After an unfortunate hiatus due to factors beyond anyone’s control, March 27, 2022 saw the triumphant return of HeritageCon at the unique and wonderful Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum on a cool windy day in Hamilton Ontario. For those who don’t know, HeritageCon is the annual scale model show and contest hosted by IPMS Hamilton Scale Modelers. They bill this show as “Canada’s Greatest Hobby Show & Contest”. So, is that a boast or is it mere advertising puff?
It’s been a few years…
It has been a while since I have gone to a HeritageCon. I know I was there in 2014 and again 2017. While it is a bit of a hike for me, it is always worth the trip. The quality of the models on the tables never disappoints, the vendors are always a big draw (more on that below), and fact it is held in a museum with actual flying airplanes is truly the icing on the scale model enthusiast’s cake.
Back to those vendors for a minute. There is always a decent crop of vendors at HeritageCon. But this year, I don’t know. It seemed there were way more vendors than I remember. I am going to say that outside of a Nationals, this was the most vendors I’ve seen at a show. And boy, the deals were happening. Models were moving fast and money was flowing. Model Buddy Ian left the building with a literal crateful. Geoff from the Scale Model Podcast had a good three arm-fulls. Sprue Lagoon Adam singlehandedly bumped Canada’s GDP ever so slightly.
Was it two years of pent up demand? Were the vendor prices more reasonable than usual? Probably a bit of both. I usually do some damage at the vendor tables and I certainly took a look this time around. However, I only made a few purchases near the end of the show. Otherwise, I spent all my time taking in the models, the museum and actually speaking with real live people who are as obsessed with scale models as I am.
How about that?!?
I met up with people I have only seen on a screen for the past two years. Among those was the intrepid crew over at the Scale Model Podcast who invited me to sit down for a chat. As well, I met up with my online friend Kris over on Luftraum72. I met and spoke with some familiar faces from the GTA modeling scene as well as some newcomers to the hobby, or at least the scale model show thing.
Interested in a Video?
Yup, I did a sweep of the show and venue to give everyone an idea about this contest. You can either click here to see it on YouTube or down below:
Here are a few models that caught my eye:
The contest tables were crowded for pretty much the entire show so it was a little difficult to really study the models and get pictures. But I did my best. As I expected, the quality of the entries was impressive. Knowing that getting shots of all of them would be impossible I decided to take in what I could and get shots of those that caught my eye. Believe me, this is a very, very small sample of what was there. There are more shots available here if you are interested.
A Saab Viggen is definitely in my future
This big beauty was in the 48th scale jets category and it really was a head turner. On its own, the Viggen is such an unusual shape to see on the tables. But it is the splinter camouflage that puts it front and center. The paint colours seem dead-on to me but more than that is the painting skill of the builder. In addition, the builder included a wallet of build pics that detailed the steps taken to make and paint the model. Those splinters were custom cut and masked with Tamiya tape (or its equivalent). I have mentioned before that I want to make a Viggen in this scheme and this was definitely more inspiration to give it a go.
Dioramas that I can’t do
The last time I tried a model diorama I was in junior high. It was awful. I knew it was awful as I was building it and when I was done I was very unimpressed with my own work. All this to say, I am no expert on what makes or breaks a diorama. But I like the ones I like and I liked these two. The B-29 prop change was a great ‘frame’ surrounding the star of the scene. That Superfortress was very well done. Next to it was this ‘cake slice’ of the USS Hornet during the Battle of Midway. What an excellent way to put a base under a carrier plane. I loved the scratch built AA guns as well as the stained deck. Besides, I am always going to be a sucker for anything Midway related.
Needle Scraping Micro Painting
The Seafire is in the Gentlemen’s Scale while the Falcon is somewhat smaller at 1:350. Notice something? Check out that paint. The Seafire was very difficult to shoot due to it being under the wing of a much larger Canso. But look at the wing tip, roundel, and wing root. Those faded markings are painted! Now, these are Luftraum72 models and I was able to chat with Kris at the show. Kris is a stand up guy, very thoughtful and incredibly friendly. When we were looking at the falcon I asked whether he paints without a crown on the airbrush. He explained that if the needle is in no danger of touching the model, it is way too far away! Great stuff.
More Painting Skills on Display
The Italian Transport is by Harvey Low and has been featured in at least one scale model magazine. Now, check out the camouflage. He made all of the painted ‘leaves’ individual but pretty much the same size. And look at how many times he had to do that. Very impressive.
I must have some sort of draw to baby blue because I saw these racers from far away. They almost look like diecasts the paint is so smooth and the finish so mirror like. These are two very different paint results but each is very difficult to pull off.
If I had a nit to pick, and this one is minor, I love to see a ‘show schedule’ to know when certain events are planned to occur. If they had one at this year’s HeritageCon, I never saw it and I was looking for it. Now I am going to balance that small criticism with the fact the organizers had to deal with a host of “changing realities” based on the changing orders under the local health authorities as well as (I imagine) the requirements of the venue up to the time of the show. I can’t imagine this was easy to do and the hard work paid off.
I definitely enjoyed my day at HeritageCon. It was great to get out, meet friends and take in a few hours of scale model bliss. I got a lot of inspiration and the judges were very kind to me. As well, it seemed to me that everyone arrived happy and left the show even happier.
So, does this all mean that HeritageCon is Canada’s greatest? I don’t think that is a boast at all. It would certainly be a tough act to follow and I sure hope we see other shows make a return so I can make an objective comparison.
I sure did miss them and I’m glad we got at least one this year.