From the opposite end of the workbench
the twisted ramblings of a ship modeler.
With the coming of spring, the geese are flying
north again, the trees are beginning to blossom, and its time for model shows
with copies of FineScale Modeler and printouts of from the IPMS webpage, I start
developing my war plan. There are so many shows, and just a limited number of weekends
With the coming of spring, the geese are flying north again, the trees are beginning to blossom, and its time for model shows armed with copies of FineScale Modeler and printouts of from the IPMS webpage, I start developing my war plan. There are so many shows, and just a limited number of weekends
Living in the NY metropolitan area, Im fortunate in that from my driveway, I can be in upstate New York, Long Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Connecticut within 3 hours. Add on another hour and I can make Virginia, Boston, Rhode Island so needless to say, I have my pick of model shows
Armed with various lists, a calendar, my appointment book, a map and compass, I set out to dominate the world My local show is MosquitoCon, only 15 minutes from home two weeks later its Fairfax Virginia, then New Cumberland PA, then theres the NJ Historial Miniatures show in central Jersey in April, only a 30 minute ride. Then comes Hell Weekend, when we go to Long Island, which means crossing the pot-hole infested Cross Bronx Expressway, a notorious highway famed for destroying models in transit then drive 7 hours to Buffalo for NorEastCon the next day. After that, its another show on the next weekend, a 5 hour drive north to Plattsburgh NY, which, aside from being my hometown, is host to CanAmCon on that same weekend. The family will join me for this event, since its a chance for the grandparents to see the ballerina.
A few weeks later its back to Virginia oh wait weve got the Ship Model Societys Joint Club meeting in Groton, CT on the same weekend choices, choices.
The Spring Offensive ends back at my museum, hosting and organizing the NJ Ship Model Societys Annual Saw-Dust Day, held on the 3rd weekend of May. That Sunday is a show in South Jersey, and that effectively marks the end of the Spring campaign. Then things settle down in the modeling world at least here in the Northeast. The Nats are in the Mid-West this year, and I simply dont think I can make it but thats ok, because I have an airshow to organize and run in August, so that will more than make up for any model shows and of course, the summer brings my other hobby, WW2 reenacting, so that fills in any empty spaces that may left open in my calendar. Finally the summer is over, and its time to start Fall Offensive Hopefully, during that time, theres been a few rainy days that Ive been able to build something new.
The Fall Offensive starts out in Virginia, then its off to Hermitage PA, then Rochester, NY, then down to Reston Virginia. Milford, Connecticut and Attleboro, Massachusetts finally end the Fall Offensive, leaving me, my car, my wallet, and my models, beaten, battered and bruised.
By this point in time, if youre not asking yourself, WHY?!?!, you should either have your head examined, or youre planning to join me for a roadtrip
Its not about the awards, whether theyre nice engraved plaques or little plastic Grammy-wannabes, or the medals that for some reason never get hung around your neck. A long time ago, when I had something to prove and I cared about it, winning mattered now, its about simply being there about hanging out with fellow modelers, and about letting the organizers know you drove 5 hours to come to their show to support them and the hobby. Its about finding that guy who decided to thin out his collection and become a vendor for the day, and you find treasures for a few dollars Its about driving on the open road, with your models packed safely in the back, a few dollars in your pocket, and a good song on the radio its about getting lost trying to find some little VFW hall or PAL building in a town youve never been in and its about seeing what other folks are doing in the world, because face it, upstate New York, Delaware, and Virginia are quite different from New York City.
In some ways its an excuse, a chance to get out and see the world while having a destination at the same time some trips involve hotels some trips involve a tent and a sleeping bag, but most are simple roadtrips leave early, come home late.
The family understands me, or at least they tolerate me and my desire to ramble the highways looking for those elusive spray-painted signs that say Model Show ---->. Sometimes, theyll even share my enthusiasm if theres something really neat nearby, like a mall, amusement park, or a really nice hotel but for the most part, theyre content to stand in the door and wave goodbye as Daddy leaves at 7am to travel to the local battleground. Always try and discourage your family from attending a show if theres nothing for them to do Its ironic that we get upset by redundancy, slow traffic, and all the other things in life, yet, well wander aimlessly around a model room for hours, well search through the vendors trying to find models we want, and well spend money we know we dont have but we do it anyway.
I honestly think its not the model building, or the contest, that draws us together at these events its more of a case of mutual understanding and support we gather together to let each other know that its still ok, were with ya we are modelers, therefore, we UNDERSTAND. Of course, those words are never spoken, only implied, and the models we build are simply the medium we use to fulfill that need
So what does this have to do with anything? Not much and its not very funny either oh well when it really gets down to it, you shouldnt be reading this anyway, you should be building a model