I have recently returned to model building after a 25 year hiatus.
I was very active in 4-H as a kid, and entered several models each year for our 4-H fair.
Back in the day, we generally had very good judges, who I felt were qualified to be a judge of models.
I have been very dismayed in the past few years by the selection of judges at our county 4-H fair. Just two years ago, the reserve grand champion car model was a die cast "made in China" drag car. I'm not even sure that the 9 year old that entered it knew what he was entering, or that he assembled anything on the car, other than removing it from the box. "How cute!!!!!!!!!" the 20 something girl judge exclaimed when he dropped it off. "Did you paint that free hand?" she asked about the colorful decals applied to the sides of the car.
This gal was equally enamored with another die cast MIC car, an old Chevy truck that looked to be a Franklin Mint model. "Wow. You must be really good to have painted 'C-H-E-V-R-O-L-E-T' on the tailgate with a brush" she said in absolute astonishment. The funniest part was that the kid who entered the model was simply bewildered, and couldn't even answer the question. His face turned about nine shades of red after she asked him, about the tailgate. This truck only won a champion ribbon, so Franklin Mint needs to get busy if they want to win.
Even though we won a blue ribbon with an honor star, I feel that all the kids, including us, who assembled real model kits from a box of unpainted parts were cheated. FWIW, the 4-H rule book states that the entered model must be assembled from a kit.
There are several kids, even though they have been building models for 8 to 10 years, are no longer going to enter models because of the time and expense...just to have an unqualified judge pass on their hard work and give a podium win to a kid who entered a die cast model they found on their Grandpa's shelf the very morning that the model was due. It's not like we have enough kids in 4-H, or enough kids entering models at the fair.
I am planning on approaching the 4-H director about this issue. While I might get the door slammed in my face, on the off chance that I am asked for advice or help, where would we find a qualified judge?
We are close to Indianapolis. Unfortunately, this is an unpaid job, and falls right smack dab in the middle of a work day.
Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?