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Next Club Contest    Next Sponsored Contest
Upcoming Events Calendar Notes and News Items   
Current Articles IPMS/USA Links
IPMS/USA National Convention Local Contest Information
ASM Review Articles * NM State Fair Model Contests *
* Archived Articles #1  #2  #3 * Website Updates *
Fred's Foto Files * Nuclear Weapons Heritage Model Display *
Cavalcade of Wings Model Display * Recently Archived E-Board Articles  *


Next Club Contest

The December 14th meeting is the

       "Pearl Harbor Plus 7"

Special (Non-Points) Contest


"2018 Model of the Year Showdown" Contest
Best of Shows and Best Entries from 2018 Face Off
Click here to see Eligible Models


The November 2nd meeting was the


Theme (Points) Contest

"Battle of Britain" Presentation by Douglas Dildy

Two Sponsored Contests


 Upcoming ASM Contests Info

January 2019   -   Annual Moe Blalters "Sci-Fi, Real Space, Fantasy and Science" Special (Non-Points) Contest

February 2019   -   ASM Swap Meet with No Contests

For further details on upcoming contests, click on the link below to the

ASM Contest Schedule section of the websiteContest Schedule


Workshops and Presentations will be listed below as scheduled.  Please stay tuned for updates and changes to the schedule.

2018 2018 Presentations and Model Clincs
Jan 5 Presentation on ASM Group Field Trip to National Museum of Nuclear Science and History by Mike Blohm
Mar 2 Historical Presentation on Viet Nam Service by Dave Allin
Apr 6 ASM Clinic Night - 4 Rotating Model Skills Topics
May 4 "1918 - Part 1" Presentation by Josh Pals
Jun 1 "1918 - Part 2" Presentation by Josh Pals
July 6 Sanding and Filiing Techniques Clinic by Brian Peck
Sep 7 IPMS/USA Nationals Presentation by Dave Straub
Oct 5th "Middle East Conflicts" presentation by Josh Pals
Nov 2 "Battle of Britain" Presentation by Douglas Dildy
2017 2017 Presentations and Model Clincs
Jan 17 Painting and Weathering Exhaust Stacks by Brian Peck
Mar 3 "New Mexico Space Trail" Presentation by Joe Page
Jun 2 Using Washes by Jack Garriss
July 7 Paint Chipping Techniques by Jerry Little
Sep 1 Warhawk Air Museum (Boise, Idaho) by Mike Blohm
Oct 6 Desert Storm Air War by Douglas Dildy
Nov 10 Reports on ASM Model Display at Folds of Honor Gala by Mike Blohm
and Use of Google Earth for Searches by Jerry Little
Dec 1st Building Dioramas by John Dodd

Test Page

Next Sponsored Contest

December 14th 

"Advesaries II (Part Deux)"  -  Hosted by Mike & Matt Blohm

Any two model subjects (counts as one entry) involved in an adversarial situation.

Examples:  F-4D Phantom II and MiG-17 or MiG-21 in Viet Nam; Spitfire Mk I and Bf 109E in Battle of Britain.

Models that were previously entered in Adversaries Part I (July 2015) cannot be entered in Part II.

Click here to see Adversaries I entries


Upcoming Sponsored Contests:

January 2019  -  "Frickin' Laser Beams"  -  Hosted by Patrick Dick

For further details on upcoming Sponsored Contests, click on the link below to the

Sponsored Contest ROE

Upcoming Events Calendar

January 10-12, 2018 Albuquerque Comic Con, Albuquerque Convention Center, Albuquerque NM.  See ASM Trip Report from the 2011 event.  See ASM Trip Report for the 2012 Event.
January 13 Scorpfest V / Modelmania Tucson.  Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, Tucson, Arizona. Sonoran Deset Modelers, IPMS Region 10.
February 3 Model Car Contest, sponsored by the Albuquerque Model Car Club, at Expo New Mexico, in conjunction with the 27th Annual Super Nationals Custom Auto Show
February 11 NM AMPS meeting at Dave Miller's house at 1:00 PM.  Contact Paul Kirchner for directions. 
February 17 Model Fiesta 37.  San Antonio Event Center, San Antonio Texas.  IPMS Region 6.
March 31 CoMMiESFest 2018 - "A Night At The Movies"  Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Golden, Colorado.  IPMS CoMMiES, Region 10.
April 7 Trinity Site Open to the Public.  8:00 AM to 3:30 PM at White Sands Missile Range.
April 14 31st Annual Tulsa Modelers Forum Open Contest & Show  Bixby Community Center. Tulsa Modelers Forum, IPMS Region 6.
April 20-22 StarFest 2018.   Science Fiction Convention, Marriott and Hilton DTC Convention Hotels, Denver Colorado.  ModelFest & model contest at StarFest, hosted by IPMS CoMMiES.
April 28 Modelmania 2018.  Stafford Center, Stafford Texas.  IPMS Houston, IPMS Region 6.
May 3 AMPS 2018 International Convention.  Dayton, Ohio
May 8 VegasCon 2018 / Best of the West-23 Show and Contest.  East Side Cannery Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada.  IPMS Region 8.
June 21-23 Squadron EagleQuest 27,  Grapevine Texas
August 1-4 IPMS/USA National Convention Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, Arizona.  Hosted by IPMS Craig Hewitt Chapter, Region 10
August 1-5 Star Trek Convention - Las Vegas 2018, Rio Suites Hotel, Las Vegas NV.  See Star Trek Trip Report from the 2011 event. Star Trek Trip Reports for 2013 and 2014
August 24-25 New Mexico State Fair  ASM-Sponsored Model Contest; Model registration dates are on Fri 24  & Sat 25 Aug from 9 AM to 5 PM each day. Judging probably on Mon, 27 Aug. 
ASM Display-Only Theme: "1918"  The fair runs Sep 6-16.  Model pick-up is on the 17th.
August 24-26 Bubonicon 50 - 2018.  Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, Albuquerque Marriott Uptown, 2101 Louisiana Blvd NE (Louisiana & I-40), Albuquerque, NM
September 15 ASM Model Display at the Air Force Ball on Kirtland AFB
October 6 Trinity Site Open to the Public.  8:00 AM to 3:30 PM at White Sands Missile Range.
October 20 ASM Model Display at the Folds of Honor Patriot Gala in Albuquerque
November 3 ModelZona 2018  Commemorative Air Force Museum, 2017 North Greenfield Rd., Mesa, AZ from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.   IPMS Craig Hewitt Chapter, Region 10

Please notify the ASM Webmaster of any additional events that should be included.

Notes and News Items

Ford Tri-Motor Visiting Albuquerque November 15-18

A 1928 Ford Tri-Motor will be visiting Albuquerque at the Double Eagle II Airport on Thursday Nov 15th from 2 to 5 PM and from 9 AM to 5 PM on Friday through Sunday, Nov 18th.  This Tri-Motor is owned by the Liberty Aviation Museum of Port Clinton, Ohio and operated by the Experimental Aviaition Association (EAA) chapter based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  The plane's stop in Albuquerque is sponsored by Albuquerque Chapter 179 of the EAA.  Viewing of the aircraft is free.  Rides on the aircraft are $70 in advance for a 30 minute flight, or $75 for walk-ups for adults, and $50 for those 17 and younger.  To book a flight go to or call 1-877-952-5395.



Battle of Britain Presentation

Noted aviation author Doug Dildy wil be conducting a presentation on the Battle of Britain at the November 2nd ASM meeting.  You do not want to miss this!  Doug is the author of Battle of Britain 1940: The Luftwaffe's 'Eagle Attack'.  This book is the first in the new Osprey Books "Air Campaign" series.

Help to Cavalcade of Wings Renovation

The Cavalcade of Wings (CoW)  is undergoing a renovation project starting on July 9th to replace the light fixtures in the display cases.

Help is needed to remove and pack up the models from the display cases and to move them to a storage room.

The first work team will meet at the Albuquerque Sunport's main lobby at 9:00 AM on Moday, July 9th.

Future work dates and times will be posted as they become known.

Bring your parking ticket with you for validation (free parking).

Please contact JD Huss if you can help at

Cav_Wings_5.jpg (447894 bytes)    Cav_Wings_2.jpg (346506 bytes)    Cav_Wings_4.jpg (530711 bytes)

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Group Model Build Project for 58th Special Operations Wing

    Robert Grande, a new ASM member who is assigned to the 58th Special Operations Wing, is requesting help in building models for a display in their Heritage Room depicting "Operation Kingpin" -- the Son Tay Raid attempting to rescue American Prisoners of War that occurred on November 21, 1970.  If you would like to help, please contact him at 321-501-1357 or at

The 1/72 scale model kits to be built for the display are listed below:
HH-53C x 5
HH-3G x 1
A-1E x 2
MC-130E Rivet Clamp x 2
HC-130P x 1

Pictures of some of the kits are shown below


Pictures of the Son Tay POW camp, training for the raid, the special forces team, and a HH-53B departing from the raid are shown below.
For more information on the raid click here:  Operation Kingpin - 1    Operation Kingpin - 2



Current Articles


Deadline to submit proposed ASM Newsletter articles to

Joe Walters is the 20th of the month prior.

ASM E-Board Articles

Click Here for Recently Archived E-Board Articles

The Eagle's View

by Mike Blohm, ASM President

October 2018 Article: 

First off, I want to thank everybody that supported the ASM model display at the Air Force Ball on Kirtland AFB on Saturday, September 15th.  We had 74 models on the tables showing the history of the USAF from 1947 through the present.  It went very well and everybody enjoyed the display.  Thanks to Josh Pals, Larry Glenn and Frank Randall for helping me man the tables.  A few pictures are included here; a longer article and pictures of the display are posted below on this Articles webpage. 


Our next ASM model display is at the Folds of Honor (FoH) New Mexico 2018 Patriot Gala, being held on October 20th at the Santa Anna Star Casino Hotel in Bernalillo.  The mission of FoH is to provide educational support to the spouses and children of America's fallen and disabled service members.  The display is going to be of models of any genre (aircraft, helicopters, armor, vehicles, ships, submarines, figures, dioramas, etc.) and any scale that fits what was/is being used by the U.S. military (any Service) from September 11, 2001 through the present.  Last year we had 40 models in the display spread out on six tables--see pictures on the 2017 Meeting Pics webpage.  It would be great to get the same models back, plus all the new builds going on for Brian Peck's "Challenge Build" sponsored contest on November 2nd.  I know that there are a lot of armor kits included in that, and we were a bit short on armor and vehicles in 2017.  As we did for the AF Ball, we will have a briefing at the October 5th ASM meeting on the display, and an E-mail will be send out to all the members that have eligible models from the last few years.  If you have something that I missed, please consider loaning that, too!  Last year we were lacking in the bomber, transport, tanker and support aircraft areas, and as I mentioned above, on armor and vehicles.  We will need four ASM folks manning the display, so please let me know if you are interested.  Here is a link to the NM FoH website

Thanks again to everyone who made the 2018 NM State Fair Model Contest a success.  We set a new record with 83 entries.  Our "1918" display had 26 models.  An article on the state fair results is elsewhere on the ASM Website. 

Speaking of 1918, we may be doing a model display on "1918" at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial to celebrate Armistice Day.  I have contacted the Memorial's director of displays, but have not heard anything back yet.  So stand by for more news.  We may be able to put on the same exhibit as we did at the state fair, if everyone would like to participate (loan models) in the display. 

Next month's meeting on October 5th is the 2019 E-Board Nominations meeting.  We will be accepting nominations for all the E-Board positions, with the election to occur at the November 2nd meeting.  Please consider running for a position.  It is a great way to learn how the club runs and everything behind the scenes.  The positions and duties, and expectations of E-Board members are covered in the ASM By Laws, which are posted on the By Laws webpage.  An article on the nominations process and a condensed versions of the By Laws information is contained in the October Newsletter's Bonus Pages. 

Speaking of the November 2nd meeting, that night we will be having a presentation on the "Battle of Britain" by noted aviation historian and author Douglas Dildy.  You do not want to miss this!  Doug recently wrote Battle of Britain 1940: The Luftwaffe's 'Eagle Attack,' the first book in the new Osprey Books "Air Campaign" series. 

To wrap up, here is this month's short American ace story on Captain Frederick J. Christensen Jr., US Army Air Force.  Christensen, with 21.5 victories, is the 16th-ranking American ace (tie), and 11th-ranking USAF ace.  He was the 4th-ranking ace of the 56th Fighter Group "Zemke's Wolfpack," which points out the skill and expertise of that unit!  He flew 107 combat missions in the European Theater of Operations, all in the P-47 Thunderbolt.  Additional details and pictures of Christensen and the build of his bubbletop P-47D "Rozzie Geth II" are included below on this Articles webpage. 



September 2018 Article: 

ASM did very well at the IPMS/USA National Convention last month in Phoenix.  We had 17 members in attendance--see pictures below.  I'm not sure if that is a record for the club, but it is up there!  ASM modelers placed first and second in the Best Chapter/Group Entry category with the "World War II Matilda Tanks Across the World" display led by Ken Liotta and the "Renault FT - The First Modern Tank" display led by Tony Humphries.  The Matilda display also won the Best Miscellaneous award.  Congratulations to all the ASM members who built models for the displays.  I also wanted to give kudos to Jerry Little for putting together the great ASM chapter/club display table for the Nationals.  Pictures of the two group entries and the club's table are shown below and at the top of the ASM Website's home page.  


There will probably be other articles written on the Nats, but here are my comments.  Overall, I thought it was a great show with a lot of great models on the tables.  I heard about some long delays in getting registered on the first day, but I did not personally experience that on the second day.  They had pretty smooth model entry procedures, and I picked up some ideas that we might want to incorporate for the next Chile Con.  I think there should have been some splits in the non-aircraft and armor categories, which also had huge amounts of entries.  The 2020 Nationals will be in San Marcos, Texas, about half way between Austin and San Antonio.  So you'd better get building for that!

Thanks to all who entered models in the NM State Fair model contest and/or ASM's "1918" model display, and who helped with the registration and judging.  We will have a report at the September 7th ASM meeting with some statistics on how many entries and entrants we had and how many models were in the display.  Contest results will be posted on the website within a few days of the judging.  There are normally around 300 pictures posted each year, so that will take a few weeks.  If you entered any models, don't forget to pick them up on Monday, September 17th from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. 

The next model display coming up is the Air Force Ball on September 15th at Kirtland AFB.  We are looking for anything USAF from 1947 through the present time.  This includes aircraft (it is the Air Force), helicopters, missiles, X-planes, support vehicles, figures, ships (yes, they have some), and dioramas.  I will be going through the model pictures from the last couple of years and let the builders know which of their models could be used, in case you have forgotten what might be a player.  We intend to borrow some of the ASM-built nuclear bomber models from the Defense Nuclear Weapons School Museum display, including 1/72 scale B-36, B-47, B-52 and B-2 aircraft. How to provide loaner models will be discussed at the September 7th meeting and in an E-mail to the membership. Please let me know what you will be loaning so that I can print out name plates for them. 

To wrap up, here is this month's short American ace story on Lieutenant Colonel Bill Harris, US Army Air Force.    Harris, with 16 aerial victories, is the 32nd ranking U.S. ace (tie) and the 27th ranking USAF ace (tie).  He was the top ace of the 347th Fighter Group (FG), and the top P-38 Lightning ace in the 13th Air Force.  He served two tours with the 347 FG and one tour with the 18 FG,the commander of that unit.  Additional details and pictures of Harris and the build of his Lightning are in main section of the Articles webpage.



August 2018 Article: 

Most members are likely aware that ASM member Gil Johnson passed away on June 30th.  Gil had been a member of ASM since 2006.  A longer tribute article to Gil is published below on this webpage.  Please be sure to read that. 

I hope that ASM members who attended the IPMS/USA Nationals Convention in Phoenix on Aug 1-4 had a good time and were able to place well in the contest with whatever you entered.  I think that we have a lot of great modelers who will have been competitive.   Please bring your entries and any awards that you received to the ASM meeting on Aug 10th. 

I am sure that we will have member reports on the convention submitted for the Sep edition of the ASM Newsletter.  Anyone is welcome to submit an article to Joe Walters on their perceptions and experiences at the big show, and they will  be published as received.  I will also get those article posted to the ASM Website.  Everyone please take pics of whatever models you entered, and we will get all those posted too. 

We will be starting the first of three big ASM model displays at the 2018 NM State Fair, which runs Sep 6-16.  Model entries are on Aug 24 and 25 from 9 AM to 5 PM each day.  Please contact Josh Pals if you can help--he is the lead for this effort.  There will probably be a sign-up sheet at the Aug 10th meeting.  There is a longer article elsewhere in this newsletter on entering your models in the contest and contributing to the "1918" display.  We had a lot of great World War I models on the tables for the "1918" sponsored contest at the May ASM meeting.  I'd like to see all those at the state fair!  Remember that if you take a model to the fair, it will not be available for either the Sep 7th ASM meeting or the Sep 15th Air Force Ball, our next big model display effort. 

To finish up, here is another short "ace story."  August 31, 1943 was the first use of the F6F Hellcat in combat, so this month's story is on little-known Hellcat ace Lieutenant Patrick D. Fleming who scored 19 total aerial victories.  Fleming is the 22nd-ranking American ace (tie), and the 4th-ranking US Navy ace (tie).  He initially served on the cruiser USS Cincinnati until entering flight training in Nov 1942.  He then served as a flight instructor from Dec 1943 to Mar 1944, when he joined VF-80 (Fighting Squadron 80 "Vipers") aboard the USS Ticonderoga.  During 2 combat tours with VF-80 he scored 10 victories, including 5 kills on 14 Dec 1944 (4 Zekes and an Oscar) in the Philippines; a "triple" on 3 Jan 1945 (2 Oscars and a Tojo); and a "double" on 25 Nov 1944 (2 Frances).  He then transferred to VBF-80 (Bombing Fighting Squadron 80) as the Executive Officer, where he continued his multi-kill missions by scoring 9 kills in 2 days: 5 scored on 16 Feb (5 Zekes) and 4 on 17 Feb 1945 (4 Nates) during the carrier raids on Tokyo.  Fleming took command of VF-80 in May 1945.  He was awarded a Navy Cross, 2 Silver Stars, and 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses.  Fleming resigned from the Navy in Jan 1947 and joined the newly formed USAF as a Major.  He flew the B-29, B-50 and B-47 and rose to the rank of Colonel.  Fleming was killed in a B-52B crash on 16 Feb 1956 while serving as the 93rd Bomb Wing's Deputy Wing Commander.  The model below of Fleming's Hellcat is the Heller 1/72 scale kit depicted in Nov 1944 aboard the USS Ticonderoga.  The model is finished overall in Model Master enamel paint Dark Sea Blue FS15042.  The markings were kit-bashed from Super Scale Hellcat decal sheets.  Of note, of the 6,477 Japanese aircraft that were claimed destroyed in the air by US Navy pilots, the Hellcat was responsible for 4,947 of them (76.4 per cent). 



July 2018 Article: 

To open, I think that everybody has probably heard that long-time ASM member Harry Davidson passed away on June 10th.  He was the founder of the Cavalcade of Wings model display that members have likely seen at the Sunport.  Though his membership in ASM the two organizations have had great synergy and accomplished a lot of model-related projects, displays, and service to the community.  There is a longer article that pays tribute to Harry posted below on this webpage.  We will miss him. 


We are halfway through the year now.  Please let the E-Board know if you have any suggestions to make the second half of the year better and to have more fun.  Besides our contests and the model displays on our schedule, what would you like see for clinics?  If you would like to give a clinic on a cool method that you've recently discovered or tried, please let us know.  The same goes for presentations, if you'd like to do one of those.  Of note, the IPMS/USA National Convention in Phoenix is now one month out, so it's time to get started on your project. 

 This month's theme contest is "Bare Metal," so hopefully we'll see a lot of models of the early USAF jets and the Century Series (talking about the F-80 through F-105) and transport, tanker and bomber aircraft that can also be displayed at the Air Force Ball in September.  Hopefully you are making progress on your kits for Brian Peck's "Challenge Build" sponsored contest at the end of the year, which are players for both the AF Ball and Folds of Honor displays.

 Unfortunately, Matt and I thought it best to postpone our July 6th sponsored contest "Adversaries II (Part Deux)" until Dec14th, because of confusion on the ROE.  The ASM 2018 Contest Schedule's wording differed from the actual ROE, which is "Any two model subjects (counts as one entry) involved in an adversarial situation."  Examples of entries include: an F-4D Phantom II versus a MiG-17 or MiG-21 in Vietnam Nam, a Spitfire Mk I versus a Bf 109E in the Battle of Britain, the HMS Hood versus the Bismarck, or X-Wing Fighter versus TIE Fighter (must be compatible between movies - we have ways to check that!)  All genres are a player.  Our apologies for pushing this later, but now folks have time to build a second model if they had only built one.  Please note that entries from Part 1 are not eligible to be entered in Part Deux. If you don't remember what you previously entered, please check the 2015 Model Pictures webpage and check the month of July.  There were about 32 models entered in the contest and the judging was pretty tough to do.  

Model registration for the NM State Fair is on Friday Aug 25th and Saturday Aug 26th.  We will need members to help out on those two days, as well as the judging the following week on either Monday or Tuesday, still to be determined.  You can earn points towards ASM Modeler of the Year by entering models in the contest (50 points each) and contributing models to the "1918" ASM display (25 points each, max of 3 models total across both for points, but certainly bring more than 3). You will need to do some strategery about what you want to take to the Fair, enter in the Sep 7th ASM "Post Apocalyptic" contest, and/or display at the AF Ball on Sep 15th.  Models taken to the Fair will be on display there from Aug 26th through Sep 16th when the Fair closes (can pick them up on Sep 17th).  More info on the State Fair has been posted on the ASM Website. 

 Speaking of Post Apocalyptic, I would like to take a short moment to address a condition that is likely very prevalent in ASM that while not serious to your health, does seem to be communicable by both touch and airborne means.  This is the Uncompleted Contest Build Syndrome (UCBS).  How you catch it is fairly obvious--you try to build models.  Luckily, it seems in ASM that about every three to four years the moons, planets and the Sun line up again and you have the chance for a partial cure.  Of course, when they do, it's hard to build models when it's pitch black and those monster things are trying to kill you.  That's when a good modeling lamp will save your butt.  But I digress.  I started a kit for Josh Pals' "Post-Apocalyptic" sponsored contest back in September, 2011.  It was going to be totally awesome, but it was overwhelmed by the Apocalypse.  Now, seven years later to the month, the universe is again aligned, and I have the chance to get that partial cure.  Wish me luck.

 To close out, here is a short story on an American ace who flew with the American Volunteer Group (AVG), which flew it's last mission on July 3rd, 1942--76 years ago this month.  Squadron Leader David "Tex" Hill was the second-ranking ace of the AVG, also known as the "Flying Tigers."  He was initially a Flight Leader in the 2nd Pursuit Squadron (the "Panda Bears") and later became the Squadron Commander.  Hill scored 10.25 aerial victories with the AVG (plus 2 ground) and another 5 after he joined the US Army Air Corps when the AVG disbanded on July 4th, 1942.  Hill was assigned Curtiss Hawk 81-A2 number 48 (P-8134), which was similar to a P-40B Warhawk.  He was one of five AVG pilots who chose to remain in China and join the new 23rd Fighter Group, where he was assigned the rank of Major and command of the 75th Fighter Squadron.  A longer article on Tex Hill and pictures of a model of his aircraft built using the 1/72 scale Academy P-40B Tomahawk kit are included below on this webpage.  




June 2018 Article:

The May 4th meeting included a presentation on "1918" by Josh Pals that covered the highlights of events in the first half of that year.  Josh will present the second half of 1918 at the June 1st meeting.  John Tate's "1918" sponsored contest at the May meeting had an impressive turn-out of really nice models.  I hope you were there to see them, or better yet, participated too!  If you were unable to complete your 1918 model in time for the May meeting, please try to get it done by the end of August, as "1918" is also the theme of our ASM Display-Only exhibit at the 2018 New Mexico State Fair. 

Instead of featuring an American ace this month, I'm going to talk about an anniversary that just occurred on May 17th: the 75th anniversary of the completion of the 25th combat mission by the Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" and its crew in 1943.  The B-17F belonged to the 324th Bomb Squadron (Heavy) of the 91st Bomb Group in the European Theater.  To commemorate this anniversary the restored "Memphis Belle" was rolled-out on May 17th to go on display at the National Museum of the US Air Force (the "Air Force Museum" to us old heads).  This was a significant event in that the odds of completing 25 missions was very low at that time.  The "Belle" returned to the US to go on a war bond tour and became famous in multiple movies--the latest version made in 1990.  The B-17 was put on display in Memphis in 1947 and deteriorated severely over the years from the weather and vandalism.  The B‑17 was moved to the USAF Museum in October 2005 for restoration and eventual display, and was unveiled on May 17th.  Of note, the B-17 "Hell's Angels" of the 303rd Bomb Group completed 25 combat missions on May 13, 1943, becoming the first B-17 to complete the feat, one week before the "Memphis Belle."  The press, however, became enamored with the "Belle" and she was immortalized in history.  In another case of ironic irony, the B-17G "Texas Raiders" from the Commemorative Air Force was here in Albuquerque on May 14-17.  Hopefully you got to see it flying around.  That is always way cool.  If you had the chance to tour it at Cutter Aviation, please consider writing a trip report and share some of your pictures. 

ASM put on a year-long rotating model display in 1997-1998 at multiple locations on Kirtland AFB--including the National Atomic Museum--to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the US Air Force, which occurred on Sep 27th, 1947.  As part of that display, John Tate built a 1/72 model of the "Memphis Belle."  The model has appeared in multiple ASM model displays since that time, and it is always a favorite with the crowd.  Pictures below include: the "Memphis Belle" at the end of it's 25th mission and subsequent war bond tour in the USA; restoration by the USAF Museum; and pictures of John's model, which is Academy's B-17F kit.  Additional pictures are included in the Memphis Belle History and Restoration article posted elsewhere on this Aricles webpage.    



May 2018 Article:

First off, I'd like to thank the folks who did the four model skills clinics at the April 6th meeting.  I think those went really well and looked to be well-attended, and I hope you learned some new techniques to try on your next project.  Those instructors included Brian Peck (rigging and wires), Chris Kurtze (black based painting), Henry McHarney (dioramas and weathering), and Frank Randall (painting white finishes). 

The May 4th meeting will include the "Tamiya Versus Hasegawa" special (non-points) contest and the "1918" sponsored contest hosted by John Tate.  2018 is the 100th anniversary of the last year of World War I, also known as the "Great War" and the "War to End All Wars."  The May meeting will also include a presentation on "1918 - the Year in Review" by Josh Pals.  This will cover the highlights of events that occurred during that final year of the war.  Hopefully we will have a lot of entries for the "1918" contest, which is open to any subject, any kit, any scale that fits the year 1918.  Please remember that this is the theme of our ASM Display-Only exhibit at the 2018 New Mexico State Fair. 

I would like to take a short moment to address a condition that is likely very prevalent in ASM that while not serious to your health, does seem to be communicable by both touch and airborne means.  This is the Uncompleted Contest Build Syndrome (UCBS).  How you catch it is fairly obvious-you try to build models.  Luckily, it seems in ASM that about every three to four years the moons, planets and the Sun line up again and you have the chance for a partial cure.  Of course, when they do, it's hard to build models when it's pitch black and those monster things are trying to kill you.  That's when a good modeling lamp will save your butt.  See Jerry Little for some help with that.  But I digress.  I started a kit for Josh Pals's "Post-Apocalyptic" sponsored contest back in September, 2011.  It was going to be totally awesome, but it was overwhelmed by the Apocalypse.  Now, seven years later to the month, the universe is again aligned, and I have the chance to get that partial cure.  Wish me luck.

To coincide with John Tate's "1918" contest, this month's ace's story will cover two aces who flew with the United States Air Service of the American Expeditionary Force in France during 1918, and models of their aircraft: 1st Lieutenant Douglas Campbell who flew the Nieuport 28 "Scout" and 2nd Lieutenant Frank Luke, Jr. who flew the SPAD S.XIII.  Campbell, below left, was the first American-trained ace in WW I.  Luke, below right, the "Arizona Balloon Buster," scored a phenomenal 18 victories over 10 days before his demise.  These stories and additional pictures of the men and models of their aircraft are included in the "Americn Aces of World War I" article in the main section of this webpage. 



April  2018 Article:

The April 6 meeting is an "ASM Clinics Night" so you want to be sure to attend that night. We plan to have four or five simultaneous rotating clinics that will be repeated, so that you can pick and choose the topics that most interest you. Right now the topics include black-based painting, painting white, and diorama weathering. Each will be 30 - 45 minutes long. Stay tuned to the website for the latest on the topics to be covered that night. There are no contests that night, but Works-In-Progress entries can be brought in and Display-Only models are welcomed. We plan to conduct more modeling skills clinics throughout the year.

Here’s an update on the model displays that ASM will be conducting in 2018. First, we have the “1918--End of World War I” display at the New Mexico State Fair. That will be on August 24 - 25 when we do the model entries for the contest. In preparation for that, you can build an entry for John Tate's "1918" sponsored contest on May 4. The second display will likely be at the Air Force Ball on September 15. Our participation has not yet been confirmed for this. Models for that would be anything USAF from 1947 to the present. If we are short on models, we could probably sneak some World War II USAAF models in too. The third display is at the Folds of Honor Patriot Gala, which has been moved to October 20. The models for that will be any US Service from 2001 to the present. To generate some new builds for that, the ASM E-Board is hosting the "Global War on Terror (GWOT)" sponsored contest at the September 7 meeting.

To wrap up, here is this month's short story on an American ace. I have yet to feature an F-86 "Sabre" ace, so this month I'm covering Colonel Royal N. "King" Baker, USAF, with 16.5 aerial victories. Baker was the fifth ranking allied ace in Korea with thirteen scores including twelve MiG-15's and one LA-9. He is the 29th-ranking American ace (tie), and 24th-ranking ace in the USAF (tie). Baker commanded the 4th Fighter Intercept Wing from June 1952 to March 1953, flying 127 combat missions. He was the leading Korean War scorer for much of his tour. He scored 1.5 kills on 7 December 1952 near Sinuiju. During WWII he scored 3.5 kills. He flew Spitfires with the 308th Fighter Squadron (FS) of the 31st Fighter Group (FG) in the Mediterranean Theater (with two Fw 190 and one Bf-109 victories). He also served as 493 FS Operations Officer and 48 FG Operations Officer in the European Theater, scoring 0.5 Bf-109 kills while flying the P-47 Thunderbolt. Baker was 7th AF Vice Commander in Vietnam and flew 140 combat sorties. He was 17th AF Commander from July 1969 to February 1971, and retired as a Lt General in August 1975. Baker died in April 1976.

The model of Baker's aircraft "The King / Angel Face & the Babes" is the Testors F-86E kit, and has the patch of the 336th Fighter Intercept Squadron "Rocketeers" on the nose. This model was built and put on display at the USAF Academy in 1997. It is finished in Model Master Aluminum Plate—Buffing enamel paint. The decals are from the Micro Scale "Korean War Aces #2" decal sheet 72-244. Eagle Strike has a more recent "Wings Over Korea" decal sheet 72059 that includes Baker's markings.




March  2018 Article:

March is the first Open theme contest - hopefully we will see lots of models om the table.  The two Open contests in March and November typically have the most entries of the year.  The March meeting will have a historical presentation by Dave Allin.  He is a U.S. Army and Vietnam War veteran and comes to us via our association with the Albuquerque Model Car Club.  April is Clinics Night - let us know what you want to see at the March meeting.  We will pick the highest priorities to present.  Also please let us know if you would like to present a clinic yourself, either in April or later in the year. 

A quick reminder that March 31st is the IPMS Region 10 CoMMiES Fest 2018 model contest up in Golden, Colorado.  Their theme this year is "A Night at the Movies."  There are links on the ASM Website.

 Please let me know if you are interested in building a model, display case, or plaques for the ASM raffle models at the Folds of Honor Gala fund-raising event this September.  We plan to build several 1/48 scale F-16 models with "New Mexico Taco's" markings.  See picture of Chris Kurtze's F-16 model below for what we'd like to build.  If you are interested in building any models for display at the Nuclear Weapons Heritage Model Display at the Defense Nuclear Weapons School Museum on Kirtland AFB, please get with me. 

 I have not yet covered a F4U Corsair ace, so this month's ace story and model build is on Major Archie G. Donahue of the US Marine Corps.  With 14 aerial victories, Donahue is the 11th ranking USMC ace and 38th ranking U.S. ace (tie).  He is the top-ranking ace of both the VMF-112 “Wolfpack” and VMF-451 “Blue Devils”.  Donahue finished training in Dec 1941 and joined VMF-112, arriving with the unit at Guadalcanal Island in Nov 1942.  He served 3 tours there, flying 159 total combat missions.  His first 2 victories were in the F4F Wildcat on 13-14 Nov 1942 (2 Zeros).  Donahue scored 7 more kills flying the F4U Corsair, with a ‘quadruple” and 1 probable on 13 May 1943 (4 Zeros) near Florida Island, and a “double” on 7 Jun 1943 (2 Zeros) near the Russell Islands.  He returned to the U.S. and joined VMF-451 in Jun 1943.  All his VMF-451 scores occurred on one mission when he made “ace in a day” on 12 Apr 1945 (3 Vals and 2 Zeros) off Okinawa.  He flew 56 missions off the USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) until it was hit by kamikazes on 11 May 1945 and had to retire from combat.  After WW II he was in real estate and was active in the Confederate Air Force, flying a replica Zero.  Donahue died on 30 Jul 2007.  Donahue's F4U-1D Corsair was built using the Tamiya Vought F4U-1D kit in 1/72 scale.  The kit goes together very nicely and includes almost all the decals required for Donahue's markings with VMF-451 aboard the Bunker Hill.  .The kit has White 167 which was Lt Commander Roger Hedrick's aircraft with VF-84 on Bunker Hill.  Donahue's White 19 markings were created using numbers from SuperScale Corsair decal sheets.  The model was painted overall with Model Master Dark Sea Blue (FS 15042).  The yellow nose was painted Model Master Insignia Yellow FS 33538.  The interior was painted Model Master Zinc Chromate Green. 



February 2018 Article:

We had a pretty good turnout of models at December's Moe Blaters "Sci-Fi, Real Space, Science and Fantasy" Special Contest, with 18 model entries.  The Intermediate division had a great set of models, with the Orks and Martians fighting it out with the Humans and Cylons from Battlestar Galactica.  Unfortunately for the Humans, the Orks and Tripod won out. 

 The February meeting is one of our two "Swap Meets," so bring your old plastic to recycle for new plastic.  The March meeting is an "Open" theme contest.  There is an opportunity here to use strategery to try to fill a bunch of squares with one peg, bird, or in this case a model build.  For example, a World War I subject from 1918 could be entered in the March Open contest, John Tate's "1918" Sponsored Contest in May, the IPMS/USA Nationals in August (they may have a special WW I award), and the New Mexico State Fair model contest and the ASM "1918" display in September.  Sounds like a plan to me. 

I wanted to mention some model displays that ASM is currently working on.  The first is the Nuclear Weap[ns Heritage Model Display at the Defense Nuclear Weapons School Museum on Kirtland AFB.  ASM contributed/loaned them 10 models during 2017, and we are trying to revitalize our relationship with that museum with some additional builds.  They are looking for any subjects from the Cold War era and current times, not just those involved with nuclear weapons.  See the "Model Displays" webpage on the ASM Website for additional information and pictures of ASM-built models currently on display.  A second model display project just now underway are model builds for several squadrons of the 58th Special Operations Wing (SOW) at Kirtland AFB.  That may expand to some additional models - stand by for more information on that.  ASM provided loan of MH-60G and UH-1N models for a 58 SOW awards ceremony on January 19th.  Thanks to Victor Maestas for loaning those 1/48th models, and also to Steve Brodeur for a 1/72nd UH-1D model. 

 The ASM Website has been updated with new 2018 webpages.  Selecting the major pages and 2018 "year pages" should take you to other 2018 pages.  Please let me know if you find any incorrect links.  Past "year pages" will take you to pages involving that same year - selecting Meeting Pics on the 2017 Model Pics page will take you to 2017 Meeting Pics, etc.  If you get lost, select "ASM Home" to get back to the Home Page. 

 To finish up, here is this month's short story on an American ace.  I noticed that I had not yet featured anyone who flew the Hellcat.  The Wildcat has received a lot of coverage, but not its younger brother.  So to make up for that, I'm going to briefly cover the top three Hellcat aces who flew with VF-27 (Fighting Squadron 27) on the USS Princeton from May to October 1944.  These include Lieutenant (Lt) James A. "Red" Shirley (12.5 victories), Lt Carl A. Brown (10.5 victories), and Lt Richard E. Stambook (10 victories).  VF-27's cruise aboard the USS Princeton was cut short by its sinking on October 24, 1944, but in five months the squadron accumulated 134 aerial victories, with 104 occurring on three days. and 64 destroyed on the ground.  Further information on these Hellcat Aces of VF-27, and more pictures of models of their aircraft, are included in the main part of the Articles web page. 


Left to right:  Lt James "Red" Shirley and his F6F-3 Hellcat "White 23"; Lt Carl "Brownie" Brown, Jr. and his F6F-5 Hellcat "White 9";
and Lt Richard Stambook and his F6F-3 Hellcat "White 17"



January 2018 Article:

A Look Back at 2017 and the Upcoming 2018 - and a Local Hero Passes

 First off I want to thank the outgoing members of the 2017 E-Board for the service to the club:  Jerry Little as Vice President, Victor Maestas as Contest Director, and Bob Henderson as Pro Tem.  Our most excellent 2017 was due in part to their hard efforts.

Speaking of 2017, here is a short recap of what the club accomplished over the year.  A few pictures of these events are included with this article.  We put on a great IPMS Region 10 Convention and Model Contest with "Chile Con IV" held at a new venue on June 16-17.  It went quite well, with 70 entrants and 466 models from 6 different states.  A good time was had by all.  The next big event was the ASM-sponsored 2017 New Mexico State Fair Model Contest on August 26-29.  We set a new record for model entries with a total of 77 by 51 entrants.  Our display-only exhibit of "Star Wars - 40th Anniversary" models was also a record with 35 models that filled two whole cases.  Thanks to everyone for making that truly impressive and a great display of the modeling skills of the ASM membership.  For the 2018 display-only theme we are planning to do "1918" (100th Anniversary of end of World War I).  ASM next put on a model display supporting the Folds of Honor Foundation at their annual fund-raising Patriot Gala on September 23rd at the Sandia Resort and Casino.  That display had 40 models representing all the U.S. Services spread out over 6 tables.  All the attendees enjoyed looking at the models, and we are planning to do a display again in 2018, with a couple of ASM-built models to be raffled-off.  We had an ASM Group Field Trip to the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History here in Albuquerque on December 15th to close-out 2017.  There is a separate article on that event in this Newsletter.  Finally, ASM won the IPMS/USA 2016 Website of the Year Award, and I would like to thank everyone in ASM that contributed articles, kit reviews, and field trip reports for posting on the website and participated in activities and events conducted by the club.  Overall, I think we did a great job of promoting scale modeling and the club with the public and having fun in 2017. 


Pictures, left to right:  Chile Con IV; NM State Fair Model Contest, Folds of Honor Patriot Gala Model Display; Group Field Trip

ASM also had a pretty productive set of club meetings in 2017.  We had two presentations by book authors: "The New Mexico Space Trail" by Joseph Page in March, and the "Desert Storm Air War" by Douglas Dildy in October.  We also had 4 model clinics and 2 presentations on field trips taken by ASM members.  We plan to conduct a similar amount of clinics and presentations in 2018 including a whole meeting dedicated to multiple clinics on April 6th.  Please let the E-Board know if you have a presentation that you would like to give to the club.  Contest-wise, we had 7 Theme (points) contests, 3 Special (non-points) contests, and 5 Sponsored Contests - thanks to all who hosted those.  If you have an idea for a sponsored contest in 2018, please let the Contest Director (John Tate) know and we will try to fit it into the schedule. 

To close, here is another short story of an American "ace" - when you count both aerial and ground victories - Edward B. Giller, who recently passed away here in Albuquerque on October 1st, 2017.  ASM does have a connection with Major General Giller, in a round-about kind of way.  Most modelers might recognize Giller's famous P-51D Mustang named "The Millie G" after his wife, Mildred.  There were actually 8 different "Millie's" including P-38's and P-51's.  During World War II he scored three aerial victories, including an Me 262 jet on Apr 6, 1945.  His other two victories were a Ju 88 on Nov 13, 1943 and a Me 410 on Nov 25, 1944; these two were scored in a P-38 Lightning.  He also had six ground kills, including a "triple" on Apr 16, 1945 and a "double" on Apr 9, 1945.  These ground kills were included in overall victory totals at that time to encourage strafing, thus making him an "ace."  He flew both the P-38 and P-51 with the 343rd Fighter Squadron (FS) of the 55th Fighter Group (FG), 8th Air Force, out of Wormingford, England.  He would eventually serve as 343 FS commander and then 55 FG deputy commander.  Giller remained in the USAF after WWII and was involved in nuclear weapons research and in the USAF Offices of Scientific and Aerospace Research.  From June 1954 to June 1959 he was the Special Assistant Director and later the Director of the Research Directorate, Air Force Special Weapons Center, at Kirkland Air Force Base, New Mexico.  He retired as a Major General in June 1972 but remained involved with the Atomic Energy Commission and the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties (SALT) I and II, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.  General Giller and his wife retired to Albuquerque in 1998 where he lived to his death at the age off 99.  Several ASM members, including myself, attended the Giller estate sale conducted in June 2016 when he moved into an assisted living facility.  I acquired some photo albums, books, and scrapbooks.  John Tate acquired a display set of four P-51 "Millie G" models that had been presented to General Giller at the 1967 IPMS/USA National Convention where he had been a guest speaker.  These models were detailed in an article by John in the August 2016 ASM Newsletter.  The individual model pictures accompanying this article include a Tamiya 1/48 scale P-51D kit in Giller's markings built by Larry Glenn.  He used BaracudaCals BC48011 decals for the markings.  This model received a 3rd Place award at the 2017 IPMS/USA Nationals, 50 years after the display models had been presented to General Giller in 1967.  Also included are pictures of the Revell 1/72 scale P-51D kit that I built in Giller's markings in 1971.  Back then this was the best 1/72 P-51 kit available.  I believe the decals were from ESCI and Microscale, with some items hand-painted.  Fortunately P-51 kits have gotten a whole lot better since then.  Coincidentally, which makes the connection circle with ASM complete, to build Giller's "Mille" in 1971 for my Ace's Gallery collection at the USAF Academy, I used the 1969 article in the IPMS/USA Journal that detailed all the research that had been done on his aircraft to build that "Mille G" display presentation set that John rescued at the Giller estate sale.  That Journal article was reprinted as part of John's article in the August 2016 ASM Newsletter, and I recommend you check it out.  I do not know why the USAF Academy Library had a subscription to the IPMS/USA Journal and Quarterly, but I spent a lot of time researching schemes in all the magazines they had on file.  That was my first exposure to IPMS/USA and I subsequently became a member.  To finally close, I hope that everyone has a Happy New Year and can spend a lot of time building models in 2018.  You had better get moving, as the IPMS/USA Nationals is only seven months away!    



Pictures above:  Edward Giller and his "Millie G"; the rescued 1967 IPMS/USA presentation model display;
Larry Glenn's 1/48th "Millie G"; and Mike Blohm's 1/72nd "Millie G"

For further information on General Giller, his obituary in the Albuquerque Journal Newspaper can be found at:


VP's Report

By Josh Pals, 2018 ASM Vice President

February Article:

By now all of us had time to look over the 2018 contest schedule. While looking over the schedule you may have noticed the contest in September, called "Post-Apocalyptic." This contest was brought up by Chris Kurtze. Several years ago I also had sponsored a similar type of contest. The idea behind this contest is to give modelers a break from the normal kits and subjects they do.

Now, I know trying something different is scary and may lead to the potential downfall of Western civilization! Imagine armor guys building aircraft and vice versa! But stay with me. Every now and then I find it helpful to just try some genre I know little to nothing about. I don't worry if the finished product is "Contest" worthy. I use this as a test bed for some technique I want to try; e.g., hairspray technique, etc. With the pressure of trying to build a nice contest model gone, I instead focus on having fun with the build.

By doing this I have found that the model will turn out far better than I could've imagined and leaves me refreshed to attack a more serious model with some experience on using whatever technique I just experimented with!

The Post-Apocalyptic contest is a great opportunity to let everything go and get back to really having fun with model building! Try some scratch building, kit bashing, parts swapping fun! You're only confined by the limits of your imagination! Just typing "Post-Apocalyptic" into your search engine will bring up thousands of pictures that can help get the ideas and creative juices flowing.

You may have also noticed at the club meetings a black Rubbermaid box with red flaps. That is the "Official" ASM parts box. It is filled with all kinds of leftovers from miscellaneous kits and a great place to scrounge for odd parts to use when doing a model for this type of contest. If you have parts left over from a kit and can't bear to just toss them into the garbage, toss them into the parts box! Leftover decals you won't use? Parts box!

Contest Update


By John Tate, 2018 ASM Contest Chairman

October 2018 Article:

ASM's contest schedule kicked back into gear at the September 7th meeting with the "Post-Apocalyptic" Special Contest, the E-Board's Global War on Terror (GWOT) sponsored contest and Patrick Dick's "Goodyear" and "Best of Corporations" sponored contest finale.

The Special Contest winner was Bob Henderson's Post-Apocalyptic GMC tanker, with the GWOT award going to Victor Maestas for his F-117 Nighthawk.  Patrick Dick had several winners for his Goodyear corporate contest: best auto went to Chuck Hermann for his Porsche 924, a humor award went to Josh Pals for his "Tree Swing" and Dave Straub won a best aircraft award for his beautiful, scratchbuilt USS Shenandoah dirigible, which was also the "Best of Corporations" grand award winner.

Coming up on October 5th is a points contest commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War of October 1973, with theme open to any subject connected to the Israeli-Arab conflict 1948 to present.  As ever, members are free to bring any eligible model to a points contest, even if not in theme.

Gil De La Plain also has a nifty sponsored contest lined-up: "Get Your Fix, Airfix That Is," open to any Airfix kit subject.  No shortage of projects there - Airfix has kitted just about everything under the sun in its many decades of existence and their recent, new-tooled model releases are some of the nicest kits on the market.

Looking forward to the October meeting - should be plenty of nice models on the contest table.


August 2018 Article:

Contest theme for the July 6 meeting was demanding - bare metal - but ASM members rose to the challenge and put some excellent models on the table.

In Junior, Aleya Montano won a Gold, People's Choice, and Best of Show for her Star Wars Thermal Detonator. In Basic, Elias Clark won a Gold, People's Choice, and Best of Show for his 1/72 Wildcat. Intermediate saw some tough competition as usual, with Michael O'Brien winning a First and People's Choice for his eye-catching Klingon K'Tinga Battlecruiser and Scott Jaworski winning a First and Best of Show for his metal-finish MiG-21 PFM. In Masters, Tony Humphries won People's Choice for his rusted-out Afghan FT tank, and Josh Pals won Best of Show for his flawless photo-etched Silver Dragon.


My contest favorites were a "What-if" Supermarine Spiteful in Israeli markings by Dave Epstein and the Silver Dragon by Josh Pals.


By now, Nationals results have been decided and the winners have their trophies.  So bring your winning models and trophies to the August 10 meeting to show off your hard work along with any surplus kits you want to part with at our club swap meet. The contest schedule begins in earnest again this fall, with a healthy number of contests leading to the Modeler of the Year award - still plenty of competition in the months ahead!


July  2018 Article:

Solid turnout at the June 1 ASM meeting for the "O Canada!" points contest and the "Stormy Weather" contest sponsored by Jack Garriss. In the points contest, Best of Show and People's Choice in Basic went to Jeannie Garriss for her Revell Fire Truck. In Intermediate, Best of Show went to Robert Henderson for his Academy 1/72 CF-188, with Dave Epstein winning People's Choice for his Tamiya 1/8 Honda Gorilla motorbike. In Masters, Best of Show went to Tony Humphries for his DML 1/35 Canadian Sherman Firefly tank, with People's Choice going to Brian Peck for his Great Wall 1/48 Su-35. Stormy Weather sponsored contest winners were Eli Clark in Basic for his Airfix 1/72 Hawker Hurricane, Chuck Herrmann in Intermediate for his MPC 1/25 Ferrari 308GT Rainbow, and Larry Glenn for his Tamiya 1/48 P-47D Thunderbolt.

My contest favorites were a Tamiya 1/12 GSX 1100X motorcycle by Ken Liotta and a Zoukei Mura 1/48 J7W1 Shinden by Robert Henderson.

The July 6 points contest theme is "Bare Metal," suggested by E-Board member Chris Kurtze. The contest theme is open to any model depicting a "natural metal" finish, but as with all of our points contests, feel free to enter any eligible model.

No need to remind anyone that the 2018 IPMS Nationals are right around the corner, so now is the time to put the finishing touches on your best work. Some healthy competition in our own club, too, with close races among the top three points contestants in both Intermediate and Masters. Lots of ASM contests ahead this fall, so take a look at our contest schedule and plan now for your next build—best of luck to all contestants. 


June  2018 Article:

The May 4 ASM meeting had two non-points contests - "Tamiya/Hasegawa" Special Contest and "1918" Sponsored Contest - which resulted in plenty of quality models on the contest tables.

Results of the Special Contest were:

Intermediate: Hasegawa: 1st Place went to Robert Henderson for his 1/32 J2M3 Raiden, 2nd Place went to Robert Henderson for his 1/32 Bf-109E, and 3rd Place went to Chuck Herrmann for his 1/24 Porsche 962 "TicTac." Tamiya: 1st Place went to Dave Epstein for his 1/6 Honda Z50J-III Gorilla, 2nd Place went to W. Scott Jaworski for his 1/35 M1A1 with mine plow, and 3rd Place went to John R. Dodd for his 1/35 Mark IV Male tank.

Masters: Hasegawa:  1st Place went to Larry Glenn for his 1/48 Bf-109G-6, 2nd Place went to Larry Glenn for his 1/48 A6M5c Zero, and 3rd Place went to Frank Randall for his 1/72 Skyraider. Tamiya: 1st Place went to newcomer Casey Rupley for his 1/48 F-14A Tomcat, 2nd Place went to Chris Kurtze for his 1/48 F4F-4 Wildcat, and 3rd Place went to Larry Glenn for his 1/48 Bf-109E-7 Trop.

I sponsored the "1918" contest to help generate interest and model entries for ASM's upcoming "1918" group display at the state fair this year, and members brought in many nice models for competition. In Masters, Dave Straub won "Best Central Powers Subject" for his beautiful, scratchbuilt 1/200 L-11 Zeppelin (below left) and John R. Dodd won "Best Allied Powers Subject" for his unique 1/35 St. Chamond tank (below right). [Both photos by Ken Liotta.]

Thanks to everyone who entered models at the May meeting. The June 1 ASM meeting will return to the Modeler of the Year points contest format, with a Canada-themed contest open to Canadian model subjects, any scale, any era. Reminder—you can still bring non-themed models to enter in this contest, which can win points, place and be in competition for the People's Choice award, but won't qualify for theme points or be eligible for the Best of Show award that night.

The June meeting will also have a sponsored contest by Jack Garriss, with "Stormy Weather" as its theme, open to any model subject named after a weather phenomenon, such as Lightning, Thunderbolt, Typhoon, etc. Kudos to Jack for an interesting contest topic which should produce some nice entries.

I'm sure I don't need to remind anyone, but the clock is ticking away on IPMS Nationals dream builds; just two months before the big show, so put in that extra effort to get your entries ready to represent ASM at Phoenix - best of luck to all contestants!


April  2018 Article:

The ASM contest year got off to a solid start at the March meeting, with a large number of entries across all skill levels. 

There were five entries in Basic, 23 in Intermediate and thirteen in Masters. Intermediate modelers proved yet again they are the club powerhouse, with a good variety of nicely-done model subjects. Best of Show and People's Choice in Basic went to Steve Miller for his "U.S. Cavalry vs. Cheyenne Dog Soldiers" Old West diorama, and Best of Show and People's Choice in Intermediate went to Dave Epstein for his WWII I-400 Japanese sub. In Masters, Tony Humphries picked up a People's Choice for his FT-17 tank and Brian Peck won Best of Show for his Iranian "Ali Cat" F-14, from the new 1/48 Tamiya kit.

Other models that caught my eye as standout builds were Robert Henderson's Wingnut Wings 1/32 SE-5a, Jeannie Garriss's "Scooby Doo Biplane" (would love to see Wingnut Wings tackle that one!), and Steve Brodeur's impressive Mach 2 1/72 Vostok rocket.

The April meeting is a pre-Nationals clinic night but feel free to bring any in-progress builds or display pieces.

Thanks again to all modelers for their hard work and looking forward to a rewarding contest year.


March 2018 Article:

ASM’s contest year begins in earnest this Friday, at our March 2, 2018, meeting—a chance to show off winter modeling projects and preview work intended for entry at this summer’s IPMS Nationals in Phoenix, which are approaching faster than any of us would like. A reminder to new competitors—you are limited to three completed model entries in our points contests and models must not be past IPMS Nationals trophy winners. Otherwise, the sky’s the limit, since the kickoff contest for 2018, by tradition, is an open, non-themed contest.

Contest tip: Build outside your comfort zone and finish models in subject areas you wouldn’t ordinarily be interested in; e.g., if you’re an airplane modeler, build a tank, or if an armor modeler, build a car. You’ll rack up more points that way but more importantly, you’ll also broaden your modeling skills and discover that variety can help maintain interest in the hobby.

A reminder—the April meeting is a skill-building night of modeling clinics so bring some kits, workbench tools and supplies and share what you know, or what you’re interested in, with other modelers. Or just watch, listen and learn—you’ll be sure to pick up some useful modeling tips.

Looking forward to the March contest and if experience is any guide, I know ASM will have a big turnout with some real standout models on the tables. See you Friday…


February 2018 Article:

ASM's January 5 meeting was the kickoff for the contest year with solid entries in Basic, Intermediate and Masters for the Moe Blalters Sci-Fi/Fantasy/ Real Space Special contest. Best Basic entry was Aaron Schmiedicke's TIE Fighter, Best Intermediate was Henry McHarney's Space Ark Mega Gargant and Best Master's was Brian Peck's Superdog.

Patrick Dick's annual Best Frickin' Lasers award went to Aaron Schmiedicke in Basic for his TIE Fighter, Logan Carbin for his War of the Worlds Tripod, and Mike Blohm for his F-4X Starfighter.

In addition to the skill-level winners, there were some other eye-catching models on the table; for example, Steve Brodeur's illuminated Moon Bus from 2001: A Space Odyssey and Michael O'Brien's Romulan Bird of Prey. On the In-Progress table, there was an interesting build of the Classic Airframes 1⁄48 Vampire jet by Ken Liotta, and on the Display table, Ken Piniak brought in the brand new Moebius Models 1⁄144 Discovery One from 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is already in the running to be one of the most impressive model kits released this year.


Spider_web (2).jpg (150780 bytes) Webmaster's Tales

By Mike Blohm, ASM Webmaster

Spider_web.jpg (89398 bytes)

The ASM Website has completed its changeover to 2018.  All of the "yearly" web pages (model pics, meeting pics, modeler of the year, and model of the year) have been created and populated with the pictures and information for 2018.  All these pages are updated through the February 2018 meeting.  The 2018 pages have links to last year's info and to previous years, often going back to 2004.  Note that selecting any of the button at the top of the 2018 pages will take you to other 2018 web pages.  If you are on previous year's pages (for example 2016 Model Pics) selecting a "year" web page will take you to that same year's pages.  Note that selecting the Home Page will always get you back to the Home Page.  

Some reminders about the ASM website:

The “Marquee Banner” that scrolls across the top of the Home Page will always have the latest info on club activities – contests, events and speakers for the upcoming month, notice that new schedules and Newsletters have been posted, and whether an event has been postponed – so always check that out first when you visit the ASM website.  If the weather looks bad enough that the meeting might be cancelled - check that banner before you drive to the meeting.  We did use it once in 2011 when a meeting was cancelled by UNM due to a snow storm (all campus buildings were closed).  There will probably also be an audio alert (beeping sounds) that will go off when the page initially comes up if a meeting has been cancelled. 

There is an  "ASM Review Articles"  page listed in the "Index" at the top of the Articles Page.  This page is an archive of all previous review articles authored by ASM members - it has links to different sections of the page based upon the review topic - aircraft, armor, automotive, books, etc.  Please take the time to write up a short blurb if you are building a new kit and submit that and some in-progress / final pics to the website and ASM Newsletter. 

There is also a "NM State Fair Model Contests" page listed in the "Index" at the top of the Articles Page.  This page includes links to the NM State Fair contest resuls pages from 2005 to 2015.  It also includes all the current Section and Class entry criteria.  Read through this information to learn what models you should be thinking about entering in 2016.  Note that ASM Master and Intermediate modelers are asked to enter in the "Professional" Class.  Please note that there is a link in the Upcoming Events calendar that will take you to the actual NM State Fair site. 

ASM Newsletters are available on the website going back to January 2004. 

We have other webpages going Way-Back to: Model Pics - 2006; Meeting Pics - 2005; Contest Results - 2003; Modeler of Year - 2003; Model of Year - 2005.

The “New and Potential ASM Members” web page has all the info that new and prospective members need to review to understand how ASM is set up and the policies that govern club operations – the By Laws, Contest Guidelines, etc.  The link to the New Member page is on the Home Page.  Both new members and “old heads” should review these documents every so often. 

Some of the links on the "Website Updates" page back to older article postings no longer work .  If you cannot find an older article mentioned in the Website Update listings, it would be best to check the "Archived Articles" page as it was probably moved to that location.  Articles moved to the Archives are always posted at the top of that page, so the most recently removed articles will be found at the top of the page.  Scroll down to go back in time - the ASM Time Machine.

As always, let me know if you have any ideas for changes or additions to the website, and please send me any articles, reviews, or trip reports with pictures that you’d like to post on the website - and also send your inputs to Joe Walters if you'd like your article  included in the  the Newsletter as well.    Thanks!

ASM Member Articles


ASM Model Display at the 2018 Air Force Ball

 By Mike Blohm

The ASM model display at the 2018 Air Force Ball was a big success.  The event was the celebration of the 71st birthday of the USAF (September 18, 1947), and was held on September 15th at Kirtland AFB.  We had 74 models on four tables showing the history of the USAF from 1947 through the present, and all the attendees really enjoyed the display.  We answered lots of questions on the models and the club, ad passed out a lot of ASM flyers.  There was a lot of interest and we may see some new folks attending our upcoming meetings to check us out. 

The models were grouped left to right (see pictures) starting with test aircraft (1947-present), then the Korean War, Viet Nam, Strategic Air Command, Air Defense Command, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and then Operations Enduring Freedom and Inherent Resolve.  The far right end had several models from the New Mexico Air National Guard "Tacos.We had brought models to put up the "What is Scale Modeling" display but did not have enough room to do so.  Lots of 377 Wing and other command leadership came by to see the display and thanked ASM for putting it on.  I think that we will have no problem doing a repeat performance in 2019 if we would like to do so, or doing another display at the Kirtland AFB Air Show in May 2019.  I did get the chance to talk to one of the people in the Wing Public Affairs Office about ASM doing that.   

Thanks again to Josh Pals, Larry Glenn and Frank Randall for helping me man the tables.  Thanks to the following members for loaning models: Frank Randall, Victor Maestas, Chris Kurtze, Keith Liotta, Patrick Dick, Glenn Bingham, Jack Garriss, Larry Glenn, Matt Blohm, Mike Blohm, and the Defense Nuclear Weapons School Museum (ASM-built models).  We carried-in 27 tubs/boxes of models.  Of note, I went back and checked on the number of models that we have had at all our recent displays (info available on the website), and besides the three displays at the Albuquerque Comic Expo events in 2012 (155 models), 2013 (100+), and 2014 (140), the exhibit at the 2018 AF Ball is the next ranking display. 




Modeling the Aircraft of
Capt Frederick Christensen - Thunderbolt Ace of Zemke's Wolfpack

  By Mike Blohm

Captain Frederick J. Christensen Jr. scored 21.5 victories during World War II and is the 16th-ranking American ace (tie), and 11th-ranking USAF ace.  He was the 4th-ranking ace of the 56th Fighter Group (FG) "Zemke's Wolfpack" behind Francis Gabreski (28), Robert Johnson (27), and David Schilling (22.5).  Christensen attended Boston University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining the Army Reserves   He transferred to the 62nd Fighter Squadron (FS) of the 56th FG in Aug 1943, where he flew 107 combat missions, all in the P-47 Thunderbolt.  Christensen scored his first victory on 26 Nov 1943 over a Bf 110.  His biggest day was on 7 Jul 1944 when he downed six Ju 52 transports caught in the landing pattern at Gardelegen Airdrome.  He scored three "doubles:"  on 15 Mar (2 Fw 190s) near Dummer Lake; on 16 Mar (2 Fw 190s) near St Dizier; and on 15 Apr 1944 (2 Bf 109s) near Altona.  He scored 1.5 kills on 20 Feb 1944 (1 Ju 88 and 0.5 Do 217).  Of note, Christensen had a pet black cat good luck charm named "Sinbad" who did fly with him in his P-47 (see picture below right). That must have been dicey, unless hypoxia knocked the cat out on every flight.  According to a caption in the book Beware the Thundebolt! The 56th Fighter Group in World War II, Sinbad apparently sat on and would not move from the stack of pilot parachutes in the 62 FS prior to the mission flown on 27 Nov 1943.  All the pilots whose chute had been sat on ended up scoring a victory that day. Christensen was Inactivated in Nov 1946 as a Major,and then served in the Massachusetts Air National Guard and later in the Air Force Reserves from Nov 1947 to Aug 1961, rising to the rank of Colonel and 102 FG commander.  Christensen passed away in Aug 2006.  His awards included a Silver Star, 7 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and 3 Air Medals. 


The model of Christensen's P-47D-25 "Miss Fire / Rozzie Geth II" is depicted at Boxted, England in July 1944.  This is the Hasegawa 1/72 scale P-47D bubbletop kit, which is an easy straight-forward build.  The kit came out in the early 1980's and does not have a lot of cockpit details or options like lowered flaps or open canopy as in more recent kits from Tamiya and Academy.  As a 56 FG "old-timer," Christensen retained the "LM-C" code ("C" for Christensen) on all his aircraft during his tour.  His P-47D-25 was unusual in that kill markings were displayed on both sides of the fuselage in two different styles (see pictures above).  "Rozzie Geth" was his college girlfriend Rosamond Gethro at Wellesley College.  This build took place in 2001, before there were any decals of Christensen's aircraft available in 1/72 scale.  Therefore, the aircraft names, nose art, and pilot identification blocks were all hand-painted onto clear and white (for the nose art) decal sheets and then applied.The codes and serial numbers are from Super Scale and Aeromaster numbers and letters decal sheets with the victory markings sourced from other sheets.  The stars and bars and tail stripes are from the kit's decals.  The P-47 was painted with Model Master aluminum plate (buffing) enamel paint with an Olive Drab (FS34087) anti-glare panel.  The nose was painted Insignia Red (FS31136) for the 56 FG and the rudder Insignia Yellow (FS33538) for the 62 FS, both over a white undercoating.  Christensen's P-47D carried both the under fuselage and under wing D-Day markings retained in July 1944.  These came from the Super Scale P‑47 D-Day Markings sheet.  Christensen's markings are now available for his P-47D Bubbletop (42-26628) in 1/72 scale (same scheme as depicted below) from Lifelike Decals 72-010 Republic P‑47D Thunderbolt Part 3; and for his P-47D Razorback (42-75207) in 1/48 scale from Lifelike Decals 48-008 Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Part 1.  Unit patches below are 56th Fighter Group (left) and 62nd Fighter Squadron (right).



Modeling the Aircraft of

Bill Harris - P-38 Lightning Ace of the Southwest Pacific

 By Mike Blohm

Lieutenant Colonel Bill Harris is a little-known ace who flew P-38 Lightning's in the Southwest Pacific, eventually becoming the top P-38 ace of the 13th Air Force.  Harris is the 32nd ranking U.S. ace (tie) and 27th ranking USAF ace (tie), and was the top ace of the 347 Fighter Group (FG).  Harris had served in the US Navy from 1936-1940 as a radioman on the USS Houston.  When the U.S. entered WW II he wanted to fly instead of returning to the Navy, so he joined the Army Air Corps.  From his Navy experience he did not want to fly over water, but he ended up serving two combat tours in the Pacific.  The first was with the 339 Fighter Squadron "Sunsetters" of the 347 FG, scoring 15 total victories flying the P-38G and H between Jun 1943 and Feb 1944 in New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, and New Guinea.  His victories included a "triple" (Zekes) on 15 Feb 1944 at Vunakanau air strip, and 4 "doubles."  He had 10 kills in a 5 month period (Jun-Oct 1943), including 3 total in two sorties on 10 Oct 1943.  He joined the 18 FG in Nov 1944 for a second combat tour flying the P-38J in New Guinea and the Philippines.  He scored one additional kill on 22 Jun 1945 (Oscar) at Mandai Airdrome in the Celebes (Indonesia).  He served as 18 FG commander from 1 Aug 1945 to the end of WW II.  13th AF P-38 units were relegated to airfield and rail attacks during the invasion of the Philippines, effectively limiting their opportunities for additional victories.  After the war Harris went back to a logging business that he had stared in 1940, and then became a rancher.  Harris passed away in May 2012.  He was inducted into the Oregon Aviation Hall of Fame on 7 Nov 2015. 

 The model of Harris's P-38 is the 1/72 scale Hasegawa P-38J/L kit.  The model depicts Harris's aircraft in August 1945 at Zamboanga Airfield on Mindanao in the Philippine Islands.  The model goes together well but needs sanding along the booms for a smooth join.  It is finished in Model Master aluminum plate (buffing) enamel paint.  Harris's markings were fairly minimal, and were bashed from Super Scale and Aeromaster numbers and letters decal sheets with the victory markings from a P-38 sheet.  His name plate was hand-painted.  The "OX with bar" on the nose of his P-38 is his ranch's cattle brand. 



Syrian MiG-21

By John Tate

Syria has been in the news lately so here are some shots of a Revell 1/32 MiG-21MF I completed late last year, in current Syrian Air Force markings. The inspiration for the build came from a 2016 video clip I saw from the Russian media site RT, which reported on Syrian air operations in the midst of their civil war, using 1970s-era Soviet military equipment.

Researching these aircraft, it appears they wore a "Hungarian"-style camouflage of mustard brown and bright green, with light gray or light blue undersides. No roundels were carried, just the national flag on the tail with Arabic aircraft numbers. These warbirds were worn and weathered to an extent you would not see on peacetime in-service aircraft; it's amazing the Syrians were able to keep them in the air at all, but MiGs of that era were designed to be rugged and easy to maintain. Nevertheless, it was quite a feat for Syrian pilots to strap one of these on for a combat mission, especially since certain death awaited them if they ejected over rebel territory.

Although the MiG-21 was originally designed as a supersonic interceptor, its use in the Syrian civil war has been as a bomb truck, so no air-to-air missiles were carried-just Russian or locally-made bombs.  There were only two scale bombs in the Revell kit, so I ended up borrowing some from the Trumpeter MiG-21 kit, along with many other odds-and-ends, to improve the appearance and accuracy of the Revell kit, especially in the cockpit. It was the labor of a year to complete but looking back it was a rewarding build and gave me a chance to learn more about the MiG-21. If you have one of these kits, they are well worth building if you don't mind some old-fashioned scale modeling, which means a lot of surgical accurizing and borrowing of parts, but just like the original, the model is a tough old bird that can stand a lot of handling.



Building the Tamiya Joseph Stalin JS-3 (IS-3) Tank

By Fred Franceschi

When I was about twelve years old, I saw a photograph of a Soviet JS-3 tank in an American military pamphlet my aunt showed me. I thought that it was the best-looking tank I'd ever seen. So, about twenty years ago when I visited the hobby shop in Greeley, Colorado, I picked up the Tamiya kit. And it has sat on the "to build" shelf in my hobby room for the past twenty years. I finally decided to build the kit in April.

It appears that the kit was first released in 1996, and is a model of an early version of the IS-3. The dual naming is because the tank was named after Joseph Stalin, and we called it the JS-3. But the Russian spelling of Joseph starts with a Cyrillic "I," so the correct Russian nomenclature is IS-3.

The tank used 122mm rounds, which were very large for the time. This meant that if the projectile hit another tank, it stayed hit. But there was a downside to the rounds. They were so heavy that the shells consisted of two parts, the projectile and the powder charge. So each part of the round had to be inserted into the chamber separately. This slowed down firing to only two or three shots per minute. During a tank battle when a tank gunner is applying “burst on target,” I suspect that it would be difficult to hit a moving tank when there is a 20- or 30-second delay between shots.

On September 7, 1945, the Allied Powers occupying Berlin had a "Victory" parade. And a lot of IS-3s participated in that parade. Those were early model IS-3s, and they were in very good condition. The parade consisted of vehicles and troops of the four occupying powers: Russia, the United States, Great Britain, and France. This parade was done at the insistence of the Soviets. As I looked at films of the parade, I noticed that Russia had a lot of new heavy tanks, self-propelled guns and other heavy hardware. The other allied countries had jeeps and light armored equipment. I suspect that the Soviet intent was to intimidate the other allies as a start to the Cold War.

As I was working on it, I remembered that I have a copy of FM30-40, Recognition Manual on Armored Vehicles, dated October, 1951. It has photos, specifications and a description for the "Heavy Tank, JS-3." And the manual pays a strong compliment to this tank: "It represents an outstanding attempt on behalf of Russian designers to produce a tank which possesses superior firepower and the maximum of armor protection with a minimum overall weight." Considering that the Army manual was written during the Cold War and we were fighting communism in Korea at that time, this is really high praise.

I assembled the lower hull per the instruction sheet with no serious problems. I also assembled the road wheels, track support rollers and drive sprockets, but decided not to attach them to the hull until later. But when I fitted the upper hull to the lower hull, I realized that the lower hull only attaches to the upper hull at the front and back. There is a huge gap along the entire inside of the model, and that gap would be noticeable. I searched the kit, and there were no parts to fill in the void. So I built up the sides from .125 and .080 styrene strip. Now you can't look through the tank. But I had to cut out the seats from the turret so that the turret can fit on the hull and rotate with the raised sides. That gap would be a flaw to me if I was thinking about buying this kit today. Also, the turret ring is wider than the inside of the hull; doesn’t seem right to me. Another flaw.

I now have the kit half-built, so I am going to continue. But I wonder what other flaws I am going to discover.

I just got that question answered. I did some checking on the internet, and found a comment that if the external fuel tanks are installed per the instructions, the turret won't rotate the full 360 degrees. I checked on my model and the gun mantlet does hit the fuel tanks when the turret is rotated. Another flaw. But what the heck, my main gun will be pointed forward so I am okay. And the "rubber band" tracks concerned me. I've built a few individual track link kits and enjoyed them. I was skeptical of the Tamiya flexible tracks, but they went together just fine. The tow cable fittings don't (fit, that is). I was only able to attach one tow cable. And even that is not correct. Bummer. But I will finish the kit.

To summarize the kit (in my opinion), it is flawed, but I had fun building it, it looks good, and I've satisfied a childhood desire to have a model of the tank. And I made a small space on my "unbuilt models" shelf.



Remembering Gil Johnson

By Mike Blohm

Gilbert S. Johnson passed away suddenly on June 30, 2018. He had been an active member of ASM since 2006. Gil was born in Portland, Oregon, on June 8, 1948. Gil was a Corporal in the US Marine Corps and served two tours in Viet Nam. He then joined the US Army, and served there for eleven years, rising to the rank of Sergeant, and participating in Operation Desert Storm. Gil received his BA in religious studies from North Central University, and was a very active member of the Tramway Community Church. He enjoyed working as background on various television shows and movies.

With ASM, Gil was an excellent modeler, building mostly armor and dioramas. He won the Basic Model of the Year Award in 2008 with a T-34-76 - see pictures below. Gil always participated in the New Mexico State Fair and had many winning models there. I attended Gil's memorial service on July 7, and it was fitting that the table at the front of the service had a US Marine Corps blanket, pictures of Gil, a folded American flag, and two of Gil's models. He will be missed.



A Tribute to Harry Davidson

By Mike Blohm

 This article is a tribute to long-time ASM member Harry Davidson, who passed away on June 10th.  Harry was born in Clovis, New Mexico on June 25, 1935.  He became involved with flying with his father, and built models of airplanes.  He graduated from UNM in 1956 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and then earned an MBA in 1972.  Harry joined the US Navy and was a Naval Aviator (pilot) from 1956-1960 flying P2V patrol planes and P5M Marlin seaplanes in the Pacific.  He then served 20 years in the Naval Reserves.  He worked at Kirtland AFB as an environmental engineer and air pollution control engineer until he retired in 2001. 


Harry was the driving force behind a lot of aviation history and modeling-related projects in Albuquerque and New Mexico.  Among these were the Cavalcade of Wings (CoW) at the Albuquerque Sunport, which he started in 1965 and initially funded himself, and the Albuquerque Aviation History Group.  The CoW has grown to include over 1300 high quality models in 18 glass cases that show the aviation history of the Albuquerque area from the first Balloon flight in 1882 through today, and is likely the largest collection of a city's aviation history in the entire world.  ASM supports the CoW with both models and manpower--we currently have four ASM members on the CoW E-Board (including myself).  ASM's goals include promoting the hobby of scale modeling to the public and providing service to the community, and these fit in with goals of the CoW as well.  CoW model projects were not just at the Sunport display.  One memorable project was the "Cavalcade of Nuclear Bombers" where ASM built models that were displayed at the National Atomic Museum.  Some of those are now at the Defense Nuclear weapons School Museum.  Harry's projects also branched out into other areas of New Mexico history beyond aviation.  An example was the "New Mexico Named Ships" project done in conjunction with the New Mexico Centennial Celebration in 2012, which ASM supported with models.  The project involved building 69 models of ships to be presented for display in the cities and towns that they were named after, such as the landing ship tank USS Bernalillo County, the patrol frigate USS Albuquerque, and the fleet tanker USS Pecos.  Another non-aviation project was the completion of a 1/96 scale model of the battleship USS New Mexico by ASM member Keith Liotta in time for the January-May 2011 display at the NM History Museum in Sante Fe.


In recognition of Harry's accomplishments the Council of the City of Albuquerque formally proclaimed October 5, 2016 as "Harry Davidson Day in the City of Albuquerque."  A ceremony was conducted at the beginning of the October 5th City Council meeting where the proclamation was read and presented to Harry.  The proclamation cited seven accomplishments by Harry which included: 1) Being a life-long resident of NM and flying patrol boat missions with the US Navy; 2) The Cavalcade of Wings display at the Sunport; 3) Being the unofficial historian of the Sunport and Kirtland AFB; 4) Creating and overseeing the Albuquerque Aviation History Group; 5) Working funding for the restoration of the Ingram Biplane at the Sunport; 6) Introducing people to the joy of flying as a flight instructor; and 7) Being a one-of-a-kind person who made an indelible mark in preserving Albuquerque's aviation history and determination to create the Cavalcade of Wings.  The full proclamation and pictures of Harry and the ceremony are available on the ASM Website on the 2016 Meeting Pictures webpage. 


I joined ASM in 1995 and that was when I first met Harry.  I soon noticed that Harry would routinely stand up at a meeting and ask if anybody had a model available, or would be willing to build a model, for a new project that he was working on.  This was how a lot of great projects got going.  Harry was always brainstorming potential projects, and when I became a part of the ASM E-Board he often called me to ask if I thought club members would want to support this or that, and if it looked doable then I'd bring the subject up at a monthly ASM meeting.  Harry did a lot of good things in Albuquerque during his life and we need to remember and honor him by continuing to support the CoW display with models and other CoW projects involving models as we can.  He was a spark plug and a go-doer that got things done, and he will be sorely missed.  Please check out the Cavalcade of Wings website for further information on Harry and the display



Modeling the Aircraft of

American Volunteer Group Ace David "Tex" Hill

 By Mike Blohm


David L. "Tex" Hill was the second-ranking ace  of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) "Flying Tigers,” and is the 39th ranking U.S ace, and the 29th ranking USAF ace.  Hill initially flew TBD Devastator torpedo bombers with VT-3 on the USS Saratoga and then SB2U Vindicators dive bombers with VB-4 on the USS Ranger, before resigning his commission in March 1941 to join the AVG.  Hill was a wingman and flight leader before becoming commander of the 2nd Pursuit Squadron (PS) "Panda Bears" April 1942.  Hill  made "ace" in January 1942, scoring his first kill on 3 January (I-97) and then "doubles" on both 23 January (2 I-97s) and 24 January (bomber and fighter).  He scored another “double” on 28 April 1942 (2 Zeros) flying the P-40E.  Hill had a total of 10.25 aerial victories and 2 ground victories with the AVG.  Hill opposed the "pilot’s revolt"--the refusal to join the USAAF--and extended his AVG contract for 2 weeks and accepted a commission in the USAAF and command of the 75 Fighter Squadron.  Hill scored 3 kills with the 75 FS before he returned to the U.S. in November 1942, ill with malaria and dysentery.  He returned to China as the 23 Fighter Group (FG) commander, serving from November 1943 to October 1944.  He scored 1 additional kill on 6 May 1944 (Hamp) for an overall total of 15.25 victories.  After WWII, Hill was the 412 FG commander from September 1945 to January 1946, flying the P-80 "Starfighter."  Hill resigned from the USAF in June 1946 and joined the Air National Guard, rising to brigadier general and commanding the 58 Fighter Wing.  He later joined the AF Reserves, serving until 1968.  Hill passed away in 2007 at age 92.  The pictures below show (left to right):  AVG and 2 PS emblems; Tex Hill with the 2 PS in front of a Hawk 81-A2 in 1942; Hill's Hawk 81 #48 after it was lost in an intercept mission in December 1941; Hill (2nd from left) with other members of the 75FS; Hill in front of a 23FG P-51B; and Hill as the commander of the 23 FG.


The model of Hill's Hawk 81-A2 was built in January 2008 using the Academy Curtiss P-40B Tomahawk kit in 1/72 scale.  This is a fairly old kit and it is not as accurate as those available today (Trumpeter and Airfix), but it was the best at that time.  Hill's aircraft carries a "cowboy" version of the "panda bear" insignia (see picture below) and the "China Blue" tail stripe used by the 2nd PS. Each squadron aircraft had a slightly different version of a panda bear. The 2nd PS used aircraft numbers 34 through 66.  The outline of the shark mouth was initially painted in the China Blue but this faded badly and they were over painted with black.  The "Flying Tiger" insignia and lapel pins designed by the Walt Disney studio did not arrive in theater until March 1942, so Hill's aircraft did not carry one at the time depicted by this model, which is December 1941.  The Hawk 81 is finished in standard RAF paints of Dark Green and Earth Brown on the upper surface and Duck Egg Blue on the under surface.  Model Master enaamel paints were used.  There is great debate over the lower surface color as to whether it was really a light grey.  The AVG Hawks in the Aces Gallery collection (four at this time) were started with duck egg blue, so they have been continued as such. 




Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle"

History and Restoration

 by Mike Blohm

May 17, 2018 was the 75th anniversary of the completion of the 25th combat mission by the Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" and its crew in 1943.  The B-17F belonged to the 324th Bomb Squadron (Heavy) of the 91st Bomb Group in the European Theater.  To commemorate this anniversary the restored "Memphis Belle" was rolled-out on May 17th to go on display at the National Museum of the US Air Force.  This was a significant event in that the odds of completing 25 missions was very low at that time.  The "Belle" returned to the US to go on a war bond tour and became famous in multiple movies--the latest version made in 1990.  The B-17 was put on display in Memphis in 1947 and deteriorated severely over the years from the weather and vandalism.  The B‑17 was moved to the USAF Museum in October 2005 for restoration and eventual display, and was unveiled on May 17th.  Of note, the B-17 "Hell's Angels" of the 303rd Bomb Group completed 25 combat missions on May 13, 1943, becoming the first B-17 to complete the feat, one week before the "Memphis Belle."  The press, however, became enamored with the "Belle" and she was immortalized in history. 

 Pictures below include: the "Memphis Belle" at the end of it's 25th mission and subsequent war bond tour in the USA; restoration by the USAF Museum; and a model of the "Memphis Belle" (Academy's 1/72 scale kit) built by John Tate in 1997 for ASM's year-long rotating model display at Kirtland AFB in 1997-1998 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the US Air Force on Sep 27th, 1947. 

 Pictures below show:

 1-2.  The Memphis Belle in-flight on its way back to the U.S. on June 9, 1943

3.  The crew posing in front of the Memphis Belle

4.  The crew back after their 25th mission

5.  The Memphis Belle at Patterson Field (later Wright-Patterson AFB) during its war bond tour

6.  Overhead shot of Memphis Belle probably also at Patterson Field

7.  Memphis Belle under refurbishment in 2011

8  B-17 painted as the Memphis Belle for the 1990 movie

9-11.  Memphis Belle on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

12-17.  Pictures of John Tate's B-17F Memphis Belle model.

1     2     3     4     5     6

7     8     9     10     11

12     13     14     15     16     17

Links to Memphis Belle articles:

American Aces of World War I

by Mike Blohm


Douglas Campbell

1st Lieutenant Douglas Campbell made history as the first American-trained ace in WW I, accomplished flying with the 94th Aero "Hat in the Ring" Squadron.  Assigned to the 94th in March 1918, he claimed his first victory on 14 April 1918 flying the Nieuport 28 "Scout."  This victory, and Alan Winslow's near-simultaneous claim, were the first victories for the squadron. Four
U.S. squadrons (27th, 94th, 95th, and 147th) of the 1st Pursuit Group were equipped with the Nieuport 28 in 1918 before sufficient SPAD S.XIIIs became available.  Note that SPAD stands for Societe Pour L'Aviation et ses Derives, the company that built them.
  Campbell became the first American-trained ace with his fifth victory on 31 May.  He had  six kills before he was wounded on 5 June, continuing an air battle despite shrapnel from an artillery round in his back.  Campbell went back to the USA, returning to France to rejoin the 94th shortly after the armistice.  Campbell received the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) with four oak leaf clusters, the French Legion of Honor, and the Italian Croix de Guerre with two palms.  His victories included four Rumpler C and two Pfalz DIII aircraft.  He joined Pan American Airways in 1935, becoming vice president in 1939 and then general manager in 1948.  He was with Pan Am for 24 years before he retired in 1963.  Campbell died on 16 Dec 1990 at the age of 94. 


Nieuport 28 Model

The model of Campbell's Nieuport 28, serial N6164, white 10 of the 94th Aero Squadron depicts the aircraft that he was flying when he scored the first U.S.- trained victory of World War I, located at Toul, France in May 1918.  This 1/72 scale model is the Revell Nieuport 28 kit from the 1960's.  It was built in April 2005 and is finished in Model Master colors.  This kit has been reissued many times over the years, and some issues have had Campbell's markings.  Micro Scale decal sheet 72-71 U.S. WWI Aces does include Campbell's markings.  The kit is an easy build--besides trying to mount the wings--and looks fairly good.  It has no interior, so a seat, seat belts and instrument panel were built.  Aircraft rigging wires were added using stretched sprue.  Note that are several wires mounted alongside each other from the wing at the top of the outboard strut to the fuselage, which makes it look like it is too thick, but that is the actual construction of the aircraft.  The Third Liberty Bonds poster shown at far right above was pasted on to the top wings of many of the aircraft in the 94th Aero Squadron, but photographs show that Campbell's #10 did not have it.   



Frank Luke, Junior

2nd Lieutenant Frank Luke, Jr. is known as "the Arizona Balloon Buster."  He is the 2nd-ranking American ace who was in the U.S. Service in WW I.  He is the 18th ranking Air Force ace (tie) and 23rd ranking American ace (tie).  Luke was assigned to the 27th Aero Squadron in July 1918.  Luke was a controversial and aggressive "lone wolf" pilot who disregarded orders and was known to break formation.  But for his flying skills, success at attacking balloons, and a forgiving commanding officer, he would have been transferred out of the unit.  Luke scored 18 victories in 10 days between the 12th and 29th of September (he was sent on leave on the 20 through 27th).  Of these victories, 4 were aircraft and 14 were balloons that were heavily defended by both AAA and aircraft.  During this short period Luke scored 5 victories on 18 September in a 30 minute period (3 aircraft and 2 balloons); had two "triples" on 15 and 29 September (all balloons); and had three "doubles" on 14, 16, and 18 September (5 balloons and 1 aircraft).  Many of these missions were flown with his friend Lieutenant Joseph Wehner (6 victories) who flew cover while Luke attacked the balloons, much like Don Gentile and John Godfrey in World War II.  Wenher is shown in the far right picture below.  Wehner was shot down and killed during the 18 September mission.  Of note, Luke brought back five SPADs damaged beyond repair.  Luke's last mission occurred on 29 September after he had been grounded by his squadron commander for insubordination.  Luke disregarded the order and took off  anyway, receiving after the fact tacit approval by the group commander.  Luke was killed in action during this mission where he downed 3 balloons near Avocourt, France.  In this action he was wounded and his SPAD disabled by ground fire.  He crash-landed near Murvaux, after strafing troops in the town.  There is controversy about what occurred after he crash-landed and was approached by German troops.  It is likely that he was in a state of shock from his mortal wound when (or if) he fired at the troops and that he probably died from loss of blood.  Luke was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions, the only pursuit pilot to win the award during the war.  He was also awarded the DFC with one oak leaf cluster and the Italian Croix de Guerre.  Luke, 21 years old, was posthumously promoted to 1st Lieutenant.  Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, Arizona is named in his honor. 



 The model of Luke's SPAD S.XIII, serial S15202, black 26, of the 27th Aero Squadron "Fighting Eagles" depicts his aircraft in Rembercourt, France in September, 2018.  This 1/72 scale model is the Revell SPAD XIII kit, also from the 1960's, was built in October 1998 and is finished in Model Master colors.  This kit has also been reissued many times over the years and some have included Luke's markings.  The markings used, however, are from an aftermarket decal sheet (Pete's Decals 72-08) that was the best available in 1998, but it is likely no longer available.  Print Scale has two decal sheets 72-046 and 48-047 "SPAD VII to SPAD XVII Fighters" that include Luke's markings.  This is an easy build--again besides mounting the wings--and looks fairly good.  Like the Nieuport, it has no interior, so a seat, seat belts, instrument panel, control stick, and windshield were built.  Aircraft rigging wires were added using stretched sprue, which is a total pain in 1/72 scale, especially on a SPAD, which has about 30 wires.  My next SPAD project will use the Eduard kit.  The Eduard SPAD XIII Profipack in 1/72 scale and the Weekend Edition in 1/48 scale do include Luke's markings. 


Of note, there are four American aces that served only in the Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force during WW I who scored between 20 and 18 victories (Frederick Gillet with 20, Wilfred Beaver with 19, Harold Kullberg with 19, and William Lambert with 18), only behind Edward Rickenbacker's score of 26.  These aces are virtually unknown to the American public.  Models of these aces are in my planning. 

USAS 1st Pursuit Group by Jon Guttman, Osprey Publishing Aviation Elite Units #28, 2008
American Aces of World War I by Norman Franks, Osprey Aircraft of the Aces #42, 2001
U.S. Air Service Victory Credits World War I, USAF Historical Study No. 133, Historical Research Division, Aerospace Studies Institute, Air University. June 1969. 

Yamamato's Guardian

by John Tate


Seventy-five years ago this month, with a small air group in a far-off corner of the world under primitive conditions, the US Army Air Force achieved the impossible—intercepting and shooting down, with split-second timing at extreme long range, an enemy aircraft carrying the most capable admiral of the Japanese fleet. The story of this mission—Operation Vengeance—is well-known to most scale modelers interested in the Second World War; some have even built models of the P-38G Lightnings and G4M1 Betty bombers that were the focus of that event. But with a 1⁄32 Zero on my workbench, I thought I’d tackle a less well-known subject: the escorting Japanese fighter planes that tried but failed to stop the shoot-down of Admiral Yamamoto.

The kit was the 21st Century Toys 1/32 A6M3 Type 22 Zero, a plane I didn't know much about when I picked up the kit recently from a local thrift shop. But once I started researching the plane, I realized it wasn't a "generic" Zero but a special long-range version (fewer than 600 built) heavily employed during the Solomons campaign. It also appeared to be the fighter type used to escort Admiral Yamamoto - six Zeros from the 204th Kokutai at Rabaul. Delving further, I learned that the mission pilots were highly skilled, including Kenji Yanagiya (eight victories) and Shoichi Sugita (seventy victories). On the day of Yamamoto's flight - April 18, 1943 - these six Zeros flew at the Four O'clock high position in two vic formations above and to the right of the two G4M1 bombers. As the flight was approaching their landing fields at the southern tip of Bougainville island, they were attacked by the 16 P-38Gs of the intercept mission and, although the Zeros dived on their opponents, they were quickly overwhelmed and the two G4M1s downed by the Lightnings. Yanagiya (pictured below) swore to get one of the enemy and turned southeast, where he found one of the P-38s returning to base and shot it up over the sea - probably the aircraft flown by Lt. Raymond Hine, who did not return from the mission.

The Zero pilots all landed in Bougainville without loss and then returned to their base at Rabaul. It was clear a tragedy had occurred that would have an ominous effect on the future of Japan in the war, but the Zero pilots weren't held responsible - it was understood they were outnumbered in the attack.

It was a dramatic story, so I decided to build one of the escort fighters; not much information was available on markings until I discovered an instruction sheet profile from a Hasegawa 1/72 A6M3 kit, which illustrated aircraft flown on the mission by Kenji Yanagiya and Shoichi Sugita. Fortunately, markings were simple - just tail codes - with a standard IJNAF Zero camouflage scheme. Replicating the tail codes was easy so I was able to finish the model as Yanagiya's aircraft (T2/169). As for the model itself, it is a curious hybrid of a toy and a detailed replica, but I found it well worth building and forgiving of rough handling. The model went together easily with CA glue and seam lines were filled without much trouble. The only issue I had with the kit was the lack of wing dihedral; I had to shave some plastic off the wing and wing root join surfaces to get the proper angle. However, the model went together easily and I was happy with the final result. The only "inaccuracy" I discovered after the build was that these escort Zeros likely did not carry radios; I had installed a standard radio mast and aerial wire on the model but because I liked the look of it, I didn't remove it.

What I found rewarding about this build was that even after many decades of building WWII models, there was still something to learn about that conflict through scale modeling. In this 75th Anniversary year of the midpoint of the War, take some time to research a well-known event and discover something you didn't know, and model it. So much occurred in 1943 - Stalingrad, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, the Dams Raid, the Ploesti Raid, the Solomons, Tarawa and Kursk - that with a little research there's a good chance you'll discover a new and interesting model subject right in your kit collection. 



The Renault FT
and how it came to be up the Khyber

by Tony Humphries


As you may already know, given the long-standing enmity between our countries, as an Englishman, the prospect of building anything French always leaves me with, at the very least, an uneasy, uncomfortable feeling - one which, given our history, you can probably also understand. Nevertheless, as an armor guy, the importance of the Renault FT (sometimes [incorrectly] known as the FT-17) needs to be recognized, given that it was really the first modern tank and established the system of placing the driver in front, the engine on the rear and the main armament in a rotating turret on top, that we generally persist with to this day. It wasn't the first tank of course, but it was arguably the first modern one. As a result I decided to build the Takom 1/16-scale kit and you may have seen my humble effort on the table at last month's meeting:


Many of you will likely be familiar with at least some of this influential vehicle's history. First produced in 1917, it was widely used in the final months of WW1 by France and the US. After WW1 it was exported to many countries including Poland, Russia, Finland, China, Japan, Spain, Brazil, and many other countries around the world (27 in fact have used the Renault FT at some point and several—including Italy, Japan, Russia and the US - have built their own copies/versions). When WWII came around it was hopelessly out of date but was still used in combat, out of necessity, by Poland in 1939, France in 1940 (and again by Vichy troops in 1941 in Indo-China and 1943 in North Africa). Around 1700 were captured by the Germans after the fall of France in June 1940 and were used for policing duties in occupied territories, in an anti-Partisan role in Yugoslavia, for airfield protection, as an aircraft tug (especially in occupied France), and probably as a source of amusement as well. American troops encountered them (generally abandoned) in Normandy after D-Day and the final documented combat use of the Renault FT was in the streets in Paris in August 1944, where remaining German forces used them in limited skirmishes with French and US troops. They weren't very effective and by the time American troops had stopped laughing at them, they,d probably all broken down again anyway. Paris of course had been declared an open city by the German authorities prior to the Allies reaching its outskirts, but it seems that some people didn't get the memo. Isn't that always the way...?

To give some background on the vehicle, the two-man FT weighed around 6 1/2 tons and was approximately 13 feet long. It was armed with a short-barreled low-velocity Puteaux SA18 37mm gun, or a Hotchkiss 8mm MG (depending on the variant) and had riveted steel armor ranging from 1/2 inch to just under 1inch at its thickest. The turret came in two flavors (neither of them chocolate) - either a rounded metal plate version known as the Girod turret or a slab-sided octagonal version known as the Berliet turret (after their relative manufacturers). Either turret could contain either armament type, and various combinations of the two types were quite common. Despite its revolutionary design, the Renault FT had many shortcomings. The vehicle's armor was just about enough to protect the crew against machine gun bullets and shrapnel of the WW1 era but was inadequate by the early 1920s. The FT used a simple steel leaf spring system as suspension which gave a fairly rough ride and was powered by a Renault 35hp gasoline engine which was plagued with fan-belt problems and random fires, amongst others. This engine gave it a top speed of around seven mph, effectively equivalent to an elderly sloth carrying several large bags of groceries. There was no radio, so to communicate with other vehicles, commanders had to open the hatch and wave signal flags. The noise inside was also so serious that French tank commanders found the only way to effectively communicate with the driver was to kick him, generally in the head(!), on the side that he wanted the driver to move in. So concussion was presumably an occupational hazard for drivers, and was probably accepted as such.

The last FTs were scrapped at the end of WWII since they were totally obsolete by this point and they were then consigned to museums and the history books. Or so we thought... The US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, however, led to the discovery of at least two of these vehicles in a scrapyard in Kabul and one in Kandahar, and a lesser known part of the FT's history was subsequently revealed.

Afghanistan's use of the Renault FT apparently originated some considerable distance away in Europe at the time of the Polish-Soviet War of 1919 - 20. The USSR captured some FTs from the Polish army, which they then copied to produce a Russian built version and which was then subsequently developed into the T-18 tank. By 1923, however, they were no longer required and the USSR presented King Amunullah of Afghanistan with eight of the captured (French-built) FTs as recognition of Afghanistan's independence by the Bolshevik government (and possibly as an elaborate joke as well - after all, the Russians love a good laugh - right up to the point where they poison you with nerve agents or radioactive tea...).

There was a rumor that at least one Renault FT was also captured by Afghan forces from the British Army during the 1919 Afghan War but this seems exceptionally unlikely given that the British Army never used them outside of Britain (for training) or France (for liaison during 1918) and all except one of the original 32, which now sits in the RAC Tank Museum at Bovington, were returned to France at the end of WW1.

So time marched on, as it inevitably does, WWII came and went (1939 - 1945 as a reminder for those in the US) and most people forgot that Afghanistan even had these tanks. Possibly including many Afghans, for all we know... The Royal Afghan Army, however, didn't forget and continued to use the now-obsolete FT into the 1950s (it had little else in the way of armor available to it) before slowly retiring them to training duties and then museum pieces. Allegedly. A Soviet officer stationed in Afghanistan during the 1980s war there claimed that for certain, at least one FT was still in drivable condition with the DRAA (communist Afghan army) at the time of the Soviet invasion/occupation in 1980 but this is almost impossible to substantiate. The thought of crewing one of these vehicles and taking on an advancing Soviet T-72 or T-80 is certainly not a pleasant one, and given the suicidal nature of this endeavor, it seems unlikely that it would be true. But who knows?

Below is an image of one Afghan FT-17, photographed after the American military liberated Kabul on 14 November 2001. The plinth behind the FT-17's turret holds an ancient Schneider cannon apparently (I can't see much of the damn thing, but your eyesight may be better than mine) from way back in the mists of Afghan history. Finding an intact FT in the early 21st Century must have been a major surprise and much was said at the time, of the gun, which appears unique when compared to any other known FT. It turns out that there was a good reason for this though. It was initially suggested that the Soviets had fitted a long-barrel Hotchkiss 37mm gun to one of the FT-17s before their transfer to Afghanistan. But later, it was discovered that a length of pipe had simply been slipped over the factory-fitted Puteaux SA18 to make the displayed tank look more menacing! Well, a bit more menacing. I doubt that a rapid change of underwear for the advancing Russian tank crews was really required (or at least, not for that reason, anyway). It may have caused serious mirth, however. Nice try though.


Picture above shows the FT-17 in question with a Northern Alliance fighter in the foreground. It is believed that this vehicle still remains in Kabul today.

 Several Renault FTs have apparently been discovered around Afghanistan since the invasion of 2001, with two subsequently being sent back to the continental US for restoration. The Patton Museum at Fort Knox used to have one of their own, but apparently the French asked for it back again (there's gratitude for you...).

At least one other, a widely traveled ex-Polish, ex-Soviet, ex-Afghan FT was given back to Poland by the Afghan government in October 2012. Relatively intact, this particular tank had been found by the US Army in 2001 and temporarily moved to a barracks of the new Afghan National Army. In November 2012 it was transported by C-130 Hercules aircraft to the Polish army's Land Warfare Training Center in Poznan for restoration, then donated to the Warsaw Military Museum as seen here.


 Below, left to right:

One of the two FT-17s found by US forces in a Kabul scrapyard in 2003. Both were eventually donated to the US where they are being restored for museum display.

The other of the two tanks mentioned above.

 The engine from one of the two Kabul Renault FTs. It'll take some work to get this one going again... Better call AAA.

One of the two Kabul FTs being loaded for transport back to the US on board a USAF C-17 Globemaster III. The tank in front was the one tipped onto its side in the earlier picture (top of page). It was apparently known as the "Ft. Knox tank" as this was its initial destination (although not because it was made of gold, clearly). It has now been completely restored and in 2015 was placed on display at Ft. Benning, Georgia. The FT at the rear of the picture was sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds and was still undergoing restoration, the last time I checked.


Additional info:

 1)   The Kabul scrapyard was established by the Taliban in 1996 as an area where old and surplus military equipment could be stored before being sold to Pakistan for scrap. Evidently they didn't sell very much...

 2)   Only Renault-made FTs carried the Renault name plate. The Renault factory built about 50% of the vehicles, the remainder being subcontracted to SOMUA, Berliet, and Delaunay-Belleville. This is likely why neither of the vehicles found in Kabul displays the Renault name plate on the left sponson as they probably weren't built by Renault, despite the official name of the vehicle (i.e., Renault FT - remember that the term "FT-17" was never officially used by the French).

Tales from the Shelf of Doom

The Final Chapter

By Ken Piniak

Well, December and January turned out to be really bad months for model building. Besides a number of personal issues, the usual family and holiday commitments, and just the real world intruding into my modeling time, I had two problems combine to temporarily shut down construction. First off, my air compressor died. Not fixable, I tried; so I had to shell out for a new one (those things ain't cheap, either). Then my trusty old Aztec airbrush broke. I had inherited a couple of old Paasches (an H and a VL) from my dad, so I dug them out. It took a while to figure out how to get them to work, and even longer to figure out how to use them. The Paasches work quite differently from my old Aztec, and even differently from each other. But I am finally starting to get the hang of it. So now back to modeling.

Weapons stores and TSU: I finished up the TOW racks and painted them Model Master Olive Drab. The 19-shot rocket launchers are resin pieces by Fireball Modelworks. They needed just a tiny bit of cleanup, then paint. Again, MM OD, with silver for the ends. Decals are from the Monogram kit. The Telescopic Sight Unit (for the TOW missiles) is the resin piece for the Supercobra from Verlinden. I painted up the optics with Tamiya metallics, and a touch of clear blue in the day sight. Then I added the clear cover and photoetch covers and painted it all with more OD. To attach it to the nose of the aircraft, I drilled out the sight turret and its mount, and used a piece of wire, which allows it to rotate. The wire I used is an old bit of actual Army Tripwire, used for setting boobytraps. So there is an actual piece of Army hardware in this model.


Paint: With the cockpit finished up, I sealed it up using an old kit canopy. Then primer, and paint. The body color is MM Helo Drab. I let that dry for several days, then used Tamiya clear in the spray can as a base for the decals.

Decals: Here I ran into another problem. I had planned to use the excellent set of AH-1S TOW Cobra decals from Fireball. Unfortunately, early in 2017 Fireball Modelworks ceased all production of aircraft-related products to focus on model car parts. This included decals. Oops! So now I had to come up with my own decals. I had a set of Vietnam Cobra markings from Fireball, the kit decals, the decals from the MRC Supercobra, along with some others in my stash. Using bits and pieces from all of these, plus a few custom ones I printed up myself, I was able to make it look how I wanted.

Weathering: Once again, this would not even have been a consideration in 1982. Back then I would have just put on the base coat and called it done. One interesting note; looking at the paint on my old original chin turret, I was actually painting it the correct Helo Drab color.

Once the decals were on, I sealed them with a coat of clear gloss. Then I tried out something new (for me), dot filters. I also added some subtle highlights and shadows. Then I sealed it with a coat of clear flat. Then came some pastels (Shep Paine’s term for what they now call "pigments"). I am trying to keep the weathering subtle, but I am having as hard time with it; as much of the work just disappears against the dark Helo Drab.

Canopy: The final obstacle to declaring this done is the canopy. This is only the second time I have tried using a vacuform canopy, dipped in Future. The other time was my other Cobra. Looking through the huge windows on this thing really shows two of the distinguishing features of the TOW Cobra, the Helmet Sighting System (HSS) and the Det. Cord around the windows. As prominent as these are, they were once again not even a consideration back in 82. I did not even know they existed. These are all scratchbuilt, using instructions and templates I got from Fireball Modelworks. The Det. Cords (part of the canopy removal system) are .032 solder. The HSS is wire and bits of styrene strip. Once installed at the top of the canopy, they look pretty good. To show off all the work and detail I put into the cockpit, I decided that I needed to open up the canopy. Boy, I just keep piling on the extra work, don't I?


Rotors: My original main mast was still usable, so I added the kit hub and blades to it. The tail rotor is from an MRC UH-1C, the shaft fit the tail better, and it is much more detailed than the kit part. Following the example of Floyd Werner, I did a multi-layer paint scheme of silver, zinc chromate, OD on top and flat black on the bottom, and yellow tips. Then I sanded the blades to reproduce the worn paint at the tips.


Conclusion: With the canopy and rotors installed, it was essentially done. Finally! I still need to build a nice base for it, and I want to add a couple crew figures to it; otherwise, that’s it! And it looks damn good too!

Tales from the Shelf of Doom

Part 1

By Ken Piniak

Over the past several months I have noticed from reading various magazines, club newsletters, and online forums, that there has been a lot of interest in finishing models from the "Shelf of Doom;" that is to say, models that were started some time ago but never completed. So this my oldest model from that dreaded "Shelf of Doom." This model of an AH-1Q using the classic 1/32-scale Revell kit goes back to at least 1982.


The inspiration for building this was an AH-1Q that I saw (and photographed) on my base in Schweinfurt, Germany in 1981. I didn't know it at the time, but the "Q" model was a somewhat rare and short-lived interim model of what became known as the "TOW Cobra."  This would prove to be a problem later, as good, factual, and reliable information and photos of the "Q" are hard to come by. I am not sure exactly when I started working on this model, but I know I was building it in 1982. I may have started it in late '81, but I simply do not recall for sure.


My original attempt to build it

At this time aftermarket stuff basically did not exist. So I really had no choice but to use what came in the box and scratch build/kitbash the rest. The cockpit was basically the kit cockpit, with a lot of additions and modifications by me. All in all, I did a pretty good job on it; considering the experience level of that very young and inexperienced version of me, I did an awesome job on it!  I hand-painted the instrument panels and seats. I added the armor plates for the seats from sheet styrene. The air conditioning hoses were from the "ratlines" on an old sailing ship. I modified the rear bulkhead and added insulation quilting from tissue. I added parts to the pilot's sight to make it more accurate, and his collective control. I added the pull handles for the canopy removal system, and a fire extinguisher from a race car model. I also did a fairly decent, if basic, job on the engine. My original intent was to display it with the kit "engine hatch" open; it was only later that I found out how inaccurate this hatch is and changed my mind about using it.


It was at this point that I ran into the main stumbling block to this build. I just could not figure out how to create the anti-strela missile engine modification (the funnel/toilet bowl/sugar scoop thing on the engine exhaust), and the TOW missile sighting unit on the nose. Over the years I did make several attempts to resurrect this kit, and overcome the problems I had with it, but couldn't. At one point, I even added an electric motor to operate the rotor, and a flashing LED for the anti-collision light (these actually looked pretty good!). Mostly, it just sat in the box, gathering dust. It also got moved around a lot, as did I, moving to a new base every couple of years.


Flash forward to 2014. I finally got around to building a Huey Cobra model. Digging through my stash, I found that I had enough kits/parts for at least two Revell AH-1 models, so I went for two: One a Vietnam-era bird and the "Q."  By this time the aftermarket had caught up with the old Revell kit. Eduard had produced a photoetch set for it (currently out of production), Cobra Company had several sets, including a cockpit, new stub wings, rocket pods and gun mounts. Fireball Modelworks made decals and rocket pods, along with the anti-strela kit (the toilet bowl) that included a corrected tail. Werner's Wings produced a beautiful vacuform canopy. But most important for this build, MRC produced a 1/35-scale model kit of the AH-1W Supercobra which included the sighting unit and the TOW missiles. Verlinden and Eduard both produced update sets for the MRC Supercobra. Now I could finish this.

Since I would be building two different models of the Cobra, I could mix and match parts as needed to best complete each one. But first I had to see what I had left of the original model to start with. When last worked on, I had gotten as far as putting the fuselage together, adding the landing gear, and the stub wings. But time had not been kind to the old bird—the fuselage had come apart, the landing gear broke off, and the worst was that the stub wings had broken off, tearing large holes in the fuselage sides. So I would have to use a new body. Getting the cockpit out of the old model broke the rear bulkhead and tore the tissue insulation. There were also a number of other parts broken and missing. But most of the cockpit was intact. That was my new starting point.


I cut off the remainder of the bulkhead, and replaced it using a piece from an MRC UH-1 that had the insulation molded in. I added an electronic box and first aid kit from the Verlinden set. Many pieces, including the seats, instrument panels, and fire extinguisher, had broken loose. These were cleaned up, repainted where needed, and reattached. One of the "ear pieces" for the pilot seat armor was missing; I replaced it with sheet plastic. The "ratline" air conditioning hoses were replaced with Verlinden resin parts. I also used Verlinden parts for the circuit breaker panel and the small instrument to the right of the pilot sight. I built a better gunner's instrument panel using one from Cobra Company, the Verlinden TOW sight, and decals by Airscale. I left it off for now, so it does not get broken.

My original engine and transmission were okay, but the mount was broken. I freed the parts from the old mount and added them to a new one. I also added a particle separator from the MRC UH-1 to the front of the engine, and added a drive shaft from aluminum tubing. In order to make room for the coming modifications, I had to cut off the engine exhaust pipe.


In 2015 circumstances forced me to make the other (Vietnam era) Cobra model a top priority, so the "Q" once again went back on the "shelf." I started working on it again this summer.

Adding new parts

Before I could put the main body together, I had to do some surgery to get the fuselage ready for the upgraded parts. Following the instructions from Fireball, I cut off the tail and the rear of the engine compartment, along with the nose. I painted the engine compartment zinc chromate yellow, then added the engine and cockpit to the left fuselage. I knew that all that resin added to the rear would make this bird very tail-heavy, so I added weights to every nook and cranny I could find in the front of the aircraft. Then I glued the body together. Knowing the MRC Supercobra had a different shape, and at 1/35 scale was a bit undersized, I cut the nose off a little long, then trimmed and sanded until I had the correct fit. The Revell AH-1 kit was first released in1969, and unlike modern kits requires lots of work to clean up the seams. Once the bottom seam was done, I added the landing gear. Once again following the instructions from Fireball, I installed the new tail and engine cowling, followed by the kit engine hatch. Then more work filling seams.

At this point, the main part of the model is built. Most importantly, I have fixed most of the problems that I encountered all those years ago. The last area that needs to be addressed is the TOW missile launchers. Now you will notice that I have not finished this yet. The idea is that by going public with this, I will force myself to finish it off. Hopefully, by the time you are reading this, it will be completed.

Tales from the Shelf of Doom

Part 2

By Ken Piniak

I had wanted to get this finished up by the December 2017 ASM club meeting, but that didn't happen. I did take what I had as a Work In Progress display.

The helicopter itself is basically done. The fuselage is complete, and the stub wings are in place. If I was building this to the standards of 1982, it would be done by now. But I am building it to my standards of 2017, which are now much higher. And perhaps I am a bit of a glutton for punishment, as I keep adding things that I would not even have thought of in 1982.

First up is the chin turret. In the '80s I had improved it a little bit, but looking at it now it was just not good enough. I took the guns from the old turret, and using a resin piece from Cobra Company as a guide, built a whole new one. It may not be quite as good as the one from Cobra Company, but it is a whole lot better than the original kit part, and it still moves! The stub wings are from the kit, but I cut off the end pylons and replaced them with the pylons from the Supercobra, to fit the TOW missile launchers.


 More cockpit details:

I made a new canopy removal system pull handle using strip styrene and a "T" handle from Verlinden. The tubing is wire. In 1982, seat belts were not even a consideration; I was going to have the pilots in the seats. Remember the motor for the rotor? That has changed. I used seat belts from HGW, in the Czech Republic. These are printed on a micro-weave fabric, with photoetch hardware. They are small, complex, and a royal pain to work with, but are very realistic. I used a real belt as a reference to get the "right" look.

 TOW missile racks:

At first I planned to just use the stock missile racks from the Supercobra kit. But helicopters in Germany usually flew with empty racks, and the MRC kit has full racks for Desert Storm. Foolish me, I decided that to do it right, I need empty racks. The MRC kit does not have the parts to show empty racks. The Eduard PE set does, but they would have you build it all using brass. I don't know about anyone else, but I have never been able to bend, fold, roll, curve, or otherwise massage all those little brass pieces to do what Eduard says they should do. So I combined the Eduard brass with MRC plastic along with some creative styrene bits to make something that at least looks like some TOW missile launchers. At this point they don't look half bad, and certainly look better than anything I could have scratch built back in the 1980s.


Now the only major obstacle to finishing this thing is the canopy. Again, this was not even a consideration back in 1982. Then, the only option was to use the kit canopy (hey, it's not that bad). Today, there is another option; Werner's Wings makes a beautiful vacuform canopy. Unfortunately, vacuform canopies can be difficult to work with. But they do look sooo good in place. I already messed up my first attempt to use one of these and had to get a new one. So here goes round two.

Stay tuned…


Hellcat Aces of VF-27

by Mike Blohm

Modeling the Aces of VF-27

 This article covers the men and models of the top three Hellcat aces of VF-27, including Lieutenant (Lt) James A. "Red" Shirley (12.5 victories), Lt Carl A. Brown (10.5 victories), and Lt Richard E. Stambook (10 victories).  VF-27 deployed on the light carrier USS Princeton (CVL-23) from May to October 1944 with F6F-3 and F6F-5 Hellcats.  The squadron had perhaps the most famously marked Hellcats in the US Navy, totally in violation of official Navy policy, with a distinctive "hellcat shark mouth" that was designed by three of the VF-27 pilots (Stambook, Brown, and Robert Burnell) during their training at Kahilui Naval Air Station in Hawaii in March-April 1944.  During this deployment the squadron scored 136 aerial victories, with the majority occurring on three days.  These included 30 aircraft destroyed on June 19 during the "Marianas Turkey Shoot" that involved four Japanese air strikes against Task Force 58.  Stambook scored 4 victories (3 Zekes and 1 Judy) during this action, Shirley scored 2 (Zekes), and Brown scored 1 (Tony).  On September 21, VF-27 led a carrier aircraft sweep over Manila, where 38 aircraft were downed.  In this action Stambook shot down 3 (2 Tonys and 1 Zeke), Shirley downed 4.5 (3.5 Zekes and 1 Tony), and Brown downed 2.5 (1.5 Hamps and 1 Tony). 

The final big action was on October 24 during the interception of a Japanese formation of 80 aircraft attacking Task Force 38 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.  VF-27 downed 36 aircraft, with 5 victories each by Shirley (3 Tojos, Zeke, and Nick) and Brown (5 Zekes).  Two other VF-27 pilots also became an "ace in a day" in this battle: Lt (jg) Eugene Townsend and Ensign Tom Conroy.  Unfortunately a lone Judy was missed and it dropped a bomb on the flight deck of the USS Princeton, which was gutted by fire and explosions, and sunk by a torpedo from the light cruiser USS Reno seven hours later.  Nine VF-27 pilots and Hellcats (out of 24) were still airborne when the Princeton was hit, and they landed aboard other carriers.  Few pictures exist of VF-27's "shark-mouthed Hellcats," as they went down with the ship.  One famous surviving photo shows a damaged F6F-5 (White 7, with 164 holes) flown by wounded Carl Brown landing on the USS Essex while the Princeton can be seen burning in the background.  White 7 - named "Paper Doll" - was actually Ensign Bob Burnell's aircraft.  On these new carriers, the hellcat shark mouths were painted over within a few days. 

VF-27 was reformed and served aboard the USS Independence in July-September 1945.  Shirley later commanded VF-82 in 1955-56, was promoted to captain in 1962, and retired in 1968.  Stambook served with VBF-98 from November 1944 to September 1945, and then transferred to the Reserves, serving there until 1959, and became a TWA pilot.  Brown served in multiple leadership roles until he retired in the rank of commander in August 1962. 

 Pictures of VF-27 Hellcats and Insignia: 


1.  Pilots of VF-27 in front of a "Hellcat-Mouthed" F6F-3 at Maui in May 1944 prior to deploying,  Shirley is in back row,
first from right. Stambook is in back row, 4th from right.
  Brown is in front row, 5th from right.

2.  Insignia of VF-27 showing "Hellcat" superimposed over F6F cowling

3. & 4.  Lt Carl Brown landing damaged F6F-5 White 7 on the USS Essex with USS Princeton burning in the background.

5.  Profile of Hellcat Mouth depicted on F6F-5 Hellcat (overall FS 15042)

 Pictures of USS Princeton (CVL-23):


1.  USS Princeton underway on shakedown cruise in May 1943

2.  USS Princeton burning after the 24 Oct 1944 air attack in Leyte Gulf

3.  Bow view of burning USS Princeton with USS Birmingham alongside. 

4. & 5.  VF-27 Hellcats parked at bow of the burning ship

6.  Damage to midship area of the carrier. 

My three VF-27 Hellcat models on display in the Aces Gallery display at the USAF Academy are a mix of Hasegawa, Italeri, and Revell kits, all in 1/72 scale.  All these kits produce a good-looking Hellcat.  The Hasegawa kit does not have posable flaps, which the other two do have.  Decals are either numbers pieced together from Microscale/Superscale Hellcat sheets or from the kit.  Hellcat "White 23" is Shirley's F6F-3 aircraft.  "White 17" is Stambook's F6F-3 aircraft.  These F6F-3's had the tri-color paint scheme of Dark Sea Blue (FS 35042), Intermediate Blue (FS 35189), and Insignia White (FS 37875) on the undersurfaces.  "White 9" is Brown's F6F-5, which was one of six F6F-5 replacement aircraft received by VF-27 prior to the Leyte Gulf campaign.  These aircraft were Dark Sea Blue (FS 15042) overall.  Note that on these replacement F6F-5's that the eyes did not have the blood-shot streaks included (although the kit decals have them), or the red drops of blood below the corners of the mouth, as they did not show up from a distance and were too hard to paint.  All paints used were from Model Master. 

Pictures of Lt James "Red" Shirley and model of his F6F-3 Hellcat "White 23" on 24 Oct 1944


 Pictures of Lt Carl "Brownie" Brown and model of his F6F-5 Hellcat "White 9" on 24 Oct 1944


 Pictures of Lt Richard Stambook and model of his F6F-3 Hellcat "White 17" on 24 Oct 1944



Markings of the Aces - Part 2 U.S. Navy, by Richard Hill

U.S. Navy Fighter Squadrons in World War II, by Barrett Tillman

Hellcat Aces of World War II (Osprey Aircraft of the Aces #10), by Barrett Tillman

Stars and Bars - A Tribute to the American Fighter Ace 1920-1973, by Frank Olynyk

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

ASM Group Field Trip

ASM members conducted a group field trip on Friday, December 15, 2017, to the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque. We had seven ASM members participating. Andy Rogulich, ASM member and docent at the museum, allowed us to piggyback on a tour that he was giving for the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.

The tour was concentrated on the development of nuclear weapons during World War II and the Cold War. Andy gave overviews of the information presented in each of the displays—he definitely knows this subject area.  These included the Manhattan Project and the develiopment of the atomic bomb and its testing at the Trinity Site at White Sands, New Mexico; Fat Man and Little Boy bomb replicas, the onset of the Cold War and the development of other nucler weapons; and civil defense preparations for nuclear attack. Of note, the two B-29 models of the Enola Gay and Bockscar in the museum display (see pics below) were built by former ASM member Pat Trittle. 




The group then went outside to get a tour of about half of the items on display there, due to time limits. The group saw the B-52B Stratofortess with Hound Dog missile, Mk 17 and Mk 53 nuclear bombs, external centerline tank for the B-58 Hustler, the Atomic Cannon, Honest John rocket, Nike Hercules surface to air missile (SAM), B-29 Super Fortress, replica of the Trinity Site bomb test tower, and an F-16 Falcon.  FYI - ASM did contribute funding for the paint used to refurbish the B-52!



A selection of pictures is included with this article. More pictures are posted - 62 total - on the ASM Website's Field Trips webpage. The sun angle was not the greatest so some of the pictures are pretty dark. Definitely recommended to visit. 

ASM will be planning to conduct another tour of this museum in 2018, as well as the Defense Nuclear Weapons School's Nuclear Weapons Instructional Museum at Kirtland Air Force Base. ASM has been contributing and loaning models for their displays, and we want to keep that effort going in 2018.

Kit Review - Special Hobby 1/72 Scale

P-40F Warhawk - Short Tails over Africa

by Mike Blohm


This kit review is on the Special Hobby 1/72 scale P-40F Warhawk - Short Tails over Africa kit.   It has markings for  the 64th Fighter Squadron (FS) and 66th FS of the 57th Fighter Group (FG) and the 86th FS of the 79th FG.  This may be the only "short tail" P-40F kit available in 1/72 scale.  It has been included in a couple of 2-In-1 kit boxings with other P-40 versions.  MPM does have a long-tail P-40F/L kit.  Sword has both P-40K and Warhawk III short-tail kits. 

Overall this Special Hobby P-40F kit has an accurate outline for a short tail and should have been an easy build.  However, there were some issues that got in the way.  The problems were all resolvable, but this took some trouble-shooting and time to get the build completed.  The sprues, canopy parts, photo-etch, and decals all come in separate plastic bags (pictures 1-2).  The plastic is gray in color and fairly soft.  The instructions leave a lot to be desired on how things are supposed to be assembled - more on that later.  There are no part numbers on the sprue - you need to refer to a diagram in the instructions.  The marking are covered in a separate color insert, which is nicely done. 

1     2

The interior is pretty detailed.  There are side wall panels, a photo-etch instrument panel with an instrument placard (attaches behind it), a seat with photo-etch belts and straps that can be used.  There are a lot of fiddly-bit parts for the belts and straps if you want to use them, but surprisingly no throttle lever or other side panel parts.  There is a nice cut-out in the instrument panel for a reflector gun sight, but no gun sight is included in the kit. 

 The side panels, seat and floor were all detailed and ready to go (pictures 3-4) when the first obstacle hit.  The instructions show the rudder panels hanging down from behind the instrument panel, but the instrument panel and firewall behind it are one solid piece going all the way to the cockpit floor.  My workaround was to cut off the rudder pedals and glue them to the bottom of the instrument panel (see picture 5).  Close enough. 

3     4     5

The next obstacle was getting the interior parts assembled within the fuselage.  The instructions indicate (sort of) how the panels and the front firewall (behind the instrument panel) and the wall behind the seat are supposed to fit onto the fuselage sides.  However, if you try it that way, the back wall (with the headrest) does not sit flush with the end of the canopy (pictures 6-8).  It took a bunch of trial and error to sort out how it should (could) fit.  The rear panel should be flush against the canopy cut out, and the front panel should be positioned that the (scratch-built) sight is up against the glare shield.  Note that when you do this, the floor is then not long enough to cover from the firewall to the rear panel.  After initially lining the floor up at the front panel, I ended up gluing the floor towards the rear and added a piece of styrene to cover the see-through hole up by the rudder panels, which probably would not be seen anyway (pictures 9-10). 

6      7     8     9     10


The fuselage needed some filler behind the cockpit, below the cowl, and where the wings mated by the cowl flaps.  The tail planes needed some cutting to fit flush to the fuselage.  The part numbers for these is switched on the instructions, but the tabs only fit on the side they go on.  Getting the canopy parts on was a huge challenge.  While accurate in shape, they are too large and the center moving canopy and side window edges had to be shaved off to make it fit together.  The front panel was the only part that was OK.  The side windows stuck out past the rear wall of the cockpit.  Unfortunately there is no open canopy option with the kit parts.  There is a nice interior to be seen straight out of the box.  There is no pitot boom included, so I scratch built that.  I elected to leave off the drop tank.  You have to use photo-etch parts to support it, including drilling holes in the tank.  Too hard to do.  A plastic parts option for tank supports would have been nice.  The gear and gear doors were added, as were the photo-etch backup iron ring and bead sight in front of the canopy.  Most painful in 1/72 scale.  The last items at the very end of the build were the three wire antennas from the wingtips and behind the canopy up to the vertical fin using stretched sprue.  Those are probably the most fragile item on the model at this point.  I managed to break one of them when I brought it to the November contest and replaced them for the photos used in this article. 

 My scheme for the build was the P-40F-1 flown by 1Lt Roy "Deke" Whittaker, top ace of the 57th FG in World War II, for my Aces Gallery Collection at the USAF Academy.  This model build was part of Tony Humphries's "75th Anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein" project in the November ASM Newsletter, so I wanted to depict the aircraft that Whittaker used during that battle.  He scored the first three of his eventual seven victories during this time period, flying bomber escort and ground attack missions. 

This particular aircraft presented a big challenge as the 57th FG P-40s were painted in "desert pink" and there are no decals available specifically for Whittaker's scheme (that I am aware of, which is surprising since he is the third-ranking P-40 ace in the Mediterranean Theater).  There is no "desert pink" color available, so I referred to multiple profiles and pictures, and ended up using a mix of Model Master 2110 Italian Sand and Testors Flat Light Tan 1170.  I used Model Master FS36270 Neutral Gray for the undersides.  I did pre-shading using Model Master Aircraft Interior Black on both the under and upper surface (see pictures 11-16).  The pre-shading shows up darker on the real model than it does in these pictures.  The interior was painted Model Master 1734 Green Zinc Chromate and Aircraft Interior Black.  Steel was used for the seat.  Instrument panel highlighting was done by dry brushing with white.  Model Master Stainless Steel was used to paint the antenna wires. 

 11     12     13     14     15     16

When I was researching Whittaker's scheme I found several profiles that all differed in separate books and also on-line.  I ended up using photographs to nail the scheme (see pictures 17-21).  Picture 21 shows Whittaker in the cockpit of his May 1943 P-40F, which had seven victory markings.  Building Whittaker's Oct 1942 P-40F took hand-painting and five different decal sheets.  The US stars, aircraft identification panel marking, and "US Army" on the lower wing came from the kit decals.  The fuselage's "4-3" markings came from a similarly-marked 79 FG aircraft on the Kits-World sheet KW172060 P-40 Warhawks.  The "4" on Whittaker's aircraft had a horizontal bar that extended out to the right of the vertical bar, so I had to cut off a section of a "2" on the sheet to make that addition to each of the "4s."  I also used the British fin flashes from that sheet for the tail fin.  All US fighters had that RAF fin flash for recognition purposes. 

This is a good point to mention that red spinners were another recognition marking of the Allied fighters used in the Western Desert Air Force.  The spinner was therefore painted using Model Master FS 31136 Insignia Red with a white undercoat.  The "Miss Fury" aircraft name was hand-painted onto clear decal sheet, as were the three "lightning bolts" on each side of the tail fin.  The bolts and the "A" on the tail were A Flight markings used by the 65th FS.  The "A" came from Super Scale decal sheet 72-228 US 60 Degree Letters and Numbers.  The 65th FS "Fighting Cocks" emblem on both sides of the nose are from the EagleCals EC-104 P-47D Thunderbolt decal sheet.  These emblems were a bit too large, having been painted on a P-47 cowling and not on a P-40, but they were close enough to use for this build, instead of trying to hand paint them.  The patch had an outer white ring and a green interior when they were on P-47s, so I had to paint over the white to make them a solid green instead.  The three victory markings (see picture 19) are from the Kits-World KW172007 P-51 Mustang Numbering/Lettering/Kill Markings sheet.  Note that Whittaker's aircraft had swastikas within white circles for the victory markings, even though they were over Italian Mc.202 and CR.42 aircraft.  I used coatings of Model Master Gloss Clear Lacquer Finish before the decaling and in between, and then Flat Clear Lacquer Finish after the decaling (see picture 22).  The finished model is shown in pictures 23-27. 

17     18     19     20     21

22     23     24     25     26     27

Overall this is an accurate and detailed P-40F short-tail and looks nice when completed, but be prepared for some workarounds to get it put together.  It is a fairly expensive kit for 1/72 scale (around $30) but Squadron Shop occasionally has them on sale, which is when I picked up several of them.  You can likely find them on-line for reasonable prices as well.  Recommended. 

Here are pictures of the model on the Display-Only table at the December 10th ASM meeting:


Two excellent reference books on North African P-40 Warhawks are:

P-40 Warhwak Aces of the MTO by Carl Molesworth (Osprey Aircraft of the Aces # 43)

57 Fighter Group - First in the Blue by Carl Molesworth (Osprey Aviation Elite Units)


El Alamein - 75th Anniversary

History and Group Build

by Tony Humphries

Setting the scene:

The two battles fought in the area of El Alamein, a small rail stop in the middle of the Egyptian desert, between July and November 1942 marked the turning of the tide of the conflict in North Africa. Indeed, combined with the more or less simultaneous defeat of the Germans at Stalingrad, it marked the beginning of the end for the Germans and their allies in Europe and the Mediterranean. The war in the desert was a conflict that had begun at the end of 1940 with the Italian invasion of British-occupied territories in Libya and Egypt, which swiftly turned into a complete disaster for Mussolini and the collapse of the Italian forces there. The plight of the Italians forced Hitler to intervene on behalf of his ally, and in April 1941 Rommel and his Afrika Korps arrived in Tripoli to begin over a year of highly mobile warfare in the desert. This was a struggle in which much ground was initially lost by the British, but then recovered, only to be lost again. Rommel added greatly to his reputation as a masterful tactician during 1941 and 1942 and several British commanders were promoted and then unceremoniously removed until Churchill finally settled on Montgomery in July of 1942.

At this point in the desert war, the Germans had advanced to a line roughly 150 miles from Cairo, and Cairo, the Nile Delta, the Suez Canal, and the port of Alexandria would all have been threatened by another German breakthrough. The Axis forces, however, had stretched their supply lines dangerously (many miles back to the ports of Tripoli, Benghazi and the recently captured but heavily damaged facilities at Tobruk) and their men and equipment were both worn out from the fighting across vast open, featureless spaces. El Alamein was a point at which the British under Auchinleck were able to stop the Germans dead, and begin to build up their forces for a major counter-offensive. The desert at this point was only forty miles wide, with the Mediterranean Sea to the North and the impassable cliffs and salt marshes of the Qattara Depression in the South. This prevented Rommel from engaging in his usual flanking attacks and gave the British an excellent opportunity to defend in depth.

So the stage was set for a ferocious battle that was at times reminiscent of the battles on the Western Front nearly thirty years earlier. El Alamein was also noted as the first battle in which large quantities of newly introduced US-supplied armor, particularly the Sherman (both the M4A1 or Sherman II and the M4A2, known in the British army as the Sherman III) along with the M7 Priest 105mm self-propelled gun featured. Both of these vehicles were warmly welcomed by the British army at the time as they proved to be a significant improvement on the aging and weakly armed British Cruiser and Infantry tanks and the initially useful but still somewhat flawed M3 Grant and Lee.

El Alamein also marked the debut of the British Churchill tank and the widespread adoption of the 6-Pounder anti-tank gun as a long overdue replacement for the chronically outdated and feeble 2-pounder. Rommel, in his turn had the new Panzer IV Ausf F2 in his armory, but only around thirty of these were available for the battle and his troops were desperately short at this stage of the conflict, of fuel, food and ammunition. He also received limited quantities of the Marder III, whose captured Soviet 76.2mm gun was a welcome addition to the Afrika Korps's firepower. These new vehicles could do little to turn the tide, however - given the supply shortages and the huge build-up of equipment on the British side, there could really only be one winner.

The Ground War

The 1st Battle of El Alamein began on July 1, 1942, after Rommel had won significant victories at Gazala and Mersa Matruh. Rommel, in buoyant mood despite being aware of the shortages that his forces faced, decided to try one more attack to try and decisively break the British line and move on towards the Nile and the oil fields of the middle east, beyond. The Germans attacked but were stopped, and after a counterattack by the British and Commonwealth forces under Auchinleck, the following day (which also failed) a stalemated battle of attrition developed and lasted until July 27, when both sides called a halt and tried to consolidate their existing positions. This was easier for the British since their supply lines were shorter and they held much of the high ground, but unfortunately for Auchinleck, although he had stopped Rommel, he had failed to defeat him and this cost him his job. Churchill replaced him with Bernard Law Montgomery (aka "Monty") who immediately began to rebuild 8th Army both in terms of morale and equipment in readiness for the offensive against Rommel that Churchill was loudly demanding.

The 2nd Battle of El Alamein began in earnest on October 23, 1942, and lasted until approximately November 11, although much of the fighting had petered out a week or so before. Montgomery had learned much from previous British defeats at the hands of Rommel and was determined to build up a substantial force before attacking. He also realized that although he outnumbered Rommel significantly in numbers of tanks, 8th Army's traditional strengths lay in its artillery and infantry arms and he was determined to play to those strengths.

Thus, 2nd Alamein began on the night of October 23 with a colossal British artillery barrage of over 800 guns, unlike anything seen since the Western Front in WWI. Rommel had taken advantage of the lull in fighting also and although he had not received anything like the reinforcements that Montgomery had, he had received some, and in addition had spent much time laying complex minefields to hinder the expected British advance. These were to play a major role in the ensuing battle.

Under cover of the initial bombardment, British sappers had been tasked with clearing paths through the German mines, which were up to five miles wide in places, but going was slow due to both their complexity and density. German artillery and anti-tank guns were also well-sited to cover any potential breaches in this defensive layer. The initial plan called for a diversionary Allied attack in the South with the main thrust in the North. "Operation Lightfoot," as it was called, was the code name for the initial infantry attack - the intention being that the infantry would attack through the mines but the soldiers would be too light to set off German anti-tank mines, hence the name. Initially it did not succeed, however, due to the volume of the minefields and the failure by the sappers to clear enough 24-foot wide paths for the tanks to follow up behind. Even at 24 feet wide, the paths were only wide enough for tanks to pass in single-file, and one stalled, broken-down or destroyed tank held up the entire advance in that sector. After the second night, Lightfoot was called off.

Instead, Montgomery then launched "Operation Supercharge."  Australian infantry formed the initial part of this and fought with such ferocity that Rommel was forced to move many of his remaining Panzers to prevent them breaking through on their own. At the same time, however, Montgomery was moving his British and New Zealand infantry to the south of this developing battle and they took Rommel by surprise. Fortunately for him, a developing sandstorm caused much of the supporting British armor to get lost and they became easy targets for the German gunners. Both 9th and 23rd Armored Brigades for example (the former including my own old local regiment, The Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry, and thus sparking my interest in the battle to begin with) cleared the German minefields in front of the Rahmen Track on the Germans' left flank, just as the sandstorm was ending and just as dawn was breaking. As a result they were beautifully silhouetted against the dawn and directly in front of the German defensive gun line. With little choice, they hastily organized themselves and charged headlong at the German positions, much like the Light Brigade charged the Russian guns in the Crimean War almost a century before. The result was similar - 9th Armored had 123 tanks at the beginning of the charge. They lost 102 of them, but they broke the German line and the result thereafter was no longer in doubt. The British had many more tanks than the Germans and pushed them forwards as the Germans began a fighting retreat. By November 2, it was clear to Rommel that the battle was irreconcilably lost and on the 4th, in direct contradiction of Hitler (who had ordered them to fight to the last man, as usual...), he pulled his men back and began to retreat towards Tunisia.

Rommel was shortly to be caught in a battle on two fronts now, with the Allied invasion of Morocco and Algeria (Operation Torch) taking place simultaneously and despite skillful defense, Rommel and the Afrika Korps's fate was effectively sealed.

Several ASM members have chosen to mark the 75th anniversary of this momentous occasion by conducting an informal group build. Pictures of some of the significant vehicles and aircraft involved are posted at the end of this article. It is worth noting that this description of the battle is a very simplified one - a blow-by-blow account would take an entire book to write and indeed many have already been written on the subject. If you would like some further reading on the subject, some of the following may prove useful:

Alamein by Simon Ball (published by Oxford University Press)

Destiny in the Desert by Jonathan Dimbleby (published by Pegasus)

Pendulum of War by Niall Barr (published by The Overlook Press)

El Alamein by Bryn Hammond (by Osprey Publishing)

And many, many more...


Descriptions of photos above, left to right:

Afrika Korps 8mm Flak 37.  Originally an AA gun, the "88" had already earned a fearsome reputation as a tank killer by the time of the El Alamein battles. Kit: 1/35 Tamiya; built by Tony Humphries. Photograph and effects by John Tate.

German Panzer II Ausf F (front) and Panzer III Ausf L (back).  Both tanks were still in regular use at this period of the war. The Panzer II was primarily used for recon due to its weak armor and gun. The Panzer III was still a match for any Allied tank on the battlefield. Kit: Tamiya 1/35 (both). Panzer II built by Aaron Kreltszheim and John Tate. Panzer III originally built by Don Alberts, updated and repainted by John Tate. Photograph and effects by John Tate.

Grant advancing head-on. Despite its limitations, the Grant could still be useful and approximately 170 were still in use by the British at El Alamein. Vehicle shown here from Royal Gloucestershire Hussars but attached to Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry for the battle. Kit: 1/32 Monogram.  Built originally by Don Alberts, updated and repainted by John Tate. Photo and effects by John Tate.

British Sherman Mk III and Stuart Mk I. By the beginning of the 2nd El Alamein battle, the Sherman was the most numerous tank in the British arsenal with approximately 252 Sherman Mk IIs and IIIs in use. It was a match for any German tank at this time and was warmly welcomed by the British crews. The Stuart was still widely used in a recon role and, although outdated, was also still popular. Kits: Sherman III, 1/35 Italeri base and Legend resin conversion; Stuart, 1/35 Academy, built by Tony Humphries. Photo and effects by John Tate.


Descriptions of photos above, left to right:

Valentine Mk II of 50th RTR. The Valentine was reliable but weakly armed and armored even for 1942. Nevertheless, it played an important role at El Alamein and was the most widely produced British tank of WWII. Kit: 1/35 Tamiya, built by Larry Horyna. Photos by Larry Horyna.

Desert Encounter - a British Stuart Mk I from 8th Hussars meets an abandoned Panzer IV Ausf F1 from 21st Panzer Division. 8th Hussars were the only British unit entirely equipped with the Stuart. The Panzer IV Ausf F1 was the last version built with the short-barreled 75mm gun, which was obsolete for tank v. tank combat at this stage of the war. Rommel was fast running out of these, with only eight still in use at El Alamein.


Descriptions of photos above, left to right:

Rommel's fuel situation was critical by the time of Second Alamein, thanks to RAF success in sinking supply ships bound for North Africa. Luftwaffe Field Marshal Kesselring ordered Ju-52 transports to make a maximum effort to supply the Afrika Korps, but these aircraft could bring in only a trickle of what was needed - the fate of the Axis forces therefore was already sealed with the battle commenced. Kit: HO Scale Airpower 87, built by John Tate. Photos and effects by John Tate.

The Luftwaffe had lost its chance for air superiority by the time of Second Alamein; its primary attack plane was the Ju-87B Stuka, which faced intense opposition from Allied fighters and anti-aircraft guns and was often ineffective against well-camouflaged, widely-spaced targets in the Western Desert. Escorting these vulnerable aircraft was a primary occupation of the Luftwaffe's hard-pressed fighter force. Kit: 1/48 Hasegawa, built by John Tate. Photo and effects by John Tate.

Hawker Hurricanes were still very much frontline aircraft during Second Alamein, although with Spitfires finally available for fighter vs. fighter combat, Hurricanes were used increasingly for ground attack duties and guarding rear areas from Luftwaffe bomber raids. Kit: 1/48 Hasegawa, built by John Tate. Photo and Effects by John Tate.

The last thing any panzer commander wanted to see: a Hurricane IId hurtling towards him with both 40mm cannon blazing. With escorting Spitfires for top cover, RAF Hurricane IIds were devastatingly effective against - German panzers and softskins, hounding the Afrika Korps from Alamein to Tunisia.

Although the US supplied significant quantities of equipment to the British in North Africa, there was very limited combat involvement by US forces at El Alamein and it was really confined to the air war.  The P-40F shown here constitutes part of that effort.  Photo and Effects by Mike Blohm.

Mike Blohm adds:

The pictures below depict the Curtiss P-40F-1 Warhawk flown by 1Lt Roy "Deke" Whittaker during the Battle of El Alamein. Whittaker was a member of the 65th Fighter Squadron (FS) "Fighting Cocks" of the 57th Fighter Group (FG) "First in the Blue." The 57 FG, which also included the 64th FS "Black Scorpions" and 66th FS "Exterminators," flew close support missions for Allied ground troops and escort missions for RAF bombers during the battle. Whittaker downed an Italian MC.202 fighter for his first aerial victory on October 26, 1942, on one of these missions. He scored seven total victories to become the top ace of the 57 FG. The 57 FG flew off the carrier USS Ranger into North Africa on July 19, 1942 - Whittaker was the second pilot to launch off - and arrived in the Egyptian desert west of Cairo on July 30. The 57 FG saw its first combat operations on September 19 under the RAF's 239 Wing. The 57 FG's motto "First in the Blue" has several meanings, including being the first USAAF fighter group to go into action in North Africa. Additionally, "The Blue" was the RAF's Desert Air Force's (DAF) slang for the vast areas of the North African desert stretching west from Cairo. At the time of the Battle of El Alamein the 57 FG and its three P-40 squadrons were detached to No. 211 Group of the RAF's Western DAF along with the USAAF's 12th Bombardment Group and three of its four B-25C Mitchell squadrons (82, 83, and 434 Bombardment Squadrons). The 81 BS was not detached to the WDAF. Some trivia of note: Capt Phillip Cochran, the commander of the 65 FS, was the prototype for Milton Caniff's comic strip characters Flip Corkin in "Terry and the Pirates" and the title character in "Steve Canyon." Caniff also designed the 65 FS's "Fighting Cock" emblem, which is depicted on the nose of Whittaker's aircraft, based upon the squadron’s feisty Rhode Island Red Rooster mascot "Uncle Bud."


This model is the 1/72-scale Special Hobby P-40F "Short Tails Over Africa" kit, which includes decals for a 64 FS aircraft. The aircraft is finished in the "desert pink" camouflage scheme on the upper surfaces. Whittaker's aircraft and personal markings were accomplished by use of multiple after-market decal sheets and hand-painting. A separate kit review article will cover the build of the model and the problem areas encountered. Model and pictures by Mike Blohm.





Folds of Honor Model Display


by Mike Blohm



The ASM model display at the September 23, 2017 Folds of Honor (FoH) Patriot Gala fund-raising event at the Sandia Resort and Casino went very well, and I would like to thank everyone who loaned models and helped man the show. We had forty models in the display spread out over six tables, with good representation of all the US Services in armor, ships and aircraft/helicopters in a lot of different scales. We had two nicely done figures/vignettes, but no dioramas. We also had the "What is scale modeling?" signage out. We had a lot of people come look at the display, especially military personnel, and they all enjoyed the models. The People's Choice (PC) model contest did not get a lot of participation, likely due to lack of advertisement and the way the ballroom was set up. The PC winners will be announced at the October 6 ASM meeting.

I have asked for some feedback from the FoH leadership on how they enjoyed the display and whether they would like ASM to do it again, but I have not heard anything back yet. At the ASM meeting we will talk about some lessons learned to make it better if we do it again in 2018. Thanks to Bret Kinman, Josh Pals, and Matt Blohm for helping to set up and man the display. Some pictures are included below.  The FoH Foundation provides scholarships and other assistance to the spouses and children of soldiers killed or disabled in service to our country.





US Marine Corps Aces at Guadalcanal Island

by Mike Blohm

This article commemorates the 75th anniversary of the invasion of Guadalcanal Island in August 1942. This article is about two of the US Marine Corps (USMC) aces that flew in the battles over Guadalcanal and models of their F4F-4 Wildcat aircraft: Major John L. Smith, who was with the original "Cactus Air Force" in August - October 1942; and 1st Lieutenant James E. Swett, who served there beginning in March 1943. But first, here is a bit of history on the invasion and the situation they flew in. Pictures are included below.

Operation Watchtower

The Guadalcanal Campaign, also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal and codenamed Operation Watchtower, was a military campaign fought between 7 August 1942 and 9 February 1943 on and around the island of Guadalcanal. On 7 August 1942, the First Marine Division landed on Tulagi and Guadalcanal at Lunga Point, capturing the partially completed Japanese airfield and marking the first counter-offensive taken by the Allies during in the Pacific Theater. More construction work began on the airfield immediately, mainly using captured Japanese equipment. On 12 August, the airfield was renamed Henderson Field, for Major Lofton R. Henderson, who was the first USMC pilot killed during the Battle of Midway. Henderson Field was ready for operations on 18 August.

On 20 August, Marine pilots from Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 23 with eighteen F4F Wildcat fighter planes of VMF-223 led by Major John L. Smith, and a dozen SBD Dauntless dive bombers of VMSB-232 led by Lt. Colonel Richard Mangrum, flying from the escort aircraft carrier USS Long Island, landed at Henderson Field, and these warplanes were conducting combat missions on the next day. They were joined on 22 August, by the US Army’s 67th Pursuit Squadron with five P-400s (export version of the P-39), and on 24 August by eleven SBD dive bombers that came from the USS Enterprise because they were unable to land on their own carrier, with battle damage sustained during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.

At the end of August, these warplanes were joined by nineteen more Wildcats from VMF-224 under Major Robert E. Galer, and twelve more SBD dive bombers from VMSB-231, also part of the MAG-23. This group of Marine, Navy and Army pilots and warplanes was the beginning of what became referred to as the "Cactus Air Force."  Cactus was the allied code name for Guadalcanal Island.


From 3 September to 4 November 1942, the Cactus Air Force claimed 268 Japanese planes downed in aerial combat. Six USMC aviators won the Congressional Medal of Honor for their actions in the Battle of Guadalcanal, including Smith and Swett. The great majority of the Japanese aircraft were from Imperial Japanese Navy air units. The fifteen Marine combat squadrons that fought on Guadalcanal during this time had 94 pilots killed or missing-in-action, with another 177 evacuated with wounds or with sickness, especially severe malaria.  USMC pilots depicted in the far right photo above include: Maj John L. Smith, Maj Robert E. Galer, and Capt Marian E. Carl (left to right).  Carl's Wildcat, White 2, is depicted in the fifth photo from the left. Carl was the third-ranking ace at Guadalcanal with 16.5 victories.   Galer was fourth-ranking with 14 victories.                          

Major John L. Smith

Major John L. Smith was the commander of VMF-223 "Bulldogs" from May - December 1942 and led the squadron to Guadalcanal on 20 August 1942. Smith was originally a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army but resigned that commission to accept the same rank in the USMC and completed training as a Naval Aviator in 1939. Smith was the second-ranking ace at Guadalcanal (behind only Joe Foss) and scored nineteen victories - half of them Zeros - between 21 August and 10 October 1942. He scored four kills on 30 August 1942 (all Zeros) over Guadalcanal, and also had four "doubles." His victories included instances of six kills in two days (29 - 30 August), and six kills in four days (10 - 13 September). He was shot down once on 2 October, bailing out and returning immediately. VMF-223 was relieved on 12 October and returned to the United States. The model of his Wildcat - White 16 - depicts the aircraft he flew on at least two of his victory-scoring missions. This is the 1/72 scale Hasegawa kit. Smith was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Roosevelt on 24 February 1943. The wording of his citation included:

"Repeatedly risking his life in aggressive and daring attacks, Major Smith led his squadron against a determined force, greatly superior in numbers, personally shooting down sixteen Japanese planes between August 21 and September 15, 1942. In spite of the limited combat experience of many of the pilots of this squadron, they achieved the notable record of a total of eighty-three enemy aircraft destroyed in this period, mainly attributable to the thorough training under Major Smith and to his intrepid and inspiring leadership."


Smith was later the only USMC ace to command a Marine Air Group (MAG-32) and to receive a Legion of Merit in WWII. During the Korean War he commanded the 1st Marine Air Wing from July 1953 - February 1954. He retired in September 1960 as a Colonel, and worked for both Grumman Aerospace and Rocketdyne (North American Rockwell), and died in 1972. Smith is the 21st-ranking American ace (tie), and 6th-ranking USMC ace.

1Lt James E. Swett

Lt James E. Swett became a Naval Aviator in April 1942 and was a member of the VMF 221 "Fighting Falcons" when it deployed to Guadalcanal Island on 16 March 1943. On 7 April 1943, Swett scored seven kills and one damaged (all Vals) in fifteen minutes during his first air combat, before being himself shot down by either the rear-gunner of the eighth Val he attacked (and believes he did shoot down) or by friendly anti-aircraft fire, and having to ditch. This seven-victory feat earned Swett the Medal of Honor. The model of his Wildcat - White 77 - depicts the aircraft he flew on this mission. This is the 1/72 scale Hasegawa kit. Swett flew three combat tours with VMF-221 at Guadalcanal in March - November 1943, during which he scored 14.5 victories - seven in the F4F and 7.5 in the F4U-1 Corsair. He had 2.5 kills (two Betty bombers and 0.5 Zeke) on 30 June, and a "double" on 11 July (Betty and Zeke). Swett was presented the Medal of Honor on 9 October 1943 by Maj Gen Ralph Mitchell, the Commanding General of Marine Corps Aviation in the South Pacific. His citation included the wording:

"In a daring flight to intercept a wave of 150 Japanese planes, First Lieutenant Swett unhesitatingly hurled his four-plane division into action against a formation of fifteen enemy bombers and during his dive personally exploded three hostile planes in mid-air with accurate and deadly fire. Although separated from his division while clearing the heavy concentration of anti-aircraft fire, he boldly attacked six enemy bombers, engaged the first four in turn and, unaided, shot them down in flames. Exhausting his ammunition as he closed the fifth Japanese bomber, he relentlessly drove his attack against terrific opposition which partially disabled his engine, shattered the windscreen and slashed his face. In spite of this, he brought his battered plane down with skillful precision in the water off Tulagi without further injury."



Swett returned to combat in 1945, again with VMF-221, flying from the USS Bunker Hill. He scored one more victory, a Jill, on 11 May. VMF-221 saw action in the strikes on Tokyo in February 1945 and the Iwo Jima and Okinawa landings, before the Bunker Hill was put out of action by kamikazes on 11 May. Swett was airborne when that attack occurred and had to land on another carrier. Swett left active duty in 1945, and rose to the rank of Colonel in the USMC Reserves. He retired in 1970 and died in 2009. Swett is the 34th-ranking American ace (tie) and the 8th-ranking USMC ace.

F4F-4 Wildcat Model Build

The Hasegawa 1/72 scale kit of the F4F-3 or F4F-4 Wildcat is a fairly easy build, and accurately depicts the aircraft. There is not much cockpit detail: an instrument panel with decal, a combination floor and side consoles (no decals), a seat, and a stick. I used an F4F-4 instrument panel and seat belt decal from a ProModeler decal sheet in each kit. The one fiddly area is the landing gear, trying to get the support arms to all line up. Both models were finished with Testors Model Master Navy Blue Gray (no FS or ANA number) on the upper surfaces and Flat Gull Gray FS36440 on the lower. The aircraft serial numbers were put together from Aeromaster numbers and letters decal sheets. The name on the rudder of Swett's Wildcat - "Melvin Massacre" - was done with individual letters from a model railroading dry transfer decal sheet, and was quite a challenge on a 1/72 scale model. There were no decal sheets available in 1/72 scale on these heroes when I built these models.  Print-Scale has since come out with a F4F Wildcat and Martlet Aces sheet (PS720266) that includes Swett's White 77 scheme.

The other USMC aces that received the Medals of Honor for actions during the Battle of Guadalcanal include Maj Robert E. Galer, Capt Joseph J. "Joe" Foss, Lt Col Harold W. Bauer, and 1Lt Jefferson J DeBlanc. An article on these pilots and their aircraft will be forthcoming. I will be trying some builds with the new Airfix F4F-4 kit to replace models in the USAF Academy Aces Gallery collection built with the old Revell kit from the 1960s.




Remembering Midway

by John Tate

This month (June 2017) is the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, one of the two most critical battles in US history, the other being the Battle of Gettysburg. Had either of those battles gone the other way, this is not a country we would recognize today. Unfortunately, the American public has largely forgotten Midway, a tiny atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and as air/sea battles leave no trace of combat, there is no National Military Park that can be visited easily, as is the case with Gettysburg. So we, as modelers, can have a small part in commemorating the guts, skill, luck, and sacrifice of Navy, Marine Corps, and Army personnel who stopped cold the onslaught of Imperial Japan back in 1942.

Midway was a clash of aircraft carriers, and the American planes that decided the battle were SBD-3 Dauntless dive bombers, whose courageous Naval aviators were able to plant 1000-pound ship-killing bombs squarely on the flight decks of the Emperor's best flat-tops - Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu. There are some good kits of the Dauntless out there, from Trumpeter in 1/32 scale and Accurate Miniatures in 1/48 scale, but my favorite is the Hasegawa 1/48 Dauntless, which is accurate in outline and the easiest of the three to build.

It's been a number of years since I built the Hasegawa kit but I recall it being a breeze to construct, the only attention spot being the dive flaps, which are molded integrally with the wings and lack perforations. However, rather than removing the kit dive flaps and replacing them with photoetch, I drilled out each perforation with a sharp No. 11 X-ACTO knife, before assembling the wings. It took some extra time but wasn't too difficult and any imperfections were corrected with a little putty and sanding. This method allows the integrity of the wings to be maintained and also provides a more accurate representation of the real aircraft; I've never been a fan of open dive flaps, since this configuration was seen only during maintenance, or when the aircraft dived.

Decal markings for aircraft that participated in the battle are not exactly plentiful but fortunately a new sheet by Starfighter Decals, No 4808, was just released and includes markings for two of the most important Dauntlesses from the battle, both from Enterprise (CV-6): Dick Best's Bu. No. 4687 from VB-6, which killed Akagi, and Bu. No. 4618, flown by Wade McClusky, CAG Air Group Six, who made the fateful decision to follow the wake of a Japanese destroyer that led his dive bombers to the Japanese carriers. I can't imagine a better choice of markings for Dauntless builds.

If you have some models in your stash that would fit a Midway theme, give some thought to building one this month, and take the time to do some research and learn about the battle; this hobby is at its most worthwhile when it gives us pause to remember our fallen, and what they accomplished for us on June 4, 1942, should never be forgotten.



SBD Dauntless Displays
Commemorating the
Battle of Midway

 By Mike Blohm

This article covers two displays commemorating the Battle of Midway that feature SDB Dauntless aircraft, and was inspired by John Tate's "Remembering Midway" article in the June 2017 ASM Newsletter. June 2017 is the 75th anniversary of the battle.

The first display is the Battle of Midway Memorial located at Midway Airport in Chicago. I have been through Midway several times and took pictures of the Memorial, meaning to eventually write up a trip report on it. The airport was originally built in 1923 and called Chicago Air Park. It was leased by the city in 1926 and renamed Chicago Municipal Airport in December 1927. In July 1949 the airport was renamed "Chicago Midway Airport" after the Battle of Midway. The Midway Memorial features a Dauntless hanging from the ceiling just as you approach Concourse A. It also includes some displays with information, pictures, and videos on the battle. This particular aircraft was used in training at Chicago's Glenview Naval Air Station and aboard the simulated flattops USS Wolverine and USS Sable on Lake Michigan, and fell overboard during training. It was recovered and restored with the Memorial being formally dedicated on June 4, 2001. Pictures of the display are included below. It is not too far from the central part of the airport, and you can see it even if you are not on a flight departing or coming into Concourse A. Well worth checking out if you have time.


The second display is an SDB-2 featured in the collection at the National Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, Florida. This Dauntless, Bureau Number 2106, actually participated in dive bombing runs against the Japanese carrier Hiryu during the Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942, while assigned to Marine Scout Bombing Squadron (VMSB) 241. It returned from that mission with over 200 bullet holes and a wounded gunner. It is the only known surviving aircraft from the Midway battle. This particular SDB was also a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor, having been parked on Ford Island at that time. In early 1942 it served in Bombing Squadron (VB) 2 aboard the carrier USS Lexington (CV 2), taking part in raids on Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea before being transferred to the Marine Corps in May 1942. This SDB was subsequently transferred to the Carrier Qualification Training Unit in Chicago and sank in Lake Michigan in June 1943 The displayed aircraft has several unrestored areas showing the original color scheme and markings. Several pictures of the SBD are included below. This is a must-see aircraft if you get the chance to visit this outstanding museum. Additional pictures of the museum are available in the Naval Air Museum trip report that I wrote in 2012 that is posted on the ASM Website's Field Trips page.




Revell Poe's X-Wing Fighter

SnapTite Max Kit Review

by John Tate


One of the neatest-looking spacecraft to make an appearance in the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens was Resistance pilot Poe Dameron's black & orange X-Wing fighter, Black One. Revell and Disney capitalized on the popularity of Poe's character by releasing a pre-decorated SnapTite model of his X-Wing, an Incom T-70, an upgraded version of the T-65 X-Wings used in the original trilogy. Like the Rebel T-65s, the Resistance T-70s were hand-me-downs from sympathetic planets and politicians so the subject offers an opportunity for modelers to try some Star Wars-style weathering, in this case on an easy-to-build model that nevertheless can be made into a decent replica.

The kit itself is molded in black plastic with orange and gray stripes and panels, which greatly simplifies finishing. The model is generally a quick build, although it has a few challenges, like seam & mold lines and canopy fit, that require modeling skill to fix. For example, a clear plastic insert is supplied for the rear cockpit windows, but it doesn't fit easily, so I cut off the window panels and cemented them inside the frames for a neater and more realistic finish. Another shortcoming is the lack of a pilot figure, especially since many kids who buy the kit would want to fly it against the First Order TIE fighter from the same series; the kit does include the BB-8 tech droid, however. Because I wanted to display the model in flight, I turned a 1/48 F-16 pilot in­to an X-Wing driver, which worked well with little mod­ification. The model can also be built with gear down, which can turn it into a nice centerpiece for a diorama. The wings are adjustable and a sturdy stand is included for in-flight display. Painting is always a challenge on X-Wings but the overall black scheme makes it an easier and you can use your imagination when weathering, given the variable planetary environments in which this craft would have operated.


Even with the application of modeling skill, the kit can be completed in a weekend and certainly looks like an X-Wing fighter when it's done. Currently these kits are marked down to around $20 at local Hobby Lobby stores and at that price represent decent value for money. This is another good subject that can serve as an introduction to Star Wars modeling and is guaranteed to be the coolest model on your shelf when finished.

Darth Vader's TIE Fighter
Revell SnapTite Model
by John Tate

Another subject in Revell's SnapTite Star Wars collection is the Darth Vader TIE Fighter, released to coincide with interest in the movie series generated by Star Wars: The Force Awakens back in 2015.  SnapTite models have come a long way over the years although some still need a modeler's attention to build right; this kit is a good example of that, although it's designed primarily for kids or casual modelers.

 Like many SnapTite kits, this one has a low parts count, builds easily and is rugged enough to be used as a toy when finished.  However, it also makes a decent replica, and with a little extra modeling work it's competitive with more expensive Sci-Fi models.  One of the neat things about the kit is the pre-painted cockpit and Darth Vader pilot figure, with no further painting or detailing required, especially since little can be seen from outside the once the model is finished.  Some CA glue on the cockpit pieces helps hold it together for further assembly.  Before placing the cockpit inside the fuselage halves, it's also a good idea to paint the interior of these parts black for a more realistic appearance.  The pod hatch supposedly can be made to open and close but I found this to be a problem and cemented it shut for a neater appearance.


 The rest of the model goes together smoothly although the spacecraft's side panels do not fit together well without the application of thin CA glue to hold the joint.  Once the glue sets, however, there is a sturdy bond.

 When the model is finished, there are seam lines along the edges of the fuselage halves, which I filled with CA glue and putty.  I left the model in the azure blue color it was molded in, although where this hue originated from is a bit of a mystery, since I remember TIE fighters from the first three movies being white or light gray.  I gave the model a dark gray acrylic wash to bring out details but I was careful not to overdo it, since the idea was to give the craft a lived-in look without heavy weathering, as Imperial fighters presumably were well-maintained.  A little paint touch-up along the filled seams and some dry-brushing, and you have a nice replica of Lord Vader's X1 TIE fighter.

 If you're looking for an enjoyable change from military modeling ahead of our upcoming ChileCon contest, give these Revell Star Wars kits a try- you'll have a great-looking model with just a minimum of effort.



Kit Review

Heller 1/72 T-6G Texan

by John Tate


Here's another golden oldie - the Heller 1/72 T-6G Texan.  This kit is about 40 years old but there isn't a lot to choose from in 1/72 if you want to build a T-6 Texan, so fortunately with a little work this kit will still build-up into a nice model.  Understandably, Heller kitted airplane subjects to appeal to their domestic market, so this particular version was intended to represent an Armee de l'Air COIN bird used in France's colonial war in Algeria during the 1950s. Conceivably a modeler could make other versions of the Texan from this kit, but building the model out-of-the-box produces an eye-catching replica of a warrior Texan.

Just like the real plane, Heller's Texan is simple and rugged, with no surprises during construction.  Unsurprisingly for a model this old, some work is required to fill seams and ensure a good wing/fuselage fit, but nothing too taxing.  The cockpit has reasonable detail so all that was added was a pair of seatbelts to bring some interest to this area.  The canopy looks nice after polishing and fit well, although painting the greenhouse frame can be a chore for airplanes of this type.  Add the landing gear and underwing stores, and voila! - a French T-6.

One kit shortcoming was the poor decal sheet, but fortunately an excellent substitute is available, Berna Decals' "North American T-6G in Algeria," No. BD 72-85, with colorful markings for six different aircraft.  The decals are nicely printed and set down easily; using them really made all the difference to the finished model.

This is a simple kit that can be built into a nice replica and is worth the time invested.  Thanks to new decals, it can be turned into a unique model of an old prop job that saw plenty of action in Africa through the 1960s while military technology elsewhere was moving headlong to fast jets.  Recommended.




Kit Review

FROG 1/72 Vultee Vengeance

by John Tate


At the January meeting, club president Mike Blohm asked for reviews on old kits for our website and newsletter so here's a model that's so old it's almost prehistoric- FROG's early 1970s-vintage Vultee Vengeance.  Conveniently, I finished the model in December and it's a good example of how an old kit can be given new life through transplanted parts from a newer kit of the same airplane, in this case, the Special Hobby 1/72 Vultee Vengeance.

 As for the real plane, the Vengeance was the hardest-working WWII plane you never heard of, successfully employed by the RAF bombing Japanese positions in the jungles of Burma and fulfilling a variety of second-line duties such as training and target towing.  However, it never found favor in the country of its origin, as the USAAF saw no need for a vertical dive bomber when fighter-bombers were coming into vogue and considered the Vengeance obsolete and lacking performance.  Hundreds were produced, however, from Vultee's plant in Nashville, TN, and they saw service from French Morocco to Australia.  BTW, that unusual cranked wing?  No, it wasn't a secret dive-bomber design trick, it was an effort to correct a center-of-gravity problem, one of the many fixes made to this plane during its fairly short service life.


I liked the FROG kit because the outline is more or less correct, it's a tough model that can take a little abuse during construction, and was engineered to be built quickly.  Detail ranges from questionable to non-existent but that's where the fun is, correcting it.  When tackling the kit, the two things that must go are the oversized and ridiculous rear guns, and the lump of semi-clear plastic that is intended to be a canopy.  Then replace the engine and prop (spares from a B-25 work nicely), add larger exhausts, and lengthen the landing gear struts.  As for the interior, you can add seatbelts and a pilot's gunsight but otherwise don't waste too much time here because even under a new greenhouse canopy not much can be seen.  Fortunately, Special Hobby's vacuform canopy (two come with the kit) fit perfectly to the FROG kit, as did the Special Hobby kit's resin exhaust tubes.  The decals from the Special Hobby kit were the finishing touch, which I used to depict a Vengeance from No. 45 Squadron RAF based in India in 1943.

 It took a few months to correct and fix the FROG kit but it was an enjoyable build and I'm happy to have a unique model of a little-known WWII dive bomber.  Someday I'll finish the Special Hobby 1/72 Vengeance as a comparison model but since it's a limited-run kit it probably has its own quirks and problems- the FROG kit might be the way to go as long as you have the Special Hobby kit to use as a guide and parts source.  So don't pass up an old kit if you're curious about building it- it can still provide plenty of scale modeling enjoyment and compare nicely to more recent kits as long as you don't mind borrowing from newer kits to accurize it. 



Cavalcade of Wings Website

The Cavalcade of Wings (CoW) website is now up and running.  Check it out  here.   The CoW URL is:

Additional pictures and information on ASM's support to CoW is available on the ASM Cavalcade of Wings webpage.


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ASM continually supports the nationally-recognized Cavalcade of Wings model display at the Albuquerque Sunport international airport with newly-built models, model repairs, and cleaning/inventorying tasks, and performed all these tasks during this period.  This display of aircraft involved in New Mexico’s history is likely the largest number of models on display at an airport in the USA or perhaps the world, with 1350 total models in 19 display cases.  Several ASM members are on the CoW E-Board, including the chairman emiritus Harry Davidson (pictured above)  ASM member David Straub photographed the collection and performed extensive research that produced over 3,000 pages of documentation that led to the stand-up of the CoW website in Dec 2013.  The ASM webmaster, who is also a member of the CoW E-Board, provided inputs on the creation of the CoW website.




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IPMS/USA Home Page

Click HERE for information on joining IPMS/USA and an application form.

Click here for an IPMS application form (pdf file).

IPMS/USA Region 10 Home Page

Region 10 Chapter Links

Click on the Region 10 IPMS Chapter names below to connect to their website.
Chapters without websites are not listed.

Chapter Name Location
IPMS Northern Utah Scale Modelers Association
Ogden UT
IPMS / Salt Lake City Salt Lake City UT
IPMS / Utah Southern Front Pleasant Grove UT
IPMS / Craig Hewitt Chapter Pheonix AZ
IPMS / Ernest A. Love Chapter Prescott AZ
IPMS/Sonoran Desert Model Builders Tucson AZ
IPMS / Legacy Colorado Springs CO
IPMS / Centennial Chapter Colorado Springs CO
IPMS / Denver-Rob Wolf Chapter Denver CO
IPMS / High Plains Modelers Loveland CO
IPMS / Colorado Modeling Militia Enjoying Sci-Fi (CoMMiES) Lakewood CO
IPMS Grand Junction Scale Modeler's Society Grand Junction CO
IPMS / Albuquerque Scale Modelers Albuquerque NM


IPMS/USA Nationals 2018 Links


IPMS/USA National Convention

August 1-4, 2018

Phoenix Convention Center

Phoenix, Arizona

Hosted by IPMS Craig Hewitt Chapter (Phoenix)

Check out the Official 2018 Convention Website at:

IPMS/USA 2018 Nationals Website


Click here for information on: Past IPMS/USA National Conventions

Local Contest Information

Hard copy handouts on local contests are available for viewing in the ASM Book at Hobby Proz

For information on other contests not posted immediately below, please see the Upcoming Events Calendar

Best of the West -23 Show and Contest

May 5, 2018

East Side Cannery Resort and Casino

Las Vegas, Nevada

Hosted by IPMS Las Vegas, Region 8

Website at:  VegasCon 2018 / Best of the West-23 Show and Contest

Click here for Best of the West Flyer - Page 1      Best of the West Flyer - Page 2



2014 Region 10 Convention and Model Contest

July 11 - 12, 2014  :  D-Day Plus Seventy

Hosted by Albuquerque Scale Modelers

For more information click on the logo above or here for the Chile Con 3 website

---  Thrice the Spice  ---



IPMS Region X Contest and Convention
May 20-21, 2011

Click on the logo above to go to the Chile Con 2 website.  Click on the links below to see contest results and pictures.

Pics from Chile Con 2:

Armor, Autos, Vendors, and Outside Vehicles

Everything Else

Contest Results & Pics from Chile Con 2


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Region 10 Convention & Model Contest
May 5-6, 2006
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Click here for to go to Chile Con 2006 home page:  Chile Con 2006
Click here for Pictures from Chile Con 2006:  Thumbnail Pictures
Click here for the Contest Results Listing from Chile Con 2006:  Contest Results
Click here for the Contest Results with Pictures from Chile Con 2006:  Contest Results with Pics