Group sponsors event for local model makersWritten by Matt Liasse | | email@example.com
Steve Alberts has four showcases and five file cabinets filled with the model armor he builds.
“If you saw my basement, you’d go, ‘Oh, my god,’” he said. “And [the models] are starting to pile up on my desk.”
His hobby began with building model cars when he was in kindergarten. He moved on to airplanes, eventually to armor. Now, he usually works on them in his basement on weekends.
“[It] depends on how much my wife lets me go down there and work on them,” he said.
People sharing Alberts’ interest in building models meet as the International Plastic Modelers Society (IPMS). The Toledo chapter, the Toledo Plastic Modelers, meet twice a month to show what they build. The 30 members build model planes, cars, armor and more.
Alberts joined in 1975, others even earlier.
“We’ve gotten old together,” he said.
The club is sponsoring the Northwest Ohio Invitational on March 9, an annual model contest open to the public. Guests of all ages are invited to the Ramada Toledo Conference Center, 3536 Secor Road, beginning at 9 a.m. Members of the club will judge the general public’s models for a chance to win in 46 categories. For $15, adults can register three entries into the contest; $5 allows kids unlimited entries. Items have to be entered by noon so judging can start shortly after.
To keep things fair, the Toledo Plastic Modelers will not enter their models into the contest. They will have a separate internal contest instead.
Anyone not entering the contest can still shop at vendor’s tables.
Toledo is in the middle of a popular area for IPMS; there are chapters in Dayton, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Chicago and Pittsburgh. President Phil Palmer said the goal of the club is to keep everyone interested in building models.
“It’s a good group of guys,” he said. “We all have a common interest.”
Palmer builds model planes, mostly modern jets, and has been building since he was a kid. He grew up in West Virginia in the ’50s, a time when a lot of public places were closed because of a polio epidemic. Palmer’s father introduced him to building models as a hobby.
An interest in history is common for club members, Palmer said. Many build models specific to certain eras, like tanks from World War II.
Palmer said there is a sense of camaraderie, even though they build different types of models.
“The skills are still the same,” Palmer said. “That’s kind of what brings it all together.”
There is no actual building of models at the meetings, but Palmer said he would like to one day.
“Most of these guys have been together for a long time,” Palmer said. “If we could get some new people interested in learning, we certainly could do some building sessions.”
Since Palmer joined the club in 1985, he has won awards for his models in national contests.
Another member of the club, Harley Copic, doesn’t make models but uses others’ for oil paintings. He has been a member of the club since 1973. Copic has some of his paintings in the Pentagon. He has traveled to Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan for his paintings. Once overseas, he takes photographs focusing on aviation, then paints when he gets home.
Anyone interested in the club can find more information at toledoplasticmodelers.org.