A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

April 16, 2021

Florida Trip Part 1 - Jaxcon 2021

We are back from Florida visiting our family. We had a fun and productive trip. My back precluded my playing golf, so I was the caddy. Walks on the beach and stretching did help and I am feeling better.

My two models on display and their medals
 The first model related event was Jaxcon 2021. That IPMS meet was held in a very large auditorium of a local church. Everyone was really friendly and happy to discuss their models.  About 250 very nice models in several categories were on display. That was about half the normal number.  After lunch, the organizers went about judging the models for medals and best of categories. They awarded bronze, silver and gold.  This meet does judging a little different from others in that they assess models against a standard, but what the standard was I do not know.  Later I learned  that they assessed that any model built out of the box, i.e. stock, could not qualify for a gold.  

I had two models on display, the 1/32 Land Merrimack and the 1/56th Battle for Aachen. The Land Merrimack got a gold and the Battle for Aachen got a silver. I suspected that would be the case as many IPMS modelers are accustomed to super-detailed, larger scale models and smaller scale models have to be really outstanding to attract attention.  The fact that the Land Merrimack is totally scratch built, and has working brakes and an operable cannon also attracts attention.

My brother's display of 1/72nd scale armor models
was awarded a Gold Medal.
My brother had several models on display and he received a gold, 4 silvers and a bronze. Given that he took up modeling about 18 months ago that is quite an achievement. 

In general I am not that enamored with model contests. So I liked the idea of awarding medals according to a standard. But there were some extremely well built models that did not receive medals. From what I could tell, if a model was not weathered, it did not receive an award, no matter how finely built except for model show cars, like hot rods.
These ship models were well built but did not get medals

Possibly the best paint I have ever 
seen on a model
Speaking of hot rods, there was one model hot rod that had the most impressive paint job I have ever seen on a model car. The builder was a retired auto body painter and he did an amazing job. He received a gold medal and best car model award.

There were a few of the large scale armor models on display. These models out of the box are so well detailed it is amazing.  The photo below shows a 1/35 and a 1/16 scale Abrams tank adjacent to each other.

More about our Florida adventures in a later posts.


  1. For those of us who are ignorant about car model paint jobs, what made this model's paint job so special, or difficult, or complex?

    1. That’s a good question. If you’ve ever tried to paint a model car you will realize how hard it is to get a scale glossy finish. Usually model cars have a glossy finish are way too thick and out of scale. This man’s model had a scale gloss finish, that was absolutely flawless. It also included some alternating colors that created a pattern. So he applied many layers of paint.

      One of the reasons I like to build trains and armor models is that if I get a dust spec or a smear I can cover it with weathering. A good car model has to be flawless and his was. Model cars are very tricky to build, but overall I think the most difficult modeling discipline is figure sculpting and painting. The reason I say this is that everyone is an expert in looking at a figure and they know when the proportions are wrong etc. Also to paint a figure realistically is very challenging. But painting car models is probably the next most difficult thing in the modeling disciplines. The fellow who painted this told me that he built a miniature side draft spray booth so that he could paint with regular car paint , which are urethane now. But they are still very toxic.