This last Saturday, October 8, 2016, was another Fall Festival IPMS Show at Free Time Hobbies in Blue Ridge, Georgia and time for another pilgrimage to this national
shrine of hobbyists. The weather was fine for a road trip in my retirement toy. I retired in February and to treat myself got a retirement toy. I was looking at getting a
Harley-Davidson or Indian motorcycle and finished a three day Harley riding course to make sure I could still ride a motorcycle and I could. My wife was sure I would
end up as a hood ornament on an eighteen wheeler but she was resigned to my acquisition of a hog. Then fate stepped in when I took my daughter's Jeep for an oil
change at the local Ford dealership. As I was walking around the lot I saw my retirement toy. There was a metallic crimson Ford Mustang convertible with a sandstone
top and matching leather interior. My wife was happy that I would avoid a gruesome motorcycle accident and I didn't have to wear a helmet with the convertible. With
the brilliant blue of the October sky sprinkled with white clouds Saturday was a day for the top down in the drive up the Ocoee River from Cleveland to Ducktown,
Tennessee before cutting south to Blue Ridge, Georgia. Tennessee was not playing in Knoxville so the roads were not cluttered with cars with garish orange
paraphernalia. The water was up in the Ocoee with plenty of rafts and kayaks going down the white water rapids and higher you got up the gorge the more you saw of
trees already turning to yellow or crimson. It was a very nice drive to the
Free Time Shrine. Upon arriving I had to park in a field next to the store, as there was a
good crowd present. The Lowes were present in force with Russ, Brandon and the newest modeler Beckham Lowe, age three months, all present for the festivities. The
IPMS had all types of models entered but I was interested in the naval entries.
The subjects are shown in the sequential order in which they were photographed. The first is the Robert Lee, a utility boat in HO scale from Maritime Art built by
Brian Staples.
Fred Heil heavily modified a Sea Shadow II kit from Revell to present a 1:350 scale futuristic stealth ship.
The second of Fred Heil's four entries is a Q-Ship, apparently built from the old Lindberg kit in approximately 1:350 scale.
Rob Weilacher made the fairly short trip north from Atlanta to Blue Ridge. Rob clearly likes Corsair Armada 1:700 scale cruisers, as he had two entries featuring them.
This shows the
USS Chester in 1944, which Rob modified from the Corsair Armada USS Chicago kit.
Here is the second entry from Rob Weilacher. It is another Corsair Armada 1:700 scale Treaty Cruiser, the USS Houston. There was no date for the fit but it appears
to be the 1941 pre-Pearl Harbor based upon the light gray 5L overall paint scheme.
USS Houston was part of the USN Asiatic Fleet based in Manila on December 7,
Houston is said to have received a final paint scheme called Cavite Blue based on local stock at the Cavite Yard on Luzon before her withdrawal to Java where
she became
The Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast.
This spectacular diorama by Jonathan Scott is entitled "Fuso Under Attack". It is in 1:700 scale Japanese battleship under aerial attack on October 24, 1944. This
diorama won the Best Ship and Best of Show awards.
The third entry by Fred Heil tackled the smaller scale. This entry is the USS Nimitz in 1:1200 scale by Revell of Germany with two 1:350 scale aircraft overhead.
Fred Heil's fourth entry is a subchaser from an old ITC kit in approximately 1:72 scale.
I had a chance to sit down with Scott Harris about his build of the USS Arizona from the Trumpeter 1:200 scale kit. First of all, Scott is one lucky guy. His wife likes
to go with him to the shows and will ask him if he has this kit or that kit and if he says no, will tell him to get it. At the
2015 Free Time Fall Festival IPMS Show,
when they walked in to the store Scott spotted a 1:72 scale kit of the German Dora railway gun and his wife promptly said, "
Scott, get that." Wow! I'll have to send my
wife to the same finishing course attended by Scott's wife. Scott really does like 1:200 scale, as there are really no fiddly parts. I thought that I had a lot of 1:200 scale
kits, including the Nichimo 1:200 scale Yamato but Scott beats me. He not only had every kit that I had but also somethat I did not have. The mass of the Trumpeter
Arizona model impressed me so I guess that I need to build one from my stash. I asked what after-market parts be used and was surprised to learn that he only used an
Artwox wooden deck. All the other parts were in the Trumpeter kit.
Well, that only touches the surface about visiting Free Time Hobbies. It is extra special during their yearly Fall Festival IPMS Show but it is great to go to the
Shrine anytime. If you visit, do yourself a favor and save up for the visit. I guarantee that you'll find so many kits, accessories, books, etc, that you'll have to
prioritise your purchases. If you are near Atlanta, northern Georgia, southeastern Tennessee or just want to make a fulfilling pilgrimage,
Free Time Hobbies in Blue
Ridge, Georgia is your destination.
Steve Backer