Shane Curtis is the president of the IPMS Prison City Modelers.
1. Shane, can you tell us about the upcoming IPMS Prison City Modeler's contest and model show at the Heritage Center on Sept. 21?
This contest is an opportunity for everyone to get together and admire some of the amazing projects that modelers from the area have created. We start with registration from 9 a.m. to noon, and will have an awards ceremony at 3 p.m. Throughout the day, we have several model vendors from the area that will have some great deals on model kits, a terrific raffle with scores of model kits available, and of course time to view the work of some really great builders.
There is a fee for entering models in the contest, but the event is free and open to anyone who wants to come look around.
2. How many modelers usually show off their creations and what sort of models are on display?
We typically have 40 or more modelers bring in more than 130 models each year.
We have 36 model categories this year, with everything you can imagine from airplanes and armored vehicles to cars, ships, figures, and dioramas.
Most of our entries are built (and modified) from typical plastic model kits, but we have some contestants who build their models completely from scratch, and others who use different media such as metal or paper.
Besides local participants, we have contestants from cities throughout the region such as Omaha, Des Moines, Wichita, and Branson every year.
3. As president of the club, how many shows do you attend a year and at which venue do you get the most participants?
In addition to our own annual contest, I usually make it to two or three other contests each year. Kansas City is fortunate to have a handful of very good model clubs that put on great shows, including the West Central Missouri model club, Great Plains model club, Kansas City Slammers model club, and Kansas City Armor Modeling Preservation Society (AMPS).
The Slammers' Heartland Nationals Car Contest in June probably draws the most participants, but each club does a great job.
4. What is the secret to creating a show-winning model?
It's not really a secret, but it takes talent in a variety of areas to truly capture a vehicle or person.
Besides model-building skills and great attention to detail, you have to be an artist, to know what looks pleasing to the eye.
You have to be a historian, to research your subject and make your model as accurate as possible.
And you have to be a creative problem-solver, because no build ever goes the way you think it will.
Page 2 of 2 - However, you do not have to be an artist to enjoy this hobby or even compete.
When we judge models at the contest, we look for the basics—things such as construction, alignment, and finish.
Coming to our monthly meetings is a great opportunity to learn new techniques or seek solutions to a particular building problem.
5. Is this a good hobby for children and teens and what is the best way for someone who is interested in modeling to become involved in the club?
It definitely is a great hobby for children and teens, because it inculcates a set of skills when we build—from the physical, with hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, to the more intellectual, such as problem-solving and the ability to "see" how something will look before it is completed.
For the contest, we have an entire junior class for those below 18 years of age, so that they compete against other modelers their age. And it's an inexpensive hobby to get into. We meet every third Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Leavenworth Public Library downtown.
We can also be reached through our website at www.leavenworthmodelersclub.org. Hope to see you at the contest on Saturday!
— Rimsie McConiga