Viewpoint – October 2017

Cromwell Tank by John Tapsell

Scale ModelWorld takes place on 11-12 November 2017 and yes, it really is a whole year since the last one took place. It is the annual jamboree for IPMS (UK), a chance for us to get together as a group, to admire the outstanding quality of the competition entries, to meet up with old friends and make new ones, to watch that cash disappear from your wallet quicker than you believed possible and listen to your credit card screaming for mercy…

Best of all, we get to share it with the rest of the modelling community too. Scale ModelWorld is open to the public every year and all are welcome. It is the greatest model show on the planet, with over 10,000 visitors expected across the weekend, visitors who hail from all corners of the world, from Wolverhampton to Washington DC and from Telford to Tokyo. It’s not just the visitors who come from afar. Every year we add new overseas names to the roster of traders who are keen to part you from your money.

I already have my shopping list and it is danger of getting longer. This year I’m concentrating on replacing and upgrading some of my modelling tools. I’ve always been a sucker for tools and gadgets and some of them, like my punch and die sets and my airbrush are so well used that they are in need of replacement. I know there will be traders at Scale ModelWorld who will have what I need, not necessarily at a price I really want to pay, but good quality tools are worth the expenditure as they will last for years. My oldest punch and die sets are nearly 20 years old. I have a newer one but it’s fairly small and I need something with more punch sizes, so it will be transferred to my travelling toolbox.

I maintain a main tool set in my modelling room but I long ago got tired of sorting out a bunch of tools to take with me to shows or on holiday and then having to unpack them all again when I got home. Instead, I put together a smaller, self-contained box of the essential items – knives, files, sanding sticks, tweezers, a razor saw, a set square and a ruler. It doesn’t cover every eventuality but when you are working away from home you don’t want to be building something overly complex. I typically take something like a 1/48 scale AFV or a small 1/35 scale kit with me – a good one that can either be built from the box or that only requires a bit of detailing. I don’t expect to finish it and sometimes I never get around to starting it.

My airbrush is also approaching 20 years old. It’s still in decent condition but the time has come to upgrade to something more sophisticated. It’s a scary thought because it’s going to mean learning a different tool and how it behaves. I’m sure it won’t be as traumatic as I fear and I know it’s irrational, but I’m scared that I won’t get the same results as I do with my tried and tested basic model.

All in all, Scale ModelWorld is looking like an expensive weekend for me and that’s before I even think about buying any kits. Thankfully, there isn’t much in the way of new stuff that I urgently want or need. Tamiya’s new M1A2 Abrams in 1/48 scale might be available by then (but probably not). I could be tempted by the new AFV Club M113 kit, just because it’s an M113 and I’m obsessed with them, but it will boil down to price. If it follows the current trend for many new 1/35 scale kits and costs somewhere in the region of £60.00 then it’ll be staying on the traders’ stalls.  There are also a couple of older 1/48 scale kits that I’ll keep an eye out for but that’s about it for my planned purchases.

It does of course assume I’ll have time to get out and buy anything in the first place. The reality of Scale ModelWorld for me is that as a member of the organising team, my time is not my own. That’s not a complaint by any stretch of the imagination because the buzz I get from being involved in the event at that level is massively rewarding.

For a typical visitor, the show lasts for several hours on one or both days but for the organisers it starts 24 hours before the doors open and doesn’t end until nearly 24 hours after it finally closes on Sunday. The 18 hour days we put in over that period are hard, but when you step back and look at what you’ve achieved and how much everyone has enjoyed the weekend, it all seems worthwhile (just don’t ask us to do it more than once a year!).

If you’ve been to Scale ModelWorld before you’ll know what to expect but if you haven’t then come along and see what the biggest model show on the planet really looks like.

John Tapsell

Copyright IPMS(UK)

First published in Scale Military Modeller International magazine