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The IPMS/UK Convention, Telford, England


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We tend to focus on our own IPMS/USA National Convention, and rightly so. But we are not the only IPMS Branch that hosts an annual convention. Each year IPMS/UK hosts their national convention in Telford, England, a mid-sized town not far from Birmingham, or about 3 hrs from London if you dare to drive on the opposite side of the road.

The facility is a massive complex called The International Centre. Vendors and SIG or Club Display tables consume most of the space while the contest space is rather small compared to what we see at the USA convention. This year the event was very well organized, well attended, and quite the location to be for a day and a half. Saturday is the big day and the convention running on Sunday to about 16:00 (or 4 o'clock). The quality of the models as seen on the SIG and club tables is outstanding, and the quality of the models in the contest area is absolutely staggering. People are friendly, food is available at a couple of kiosks, and you'll put quite a bit of mileage on your feet as you walk throughout the building.
I've been lucky enough to have attended 3 conventions at Telford, but that's nothing compared to some other USA modelers who are now pushing 20 convention visits!
If you've never gone to Telford you need to add it to your bucket list!
Thanks to the IPMS/UK folks who put on a world-class event!

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I've also been three times and am also planning on going next year as well. The 2023 theme is the 60th anniversary of IPMS, so it should be a cracker. 

I have to say, I prefer that the emphasis is on club and SIG displays rather than the competition - but horses for courses. 

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IPMS UK ScaleModelworld has become the largest scale modelling show in the world. Most of us have heard the saying 'From little acorns mighty oaks do grow'. 

For those who don't know the IPMS started life say back in 1963 when the late Peter Elley met a small group of like minded plastic modelling enthusiasts at the Porcupine, a London pub and formed the British Plastic Modellers Society as it was initially named. Word got around abroad and interest was such that it was renamed International Plastic Mocellers Society. The IPMS USA formed in 1964 I believe in Seattle originally. From then on other branches formed in other countries. Back in the 1970's IPMS USA overtook the UK IPMS in having more members, a good magazine and an annual convention far bigger than the UK Nationals at the time. As IPMS USA was the dominant one in the 70's many still believe erroneously that IPMS is an American formed society. Fast forward to the eighties early nineties when the IPMS UK Nationals went to Donington Motor Race Course Events Hall and became on a par with the US event. Soon that venue was outgrown and got bigger and better with the move to the International Centre at Telford and now taking up the entire complex for the annual show.

The US convention is I believe different as the concentration is more on the competition itself. SMW differs in that the competition is still at the heart of the exhibition, but special interest groups and local branch stands (chapters) very much showcase the society as well as the competition. Not to mention being able to handle large numbers of specialist traders.

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I went back in 2016, and it was a blast!  A very different experience compared to the US Nationals.  The vendor/SIG area was staggeringly large - I was getting tired walking back and forth the length of the 3 combined halls.

The year I went, the vendors mostly had airplane and military related stuff.  There was only one car specialist vendor, but the focus was on 1/43.

The contest area was small, but the build quality was exceptional.  One of our best modelers entered and only got a “commended”. 

The Cornish pasty from the food vendor was really good!

And RAF Cosford is just a short train ride from Telford, definitely worth seeing.  But bring an umbrella if the weather is inclement - my friend and I got drenched on our way in.  We were soaked to our skivvies and didn’t dry out till we were on our way out.  We did buy some spiffy Red Arrows umbrellas though.

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Loved Visiting Telford This Year. SIGs, Clubs and phenomenal interactions with modelers. One thing that did strike me though, although IPMS branch's as far away as Israel were represented, No IPMS USA display.  Although it was good to see more than 1/2 dozen Americans in attendance. This was at least my 5th visit as a group from Pittsburgh tries to visit every other year. "DAM YOU COVID". Special thanks to USAF SIG who host us from Pittsburgh and treat us much better than we deserve.

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Bill, I am sure that IPMS UK would more than welcome a USA IPMS stand at Telford.

I guess it would be the expense and logistics of IPMS USA organising it and booking the space well ahead of the event.

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I sure wish wish I could go, I don't ever see myself attending that show ever as my income is never enough to plan such a trip.  I can't even get to an AMPS National, so this is an even bigger impossibility for me. I do however frequent several Forums where many members do go and take tons of pics. I am able to vicariously visit this event through their pics and descriptions of happenings.

 

Congrats on 60 years for the IPMS guys in Britain!

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