IPMS General Robert L. Scott

"A Proud Member of IPMS/USA Region III"

Road Trip: 22 January 2011

Chattanooga Model Contest 

Location: E. Brainerd Church of Christ, 7745 E. Brainerd Rd, Chattanooga, TN

Hosts: IPMS Chattanooga Scale Modelers


Jerry Hall, Tod Hickman Bruce Radebaugh, Bill Paul, David Von Almen, Ron Wetmore and myself (Jay Barfoot) braved the cold and darkness to head north on I-75.  There in the great city of Chattanooga, TN, we represented our club at the first edition of Chattanooga Model Contest.

All but Ron met at 0645 at the Church for a 0700 departure.  Ron departed direct from Macon because he was pulling an enclosed trailer that housed four of his huge wooden ship models.  The rest of us departed Warner Robins for the three hr trip up to Chattanooga via I-75.  We took a 15 min pit stop in Dalton, stretched the legs and got something to drink before finishing the trip. An interesting note about the trip:  between Warner Robins and Chattanooga we saw about 25-30 police vehicles watching for speeders.  They were certainly out in force as we saw State Troopers, Sheriffs and local police.  Fortunately for us, we were all careful drivers and none of us were stopped.

The venue for the contest was the gymnasium of the East Brainerd Church of Christ located only a couple of miles off I-75.  Model drop off at the front door was easy and there was plenty of parking.

After unloading, you entered through the front door onto a landing with a set of stairs going up and another going down.  If you didn’t pre-register, this is where you filled out your paperwork.  Space was sort of tight but adequate if there weren’t a lot of modelers at once.

Once your paperwork was complete, you headed downstairs for registration.  Upon opening the doors downstairs, you were greeted with a sight that at first seemed like mass confusion.  There was, however, a method to the madness.  Immediately to the left was the registration window.  The staff there was a little overwhelmed because of the large number of entrants but they were friendly and doing as well as they could.  

To the right was the contest area (in the front) and the vendor area (towards the rear).  The gym floor was split about half and half between them.  On the far side was a snack bar area selling canned sodas and snacks.  If you didn’t like them, there was a vending machine, too.

Upstairs there were chairs arranged for those who were getting tired and needed to sit.  The raffle was also located upstairs.  The raffle itself wasn’t as robust as other contests I’ve been to.  We know how difficult that can be from experience of stocking the raffle in our contest.  This was their first and they did an OK job.  I’m sure they will improve it for the next one.

They also had a large schedule posted as soon as you entered the gym.   As it turns out, it was quite optimistic

It was optimistic because the club had planned for about 150 models.  It turned out they got 487.   This affected several different areas: space, time allotted for judging and awards. To handle the extra space needed, additional rooms that connected to the gym area were opened up for contest entries. 

Judging and awards were another story, though.  The club was using the Gold, Silver, Bronze awards procedure rather than the 1st, 2nd, 3rd place method.  So each model was judged against a set of criteria by a minimum of three judges and feedback was provided via a judge’s scorecard.  Providing feedback and scoring for 487 models proved time consuming.  Also, the models were not displayed according to category (aircraft, car, military vehicle, etc).  Instead, they were arranged according to builder, with each collection prominently displaying the builder’s name.   While this made it easy for admirers of a specific model to indentify the builder, it made it difficult for “aircraft” judges to ensure all aircraft had been judged.  As a result judging didn’t end until around 6:30 PM.

Also, the club ran out of awards.  It is very difficult to plan for awards using the GSB method because you never know what quality of models nor the amount that will be entered.  For this contest, technically there could’ve been no awards given, 487 gold medals awarded or any combination in between. Naturally, when they were expecting 150 entries and got 487, they ran out of awards.  As a result many contestants left without an award in hand but a promise that they will be mailed to them.

Part of the reason there were so many models was that the Chattanooga Modelers encouraged models that had previously won in other contests to be entered.  There were no restrictions.  As a result there were plenty of quality models to be seen as depicted below

I took my Tamiya P-47 Thunderbolt Razorback, Trumpeter P-40 Warhawk Flying Tiger and Hasegawa F4F-3 Wildcat.  I received gold for all three.

David took his 1963 Corvette Stingray Convertible, 1973 Corvette Stingray Convertible, 1932 Ford B model Roadster Silver,  Mazda K350 three wheel truck, 1935 Ford and 1950 Chevrolet Flatbed Truck.  He received silver for the first four and bronze for the rest.

Tod took his Tamiya Dewoitine D.520, Hobbycraft Bf-109D and Czech Model Ryan XF2R-1 Darkshark.  He received silver for all three.

Bruce took his F15-E, P51D, P47N and the Back to the Future Edsel.  He received gold for the F-15 E and bronze for the rest.

Bill took his Lunar Module, A6M3 Zero, JU87 and Mercury Spacecraft.  He received silver for the Lunar Module and bronze for the rest.

Jerry took his Williams Bros. Caudron 460, Monogram F9F-5 Panther, Academy P-38M and ESCI AD-5 Spad.  He received Gold for the 460 and silver for the rest.

And finally Ron took his Santisima Trinidad Square Rigger, HMS Bounty, HMS Victory and Titanic.  The first two received gold and the others received silver.  Ron’s HMS Bounty also won Best Ship and Judges Best in Show.  Ron probably would have done better but a couple of his display case malfunctioned and damaged the models within.

Restaurants around the church were mainly fast-food types.  For lunch four of us went up I-75 until Bruce spotted a Texas Roadhouse and suggested steaks for lunch.   All agreed and we pulled in for a bite.  However, when it came time to order, three of us ordered chicken and the other ordered a burger.  The food was so, so.  But what do you expect ordering chicken at a steakhouse?

Bill and David helped judge while we were gone and they were finished by 6:30 pm.  A small presentation ceremony followed with the Chattanooga Club apologizing for the lateness and thanking everyone for their patience.  We departed around 7:00 and since it was so late, pressed straight for home with one stop for gas enroute.  We arrived back at the church at around 10:00.

Overall, it was a fun trip: Mike Moore, Lynn Petty and Co did the best they could with the hand they were dealt.  It was their first show so to say they learned from it would be an understatement.  I’ll go back next year because the people were great: they maintained a good /friendly attitude throughout the contest even though they faced a myriad of difficulties.  Next contest up is JAXCON.  I’ll be out of town but I highly recommend attending if you’re able to.






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