Tuesday, May 03, 2005

IPMS/USA Update for April (or Early May!)

Hi Everyone:

Way less than 100 days to the Nationals in Atlanta- starting to get excited. I delayed the e-mail update a few weeks so that I could bring you a couple pieces of news. First, in the next Journal will be a ballot for a change in the constitutional amendment. This one recommends a change to the CBL to change the chapter chartering fee to allow it to be raised by the E-board. This fee has not changed since the early 1980's so this would go a long way towards having he chapters help pay the insurance costs for the meetings and contests. Second update deals with the E-board. This is an election year and the following people are running for office and since there is no one running against anyone, this will be the board that takes place office in February 2006:

President- Jack Kennedy
1st VP- John Noack
2nd VP- Ron Bell
DLC- Dick Montgomery
HPD- Jim Woody
Secretary- Jim Corley

Non-elected positions that are remaining-
Office Manager-MJ Kinney
Treasurer- Ed Kinney
DFL- Glen Broman
IPMS General Counsel- Mark Gustavson
Junior Coordinator- Steve Dottavio
Internet Coordinator- Bob Hester
Journal Editor- David Von Almen

Also, Mike Bass from Stevens International (the people who bring us the lovely Trumpeter kits) is working against the licensing issues and needs modelers help to get our voices heard through the government. I have attached his letter below in John Noack's section from the 1st VP.

I also have a MAP update. I know that we got a lukewarm reception to the last go around but we still want to offer it as an option for our members and a committee has been working on it and I have an update from Jerry David, it's chairperson.

My only other subject is one that is near and dear to my heart. Currently (See MJ's update later), our membership stands at 4400. That is the lowest total in over 15 years. We are on the eve of what is expected to be the largest Nationals ever, we have improved the web site, the Journal, beaten all others to reviews of the last two major releases and improved the functionality of IPMS and yet our membership numbers struggle. To say the least, the Board is very frustrated. We have drafted a letter explaining some of this and are open to ideas. IPMS isn't going away but changes may be needed to keep our service level to the industry, it's members and everyone who isn't a member but enjoys all the work done by our members. On to the update which is pretty quiet this month**.

1st VP- John Noack
· Added several new sources of review products during this period.
· Starting new "super review" process that combines a new or recent kit release with updates and accessories. First one will be the Trumpeter USS Lexington incorporating several aftermarket upgrade and conversion kits. Stay tuned!
· Exclusive sneak preview of test shot build of Academy's new 1/32 F-16 is underway.
· Preparations underway for meetings with industry folks at Atlanta Nationals
· Dragon Models' Atlanta Convention has added a bunch of industry representatives and I will meet with them during both conventions.
· Reviewers' Corps going strong with over 55 members.

Letter from Mike Bass and Stevens International:

For the past year Stevens International has undertaken the issue of licensing and royalty-collecting by the defense contractors for the making of model kit and toy replicas of military planes, tanks and ships. The issue here is that these companies (for example, Boeing, Lockheed, Grumman, Sikorsky, etc) are demanding contracts and payments from the model manufacturers in the hobby industry for the right to reproduce military replicas in miniature. The items in question were not only paid for by the USA taxpayer, but the designationsthey are registering may not even belong to them: these are designations whichwere chosen by the US Department of Defense (P-51, F-14, etc). In addition,IMMA's contention is that these vehicles would not even have been made had itnot been for the US Government and the US taxpayer: you and I among them. How, then, is it proper to claim these as their own and to have the gall to charge our industry makers for the right to manufacture miniature replicas? This not only adds cost to the products (royalty percentages, bookkeeping, etc), but the ethics of this is certainly questionable. For the past 6 months, Congressman Robert Andrews (D-NJ) has been diligently working with us to enact legislation to prohibit these actions by thedefense contractors. He is a very dedicated business-minded man who tries to right any wrong affecting small businesses, particularly those in his district. Next month, he will present this as an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill and it will be brought to a vote. The amendment basically states "The
Secretary of Defense is to prohibit those entering into defense contracts with the US Government from requiring fees or licenses from toy and hobbymanufacturers, distributors or merchants for the use of military likenesses or designations". If passed this will open the door for the manufacturers to make kits as they wish, to release them quicker, and without the worry of "BigBrother" trying to regulate it. In order to get this passed, Andrews' office is asking anyone in the hobby industry(hobbyist or shopkeeper) who lives in or has a shop in the district of any of the members of the Armed Services Committee to call that office to speak to either the legislator or an aide to offer support for this amendment (letters may not work, as by the time they are read it is likely the bill will have already been up for a vote). You may invoke the name of Congressman Andrews and advise that you know this amendment will be brought to the Committee when it meets in late May. You may even state the quoted text above. A link to the list of Armed Services Committee members is below:

If you see any in your district, Republican or Democrat, click on their name and all the contact information will appear. Mr. Andrews is also seeking a Republican co-sponsor of this amendment in order to improve its chances of passage.

This is a real one-time chance to make something big happen for the benefit of the hobby industry, and you can help us do it. The executive board of IMMA is deeply involved in this, and have already contacted their reps. I ask you to do the same. I ask only one favor: If contact is made with either your committee member or an aide, please advise me at once at email address mbass@stevenshobby.com . Andrews' office wishes to follow up with any congressional office where contact has been made in order to acquire additional support.

Thanks, and with your help we can hopefully rid the hobby industry of this persistent nuisance.

Mike Bass
Stevens International
PO Box 126
706 N White Horse Pike
Magnolia, NJ 08049 USA
PH: 856-435-1555
FX: 856-627-6274
email: mbass@stevenshobby.com

2nd VP- Ron Bell

· Everything is well on-track for the Atlanta Convention
· IPMS Orange County is the only current bidder for the 2007 convention

Director of Local Chapters- Jack Kennedy

· I am up to 202 charter renewals. Two more than last year.

Office Manager- MJ Kinney

· V17J3 of the journal was sent to 4401 members - down 80 from the previous issue. To date we have 232 new members in 2005.
· For the convention in Atlanta - The convention cancellation insurance has been secured, shirts and hats have been ordered to be sold at the National Table and 3 part new member/renewal forms have been ordered for the convention.
· Recent back issues of the journal are now being sent from this office as the orders are received.
· We need to remind our members to notify us of all address changes. It seems that we have had more of these lately than usual and each time the post office has to advise of an address change, it costs the society 70 cents, plus the cost of the journal and the initial postage to send it. (The journals are not returned.)
· New members names and addresses for the past several months were recently sent to the Regional Coordinators for them to contact the new member and welcome them to the society.
· See you in Atlanta - Mary Jane

Guest Contributor- Jerry Davis, MAP Chairman

Over the past several months, a group of IPMS/USA members from around the country volunteered to serve on a steering committee. Its mission was to refine the concept of a Modeler's Achievement Program (MAP) that would recognize individual modeler achievement while supporting the goals of IPMS/USA.

This MAP steering committee worked long and hard in devising a program that supports the goals of IPMS/USA while recognizing individual modeler achievement through a national IPMS/USA recognition program.

The MAP program allows a modeler to receive recognition at various skill levels without being involved in a contest. This provides an outlet for those who do not want to compete and will thus build toward the value of IPMS/USA.

The Mission Statement of MAP is:

1. Promote the fun of the scale-modeling hobby.

2. Improve IPMS/USA membership and public perception by recognizing individual member participation in the scale-modeling hobby.

Participation in MAP is on an individual basis and is voluntary. MAP is designed to motivate the membership and new incoming members to IPMS/USA to build better models and participate in the society. The MAP is in effect, a guide to assist the membership in learning to construct better models incorporating skill sets from basic through mastery levels of modeling.

IPMS/USA encourages participation in MAP which we feel will increase IPMS/USA membership and motivate current IPMS/USA members. It is a program that raises the awareness of the hobby by creating levels of achievement and sufficiently recognizes members that achieve higher levels of success of having fun in modeling.

Dave Morrissette
President, IPMS/USA

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