Held on September 28, 2019 at the unique and wonderful Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario, CapCon is the bi-annual scale model show and contest hosted by IPMS Ottawa.
It’s Been Ten Years?!?!?
CapCon is the first contest I ever went to (2007) and the first contest I ever entered (2009). I still remember being a bit apprehensive bringing my 1/32 Tamiya A6M5 Zero with me to an actual contest with real model builders. I had no idea what to expect and I spent a lot of time and money in the vendor room that day. There was a genuine feeling of happy surprise when they called my name for a 2nd place in the out-of-box category. As you can imagine, this experience only fed my budding interest in this hobby.
I have made it a point to have something to show at each CapCon and I always come away with more modeling ideas and certainly a few of those “how did he do that?” moments when looking at the fantastic models.
IPMS Ottawa has always put on a great show. They used to be held in a large and somewhat remote community centre/sports facility. They moved the show to the new venue in 2017 and it offers show-goers a world class museum to enjoy between trips to the contest tables, silent auction area and the vendor room. Actually – the contest is held in the main hall where the models surrounded by 1-1 scale armour and even a jet fighter. In addition, there is a fantastic used book store on site as well as a well stocked museum gift shop.
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 museum had plenty of room for both the contest and the 2 vendor rooms.
- Parking was not free but it was plentiful and very handy as it rained most of the day;
- Model registration forms available on line and this made for a quick registration process on the day of the show;
- The show schedule was posted and there were contest signs everywhere;
- There were a lot of vendors providing very well priced kits and accessories;
- There were a lot of good looking, knowledgeable and friendly volunteers (full disclosure: I was one of them); and
- The contest fees were payable on-line and the fee included the entry to the museum at no extra charge.
And how about the Canadian War Museum as a Venue?
For those who have never experienced it, the building is hard to describe. It is part bunker, part ruin, part tomb, part open airy spaces. The hallways can seem a bit disorienting but I believe it was designed this way to provide an experience of what it might have been like to live and fight in these types of buildings. I recommend looking at the architect’s pictures to see what I mean. Something that was a surprise to me when I first visited the museum was the extent of the art collection. It is very impressive.
The Vendor Rooms
Yes…. Rooms. These were chock full of every sort of vendor you could want: Old models, new models, tools, books, accessories and paint. The Hobby Centre was there as well as a few other commercial vendors. I picked up some great deals on some planes I have been wanting for a while:
That first run 1/32 Tony has been in my sights for a long time but the RF-86 is the real gem. Every since seeing the Haymaker at the USAF Museum, I have wanted to build one. I can’t wait. I also picked up some AK Weathering Pencils:
I am going to try to incorporate a bit more weathering into an upcoming build. These look very cool when demoed on line.
Show Room – Main Hall
One thing I don’t like is a crowded contest room. Well, let me tell you: there was plenty of space between and around the contest tables. Keep in mind the contest tables were in the main hall that remained open to the public. Despite the number of people, at all times there was plenty of room.
I believe the final tally was 692 Models on display for CapCon 2019 and I really tried to see each one. I was judging and volunteering during the show (the subject of a future blog post) so I was running around a bit while the tables filled out. The show’s schedule was pretty much kept to and we were treated to an excellent AV presentation during the awards ceremony.
Here are a few that caught my eye:
1/24 Westland Whirlwind
This was in the “Scratch Built/Major Conversion Category”. Get this: A scratch built 1/24 Westland Whirlwind. The pictures do not do this one justice. First of all it is scratch built (something I consider to be “next level” modelling, but it is also finished beautifully in a museum style. Actually, that is what Model Buddy Ian and I first said when we came upon this one: “Museum Model”. I know the builder spent some 3000 hours on it and only used commercial products for the tires and props. It was the category winner and an unforgettable model.
1/48 SU-24 Fencer
I have always thought of the Fencer as the Soviet answer to the F-111 – but with a lot more capabilities. I could be wrong about that and I do not know much about what is available out there model-wise but I do not often see Fencer models on the tables. This one caught my eye for a couple of reasons – I really liked the way the builder painted it as well as highlighting the panel lines. It looked used but not abused. I also thought the base really framed the plane nicely. I noticed this model right away in a sea of grey jets. Unsurprisingly the builder took first in this category.
Biplanes! Biplanes! And more Biplanes!
Every show is unique. I think this one might be known as the Biplane Show in CapCon circles – at least with us airplane builders. There were so many the category had to be split. Splits usually happen in the ever popular 1/48 single engine prop or 1/72 jet categories. I have never heard of a split in biplanes! Another surprise for me was discovering how hard it is to photograph biplanes. Unfortunately the room was very dark and most of the planes were painted dark colours. The wing on the top tends to hide the rest of the plane under a shadow. The ones I did get were less than half of what was spread out on the table. They were very nice models and I got an itch to start that Wingnut Wings Albatros I bought last summer.
1/72 Skywarrior Diorama
Generally speaking I do not spend a lot of time in the diorama section of model contests. I know a ton of work goes into them but for some reason a lot of dioramas don’t work for me. This one sure does! First of all you do not see many Skywarriors anywhere. Seriously – I had no idea there were kits for these beastly carrier jets. Secondly it is finished perfectly. I mean just look at it. Lastly, the base is restrained but it works by tying everything together. This base/dio is doing two important things at the same time: it is not an afterthought but it does not distract from the model.
Here are most of the other entries in the aircraft categories grouped by scale:
1/72 Scale and Smaller
All the rest in Aircraft
Some non aviation things that caught my eye:
As you know, I am an airplane guy and I know next to nothing about other categories but hare are some great models.
A couple of regrets: My friend Panzermeister36s excellent Panzer 1 (which I thought I did take a picture of) and Xiao Yang’s Shimakaze (which I know I did not). If I can get anyone’s pictures of those models I would love to post them here.
I definitely enjoyed my day at CapCon 2019 and I am already looking forward to the next one. I picked up some key models I have been looking for. I got a lot of inspiration and the judges were very kind to me. I also judged for the first time and I really enjoyed learning from some very experienced judges. Last but definitely not the least, I caught up with a lot of new and old friends.
I’d like to know how you approach these shows. If you have never been, what would it take to bring you out to a show or contest? If you are a veteran, what keeps you coming back for more?
Reblogged this on My Forgotten Hobby II and commented:
I did not know it was held in Ottawa! Just a two-hour drive from where I live. Missed opportunity…
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Thank you! And yes you need to come in 2021
I will. Just write a post when the date for 2021 is chosen.
Fantastic even. Well organized and top notch preparation. There were some gems at the vendors’ and prices were good. It’s really a great time for modellers and fans. Also, veterans don’t pay for the parking and get a free lunch. Finally, the War Museum offers a excellent perspective on the real size “models” bringing together models and actual armoured vehicles. Highly recommended.
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Hi – first time going through your reports on the Ottawa Shows. Well done.
How do you arrange your photos in that mosaic pattern? I am assuming you are using some sort of photo display/publishing program.
Either way, your reports were very much appreciated for someone who could not get to go to CAPCON in particular.
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Thanks Bill. The website editor from WordPress gives me several options when posting pictures in a blog entry. I can do the mosaic or a grid. I think it makes a group of photos more interesting to look at.
CapCon is run by IPMS Ottawa every other year and is one of the biggest model shows in Canada, on par with IPMS Hamilton’s HeritageCon. This year, I was on the organizing committee, so I got a firsthand experience of how the sausage is made, so to speak. I will say that being on the committee has greatly increased my appreciation for the work that these volunteers do (and greatly decreased my appreciation for Monday morning quarterbacking, but that’s another story).