"By Modelers, For Modelers"

About IPMS Sonoma County
If you love models and want to connect to a community of people just like you, perhaps you should join us!

The International Plastic Modelers Society (IPMS) is a genuinely international, non-profit organization, founded in 1963, "by Modelers, for Modelers". By joining the Sonoma County chapter of IPMS you become part of a community of fellow modelers who share your interests and speak your language.

IPMS may contain the words "plastic model", but members build a lot more than that. If you peruse our past meetings, you will find a diverse array of plastic models, wood models, card models, figures, metal game miniatures, and more. You will find planes, cars, tanks, ships, spacecraft, famous people, monsters, mecha, and dinosaurs. You will find models in every scale, from every era, real and imagined. You will find a group of people with diverse interests, and some model the same things you do!

First and foremost, members and guests of IPMS Sonoma County meet once a month at HobbyTown USA in Petaluma, California. Meetings generally run from 7pm to 9pm, though members begin arriving at 6:30pm or earlier. All meetings include announcements from the club president, a show and tell session, a small model raffle, a question and answer session, and a chance to talk with other members. In addition, most meetings include a technique demonstration, model review, and/or event slideshow.

Typical announcements deal with club events, upcoming meetings, local model shows, new kits, and other news of interest to model builders. We even keep track of airshows, military vehicle meets, and similar events.

The show and tell session allows members and guests to bring in and talk about recently completed models, ongoing projects, old favorites, models in the box, books, and other hobby items. Each meeting also features a show and tell theme, as described in the meeting calendar. Every person who brings in a model or item gets a chance to talk about it, field questions from the audience, and even ask for advice. Afterward, everyone present votes by applause for the model that best exemplifies the theme for that meeting. The winner receives a small trophy and a gift certificate..

We actively encourage all members and guests to bring in models for show and tell. Members often bring in underway projects from month to month, giving everyone a chance to see these projects evolve to completion. The monthly theme encourages participation with older models. Everyone who brings in one or more items for show and tell also receives a free raffle ticket.

Every meeting includes a small model raffle, usually including about a half dozen items. Raffle items come from the club, by direct purchase from HobbyTown, or as donations. The club often purchases a few of the latest and greatest models for this purpose. Before the raffle starts, members may buy tickets for $1 each, with all proceeds going to the club. The president (and anyone willing to help out) selects winning tickets, with each winner able to select a model or item from the remaining prizes. The whole process starts anew at the next meeting.

Question and answer allows a person needing help to directly tap the collective experience of the group. Since some excellent modelers belong to IPMS Santa Rosa, including more than a few contest winners at the national level, you can find the answer to practically any model related question.

Most meetings feature a short technique demonstration, performed by a person who fully understands and uses the process. Audience members can see the technique in action and ask questions, a luxury no book can match.

Most meetings also feature one or more model reviews, usually involving recently released kits.

IPMS Sonoma County puts on events like Hobby Expo, sponsors club field trips to places like the Littlefield Tank Collection, and collectively attends model shows throughout Northern California and beyond. For those who cannot attend, meetings sometimes feature a slide show of the latest event, narrated by those who attended. If you would like to attend a meeting, please review our location map and events calendar or contact us.

Members of IPMS Sonoma County also gain access to model building workshops. These small, informal sessions, presented by experienced members, feature hands-on training in basic and advanced modeling techniques. Classes cover subjects such as airbrushing, resin casting, vacuforming, dry brushing, and panel scribing. A book may describe a technique, but watching an expert in action, and having access to that expert when you try it yourself, prevents a great deal of frustration.
Throughout the year, IPMS Sonoma County organizes trips to museums and private collections of interest to model builders. Recent field trips included the USS Jeromiah O'brien and USS Pampanito, the Littlefield Tank Museum, the Wings Over the Wine Country Airshow, and the Nike Hercules Missile Battery on the Marin headlands.

During the year, we also hold several social events including a picnic in July or August, a Christmas party in December, and a model auction in January. The model auction typically features 200+ models, and the truly great deals come fast and furious.

Every year, IPMS Sonoma County hosts Hobby Expo, a scale model contest and hobby club exposition, at the Petaluma Community Center. Hobby Expo draws modelers, railroad enthusiasts, and gamers from all over northern California. The event features a huge model contest, model, book, and decal vendors, displays by numerous other local hobby clubs and historical societies, a huge model raffle, and other fun activities. Anyone can attend, but as a club member you have the option of helping to plan and execute the event.

If any of these activities interest you, and you want to learn more, please attend one of our meetings. We always welcome guests and we do not charge for attendance. Find out first hand how the club works. If you bring a model for show and tell, you may even walk away with a free model from the raffle!

If you decide to join, IPMS Sonoma County club dues run $20 a year, for seniors, $15 a year, and for juniors age 17 and under. Club dues help pay for monthly model raffles, field trips, make and takes, the summer picnic, the Christmas party, and Hobby Expo.

To learn more about the IPMS national organization, please visit the IPMS USA website. Members of IPMS USA receive a full color magazine every other month, access to special resources through their website, and discounts at numerous hobby shops.

Please note that IPMS Sonoma County and IPMS USA collect dues independently. Membership in one does not confer membership in the other.

A Chapter of the International Plastic Modelers Society

Serving California North Bay Area modelers since 1999
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