Travels To Telford

Travels To Telford
     This year was the first year I had the pleasure of attending the IPMS/UK national show, Scale Model World, in Telford England. It is not the easiest place to get to but is WELL worth the effort. I tried to get some hard numbers on how many models and how many people attended. Due to the format of the show, in that 95% of the models and modelers do not enter the contest, no registration forms are filled out therefore the numbers are an estimation. Talking to some of the people who ran this show, they estimated that 10,000 people attended the 2 day event. I tried to keep a running tab of the models in my head as I walked through the 3 large buildings that held the show and I estimate that there were anywhere from 4000 to 4500 models.
     As I said there were 3 main buildings. The models and vendors took up 2 ½ of those buildings. One half of the 3rd building contained the small contest area and any chapter or vendor overflow. The food court took up the last half. The vendors circled around the perimeter of 2 of the buildings with the SIG’s and local chapters filling in the middle. All the aisles were wide enough that you could literally drive a truck down them.
Manufacturers. Not many. Revell of Germany was there but nothing really new. A 1/350 Tirpitz and a reboxed 1/48 Ju-52 in red and N/M. A good looking model. Airfix was there with their new 1/24 Mosquito. Very impressive. No Japanese or Chinese company made the show.
Vendors. There were plenty of them. If you regularly deal with European businesses, this is the place to be. It was especially nice because you got to see some product that doesn’t make it across the pond for whatever reason. There was so much aftermarket stuff there my head was swimming after only a few hours.
Models. The quality of the models and the display booths ran the gamut from pretty basic to top notch. The overwhelming amount of both was excellent. I decided that the only way I could adequately canvass the show was to cover only 1 building each day. I was very tired after each day. As it was I took over 350 pictures and I was hustling and barely made a dent in getting all the shots I would have liked. Any IPMS/USA contest would love to have had these models in their show.
Overview. Without doubt this was the most FUN I have had at an IPMS sponsored event EVER. I have been to 17 IPMS/USA NatCons. Not even close. Apples to apples, while the amount of models and vendors is higher at Telford, the quality between these two aspects is comparable. Where Telford excels and blows the IPMS/USA NatCon totally away is the attitude. It was an 8 hour club meeting both days. Just about everyone there comes to enjoy and celebrate the hobby. No egos. No chest thumping. No hubris. These were the friendliest, most unassuming people I have ever encountered at an IPMS show. No secrets. No cryptic or smart-ass answers, just modelers talking to modelers. It was so refreshing and pleasurable.
     One of the coolest traditions at Telford is the noon “knosh”. At lunchtime the clubs get together in small groups and share local dishes and delicacies with each other. Our club was part of the “Overseas Section”. Not only is it neat to taste all these foreign treats, it’s a great way to meet and get to know other modelers from around the world. It was just amazingly satisfying to eat good food and make new friends all the while talking plastic. It doesn’t get any better than that and it is something you will never see in the US. In the US the social aspects usually start after the show doors close for the night and people scatter to all corners in their small cliques. In Telford you have fun social interaction not just after the show but during the show with hundreds of modelers. The comradery was just outstanding.
    This show made me realize that IPMS/USA will never reach this great potential. The contest driven mindset that has permeated itself into IPMS/USA’s thinking will never allow this type of show to happen. That is why at IPMS/USA NatCons you will never see the amount of young families with small children walking together up and down the aisles like at Telford. Or the huge amount of 18 to 24 year olds with models tucked under their arms like at Telford. Or the 8 or so women I saw going through the vendor’s kits like at Telford. 
    In conclusion, a great show with great people bringing great models surrounded by great vendors. I urge you to attend the show at least once in your lifetime to see what you are missing and to see the way things should be. I plan on going back. If anything, to experience a real modeling show again.
Jeff Jensen  Pres:   Chicago Sprue Stretchers
             Member: Hans Grade    Berlin