In case you didn't have the opportunity to visit the 2019 IPMS US National Convention, here are some photographs of the vendor section of the show. Held
August 7 through 10, 2019 in the Chattanooga, Tennessee convention center, there was a large selection of vendors from throughout the world. Two
Steelnavy
sponsors were present,
Free Time Hobbies and Tom's Modelworks/White Ensign Models. We'll start first with the Lowe Legion and Free Time Hobbies with
Russ Lowe, Patriarch of the Pride, father and grandfather. Then there is Brandon Lowe, Young Turk, son of Russ and father of assorted Lowe Legionnaires.
Finally there are the newest recruits of the Lowe Legion, starting off life like veterans by attending the National modelling convention. There was so much to see
that I delayed in making purchases. I really wanted to see if I could get the new Trumpeter 1:350 scale
HMS York. When I looked, I didn't see that Free Time
had it in stock but
Richard Harden of Tom's Modelworks assured me that he had seen it in the stacks of Free Time Hobbies. Unfortunately, iit had been sold
out but one of the efficient minions of
Free Time assured me that there were plenty more to be had in the Free Time fortress in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Simply go
on line and order one. I then saw a show special in the 1:350 scale Japanese heavy cruiser,
Atago. It was priced at $79, ten dollars less then the normal price. I
decided to get one but waited to make my purchase until I had seen other purchasing opportunities. That was a mistake. Later, as I went back to
Free Time to
pick up that beauty, there was another happy modeller in front of me with the last copy of the
Atago that Free Time had at the show. With I cry of anguish, I
blurted, "I was going to get that kit!". The modeler chuckled and said, "I'm sorry." Sure. Yeah.  The incident simply illustrated the old term, "He who snoozes,
losses." I didn't bring enough money for everything I wanted to acquire but
Free Time did get almost all of my available funds. I did get two older Hasegawa 1:32
scale kits of 1930's fighters, a Boeing P-12E US Army fighter and a navy Boeing F4B-4. I love the yellow wings aircraft of the time. I paid only $15 each but they
had also had a P-26 Peashooter but it had been sold by the time I went back to buy the kits. These were the first course of buys as I went back  to
Free Time for
the main course.
Free Time had all of the newest Combrig kits at the show. My limited funds, as I had wasted funds on making my car payments, restricted me
to only two of the newest
Combrig kits, the British battleships, HMS Bellerophon and HMS Colossus. Anyway, here are photos of Free Time.
Next to Free Time was the display and tables of Tom's Modelworks and White Ensign Models. Richard Harden had made the trip from Los Angeles to
Chattanooga for the convention. Richard told me that it is cheaper to fly from Los Angeles to London for the Telford UK convention than to fly to Chattanooga. He
mentioned that this November he will be at Telford with Mad Pete (
Peter Hall), conspiring about future White Ensign Model designs and releases. Richard also had
a quantity of
Model Monkey products available at his display, along with tons of photo-etch frets from Tom's and White Ensign.
There were a number of plastic kit manufacturers from throughout the world present at the convention. Although they don't produce ship models, Wingnut Wings
from New Zealand has the best 1:32 scale World War One aircraft kits available. I have quite a few of them, including their largest kit, a Felixstowe F2a Flying Boat.
Wingnut Wings is the creation of Peter Jackson, who produced the movies of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. The Felixstowe kit will soon be the third
largest kit from Wingnut. I knew about their kit of a Lancaster WWII RAF bomber, which is spectacular, but I did not know that they will be releasing a
Handley-Page O/100-O/400. They had the Lancaster, Handley-Page and Fokker Dr I triplane for their future releases. The Lancaster model is so large that Wingnut
has designed it so that the wings and tail can be easily removed for storage, if necessary.
Big name plastic kit manufacturers were amply present. One of the biggest is Tamiya. The Tamiya display had their latest products but I didn't see any of their kits
for sale at the display. This was the case with most of the plastic kit manufacturers.
Another company from Japan that of which I had never heard was Zoukei-Mura, which has plastic aircraft kits under the name of Super Wing Series. They appear
to be mostly 1:48 scale aircraft. Unlike all of the other plastic kit manufacturers, Zoukei had brought some of their kits for sale. They were very lovely, detailed kits
of US, Japanese and German aircraft.
Airfix was present with their display but other kit manufacturers shared display space. Revell, Revell of Germany, Monogram and Renwal shared a display. AFV
Club, Hasegawa, Bronco, Rye Field Models and HK Models also shared a display. Special Models came from the Czech Republic with tons of their plastic/resin kits
for sale. I was very tempted by their 1:32 scale P-400 fighter. I have always liked the P-39 and its variants, which includes the P-400. When I got insurance for my
first car my State Farm agent had flown a P-400 out of Guadalcanal in World War Two. Unfortunately my limited funds wouldn't even cover all of the ship models
for which I drooled.
Major distributors like Squadron and MRC were present with products available for purchase. Quite a few paint and special product producers were present and a
host of kit and book sellers.
This is just a taste of the 2019 Chattanooga Convention, covering vendors only. A separate hall had all of the model entries and all I had time to only examine and
photograph ship entries, and even with the ships I photographed only most major surface ship entries. Sorry submarine, auxiliary and small combatant lovers. If
you have a chance, go to a regional and especially a national IPMS convention. However, bring a lot of money because no matter how much you bring, you'll find
more products that you want than you can afford. The 2020 IPMS US National Convention will be in San Marcos, Texas.

Steve Backer

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