Today I made the trek to Huntsville, Alabama, to participate in their 42nd annual model show. It was my second time attending. I had almost decided not to waste a good summer Saturday with a trip down into the gaping maw of the Crimson Elephant, but I’m glad I decided to go. This experience was far better than my first sojourn to the Rocket City in 2017.
The official announcement, last I heard, was over 500 entries. The skill across the board was as high as I’ve seen in my tri-annual circuitous route spanning from just outside Nashville to Chattanooga to Huntsville. I’m now in my 4th season into the world of “competetive” model building, and have made several pleasant acquaintances and recognize some familiar faces that seem to be travelling the same circuit as I.
Huntsville, at least in my experience, is a relative oddity when it comes to judging. The aircraft categories are grouped into 1/48 and larger, or 1/49 and smaller. This means that 1/48, 1/32, 1/24 and even larger builds will be grouped together based on being divided into columns such as “single engine, axis” or “single engine, other”. If it’s not readily apparent, my feeling is that the categories, especially the ones I’ve listed as examples, are both too narrow and too broad simultaneously.
With the amount of entries, it seems Huntsville could follow a more generalized pattern of 1/72 and smaller, 1/48, 1/32, and larger than 1/32 (or other) categories. The eye for detail, complexity of the build, and the ability to obtain realism where those factors intersect, seems to me to vary greatly between those common scales.
Regardless, I was lucky enough to take home a gold medal for my Trumpeter BF109F-4 “Yellow 14” as flown by Jans-Joachim Marseille. My 1/32 Revell Mk IIa Spitfire and 1/32 P-40N didn’t make the cut. C’est la vie, say the old folks.
That said, there were a few builds that caught my eye for any number of reasons.
First was this fun scene from Top Gun. It certainly got a chuckle out of me. Notice Goose keeping up foreign relations.
Next was this ambitious monster showing off the internals of the Nazi’s “bat wing”. Very well done from my glancing birds eye view.
Third was this paper space shuttle. It really was jaw dropping in scale, and its paper. I guess that’s what the P stands for in IPMS? I’ve been doing it wrong!
Next was this 1/32 Mosquito. I didn’t look to see if it was the HK or the Tamiya, but I believe this is the first big Mossie I’ve seen on the tables.
Finally, in reality, there were just too many good builds to try to list all of the eye catching workmanship. Browse through the photos and see for yourself.
To those that spent the time organizing the contest, you should be proud. The turn out was great and the atmosphere pleasant. Thanks for having me.