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World Model Expo 2017 – Chicago


On 6 July – 9 July, 2017, figure modelers/painters and military vehicle modelers from around the world met in Chicago, Illinois, USA for what many consider the premier figure show today.  But, it’s not just figures that draw people to attend and exhibit their works.  Military vehicle modelers attend in numbers also.  The term military models includes aircraft and ships as well as railroad equipment used by the military also.  The World Model Expo  occurs every 3 years in a different city since 1993.  In 2014, the WME was hosted in Stresa, Italy and in Montreux, Switzerland, 2011.  Many well known and famous figure and military vehicle artists from around the world attend this show.  Seminars are scheduled over the 3 days to share skills from the masters, such as Adam Wilder, to aid and further promote this hobby.  Jim Mesko, modeler and author, was in attendance.   Much of the effort to produce this show fell on the guys and gals of the MMSI Chicago club. They and many others are to be commended for having a well attended, organized and successful effort.

There was a good sized vendor area geared mostly to the figure side of the hobby.  However, many items of interest to the military vehicle modeler were to be found too.  I paid special attention (and money) to various items of groundwork suitable for a model base displaying one of my tanks.  This and many good deals from the book vendors made me a little less wealthy over the 3 days !

I never heard the total number of entries for the show but it was announced over 300 models were judged in the Ordnance (military vehicles) classes.  These classes are Ordnance Painters and Ordnance Open.  Painters is judged like the name states with a critique of the paint skills exhibited.  Open is a combination of painting, conversion and scratch building skills though one can find models with limited extra work to produce the final model.  There is a further breakdown of class for those who are relatively new and are still developing skills.  This is the Basic class also judged as Painter or Open.

The judging for this show is known as Open Judging and the models are evaluated against a standard and not against one another (just like the MAFVA Nationals).  The judges are all experienced modelers with years of skill developed through hard work and effort.  They are also drawn from across the globe.  The awards are presented to the deserving modelers for their work exhibited with a Gold, Silver or Bronze metal or a Certificate of Merit.  Over 700 awards were issued to the deserving winners at the show on the afternoon of the final day.  I can add, with all honesty, this show had many of the most stunning figures and models on display I have seen.

A big ‘Thank You’ to the hosting club, MMSI Chicago, which was the home of the late, great Shep Paine. A number of his works were on display – a great shame that he’s no longer around to add his personal commentary on them. RIP Shep.

The next World Model Expo is announced for Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2020.   Mark your calendars for this show.  You won’t be disappointed.

  • Mark Ford – July 2017 – Washington. USA


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