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IPMS-Tidewater: More Than Plastic Modeling, but a Celebration of Craft
By Nancy E. Sheppard

On the first Friday of every month at 6:30 P.M., plastic model craftsmen from all over Hampton Roads (including York County and Poquoson) gather in the second-floor library at the Virginia Air & Space Museum to share in each other’s work, learn techniques, and engage in a sense of joint comradery. It is hard not to be swept into the hospitality of the approximately fifty members of the International Plastic Modelers’ Society (or IPMS)-Tidewater Chapter while looking on in awe at the intricate and authentic details that each member brings to their pieces.

In the early 1960’s, IPMS was originally founded in Great Britain and made its way across the pond in 1964. The IPMS-Tidewater Chapter was founded in the latter part of that decade and has been going strong ever since. Members come from all backgrounds, age ranges, modeling interest (including automobiles, armament, aviation, and science fiction), and abilities. With current chapter president, Clint Mills, at the helm, the number one thing they emphasize is that all are welcome.

The format of each meeting is simple and rather informal. Members set up in the library’s lobby with pieces that they are working on so they can share in each other’s techniques, challenges, and learn from one another the history behind each piece. The details woven into each piece is outstanding, including one member adding tiny MRE packages.

Inside the library, a raffle table is set up where members can buy tickets towards kits and supplies while others have various items available for purchase. Members discuss new techniques they have discovered, news, and a demonstration is usually given. The air of the meeting is warm and welcoming, with a lot of fun and laughter.

Every year, IPMS-Tidewater participates in several shows, competitions, and conventions throughout the United States, where they also sponsor different categorical awards. On April 21st, they will travel to Fairfax to participate in IPMS Northern Virginia Modelers Model Classic 2018. Later this year, some will go to Phoenix for IPMS-USA’s annual convention. IPMS-Tidewater has hosted this event four times.

Additionally, members have the opportunity to display their work as part of a permanent exhibit in a large glass cabinet on the first floor of the Virginia Air & Space Museum. The club rotates pieces at least twice a year, often in keeping with a historical event or theme.

While membership in IPMS-USA is desired, it is not required to take part in IPMS-Tidewater. Their desire is to continue to enrich each other with their work while opening up to others who might be interested in the craft.

If you would like more information about IPMS-Tidewater,  visit their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/IPMS-Tidewater  or stop by their meetings the first Friday of each month at the Virginia Air and Space Museum at 6:30 P.M. (note: because the museum is closed at that time, entry into the building can be obtained through the employee entrance on Bridge Street).
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