It wasn't a long drive. Only 200 or so miles from where I live in Charlottesville to Virginia Beach. But after spending 2 and a half weeks on a cross country trip in the first half of July, I wasn't eager to drive a long distance again. My apprehension increased when I hit heavy traffic after Richmond and the 3 hr drive turned into 4 and a half. But from the moment I arrived in Virginia Beach and called up Bryan (Tin_Can) on the phone, it was smooth sailing.
Via our cell phones Bryan directed me to his house, where he had graciously offered to put me up for the night. That was another welcomed relief after the expenditures of our prior trip. We headed over to the Pavilion Center in the latter part of the afternoon and proceeded to the Contest room to view the thousand or so models arrayed in front of us. It's always tough to decide where to start when you are faced with such a great selection of kits, figures, and dioramas. As we made our way around the room it became obvious that this was a competition of 'serious' modelers. The quality and workmanship was almost always way above average.
I noted that many modelers had brought a whole army of entries. Ed Kennedy, Tony Zadro, and our own Bruce Teal (Crypto1), fielded a wide array of models, dios, and/or figures.
After we had viewed a majority of the competition we headed over to the vendor room for a quick peek. I was impressed with the size of the space that IPMS gets for the show. It was a BIG room! The contest room also had plenty of space for viewers to mill about, take photos, and even talk in groups.
Knowing we were coming back Saturday we headed back to Bryan's for dinner. Steak on the barbie. It was very good (Thanks again Bryan). We went and saw 'K19: The Widowmaker'. Which was very entertaining and seemed to be true to the historical event (although I am no expert on that event).
Saturday we went back for the picture gathering. It took a few hours (and one run to Target for new camera batteries), but in the end I took about 600 photos
(yikes!). We also met up with a few users from the site, like Ron Craig and Bruce Teal, both from Richmond. I also ran into Mark Fergel of PCModeler
I headed back to Charlottesville around 2:30 (as the contest room was closing at 3pm) and made it back in record time (2hrs 30min). All in all a very enjoyable experience and one I will try to do again either in Oklahoma City (2003) or Phoenix (2004).
For the images of the show please go here