We went to the IPMS Columbia!!
To all the SWS brothers around the world: how are you doing?!
This entry of the "Old Man Blog" is a report of our participation in the well-known "IPMS Nationals" held in Columbia, USA.
Whether you attended the show, or you could not attend it, please enjoy the fantastic atmosphere of these days by taking a look at this blog.
August 1st 2016, 5:00am (Japanese Time). Including me, five members of the Zoukei-mura Development Team gathered in front of the JAL counters at Itami Airport.
We will later land to the USA via Dallas Airport, but a long flight of about 15 hours to reach Columbia, our final destination is in front of us!
During our trip, two members from VOLKS USA have joined us at Dallas Airport. After a very long flight, all the members could finally reach Columbia safely.
We cleared the usually so-long customs inspections without any problem, and even our luggage arrived safe. Finally, everybody could get into a big SUV.
The last member to join the fight was John-san, from the American SWS Team, who came from Las Vegas. We met him again at the Zoukei-mura booth during the set-up day.
Even though I think the same every year when I visit a new place, this city of Columbia (South Carolina) is large and beautiful, isn't it?! And it's hot!! More than 36 degrees Celsius, which is almost the same temperature as in Japan. The difference with Japan is that thunderstorms with roaring thunder and rain falling in torrents were coming each night in Columbia.
"Hooo!! It's like in the movies!!!!" I was admiring the rain crashing on the window on my hotel's room.
As usual, let me start from the most wanted! The raffle held at our Zoukei-mura booth!!
▋Oohhh!! There are a lot of fans who have already bought an SWS kit!! I am very happy about that!! Thank you so much!!
▋This time, 300 fans have answered our questionnaire about the development of the SWS kits! Thank you for your interest and so many requests. The number of questionnaires was almost insufficient. One more time, thank you.
▋Then, here is the first winner! This man received the Zoukei-mura T-shirt!
Please wear it when you come to the IPMS show next time, you will look good!
▋This gentleman has also won a yellow T-shirt! This color is perfect for you. Good job!
▋Hooo, and for this boy too! I have heard that you came with your father from Argentina!!
▋Heyy, you guy got the SWS Raiden Concept Note!
Get the kit too and build it, absolutely.
▋Yes! You won the SWS Ta 152 Concept Note. Thank you.
Please buy also the kit!
▋What?! The father of this boy won a Concept Note too. The boy received this prize for his father. Thank you!!
▋This fan won the SWS P-51D Concept Note.
The P-51D is a fine kit! I can see the amazement in your eyes.
▋And then the SWS Ta 152 Concept Note to this old man with such a nice mustache! Please buy the kit and discover the wonderful world of SWS.
▋Hey there! You hit the SWS Horten Concept Note! Please buy and enjoy the kit too.
▋Yeesss! The SWS Ho 229 Concept Note is yours! The kit is a masterpiece. Please buy and build it!
Well, the venue of this IPMS was the huge, beautiful and splendid Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.
The Zoukei-mura booth was located at the lower level of the Convention Center, which is built on a slope. It was a large, luminous and open space.
Also this IPMS Columbia was different from the past shows as we had a full day to set-up our booth before the event.
It is very helpful for us because we need to send all the items, display models, tools, shelves etc. used for our display from far away Japan, about 2 months earlier.
Even though we send our stuff after thorough preparations, when arriving at the Convention Center we always realize that we need something. In that case, America is very convenient. There is always a big Home Center like Home Depot near the hotel you stay. This time too, we went there for 2 hours in order to get raw materials for the booth.
▋Hooo! You got the SWS A-1 Concept Note! Among the SWS kits, the Skyraider may be difficult to assemble but I love it too!
▋Then, another winner of the SWS A-1 Skyraider Concept Note!
Congratulations. This is a good kit!
▋Finally, here are the kits' winners. The first kit is the SWS 1/32 Raiden! I believe in the strength points of Raiden.
▋Hooo!! You hit the SWS 1/32 P-51D kit! If you give it a try, for sure you will understand how great the SWS kits are. Congratulations.
▋Then, the SWS 1/32 Ta 152 is for you. Big and long wings show great performances in the high atmosphere.
▋Well-done!! This SWS A-1 Skyraider is perfect for you. Please build it and feel the greatness of the SWS kits.
▋Yes! This is the infamous SWS 1/48 Horten kit. You won it. You will have so much fun with the assembly of this kit, that you will be prisoner of it!
▋Hoooo, here is the winner of the SWS 1/32 Horten kit! Congratulations.
You will feel great after building this one. The way you see plastic models will change for good. Yes, that's how good this kit is!
▋This old man is one of the nice guys who come to our Zoukei-mura booth every year!
This year too, he looks well, and gave me a strong handshake.
▋The raffle might be over but a lot of fans are still enjoying the moment.
Thank you and see you next time in Omaha.
Well, August 3rd 2016, 8:00am. Finally, today is the first day of the show.
Only few customers can be seen here and there.
After all the IPMS is a long, 4 days-event meant to be convenient for all the modelers coming from every part of the USA.
Every year, the first morning is spent walking around, saying hello to the other vendors. It has been 6 years already since our first participation to the IPMS Nationals, so we know a lot of people; better said, we have many good rivals!
Personally, I explore the Convention Center as a modeler too.
This time too I have brought back some unusual tools, parts, decals and kits, so I am happy to introduce them to you. Please enjoy!
▋This is the back entrance of the venue, only for staff and vendors. All the Zoukei-mura staff gathered in front of the parking area. The event has just kicked off so everybody is still fine.
▋Columbia City in the beautiful state of South Carolina. Every year, this beautiful landscape welcomes us. But thunderstorms come each night
▋Here is the parking lot. At this time, the temperature has probably topped 35℃.
▋Here is our space for the Zoukei-mura booth. A deserted atmosphere is still in the air. But the Convention Center itself has a high ceiling, is full of light and comfortable.
▋What about the other vendors
Hoo there is nobody!
A mountain of kits, tools, materials and other stuff will be piled up on these tables.
▋The very popular SWS 1/48 Horten finished kit is also displayed. At a glance it looks like a 1/32 scale! Which shows how good it is, but everybody knows that already.
▋All these displayed items are made by Mr. Naoki Kobayashi. The more you look at them, the more you love them.
▋This one is the SWS 1/32 Do 335 with a half-clear body! This time we brought three planes, with one entirely painted and a third one completely built with clear fuselage. All of you were fascinated by the high degree of perfection of these kits.
▋The kit painted with the Luftwaffe colors is nice too. How will you paint yours? Please enjoy!
▋As you know, here is the SWS 1/32 Shinden finished item! I have brought few pieces from my own collection and sold them at the Convention.
▋As usual, the SWS 1/32 Ta 152 is popular, even in Columbia. I saw a lot of modelers falling in love with its beautiful shape.
▋Here in the US, the Raiden is also one of the most famous Japanese aircraft. The kits we brought sold very fast. If you take a close look, you will see the Raiden is indeed a stylish plane!
▋In the USA, the popularity of the A-1 Skyraider is something special.
We have sold out this kit very fast too. 100/100 for the assembly. Another 100/100 for the presence of the kit after assembly. Definitely, this plane is strong.
▋If we talk about the 1/32 P-51 D kits, I think that this SWS P-51 D is the best. The reproduction of this wonderful shape and all the mechanism makes me confident. Please let give it a try!
▋A lof of SWS He 219 fans were here, in the USA.
Needless to say this kit was rapidly sold out. Thank you everybody!! You will be amazed if you finish it!!
▋From now on, I will introduce you Zoukei-mura booth.
As you know, the 1/32 Fw 190 development is going slowly but steadily.
Please look forward to welcome the best ever, an awesome Fw 190 kit.
▋The SWS kits are piled up
The IPMS Zoukei-mura booth will open very soon! Still so much stuff piled up.
▋On sale for the first time at the IPMS, the newest SWS 1/32 Do 335 kit is ready too. From this on, plenty of fans bought it one after another. I cannot wait to see your joy and to hear your comments about it.
▋The tip of our booth. Here is where we collect Zoukei-mura questionnaires.
The man in charge is John-san. Thanks to his humor, we hit the plateau of 300 questionnaires in only 2 days!
Then, as one of the modelers, I started building the SWS 1/32 Do 335 test shot with my own tools I brought to the venue.
Mr. Naoki Kobayashi also started his demonstration at the same seat, so we sat down/stand up in turns.
Please consider my demonstration as a very unusual thing. Indeed, I think that this is an important work to do as a member of the SWS Development Team, but it is possible that no Presidents from other manufacturers hold nippers and files to build their own products.
Anyway, Mr. Kobayashi and me sold our modeling tools while continuing our building works.
And everything was done in Japanese! But since we were talking about tools, customers understood immediately by looking at the results and effects of the tools in front of them.
Thanks to you, the "Old Man's 7 Tools" were sold out fast! I am sorry for the inconvenience caused to a lot of customers who wanted these sold out items. I am really sorry!!
Among them, we received a lot of requests for one of my highly recommended item: the "Zoukei-mura V Tweezer (Bent)". While being sold out at the booth, after going back to Japan I was surprised to hear that in fact we still have some stocks for this item in our warehouse!!
The well-know Mr. Koyama, friend of a medicine tool manufacturer, hand-built a last masterpiece before he died: this V Tweezer (Bent).
Since it is a high quality hand-made item, its price is very expensive, but the tweezers are user-friendly if you use them all your life as a third hand.
Also, you can find them at VOLKS Hobby shops in Japan, and VOLKS USA. Please add them as a strong member of your tools box. I think that you will definitely be surprised by how good you will feel when using them.
▋"Zoukei-mura V Tweezers (Bent)"
For you guys who missed this at the venue, we will deliver this anywhere in the world to all of you without charging you the shipping fees. Just write "I read the blog!" and order it.
These are my favorite tweezers and I have been using them for over 30 years.
Don't miss this chance to buy it. So user-friendly that you will never want to put it down.
To order "Zoukei-mura V Tweezers (Bent)" without any shipping fee charged, send a message using the following form.
This offer has now expired.
Thank you for your orders!
▋Thank you for buying our Zoukei-mura Wooden Work Base.
When you work on a new piece, the protective paint might interfere and let the part(s) slip away.
File the W-shaped extremity before use.
You can rely on this working base, it will be like a third hand for you.
→ Order via VOLKS JAPAN Online Store
→ Order via VOLKS USA VOLKS Scale Models Store
▋This is the table used for the SWS kit assembly demonstration by the famous Mr. Naoki Kobayashi and myself. The kit you see is the fully transparent Do 335 that I built (previously introduced on the pages of this blog).
▋Full assortment of extra parts is another feature of SWS kits. We brought as many items as we could.
▋Here is the amazing "Old Man's 7 Tools" line up. Glad to say all the items in the picture were sold out.
No panic. You can get them from VOLKS USA Webstore.
→ VOLKS USA Scale Models Store
▋Full view of the so long Zoukei-mura booth. It is the first time we built such a long booth, it is hard to come and go from an end to another. But customers had a lot to see and they liked it.
▋From the first SWS kit, Shinden, to the latest Do 335, all the Concept Notes are here.
Written in English and Japanese, enjoyable from all the modelers in the world. Very popular even at VOLKS USA.
▋We meet this vendor every time at the IPMS. This time he bought our 1/48 Horten kit. Thank you very much!!
▋Oooh isn't he Earl-san! Thank for very much!! This time he got our 1/32 Do 335 kit.
Thanks for your help in Florida.
▋This gentleman is also a loyal SWS fan. This time he chose the He 219 Uhu!!
Thank you very much.
▋Do 335 was highly supported by the hand of this man, we are also very happy. We made this kit for you. Thank you very much.
▋Our Zoukei-mura USA member, John-san is rocking!! All the precious info contained in the questionnaires you filled in will be considered for future developments.
John-san, well done!
▋Nooooo way!!? This guy brought a 1/48 Cutlass resin kit that we released about 30 years ago! This feels nostalgic. The newspaper we used for the packing also reports the story of those days. Thank you so much.
And this time, the top seller at Zoukei-mura booth was our 1/32 Do 335.
Two kits completed by Mr. Naoki Kobayashi and my test build, a total of three kits have been brought to the venue for you guys. The outer line is beautiful albeit weird. Robust main wings and well-engineered inner structure reproduced. And, most of all, you can build it by your hands in the blink of an eye. These SWS kits, modern plastic models, were piled in front of my eyes and bought continuously by people, all with satisfaction painted on their faces.
Now, one question to you who are working on this kit. It's just like I say, right?
You got a pleasant sense of completeness and fulfillment I suppose. Thank you very much.
▋The crazily popular 1/48 Horten in the hands of both of you!!
Thank you for this awesome choice of yours on behalf of the whole SWS Development Team! Once you build this kit you should understand the awesomeness of SWS kits! Enjoy building the kit while you learn about the mysteries of this complex aircraft.
▋You went for the 1/32 Do 335! Cheers for your choice!!
As you start building it, I suppose you will definitely become a big fan of SWS.
▋Mr. Mike, here at the IPMS as always, got my beloved Raiden! This kit reproduces all the beauty of this airplane with its curved lines typical of Japanese jet fighters. Enjoy it!
▋Ooooh, Mr. Randy! Still early but you are already accepting booth applications for next year IPMS in Omaha. Thank you for your help every time. See you next year in Omaha.
▋A present for this little girl? Or a present from this little girl?
Whatever, thanks anyway. Instinctively you reminded of my niece.
▋This 1/32 Do 335 will hopefully become the highlight of your modeler's life.
Thank you for shopping! White beard looks good on you.
▋There is the 1/32 Mustang D/K in your hands!!
Another kit to fully taste, from the engine to the overall structure.
Take your time to enjoy it.
▋Heeyyyyyy, you too!! This guy has already collected all the SWS kits. And this time he bought again a lot of kits. I'm grateful to his spirit and consideration!!
▋This gentleman I meet every time at the IPMS got the Do 335 this time. Thank you very much as always!
▋Oooooh, Mr. Haagen Klaus, editor of Detail & Scale has come here! He spread the info he gathered here on our 1/48 F-4 to modelers all over the world! Already some thousands of accesses registered! Amazing!
▋You look happy with the SWS Do 335 in your hands and it makes me happy too. I can imagine how you look satisfied when you will build it.
It's a great kit.
This is America. Other than German aircrafts, Skyraider and Mustang are also selling well, which prove that there are a lot of modelers here in the USA. Hey, the Japanese "Raiden" is not doing bad! Not a few people made me happy telling me they just come here to do shopping at Zoukei-mura booth.
Among them, more and more fans have completed the whole SWS kit collection, and we welcome more and more great old men who came and bought our kits!! I feel happiness and a sense of achievement running through my backbone.
▋OK! The demonstration done by the famous Mr. Naoki Kobayashi finally begins. It is the first time at IPMS for Mr. Kobayashi. Not used to see and hear. Like a sponge, he is absorbing all of the IPMS world. "Great expectations from now!"
This year in November he will be at the IPMS Telford too. Dear fans in Europe, don't miss it.
▋Body and gesture heavily used to answer all the detailed questions. Modelers can overcome any language barrier. That is marvelous.
▋How to use tools and repair the pipes. An American hobby old man is listening to the clear and detailed explanations from Mr. Kobayashi.
▋Selling and selling! That is a Kobayashi-effect, all the tools we brought are sold out!!
I admire your excellent knowledge and will to challenge. Thanks everyone.
▋I cannot resist so I get in the demonstration. It is to appeal American modelers with the old-style tools Zoukei-mura brought them. Everybody is kinda excited!
We received a lot of questions from these father and son, both modelers, come from Argentina. Cheers for this young modeler and his future!!
▋Why do I have this halo on my head!?
That is maybe what happens to modelers when they are over 60 years old.
Do your best too!
▋Geez, my demonstration seems to be somehow successful too. This is Columbia, South-Carolina! This over- friendly time that I cannot experience in Japan is running out.
▋Questions from a loyal IPMS fan too! I could hear a pleasant "Mmmm, you do pretty good with SWS".
▋Once again, the fun we had with the raffle!
Stirring well the 300 questionnaires, making everything fair.
It was actually a bunch of questionnaires! Thank you very much!
Sorry for the people who were not picked up. Take it out on me.
▋"The Old Man's fearsome interrogatory", a classic from our raffle, has begun.
"Who's got an SWS kit among you guys?! "Ooooh!" Well it looks like most of the guys are already SWS collectors.
I am happy and grateful to you, dear old men!!
▋I keep asking the winners their ID and where they are from. Everybody is in high spirits!! They won and they answer any kind of questions.
Good on your win! Thank you!!
▋John-san reads out loud the names of the winners, for three times. What? The winner is not here? That is bad
Well let's see who is the next blessed by fortune.
You might be the next one.
First and second day have passed, and it is already the third day at the IPMS Columbia. Today we will finally hold the lottery where, as every year, few fans among the 300 people who had answered our questionnaire will receive some Zoukei-mura deluxe products! The lottery will be held at 3:00pm in the special area set in front of our booth!
From Concept Notes to the Zoukei-mura T shirts, until the 1/32 and 1/48 kits, my hand keeps extracting the name of the winners.
This year we almost finished distributing all the 300 questionnaires by the second day. Questionnaires filled with modelers' passion and wishes towards SWS. We will keep this information in high regard for the development of the next SWS kits. Dear guys who answered, thank you very much!!
Then the Contest Area!!
This year too loads of stunning, undeniable masterpieces were gathered in the IPMS Contest Area!! It had been worth flying here all the way from Japan just to see these models.
Me and the other Zoukei-mura members took time, as much as possible, and went to see the contest area again and again. Deep in my heart I envy the way American modelers enjoy making and gathering scale models.
Next to a model so precisely completed that you would like to scream without thinking, there is a model packed with humor that will naturally put a smile on the face. And next to it a giant model that I thought "how the heck did they bring it in?" As far as I could see with my eyes, the huge contest area is full of wonderful models.
▋Oh, this guy. He is doing maintenance and painting. Such an incredible scenario reproduced here. The assembly and the painting are both fantastic.
▋And here is my "Hayate"! I am used to Japanese aircrafts, but it looks really cool done this way. The painting skills and this set up reflects so nicely its worn condition. I would like to have it as an SWS.
▋Oooh wonderful! Even Bronco has been done to such a high degree of detail! COIN aircraft also have a strong fascinating side.
▋This is mind-blowing! No contest here. Hats off for this incredible representation of a fierce battlefield.
▋Mr. Peter, the President, that was so kind to us at this IPMS in Columbia.
Thank you very much for holding such a beautiful event, in every aspect, and thanks to you and all the other people in charge for all the hard work.
▋Heyy!! Four old men, modelers come all the way from Japan! They usually visit VOLKS store in Tokyo. They were always on my same frequency even when the talk slipped to the next production of SWS kits! Clearly pointing "yeah, that's the ****type ***seat jet fighter, isn't it?"
Oh my goodness, I feared the sixth sense of the old men coming over.
"We are four. And we were headed to Pensacola."
Oooh I envy you guys, nice, old men-modelers.
▋Here is how much stuff we brought in.
Display stands and other equipment have been strenuously packed in a small box. We sold out all the kits, and also the extra-parts were very successful among modelers.
Me and the development team unconsciously made a most-muscular pose. We are looking forward to seeing you again, next time in Omaha. Take care'til then!!
And this is our upcoming kit 1/48 F-4J exposed at the venue in Columbia.
I say maybe, we will be able to have this 1/48 F-4 J ready for the UK IPMS to be held in Telford in November!!
Now, in front of me there is the latest SWS kit, the F-4 J mock-up completed.
If everything goes well, we might probably, not surely, have some dozens ready for a limited pre-release at the venue.
Then we just have the last assembly check; canopy cleaning, decals and instruction manuals are headed fast to their completion.
Of course the kit to be pre-released in Telford will include the decals reproducing the marking used in Britain back in those days.
Dear F-4 fans living in Europe, keep an eye on the next entry of this blog.
▋Still a mock-up, but here is how the runners of this cool F-4 J look.
An F-4 J plastic model like the real machine, as I saw it in my dreams, is about to be born, finally.
▋John-san, a huge Phantom-freak, is wholeheartedly lecturing customers. He wants D and N types too.
All good, John-san. Your dream is my dream, you know.
The SWS that drew most of the attention at Zoukei-mura booth was this 1/48 F-4 J mock-up!! This one that we brought still has some details to work on; every day we have been begged so many times by kit manufacturers, publisher, extra parts maker and the many, overexcited F-4 fans to bring the latest test shot of this F-4 J, which is still under development.
"Oooooh perfect!!" "Amazing!" "Magic!""
I kept hearing these cheerful voices, in spite of having just a mock-up exposed.
"Why starting with J type?" "What about S type?" "N type should come first." "G type?" "F-4 is just E type!!"
And so on, I was continuously stricken by this kind of questions all the time, which was quite exciting.
"Please relax. If J type sells good, we will move to B and C and D and E, we will make them all!!"
And that's it.
From now on for a while this blog will be centered on 1/48 SWS F-4 so get ready for it.
If you have been searching for the ultimate F-4 in 1/48 scale, you just need to wait a little longer.
In the next entry I might let you know the release schedule for the first SWS F-4 J.
And also how to be among the first in the world to get this F-4 J.
Dear fans of the F-4 J, don't miss next entry!!