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Ralph Nardone

IPMS/USA Member
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Everything posted by Ralph Nardone

  1. We all know that people won't read the rules. So, that's on US? No, it should be put on THEM. They don't "win" and want to grouse? "Hey, read the rules. If you had read the rules, you would know how we evaluate models." Done often enough, the point will be made. As for the "sloppy insignia" and the like, YES, that's why you should document EVERYTHING on your model. Here's the deal--if it comes down to two models for the top spot, the one with sloppy markings gets relegated to Second in my book UNLESS the person who built the model tells me it is supposed to be like that. If they don't, sloppy paint is one of the evaluation criteria, no? Could we do skill levels as the system is now? Sure, but it needs to be developed and thought out better than the "Premiere" awards from several years back. If ever a system was devised to give "participation awards", that was it. I have already addressed the awards at the National level--let IPMS/USA develop a "field award" (medals are cheap--I pay about $3 each on an order of 300, and that can serve two shows), and use it from show to show. Buy in bulk and save, as it were. When you buy in quantity, you have a reserve for one show, and (since they're not dated or otherwise tied to any one particular show) you can use the surplus for the next show. Yeah, I know--"I got the same crappy award last time!" THAT right there is why IPMS needs to re-evaluate the system. It isn't--or shouldn't be--about the awards. It should be all about the models. A Master level shouldn't create animosity. Done properly, it should act as an incentive to build better models. But HOW one achieves Master must be examined carefully if IPMS wants to go that way. Whatever system IPMS chooses to use, they need to involve the membership, and have the membership buy into it.
  2. All the things you noted in the first part of your post has been addressed in the Modeler's Guide to Contests: 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 if it is, in all other respects, the best model in the category. Dual national insignia, King Tigers in North Africa--those are all accuracy issues, not craftsmanship issues (modeling aspects). The problem, as it has always existed, is that people don't bother to read the rules--even when doing so could greatly improve their chances. Cheers! R
  3. Amen to the discussion about ships and research. The best advice given to me a long time ago was to find photos of a ship taken at a single, specific point in time, and duplicate what you see in the photos on your model. Nice work, Hank!
  4. Let me clarify... IF IPMS was to go to Open Judging, the category structure as we know it *should* be simplified quite a bit. Using the Aircraft class as an example: CLASS: Aircraft Categories: Aircraft, Allied/NATO, Prop (by markings) Aircraft, Axis/WarPac, Jet (by markings) Aircraft, Civil (by markings) Aircraft, Rotary Wing Remember, this is a gross simplification, should this system be developed, who knows how it will shake out? So, here's how it works. You build six P-51's--three from the 8th AF, one as a captures Zirkus Rosarius airplane, and one as "Thunderbird", the race airplane that took part in getting the film of QEII's coronation to North America. So, you have three airplanes in Category #1, and one each in #2 and #3. Why? The Zirkus Rosarius airplane carries Luftwaffe (Axis) markings, and "Thunderbird" carries a civil registration. Now, in Category #1, two models earn a Silver and one earns Bronze. You take home ONE silver medal. The other two earn Gold in their categories, so you will also take home two Golds. If you built all six as Allied airplanes, they would all enter into Category #1, and you would take home ONE medal corresponding to the highest award earned. So, say one earned Gold, three earned Silver, one earned Bronze, and one didn't quite make the cut--you take home a Gold medal, period. In this scenario, each model is being evaluated on its own, so it won't matter that you have different scales, or single vs. multi engine airplanes in the same Category. Whether you keep a numeric score or use the Chattanooga/First Coast rules, no model is compared to another. In my scenario, the ONLY time one model is compared to another is when it comes time to award Best Aircraft. In that case, all the Gold medal models are grouped and judges as we do under the current IPMS/USA system. Again, though, a lot of things need to happen before we get there. First, the poll needs to show that the membership supports a change. Then, the system needs to be devised, written, and approved. That's a far way off right now... Cheers! Ralph
  5. Given that a structure, methods, and the like haven't even been thought about yet, the questions about the "Hows" are premature. Right now, the only question at hand is which you prefer, once the poll is over and the votes tallied, whatever needs to be done will be done. However, the answer to the "How many medals?" question can be answered several different ways, and I'm using an IPMS National Convention as the example: IPMS/USA National Competition Committee provides a common medal from year to year. Order in bulk, and replenish as needed. IF a local show wants to follow the National example, make medals available to the Chapters. Medals are inexpensive--we (IPMS/Mid-Carolina) ordered 100 medals from Mission Awards last year at a cost of around $300. Compared to plaques, we would have paid around $1,200 for color sublimated plaques. Rather than award a medal to every *model*, award a modeler for their body of work in any given category. So, your category is 1/48 Allied Single Engine, WWII (by markings). You enter five P-51's from the 8thAF. One scores a Gold, two earn Silver, and two earn Bronze. ALL of your scores are recognized and recorded, but you take home ONE Gold Medal. But it remains to be seen IF we will go that direction. Ralph
  6. It doesn't matter what style of contest you enter, you are still building to "a standard". Those not familiar with Open Judging hold that out as the stinky diaper, when, in effect, "the standard" is exactly what is laid out in the IPMS Modelers Guild to Contests as it is written and published to the IPMS/USA website. And what, you might be asking, is the standard? It all hearkens back to craftsmanship: Molding defects (ejection pin marks, sink marks, mold parting lines/flash, mold shift, excessive draft angles, etc.) addressed. Tight, gap-free glue seams with no glue slop. Model properly aligned (everything straight, square, and plumb). Construction defects (gaps, seams, steps, scratches, knife marks) addressed. Finish flaws (thick paint, thin paint, runny paint, rough paint, sloppy paint, decal silvering) addressed. In a nutshell, that's what ANY contest judge worth his or her salt looks for, regardless of whether it is a "1-2-3" or "Open Judging" system.
  7. I recently bought Woodlands Scenics dry-transfer letters and numbers: https://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/show/category/DecalsGraphics You can apply these to clear decal film--if, say, you're making an aircraft serial number or some other string of characters. Once you have the dry transfers applied, cut the resulting decal out and apply it as usual.
  8. It appears to be similar to Vallejo Putty. It is more liquid that Perfect Plastic Putty, and dries harder than Perfect Putty, too...
  9. I've spoken with a few people familiar with the Dash-80, and they seem to lean towards Chrome Yellow. I doubt there's anyone at Boeing who knows, but perhaps someone at the Museum of Flight in Seattle can say for sure... R
  10. "Everyone posting here..." There's the rub. Not everyone who goes to a contest posts here--some of them have no idea IPMS exists, or they refuse to join for whatever reason. THOSE are the people we try to reach. We've discussed this before, you and I. Some people are beyond help--they won't read the rules, they won't check out the Competition Handbook, they just plop the model on the table and come back a few hours later and expect to be regaled with their riches. These folks don't yet want to be reached. But many people do want the help and have said so. A few short comments on the form should--note I said "should" and not "will"--help the entrant understand what the judges found that put their model out of contention, or why it won a Third instead of a First. "Everyone also knows judges are often unfamiliar..." You're talking accuracy here. Let's see what the CH says: "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 if it is, in all other respects, the best model in the category." "How can you explain to a contestant..." I don't believe I've ever judged a contest where the difference between First and Second was because the judges "liked" one type of finish over another, or one subject over another. There's always something--however minute--that will push one model over the bar. YMMV and all that, but I've never seen it. Your final comment also helps make the case for Open Judging. If two models are SO good that you have to drill way down to find some minuscule flaw--even saying you like Model A's camouflage over Model B's bare metal finish, then both should earn an equal award. Can of worms? In the immortal words of Jules Winnfield, "If my answers frighten you, then you should cease asking scary questions." Cheers! Ralph
  11. 1. Most people who are against comments don't seem to fully grasp the concept. They are meant to be used in two ways--as Gil states, the first is to point out areas the judges found that saw the model cut from the top three, and the second is as Rusty states--to be used as a reminder for next time. Very few people will do as Pete did and de-construct and rebuild a model, but they are out there... 2. Model building, an art? Maybe in the finish stages, but the basic construction of a model kit is craftsmanship, no more and no less. You building a model is no different from Norm Abram building a bookcase--you want to have tight seams, no glue slop, and the model (unless it is an organic form, and even these have their own set of rules) needs to be straight, square, and plumb. It is craftsmanship all day long. Now, applying finish--that group of techniques that includes painting, weathering, distressing, polishing, washing, modulating, lighting, forcing panel lines, etc., etc., well, that's where the art comes in to play. In effect, what you are attempting to do is fool the viewer into thinking that the model on the table is actually an example of the actual subject that you've put through the de-bigulator... 3. The comments, done correctly, should point the entrant towards those errors. Writing "Dress your seams" is nebulous, but "The right wing root seam is inconsistent" tells more of the story. Obviously, you can't document all the places on the model where it fell short. All that the comments are meant to do is direct a modeler towards problem areas noted on that model so they can learn. If comments don't do anything for you, that's on you. But don't trash the concept because you personally don't care for it. Another topic for perhaps another thread is expectations and reality. I would wager than none of us goes to a show not expecting to have a favorable showing--yet the reality, especially in a 1-2-3 structured contest, is that there is only one "winner". By definition, everyone who didn't "win" is therefore a "loser". That's where we all need to temper our expectations, and maybe change our focus on what a model show should be--a place to show off our work and hob-nob with other folks who share our interests. If we happen to take home a big shiny, so much the better. And yes, I hear a lot of people say they believe and live this, but at shows I've seen a few of these same people turn into purple-faced hobgoblins when they come up empty... Is competition bad? Well, David Sarnoff, the guy who made RCA and CBS big in the day, was known to say, "Competition brings out the best in products, and the worst in men." I'd say he was more or less on the money with that... Cheers. R
  12. Rusty made the decision to ask Mark to write the 1-2-3 summary unilaterally. I know I was not polled on the subject--indeed, we worked internally to write the 1-2-3 summary as well as the Open Judging summary. We were all caught off guard when we saw the actual 1-2-3 summary when Rusty posted it.
  13. As one of the individuals involved, and as a proponent for Open Judging, I read the NCC's summary. While the mechanics of a possible Open Judging method were not fully developed at this time, I see several flaws in the NCC's assessment of how they believe Open Judging works. Here's my counterpoint to the NCC: There is no "Ideal" or "Standard" (other than the Contest Rules) that needs to be met in order for anyone to enter models. You can enter as many models as you wish as long as you pay the entry fee, the same as has always been done. Models are judged using the very same criteria set that is currently employed by IPMS. Rather than counting flaws and making cuts, each model is evaluated as to how well the modeler met the criteria. Nothing has been said about skill levels. Had these been mentioned, I would suggest that it would be initially left to the entrant to determine their own skill level. Once they've won Golds at their current level, they get promoted to the next level. But that's step 1,278. We're on Step 1. The judges would still be your peers within IPMS--It isn't as if IPMS will all of a sudden start using some "Intergalactic Model Judging Guild" to judge the show. Because the models aren't compared to each other, the judging can begin as soon as the first models reach the display room--they get placed on the display tables and are judged as they sit. Done properly, judges will be able to pick what shifts they want to judge, rather than having to cram it all into a few hours on Friday night. As soon as each model has the required number of judging sheets, it can be tabulated and the award determined. Class Awards, Best-of-Show, and Special Awards are judged as they always have been--all the Gold winners in a given class are compared and a "winner" determined. The work is spread out over several days. Start a Sign Me Up page or make other efforts to get volunteers to assist in tabulating the data, same as we do for other show volunteers. I'm sure there are folks who want to see how the sausage is made after the judging itself is done. IPMS/USA designs a standard, non-show specific Field Award (medals or challenge coins, ideally) to be used at ALL National Conventions. Order in bulk, the ones that don't get used this year are saved for the next year, or the following year, etc. Put that onus on IPMS/USA and the NCC. This will actually save money--ask me about the boxes of unneeded field awards left over from the 2016 Convention sitting in my garage. They cannot be re-used as contest awards--most of them will have had the plaques torn off and the wood used as model bases by the time they're all gone. In effect IPMS/USA tossed that money in the county landfill. Only the Class Awards, Best of Show, and Special Awards need to be designed and tailored to the current Convention's theme. That work will still fall on the host chapter. Not everyone wants a 'contest'. Many modelers want to be informed/educated, and many others certainly do just want to show off what they've done in a Display Only format. A model that doesn't win 1st, 2nd, or 3rd under the current system doesn't meet the IPMS Standard. While every model should have at least one comment, there is no requirement to comment on each model in the room. These comments are quick notes--"There's a seam on the right wing", not short versions of "War and Peace". Dragging out the "every model wins a trophy" argument is beneath you, Mark, and I wouldn't have expected to see it. Should the membership opt for Open Judging, it won't happen overnight. I estimated a five- to seven-year implementation plan when it was discussed, starting at the local level for a few years, then migrating to the Regional level. By the time it gets rolled out on a National level, most of the bugs will have been discovered and the wrinkles ironed out. Like anything new, it won't always go to plan--I doubt our current system was seamless and foolproof when it was first used, either. But the benefits of a properly designed and implemented Open Judging system--specifically the score sheet and feedback--outweigh the growing pains I know will happen. Ralph Nardone President, IPMS/Mid-Carolina Swamp Fox Modelers IPMS #33984 AMPS #2540
  14. https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/hyperscale/for-sale-entire-collection-400-kits-t502166.html http://www.arcforums.com/forums/air/index.php?/topic/306983-for-sale-entire-scale-model-collection/ Just putting this out there. Apparently, a seller using the same screen name has made the rounds on multiple forums. He takes money via PayPal's "Friends and Family" option (meaning you have no recourse to get your money back), entertains multiple offers (and collects the money from said offers) on the same kit, and in general fails to deliver most of the time. Some have reported that they received the goods they paid for, others have not received anything since they paid for what they wanted. Ralph
  15. Bingo! Between the contest rules and the Modeler's Guide to Competition (as Nick reminded us, it is the document formerly known as the Competition Handbook), most questions should be answered well in advance of any model show. Rules. Huh! What are they good for? Well, absolutely everything... They get updated at the National level annually (more or less), and most other IPMS-sanctioned contests base their rules on the Nationals rules, so you need to read them in advance of any contest. Ask questions. If the rules don't suit you--if you have some fundamental disagreement with them--you have the option not to play, or ask for some "Display Only" space. More and more shows offer it these days...you may still have to pay an entry fee, but you can still show your stuff. The information is readily available. As Brad Hamilton told Jeff Spicoli in the movie "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", "Learn it. Know it. Live it."
  16. IPMS/USA no longer has a plastic content rule. My take on 3D parts is that they are, at best, scratchbuilt parts (if the user is also the person who made the CAD file, whether they actually own the printer themselves or went through an outlet such as Shapeways to have them printed) and at worst, aftermarket parts in the same realm as resin, white metal, or limited run plastic parts. Cheers! Ralph
  17. I see "Shelf of Woe", and all I can think of is the professional wrestler ("rassler") Kevin "The Prince of Darkness" Sullivan speak about the "Tree of Woe": "I did go to the Tower of Torment, I did climb the Thirteen Steps, and I did strap myself to the Tree of Woe. And the Sifu did come to me, and he did give to me the Beetle Nut, the Cosmic Cookie, for that I was to chew on as I did hang from the Tree of Woe. And as I did chew on the Beetle Nut everything became clear in the Amazon river of my mind..." Ahhh, professional wrestling in the late 1970's-early 1980's. Kids today don't know what they missed... :) Ralph
  18. I've only used the "old" formulation of Squadron putties. I still have most of a tube of White that I bought a few years ago. The main reason, I think, that I don't use many solvent based putties these days is simply because I do a better job at cleaning up parts and test fitting. Also, I got tired of having fillers crack, or not scribe, or need repeated applications, so I started using the various combinations of CA, microballoons, Evergreen, Apoxie Sculp, and stretched sprue. None of those will shrink and fall out of a gap. Evergreen, used to fill a gap, adds structural stability to the joint. I can build contours with Apoxie Sculp with no fear of the weeks-long-to-dry issue or shrinkage. I can use a scribing needle on cured CA. I can use CA to install and fair clear parts, then polish it glass-smooth. I still have, as I said, a tube of Squadron White, as well as a tube of Perfect Plastic Putty and Vallejo putty on the bench, and they do come in handy as scratch fillers and (with the latter two) to fill small defects without sanding the surrounding detail away--apply a dab, let sit, wipe with a damp cloth. I have tried most of the putties you mentioned. I stopped using red (I used the Testor/Dr. Microtools stuff--boy, was that a deep red!) and green (Squadron and one of the auto body putties--the auto body stuff was a mint green, while Squadron's was the green we all know) putties because I was building a lot of airliners at the time, and it is difficult to cover red and green putties. When Squadron's white putty hit the market, that's what I used. I tried the Tamiya Basic Type, and had a mess on my hands--I filled the wing root seams on a Revell Germany reissue of the Monogram 1/48 F-84F, and the putty generated a bunch of gas bubbles in the plastic that was softened by the putty and in the putty itself. It must have been a reaction with the plastic, since I only applied a thin skim coat (about 1/64"). I wound up having to remove most of the damaged area and fill it with Evergreen and CA. It was a royal PITA, and I believe that's when I started using CA as a filler more than I had previously. Of course, it helps that I finally learned over the years that less is indeed more... Cheers! Ralph
  19. I rarely use putties as fillers these days. But a few tips: As you build, test fit. If something doesn't fit, make it fit. Minimize the amount of filler you need. Once the parts are assembled, dress the seams with sandpaper to see exactly what needs to be filled BEFORE you apply filler. As a kid, I used to glop Squadron Green Putty over every seam as soon as the glue was dry. In reality, I probably sanded off about 98% of the putty I applied. Less is truly more... Apply thin layers of filler. 1/32" is about the thickest I will go, and I prefer to go half that (1/64", about the thickness of an index card). As to the question at hand, my favorite fillers: CA, aka ACC, aka Super Glue. I use it either straight from the bottle or bulked out with Microballoons. I rarely use an accelerator, by the way, nor do I ever use baking soda. Applied correctly, you shouldn't need to accelerate the bond. Gel-type works well on wider gaps, the thick stuff is good for the smaller gaps, and the thin formulas work nicely on hairline seams. Apoxie Sculp or Superfine White Milliput. This is to fill gaps larger than 1/32" Evergreen sheet, strip, and rod. Again, this is to "pack out" gaps wider than 1/32". Fit it to the gap, secure with CA or plastic cement (I use Tamiya Extra Thin), let dry, and sand/trim to shape. Stretched Sprue. An alternative to using Evergreen. Perfect Plastic Putty or Vallejo Putty. I use this to fill small defects. Apply it, let it sit a minute, then smooth with a Q-tip that had been dampened with water. Don't wet sand Perfect Plastic Putty--it dissolves in water. If you have to go back and add more, let the first layer dry completely, then re-apply more and smooth as before. Don't let the first layer get too wet! Squadron White Putty. My former Go-To. I haven't tried the new formulation, but the old stuff was, well, our standard for many years, especially the Green Putty. I only used the white because I was building a lot of airliners at the time, and it was easier to cover with white paint than was the Green putty.
  20. And they did both in 1/72 scale as well. And Meng's F-102A and F-106A are pure gems. Valom's 1/72 scale single seat Voodoos also fill a niche, as do Kitty Hawk's 1/48 kits (they're typically Kitty Hawk, but you can build one of them, convert a Monogram kit, or scratchbuild).
  21. Yes, I introduced the other judging structures so that people could read for themselves the various ways scale models are judged. I'm willing to discuss methods other than IPMS, bu tin this case my reply would have been very heavily slanted away from the topic at hand. No harm, no foul, and I agree, it doesn't work for some folks. The comments about the people who project were not directed towards you at all...apologies if you thought they were directed at you. As for the rest, you "get it". Like you, I am able to judge pretty much any category at an IPMS show. Why? I build all types of models, and I have an understanding of the rules particular to those categories. It isn't difficult. It doesn't take a degree in Advanced Engineering to do. Honestly speaking, I prefer a Model Show (exhibition) to a Model Contest. But exhibitions without contests will never fly in the U.S.
  22. David, there's so much going on in that statement, much of it geared towards "that other scale modeling organization", and really has no place being debated here. I'll just say that we have different takes on things, and that's cool--difference makes the world go around. My original point was that people need to take time to read the rules and understand the criteria used at that particular show or for that particular organization. If they did, there would be far less gnashing of teeth and "whining" going on. But people don't engage in the process. They don't read the rules. They don't volunteer to judge. They show up, pay the fee, plop their models on the table and catch a cool breeze for the rest of the day until the awards ceremony, where they expect to pick up their haul of medals, plaques, or whatever (I can only guess, but I suppose this is because they feel that much superior to the rest of us mere mortals who stick plastic toys together). When they don't "win", they get pissy and start badmouthing the show, the judges, the other modelers, etc.--everyone is, and pardon my French, "an a**hole." I used to have an employee who couldn't work with anyone else on the team--"He's an a**hole." Every time I teamed him with someone else, I got the same complaint. I finally told him, "You know, if you think everyone around you is an a**hole, maybe it might be time to look into the mirror so you can get a good look at the actual a**hole." The same logic stands. If all a modeler can do after a contest is blame everything around him (or her), maybe they should look in the mirror to see the actual root of the issues.
  23. Did you inform the show's Chief Judge? Did you inform the AMPS Chief Judge (Dave Vickers does it now, Mike Petty used to do it). Those are things AMPS judges are specifically told NOT to do (i.e., there is no such thing as too much or too little weathering). Part of any judging structure is participation on the part of everyone involved. Entrants need to understand the rules prior to the show. Entrants need to see the rules in action, and the best way to do that is to judge. And when something isn't right, the entrant needs to speak up--go all the way up the chain, if you have to. Bad judging is just that--BAD. Sorry you had that experience--I've only had positive experience with that system. Cheers! R
  24. Jack Ryan: "It is wise to study the ways of ones adversary. Don't you think? Captain Marko Ramius: "It is." Rather than repeat everything I've posted over the years on the common judging structures in use, and rather than spending a lot of time speculating how the "other guys" do it, why not read? First, the IPMS/USA rules, 2018 edition: http://www.ipmsusa.org/files/Nats2018/2018-IPMSUSA-National-Contest-Rules.pdf There's a lot of bad, misleading, and false information flying around about "that other" modeling organization and how they do it. Get the news from the source: https://www.amps-armor.org/SiteMain/AMPSJudgingSystem.aspx And, finally, here's the Old Grand-Dad of open judging, and their take, including on the International scene: http://www.military-miniature-society-of-illinois.com/opensystem Is there a "one size fits all"? Nope. But I can tell you which one I prefer--the words "judges' feedback" should clue you in. To me, that's more valuable than any plaque, medal, or trophy. Cheers! Ralph
  25. I often use Tamiya's Superfine White Primer in the aerosol can. No decanting, no airbrushing, just a few light coats of primer right from the can. It flashes quickly, you can recoat in 15 minutes. Allow to fully dry/cure for a few hours (overnight is best), then move along with your other colors. I usually use the primer as the final white, unless the "white" I need is off-white--in which case, I'll overcoat with the proper color... If you build airliners, it is the perfect white for fuselages, and it offers a good base for whatever metallics you want to use for the wings, etc. Ralph
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