IPMS/USA 2017 Nationals, Day 2
By Matt Bittner
Because I had to work and was only at the venue for a couple of hours on day one, I was unable to provide an update. However, now that day two is in the books I can provide an overview.
People often mention how the IPMS/USA Nationals is the largest hobby shop in these United States of America, and some people claim the world. That I can not attest to as I haven't been to any other event outside of the US but within the US yes, this is definitely the largest hobby shop in this land.
There are 85 vendors of all sorts here, in the general vicinity of Omaha, Nebraska, arrayed in one large conference room, one medium-sized conference room, and three smaller rooms. To get to the two largest vendor rooms you must travel through Vendor's Alley sponsored by Sprue Brothers Models. Once inside one of the larger vendor rooms it's easy to be overwhelmed. The best bet is to have a plan, either follow a list of items you want to purchase and track down those vendors or - better yet - travel up and down each aisle, discovering as you go.
When you enter the largest vendor area the first three vendors you see are Grex, Yellow-Wings Decals and The Glue Looper. That last one is a success story if there ever was one. At first people were skeptical about a tool dedicated to applying liquid cement and CA but as people started using them they knew this was a tool worth having. So much so that the people running The Glue Looper (Mr. and Mrs. Alfter) have stated they're running out of items! Not a hugely bad thing, it means they're successful, but bad in the sense that some modelers might not be able to discover just how much The Glue Looper has become a neccessary modeling tool for most. In fact, they're demoing - and selling - their latest Looper, V4. Fresh off a successful Kickstarter campaign they have the new Loopers in the house and those too are selling well. Imagine depositing a drop of CA smaller than the tip of a pin! That's what Version 4 does for you.
Not only are there kit manufacturers and large hobby vendors, but there are also decal producers, such as Yellow-Wings Decals already mentioned, as well as Starfighter Decals and Barracuda Studios, along with companies primarily geared toward aftermarket such as Aires. Travel down the aisles and discover things you never knew about. Sure, there are the big companies - for example Eduard has a huge presence as does Roll Models - but there are also many tables devoted to people selling older kits. In fact Rare-Plane Detective has quite the large presence and if you can't find the kit you're looking for here, in the Omaha-area, at this year's Nats, it's either an extremely rare piece or you're just not looking hard enough. Heck, someone has a few of the Esoteric USN 'tweeners! Those are almost as rare as hen's teeth.
So if there is anything you would need or want in the modeling world, the IPMS/USA 2017 Nationals is the place to be. Heck, there are still two days left so why not travel to the Omaha, Nebraska, area and join us! You'll also see paint manufacturers such as Vallejo and Mission Models just to name two. UMM-USA is here not only selling kits he imports but - more importantly - selling his excellent range of tools.
Tomorrow I'll type about all the extremely well done and unique models. I could never be a judge because the level of modeling skill displayed during this event is truly out of this world.
Oh, and keep in mind the people behind these excellent vendors, and the excellent members of IPMS/USA Fort Crook running the show, are only human so give them some slack if they're either not available at a specific time (and definitely come back and find them) or are otherwise preoccupied.