Why do you go to model contests? Is it to win the trophies? Is it for the raffle or vendors? Or something else?
I can tell you why I go, friendship. The shows brings all the people that you see online and from around the area together in one place. I’ll be the first to tell you I am terrible with names. They should be mandated to get in. Our hobby by its very nature is a solitary process for the most part. I’ve met people online that thought because I built mostly German aircraft that I was a short 50-60 year old German guy complete with accent. Model shows prevent that perception.
I’ve also enjoyed going shows to learn new techniques and to see others work. I will stake out a model I like and invariably meet the modeler and try to figure out how he/she did something. If they are like most modelers they are willing to share their discovery or technique. I have seen some modelers who were so bent on winning that they refused to share something.
I’ve even seen some modelers who were such trophy hounds that just because they didn’t get a first place at a local show they literally trashed a model. A local show! Come on now, is it really worth it even for the Nationals. I’m not talking about a piece of crap model here. It was a gorgeous tank that was exceptionally well built and presented. However, on this particular day it didn’t win. Big deal, get over it. It is only a model and only a hobby. Do you have to win every time? Do you talk bad about the model that won? What about the modeler?
How do the Europeans handle it? Most countries have a gold, silver or bronze rating that is based off the perfect model. This is very subjective but each model is graded on its own merits. Then there is the Best of Show, which from what I’ve seen has absolutely nothing to do with how well a model is built. It is about presentation and also bigger is better. Is this right? Who cares? Isn’t it about fun and meeting friends?
Speaking of meeting friends, my models have introduced me to people throughout the world. I use to carry some photos of my models when visiting other countries. Why? Was it some narcissistic way to ‘show off”? No but some times I could not speak a particular language and the pictures spoke for me. You know a picture is worth a thousand words, the language doesn’t matter. If I wanted to find a model shop this was an easy way to get that point across. I have a habit of picking up a kit from every country I’ve visited as my souvenir. While my wife is busy getting things that mean relatively nothing, I am busy picking up treasures that will remind me of the trip. One time while I was in Spain I picked up a Fujimi Bf-109G-10/R3/R6. Or when I was in Hungary and found the local shop, then found a local model magazine with a really cool FM Detail set of the engine for the 109 in it. I was able to ‘communicate’ with them and indicate what I was interested in. It must have worked as I was able to walk away with three of them by the time I left the store.
Some of my best friends have come from the shows. I’ll often build a subject that by its very markings will inspire a conversation. I enjoy the talks and the camaraderie that ensues. That is why I go to shows, friendship.
Why do you go? As always, remember: Modeling is fun!