Southeastern Model Show - A First Timers Look

RCG reviewer Nikolei takes us through his first time at the monster swap-meet in Perry, GA!


The Southeastern Model Show (SMS) in Perry Georgia has become somewhat of a Mecca for R/C aviation. Now that I live in the south, this Mecca is finally in reach! I climbed in the car with two friends from my club on Thursday morning and trekked about 7 hours south to Perry. After dreams of biplanes and warbirds danced through our heads, we awoke early and drove to the fairgrounds before the gates opened at 8:30. The line of cars and trucks with trailers snaked impressively around the fairgrounds, which once the gates opened, moved quite quickly into the parking lot where hundreds of planes were being unloaded in no time.

After checking in, I was able to pull head coordinator Jim Parker from his duties for a minute to learn a little more about this awesome event. Would you believe this monstrous event with over 1050 tables started as a small R/C auction over 40 years ago? As it grew, it moved from a rec center, to the national guard armory and finally to the Georgia National Fairgrounds where it now occupies 4 buildings. Jim estimates the Southeastern Model Show brings in near three thousand visitors from all over the country, and even some from outside the US...reportedly as far as South Africa! Just in our hotel, I had the pleasure of talking with a group all the way from Texas, over 10.5 hours away. Jim also mentioned there's an awful rumor going around that this was the last year for SMS...but no fear, the rumor is just a rumor!

As I mentioned, the SMS fills 3 buildings (the fourth is used for indoor flying!) to the gills with anything and everything R/C. I ended up doing a quick walk-through each building to see what immediately drew my eye. I didn't go to Perry with any specific shopping list, but thought a nicely detailed mid-size P-40 or P-38 warbird might fill a hole in my collection. By chance, I ended up walking through the buildings from smallest to largest. Once I walked into the largest building, I was awestruck by the sheer size of the building and the number of tables filling up with great stuff as everyone continued unloading their vehicles!

Beyond the deals to be had, the vast array of unique and beautiful aircraft was impressive! Everything from some amazing indoor free-flight gliders, to vintage control-line models, to beautiful giant-scale warbirds like the F-7F Tigercats and an awesome PBY Catalina. Even if you didn't have anything to buy, just looking around can give you a history lesson of our great hobby!

After walking over 6 miles through the day, we all made our way to Sonny's BBQ to all talk about our scores over a big plate of pulled pork. With a full belly, it was time to get off our feet and relax in the hotel. In anticipation of having some time to kill, I brought 2 tiny-whoops with me. And how fortuitous that our hotel room had built-in fpv gates! If you happen to stay at the Best Western in Perry across from the fair grounds, do yourself a favor...bring your micro-quads!!

On Saturday, the wheeling and dealing came to a new high as everyone tried to sell what they still had to make room for their new models. Many began packing up their tables by mid-morning, but there was still plenty of things to look at. With our car re-packed and filled with our loot, we headed back on the road home...ALMOST! We made a slight detour only 20 minutes from the fairgrounds, to the Warner Robbins Air Force Museum. With 3 hangars full of beautifully restored aircraft, including an in-process restoration of a B-17 bomber, and even more sitting outside throughout the grounds, this free museum was a fantastic way to end the trip. I highly encourage anyone going to Perry next year include Warner Robbins on their destination list!

So by the end, I had walked over 12 miles, made some money, spent some money and had a great time with my clubmates! New additions to my hangar include a custom painted Flightline P-38 with custom decals from Callies Graphics, a neat vintage Tornado built from 1946 plans but converted to electric, and a custom-painted Hangar 9 Cirrus SR22T that had placed 10th in its class at Top Gun just a few years ago! I also found a really unique piece of art for my wall...a C-47 engine cowl piece hand-painted with nose art seen on an actual P-51.

So now you've seen the loot I came home with...let's see what you found! See you all at Perry next year!

Last edited by Nikolei Zinsli; Mar 08, 2019 at 11:21 PM..
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Mar 10, 2019, 10:51 PM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Awesome! I haven’t been in a few years, but Perry is amazing. Glad you got to experience it Nik.
Mar 11, 2019, 02:37 AM
Registered User
rpstar's Avatar
i need to get down there next year. It's close by me so only excuse is I don't want more stuff sitting around.
Mar 27, 2019, 04:35 AM
foamie re-cycler
daddiozz's Avatar
Well dang. I had hoped to get there ,didn't realise it had already happened.just have dewinterized my know of any other major swap meets soon? thanks

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