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Ralph Nardone

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Everything posted by Ralph Nardone

  1. Nice work! And kids who look at it will only see a cool model of an X-Wing... About the same time Revell moved their molding to a the facility in China, their plastic also became softer--probably more vinyl and/or regrind added to the mix. That's the main reason that if I want a vintage Monogram kit, I buy the earliest issue I can find in order to get that sublime Monogram styrene...
  2. My take: I don't care about "winning" or "losing" at a model show--I've been on both ends of the spectrum many, many times. That's not why I build models and put them on a show table--I put my models out there to show what I've been doing. I welcome questions. I value critique. That's the only way to get better at something--have another set of eyes (or two, or two thousand) have a look and tell me what they see that maybe I could have done differently. Note--this is different from merely collecting a trophy that says I'm King Styrene for a Day and assuming that I need to copy what I did on the "winning" model in order to keep raking in the tin pots. TELL me what you see. TELL me what I might do differently. DISCUS different techniques. Don't assume I will learn through osmosis. That, that right there is why I prefer an Open Judging system that offers feedback. When I put my models in an AMPS show, I value the feedback more than I value the medal that goes with the score I earned. But even more to the point, I enjoy contests that use Open Judgng because the people involved are more apt to share. I've been to IPMS shows where the people who have entered models are stand-offish and tight lipped about which models they entered and how they did things--for some odd reason, they seem to think that if they share their techniques, they'll be giving away Government Secrets. One of the Facebook posts on this subject led to a sub-thread on Wonderfest. George Seletas (Wonderfest Chairman) summed it up nicely: " The most important thing is that we are in that room for fun and brotherhood and not to bump puffed chests like it's the NFL." Its supposed to be about the models, not the medals.
  3. Nick, I'm not disagreeing with you--as I indicated, a preponderance of the votes would have to be in favor of Open Junding before anything gets done.
  4. Jim, your question is a fair one. In theory, a model that earns Gold at one AMPS show should earn Gold at all AMPS shows. The system is presented to the judges that way, and the fact that judges' training is scripted and uniform aids in this. AMPS still allows OJT shifts, but in order to become a certified judge, you must sit through the training session and do two shifts. As I said on Facebook, a tie vote is no indication of a "win", and that in and of itself means that nothing will change. Maybe some will talk about it from time to time, but unless something drastic happens, this gets filed in the "Nice to Know" file. If IPMS does a similar survey two years from now and the results are the same, nothing will happen. The only way anything will change is if the preponderance to the votes indicate the membership wants change--and that change will take between 5 and 10 years to happen at the National level. It will not be immediate. A friend of mine made a comment that sparked some discussion. At the local level, what do the Chapter members (both IPMS members and non-members) have to say? At the National level, including non-members is a non-starter since you have to be a member to participate in the contest, but at the local level, I would hazard a guess that 80% of the people involved with a show are non-members, either through ignorance ("What's IPMS?", in which case the Chapter Contact isn't doing his or her job) or choice (don't want to, did it but got nothing from it, etc.). It would be interesting if each Chapter Contact polled their membership and posted their findings. That would become a planning tool for those clubs who host shows, too... I can say this--at the Region 12 Show several weeks ago, this very topic dominated the business meeting. There was a lot of interest shown by those in attendance...
  5. Nice work, and congratulations to the club! It is always nice to get the work out into the public eye, not only for them to see what it is we do, but to also add a touch of education to the mix, too. Cheers! Ralph
  6. Airliners, too--Braniff, Trans-Texas Airways, Continental...
  7. I can think of at least a dozen racers from Texas--stock cars, sports cars, drag racers, Indy cars...
  8. 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...
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. Seconded. Awesome show from beginning to end.
  13. 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
  14. 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?"
  15. 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...
  16. 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/
  17. 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
  18. 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).
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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.
  22. Woodlands Scenics Dry Tranfers. Letters: https://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/show/item/MG741 Numbers: https://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/show/item/MG748 Cheers! Ralph
  23. Move the emphasis from competition to exhibition. No contest, no "winner", no "losers", just a room full of models and modelers.
  24. Giving it away? More like answering to the stockholders. They're moving away from scale models and on to the crafts world.
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