Dayton Ohio: Birthplace of aviation; home of the USAF museum and on the weekend of April 5-6 2019, the location of WrightCon, an IPMS Region IV show. Yes, Dayton is a bit of a hike for me, but given the fact that the USAF Museum
is was on my bucket list, I had some annual leave to use and I wanted to participate in the contest – I made a nice road trip out of it.
Hosted by the Wright Field Scale Modelers, WrightCon is an excellent show. Why do I say that? Well, this may have been the first time I participated, but it was very evident this club has considerable experience putting on a show. It might be the subject of a future post on this blog but I think there are a few key items that are needed for a scale model show to be successful:
- Proper Venue
- Registration process
- Show Schedule
- Area attractions
The show website was incredibly clear, the timetable made sense and the volunteers made everyone feel welcome. New for me: WrightCon has online show registration including online model entry sheets! Innovative and genius. I think about half of the participants took advantage of this “front of the line” feature. I am sure more will in the future.
The two day show is held in a hotel and conference centre known as the Hope Hotel & Richard C. Holbrooke Conference Center which was very easy to find and offered comfy hotel rooms at competitive prices. The show was essentially split into a lobby where all the show admin and raffle was located, a Vendor room and the Contest room. In terms of the venue, there was plenty of space in the contest room and lobby while at times the vendor room felt crowded. Then again, it was stuffed with models, so it was a nice problem to have.
Given the distance I had to drive, I missed the first afternoon of the contest but I arrived as the doors opened on the Saturday. The registration process was a definite plus. No long lineup and since I had registered online, all of my sheets were done and simply passed to me with a warm greeting.
I know many a show attendee who is only there “for the deals” and I have been to some shows with a very sad or limited showing of vendors. I am sure there is an art to attracting and retaining a good assortment of quality vendors and I am thinking this would be directly related to how well the hosts promote the show and how many people are likely to attend.
At WrightCon, after securing any registration requirements, I made a direct line to the vendor room. This was definitely a plus as I was met with wall to wall models, decals, supplies and even art! I picked up a whole pile of decals, a snap-together Lexington and a very well priced 1/48 Monogram Catalina (something I have been trying to find for a while). The only reason I didn’t buy more was because I already had most of those kits in my stash. Given the location of the show it should not be a surprise that the vendor room favours aircraft modelers. However, models for every taste were certainly available.
The contest room was well laid out and model placement was obvious. Although there were over 500 entries ultimately judged, there was plenty of room on the tables and aisles (tight aisles and no table room at a model contest is a pet peeve of mine). Moreover, there were plenty of friendly volunteers walking around and ready to help out or answer any questions.
Once I placed my entries on the tables I got out the iphone and “did the room”. Unfortunately the lighting was a bit on the dark side and if I was a bit more handy with my iphone camera I bet I could have compensated for that. Here are the aviation related models that caught my eye:
Ok – there are a couple non aviation in there but they also caught my eye! I certainly did not get them all and I am sure the judges had some difficulty determining who got what.
End of the Show
While the contest room was closed for judging I took advantage of the close proximity of the USAF Museum (pretty much the ultimate model show attraction and I published a write up about this visit here). As per the posted and easily accessible show schedule, the contest room doors opened promptly at 4pm and us show participants filed in.
The awards ceremony was brief. Category winner medals were placed beside the models on the tables. The advantage here is that you can see the models that won as you walk by. When everyone was back in the room, the judges took the opportunity to do announcements, acknowledgements and got to the “best of” and theme awards right away.
In terms of the seven unscientific categories offered above, I believe WrightCon nailed it. I had a great time and I highly recommend going. Its a great show put on by a real dedicated and friendly bunch of volunteers. They also make some very nice looking award medallions.
At the awards ceremony it was announced that WrightCon 2020 is officially going to be held again at the Hope Centre in Dayton next spring.
I am becoming a fan of judges placing the awards beside the models on the contest tables as opposed to the considerable amount of time announcing 1st-2nd-3rds and giving out the awards individually. I’m also a fan of putting the awards beside the models and then simply announcing the category winners.
What do you think about how a show handles the award ceremony? Do you like a more fulsome awards ceremony with names announced and awards given out or do you like to only see the theme and best of awards at the end of the contest? I’d like to hear from you in the comments!