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There are plenty of people that believe they are building fantastic models, but really aren't and when they do not win, they become bitter making excuses that have nothing to do with the quality of their work. The pictures I posted are a perfect example, because up close, you could see seam lines on the figures.

I believe the idea that many say they aren't interested in competition is a fanciful claim. I see many who make the claim, but they show up at the contests and happily accept awards. I believe most who make the claim are simply doing it to sound humble. (Locally, we just had the head of the IPMS haters group.....who openly state they don't like contests...show up at our local show and win awards.)

Nor do I accept the premise that IPMS is all about contests. That to is a myth created by those who wish to denigrate the organization. ALL the other modeling groups have contest on a national level. Two years ago, the figure guys held a world wide level contest shortly before our National and many of our members participated in it. One of the first things AMPS ever did was to have a National level contest. All these events get called conventions, but there is usually contest which attracts a big turn out and many attending them also attend IPMS events.

Reading these posts, I feel you make IPMS sound like we are trying to seduce people to contests like a guy with a windowless van and candy. Or perhaps we turn people into pariahs if they will not or can't attend a National.

In forty-two years, I have never seen anything which pushes people to attend enter contests. Certainly, the convention/contests get promoted because a good bit of effort and money has been expended to put them together. And yes, we tell people to attend, if they can, because the event is a learning experience on many different levels.

It is important how people perceive us because just as some of you have bought into the falsehood, non-members are even more likely to accept the myth without examining it closely.

5 hours ago, rcboater said:

As John pointed out, people in our area (New England)  have a variety of clubs they can join.

Generally speaking, these other clubs are specialty groups, cars, only for example. That's fine if you have a narrow interest range, but if you are the renaissance type and dabble in many areas, IPMS is the better place. That is what I have come to enjoy the most about IPMS; the variety. That variety makes me a better model builder because I learn techniques in one area and carry them over to another area. In the past year alone, I have provided information with a number of single subject builders who never thought how something from XYZ could be used in ABC.

So, If you think IPMS emphasizes contests too much, what do you suggest? Should we completely eliminate the contests on all levels? How would you promote IPMS? What do you think would happen if we quit having contests and other groups continued having them?

Dak

 

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In response to Ralph's question about my AMPS remark.

The AMPS judging I have participated in consisted of teams that looked over the individual model in fine detail. Each aspect was awarded points based on the individual team members opinion. The team was required to all look at the same aspect or area at the same time. I found it to be a much more regimented approach and personally, did not enjoy it. It was a much more intense examination of the work than I have experienced in IPMS methods. While there was no set standard, it is much more like judging against a standard than in an IPMS contest.

Of course, the objective is different. In AMPS the model is judged on its own where as in most IPMS events, the model is judged against other models in the category. A model that only gets a bronze at AMPS might get a 2nd or possibly a 1st at IPMS, depending on the competition.

Dak

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DAK,

A couple of thoughts in response....

I can’t fully agree with your premise that “I believe the idea that many say they aren't interested in competition is a fanciful claim.

I do accept your premise if you limit it to people entering the contest.  My point was that the majority of Modelers who are truly not interested in competition are saying it loud and clear by not entering at all, or not even attending to begin with.

My other point was that the non-entrants/attendees are also the ones who haven’t joined IPMS USA, in part because their perception is that the Society is mostly about contests.  You mentioned a couple of times that this a “myth”, but no one has given any reasons to contradict the perception, at least not yet.   And please note I am not saying this is a bad thing-  as John Walker pointed out, the majority of the membership is happy with this, so why not be happy with who we are?

The original premise of this thread was that we have a PR problem, because outsiders  think IPMS is about nit-picking.   I submit even more outsiders think IPMS -USA is mostly about contests,  which I think  it is true.    (Not “bad”, but true.)

Please note that when I say this, I am talking about IPMS USA— not the local chapters.  At least around here, the large majority of IPMS club members are NOT members of the National Organization, and are unlikely to ever join.  They join local chapters for the reasons we both mentioned- the variety of subjects, comraderie, etc.  They show up at meetings, and in our club, they show up and help put on our annual contest, even though they don’t have any desire to enter.  

So maybe the perception we need to fight is the notion that only competition enthusiasts join local chapters... ?   

-Bill

 

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There are many local independent model clubs around, that include a number of IPMS members. So why are the others in th clubs  not joining IPMS? Basically because they are happy how their local club is run and see no reason to change.   I can remember something that almost turned out to be a PR  disaster for IPMS UK quite a number of years ago. The National Committee at that time dictated that all IPMS local meetings should just consist of members only. They failed to acknowledge at the time that many members were using independent model clubs as a regular meeting g place within those clubs. On the reverse, IPMS branches were being used in the same way by non members as a meeting place.. It caused many branches at the time to declare themselves as independent clubs and carry on as before whilst many  IPMS UK branches just simply ignored the directive altogether.

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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.

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2 hours ago, Ralph Nardone said:

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.

Basically, this is true. However, AMPS makes a judgement about the model, not its standing among a group, as IPMS does. Amps tells a person "your model is only this good"; IPMS tells them "your model is not as good as that one, today." In theory, a model judged by AMPS method would get the same award at any AMPS contest. With IPMS the model might not place one year and get a 1st the next. The sole entrant in an AMPS category might only get a bronze...maybe not that, while the sole entrant in an IPMS category would get a 1st place. That is why AMPS is far more picky than IPMS. Both systems have their merit and I simply say I like the IPMS system better and feel it is far less critical of an individual's work.

FYI, I enter several models and some I have no expectation winning an award, thus they are by default a model for display.

13 hours ago, rcboater said:

their perception is that the Society is mostly about contests.

And what do you base your opinion. Mine comes from witnessing first hand the people who show up at contests. Many of those who won't join IPMS are the types who have been ostracized from clubs because of bad behavior. They got angry or weren't treated as they thought they should.  We have had many come to meetings who seem to expect some special treatment. Literally, if you didn't gush over their model, they felt insulted. Other were asked to leave for disrupting the meetings, or even bad hygiene. I welcome anyone that wants to come and build models, but there is a certain level of civilized behavior expected. When I lived in Virginia, one member of the local club would call up members and call them racial slurs, when he was drunk; not the sort you wanted around, IMO.

And I ask, what is you proof the Society is "all about contests"? I hear this a lot, but see NOTHING to support it beyond my earlier statement. And that is my point: it is in reality a myth that has been spread by people as and excuse to dislike IPMS, because it sounds much better to say that rather than admit you were asked to leave because you constantly stank of beer and cigarettes.

As noted ALL the other major groups have or offer as many contests as IPMS. The difference is they tend to be subject specific. If you build cars, you would rather compete and be judged by people most familiar with car models. All these groups have criteria particular to their genre. That is one of the reasons AMPS got started; IPMS had become heavily aero-centric, in the 80s, and it often seemed like they were trying to drive out the armor guys. They enacted some really stupid rules which effected mostly just armor. Fortunately, enough of us stuck around to see that change.

Dak

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As IPMS is a society for all genres with a big leaning towards the aircraft modeller that reflects the main plastic modelling interest catered for by manufactureres. I build classic car models, but even at Telford the number of classes for car models is diminutive compared to the number and range of aircraft classes. A couple of years back the scratch build cars class was dropped due to low entry levels, so my models now have to compete against detailed kits. I will still partake though to support the competition generally. Sometimes I wish that there were a number of model car clubs here in the UK like you enjoy in the States. Apart from special interest groups within IPMS UK there is nothing else that I am aware of. Not to say that car modelling is not popular in the UK. Far from it judging by the frightfully expensive kits that Hiroboy and Grand Prix Models sell, not counting the plastic auto kits more generally available.

IPMS has to be all things to all modellers unlike specialist modelling groups, and therein lies its strength and it's weakness,. It's strength is that it caters for al!. But it's weakness is its leanings toward certain subjects dictated by the main interests of modellers generally! 

Edited by noelsmith
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7 hours ago, noelsmith said:

IPMS has to be all things to all modellers unlike specialist modelling groups

This is the one point so many forget when they start complaining about IPMS. It is much easier for specialty groups like AMPS to tailor their rules and judging to conform to a much smaller field. Yet, as has been noted, they still rely on the same basic criteria as IPMS to judge the work and a large percentage of them will flock to an IPMS national. Some even belong to both groups so they can enter the contests. That would suggest contests are important to a large number of model builders.

In more recent years, IPMS has begun to take other groups into consideration and tailor the rules to better fit these specialties. If the car guys, for example, don't want to participate, there is no reason to create categories and rules more suited to the type of model. So, the idea that IPMS doesn't care about a particular subject is re-enforced by lack of participation which feeds the opinions of our detractors. Sort of a self fulfilling prophecy thing.

Dak

Edited by Dakimbrell
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Noel,

IPMS/USA is what I consider a supply-and-demand organization where the contest is concerned.  There are a lot of A/C categories because they are the most popular plain and simple.  As an ex-head ship judge for the society, Nationals chairman, and ex-NCC member, I can tell you our categories are based on what shows up on a consistent basis.  The head judges for each category have yearly records for numbers entered as well as the type of models.  When I was a head judge, if there was a consistent and potential growing number of say, Martian aircraft carriers over a three year period, I would put in a request to the Chief Judge that a category or split be added to next year's contest to accommodate the increase in those models.  If the request was granted by vote of the NCC, the category was added on a three year trial basis.  This was done to insure that it wasn't a one time occurrence, and could be removed if numbers went down for three consecutive years.  Under-attended categories also face removal by the same system.

I realize this sounds like it would take some time to expand category numbers such as automotive, but that's the tried and true way IPMS/USA regulates its categories.  Furthermore, the NCC must consider the cost to the host chapter when adding categories.  Ideally, every category should have a sponsor which never happens; so the host chapter must foot the bill for un-sponsored categories from their profit margin.

In short, "build it and they will come".

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Rusty, , I could not agree with you more. I too have served on the UK committee way back wnen in the 70's, and also  judge at Telford now.

It is exactly the same over here as the number of classes at Telford is determined by supply and demand ref!effing the main subject interests in plastic modelling generally.

All the best.

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Whoops! My last post has a typo I overlooked to correct.    The word reflecting was spelt incorrectly in second paragraph.

As I said before IPMS has to remain an all subject society. It has to accept that it's base is the enthusiast modeller of all genres along with the future challenges. The kids pocket  money market has long gone and if my grandkids are anything to go by, computer games are their thing now, whereas in the old days of the 50s 60s and 70s plastic kits were the thing!

At Telford and your Nationals the diversity of classes and sub sections within will remain much the same for the foreseeable future apart from the odd change here and there. We have to accept that some classes will be much more well  supported than others that reflects the trends in the hobby within and outside of IPMS and in the market place generally

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Noel and others,

This is going to anger a few people, so please go and look up the definitions of the key words before telling me I am full of it and insane.

If we truly want to see the society grow as well as model building in general, then we need to start thinking of what we do as art. For some reason, many act like it is something to do alone and in secret; as if they were mildly ashamed of what they do. Perhaps they are afraid to admit they indulge in a so called "childish" hobby.  Many will agree it is a craft, but run from the idea that a well done model kit or diorama in an art. Many still seem to think our organization is more for children than adults and thus we can only do things appropriate for children to see. And many constantly re-enforce this attitude.

Much of liking art is based on personal tastes, the same as model work. But the fact remains, very few people.... even a trained artist....can do what we do. There is no reason a well done model of an F-15 cannot be viewed and enjoyed as well as a still life of a fruit bowl. Or the nude figure of a pretty girl any different than a painting of the same girl. All representational art is created much through the same methods we use to build a model and the end result is always a product of the mind's eye.

Nor is every model great art, any more than every painting is great art. For some reason which I can't understand, some feel like all ART is always GREAT ART. Not every mural is the Sistine Chapel; some just decorate the wall of the local restaurant. Not every artist is Rembrandt or Frazetta and not every modeler is Shepard Paine or Jim Wechsler.

By stating we see our work as art, we move it into an area where we would be taken more seriously. Instead of promoting it as a model contest, promote it as an exhibition of model art. It would become something people aspire to see and do, even if it offends them on occasion.

Dak

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" Perhaps they are afraid to admit they indulge in a so called "childish" hobby. "

When I hear remarks like that, I tell them what Flagship Models made last year and the argument ends quickly.

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Not sure about whether model making from kits is art per se, although it has leanings towards art and craft generally. When one paints or draws a picture, does sculpture, they are more likely to be recognised as actual art due to the creativity and skill of the person. I would be inclined to think of our hobby as being more a craft activity than actual art

Part of the PR problem is how plastic modellers are perceived generally by the uninitiated from outside the hobby. You can almost read their thoughts when you mention your hobby,  'Oh! So you still stick Airfix kits together?'

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Noel,

I can see you did not look up the definitions as I asked. The to key terms ART and CRAFT overlap each other and show as synonyms. While we may start with a kit, the final result is a product of the individual builder. Even when doing the exact same subject and kit, very rarely do the models come out precisely the same, hence showing the creativity of the individual.
I say we should promote our conventions as exhibitions of model art. Many would come to look out of curiosity, if nothing else. When we say model contest, to many this evokes the image of a child's activity and dismiss it as something cool for children. (What's in a name....well no restaurant serves spaghetti with marinara fungus sauce; it is always called marinara mushrooms sauce.)

When I took my father to the 2104 national at Hampton, and he was stunned at the level and quality if the work. (his own words) He had seen my stuff for years, but never been to any of the events and never grasp the range and level of the wok that can be achieved with a model kit.

As I said, not all art is great art, nor are all models great work. Many seem to perceive ART as GREAT ART; that to be art, it somehow must be in the range of those like Rembrandt. Remember, Churchill was a painter, even though he did dabble in politics.

Dak

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Dak,

We will have to agree to differ about whether modelling from kits is art per we or not. Perhaps we modellers may be better described as artisans rather than artists.

Churchill was a painter, and his work sells well well at auctions.     But as for Churchill just dabbling in politics? As a Brit my point of view is very different from your peception, so let's just leave it at that.

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9 hours ago, noelsmith said:

We will have to agree to differ about whether modelling from kits is art per we or not.

LOL. Noel,  I don't see how you can disagree that model building is an art form. The terms art and craft are synonyms. The basic process a modeler uses to create a finished model is no different than a photographer, painted, or sculptor in in choosing a subject and bringing it to completion.

Not every picture or painting are great masterpieces. And not all artists achieve lasting fame. And not every model is world class. That some prefer Picasso and Pollock over Rembrandt and Wyeth is no different than those who prefer 1/35th armor models over 1/25th cars, or figures over ships, dioramas over prize cow models. Model building has a wide range and subjects and the techniques vary just like a painter or sculptor. Any tourist with a mobile phone can take the same picture Ansel Adams did. What makes Rembrandt's Night Watch real ART and a diorama of surrendering German soldiers NOT art?

Dak

IMG_5184.JPG

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While I agree that modeling at least involves  an artistic bend, I might not go so far as to to label it AS art. And, in relation to our PR problem, I don't think we want to put model building on too high of a pedestal, which trying to equate it to "art" might do.

Why? Because, as pointed out above, there are SO many levels of model building. However, the VAST MAJORITY of model builders are simply that: "builders". It's a hobby; perhaps one of several they pursue. Most model builders are not as "serious" or as "dedicated" as they perceive the typical IPMS member to be. And keep in mind that ANYONE who belongs to a model club, whether they belong to IPMSUSA or not, is seen as an IPMS "type" by them.

Don't forget how intimidated YOU may have been by your first invitation to come join the local club (I know I was!). Thus, IPMS not only has to overcome the PR problem of being too nitpicky and accuracy anal, it has to overcome that initial feeling that you need to be a GOOD model builder to belong. In a way, IPMS has impeded this by doing its job: helping its members learn how to be better model builders! As cited above, just take a look at what shows up on our tables at meetings and in contests and the average, everyday non-member is blown away! It's NORMAL to think that they do NOT belong in our group!

Yes, we want to trumpet our successes! BUT, we need to temper that with a very clear message that IPMS invites and encourages the beginner builder and the run-of-the-mill "I do it for fun" builder to join our ranks. They need to know that there as many of THEM in IPMS (and probably more) than there are "artists" who turn out head turning masterpieces.

 

GIL :smiley16:

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4 hours ago, ghodges said:
4 hours ago, ghodges said:

 

 

4 hours ago, ghodges said:

While I agree that modeling at least involves  an artistic bend, I might not go so far as to to label it AS art. And, in relation to our PR problem, I don't think we want to put model building on too high of a pedestal, which trying to equate it to "art" might do.

Why? Because, as pointed out above, there are SO many levels of model building. However, the VAST MAJORITY of model builders are simply that: "builders". It's a hobby; perhaps one of several they pursue. Most model builders are not as "serious" or as "dedicated" as they perceive the typical IPMS member to be. And keep in mind that ANYONE who belongs to a model club, whether they belong to IPMSUSA or not, is seen as an IPMS "type" by them.

 

We don't make people audition to join IPMS or our local chapters. Nor do you have to qualify to enter a National contest. Pretty much put your money down and you are in. Hardly a snooty and exclusive organization.

All things have multiple levels. Some fish to relax; some fish in tournaments. Some play golf for the exercise and some play in the PGA. Not all doctors are surgeons. Is  Mick Jagger any less a musician than Beethoven? Just because there are multiple levels does not mean anything. I know several people who paint and draw for pleasure, only. Yet, people automatically see them as artists. I think most people have simply been programed to accept model building as something children do, something trivial. I know of at least one man who sold his stash because his wife felt it was too childish for a grown man.

Intimidating? I never felt intimidated. My only concern has been the etiquette of a particular group, not whether I am good enough a model builder. In fact, the better a group is, the more I want to join it for the same reason you play chess with good chess players.....you get better hanging out with people who are better at it than you are. You never learn or improve if you get a pat on the back for everything you do.

It is this repeated retreat, this self-inflicted sense of inferiority,  that causes us problems. We don't want offend anyone, we must be all things to everyone, at all times. There are those who won't join IPMS because they think it is just a bunch of kids and losers hanging out. They build models, but keep it on the down low so friends and colleagues don't find out. By stating out right what we do is art, many people will want to come see for themselves.

Respect for yourself is a requirement to get respect from others. But this does not mean we have to be bullies on the street. A simple change in attitude, an added line on the cover of the Journal and advertisements for events can go a long way towards changing the attitude of the general public. Just because it is a hobby doesn't mean it isn't art.

Dak

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LOL    We all have our personal perception of whether modelling is an art form. Mine will not change, nor will Dak's or possibly anyone else's and my head is now beginning to hurt!

Noel

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5 hours ago, noelsmith said:

 We all have our personal perception of whether modelling is an art form. Mine will not change, nor will Dak's or possibly anyone else's and my head is now beginning to hurt!

Why won't you change your mind? I find when presented with sound evidence it is prudent to adjust my thinking. I will never understand why being thought of as an artist seems to actually offend some. It is not like you have to wear a yellow star or have a restriction on your driver's license. Consider model building Found Art, if you will. It is actually a real thing, look it up if you don't believe me.

In the end, a change of a few words can alter public perception. We see it all the time...cars are no longer used, but pre-owned, its a loft apartment, not a renovated warehouse. You weren't fired, just positively transitioned. Calling an event an accident sounds better than saying I did something really stupid. 😱

If we listed the National Convention and Contest as a convention and exhibition of model art, public perceptions would change. People who would pass by a model contest, might stop for a look at an art exhibition. Those who thought model building was for children might take it up as a hobby.

Dak

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I would be more careful in the use of the “Yellow Star” allusion! The subject matter of this discussion hardly rises to the level of The Holocaust and to suggest such is grossly disrespectful of its victims. It is simply not appropriate! Nick Filippone

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Try staying on topic, Nick

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"Try staying on topic, Nick "

Thank you DAK.  😀

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Getting back on topic, having won scratch built awards at Telford, I would consider myself a competent model maker rather than an artist. So, no I will not be changing my mind about being called an artist. I also enjoy drawing and painting pictures, so in that context I would consider myself an artist. In a previous life I drafted engineering drawings but would not class that as art though. Like I said before , model making has artistic leanings and good model makers have to have developed building and finishing skills along the way. Can my Scratch Built Car models be classed as art as opposed to models built from kits? Maybe miniature  engineering in plastic perhaps?

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