by Floyd Werner
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I was recently involved in a unique
experience. I was asked to instruct at a Modelers’ Retreat in New
Freedom, PA over September 10-12 sponsored by In-Scale.com (http://www.in-scale.com)
Think of this as a big classroom on modeling. What made this
experience so much fun is that it wasn't developed for "advanced"
modelers; rather, for the inexperienced and younger modeler. I
thought this was a great idea. Some parents don’t have time,
patience or the skills necessary to teach younger potential modelers.
Some inexperienced modelers just want to learn new techniques to
take their models to the next level.
I was tasked to teach airbrushing. I wrote to
all the airbrush companies to see if they wanted to participate. I
only heard back from one, IWATA. IWATA was very helpful and
generous. They gave me two Revolution airbrushes, one single and
one dual action airbrush, to demonstrate and give away as door
prizes. They also gave some masking material that was also given
Because this was a first time event, turn out
was light with a total of 13 people showing up. Three of the
attendees were juniors, aged 10 to 13. The original idea was that
we would have classes on all three days; however, because of the
lack of advance bookings we ended up consolidating the classes into
Saturday. This didn't mean that modeling didn't happen on Friday
night. After settling in front of a fire and eating MREs (I guess I
did miss them a little, very little) which were brought by one of
the modelers/campers, t we retired to the lodge for a little
impromptu building. A very good time was had by all. The kids
started everything from Godzilla to a Custom Chevy Van. The older
modelers started cars, tanks and airplanes. It was interesting to
note the difference in modeling tastes between the age groups.
With the consolidation of classes came a
reduction in costs. Cost was reduced from $25.00 for adults and
$15.00 for kids to $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for the juniors.
There were kits available there and plenty of tools to use. All
the modeler had to do was show up.
The lodge was huge with tables set up for
building and airbrushing. We had no less than eight airbrushes set
up for use.
Dave Kallstrom – owner and operator of In-Scale.com
– started off by showing modeling basics to the new modelers. The
class was well received with everybody offering something.
This was followed up by Rick Stambaugh showing
how to weather with oils. While slated towards the armor side of
the house everybody learned something. I learned how to apply the
dust and how to weather the Sherman tank. The weathering class was
great and we practiced what we had learned.
Following Rick, I took my turn and taught
airbrush basics using FineScale Modeler article handouts as
references. The first class was a little slow because I went into
We broke for lunch and returned for part two of
the airbrushing seminar. This became the best part of the day, as I
started out by showing how the IWATAs worked and what the advantages
were for the specific features of each of the donated airbrushes. I
had a Tamiya He-219 and the side skirt for a Panzer Mk III to
practice on, but first everyone got to get some hands-on practice
with a large sheet of styrene. When everyone was comfortable with
the airbrush it was time to demonstrate pre-shading (read practice
disguised as a weathering technique). They thought they were just
practicing until I revealed how we would take advantage of their
learning issues. T that point I just stood back and let everyone
practice, offering advice as necessary. Then we incorporated Rick's
techniques into what we had done with the pre-shading and painting.
The results were amazing (that is amazing in a good way). My time
ran over, so we ended up not doing the scheduled seminar on figure
painting. This is not as bad as it may seem – for we have committed
to holding this event again next year, and we will hold it then. At
the end of the practice we awarded Frank Froment the double action
airbrush and Dave Kallstrom the single action unit. Sweitzer’s
Hobby Depot in York, PA donated an Aztek airbrush and that was taken
home by Lars Staaby. Everyone who showed up got a door prize. Not
a bad investment for $10! Everyone who attended received a door
prize which was valued higher than the entrance fee – sometimes it
pays to be first!
We broke for dinner and then it was back to
build and practice some more. Sunday brought a business meeting
where we talked about doing it again next year as long as the camp
was willing and they were. We also talked about getting together
through out the year and model together overnighters. The best
thing about the whole weekend was the chance to make new friends. I
really enjoyed the experience.
Now what if you want to do this in your area,
first off you need a catalyst and leader which in our case was Dave
Kallstrom. Next you will need a place to do it, it could be a hobby
shop, somebody's house or someplace similar. Make sure you have
power for air compressors. We learned that the three days of
seminars was not doable - some people did not like the price (which
was as low as it could go), and some could not make the three days.
You will need some "experts", but you have to be careful here. This
is a learning weekend, not an IPMS or AMPS contest. Check your egos
at the door. There should be an open exchange of ideas and minds
should be open to new possibilities. Everyone has an idea of how a
look should be achieved and there are many ways to get there. Your
technique may not work for everybody. I've said it before - "MODELING
IS FUN!" If it isn't, then don't do it. Take up stamp
collecting or something less competitive. Modeling is a hobby for
most of us and should be fun. This is the message we need to pass
on to the kids. This whole process was done by volunteers and no
one was paid. I believe that is the way it should be.
One thing that should go without saying is that
the local club should support the project. For the most part that
didn't happen in this case. This was a shame, as the exchange of
ideas could have been that much better.
Finally have something for everyone to do and
cater to the lowest skilled modeler, especially if they are
children. They are the future of our hobby. We are experiencing a
renaissance to our hobby, but not everyone can afford it. It may be
nice to have $150 1/32nd scale F-105s but a child will not purchase
it. We need to cater a little more to the future of our hobby
before there is no future to the hobby.
If you can find a sponsor for the event, great,
but that should not be the sole reason for not holding it. All that
it takes is a passion for modeling and the desire to learn new
skills while teaching others the fun that is our hobby.
I'd like to thank Dave Kallstrom for the idea,
IWATA for the airbrushes, Sweitzer’s Hobby Depot for their
donations, and especially Summit Grove Camp in New Freedom, PA who
hosted us. I cannot begin to say how much help they were in setting
it up and supporting the whole concept of a modelers’ weekend. I
look forward to next year.
If you have any questions or would like to
discuss the weekend please email me. Check out
Remember MODELING IS FUN!
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Text and Images Copyright © 2004 by
Floyd S. Werner Jr.
Page Created 26 November, 2004
25 November, 2004
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