Held on May 25, 2019 at the Century Gardens Recreation Centre in Brampton Ontario, Torcan is the annual scale model show and contest hosted by the Peel Scale Modelers. And I finally made it to a Torcan. I say that because for the longest time there was no Torcan. I am not sure why it left the scene and I am not sure how it got back but I am glad it did.
The Peel Scale Modelers and the wonderful volunteers have experience putting on a good show. They got every key item I believe is needed for a scale model show to be successful:
- The show website was incredibly clear;
- The venue was easy to find and the community centre had plenty of room for both the contest and vendor rooms. The only nit here was that it was hard to find parking at the beginning of the day but that was the busy time at the community centre;
- Registration forms available on line and a quick registration process on the day of the show;
- The show schedule was posted and the times were respected;
- There were a lot of vendors providing a lot of variety for show attendees; and
- There were a lot of friendly volunteers.
Torcan was split into two key rooms as well as a couple desks in the lobby where the show admin was located. The registration process was painless as the show site offered editable entry sheets. Kudos to the organizers for having two lines going: one for show attendees and one for those participating in the contest.
Vendor room… or should I say vendor arena was chock full of every sort of vendor you could want: Old models, new models, tools, books, scenery bits, paint.
I had the opportunity to meet and briefly speak with Anthony Goodman from Goodman Models. He produces a ‘Super Sanding Block’ set that is both handy and neatly organized. He is also a sponsor and the cohost of the ‘Scale Model Podcast’ that publishes every two weeks. I listened to a few episodes on my drive to and from the WrightCon show last month. It is definitely a nice way to spend the drive – listening to podcasts about models while driving to a model show. Obviously word is getting out and at the time I briefly met Anthony, he was being mobbed by adoring fans while graciously doing demos of his sanding blocks. I really didn’t get a chance to speak with him. But I have heard a lot of good things about his sanding blocks set and I wanted to show my support.
While there was plenty of space in the vendor room and the main lobby, the contest room felt a bit crowded at times. Then again, its not the end of the world to have a bunch of people admiring models! I always find inspiration in the competition room and Torcan was no exception.
One of the games I like to play at model shows is to see whether I can pick the winners. I have never judged so I am far from any authority. Its a fun game to see if I can guess which ones will finish first. I’ll level with you, my record is not so good. Here are a few that caught my eye:
This was in the 1/72 Rigged Category and a DH 2 was a brave choice for its builder given the amount of struts and rigging. How he kept it all aligned is anyone’s guess but I was deeply impressed at both the detail and the entire picture. This one did finish first in its category.
Right beside was this little gem:
The builder, John Wong, really challenged himself with this P-43 Lancer in 1/72 scale. As you can see, the finished product is posed on top of a display of the original kit parts. To say the original kit was rough would be charitable. The build was exceptional and to get that quality of build from those origins demonstrates real skill. Normally olive drab airplanes do not attract much attention but this one with the Chinese markings stood out. I really liked this build and I guessed right: this one also finished first in its category.
The next one reflects my weakness for bare metal finishes:
This TU-128 dwarfed its competition in the 1/72 Jets category! I don’t know much about the actual airplane but the model had an excellent metal finish with the kind of panel line weathering that really makes the detail pop but does not overpower the model. The cockpits were also well done but I had difficulty getting a shot of them. Another first place finish in this category.
Continuing with my thing for bare metal is a civilian Hurricane:
Although I suppose on a hurricane, a lot of this would be silver doped fabric! I could not read about this history of the build. Normally Hurricanes do nothing for me but this silver civilian model really stood out on the tables.
And then there was this bad boy:
What did this AH-1Z have going for it? Well, it was in flight, with pilots and it was exceptionally well built, painted and weathered. It really looks the part and the builder not only took home the category award, he also got best 1/48 Aircraft and Best Aircraft in show! Well deserved. I wish he would put on some weathering clinics!
So all in all, not bad guesses! Here are most of the other entries in the aircraft categories:
Some Other Builds that Caught My Eye
I write about aircraft related things because they are in my wheelhouse. But I always do the rounds to the other areas. There seemed to be less tanks than at other shows but this was made up for with the space and sci-fi entries. Here are some that I really enjoyed:
The show website was incredibly clear, the timetable made sense, the show ran on time and the volunteers made everyone feel welcome. On a personal note – I won a cool kit in the raffle, met up with some great modelers from the GTA, I finally got a P-400 from a friendly vendor and the judges liked my entries. I really like the look of the Torcan award medallions. It was well worth the trip and I will definitely return to Torcan. And on that note, Torcan 2020 has already been announced.
Were there any other Torcan attendees? If so, what did you think of the show? Does anyone else like to guess which models will place? Or has anyone recently taken the next step and tried judging? I’d like to get your thoughts in the comments.
Working on my report back right now. I liked the show and this is my second year (that’s my pink and purple Sorscha bust, which I’m also working on an article on – she didn’t place, but don’t feel too bad because the judges spent a lot of time on that category, and it was my other entries which edged her out). The thing that most impressed me was the growth in the figures category — I think it is fair to say that I got a lot better since last year, but came away with a little less hardware because there was much more competition.
I did volunteer for judging, though I ended up having to recuse myself from a couple categories (which is kind of a challenge with figures in particular — the only people who have expertise in figures are people who paint figures, and those are generally also the same people who have entered their figures into the more limited number of categories). I was strongly encouraged or basically voluntold by a fellow club member at a show about a year ago to judge, and it worked out well. I feel like looking closely at the models and talking with other judges not only can help you progress as a modeller, but also get some perspective on what goes into judging these things. Plus, from a practical perspective, these shows can sometimes make for a long day, and spending some time meeting new people and talking in detail about the models on the table with them is a nice break from making your rounds around the vendor hall for the 17th time. Plus, free lunch.
Also, make sure to come to CapCon 2019!
One of my model buddies always says “Any given Sunday” when it comes to model shows. As in: You might walk away with an award or just miss out depending on what shows up on the tables. That pink and purple bust was VERY well done and I noticed it right away. Too bad it didn’t place for you – I think you are right, you must have just missed out.
Good points about starting out judging – thanks! I agree that judging should help with building and finishing.
Yes – CapCon is on the list in the fall. I am looking forward to it!
I followed your “Sorsha” pink and purple build on line and if it didnt place I can only imagine the quality of the other entries! I would be reluctant to put one of mine next to your entry. Having said that, I will assume you will be at the “Sword and Brush” show later this year. I am planning on attending and will be entering… perhaps I can corner you for some expert advice…
Yeah, the busts category was really competitive this year. There was a lot of great work on the table, and I was happy to get silver and bronze for my other two entries.
I think busts are my personal favourite. You get all the opportunity for detail as a 1/12 scale figure, but without the cost, size, or the need to paint boring things like pants and boots.
I am planning to make it to Sword and Brush, so I’ll see you there!
Some really nice work on display there! That Tu 128 is huge! I have been hoping for a Whiskey Cobra in 1/72, but so far it is strangely missing. Thanks for taking the time to post it up, an excellent report!
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