The IPMS(UK) Magazine – ‘By modellers, For modellers’

The Magazine is one of the centrepieces of IPMS(UK), alongside the National Championships, the Branches and the SIGs (Special Interest Groups).

The history of the Magazine reflects not only the growth of IPMS(UK) and the changes in its fortunes (especially in terms of finance) but also mirrors developments in both commercial printing processes and the whole plastic modelling hobby.

The first 12 issues of the Magazine in 1963/64 were actually newsletters produced from typed wax master sheets used on a Roneo ‘Gestetner’ ink-duplicator which transferred ink on to foolscap (8” x 13”) paper with the ‘printed’ sheets then stapled together by hand.

In Issue 7 of the Newsletter the first drawings/sketches to be included were produced by a volunteer using his firm’s Cyanotype machine to produce traditional engineers blueline drawings using a process based on various chemicals exposed to ultra-violet light.  These large sheets (about 30” x 40”) were then cut to approximate foolscap size and stapled to the back of the printed newsletter.

In January 1965 a recognisable Magazine appeared but still produced by typewriter.  Issues were slightly larger than A5 with a black/white photo on a card cover and each issue was now both dated and had an issue/volume number.  Increasingly sketches, plans and profile drawings were included with the articles as Roneo had now introduced a scanner which cut waxed masters from prepared drawings.

July 1967 (Issue 7, Volume 4) was the first Magazine to be produced by a commercial printing process on a gloss paper and included photographs!

The September/October 1981 issue of the Magazine (5/81) was the first issue ever with a colour page reproducing photos taken at the 1946 Wright AFB Air Fair (P-63, He 162A-2, F4-U and a Ju 290A-7) but it was not until 2001 that colour pages regularly appeared and the all-colour Magazine we know today only became the norm in 2007!

From October 1963 until October 1973 the Magazine was issued monthly with a few exceptions in the summer when ‘double month’ issues were needed due to the Editor taking holidays!

Towards the end of 1972 for the first time a special edition of the Magazine appeared in addition to the normal monthly issues – an International IPMS Special Edition (7/72) featuring articles previously printed in overseas IPMS branches.

In late 1973 during the ‘Three Day Week’ crisis with rapidly rising costs, especially of postage, the Magazine became bi-monthly.  In 2001 financial difficulties forced the Committee to cut back the Magazine to four issues per year until 2005 when the bi-monthly Magazine re-appeared.

The Magazine’s 25th anniversary in 1988 was celebrated by a souvenir issue (5/1988) sponsored by MIL Slides Ltd which had a colour cover and contained a selection of articles taken from early issues.

Various significant historical anniversaries were celebrated with themed issues such as the D-Day theme of May/June 1994 (3/94) and the coverage of Operation Jubilee (Dieppe 1942) in the July/August 1989 (4/89) issue.  Likewise in 1995 the 50th anniversaries of VE and VJ Day were celebrated with an additional issue (7/95).

Although not ‘regular Magazines’ the 2001 and 2002 SMW Show Guides included typical Magazine articles as well as the timetable and floorplans for that SMW – these two Show Guides are included in my Magazine Index as 4/2001 and 3A/2002.  The 2012-2021 Show Guides do not include any modelling articles.

In 2014 the first of three (to date!) separately printed booklets produced ‘by members, for members’ appeared – a history of the Red Arrows illustrating their Gnats and Hawks.  In 2015 this was followed by a booklet detailing the Porsche Winners at Le Mans whilst 2019 saw the history of the Panavia Tornado covered.


Mike Davey         May 2022