About IPMS and Our Chapter

IPMS/Northern Virginia Modelers is a chartered chapter of the International Plastic Modelers Society/USA branch which founded in 1984.

IPMS/Northern Virginia Modelers has received Chapter of the Year for:
IPMS Region 2 in 1990, 1997 and 2013
IPMS/USA for 1990 and 2013

The chapter boasts an active membership of more than 100 members and a typical meeting is attended by 50-70 members (that's a lot of experience). Membership in IPMS/USA is not required to attend meetings, but is encouraged ("help your society grow"). Our motto and goal is "have FUN modeling."

Monthly meetings feature a contest with various categories, including models by juniors (17 and under), cars, aircraft, military vehicles, figures, space and science fiction, miscellaneous subjects, Master Modelers, and a Special contest category which changes each month. Winners are determined by popular ballot. Meetings also feature a guest speaker, slide presentation or techniques demonstrations of interest to our modelers.

We meet at Fairfax High School in Fairfax, Virginia.  As a rule we meet the first Wednesday of every month (unless it falls on a holiday).  At any time during the year, if the school is closed due to inclement weather, our meetings are also canceled.  Always check the  Fairfax County Public Schools website http://www.fcps.edu to determine whether the schools have been closed during times of inclement weather.  Meetings begin at 8:00 p.m. and are concluded by 10:00 p.m.

Contact any of our club officers for more information.

What is the International Plastic Modelers Society?

IPMS was formed in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, and began shortly thereafter here in the U.S. The society is dedicated to the advancement and continuation of plastic modeling. It's motto "By Modelers, for Modelers", expresses it's true essence. Membership is open to both modelers and trade members. Adult membership in IPMS/USA costs $30 for one year, $58 for two years or $86 for three years. Dues for juniors (17 and under) is $12 per year. Family memberships add $5 to the appropriate adult option. IPMS/USA membership for residents of Canada and Mexico are $30 per year. IPMS/USA membership for individuals living in other foreign countries is $38 per year. For more membership information, visit the IPMS/USA web site.
In order to encourage IPMS/USA membership, IPMS Northern Virginia has a special "subsidy" program for chapter members. For the subsidy, we do the following:

  • New adult memberships: Member pays $10 per year, the chapter pays the remainder (currently $15 of the $25 per year total).
  • New Junior memberships: chapter pays entire amount
  • Adult renewals: Member pays $10 per year of renewal, the chapter pays the remainder (currently $15 of the $25 per year total). Member must renew on their own and then bring the new membership card to the club Treasurer for reimbursement.
  • Junior renewals: chapter pays entire amount. Member must renew on their own and then bring the new membership card to the club Treasurer for reimbursement.

What happens at a typical meeting?

Although the business meeting begins at 8:00pm, members often begin arriving as early as 6:30 to socialize with other modelers, admire the models brought in for the contest or for display, and to talk about tips and techniques.  Around 8:00 we start our meeting with a business discussion which lasts 30 minutes. The club then takes a 15-20 minute break to allow members to vote for the models entered in the monthly contest. When the meeting is reconvened, a program or demonstration of some type is provided. It might be a slide show on a topic of interest to modelers, a guest speaker, or a techniques demo, which are very educational. Following the presentation, a raffle is held for donated modeling supplies and kits, contest results are announced and ribbons awarded, then at around 10:00 p.m. the meeting concludes.

Where are the meetings held?

Meetings are normally held at Fairfax High School, 3501 Rebel Run, Fairfax, VA 22030. Directions and maps for the meeting location can be found on the Directions page.  Always check the home page for updates.

Do you have to be a member of IPMS/USA to join Northern Virginia Modelers?

No, membership in IPMS/USA is encouraged but not required.

Are there dues to become a member of Northern Virginia Modelers?

No, there are no membership dues for our chapter.

How often do you have contests?  Is there an entry fee?

The club holds contests each month. The January contest is held to determine which models are the best of all those that either were built by club members during the previous year or models that won an award at a monthly contest the previous year. There is no entry fee for models entered in each month's contest.

Is there a limit to how many models can be entered in each month's contest?

No, there isn't a limit to the number of models that can be entered in the contest by any one person. However, club rules permit an individual to win only one award in each category during each monthly contest.

How many contest categories are there in each month's contest?

Typically, there are categories for juniors, Masters, 1/72 and smaller aircraft, 1/48 and larger aircraft, 1/48 and smaller armor, armored vehicles larger than 1/48, science fiction, ships, figures, cars and trucks, and miscellaneous models. As long as there is one model entered in a category, an award will be presented.

How is judging conducted?

Judging is done by popular ballot.   You needn't be afraid that your latest masterpiece will get picked apart by a group of overly critical "know-it-all" judges.  The atmosphere of our contest is very friendly, and there is a free exchange of hints and techniques.

What kind of awards are presented?

Ribbons for 1st and 2nd place are awarded for each category, and a certificate is awarded to the modeler who constructed the model deemed "Best of Show."

Do novice modelers compete with experienced modelers?

After a modeler is awarded  five 1st place awards  in any one category (1/72 aircraft for example), they are recognized as "Master Modelers" for just that category and must compete as a "Master Modeler" in that category in the future. They may compete in all regular categories in which they have not received five 1st place awards, such as "1/48 or larger armor". In future competitions if that individual wanted (in this example) to enter a 1/72 or smaller aircraft, they would be required to place the model in the Masters' Category.

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