"We are not all in the same boat- A message from Jill Kenik
2021 Virtual Event Announced!
Virtual Conferences - How do they work, anyway?
Student Model Making Competition - Held online for the first time!
Lights! Camera! Action! - Filming your model making
Old Model Makers Never Retire - Wisdom from a retired model maker
ICYMI on the Forum - New Tracks Virtual Train Shows

We are not all in the same boat...


"I heard that we are all in the same boat, but it's not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. You could be shipwrecked and I might not be. We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different. Each of us will emerge, in our own way, from this storm. It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, actually seeing. We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey. Realize that and be kind."
- Unknown author

Our model making community, like so many other communities, continues to be challenged by the COVID storm. As model makers, we are seemingly genetically encoded with ingenuity, adaptability and the fortitude needed to overcome obstacles, getting jobs done under any circumstances and moving on.

With single-minded determination to overcome the current challenges in typical model maker fashion, the APMM Board of Directors has gone far beyond casually managing the positions to which they were elected during the 2018 Grand Rapids Conference. They are deeply committed, passionate about APMM, and willing to do what they can to assure the survival of our community.

During this storm, the Board has been exploring questions of what our members want, what they can afford, what they need, all the while balancing our volunteer time against the reality of individual journeys through this storm. Of course, the firmest commitment to our community remains with our Executive Director Samanthi, who continues to be our cornerstone and the glue that holds the APMM together.

We have started to make important changes to APMM’s direction. Networking opportunities have increased through informal online meet-ups, which are growing steadily in popularity. Our worldwide appeal is broadening through the addition of country specific Membership Ambassadors, which will globally unify and strengthen our community of professional model makers. Membership costs and benefits have been restructured. With the huge success of the virtual Student Model Making Competition and increasing outreach, we are more actively supporting young model makers. Many of them are regularly joining our online meet-ups.

Our biggest news is shifting the conference to a virtual format. Large groups of attendees would have been unable to attend a March 2021 conference due to travel restrictions. Likewise, tour locations could not consider hosting in-person events before mid-year 2021. We look forward to returning to an in-person conference format in 2023. In the meanwhile, savings in traveling costs and time away from work, combined with the reduced virtual conference registration fees, sets up the March 2021 conference to be the largest gathering of professional model makers ever.

Shifting to a virtual conference was a risky decision for the APMM, and we discussed the possible membership reaction for months before accepting the conclusion that there was no other answer. Conferences provide the income APMM needs to supplement annual dues, guaranteeing the continuity of our organization.

As we began reaching out to members that had paid more than what we were proposing as a reduced virtual conference registration fee, we found support by more than 98% of the membership with whom we spoke! Importantly for the financial survival of APMM, MORE THAN 94% of our members and vendors DONATED the balance from their reduced registration funds to APMM to help sponsor the virtual conference, ensuring that our association would survive the financial storm! Undoubtedly, the APMM is an important and necessary part of our professional lives!

Make plans to join us for the March 2021 Virtual Conference, where we will share workshops, tours, networking opportunities and even continue the tradition of conference t-shirts (real ones!). Between then and now, join us for one or more of our occasional Zoom meet-ups—they are a great way to reconnect with your model making friends, or meet new model makers. Consider presenting a workshop for the conference, or hosting a lunchtime tour of your shop.

The APMM will continue to adapt and adjust to weather this storm, and will land as a stronger, more encompassing community, prepared to embrace the journey with all the skills of model makers. We still want and need your ideas and suggestions to make your APMM work better for you.

Fasten your seatbelts, wash your hands and join us virtually -

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 MARCH 12-15, 2021

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Virtual Conferences - How Do They Work?


From the standpoint of YOU, the participant, virtual conferences are really very simple. You'll register for the conference, and be sent links to the Workshops, Tours, Speakers, and other events. Unlike many other virtual conferences and, for that matter, real-life APMM conferences, you won’t have to choose from among multiple tours or workshops running in parallel. Not only are we pretty much only doing one thing at a time, we'll be recording and rebroadcasting almost every event so you’ll be able to catch anything you missed. You pull up a computer, pour yourself a beverage, and join in!

For Vendors, there’ll be multiple opportunities for engagement. Vendors can give a full workshop just like at a real-life conference. The difference is, there won’t be any other workshop at the same time. Also, we propose to have opportunities throughout each of the four days for any vendors to have an open Zoom meeting "room" where it will be possible to join and talk directly or view demos and presentations. Finally, we’ll have our usual Vendor Expo, where every vendor can have a room open for the duration of the event. The Expo and the daily rooms will have multiple vendors available to members at the same time, like at other conferences.

The Workshops and Speakers will be just like at previous conferences. We'll have a presentation, with some portions live, some recorded in advance, and then discussion/Q&A afterwards. We think most of our workshops will translate very well into the virtual world, and some will undoubtedly benefit from the opportunity for rehearsal and editing! We intend to have at least a few workshops with hands-on activities. These may require the participants to obtain some materials beforehand, so keep an eye out for announcements concerning those in order to give yourself time to get what you need.

It’s not an APMM conference without Tours! We intend to have many of our original Seattle destinations give a virtual tour, along with other places from literally around the world. There will be a mixture of working shops, educational facilities, and museums with a strong model display element. You’ll have an opportunity to interact with the tour host during and/or after the tour, and with each other on what could be called the “Zoom Bus” between tours.

This is going to be an outstanding four days with plenty to see and learn, and opportunities to ask questions, get help, help others, and just have a chat. As with every conference, the more participants the better! Since this is our first virtual conference and you won’t have to travel, and can even be semi-available at work and home, why not give it a chance and register? (Details coming soon!)

If you've already registered for the 2020 Conference, your registration will apply directly.

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2020 SMMC - held online for the first time ever!


When our biannual conference was postponed due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, we lost our usual opportunity to enjoy the APMM’s Student Model Making Competition.

 As a senior lecturer at Arts University Bournemouth, I was disappointed that this competition and the usual New Blades event will not take place in 2020.

 As the APMM’s VP for Education, I wanted to offer a way to mitigate some of the frustrations that students/graduates face during the pandemic…

Our association aims to 'foster alliance between educational institutions and model making businesses'. A student model making competition is one of the ways that we aid networking between graduates and potential employers. This year, our competition has been a way to compensate for some of the difficulties caused by lockdown measures and social distancing.

Though regretful, the cancellation of these events is understandable given the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instagram offers a perfect alternative to a 'real world’ event by connecting students and professionals safely online.

The APMM's student model making competition is named for Art Hedlund. Professor Hedlund began the model making program at Bemidji State University during the late 1980's. The Bemidji program always kept a 'real world mindset', remembering that it is important to consider the 'use' for the model and the needs of the client.

Students were asked to enter the competition by posting images of their models to their Instagram profiles, using the hashtag #APMMawards. They were also asked to tag the institution at which they are enrolled, so that we could, if it was felt to be necessary, verify that they were enrolled in a program with a strong model making focus.

The competition opened for entries on June 1, 2020. Judges shortlisted the entries during  the month of June and, after much debate, the winners were announced on July 4. Prizes were awarded for the 3 best submissions, the overall winner receiving $300, a certificate to show off in their portfolio and free registration for the next conference.

Generally, at a 'real world' conference we would expect 15-20 entries. The online competition received 171 entries… from 12 institutions… in 4 countries.

1st place was awarded to Chris Bradbury, of Arts University Bournemouth, UK.


His 2:1 scale model of a DeVillbis spray gun was highly regarded by all of the judges for its professional standard of finish, and the complexity and variety of the techniques used to make it. One of the judges commented, "This model was a powerful teaching and sales tool, on top of being a fantastic example of precision work and attention to detail. I only wish I’d been able to experience it in real life." Chris congratulated others too… "Well done to those that got an honourable mention, everyone's work looked fantastic!" See more of Chris's work at

In 2nd place was Tom Beardwell, for his 15:1 model of a European Cave Spider. Tom, a student of University of Hertfordshire, UK.


Judges remarked, "Here is a model that demonstrates how great planning results in a great model. What makes this one excellent is the artistic skills employed in the final finish." See more of Tom’s work at, and follow him on Instagram at

3rd place went to Yudit Lee, again from Arts University Bournemouth, UK, for her 1:1 model of the Lifeport Kidney Transport Device. 



The complexity of the model, and how well the making process was documented impressed the judges. They were  "…impressed with how the many complicated components were brought together to make this beautifully executed model, and how well the process was documented." When we announced this prize, Yudit commented "Thank you so, so much this means a lot…". You can see more of Yudit’s model making at

The judges were impressed with how well the best of the entries were presented. Quality of photography, clarity of the descriptions and how well the 'story' of the work was told made a good impression with them.

Due to the high number of entries, we decided to give some honourable mentions in addition to the three winners. These included a large scale Swiss army knife and a 12:1 Tarantula Hawk Moth. Other entries included a 2/3 scale model of the classic Valentine typewriter, models of famous chairs by Charles and Ray Eames, and a Tyrannosaurus taking a bath in a cup of tea; the Tea Rex! These honourable mentions can all be enjoyed at


What did we learn from running the competition online for the first time? We know that we can attract a lot more entries to the competition if there is no requirement to bring a model to a 'real world' conference. Opening the competition to all students, rather than just members, encouraged many more entries and certainly more engagement with our Instagram account. By studying each others posts, students can see how to make the best impression with their work. The quality of photography, concise and clear descriptions, and an idea of the story behind the model, all help. In addition to looking at the quality of the model making, judges took presentation into account too, since it is so important when looking for work.

Feedback from model making students, during the competition and after, has been overwhelmingly positive. Students were glad to have an extra opportunity to show their work this year. Overall winner, Chris Bradbury commented "Thank you again to @modelmakersorg for organising this for all the model making graduates, and for giving us the opportunity to promote/show off our work, we all appreciate it."

Many are already asking when the next competition will take place. We intend to run the Student Model Making Competition again at the time of the virtual conference in March 2021. Next time, perhaps, with different categories to encourage younger model makers as well as more experienced undergraduate students.

You can still see all of the 2020 entries, on Instagram, by searching for #APMMawards. By following #APMMawards, you will be first to know about the 2021 competition. While you are there, why not follow us (@modelmakersorg) to keep up to date with news about the association.


Will Strange - @willstrange
Senior Lecturer - AUB - @aubmodelmaking
VP for Education - APMM - @modelmakersorg

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Filming your model making


Like every conference, we’ll be depending on subject matter experts - our members - to provide most of the workshops. As always, member shops are our favorite places to visit, too. Now we’ll be offering these things online and we’d like you to consider making your own video teaching something or showing us around your shop. Imagine how good it will look for you to have some video content to promote yourself professionally and/or for your department or company to use when your customers and partners can’t visit in person!

Social Media VP Joshua Munchow is spearheading the APMM’s efforts to put our conference videos together and get more digital content out on the web for us. He has been preparing some how-to videos on what you need to know and use to make videos that pop. Here's one now! Links to those instructional videos will be shared through the MILE and on the APMM website as they are posted. You'll also be able to subscribe to our ModelMakersOrg YouTube channel and follow modelmakersorg on Instagram.

Joshua is making it super easy to contribute your own video. You'll record your presentation or tour, aiming for at least a half-hour of content. He will edit your video to the length we need, so don’t worry about “rough spots” or going over in time. If you also submit any relevant still images, he can add those into the video. For the advanced video production types out there, you can also volunteer your Zoom or video editing skills to help out if you’d like to do that. Contact [email protected] with questions or for more information.

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