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Travelling with models

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I would like to attend the GSL show later this spring but if I do I will have to fly there, as I suspect, most of the participants do. Can anyone with experience in this area offer some words of wisdom regarding transporting models through airports, etc.? I can figure out how to pack the models but is it better to carry on or check in as baggage? I can see pros and cons to both ways. Thanks in advance, KB.

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Posted · Report post

Burnout,

I would recommend bring the models as carryone providing you aren't taking to many. That the way I have done it for the GSL in the past

I think there is a greater risk with checking them in your baggage.

I would also include a note in the box with the model that it is very fragile.

bobthehobbyguy

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Posted · Report post

Baggage handlers are the honey badgers of the airline industy, they don't care. I would expect a destroyed model from checked baggage.

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When I've traveled by air to GSL I've only brought one model with me. I've carried it in my carry on bag. I've wrapped it in toilet paper and put it in a heavy cardboard promo size box with a top flap. When I brought the truck that's currently my avatar, I cut foam blocks to go around the mirrors etc prior to wrapping.

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I'd love to travel with models but my wife won't let me! :(

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I would find a pal that is going, mail the build to him/her and pick it up there and then mail it home afterward.

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I'd love to travel with models but my wife won't let me! :(

Ditto!

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Myself, between the inept TSA and gorilla wannabe baggage handlers, I think I'd take the train... or rent a car and drive. I sure wouldn't put my prize models into the care or hands of anyone but myself... Just my 0.02... And, best of luck with however you decide to travel!

Now, if you must fly, keep them with you, carry them as carry-on and do as others have said, pack and mark them carefully....

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Thanks for the ideas guys. You've given me plenty to think about. I have already considered (but not eliminated) the options of driving or taking the train. Things I have to consider:

Train time = 15 hrs (but it is really scenic, the service is good, and I could drink along the way)

Drive time = 8 hrs (faster but less scenic, self service and drinking not an option)

Flight time = 1 hr (no scenery, baggage handlers and terrible service but enough time to put down a beer)

I would say flying is not an option unless I leave my toys at home and just go for the show which I may do.

Thanks again, KB

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Posted · Report post

If you fly, put the models in a carry on bag. I try this myself last year, I went in Italy with a model, and no problem trough the airports. :)

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I would not advise mailing your models. For a number of years GSL allowed mail in entries. This stopped a number of years ago because too many models arrived as kits.

bobthehobbyguy

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Thanks for the ideas guys. You've given me plenty to think about. I have already considered (but not eliminated) the options of driving or taking the train. Things I have to consider:

Train time = 15 hrs (but it is really scenic, the service is good, and I could drink along the way)

Drive time = 8 hrs (faster but less scenic, self service and drinking not an option)

Flight time = 1 hr (no scenery, baggage handlers and terrible service but enough time to put down a beer)

I would say flying is not an option unless I leave my toys at home and just go for the show which I may do.

Thanks again, KB

I've taken models to shows, including GSL, traveling by air and nary a problem! When first I did this, to GSL in 2005, I wondered all the same things that any first-time air traveling model car builder must wonder: I looked at the TSA website, but that didn't answer my questions (would the model cars be subjected to a physical examination by some agent at the security area, stuff like that). I then called TSA's toll-free line, and a very polite woman answered my questions perfectly.

She told me to pack the models as I would ordinarily do, and they would simply run the bag though the scanner--no need to open up any boxes and such. She also explained to me that the baggage scan is done by magnetometer, which would allow them to see everything inside my carryon's, and that would be it. OK, so off I go.

At Midway Airport in Chicago, I did as the TSA rep said, just put the case with my models on the conveyor, along with my suitcase, the basket with my worldly goods in it, and my shoes, jacket at cap. When I got to the other side of the scan, as I started collecting my stuff, the agent doing the scanning walked over: " Sir, those look like fantastic models in your bag, are you going to that big model car contest out in Salt Lake City?' "Yes, I am." "It must be something pretty big, you are at least the 20th person through this gate this morning!" With that he just waved me on, told me to have a great trip and have fun at the contest!

Since then, I've made perhaps a dozen flights with models, they never open the boxes to see them, just wave me on through once I've passed the full body scan--and never a hint of any damage to any model carried in this fashion!

Art

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How do we get Art on the TSA Watch List? Then he'd have more fun at the scanning station! :D

For me, going to GSL from New Jersey, flying is the only option. I too was worried about having to open up and pull out my models for inspection, but it never happened. The worse thing that happened was when the person in front of me was slow going through the scanner and my carry on bag fell off the end of the conveyor. The model was well packed and wasn't damaged.

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Thanks for the ideas guys. You've given me plenty to think about. I have already considered (but not eliminated) the options of driving or taking the train. Things I have to consider:

Train time = 15 hrs (but it is really scenic, the service is good, and I could drink along the way)

Drive time = 8 hrs (faster but less scenic, self service and drinking not an option)

Flight time = 1 hr (no scenery, baggage handlers and terrible service but enough time to put down a beer)

I would say flying is not an option unless I leave my toys at home and just go for the show which I may do.

Thanks again, KB

Using your math, I would opt for the driving. You'll likely want a car once you get there, so this way you don't need to rent. It is THE safest option listed for transporting your models. Maybe you can find a designated driver to go with you so you can imbibe on the way?

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Using your math, I would opt for the driving. You'll likely want a car once you get there, so this way you don't need to rent. It is THE safest option listed for transporting your models. Maybe you can find a designated driver to go with you so you can imbibe on the way?

It is possible to go to GSL without a rental car. We've rented cars most of our trips but on one trip we took the hotel shuttle from the airport and one of the other attendees offered to take us back to the airport at the end. Otherwise we would have taken the shuttle. It all depends on what else you intend to do while there. GSL provides bus transportation to the museum for the tour. The show pretty much ends on Saturday with an awards breakfast on Sunday morning. By noontime it's over. I prefer to fly back home on Monday and use Sunday to do some sight seeing. That's where the car comes in. One trip we drove down to Bonneville and over the Nevada border into Wendover. Another trip we pointed the car north and wound up in Idaho. Last trip we went to Antelope Island State Park, which is an island in the Great Salt Lake where they keep buffalo. Beware of the cloud of gnats though! Then we pointed the car towards Wyoming and went to the first small town we saw.

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Tom is correct, you don't need a car. But the one time we relied on the airport shuttle we almost missed our flight...

And we have become used to having a car there, (we drive out now, in about 12 hours). A lot less stress about the models getting damaged too.

Come to think of it, I think we are the attendees that shuttle other modelers around. Met some of my closest friends that way...

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Again guys, thanks for the ideas. I guess each mode of transportation has it pros and cons.

From the sound of things, maybe I'll see some of you in SLC?

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Tom is correct, you don't need a car. But the one time we relied on the airport shuttle we almost missed our flight...

And we have become used to having a car there, (we drive out now, in about 12 hours). A lot less stress about the models getting damaged too.

Come to think of it, I think we are the attendees that shuttle other modelers around. Met some of my closest friends that way...

You are right. When we went without the car, we met Tony Wallace from Cheyenne, Wyoming because one of the guys with us was originally from there. He drove us to dinner one night and in return I paid for dinner. I've had dinner with Tony each GSL since and we've alternated paying!

Which brings up a good point... don't hesitate going to GSL even by yourself. The atmosphere there is very friendly and you will immediately be pulled into the clan and you'll have new friends from across the country and often other countries!

I didn't make the last GSL in 2011 because I was very busy moving from NJ to PA. I don't think I'll make this one because I'm currently out of work. But if I find something soon, I'd love to go!

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