Krista let me attend the 2018 IPMS/USA National Convention by myself, since she wasn't really thrilled with being in Phoenix in August. But I wouldn't let a little heat keep me from showing up. We had the annual space-modelers group dinner on Wednesday night: there were enough people to fill two large tables. The number of entries in the RealSpace category seemed to be lower than previous conventions, but the quality was top-notch. David Carlton's cutaway Mercury-Redstone 3 was a masterpiece and fully deserving of the Best Real Space and Sci-Fi Model award. The convention also had a display only area that included Mike Mackowski's Gemini variations that were really neat.
Thursday was the tour of the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson. I was one of the bus wranglers: making sure everyone who got on the bus in Phoenix returned in that same bus from Tucson. Other than that, I was free to roam the various hangers and tried to walk around outside, but opted for the (unairconditioned but shaded) tram tour of the outside aircraft. It's a pretty keen place, but try to visit in a cooler month. I was last there in November 1997, so I can definitely recommend November as a good time to visit.
Friday morning we got to tour the Northrop Grumman (formerly Orbital ATK) satellite building and testing facility. For a bunch of space geeks, it was heaven! Many thanks to Mike Mackowski who set up the tour. Mike was also the seminar coordinator for this year's convention and put together a fantastic lineup. I had to miss David Weeks's seminar on the Atlas missile and Mike Idacavage's talk about 3D printing because of the Pima tour, but I did get to Friday's Real Space seminar hosted by Rob Schorry and Kevin Kilkenny. I set up my camera to record the session for those space modelers who couldn't attend, but totally screwed up the audio so the recording is useless. (Here's a hint: if you use an external microphone, you've got to turn it on.) Rob talked about using 3D printing as a way to make parts for space modeling and showed us how he created the master parts for the RealSpace Models 1/24 scale Explorer 1 and Vanguard 1 kit. Kevin spoke about building the Space Cadet Models 1/24 scale Huygens probe. And of course, there were door prizes, including the just released RealSpace Models kit. Saturday's seminars included David Weeks's talk about Mercury and Gemini recovery helicopters and Adam K. Johnson's seminar about the spaceships of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. He's the author of 2001: The Lost Science, which is a must-have if you're a fan of the movie. (And if you're not... what's wrong with you?) It was the perfect topper for the convention.
I couldn't linger after the awards banquet, as I had a very early flight to catch the next morning, but it was always great seeing "the gang." I hope to get to next year's show on August 7-10, 2019, in Chattanooga, TN. San Marcos, TX, will be the host site for the convention in July 2020. Start making those plans!
As usual, I've limited the number of thumbnail images per gallery to 100. The photos are in the order in which I shot them. I did not heed my own advice from last year and tried to photograph everything in one day, however I didn't come close to that goal. But I did shoot the highest number of photos that I've ever shot in the contest room, so I've got going for me. Which is nice. I ran through two sets of batteries on my flash unit and had to try upping the ISO value to something where I could shoot via available light. But I wasn't terribly happy with those results and finished up by using the built-in flash on my camera. So maybe next year, I'll learn my lesson. Bets, anyone?
You can access a photo through its thumbnail on each gallery page or you can page through the photos, since they're all chained together.