As far as how many awards should be purchased? For a 1-2-3 show, this is easy--look at your historic numbers. If your usage across the last three shows is 600 awards on average, buy twice or three times that. Make this a National office duty--the 2VP adds this to their Convention planning punch list: "Verify number of category awards on hand, order more if needed". It can be done at the conclusion of the current show, before the surplus gets shipped to the next host. And if the margins are shaky, order more right then and there and have them drop shipped to the next hosts. In 2016, we had some 60 plaques left over. They are now sitting in my garage, collecting funk, since they are dated and themed and cannot be re-used (other than to pry the metal placard off and use the wood plaque as a base). At $6 a pop, that's $360 that IPMS/USA paid out in that cannot be recouped--using standard awards, that money could be used for shipping costs. And if you can't ship 600 medals (based on an order of 1,200 total--600 used at the current show, 600 left for the next one) for less than $360 bucks, you're using the wrong shipping company! And it isn't as if other stuff doesn't get shipped from one host to the next from year to year anyway... . Attached is an image of our medals. They are 2" die-struck medals with antique finish. You can get them with or without the ribbon. Our last order was made in April 2020, and including shipping ($36, for the record), the total was $861. $861/300=$2.87 per medal. As Gil said, you can have a sheet of round Avery labels available so the entrant can record what the award was for. In our first show, we actually made custom labels, as shown in the pics, and filled them out as part of the admin duties after judging. It is labor intensive, though, so the next year we stuck the labels (again, customized for that show) to the medals and let the entrant fill them out. Here is our source: Mission Awards, Inc. 2030 Tonawanda Lake RD Grawn, MI 49637 E-mail: SALES@MISSIONAWARDS.COM Phone : (866) 396-5481 Fax : 231-276-7682 I've worked with Tim, but anybody on their sales staff ought to be able to assist.
  17. From Merriam-Webster: Contest: A struggle for superiority or victory. Victory: 1 : the overcoming of an enemy or antagonist 2 : achievement of mastery or success in a struggle or endeavor against odds or difficulties Lose: to fail to win (a game, contest, etc.) Look, I understand the gist of all this. Yes, nobody really "loses" at a model show--but I know several individuals who had to be "talked down from the ledge" when they didn't win at the Nationals. To many, the opposite of winning is losing. They didn't win the big shiny, therefore, they lost. The fact that they weren't told *why* they lost is what grated with them. One of them never "got it", even when we started having hotwash sessions at meetings before shows to point out things that needed attention. The other ones took what we showed them, and they learned. Note that they didn't learn through osmosis, other modelers had to help them. A modeler without a local club is further handicapped, but if IPMS/USA would do something official to help, it might be a good idea.
  18. Yes, the IPMS/USA National Convention contest is open to all branches of IPMS with a valid membership card. In Columbia in 2016, we had folks from several other IPMS branches (UK, Argentina, Canada, etc.). Judging format is all a matter of preference, but the overriding question is this: what is the goal of the contest? If it is to pick "winners" and "losers", the system IPMS/USA uses does that quite well--as it should, it has been in use for decades. If, however, the goal is to recognize more modelers for their work and offer some insight as to why it placed where it did, the open judging systems are designed to do just that. In recent years, some modelers have been asking for more. So, enter the open judging arguments. Whether they participated in one of the handful of IPMS/USA local shows that use a form of open judging, or experienced it with another organization, they decided it is the "better" method. As I said, "better" can only be applied after one summarizes the end goal for the contest...and IPMS/USA wants to keep choosing "winners" and "losers" And as I've also said for years, I prefer an exhibition--no contest, no judges, just put out your models and show them off.
  19. ALL judges make mistakes, and ALL evaluation/scoring systems have flaws. To me, the scoring system we use inherently scores creativity--we allow a fair bit of leeway on the final finish and degree of difficulty. It is but one reason that, while I prefer the scored systems, I'd just as soon as not have an exhibition-only show. Bring what you've built and show it off. No pressure. No worries if a judge will ding you for that antenna that broke in transit. No fretting over whether or not the shade of RLM 81 you used is "correct". No heartburn if your model doesn't "win". To me, anybody who shows off their work is a winner. I have no pathological or physiological need for some trinket that says so.
  20. Open Judging is what many call the "Gold-Silver-Bronze" system, where each model is scored/evaluated (since some contests using this system don't do scores) individually, and multiple models in the same group can earn the same award, i.e., if the category is Armored Vehicles, Allied, 1935-1945 and there are 15 models in that group, all 15 can earn a medal. That's why I try to state "open judging". As far as I know, all IPMS/USA shows other than the National Convention contest are "Opens", as in open to anyone who wants to enter. The only obstacle to entering an IPMS/USA National Convention is membership--you must be an IPMS (any branch) member to enter.
  21. Why yes, yes they do. They are the same exact criteria that IPMS/USA uses--well, at least they are in most of the shows that use open judging that I am familiar with. Repeat after me: Straight, Square, Plumb, Fit, Finish. R
  22. Curious. Since you seem to be addressing my comments but attributing them to others, allow me to retort: 1. I never made any assertions about judging qualifications in this thread. Frankly, I'm over beating the judging dead horse--I have purposely avoided the judging question of late, simply because my opinion differs from the "Because we said so!" and "We've always done it this way!" attitude of the NCC. 2. I replied to a comment on a way for IPMS/USA to reduce their ever-expanding awards budget. Simple category awards, purchased in bulk, save money BECAUSE they can be re-used. Spend the big money on the Class, Special, Theme, and Best in Show awards. 3. When I personally witness one man threatening to "beat seven shades of s***" out of a Head Judge at a show, I can make the comments I do about "Win at All Costs". When I see it at multiple shows, that means there is a pattern of this bad behavior. And yes, Jim, there are modelers in the world who look down their noses at people who have not won at the Nationals, whether you want to see them or not. You and I will NEVER agree on competition. Let us just leave it at that, shall we? As you keep saying, "What's the point?" With that, I'm done with this thread. Have a nice day.
  23. I see that the word "cheap" has been used in the sense that it is a flimsy plastic tchotchke. The medals we use are quality die-struck metals with an enameled front. They have heft, and they serve the purpose of recognizing the category winners--which is the object of the exercise. Using your award numbers, and the cost per medal of the last order I placed: 603 awards X $2.85= $1718.55 for the category medals (1-2-3 in each category). Color sublimated plaques--about the cheapest non-generic thing going--run between $6 and $8 each at our local trophy shop. I'll use the lesser figure... 603 awards X $6 = $3,618 for the category plaques (1-2-3 in each category). And if you don't have three models in a given category or if the host even has a 1% or 2% overage, you have awards that go unused. What do you do with the left-overs? A generic medal can be put back into the box and passed on to the next show. The color-sub plaques are stuffed in a box and stored, never to be seen again. If you can convince the trophy shop to take them back so they can re-use the plaques, fine, but they aren't going to refund any of your money. And if you purchased laser engraved acrylics or some other elaborate award for the general category winners, you are stuck with them. Why is this concept so difficult to embrace? Spend the big bucks on the awards you know will be given--Class awards, Theme awards, Special awards, Best of Show awards, etc. For the entrant, what do you do if you want one of those Big Shinys? Simple--Build a better model. (Of course, this gets on the subject of "How do I do that?", and IPMS/USA has no real answer to that question other than to say "Build a better model"...) Of course, could it be that some don't like medals because someone might mistake a contest that uses medals for awards as a show that uses an Open Judging system? I can hear the argument now... "I don't want to go to that contest! They use medals, they must be some of them Pinko Commie Open Judging subversives! We're 'Muricans, dammit! We wants us some real winners, not them pansy 'ticipation awards y'all hand out to ever'one!" To answer the other question, "What's the point?" What's the point in competition to begin with--especially on something we supposedly do as a pastime? Somewhere in the primordial days of IPMS, it was decided that a model exhibition would be a fun way to get together. And hey, a friendly competition might be a good thing. Oh, and maybe we'll give out trophies to the models a group of peers deems to be "good". Somewhere along the line that concept got perverted into this Win At All Costs, "You ain't a 'real' modeler until you win at the National Convention", vision that far too many modelers these days hold in their noggins. As I asked someone, are you seeing these simply as a token recognizing your effort, or are you redecorating your home and trying to make sure your model awards don't clash? As I said, we put far too much emphasis on the award itself instead of what it (supposedly) represents... What's the point, indeed...
  24. It seems that too much emphasis gets placed on what the award is vs. what it means. For the category awards, buy simple, generic awards in bulk. Buy enough to provide for a few shows and replenish as needed. A 5"X7" color sublimated plaque or simple medallion emblazoned with the IPMS/USA logo and "First Place" should suffice. If you want to get fancy, add a customized label (10 minutes to design, print on standard Avery labels) to the back with the show name and date. Leave a space for the modeler to record what the model was, what category, etc. If you really want to put on the dog, you can get plaques with a photo sleeve attached to the back, where the entrant can take a photo of the model and attach it to the award--that way, five years down the road, they can remember what the award was for... We have used medals for our past three local shows. Whether we used traditional IPMS judging or a scored system, the awards were a simple medal with the club logo on the front. Cost? $2.85 each. We buy 100 each Gold (1st), Silver (2nd), and Bronze (3rd) place awards, and that one order lasts us for three shows. If anybody is interested, contact me and I'll be more than happy to get you the contact information for our supplier. I've heard the arguments against--"So-and-so did a nice sand sculpture for their awards", and "These guys had elaborate backlit acrylic tombstones". And that's fine, if we're talking Class, Theme, or Special awards. The Best in Class, Special, and Theme awards should be "customized" for each show. Here is where you buy the backlit acrylic monolith (we like acrylic state map cutouts), sandcast geegaws, and the like, and include the theme artwork, show name, date, and all the rest.
  25. Actually, the athletes were given a choice--go to a run-off (jump-off?), or share the medal. In this case, they agreed to share the medal.
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