Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

Modelers' Retreat
in New Freedom, PA

by Floyd Werner



HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com




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 away. 

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 the basics.   

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 http://www.in-scale.com     




Modelers' Retreat 2004


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Text and Images Copyright © 2004 by Floyd S. Werner Jr.
Page Created 26 November, 2004
Last updated 25 November, 2004

Back to HyperScale Main Page

Back to Reviews Page