Event Report from IPMS Florida 2012, Part 2

Event Report from IPMS Florida 2012, Part 2

Good afternoon to all of our SWS fans!
I will now begin Part 2 of my IPMS Florida event report.

- Contents -
  • * Thank you to the Rosen Inn.
  • * Sold out one after the other, thank you so much!!
  • * SWS supporters around the world!
  • * The end of the first day!

In this entry of my old man's blog, I will finally cover the opening day of the event in full detail. Now, what kind of battlefield lay before us – surely all of you have been waiting with great curiosity to find out… right?

"Eh? You completely forgot~?!"…..sigh~~..~……

If even one of you tells me such a thing, I will be very sad. Please do re-read my previous entry, so as to more fully enjoy the contents of this one.

But before that, I would like to go over the hotel in Florida that took care of us during this trip, as well as some mystery purchases I made. I will be very happy if this information helps even one person.

Look! This is a view of the Rosen Inn!!
They took great care of us for five days. A big thank-you to Housekeeping!!

And this is the Zoukei-mura team's alternate command post. There was a rather intense fragrance that was bothersome, but we passed the time pleasantly enough.

A sudden, early-morning Zoukei-mura gathering. Is it a serious strategy session, or perhaps a conversation about food, or rather......
In any case, everyone looks raring to go!

Hm~~m! Steak first thing in the morning!!
You know, this would be considered dinner food in Japan......
And you all intend to repeat this, don't you!

Hey, hey! Seriously, bacon and more fried food for seconds! They washed it all down with coffee. This one time in the morning is the only one where we can relax, so I suppose it's not unreasonable. Even so, these delicious American breakfasts continued for five days straight.

Loo~~ok!! I went shopping! Happily, there were a lot of XXL-sized clothes!
With these, I can bid farewell to tight clothes for a while. I wish I had a little more time, but even saying that, I bought enough shirts to last me about a year.

Look! Even here, the appetite of the Zoukei-mura Army goes wild!
Still, these hamburgers were really tasty~ Even now, my mouth waters at the memory. Deliciousness knows no national borders!

* Thank you to the Rosen Inn.

To tell the truth, due to reasons of budget, on this trip the Rosen Inn became the Zoukei-mura members' home base and event activity coordination center for five days.

And in a stroke of luck, all three of the rooms we stayed in were handily located on the first floor.

For those like us, who needed to frequently move large pieces of luggage in and out every morning, being on the first floor was truly convenient.
In the morning we would leave for the venue, returning late at night. Under such circumstances, we were unfortunately unable to use the hotel's large pool even once.

The rooms were of standard size. Each had 2 beds with an attached bathroom, and with constantly circulating air conditioners, were very pleasant. However, every morning, the housekeepers put air fresheners in the air conditioner vents or used some kind of scented spray or something. The scent, or whatever it was, was so cloyingly strong throughout the entire room that it would bother me every night until I fell asleep. It was the one negative aspect of the hotel.

Whether it's my car, my office, or my home, I prefer to maintain all of my spaces to have no fragrance at all, so to be honest, I found this truly bothersome.

The hotel was roughly a 20-minute drive from the venue. Almost all of that distance was driven on the freeway, so we were able to carry out our preparations in the mornings with some leisure.

And in the midst of all this, yes! Just as you may have imagined, the appetite of the Zoukei-mura staff rampaged unchecked.
After all, the ease and deliciousness of an American hotel breakfast can be guaranteed.

Moreover, this hotel served breakfast in an informal buffet style, so the pillaging that took place every morning was truly frightening.

"All of you!! How is it that you can eat so much first thing in the morning?! Tell your secret!"

Everyone ate so much as to make me say such things. Furthermore, there were guys who would stuff their mouths with delicious-looking things like bananas, such that I, who am dieting right now, could only stare in disbelief.

Although the first morning was an early one, their appetites wreaked havoc with no care for location…….Sigh, you're all going to get fat, eating like that…hey!!...

By the way, unusually for a Japanese person, I am 183 cm in height and 85 kg in weight, with the result that I have a difficult time finding clothes in Japan that fit my body.

The large-sized shirts and pants sold in Japan are too small for my body. And sadly, the standard large size in Japan is as big as it gets, so that finding clothes that fit my body is almost always an exercise in despair.

That I almost always wear clothes that are unusually tight can be attributed to this fact.

Eh? No one's looking at me that closely, you say! That's right, that's right.

But including me, there are quite a few Japanese people with large builds who also agonize over this.

That's correct. For me, this very trip to America was also the arrival of an ideal opportunity to find clothes that fit my body.
Happily, no matter where you go in America, there are malls, as well as wonderful places called outlets, that are inexpensive, convenient, and carry many different kinds of clothes in large sizes.

On this trip, there was no way I could overlook this perfect opportunity.

Oho~o~! Take a look at the photo to the left! What's this! We came seeking clothes, but the appetites of the SWS staff once again tore through the food court!!

Hey, hey! Are you eating again~?

It can almost be called admirable! They ate until they couldn't eat anymore.

Carried along with their momentum, I was unable to stop myself from biting into a hamburger from a famous chain! Man~ the real thing truly is different, when it comes to size, to texture, and to taste~!

Hey, hey, hey. You shouldn't have done that, self!

The diet that I secretly decided to start before we came to America, look at what's become of it from the very first day of the event……this can't be good!! What should I do?!

There are no excuses!! …..Indeed, that's quite right!!

Repetition of this activity will impact my waist size!

In any case, our meal also came to an end. I and my newly invigorated staff finally departed for the venue, heading for the battlefield that awaited us~~~~!!

The calm before the storm. The atmosphere of the great hall just before opening was filled with tension.
Nevertheless, there were "American old guys" as far as the eye could see.
By the way, what do you think of this gorgeous venue!
Typical of IPMS, huh~!

Now! The Zoukei-mura booth is completely ready!
All that's left is to await the attack of the geezer modelers.
Can you comprehend the worried feelings of the three of us who cannot speak English?.....Maybe we should just run away right now?

Oh~ can it be! You're John, who helps out our friend Joe at IPMS Michigan, aren't you?!
That tough physicality...and that fearless American military demeanor really stand out!

Oh! You got the SWS Skyraider! You have very good taste!! The main point of this kit is to build the folding mechanism for the main wings after a thorough dry fit. If you can, please do add the Air Force type to your collection as well!

* Sold out one after the other, thank you so much!!

Once the six of us Zoukei-mura members all gathered together and entered the venue, oh~! We could already see attendees lined up for the registration desk at the entrance, as far as the eye could see~!! Even we could feel the anticipation and excitement in the air.

Looking closer, almost all of them were geezer hobbyists like me~!

Finally, finally, finally, finally~!!

Our Zoukei-mura booth was already completely prepared, with everything organized and waiting for the customers~! You! You who came rushing to the Zoukei-mura booth at full speed as soon as you got in! Thank you ever so very much.

The venue finally opened. A wave of geezers came surging toward the Zoukei-mura booth. At that moment, from here and there came the cheers from modelers clutching SWS kits, like English-language bullets being fired from a machine gun!
Moreover, everyone had a smile on their face!! It was so impressive!! I saw so many child-like, happy smiles! It was a long-awaited explosion of enthusiasm from the American modelers!!

The huge piles of SWS kits were flying off the shelves!
From the very start, it was an unbelievable scene that unfolded in Orlando.

Goodness, it was most certainly worth it to come all the way from Japan.
This scene, which I had dreamed of, made me very happy!

Thanks to everyone, the Shinden quickly sold out the morning on the first day! The mountains of Ta 152, Skyraider, and Mustang kits also dwindled very fast.

"Been waiting for this, ZM!"
"Finally able to buy this!"
"I've heard so much about this kit!"
"Why didn't you bring more with you?"
"This is a secret from my wife!"
"What are you releasing next?"

It was a loud, vivid burst of enthusiastic, happy voices and faces from all the geezer modelers!

For some reason, I could understand that the SWS was being rather extravagantly praised by the frequency and the force of the handshakes I received.
It was an endless sequence of handshakes from very large hands.

Among them, there were a lot of old guys who showed me photos of their SWS kits in progress, and soon it became so that no matter who I was talking to, no matter what we were talking about, everything just became one huge jumble.

"Aa~argh! Is there no one here who can speak Japanese! I can't understand any of this English!!"

Sometimes, just me saying, "I can't speak English, sorry," didn't work, because those words are in English.
It just added more fuel to the flame: "But you're speaking in English!"
Taking it as a good sign, or rather, misunderstanding completely, the English-language machine gun would fire yet again.

American modelers truly love to talk. They just don't stop.
Moreover, they have the lung power to keep on talking until they finish what they want to say!! Their body language via hand and body gestures is also truly enjoyable and well-done.

Also, this was in America, smack-dab in the middle of the Florida peninsula.
There was literally no one else capable of translating Japanese and English on the fly except for the three English-speaking members of the Zoukei-mura team!

In any case, I decided to change my strategy to taking pictures of everyone who bought something from us.
After all, I had to show this happy scene to my master, my boss (my wife) who was waiting in Japan, as quickly as possible.

"Eh? You want to take a picture? Sure!!"
Somehow, American modelers are quite nonchalant about having their picture taken, with 100% of them saying OK on the spot. On the contrary, they provided me with some truly splendid poses and smiles. That wonderful understanding and responsiveness made me very happy!!

From this point, for a short while, let me show you those joyful customers' faces. Behold their excitement below!!

Oh! Do you and your son enjoy the hobby together? That's so nice~. Furthermore, you have the SWS Ta 152 in your hands! Did you know that that kit is currently sold out worldwide? Oh, you knew? Oh, you must have a very good eye, then~~!!

Oh! The SWS P-51D for you, is it! You also have very good taste! That's our newest kit, so it's packed full of innovative structures. I feel that you will be surprised by contents such as you've never seen before. Please take your time and enjoy it.

Very sharp of you to zero in on the Shinden so quickly! I'm sure you're aware that this kit currently changes hands at a premium price! I see that it was worth the effort to bring some stock from my personal collection to this event!

Oh~ and where are you from, who came to obtain the Skyraider? It's great how relaxed you look. Another main point of that kit is the connection between the main wings and the fuselage. Please enjoy it!

You seem happy, with that serious expression of anticipation upon feeling the weight of that tightly packed container! After all, the Mustang is a treasured fighter aircraft of your country, so I suppose there's no way you wouldn't be happy. Thank you very much.

And you, who are holding the Shinden, which sold out early in the morning on the first day.
For some reason, I feel that I can hear a roar of victory coming from deep in your heart. I can understand that feeling! I want to hurry home and open the box! I completely understand!!

Oh~! You managed to purchase the Shinden. Is it possible that your hands are trembling from joy.... Or perhaps you're thinking of buying another SWS kit. I'm very happy! Customers just like you are the true SWS fans. Thank you very much!

Oh~! And a Shinden for you as well! That tropical shirt suits you very well – is it possible that this is your first time buying an SWS kit? Hang on, we also have wonderful kits for the Ta 152, Skyraider, and Mustang! Please do think about picking those up, next time we see you. It's a promise!

I've decided on this one!! is what this excellent young man holding the SWS Mustang so powerfully seems to be saying! Now you're talking! Great decision. I'm sure that you'll be calling that kit the best Mustang!!

It's the Shinden, the Shinden!! The SWS is so great! May it bring glory to your collection, you who have such a refreshing smile! Man~ I was truly enchanted by the smiles of the old guy modelers that gathered at IPMS Florida. Thank you so much!!

Yay! The Mustang!! This kit was brought from Japan to Florida just to be collected by you. Now! This is where your fun SWS build begins. Please do enjoy every nook and cranny of it! Thank you so much.

I've completely fallen for this one! I understand. I really, really get that feeling.
After all, it's the Skyraider, and that feeling is appropriate for that powerful aircraft that played such a prominent role as the last reciprocating-engine fighter plane.
I pray for your good fortune!

I've decided on this one! is what that full-face grin says, filled with excitement and joy. You're quite a lucky fellow, to get your hands on the SWS Ta 152, a kit that's becoming legendary!! You've now been caught by the SWS magic, so what do you think about picking up the SWS Skyraider or Mustang next?!

Eh? Spousal authorization?! In circumstances such as these, it is definitely your wife who is to be commended, sir! That she is willing to be photographed together with her husband and an SWS kit like this makes this a truly rare moment in this world! A toast to your truly tolerant wife!!

Mr. Shimizu makes his appearance! Man~ he truly pops up in unexpected places at unexpected times! Can it be that airplanes really are the source of that power that lets him appear anywhere in the world, or is it the prospect of a geezer reunion? Ah~ if only I could speak English like he can~. I have to sigh in envy every time I see him speaking it.

Joe (on the left-side end), who is a USA-based member of the SWS Development Team, makes his appearance!
In addition, John (on the right-side end), the president of IPMS Michigan, was also close by!
In the middle is Earl, who took such good care of us, and the Mustang that he purchased.

Next was Mr. Morrissette, who wrote a build review of the SWS Mustang for us!
Thanks to his wonderful review, many people were able to experience the magic of the SWS. Thank you so much.

Thank you for showing us so many pictures of days gone by in Japan. We never expected to see such photos at an event in a distant Florida hotel.
Please continue to support SWS kits in the future as well.

I want this one....hey, is it you saying that? William!
That's right. This person, who always gives us smart advice, can possibly see through to the heart of the SWS.
We will make your dreams into reality. Please continue to support us in the future!

A commemorative photo with Joe outside the venue.
After this, we went to eat dinner at a restaurant specializing in crab dinners, which Joe recommended!

* SWS supporters around the world!

Oh! In the midst of everyone else, a Japanese person who came from very far away came walking up!
It was Mr. Shimizu!

He is one of the greatest sympathizers of the SWS kits, as well as one of their most powerful supporters. It was our first reunion since last year's IPMS Omaha event in the American Midwest. Our relationship is such that in Japan, he freely comes to visit our headquarters.

"Oh~ Mr. Shimizu! We really are able to see you everywhere, aren't we~"

The truth is, Mr. Shimizu is a former president of Honda USA, and is currently retired to a life of quiet leisure. He restores airplanes and contributes to magazines, and for those purposes, he travels the world with his beloved camera on his breast.
For this trip, he attended the "OshKosh Air Show" and visited the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum prior to coming to IPMS Florida.

"Hm~m. I'm very envious, Mr. Shimizu."

And in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, the SWS kits continued to sell and sell!!

Everyone who managed to obtain one seemed very happy!! Enough so that we became happy as well!

Not just the kits, but much attention was also paid to the Concept Notes and Extra Parts – typical of American modelers and their discriminating taste! They also continued to sell very well!

"If things continue like this, how will it be on the third day?!" Circumstances were such that worries like this began to circulate in my mind.

And then, one of my best friends, Joe, whom you may remember, made his appearance!!

To tell the truth, Joe is currently a valued USA member of the SWS Development Team.

Joe and I have been acquainted for over 30 years, and he is one of my best and strongest friendships.
Back in the days when our store, Volks, was still tiny, I received a phone call from an American. He told me that he wanted to come visit my store, which he saw an advertisement for in a hobby magazine.
Speaking through a translator, he told me that he was a hobby fan from America currently working in Hiroshima on business.

It has been over 30 years since that day. And ever since then, my friendship with Joe has continued to this day.

I have four children, and the fact that each of those four, in their turn, have graduated from Oklahoma State University in America, as well as the fact that we have opened a store in California, can all be traced back to my becoming friends with Joe – none of it would have been possible otherwise.

Joe is a truly amazing person.

The truth is, he is my life teacher, my most respected senior, and quite literally, the man I aspire to be. After all, he not only served as a leader of a major corporation until his retirement, but as soon as he retired, he built a beautiful residence in Arizona, obtained his pilot's license, and built a small airplane in his garage.
He registered the plane with the American government, and flew the heavens as if they were too small for him, which was simply amazing to me. Moreover, after that, he built another small airplane, sold both planes, then recently purchased a small plane from a European manufacturer with his wife Jackie, which they fly together. He tells me that they spend fall and winter in Arizona, then spring and summer in Michigan, dividing their time on the American continent by the seasons – the scale of his life itself is simply a different matter altogether!

On top of that, in the huge gardens that they have in each of their homes, he operated his own backhoe and bulldozer to build their own Japanese-style gardens with bridges. The power that Joe, or rather, older Americans in general, possess can't be underestimated, because goodness, the sheer extent of their potential is truly surprising.

Even more amazing: when on the ground, Joe rides a large Kawasaki motorcycle down the highways at 200 km/h, making him a dangerous, or rather, cool old biker dude. I know that a full-face helmet won't give your age away, but Joe, don't you think you're overdoing it a little?

Also, why hide it? The precious experience of getting to fly an airplane with my own hands for the first time was also due to him – when I and my family went to his house to visit, he arranged and prepared everything. In this particular instance, there is nothing for me to boast about.

Me and the flight instructor, together only because of Joe.

My maiden flight lasted approximately one hour, which was spent in a Cessna 172 in the skies above Lake Michigan.
The beauty of Lake Michigan that day, as seen while I was gripping the control stick, will be a treasured memory for the rest of my life. Thank you so much, Joe~~!!

And because Joe is Joe, once that energetic man found out that I was planning the airplane scale models known as the SWS, why, he offered me the valuable airplane documents and books that he had collected over many years, telling me it would be fine to use them.

Ever since then, over the past several years, precious books and documentation have been sent to us at Zoukei-mura every month. Moreover, he covers the shipping costs himself, telling me that he refuses to accept any compensation.

No matter how many times I offer to repay him:
"But you're my friend."
He persists in repeating that one sentence. And in the face of such generosity, I simply lose all words in my gratitude.

Thanks to your generous offerings, the walls of Zoukei-mura's SWS design department in Kyoto, Japan, are lined with bookshelves filled with documentation. We call those bookshelves the "Joe Library," and make use of them every day. Truly, thank you ever so very much.

And even now, Joe came to visit us at the IPMS Florida venue all the way from Michigan.

And over the next four days, Joe will be joining us as a member of the SWS Development Team and working ... the ... booth?

Huh...?? Joe, where did you go?

Ah, I see! Joe has so much energy, that even here at the IPMS event site, he goes to and fro as he pleases, throughout the day.

Oho, and now we have an appearance by Dave Morrissette, who wrote an article for the SWS Mustang Concept Note. It was a wonderful product and build review. Thank you so very much.
Your precise build diary and skilled kit commentary have become invaluable information for many modelers who who haven't built an SWS kit yet. We extend our gratitude once again.

And now we have a visit from Peter! We first met when he sent a message to me through this old man's blog, and we are now good acquaintances.
When his brother was a child, he visited Kyoto in Japan with his family, and it's quite possible that he may have met me at that time. Peter showed me many pictures from that trip.

Now! It's crab tonight, boys.
Have you prepared both your minds and your stomachs? "Yes, sir! Yes, ma'am!"
Oh dear, their spirits certainly rise when it comes time to eat!
But for these three, sadly, the cute server spoke such rapid English that they couldn't understand her at aaaa~~all!! *cry* *cry*

Hey, hey, look! There's nothing for me to say! Look at all this!! And besides this, there was a ton of meat and sausage as well! We used small spoons to dig out what we wanted to eat, resulting in a dinner almost primitive in style. However, it was so delicious that I want to go again.

* The end of the first day!

This day lasted from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., a total of 9 hours! A day filled with lots of standing and lots of talking finally came to an end. Much of the Zoukei-mura booth's merchandise was sold, with many of the tables cleaned out. All right, the day is over. Now is the time for an enjoyable dinner.

The heads of the Zoukei-mura team were filled with a pleasant fatigue, and many new memories. Although we felt in our hearts that we never wanted to leave, we left the event site behind us for the day.

Now for dinner!! Dinner!!

How on earth do you have the energy left to be so enthusiastic?! I asked my team members, amazed. What is the source of that energy?!

That's right! This day's dinner was at a restaurant that specializes in crab, recommended by Joe. Oho! Although crab dinners were the specialty, it was still an American restaurant, which can never be underestimated.

As you can see from the photos, in addition to the crab, there was a lot of meat and sausage!!

And as usual, Joe appeared mysteriously, inexplicably nonchalant.

Once again, my team members ravenously gobbled up everything in sight!

In order to be able to do my best on the next day, I also refused to lose, and ate and ate.

The next day, the preliminary judging for the "Most Valuable Geezer" award, sponsored by Zoukei-mura, finally occurred. In addition, I will share stories and photos from the event hall.

Please do look forward to it!!


Hideyuki Shigeta
Representative of ZOUKEI-MURA


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