2014 Salt Lake City IPMS Show

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The 14th Annual Salt Lake City IPMS Show and Contest was held on the 27th of September 2014 at the Northwest Recreation Centre in SLC, Utah. In recent years the SLC club has taken turns hosting the event with the Northern Utah Scale Modellers Association out of Ogden. This year was SLC's turn and they put on an outstanding event. The official numbers: 287 entries from 62 builders representing five states, and over 300 models total in competition and on display.

Two of the things that made this event stand out were the well-orchestrated registration process and a plethora of Fine Scale Model Magazines lay out on tables. The latter may have some eyebrows raised as to how reading material could contribute to the success of a show, and that will be addressed later. A group of young ladies divvied up the registration duties, with one individual accepting registration forms, another taking the registration fees, and a third who entered the data in a laptop. In an example of great time management, the entrants were allowed to place their kits on the event hall tables while their registration data was transcribed to a computer. After placing their models in the correct categories, the modellers would return to the registrar's table, receive their forms, and then were free to place the forms with their works-of-art in the exhibition hall. This system saved time, prevented a bottleneck at the registration desk, and allowed more time for everyone to peruse the models and enjoy themselves.

Glancing around the contest tables it appeared that aircraft outnumbered armor kits, and the armor entries outnumbered the ships, figures, and sci-fi. One thing noted was a lack of surface vessel builds. A lone WWII aircraft carrier represented modern surface ships, compared to the handful of submarines and one or two sailing vessels. With resurgence in the interest in World War One and between-the-wars aircraft there was a large presence of biplanes, tri-planes, and other linen-over-spruce flying machines. In the 'size does matter' department: larger kits definitely stood out. A 1/72 scale Gato class US submarine was so long that its bow and stern extended over the dividing ribbons and encroached into two other categories. And a beautifully rendered 1/16th scale King Tiger tank loomed over its smaller 1/35th and Braille Scale brethren.

The contest awards consisted of Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals, each with a colourful ribbon, for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each category. The medals were emblazoned with the SLC IPMS logo on the inverse, and the humorous “So many models, so little time” motto on the obverse. Along with the medals there were handsome ‘Best of’ trophies for the top model in each category; plaques for special awards; and, of course, a People’s Choice Award and an overall Judge’s Grand Award, i.e. ‘Best of Show’.

As happens in the Great American West, many entrants travelled long distances to attend the SLC show. Modellers journeyed from Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. The Albuquerque, NM, club not only made the 600 mile, ten hour drive, they also sponsored awards and assisted in the judging.

Getting back to the magazines--when everyone was kicked-out of the exhibition hall for judging, the attendees discovered the magazines placed on tables in the 'waiting area' in the venue hall. The magazines not only provided something to do for those who remained at the Rec Centre whilst the adjudicators deliberated on which models were award worthy, it also transformed the usually introverted crowd into something more dynamic, inciting conversations about kits, techniques, and tips & tricks. The attendees browsed through the magazines, read over each other’s shoulders, discussed the articles at length, and passed the magazines around.

As is found at most shows, there was a vendor area. Many a good deal was to be had on vintage kits as well as recent releases. Some customers were seen leaving with armfuls of kits and sporting wide smiles, as well as a few who had looks of consternation, as if pondering how to inform their significant other of yet another hobby purchase.

The SLC show was an overall enjoyable, well-managed and smoothly run event, and now it’s time to look forward to Ogden hosting next year’s contest.

Not all the kits at the event were photographed. Not all the winning kits were photographed with their awards. My sincerest apologies to any reader who's models were omitted.
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About the Author

About Keith Wolters (woltersk)

From Roswell, New Mexico. To date have not seen any aliens. Joined the USAF in 1985. Hydraulics specialist on F- & EF-111As, and UH-1s for 4 years at Mt Home AFB, Idaho. Then retrained into F-16 Avionics (back shop). Worked Vipers in Colorado, Georgia, Kunsan AB Korea, Utah, and Aviano AB Italy...


Whoo-hoo! My first feature! It only took 11+ years. I'd like to thank Darren Baker (CMOT) for helping me with the process, editing, and doing whatever-it-is-he-does with the photos. I'd also like to appologize to any contest entrants whose kits did not get included in the photo spread. I was remiss in taking pics of everything, and some that I did capture came out lousy and were beyond PhotoShop repair. Keith
NOV 15, 2014 - 12:57 AM
@woltersk – Keith, Very impressive, thorough and well written report! Last time I attended a model contest was back in the late 90’s . . . sure need to get out and do that again! Congratulations on your first feature, all good things take time. ~ Eddy
NOV 19, 2014 - 11:32 AM