The IPMS/USA Comptetion Handbook can be found here.
The IPMS/USA National Contest is open only to members of IPMS/USA or other national IPMS branches.
Any current member of IPMS/USA or any other national branch of IPMS is eligible to enter any number of
models in the National Contest. To enter the model contest, a member must be individually registered
for the convention. This means, if they wish to enter the contest, each member of a Family Membership
that so desires must register for the convention separately (this helps eliminate confusion about
which of the Family members is the actual contest entrant). A member may also serve as a 'proxy' to
enter models for an absent member who is not attending the convention. Entry fees for absentee/proxy
entrants may be set at the discretion of the Host Chapter. All entries except Chapter/Group entries must
be the sole work of the individual whose name is on the model-entry form. Commercially built and/or
finished models that do not require significant additional work by the modeler will be ineligible.
Juniors. Junior Division categories are limited to members 17 years and younger. Those categories
will be split into two age groupings: Pre-teen for ages through 12 years; and, Teen for ages 13 through
17 years. Junior members may, at their own discretion, enter any or all of their models in Senior Division
categories; however, models entered in Senior categories will not be eligible for any special Junior-Division
Prior Winners. Models that have won First‑, Second‑, or Third‑place, or
Out‑of‑the‑Box awards in any category of any previous IPMS/USA National Model
Contest may not be entered in any subsequent IPMS/USA National Model Contest for awards, except as
provided in Rule IV-1D (last sentence) and Rule IV-7C, -7D, and -7E. Previous award winners
can be used as noted in Dioramas, Collections, Triathlon and Group entries. Models that have won an award
as part of a Collection, Triathlon or Group entry may also be entered individually in subsequent National
Contests. However, models that have won individually, and as part of a Collection, Triathlon or Group entry,
are not eligible for subsequent National Contests.
Pre-Production/Home-Production Models. Pre-production kits (whether from major or limited-run
manufacturers) may be entered in the contest. A preproduction kit is one which is not yet generally
available for retail purchase. Home-production models (specifically, home-produced 3D-printed models),
may also be entered in the contest. Both of these examples will be entered as 'stock' kits, but not as
'scratch-built' models. (see also Rule IV-1B. below) No distinction is made between a model designed
and printed at home, versus a model designed by the modeler but sent out to a third party to print
Inappropriate Entries. The Chief Judge will exclude/remove from competition any entry considered
by Contest officials to be inappropriate or offensive to generally acknowledged standards of taste and
The following are prohibited in competition and may not be placed on display at any IPMS event:
There shall be no depiction of excretory functions depicting any human being or animal.
There shall be no depiction of sadomasochistic activity, equipment, settings or situations,
to any degree, regardless of whether there are figures in the model and regardless of whether
any figures present in the model are clothed.
There shall be no depictions of explicit sexual conduct, bilateral or autoerotic, regardless
of degree and regardless of the clothing-status of the participants that involves the
touching of the breasts or genitals or other erogenous zones of any depicted figure.
There shall be no depiction of any nude human male or female figures where the genitalia
of the figure are exposed where the clear intent of the same is to portray a sexual scene.
The following may be entered in the competition or put on display but
can be presented only behind opaque screens or similar visual barriers and only where visitors are
provided with a fair description, in written format, of the contents of the models behind the screen.
This screened presentation covers competitors and the general public, but no person younger than 18 will
be admitted except in the presence of an adult responsible for the young person, subject to the
provisions of governing local law:
Depictions of any nude human male or female figure, subject to the
provisions of I-5A, above.
Models or dioramas of historic events (e.g. general dioramas or
specific depictions of the result of the activities of the communist Cambodian Pol Pot regime,
a Soviet Gulag, or a Nazi death camp) where the suffering of human beings, or the result of a
pogrom, is depicted. Where the theme, content or subject matter of presentations is graphic or
would violate any provisions cited above, then the presentation is prohibited in any setting.
Oversized or Special Display Requirements. Modelers entering pieces that exceed
three feet in either width or length, or that require special power support or special placement, must notify the
Convention Contest Coordinator at least one month in advance of the Convention. The limited space for the Contest
requires pre-planning for such entries. Failure to provide advanced notification for such models could result in
them being unable to be displayed, compete, or not having adequate special support (e.g., power hook-up). Contact
the 2023 Contest Coordinator via e-mail to make
the required arrangements.
Display Only. Where space and finances permit, convention hosts are encouraged to
provide space for “Display Only” models. This should be open to any model by any registered entrant, regardless of its
having won or not at a previous convention. No awards will be given in this class, nor will it be judged. It will
serve to exhibit the full range of work accomplished by IPMS modelers. Space restraints could limit or eliminate
this option, which should not impinge on the space required for a full and safe contest.
Contest Duration. Exhibitors are encouraged to leave their models in the display
room until the awards banquet is over and attendees have had the maximum opportunity to view them. Entrants who
remove their models and leave before the show's end will need to contact the hosting chapter's contest committee
and pay to have any awards they leave behind shipped to them.
Judging. Models will be judged for skill in construction, finish, realism, and scope
of effort; accuracy may be used as criteria for determining final ranking for similar model subjects. Additional
criteria are considered for special categories such as Dioramas, Collections, Conversions, and Triathlon. Models are
judged as three-dimensional objects and are examined in all aspects.
Entries will be handled by judges, both for proper category placement and
for judging, as required.
Display Cases. Models in the Contest Room may be covered by cases while on
general-public display, but such cases must be removed from models for judging. Judges will not remove cases from
models unless the modeler has given explicit, written approval in advance. Models in cases will not be judged, except
in instances where removal of a case could cause damage, and in the judgment of the respective Head Judge the case
will not impede effective judging; in such instances, a display case may be left on during judging. Such an arrangement
must be made prior to judging and noted in writing on the entry form by the Head Judge. The Head Judge will have the
final and exclusive authority to allow or deny this exception.
Judges. A Chief Judge must be chosen, and he must brief all judges before the
contest judging. Only Judges fully registered at the Convention are eligible to join judging teams. Junior members
may not serve as voting judges but may be assigned to judging teams as participating observers.
Judges may not judge a category in which they are entered. Contest entrants may not
attempt to solicit judges to select their entries to receive any awards, at any time during the annual convention,
nor may any contest entrants attempt to solicit the public-at-large to select their entries to receive votes for
Most Popular Model, at any time during the annual convention (in this case, the public-at-large function as de-facto
Judging teams will be composed of multiple judges, preferably representing different
regions. Strict impartiality will be observed, and violators will be removed from judges' lists for future National
Conventions. Any judges disqualified for cause may not assume any role related to the contest at future IPMS/USA
National Conventions and may not be present in the room during the judging for any reason. This will include, but not
be limited to, administrative, scoring, photographic and other support responsibilities.
Judges will be provided with a special ribbon or other device to allow their easy
identification during the convention. The Chief Judge and Class Head Judges will monitor the contest room prior to
judging to ensure models are in the proper categories for judging. They will also move models to appropriate categories
or to accomplish the “splits” required in the larger categories.
All Judges' Decisions Are Final. Contest registrars will help determine proper
entry categories for models during registration, but final category placement is at the discretion of contest judges.
Judges may move models or may split categories during final judging. Determination of awards
is at the discretion of the judges in accordance with these Rules and the Categories approved by the NCC. Once judges'
worksheets (judging results) have been checked by Class head judges (and their assistants), and those worksheets have
been submitted to the Contest Recorder's team for data entry, those judges' decisions and results are final. No judging
results can or will be redone after that point.
NCC Governance. The IPMS/USA National Contest Committee (NCC) is solely responsible for
the creation, modification, addition and deletion of all Rules and Categories for the IPMS/USA National Contest. Any
exceptions sought by the Host Chapter must be submitted for consideration by the National Contest Committee at the time
the Convention is bid.
No liability or entitlement. No liability for loss
or damage to contest entries is implied or assumed by IPMS/USA, the Host Chapter, the convention hotel, or the contest
judges. No entrants are “entitled” to receive awards or to an increased level of received
awards. No entrants are “entitled” to compensation for costs incurred (whether actual or perceived) to attend the
National Convention and Contest.
Waivers. The Chief Judge may waive any rule if circumstances warrant.
No monetary value. No awards associated with placement in the contest will have
any intrinsic monetary value beyond the cost of their materials and production. Monetary awards, certificates and
scholarships tied to placement in the contest are expressly prohibited.
No Sweeps. First-, Second-, and Third-place awards will be given in each category.
Individual contestants are eligible for only one award per category entered, that is, no category “sweeps” are
allowed, even if a category has only three entries, but only one or two entrants.
Provision of Awards. The Host Chapter will provide a sufficient number of trophy
packages to account for all categories and preplanned splits, plus up to (but no more than) 5 trophy packages for
additional, unplanned splits at the Contest. The NCC will confirm the total number of award packages required and
the approved list of Categories prior to each convention.
Theme Awards. Additional theme awards may be presented at the discretion of the
host chapter. The host chapter is encouraged to make use of incentive awards or other non-trophy items as it sees
fit to develop and encourage participation in the Junior categories. The host chapter may add up to five theme
awards for its convention only. These additional theme awards must be identified to and approved by the Executive
Board at the initial bid presentation for that Convention. Theme awards do NOT constitute
new categories but are assessed across all contest entries. Theme awards will be judged by the host chapter.
Special Interest Awards Various manufacturers or organizations and interest
groups can present other awards each year. These awards must conform to Rule III-1, above. Any such awards
expected to be announced by IPMS at the Convention or in its Journal Magazine must be accompanied by sponsorship
of at least one regular category awards package. The screening/selection for these awards is done by the
sponsor's selected teams and is not accomplished by IPMS/USA judging teams. The special awards will be chosen
while the contest room is open to normal viewing, and the awards placed/presented prior to the awards banquet
at the convenience of the sponsor.
Additional sign-up is required for entrants who want their
entries considered for various Theme or Special Interest awards. This may take the form of a separate sign-up
list at contest registration or checkboxes contained on the individual entry form. Those items help the judging
teams locate entries to be judged within the contest’s many categories.
Honorariums. Special awards may be named in honor of individuals, with
the approval of the National Contest Committee. Such awards will remain named for a period of three years,
after which they will either be renewed for another three-year period, be renamed in honor of another
individual, or revert to their standard-class name. Selection criteria will be very high and named awards
will remain the exception.
Class Awards. Besides the Judges Grand Award and Most Popular
Model Award, 'Best' awards will also be presented for each class in the contest and are listed below.
The 'Best' entries in each class will be determined by a vote of the judges assigned to that class, led by
the Class Head Judge. The Best Diorama Award will be chosen from among the
first-place winners in each of the Diorama categories by vote of the Class Head Judges, led by the Chief
Judge. The Judges Grand Award will be chosen from among the Class Best award recipients by
vote of the Class Head Judges, led by the Chief Judge. Models entered in Senior categories by Junior members
are not eligible for special Junior awards. The Judges Grand Award must be the final award presented at the
Show and Class Award Names. The following 'Best' Awards will be presented
at the National Convention:
George Lee Judges' Grand Award
Jim Sage Most Popular Model Award
Tom Kolk Best Junior Model Award
Ken Robert Best Aircraft Award
Art Gerber Best Military Vehicle Award
Best Figure Award
Best Ship Award
Best Automotive Award
Best Space or Science Fiction Vehicle Award
Best Miscellaneous Award
Best Diorama Award
Best Use of IPMS Convention-Special Decals
CONTEST AND CLASS-SPECIFIC DEFINITIONS
General Contest-wide Definitions
Composition. The use of plastic is encouraged; however, the use of other modeling
materials is allowed as the builder sees fit. 3D-printed models may be entered in the appropriate standard-subject
Class. An entirely 3D-printed model may not be considered to be 'scratch-built' (per Rule IV-1B), even if the modeler
is the designer of the model; such 3D-printed models are not the single, original 'master' model, but are copies
generated from 'master' 3D drawing files. 3D kits, conversion sets, and detail parts are considered the same as other
aftermarket products - be they plastic, resin, or metal. Judging standards of finish, attention to detail, and
authenticity will be the same, regardless of the materials used.
Scratch-Built Models determined to be scratch-built must be entered in the proper
scratch-built category. Scratch-built models may incorporate parts from other kits, but these should be generally unrelated
to their original identity, except for minor parts such as wheels, guns, etc. Computer-design/programming and 3D-machine
printing are not considered as "scratch-building" for defining Scratch-Built entries in the national contest.
Replacement of kit parts with same-looking scratch-built parts does not make the entry scratch-built,
where the majority of the entry is still kit-based.
Conversion category entries must represent a version different from that provided by
the basic kit. The conversion must contain significant structural modifications to the basic kit involving extensive
changes in contour or configuration. In addition to the normal judging criteria common to the entire contest, judges of
the Conversion Category will give special consideration to the complexity of the conversion. A conversion accomplished
with primarily commercial aftermarket parts will be at a disadvantage, therefore, against a conversion accomplished primarily
by the builder's craftsmanship - assuming both are finished to similar standards. Simple conversions may be entered in
regular categories. More extensive conversions, however, must be entered in the appropriate conversion category. The builder
must describe in detail the conversion changes made to the base kit on the entry sheet or accompanying documentation.
Class head udges have the ultimate authority to determine a model's category placement,
and such decisions by judges will be final.
Dioramas and Vignettes.In
diorama categories, regardless of class, the number of subjects (vehicles or figures) will determine in which
category an entry is placed. Entries with a single vehicle and/or no more than five figures will be placed into the
Vignette (Small Composition) categories. Entries with two or more vehicles and/or more than five figures will be placed
into the Diorama (Large Composition) categories.
Dioramas are story-centric, specifically built to tell a story or convey a message.
Storyline will be considered equally to construction and finish of the individual subjects, figures, and other
presentation components. A technically well-done diorama with a weak story line will be at a disadvantage to one with
a strong storyline.
Vignettes may also tell a story or may simply depict a 'moment in time/location'.
A previous national contest winner may be used as part of a diorama, so long as it is
not the primary focus of the diorama.
Bases - In General. Bases will be allowed in all categories and will not be considered
in the judging, except in Small/Large Composition (vignette/diorama) categories. A base may be a piece of undecorated wood,
plastic or glass or it may simulate the natural surface on which the prototype would be found. However, nothing other than
that basic surface may be used. Aircraft and military vehicles may rest on simulated ground or paving, and aircraft that
need beaching gear or dollies may be so equipped. Ships may be displayed in water (no dry docks). The base must not be
the predominant feature of the entry and must be of a size proportionate to the model. The Contest Chairman and Judges
reserve the right to exclude oversize bases. The model may include primary crew figures. (See Rule IV-3B for limits for
Military Vehicles.) The addition of any other figures or equipment outside or not attached to the model (e.g., support
equipment, shell splashes, or buildings) will make the model a vignette or diorama, which must then be entered in the
proper diorama category. (See Rule IV-1D.) So, if you want to compete in a single-subject category, don't make a Vignette
to see how far you can push the boundary!
Markings. Markings will help determine the category in which
a model is entered, e.g., civil vs. military, historical era, or other defining markings.
Basic Kit Build (BKB) - Single Media Only, General
Guidelines: (in effect for 2022, 2023, and 2024 contests).
The IPMS/USA National Contest will include separate categories in selected Classes
for Basic Kit Build (BKB) entries. An exception to this is the Junior Class; since the number of Junior entries
are relatively low, most Junior entries are regularly built as basic kit builds.
The model builder should note that entering a model in any Basic Kit Build category is
their choice. Models in these categories have limitations applied to them that are not applied to entries in the
rest of the categories.
The spirit of building BKB is two-fold:
First, to limit yourself to using only those components supplied by the kit
makers of older/simpler/less-expensive kits, and yet work to get the best result regardless of any
shortcomings in the base kit, such as may exist with its detailing or accuracy.
Second, to compete at a more basic level, knowing that basic modeling skills
are the only difference-maker - not what variety of detailing materials is supplied by the kit manufacturer,
nor by after-market detailing sets, nor by using more advanced re-building or scratch-building skills.
The general BKB approach is to build what came in the kit box. In some cases,
this may result in a perceived incomplete or inaccurate model. While prior guidelines for out-of-the-box
were modified for exceptions/inclusions, the BKB approach will return to “what came in the kit box”. You
are not required to make-up for any perceived kit deficiencies/inaccuracies based on detailing accessories.
Some examples are:
Aircraft models are not required to have antennas, rigging wires,
seatbelts, nor can they be added unless they're included or noted in kit instructions.
Automotive models are not required to have seatbelts, radio
antennas, battery cables, spark-plug wires, or fan belts, nor can they be added unless they're
included or noted in kit instructions.
Military Vehicle models are not required to have closed sponsons,
separate tow cables, or radio aerials, nor can they be added unless they're included or noted in kit
Ship models are not required to have railings, radar antennas,
or rigging, nor can they be added unless they're included or noted in kit instructions.
All Class Head Judges and the Chief Judge will have final say as to what
is permitted for any BKB entries within their Classes.
Models that meet the Basic Kit Build criteria (outlined below) may
be entered in the BKB categories, but they are not required to be entered there. Modelers
may, therefore, choose to place their model in a standard category, where it will be judged against
the other entries with no reference to it being a BKB kit.
Basic Kit Build (BKB), Specific Guidelines: The BKB entries
will be governed by the following rules:
Kits. Any commercially available kit may be used as long as the
kit is constructed as a predominantly single-medium product. It can consist of an all-polystyrene kit,
an all-resin kit, an all-photoetch kit, or any other 'single' material. Kits with various other
materials included (e.g., cast-resin or 3D-resin detailing accessories, etched-metal detailing
frets, turned-metal detailing parts, and other similar detailing parts) will not be permitted.
Examples of other material parts that will be allowed are kit-supplied vacuum-formed
windscreens, canopies, windows for Aircraft and Automotive models; kit-supplied rubber/vinyl
tires and poly-caps to retain wheels and/or parts attached to pylons; metal gearboxes and/or metal-rod
axles for Armor and Automotive models.
As a general guideline, kit parts that are necessary to complete and
support the overall structure of the completed model are allowed. However, other kit parts that
provide enhanced surface-detailing to a completed model will not be allowed for a BKB entry.
Construction. The modeler may fill seams and gaps; sand
off rivets; drill out gun ports, exhaust pipes, or other appropriate openings; thin to-scale such
parts as trailing edges, flaps, and doors; re-scribe panel lines lost in construction, and add
rigging and antennas, if shown on the kit's instructions. No major reconstruction or
modifications will be allowed for BKB entries.
Decals. Decals other than those included with the kit may
be used. They may be used to replace old/damaged/missing kit decals. They may also be used to provide
alternative insignia and markings to those originally provided with a kit. However, their use for BKB
entries is restricted to 2-dimensional water-slide or dry-transfer products. 3-dimensional products
such as 3D-printed or resin-dot printed instrument panels, access panels, fasteners, bolts, rivets,
stitching, etc., are commercially offered as after-market improved-detailing products, and so fall
outside of the intended/accepted usage as decals for BKB entries.
Finish. All painting/finishing techniques are allowed. Insignia,
markings, and instrument panels may be hand-painted instead of using decals. Weathering is permitted.
Exclusions. It is not permitted to vacuum-form, manufacture,
or replace any part, or substitute parts from another kit; cut or separate canopies, surfaces,
hatches, doors, etc. (no major surgery+); combine a standard kit with a conversion kit; add anything
other than specified on the instruction sheet.
Instruction Sheets. Modelers must attach at least the first page
of the kit instruction sheet to the entry form and have the rest of the instruction sheet accessible
to the judges for review during judging (preferably, directly under the table from the model). Models
entered without an attached kit instruction sheet cannot be considered for a BKB award, since
judges then cannot verify if the builder used only kit-supplied parts.
Aircraft Class Definitions
Markings. Aircraft categories are generally defined as Military Aircraft
unless otherwise noted. Entries carrying only civil markings will be placed in the appropriate Civil Aircraft
category. They do not need to be marked with a national civil registration (e.g., N-number for the USA) to be
entered in a Civil Aircraft category. Models of CIA, NASA, Treasury Department, and other government-marked
(but non-military-marked) and operated aircraft will normally be placed within the Civil Aircraft categories.
Movie planes, war birds, and those with combined civil and military markings (e.g., NASA band and USAF titles)
likewise will usually be placed in Civil Aircraft categories.
Missiles. Winged 'airplane-type' missiles will generally be entered in a
UAV Aircraft category. When a missile's transport vehicle or launcher is the predominant portion of the system
(e.g. Patriot, SCUD), the model will be entered in the appropriate Armor category. Military launch vehicles
(e.g. V-2, ICBM, IRBM), civilian launch vehicles (e.g. Scout, Saturn), and military launch vehicles modified
for civil missions (e.g. Atlas/Agena, Jupiter C) will be entered in the Real Spacecraft category.
Jets. Jet Aircraft categories include manned, rocket-powered aircraft such
as the Me-163, X-1, X-15, X-24, etc.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The UAV categories are to include drones,
flying bombs, winged missiles and other aerial vehicles, powered or glider, designed to fly without carrying a
crew. Aircraft originally designed for manned control but converted to remote-control operation (e.g., F6F-5KD,
QF104, DeHavilland Queen Bee) will not be considered as UAVs for the purposes of this contest, and shall be
entered in the appropriate regular Aircraft categories. Conversely, a pilotless machine does not have to meet
the 'modern' definition of UAV to be entered in this category. Qualifying UAV models, regardless of markings,
shall be entered in the appropriate UAV category.
Elevated Aircraft Entries (Aircraft on a Pole). Any aircraft model (regardless
of scale) that is mounted in an elevated position (i.e., on a stick, pole, or other forms of support) will be
entered in this category. Crew figures are optional, not required. Also, spinning props or jet exhaust emissions
may be simulated, but are not required. This is not an “in-flight diorama” category; models will be judged solely
as individual aircraft. Correspondingly, this category will not include any model display that is intended to be
or constructed as a diorama. Those entries will be entered into their respective Diorama categories, unless the
Dioramas-class head judge thinks a particular entry may be better served in this Elevated Aircraft category, due to
a lack of story or other issue.
Military Vehicle Class Definitions.
Conversion and Scratch-Built - Military Vehicles. Any Conversion or Scratch-Built model
(Category 228) must be constructed or must have its silhouette substantively changed by the modeler, using scratch-building
supplies (e.g., sheet plastic, sheet brass, tin, or wood). Any Kit-Bashed Conversion model (Category 229) will have its
silhouette substantively changed by the modeler using any pre-existing kit parts from another model or manufactured conversion
parts/pieces designed for such change by the manufacturer, whether or not they're intended for the particular model to which
they are applied.
Bases - Military Vehicles. Any AFV model that is displayed upon a base may have 'basic'
groundwork; i.e., dirt, grass, roadway, a low stone wall, etc. No part of that groundwork may extend taller than the topmost
portion of the body of the model; i.e., no trees, buildings, structure, chimney, water-tower etc. Any vehicle entry that has
more than basic groundwork will be defined as a Vignette (see Rule IV-1D), and will be transferred to the appropriate
Category for judging there. Any model entered into an AFV category that is displayed upon a base, permanently or temporarily,
may have no more than two (2) figures in total and the figure(s) must be a crew member; only one (1) figure may be affixed to
the base off the vehicle; a second figure must be affixed to or within the vehicle model. If there are more than two figures
total, the entry will be defined as a Vignette, and will be transferred to the appropriate Category for judging there.
Multi or Towed Vehicles - Military Vehicles. Multi- or Towed Vehicles include any
grouping of two or three vehicles (no more), attached to each other. Examples include any towed artillery and prime
mover; an artillery piece with a limber; a tank transporter/trailer, with or without a load vehicle; or any other
combination of two or three vehicles that are attached to each other. The attachment system can be a ball & hitch, fifth
wheel, whiffletree, or tow chain/cables specifically designed for such purpose. The model may be displayed on a base with
or without basic groundwork, either temporarily or permanently affixed to such a base. Like other AFV model entries
(see Rule IV-3B), if the multi-vehicle display has groundwork that extends past the highest point of the basic body of the
model, or has more than two figures, as defined in Rule IV-1D, the entry will be defined as a vignette, and will be
transferred to the appropriate diorama category for judging there.
Open Hatches. Any AFV model with an open hatch that exposes
the interior of the model will be moved to Category 206 and will be defined as an Open-Top AFV or AFV with Interior.
A figure (see Rule III-3B, above) may be placed in the open hatch to obstruct the view of the interior which will allow
the model to remain in the standard categories. To keep an entry from being moved to Category 206, the hatches should
remain closed (i.e., don't leave open hatches that invite a view of the interior).
Figures Class Definitions. Entries will not be classified as vignettes or dioramas
by the inclusion of bases and/or accessories supplied in the original figure kit.
Automotive Class Definitions.
Automotive - Factory Production includes models of non-commercial
automobiles (including cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, and vans) in the configuration they were originally manufactured.
Includes models of homologation specials and factory tuners (Shelby Mustangs, Yenko Camaros, AMG Mercedes, etc.) available
for sale to the public. Models of unusual vehicles (including unusual colors, options, etc.) should include documentation
such as copies of sales brochures to substantiate the vehicle and its features. Models built as Factory Production
subjects but with rusted paint, missing parts, etc. should be placed in the Customs or Street Rod or Street Machine
Automotive - Hot Rods, Street Rods, and Street Machines.
Models of automobiles that have been modified for improved performance and/or eye-catching
appearance. The model should represent a street legal vehicle (legal for the era represented) and should include standard
lights, brakes, exhaust, treaded tires and at least one license plate. Minor modifications to bodywork are allowed as long
as the vehicle is still recognizable as the original vehicle.
Allowed modifications include:
"Chopped" tops and "channeled" bodies, fenders removed (Category 506 only)
Wheel flares, air dams, spoilers, wings.
Any type of paint and graphics.
Any engine performance part, including hi-rise intake manifolds and superchargers
that extend through the hood.
Any engine swaps.
Any street legal tire wheel and tire swap (no slicks - properly grooved “cheater
slicks” if period correct are allowed).
Automotive - Customs Models of production automobiles - from any year -
that have been extensively modified to change their appearance, and models of specially built (one-off)
show cars that are substantially different in appearance than a mass production vehicle. This is an
“artistic class” in which the originality and cohesiveness of design will be a factor in judging. This
"Classic customs" (production cars that have been chopped, sectioned,
One-off "show cars" produced by either a manufacturer or specialty builder.
"Phantoms" - cars built in the style of a production vehicle but never
actually produced, such as a Mustang station wagon.
Tom Daniel, Ed Roth, Jimmy Flinstone, etc. show car designs.
Automotive - Competition Vehicles. A competition vehicle is defined as a car or
truck that is principally or solely constructed or modified to compete in an organized racing event and
includes a competition number. The model should have appropriate representations of speed, handling and
safety equipment for the type of racing and era in which the real vehicle would compete, to the extent that
these items can be readily seen. Such items include but are not limited to roll cages, safety straps and
harnesses, fuel cells, blower blankets, etc. Reference materials to assist the judges is highly recommended.
Large-Scale Automotive. This category includes anything larger than 1:20 scale of
any complete car or truck, regardless of subject or building technique. Note that aside from this category, large
scale models can also be entered in the following categories provided they meet the specific requirements of the
category: Category 534 Conversions and Scratch-Built; Category 535 Documented Replica, or Categories 590, 591,
592, (the BKB categories).
Automotive - Conversions and Scratch-Built. The same general rules for
Scratch-Built (Rule IV-1B) and Conversions (Rule IV-1C) apply here. Conversion-category entries must represent a
version different from that provided by the basic kit and must contain significant structural modifications to the
basic kit involving extensive changes in contour or configuration. This category is for models of cars, trucks and
motorcycles that require substantial scratch-building or modification to a manufactured kit to complete. Models
with simple part-swapping, such as replacing an engine or changing the markings/badges to represent a different
trim level of the vehicle represented in a kit are generally not considered a conversion. Scratch-built models
may incorporate parts from other kits, but these should be generally unrelated to their original identity. The
scope and complexity of construction work will be considered as part of the judging.
Automotive - Documented Replicas. This category is for models built as a precise replica of a specific real-world vehicle.
The competitor must also display documentation to authenticate the actual vehicle upon which the model is based (can include
photographs, copies of brochures, magazine articles, etc. -- materials should be collected in a standard binder or file
folder for judges' review). Evaluation of the model may include the completeness of the documentation and how well the model
agrees with the information presented. As usual, the builder's basic construction skills will still be the primary judging criteria.
Adding more documentation will not make a poorly built model compete better than a less-documented better-built model.
Automotive - Commercial Vehicles. Light commercial vehicles will
have no more than 2 axles; heavy commercial vehicles will have 3 or more axles. Any load-carrying vehicle entries will have their
cargo included as part of the overall judging of those entries.
Motorcycles This category will include entries of all scales, from smallest to largest. And
this category will include only civil/personal and racing motorcycles. Note that aside from this category and provided they meet
the specific requirements, motorcycle models can also be entered in Category 534, Scratch-Built and Conversion, or Category 535,
Documented Replica. Military motorcycles must be entered into soft-skinned or wheeled categories in Class II.
Automotive Curbside. This category is judged as if the
vehicle is parked at the curb. The model must be displayed with hood, trunk, all doors, etc. closed. No engines allowed. No
motorcycles are allowed in this category, as the engine is visible. If the engine is included or visible, the model will be
moved to the appropriate automotive category. Judges will ignore any detail on the bottom of the model (mirrored bases are not
allowed). Body detail will be judged by the basic construction criteria for building flaws such as seams,
glue, or other basic faults. There will be no additional credit given to models with added body/structure details.
Automotive Technology and Culture. This category is for
models of automotive subjects that do not meet the definitions or requirements of the more specific auto categories.
The intent of this category is to provide a format for auto-related subjects that are substantially
different in required modeling skill and scope-of-effort compared to the more traditional automotive categories. In particular,
this category would include:
"Slammer-style" models (models of a complete vehicle with painted-over windows and no
interior or mechanical components).
Caricature or cartoon versions of vehicles.
Small, motorized vehicles not intended for on-road use and not derived from on-road
capable vehicles, including go-karts, mini-bikes, quad-runners, powered skateboards, etc.
Standalone automobile engines or other mechanical components.
Automotive toys, such as pedal cars.
Cut-away/engineering models meant to show the internal construction and operation of an
automobile or part of an automobile.
Wrecked or "junk" vehicles that are no longer complete or drivable (e.g., driveline and/or
body panels have been visibly removed).
Models of hypothetical, futuristic, or science-fiction-inspired vehicles using speculative
technology (e.g., hover-cars).
Space & Science Fiction Vehicles Class Definitions:
Star Trek & Star Wars subjects (Category 605 and 606): Only spaceships and vehicles from Star Trek
and Star Wars media.
Gundam subjects (Category 607): Only characters and vehicles from the Gundam media multiverse.
Mecha subjects (Category 608) Powered sci-fi robots, armor or machines, with limbed features or
humanoid construct. Such models may contain or display an operator figure as long as it is not the dominant part of the model;
mechanical features should predominate. Otherwise, an entry will go in the appropriate Fantasy or Sci-Fi Figures category.
Miscellaneous Class Definitions
Humor (Category 710): Models entered in the Humor category will be judged on both their humor
content and the degree of modeling skill which they present.
Hypothetical (Categories 720, 721): In general, models that do not represent a factual, physical
prototype will be entered in one of these hypothetical categories. Each Class has its own definition of hypothetical, dependent
upon the tradition and practice within that Class. Class Head Judges will determine whether models will be judged within the
regular Class categories or moved to one of the Miscellaneous/Hypothetical categories (Class VII). Entrants may choose to enter
their model in either the overall Hypothetical categories, or in the regular categories in their Class (armor, aircraft, etc.).
Models placed in Category 720 are based on kits, with the 'hypothetical' component being the result of markings, finish, etc.
Models placed in Category 721 are 'hypothetical' as a result of changes to their structure, being kit-bashed or scratch-built.
Triathlon (Category 730): Three models of different classes grouped and displayed as a single
entry. The models will be judged as a group, with overall quality determining placement. Credit will be given for diversity of
entries. Entries must be composed of three models selected from three of the following Classes: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, and Categories
700, 720, 721, and 760. No more than one of the three models comprising this entry may have won as an individual entry in a previous
National Contest. Models constituting a Triathlon entry may not, simultaneously, be competing in other parts of the contest. Models
comprising a winning Triathlon entry may subsequently be entered individually if they were not themselves previous winners.
Collections (Category 740): A Collection is any group of five or more closely related items.
Past National Contest winning models may be included as part of a collection if they comprise no more than 40 percent of the
collection. The entire collection must be the work of one person. The closeness of the relationship within the collection is a
significant factor in judging. For example, a collection based on variants of a single airframe is a tighter relationship than
one of different aircraft operated by a unit. Models comprising a winning Collection may subsequently be entered as individual
entries if they were not themselves previous winners.
IPMS Chapter/Group Entries (Category 750): The Chapter/Group entry shall be the only
exception to Rule I-1 calling for the model-making work to be done by a single individual. The intent of this category is
to provide an option for displaying a project that is too extensive or complex for a single individual to complete in a
reasonable time. It is also intended to provide a vehicle for an IPMS chapter or a group of IPMS members to exhibit a project
that may have been prepared for an event or display other than the IPMS/USA National Contest. Subject-matter, timeframe,
scale, location, etc., are open. Models comprising a winning chapter/group entry may subsequently be entered individually if
they were not, themselves, previous winners.