2017 IPMS USA Nationals Report
Article by Al Magnus

The 2017 IPMS USA National Convention was held in Omaha, Nebraska, from July 26 to July 29. As with with the 2011 contest, which was also held in Omaha, the convention was hosted by the IPMS Omaha chapter IPMS Ft. Crook at the superb La Vista Conference Center. This beautiful venue has two large hotels at either end and a spacious convention center located between them, with copious space for the contest, seminars and vendors, all in a nice and easy to navigate layout. This was my fourth Nationals and in my mind the best of the bunch. The tables were crammed with more models than I've seen before. Announced entries was in around the 2,100 mark. I thought the quality was above the previous contests I had attended, especially in the the civilian automotive and figures categories. As a result I spent a lot of time in the display/contest room taking as many photographs as I could. I tallied at least 160 small scale armour entries scattered over the various categories, from those specifically for 1/72 and smaller, to collections and dioramas.

The vendors were out in force as usual but their offerings regarding 1/72 scale armour and related products was once again abysmal. There were some items sprinkled here and there amongst the various tables but not one vendor really brought much save the Special Hobby/MPM guys. My biggest purchase was at their display. I had pre-ordered some items and they were the first location I visited. When I arrived at their booth I noticed they had a small table with heavily reduced items, most being braille, much to my surprise, so to my original pre-order I added 3 copies of their Planet Models 5cm PaK 38, which are mainly intended as parts donors for future projects. For the ridiculous price of $5US each, resistance on my part was useless.

As I had done in y previous trips to the USA Nationals, I hosted a braille "chew the fat" session. Twenty modellers attended, which was about the same as for the my previous meetings. For me this is one of the highlights of the convention. You just can't beat another chance to network with others bitten by the braille armour bug.

For this year's contest the awards for Best in Category were announced before hand. There was no surprise for Best Armour. Harvey Low's superb 1/72 scale scratch build of the Japanese Soukou Sagyou Kidosha Assault Vehicle was a most worthy winner, taking out the large scale entries with ease. Armed with this little tidbit of info, I was able to have a little fun from the start of the gathering. I beckoned Harvey to the front of the room, fell to my knees, and genuflected with my best Wayne's World "I'm not worthy" impersonation. That broke the ice and the meeting got off to a rip roaring start. All too soon, our allotted time expired. Now I must wait forlornly for the Nationals to be hosted at a venue that's not opressively hot and muggy like the upcoming conferences in 2018 and 2019.

The Braille Band of Brothers

Sherman Feeding Frenzy, and the story goes...

.... Ed St. Denis and a friend brought along a box of Sherman goodies for sale - kits, accessories and
custom resin castings that belonged to one of their club members that had passed recently. Needless
to say, you can't have a braille meeting, or for that matter any meeting of armour modellers, without
having a few (or in this case numerous) Sherman fanatics, so when the box was opened it was emptied
within minutes. Judging by the number of smiles I'd say that many went away pleased with their purchases.

Contest Results - Small Scale Armor categories plus others that had Small Scale Armour competing (taken from IPMS USA website).

 218A. Military Vehicles; 1/72 Military Vehicles; Fully Tracked, through Korea - Allied
   1st - Centurion Mk.3 - Timothy Treadway, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
   2nd - Whippet Mk.A - Edward St. Denis, Rochester, Minnesota
   3rd - FT-17 - Bill McAllister, Dayton, Ohio

 218B. Military Vehicles; 1/72 Military Vehicles; Fully Tracked, through Korea - Axis
   1st - Hetzer - Kirk Ballash, Eastlake, Ohio
   2nd - PzKfw IIIM - Timothy Treadway, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
   3rd - Finnish Sturm 1 - Harvey Low, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 218C. Military Vehicles; 1/72 Military Vehicles; Fully Tracked, through Korea - Other
   1st - Strv M/38 Swedish Light Tank - Edward St. Denis, Rochester, Minnesota

 219. Military Vehicles; 1/72 Military Vehicles; Fully Tracked, post Korea
   1st - Centurion Mk.5/1 - William Alcott, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
   2nd - T90 MBT - Jeffrey Edge, Woodhaven, Michigan
   3rd - BMP-1 - Edward St. Denis, Rochester, Minnesota

 220. Military Vehicles; 1/72 Armored Cars and Armored Halftracks
   1st - Polish WZ Armored Car - Allan Magnus, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
   2nd - Humber Mk.IV - Mike McFadden, Scottsdale, Arizona
   3rd - SdKfz 232 Armored Car - George Mohr, Pontotoc, Mississippi

 221. Military Vehicles; 1/72 Soft-skinned Military Vehicles
   1st - Kubelwagen - Philip Hui, Milton, Georgia
   2nd - 2½ ton Truck with Trailer - Gary Majchrzak, Lake City, Minnesota
   3rd - Thompson 2-wheel Refueler - Ron Bell, Columbus, Ohio

 223A. Military Vehicles; Artillery Pieces - World War I
   1st - IJA 28cm Howitzer mod.1890 - Allan Magnus, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
   2nd - Confederate 8-in Coastal Gun - Ben Fulcher, Enid, Oklahoma
   3rd - Skoda 42cm Howitzer - Robert Raver, Crystal Lake, Illinois

 223B. Military Vehicles; Artillery Pieces - Other
   1st - 8.8cm FlaK 18 - Allan Magnus, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
   2nd - Dora Railgun - Jerry Jackson, Oceanside, California
   3rd - German 3.7cm FlaK 37 - T.J. Misiolek, Columbus, Ohio

 228. Military Vehicles; Conversions and Scratch-built
   1st - Soukou Sagyou Kidosha Assault Vehicle, 1945 - Harvey Low, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
   2nd - A7V-Uberlandwagen - Michael Tsoumpas, Spokane, Washington
   3rd - Diamond-T 969 4-ton Wrecker - David Falk, Greenville, Wisconsin

 235. Military Vehicles; Multi- or Towed Vehicles, non-diorama display
   1st - Versuchsflakwagen 8.8cm FlaK 41 - Mark Ford, Port Angeles, Washington
   2nd - Type 40 with FlaK 38 - Philip Hui, Milton, Georgia
   3rd - M1918 155mm Gun with FWD Truck - Richard Fisher, Tulsa, Oklahoma

 296. Military Vehicles; Out-of-the-Box; 1/72 AFVs, Open- and Closed-top
   1st - LVT(A)-1 - Jim Mesko, New Franklin, Ohio
   2nd - Strv-103 S-tank - Bill Cook, Leawood, Kansas
   3rd - Whippet - Timothy Burke, Scotia, New York

 297. Military Vehicles; Out-of-the-Box; 1/72 Armored Cars, Halftracks, and Soft-skinned Vehicles
   1st - Austin 1918 3rd Series Armored Car - Allan Magnus, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
   2nd - LRDG Patrol Car, with 2cm Cannon - Bill Cook, Leawood, Kansas
   3rd - BTR-70 APC - Kevin Degenkolbe, Colorado Springs, Colorado

 724. Dioramas; Armor; Dioramas and Vignettes, 1/49 and smaller
   1st - "Psst ... Mademoiselle" - Mike Fleckenstein, Fredericksburg, Virginia
   2nd - Old Soldiers - Michael Petty, Kilmarnock, Virginia
   3rd - Black 715 - Steven Hustad, Eden Prairie, Minnesota

 840. Miscellaneous; Collections
   1st - "Band of Brothers" - Brian Duddy, Dayton, Ohio
   2nd - "The Adaptable 7.5cm PaK 40" - Allan Magnus, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
   3rd - Catalina Collection - Carl Knable, Wheaton, Illinois

  Art Gerber Best Military Vehicle
    Soukou Sagyou Kidosha Assault Vehicle, 1945 - Harvey Low, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

And now for the really good stuff... photographs of the entrants.
Between myself and Will Alcott, we have a photograph of the majority of braille entries on the tables.
Click on the thumbnails in each of the following pages to view a larger picture and enjoy some great braille modelling!

(I've tried my best to correctly identify the subjects and who built them.
Should anyone find an error please bring it to my attention. You can get my email address from the contact page)

Al Magnus' photos      
   (40 pictures)
Will Alcott's photos pg.1      
   (36 pictures)
Will Alcott's photos pg.2      
   (36 pictures)
Will Alcott's photos pg.3
(34 pictures)      

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