1949 Schneider Trophy Competition - IPMS Seattle 2005

By Stephen Tontoni


When Tim Nelson of NorthWest Scale Modelers and IPMS Seattle cooked up the idea of a special hypothetical model category had the British resurrected the Schneider float plane race trophy that they had retired in 1931, he had no idea what kind of modeling fervor it would cause! What started as a casual email became a growing PDF file that outlined the rules for the race, the course map, technical specifications and everything. (there are links to that PDF file in the April issue of IM as well as the IPMS Seattle web site)

The definition of a 1949 Schneider racer, in a nutshell, is a float aircraft that has up to 1949 technologies. Other than that, the sky was the limit to the number of wonderful creations that were built for this project. Mike Millette of Snohomish, Washington (north of Seattle) completed 10 of these things, including his Me109901 which was an Me109 push/pull combination, the Do335 Zwilling combined power (two Dorner 335¹s attached in tandem, but with jet power pushing with tractor propellors) and many others. I had three of these beasts in the works, but one met a fiery death (article in this issue) while the other two made it to the contest table; I completed a Ta154 and an F8F-2 Bearcat on floats, from Czechoslovakia and Israel, respectively.

Tim really left nothing in question down to the correct placement of the numbers. Regarding race numbers, Tim issued them to the entrants for this race since

a) he wanted no duplicate numbers and
b) he had allocated blocks of numbers for various countries represented.

The tidal wave of enthusiasm for this project over ran the allocated numbers; by the end, Tim had issued over 80 numbers! Normally in a group build over a period of time, the enthusiam reaches a fever pitch at the beginning. Not so with this build; the fever pitch went all the way to the IPMS Seattle Spring Show, where they were judged. Rather than getting the normal 30-40% turn out of completed models, there were  60  models and two paintings on the table on April 16. That¹s over 70% completion of issued numbers! Several modelers who had started projects but didn¹t finish them in time for this competition have vowed to not only complete their started projects but to continue building their concept models to completion. This is unheard of in the modeling ranks.

I have a theory that has some traction about why this took off like it did; car modelers are always building hot rods but aircraft modelers almost never do. This was a chance for us to put away references to make super performing aircraft. Also, aircraft modelers usually don¹t have as much an opportunity to do flashy paint jobs as car modelers do. I think that this idea tapped into some unmet need that all modelers have to get creative and to let loose with their airbrushes.

In addition to building the models, each entrant had to have a history of their aircraft. Each of us supplied a copy of the aircraft history for display next to the model, then another copy put in a 3-ring binder for the judges to use.  Some of these "histories" have appeared in IM the last couple of months. 

There was one huge trophy that we commissioned Steve Cozad to design and build; there¹s a picture of it on this page. Steve did a beautiful job but was having some problems with the chrome for the airplane, so Bill Osborn stepped up to the plate to put a beautiful finish on it. That was for first place, but there were several winning certificates in addition to the regular first, second, and third places. They were set up specifically for this competition and reflect the light-heartedness that it is all about.

The winners were:

First, winner of the big trophy:
.......#88 Shinden (Japan) by Mike Millette

....... #48 Yak 9 ( Hungary ) by Andrew Bertschi

....... #9 Caudron -Renault  314 (France) by Jacob Russell
....... #95 Sea Fury (Canada) by Mike Millette

Mitchell/Castoldi Brilliance Award (best design)
.......#31 Do335 Zwilling ( France ) by Mike Millette

Probable Race Winner (judges¹ choice of most likely winner)
.......#88 Shinden (Japan) by Mike Millette

Best History (most creative story)
.......# 22  P-51 ³Miss Chiquita² (USA) by Tim Nelson

People¹s Choice (trophy built by Scott Kruize)
.......#71 El Horten (Argentina) by Will Perry

Flying Flirts Favorites (Honorable Mention)
.......#71 El Horten (Argentina) by Will Perry
.......#90 Norm (Japan) by Jim Schubert
.......#69 Me109ZX ( Belgium ) by Mike Millette
.......#39 Seastar (USA) by John Chilenski

There has already been some talk about what we can do to harness this kind of energy again, but it¹s all about timing and delivery. Who knows when we can do something like this again!

I would just like to thank Tim Nelson for putting this idea forward, writing up the thorough rules etc, and keeping it all on track. Great work Tim!

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