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Ralph Nardone

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Everything posted by Ralph Nardone

  1. It is the same reason I put the Model Building 101 seminar together for the 2016 Convention, and have been continually refining and updating it. It is now a series of units, much like Paul Boyer's "Finishing School" series from FineScale Modeler back in the day...
  2. I can't add anything to the previous posts or what I've already told you guys in person or on other forums. Great city, great show, great hosts. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, although I left Chattanooga and forgot to stop by Naked River Brewing to pick up some Moon Pie Stout... Ralph
  3. Whenever I get asked why I present "Model Building 101" at a National Convention--I mean, this is the World Series/Super Bowl of modeling, right? People should know this stuff, right? I believe your post provides the answer--I always say that basic things are what the judges look for, and ignoring basics will trip you up more times than not. Alignment is usually #1 on the list of the things that answer the question "Why didn't my model win?" Then there are "the little things"--drilled out gun barrels, those pesky ejection pin marks that you thought were not visible, that minuscule parting line that you forgot to remove... By the way, it was great to finally meet you in Chattanooga... Cheers! Ralph
  4. I can add veracity to that statement--Columbia was required, by the agreement with the venue, to host a banquet. I'm sorry I had to leave before the reception, but from what I hear it was a great idea.
  5. Seconded. Awesome show from beginning to end.
  6. There are alternatives to Model Master, both the enamels and acrylics: True North ( https://www.truenorthpaints.com/ )--I gather these are nearly the same formula as the Model Master enamel line. There's also Tru-Color ( http://trucolorpaint.com/ ). Squadron is carrying Humbrol. Tamiya now markets a lacquer in jars in the LP line--the colors are keyed to their acrylic numbers. MRP, an acrylic lacquer, is one of the current darlings of the hobby, and GSI Creos still markets the Mr. Color lacquers. Can you go to your local hobby shop and get these? Probably not, but how many of us still have a local, full-line hobby shop to begin with? I know Tru-Color has been engaged with local shops, I have never seen a shop with their product stocked. For the acrylics, take your pick: Vallejo, AK Interactive, Ammo by Mig, Tamiya, GSI Creos' Aqueous or Acrysion lines, Mission Models, Lifecolour...again, the local shop won't have many of these (Tamiya and Vallejo seem to be common, the others--not so much). And yeah, it is sad to see an industry icon leave our hobby, but there are other products out there. I remember when the Model Master enamels made their debut in the early 1980's (1982, maybe?) and the information blitz that Testors launched to make sure we all "got the word" on the hows and whys of the line. I remember when they killed the original Floquil and Polly-S lines, then re-launched them in the 1990's, only to kill them again a decade later. I remember when they killed the Pactra Acrylics. I remember when Testors launched their first branded acrylic in the early 1990's--the short-lived and little lamented Model Master Acrylics--and then the more successful Model Master Acryl line a few years later. I remember when they discontinued Floquil and PollyScale. But I found other products to replace them. We can moan and groan all we want, but RPM isn't going to change their collective mind any time soon. It isn't about anything more than the bottom line--I would imagine they invest a serious chunk of money into the scale model paint lines, and if the return on the investment isn't there, the shareholders squawk. Sad, but it is time to move on. R
  7. So, to get newbies to participate you establish skill levels. Most noobs will compete as a Novice. And the best they can win is a Bronze? We have to go back to the question "What dpes IPMS/USA envision as the purpose of their models conetests?"
  8. I'm for it--but how do you regulate it? Does each entrant self-appoint all the time, or after earning a 1st/Gold at one level, are they promoted to the next level? It would require the establishment of a National database to keep track, and all Chapters would need to have access to it in order to properly run their shows. This is what I mean by "Standard, Uniform" contests system throughout IPMS/USA. You can't "wing it" and expect things to police themselves...
  9. AMPS is the Armor Modeling and Preservation Society. They are a modeling group dedicated to armor with chapters worldwide. https://www.amps-armor.org/SiteMain/Main.aspx Jaxcon is the annual contest hosted by IPMS/First Coast in Jacksonville, Florida. http://ipmsfirstcoast.org/
  10. My largest misgiving on this whole survey is that it put the cart before the horse. I stated such when work began, I said so when the questions were being written, and I'm saying it now. The first question that needed to be asked is "What does IPMS/USA envision the purpose of it's National Model Contest to be?" Does IPMS/USA want to simply pick the best models presented at that show on that day? (OR--Does IPMS/USA want to recognize well-built models and more or less ignore the rest?) If that's the goal, they already have it in the 1-2-3, comparative/triage judging currently in use. Does IPMS/USA want to aid modelers in their efforts to become better modelers? (OR--Does IPMS want to offer structured feedback and advice to the modeler in an effort to help them help themselves?) If this is where the aim is, look to the AMPS system. Does IPMS/USA want to recognize a modeler's body of work entered in a given show on a given day? (OR--Does IPMS/USA want to reward a modeler for their effort on that day?) If this is what they're looking for, check out the MMSI Chicago System. (As an aside, I note that several of the IPMS Open Judging systems in use on the local level--Jaxcon, Chattanooga, etc.--are a hybrid of all three.) Those questions needed to be asked before the survey questions were issued. They needed to be asked before the questions were written. Next, a rudimentary structure for said Open Judging system needed to be developed before the survey was released. Why? We now have four (maybe five by now) pages in this thread of "why". The way the survey is worded is akin to asking your kid if he wants baked chicken for dinner, or "something else". When the kid asks, "What's the something else?", the only answer you have for him is "I don't know, and I can't tell you until you choose it--it hasn't been defined." So, the kid either goes with chicken, something he knows and kinda likes, or--if he's adventurous--takes a stab at the pig in a poke, which could be pizza. It could be liver. Or, the kid could spend the next day speculating as to what "something else" is and go hungry. The smart kid goes with the chicken. What infuriates me is the President's Column in the July/August Journal, where Ron Bell stated that, and I quote, "We just thought it was time to get this issue settled once and for all and put it behind us, one way or another." (Emphasis is mine) What this tells me is that the E-Board has a closed mind and has no vision of growing and changing the Society with the times per the membership's wishes. This attitude, I believe, has caused people to leave IPMS/USA and go to AMPS and to other organizations (even forming other organizations--look to the South Carolina Modelers Association as an example), never to look back. I personally know at least a dozen former IPMS/USA members who left and won't come back. One (a former E-Board member, no less) once told me that he tried to change the system, but was met with, as he called it, "the IPMS/USA Good Old Boy's Stone Wall." When I asked why a stone wall, he stated that "it is cold, deaf, uncaring, and unyielding." Couple that to the IPMS/USA Chief Judge's attempts to color the current system as "The Best. Judging. System. Ever.!", and paint Open Judging as an effort to see that "everyone wins a trophy", and it indicates that the E-Board is using this survey merely as an attempt to look like they are listening to the membership without intending to change a thing. The motion will fail, then they will say "We've done that, it failed, end of story" the next time this same issue is brought up. In this thread alone, there's already an IPMS/USA Past President doing that very thing, looking back to a failed effort in 2004--as if nothing changes over time. I am a proponent for Open Judging, believing that a well developed, uniform system could yield good results over time. A well-defined, thought-out system CAN work--but it will require several things to happen. Most importantly, it requires a buy-in from the majority of the membership. If the membership doesn't believe in it, it won't matter what system is used--it will fail. It will take time and a lot of effort to change--it won't happen overnight, and will probably require a years-long phase in. Start at the local level, iron out the bugs, take it to the Regional level, work out the new bugs, then move it to the National level--where, undoubtedly, more issues will come to the fore and will need to be dealt with. Rome wasn't built in one day, nor will any sort of new-to-the-organization judging system. My vision for an Open Judging system extends to more than the Nationals--it needs to be a UNIVERSAL system, required to be used by ALL IPMS/USA Chapters at ALL IPMS/USA sanctioned contests, whether they be local, Regional, or National. Judges will need to have formal training and periodic re-training. Whatever system used needs to be applied consistently and reviewed periodically, updating it as needed. Without these things, all you will wind up with is an Open Judging version of what we have now. The current system is only required to be used at the Nationals--local contests can simply say they will hand out medals to every fifth pink model that comes through the door and call it an IPMS contest, if that's what the host Chapter wants to do. The word, and I've used it many, many times before, is Standardization. Have a standard, uniform, universal system that is required throughout IPMS/USA. "But, how can you require us to do anything?" Easy--it comes with the deal. You wanna be an IPMS/USA Chapter? You agree to the terms set out by IPMS/USA. Period. Don't like it? Don't play. But that probably won't happen. If we talk about the Chicago System, some see it as "limiting the number of models on the table"--when, actually, nothing is limited EXCEPT the fact that the entrant, if the scored model in their group scores enough points, takes home ONE award for their body of work. AMPS, likewise, encourages the entrant to self-asses their work and only enter one model per category. Why? Because they will only take home the award for their model that scores the highest in any given category, so even by entering eight M4 Shermans into Allied Armor, WWII will only yield ONE medal. "But I want the feedback!" Usually, as the models are judged, the same faults are found on all the models entered by that person. How many times do you need to read "Watch the floating tracks" before you realize that you need to do just that? The examples above also serve a purpose--it eases the burden on the judges. They don't have to judge 500+ (or 1000+, or 10,000+) models, the judging goes quickly, and the end result is the same. This is why "Display Only" has been a standard category for AMPS for as long as I've been a member. Submit your best work for evaluation, put the rest in Display Only. The goal of the show isn't about "winning" or "losing", it is about showing off your work. But I am not optimistic that any of what I just wrote will come to pass. IPMS/USA has slowly evolved their contests into bloodsport--the winner take all, "I'm the GOD OF STYRENE!" attitude has eroded any semblance of friendly competition. Even the survey says it--Advantage #2 of the 1-2-3 system is stated as "models vie head-to-head for awards, creating a healthy (really?--me) spirit of competitiveness amongst (sic) our members." And why do we feel the need to compete, anyway? I get it--'Murica and all that. But a very vocal minority has taken an enjoyable pastime and twisted it into yet another way they can climb to the top of the pile, beat their chests, and wail at the moon... I will now go back to my position of a few years ago--Exhibition only, no contest, no awards. Make it about the models, NOT the medals. After all, everyone says they enter shows to show off their work, right? So, by their own admission, the awards don't matter--and following that logic, that means the method used to determine the awards likewise doesn't matter, but some will NEVER enter a contest judged by a system they don't like. Funny, that... Club stands, SIG stands, vendors, food, and friendship. Hang out with a bunch of like-minded people and enjoy the show by looking at, talking about, and sharing techniques for scale models. Screw the contest, screw the judges, and screw the awards... Ralph
  11. Where is this current MAP? Last I looked, IPMS/USA didn't have one, because the re-worked version that was presented in 2005 was basically ignored by the E-Board before it was dismissed as "unworkable" six months later. They preferred the Adult Building Course which is nothing close to the MAP you wrote OR the re-worked version (which, to be fair, wasn't that much different than the one you wrote).
  12. One way to go about this is the Chicago System as used by the Military Miniatures Society of Illinois. http://www.military-miniature-society-of-illinois.com/opensystem Ralph
  13. Also, Chattanooga has a version they use. You might wait until after the Nationals to contact them, they'll be a tad busy until then. (I'm speaking from experience here...) http://www.chattanoogascalemodelers.com/chattanooga-model-show/ For the awards themselves, contact Mission Awards. Their product is excellent, and they are affordable--we ordered 100 each Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals, and paid a little less than $3 per medal in 2018. That gave us enough for two shows (we still run a traditional IPMS 1-2-3 format contest). We designed a simple medal with the club logo, and it can be used from eyar to year as it is generic. They cost a whole lot less than engraved or sublimated plaques or traditional trophies, and a whole heap less than Lucite spears. https://www.missionawards.com/ Cheers! Ralph
  14. I will say this again: The criteria AMPS uses is identical to the criteria IPMS uses to evaluate models--it is all based on craftsmanship and how the model builder dealt with flaws. No more, no less. But the question should not be the HOW, it should be the WHAT--What does IPMS intend the message of their awards to be? IPMS clearly wants to award the models at the show on that particular day. Build a good model, win a prize. And, once again, the bottom line is "What does the average member expect from an IPMS show?" IPMS has an established buy-in from their members on that particular style. And that's why, try as we may, try as we might, the current IPMS style will continue regardless of the trends that are being seen and the desires for some to see a change. And that's okay--it goes back to reading and understanding the rules. Don't like 'em? Don't play. And to answer Rick Jackson's question: " Where is it written that a person MUST care if they win or lose at the contest?" It isn't written anywhere, but try as we may, try as we might, the competition and "winning" always loom large over any discussions about shows. For the record, I agree with you--go to the show, put your model on the table, and go make friends. Talk models. Share techniques. That's the rationale behind my "make the move from competition to exhibition." Or, as I told people at our recent show, "It's about the models, not the medals!" And +1 to the comments praising the IPMS effort for Display Only space. With that, I'm out. I believe I have stated ad infinitum my position to the point that the horse is no longer recognizable.
  15. Woodlands Scenics Dry Tranfers. Letters: https://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/show/item/MG741 Numbers: https://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/show/item/MG748 Cheers! Ralph
  16. Move the emphasis from competition to exhibition. No contest, no "winner", no "losers", just a room full of models and modelers.
  17. Giving it away? More like answering to the stockholders. They're moving away from scale models and on to the crafts world.
  18. What he said. And, as long as we're here, how about doing it in modular fashion to include all the suck-in door, speed brake, and ventral tail fairing options so one could build ANY Super Hog. Throw in the Special Store, too, while you're at it...
  19. 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.
  20. 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
  21. 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!
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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.
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