The vendorís hall of the 2005 IPMS National Convention held at Atlanta, Georgia from July 20 through July 23, 2005 was billed as the largest hobby shop in the world. If you have never been to a "Nats", when one is scheduled near you, drop on by to seem the common and the strange in every field of modeling. Although modeling warships is one of the smaller areas in the galaxy of scale modeling, warship modelers were well served with appearance of a wide field of producers and/or retailers of products of the nautical persuasion. However, if you ever thought that we are a hobby that is dominated by "Rivet Counters", you should see the minutiae found in armor modeling and I assume aircraft modeling. One vendor specialized only in 1:35 scale Sherman fittings. Hulls, turrets, equipment, fittings, all Sherman, all of the time. The friend I was with is also a tread head and pointed out one Sherman hull, as he stated that this was the only variant that had a crease at a particular location. Even Trumpeter had a display of Sherman sprue test shots with six different Sherman turrets. We ship modelers appear laissez-faire next to some of our brethren in other fields. However, let those in other modeling orbits rave over their latest and greatest, in this article we will see the personalities and products that were at the convention in warship modeling. 

Classic Warships Publications

Steve Wiper of Classic Warships Publications made the long trek from Tucson to Atlanta. In case you missed Chris Deckerís announcement, Trident Hobbies has acquired the patterns to the resin ship lineup that was produced by Classic. Classic will concentrate fully on their current and expanding line of publications. Not only will Steve continue to add new volumes to his renowned warship monograph line but Classic is now the US publisher for the Ship Craft line from Chatham in the UK. The two volumes from last year were on King George V and the Deutschland Class warships. Volumes for this year will be on the Yorktown Class carriers and Type VII U-Boats. Additionally, there was talk that Steve would become the US distributor for Model Art, a Japanese line of very high quality, soft cover books that cover naval, as well as military and aerial subjects. In fact Model Art was present in the next hall over from the vendorís hall at the Dragon Expo. Naval topics that were present covered the ships at Tsushima, Kongo Class battleships and the Yamato. 

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Commanders/Iron Shipwright

If you examine the two photographs of the crew at the Commanders/Iron Shipwright tables you will see from left to right; Bradford Chaucer, Robert Vancel, Camille Scanell, James Corley, Ed Grune, Darren Scanell, Ted Paris, Jon Warneke and Bruce Buchner. Actually Chainsaw Corley did not work at the ISW table as he had his own set up next to them. However, the other workers at Nautilus Models had ejected the Chainsaw because of his bizarre behavior and he found sanctuary with ISW. ISW had the most new releases of any ship vendor at the show. Specifically released at the 2005 Nationals were the Scharnhorst with main and secondary brass barrels by Steve Nutall, Guam LPH, Mars replenishment ship, Albany CG-10, Canberra CAG, Ting Yuen Chinese battleship, Halsey- Leahy Class CG, Clifton Sprague frigate, Hamilton USCG cutter and USS Cedar tender in 1:350 scale and Novgorod and Popov in 1:192 scale. In addition to these 12 new releases patterns of future releases were show, including USS Little Rock CLG in 1:350, USS Wichita modern auxiliary in 1:350, USS Texas 1895 in 1:700 and a huge HMS Victoria 1890 in 1:192 scale. 

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Cottage Industry Models

William Blackmore of Cottage Industry Models specializes in the warships of the American Civil War in 1:96 scale. He brought the full line up of his products to the show including the USS Keokuck double turreted monitor, CSS Palmetto State and his newest, the CSS Arkansas. As you can see from the photographs, these kits work into large and very impressive replicas with interior details. Ironically it was his model of a sailing ship, the revenue cutter Alexander Hamilton that sold out first for him. Also available were 1:72 scale models of the CSS Hunley and CSS David

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JAG Collective

Based in Orlando, the three amigos of JAG were the "Men in Black" as John Snyder dubbed them because of their matching togs. Tom Gardner, Pavel Vacatta and Jamie McKenna drove up from Orlando, Florida to Atlanta with the full JAG lineup of superlatively cast 1:700 scale modern USN ships and accessories. From time to time modelers ask about the quality of JAG kits. With JAG you are always assured to receive a superbly cast model right out of the box. The ship release for the show was an early USS Forrest Sherman with three different bridge styles. There were also new accessory packages of modern Iowa Class turrets, WWII 5-inch/38 turrets perfect for a H-P 1945 Idaho and a bushel basket of 1:700 modern armor. For those into mystery, go to the JAG web site to see a suspicious photograph of a mystery ship part. This part looks suspiciously like the island for a modernized Essex

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Loose Cannon

Hugh Letterly of Colorado (Loose Cannon West) and David Angelo of Florida (Loose Cannon East) also had a good chunk of the Loose Cannon lineup on display and for sale. The biggest release for Loose Cannon was the 1:700 USS Midway 1945. The huge kit comes with plenty of Corsairs and Helldivers for deck decoration. During the show David spent a good deal of his time building a sample of the Midway for modelers to view. When I first saw the model on Friday afternoon it was painted and had the flight deck attached. By close of business Saturday flight deck details were on, as well as the island and starboard elevator with its intricate brass support structure. The Midway looked especially fine in the two-tone Ms 22 False Horizon camouflage scheme. Hugh was positively giddy with excitement over the new releases from Loose Cannon West. He is starting a whole line of models on British tramp steamers that will add a great deal of color and variety to anyoneís collection. He also has a very comprehensive line of the USN Gator Navy from WWII, including a new LSM(R) Rocket Support Ship. Loose Cannon acquired the Toms Modelworks pattern for a 1:700 scale Gambier Bay CVE, however, Loose Cannon includes a wooden flight deck produced by Nautilus, in their kit. 

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Nautilus Models

James Chainsaw Corley spent little time at his own Nautilus Models tables. Other than a small amount of time spent harassing unsuspecting Canadian tourists, Chainsaw was very busy as he was in charge of the vendor arrangements at the convention. New Nautilus products included a new extended wintergarten sail for the Revell 1:72 Type VII U-Boat and new Electric Boat fleet boat sail for the Revell Lionfish. Of course, there was a wide selection of the Chainsaw wooden decks available for sale. 

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Trident Models

Chris Decker did a bang up business in selling models from various manufacturers from across the world. He had giant Saturn missiles, armor, aircraft, as well as a comprehensive selection of warship kits, including the gigantic 1:200 scale Yamato from Nichimo. Of course Chris also had six kits from his own Midship Models line. There were the four destroyers of the Bagley, Benham and Gridley Classes released last fall and his newest releases, models of the round bridge and square bridge Cleveland Class in 1:700 scale. Chris had the artwork for his next four releases from Midship Models, four completely different destroyers from the Mahan Class. Trident is also going into a brass line of carrier decks in 1:700 scale. Present were photo-etched decks for three Japanese carriers. Midship will greatly expand its offerings in the future. As mentioned earlier, Trident acquired the line of resin models that had been produced by Classic Warships. Most of these have been out of production for some time. So if you have been waiting for a particular 1:700 Classic kit, watch for the availability under the Midship nameplate. Midship will produce the 1:700 scale models from the Classic line. 

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Trumpeter/Stevens International

Stevens International had a display but everything in it was produced by Trumpeter. The products included armor, aircraft and naval kits. The two newest kits from Trumpeter were the 1:700 scale Blue Ridge and Mount Whitney command ships, both of which were snapped up during the show. However, even more impressive were the test shots for soon to be released Trumpeter kits. For ship enthusiasts there were test shots for three 1:700 scale Trumpeter releases; USS Lexington CV-2, USS Baltimore CA and Admiral Kuznetsov Soviet Carrier. 

Trumpeter - Stevens International

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Yankee Modelworks

John Sheridan of Yankee Modelworks had a very impressive lineup of new products in 1:350 scale. He had plentiful kits of all four of his Japanese cruisers; Mikuma 1937 CL as built with fifteen 6.1-inch guns; Mogami 1942 CA at Midway; Mogami 1944 CA/CV at Leyte Gulf; and Tone. His newest, just released at the show, was the USS Wichita CA 1942. This model was actually cast by Steve Wiper for the Classic Warships line. The casting on this baby is almost flawless and is some of the finest work that I have seen in this large scale. The Wichita, as well as all of the other 1:350 scale kits that were produced by Classic, will now be produced by Yankee Modelworks, so there should be more big Kirishimas on the way. YMW shined not just with full kits but also with accessories. Yes Virginia, the YMW backdate for the Trumpeter USS Lexington does exist and John had plenty of them available. Some of the nicest eye candy that you are likely to see are the comprehensive decal sets produced by YMW for the aircraft of the 1:350 scale aircraft for the Trumpeter USS Nimitz. In one pack YMW gives you all of the decals that you will need for a full wing of aircraft. The first two sets provided decals for Carrier Air Wing 8 in two different time periods, so the squadron mix varied. Great stuff! YMW also had there latest two photo-etched sets designed for Trumpeter kits, the Lexington and North Carolina.

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Dragon Expo

At the convention center there were three halls next to each other crammed with models. The first hall from the door was for the 3,000+ models entered in the IPMS convention. The middle hall was for the vendors for the 2005 IPMS Nationals with more than 400 selling their products inside. The third hall held Dragon Expo 2005. This event, obviously sponsored by Dragon USA, had some of the biggest plastic kit producers in the world in attendance. In addition to Dragon, Hasegawa and Tamiya had large walk-in displays with knowledgeable staff in attendance, available to talk about the companyís existing product lines, as well as new products. Other big companies with displays were Italieri and Zvezda. Model Art from Japan had a very nice display of their excellent publications available for purchase.

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Well, that is it for the vendors and products from the 2005 IPMS National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. For 2006 the new products will be found in Kansas City, Missouri.