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Click on selections below to navigate to that location on this webpage or to a separate webpage (annotated by *)

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 *


Next Club Contest


The March 2nd meeting is an


Theme (Points) Contest

Historical Presentation by Dave Alin


The February 2nd meeting was an

ASM Swap Meet with No Contests


The January 5th, 2018 meeting was the

Annual Moe Blalters

"Sci-Fi, Real Space, Science and Fantasy"

Special (Non-Points) Contest

Sponsored Contest:

"Frickin' Laser Beams"

Hosted by Patrick Dick



The December 1st meeting was the


Special (Non-Points) Contest

and the

"ASM 2017 Model of the Year Showdown" Contest

Best of Show Winners from all the 2017 Theme and Special Contests

Click here to view 2017 Contenders

No Sponsored Contest

** Modeling Clinic:  Dioramas - by John Dodd **

John Dodd's "Gaza 2014" Diorama Model at the 2017 New Mexico State Fair


 Upcoming ASM Contests Info

March 2nd   -   "Open" Theme (Points) Contest

April 6th  -  "Clinic Night" with No Contests

May 4th   -   "Tamiya versus Hasegawa Showdown!" Special (Non-Points) Contest  

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
Mar 2 Historical Presentation by Dave Alin
Apr 6 ASM Clinic Night - Multiple Nodel Skills Topics
2017 2017 Presentations and Model Clincs
Jan 17 Painting and Weathering Exhaust Stacks by Brian Peck
Jun 2 Using Washes by Jack Garriss
July 7 Paint Chipping Techniques by Jerry Little
Sep 1st Warhawk Air Museum (Boise, Idaho) by Mike Blohm
Oct 6th Desert Storm Air War by Douglas Dildy
Nov 10th 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

May 4th


Hosted by John Tate


Upcoming Sponsored Contests:

June 1st  -  "Stormy Weather" Hosted by Jack Garriss

July 6th  -  "Adversaries II (Part Duex)" Hosted by Mike & Matt Blohm

September 7th  -  "Global War on Terror" Hosted by ASM E-Board

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. 
April 23 NM AMPS meeting at Mike Mummey's house at 1:00 PM.  Contact Paul Kirchner for directions. 
April 28 Modelmania 2018.  Stafford Center, Stafford Texas.  IPMS Houston, IPMS Region 6.
May 3 AMPS 2018 International Convention.  Dayton, OH
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 (TBD) New Mexico State Fair  ASM-Sponsored Model Contest; Model registration dates are likely on Fri 24  & Sat 25 Aug from 9 AM to 5 PM. Judging probably on Mon, 27 Aug. 
ASM Display-Only Theme: "1918"  The fair runs Sep 6-17, 2018
August 24-26 Bubonicon 50 - 2018.  Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, Albuquerque Marriott Uptown, 2101 Louisiana Blvd NE (Louisiana & I-40), Albuquerque, NM
October 6 Trinity Site Open to the Public.  8:00 AM to 3:30 PM at White Sands Missile Range.
November TBD 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


New Mexico AMPS Meeting

Sunday, February 11th at 1:00 PM

sherman_profile_supsh1a (3).jpg (12364 bytes) m1a1fire.gif (21664 bytes) T-34-76.jpg (28962 bytes)

The next meeting of the New Mexico Armor Modeling and Preservation Society (AMPS) will be held on
Sunday, February 11th at 1:00 PM at Dave Miller's house in Rio Rancho.  Please contact Dave or Paul Kirchner
for directions.  Bring your latest armor projects or finished pieces.



ASM 2017 Modelers of the Year
Juniors Basic Intermediate Masters
Aleya Montano Logan Carbin David Epstein John Tate
Not at January Meeting

ASM 2017 Model of the Year Winners
Model of the Year
Model of the Year
Model of the Year
Model of the Year
ASM100.jpg (82854 bytes)
No Entries Logan Carbin David Epstein Chris Kurtze
No Entries T-55A Yuan Class Sub F-5E Aggressor
ASM100.jpg (82854 bytes)
ASM100.jpg (82854 bytes)


*** Click here for information on the
Election Results for the 2018 E-Board

ASM Group Field Trip to

National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

Friday, December 15th

ASM is conducting a group field trip to the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History on December 15th at 1:30 - 3:00 PM.

The museum's address is 601 Eubank Blvd SE.  It is located on Eubank Blvd just South of I-40.

See museum picture and map below.  The admission cost is $8.00.  Bring your camera!






2017 Region 10 Convention and Model Contest

was held on June 16-17, 2017

at the Marriott Pyramid Hotel

Albuquerque, New Mexico


Chile Con 4 Contest Theme:

Star Wars - 40th Anniversary


Current Articles


Deadline to submit proposed ASM Newsletter articles to

Joe Walters is the 20th of the month prior.

ASM E-Board Articles

The Eagle's View

by Mike Blohm, ASM President

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 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 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:


December Article:

Supersonic - Election Results - and End of Year Festivities

I have a couple of items to cover, but first I want to thank everybody who stood for election and re-election to the 2018 ASM Executive Board, and all who participated (voted) in the election.  We had a good turnout and things went very smoothly.  Congratulations to the following in these positions in 2018: Josh Pals as Vice President; John Tate as Contest Director, and Jack Garriss, Keith Liotta, and Chris Kurtze as Pro Tems.  Please let the E-Board folks know if you have any suggestions to make the election process and advertising (newsletter and website) better.  The same goes if you have any suggestions for what you would like to see the club do in 2018 - clinics, model shows, presentations, field trips, etc.  There will be some discussion on the 2018 contest schedule at the December 1st meeting, so do some brainstorming on that. 


Pictures labove eft to right: Bell X-1 in-flight; Chuck Yeager and X-1, named "Glamorous Glennis" after his wife,
as were his World War II P-51s;  and X-1 hanging at National Air & Space Museum

Speaking of the December meeting, that night is the "Supersonic" Special Contest.  We just passed the 70th anniversary of the first official supersonic flight on October 14, 1947.  Most modelers know about Chuck Yeager "breaking the sound barrier" in the rocket engine-powered Bell X-1 aircraft - with a shape that resembled a Browning 0.50 caliber machine gun bullet - so I won't delve into the history behind that event.  I was asked by one of the members to talk a bit about what it's like to actually "go supersonic."  So here is a little bit about my experiences.  When you are supersonic, there is really no change in what things look like unless you have something with which to judge your relative velocity.  If you are near clouds or pass close to somebody else, say in a head-on pass where you are both supersonic, then you can really tell that you're smokin' through the sky.  Going that fast shortens your decision-making time and reactions become more critical.  How fast you need to go to break Mach 1 depends upon altitude, temperature, air density, etc.  Typically it is about 768 mph (660 knots) at sea level and around 678 mph (590 knots) at 30,000 feet.  We typically went around Mach 1.5 during our air-to-air missions.  The F-4 Phantom II has vari-ramps in the rearward half of the intake splitter plates that are supposed to control the velocity of the air flow coming into the engine.  They rarely deploy, but when they do...  The first time I experienced that really got my attention - a huge "thump" and then a howling sound that you could hear through the canopy.  They were right in front of where I was sitting.  

 There was one time we had engaged some F-15 Eagles and were separating away from the fight - "unloaded" (zero G - which is an interesting experience in itself) going full blower in a slight dive, and I checked our airspeed.  We were at 760 knots calibrated, which is one of our limits where things start melting.  I glanced over at my true airspeed dial, which I believe said 1,200 knots.  I didn't normally check speeds, as I had a lot of other things to do like checking six and tracking everybody with the radar, but that might have been the fastest I ever went during a real mission.  In the debrief the Eagle driver showed us his tape, which showed us rapidly walking away from him, out of range with no shot at us.  The Phantom was advertised as a Mach 2 fighter, but we rarely got there.  The couple of times that I know that I did were during functional check flights where we got really high and really fast to check out the jet and all the systems after major maintenance actions; and also when we were executing snap-up attacks against high-flying drones simulating MiG-25 Foxbats.  In one of those missions, I can remember being nervous about not touching the canopy when we were going about Mach 2.1 because there was no air out there.  We were above 50,000 feet in a climbing glide and the sky was really dark blue and you could see a bit of a curve on the horizon.  A "clean" Phantom (no tanks) can haul when it has to.  But I digress.  So to sum up: when you go supersonic the stars, or clouds, all go to streaks and you get a thunderclap, and that's really cool.  Just kidding (but it's true!). 

December 1st is also the "2017 ASM Model of the Year Showdown" Contest.  All the 2017 Best of Show winners from all the Theme (points) and Special (non-points) Contests in the four modeling divisions are eligible to compete.  You do not have to be at the meeting, but your model does.  See the "Model of the Year" webpage for a listing of all the contenders, posted by month.  There are 28 models shown - let's make sure all 28 are there on December 1st.  Of note, winners from the "Supersonic" Special Contest are also eligible.  Be there - aloha - no deals!  John Dodd is doing a diorama building modeling clinic, so you do not want to miss that.

To wrap-up, here is another short story on an American ace.  I have so far neglected the P-47 Thunderbolt aces since I started writing this column, so here is a story on one of them: Major William Dunham of the USAAF.  "Dinghy" Dunham is the second-ranking ace of the 348th Fighter Group (FG) "Kearby's Thunderbolts."  He is the 32nd-ranking US ace (tie) and 27th-ranking USAF ace (tie) with 16 total victories.  Dunham initially served with the 53 FG in Panama before transferring to 348 FG in Nov 1942 where he would serve two combat tours in the Southwest Pacific.  He scored 15 victories with the P-47D, including 7 kills  on his first tour, with a "double" on 16 Oct 1943 (2 Haps) and a "triple" on 21 Dec 1943 (3 Vals).  He scored 9 more victories on his second tour, with a "quadruple" on 7 Dec 1944 (2 Zekes and 2 Oscars).  His final kill was in a P-51K against a Frank on 14 Dec 1945.  During his second tour he commanded both the 342 Fighter Squadron (FS) and 460 FS, and rose to Lieutenant Colonel and Deputy Commander of the 348 FG.  Dunham remained in service and later commanded several jet  wings.  He retired from the USAF as a brigadier general in 1970, and died in 1990.  This model of his P-47D is the 1/72 scale Hasegawa kit with Aeromaster decals (AM 72-008).  All of his aircraft were named "Bonnie" or "Mrs. Bonnie."  The black wing and fuselage bands were a theater recognition marking.  Some sources show the glare panel and spine as olive drab, and others have those as black. 



November Article:

We had a super meeting on October 6 with about fifty models on the tables. We had a great presentation by Doug Dildy on the "Desert Storm Air War." If you missed the presentation, you can check it out in his book, F-15C Eagle vs MiG-23/25 - Iraq 1991. Doug has volunteered to give his "Spitfires Over Dunkirk" presentation again, perhaps at the March 2018 meeting. He is working on a new book on the Battle of Britain, so we may see a presentation on that as well.

The November 10 meeting is the ASM E-Board elections night as well as an "Open" theme contest. We have candidates up for election in the following positions (names listed alphabetically): Vice President (Jerry Little and Josh Pals), Contest Director (Ken Liotta and John Tate), and three Pro Tems (John Dodd, David Epstein, Jack Garriss, Bob Henderson, Bret Kinman, Chris Kurtze, and Keith Liotta). Info on the election process is available on the ASM Website via a link near the top of the Home Page. Absentee balloting will be available if you cannot make it to the meeting. The "model challenge build" proposal for the Contest Director position will not be done.

Pictures of the ASM model display at the Folds of Honor Gala and the winners of the People's Choice model contest are posted on the Articles webpage. At the November meeting we will discuss whether the club wants to attempt to do a model display at the Albuquerque Comic Con in January 2018.

The November  issue of the ASM Newsletter continues the "Modeling of History" theme with an article by Tony Humphries commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein in 1942. Model builds were done or included for this article by Tony, John Tate, Larry Horyna, Aaron Kreltszheim, Don Alberts, and Mike Blohm. So please check out that article. You might be inspired to do something similar, either on your own or with a group of ASM members.

The short ace story this month is directly related to the El Alamein article, as this ace was the pilot of the P-40F Warhawk built for this project: 1st Lieutenant Roy "Deke" Whittaker. Whittaker was the top ace of the 57th Fighter Group (FG) "First in the Blue" with seven aerial victories, all scored in the P-40. Whittaker launched off the USS Ranger in June 1942 and participated in ground attack and bomber escort missions during the Battle of El Alamein. He downed an Italian MC.202 on 26 Oct 1942 as his first victory. His biggest day was on 18 April 1943, when he participated in the "Palm Sunday Massacre" over Cape Bon, Tunisia, where US P-40s flown by the 57th FG and 324th FG and Spitfires from No. 92 Squadron engaged 60 Ju-52 transports escorted by 21 Bf-109s and MC.202 fighters headed for Sicily. Whittaker downed three Ju-52s and one Bf-109G and also damaged one Ju-52 and one Bf-109G. Overall, 59 Ju 52s and 16 fighters were shot down for the loss of 6 P-40s, the best day ever for the P-40 Warhawk. The model depicted in the article (and below) is the 1/72-scale Special Hobby P-40F Warhawk kit "Short Tails Over Africa," and was flown by Whittaker for his first three victories including the Battle of El Alamein. The profile shown above this article was his assigned aircraft in April - May 1943 when he was a Captain. Whittaker returned to the USA in June 1943, and later commanded the 499th Fighter Squadron near the end of WWII. Additional info on Whittaker and the 57th FG is included in the El Alamein article.  A kit review on the build of this kit will be included in the December ASM Newsletter and published elsewhere on the ASM Website..



October Article:

Folds of Honor Model Display

The ASM model display at the September 23 Folds of Honor (FoH) 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. Thanks to the following members who loaned models: Frank Randall, Chris Kurtze, Victor Maestas, Bret Kinman, Theron Brawley, Ken Liotta, David Epstein, John Tate, Brian Peck, and Mike Blohm.  A few pictures of the display are posted below. The FoH Foundation provides scholarships and other assistance to the spouses and children of soldiers killed or disabled in service to our country.

The October 6 meeting will include Doug Dildy's "Desert Storm Air War" presentation that will include his latest Osprey book "F-15C Eagle versus MiG-23/25, Iraq 1991."  These presentations have been truly outstanding in the past, so you do not want to miss this one. I encourage everyone to bring in any "display only" models you have that fit the theme of the Desert Storm air war, in particular F-15s, MiG-23 Floggers and MiG-25 Foxbats. Maybe there will be some "Red Star" theme contests models that apply to the presentation as well.

The next local contest is ModelZona 2017 at the Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa (Phoenix), Arizona on November 4. That is a very nice museum that you will be able to visit at the same time that you are winning awards and buying model kits. What more could you ask?

Thanks again for the great participation at the 2017 New Mexico State Fair's "Star Wars - 40th Anniversary" model display. Posting of pictures to the ASM Websitte's New Mexico State Fair Model Contest Results webpage is ongoing and will take a while to finish.

To close out, here is another short story on an American ace: Major Samuel J. Brown, who is the 33rd-ranking US ace (tie) and 28th-ranking USAF ace. Sam Brown was the third ranking ace of the 15th Air Force (AF) and second ranking ace of the 31st Fighter Group (FG). He was claimed by some to be the "best all-around fighter pilot" in the 15th AF. Brown initially served in the Aleutian Islands flying P-39s and P-40s. He joined the 309th Fighter Squadron (FS) of the 31st FG in early 1944 when they converting from Spitfires to the P-51. Brown scored a "quadruple" on 26 Jun 1944 (three Me 210s and one Bf 109) over Vienna, Austria, earning the Distinguished Service Cross. He scored a "triple" on 29 May 1944 (two Me 110s and one Bf 109) during a B-24 escort mission to the Wiener-Neustadt and Wollersdorf Aerodromes in Austria.  Brown also had a "double" on 21 Apr 1944 (two IAR-80s) during a B-17/ B-24 bomber escort to Ploesti, Romania. He commanded the 307th FS from May - Sep 1944. He left the service in May 1945, becoming a prominent oil industry executive. He died in August 1990. The model depicted is the Heller 1/72 P-51D kit, which has no fin fillet. Brown's P-51D did not carry the usual yellow stripe Mediterranean Theater recognition markings on the inboard wings and horizontal tail surfaces.








September Article:

The Modeling of History

I am first going to cover some upcoming items on the schedule, and will then talk a bit about "the modeling of history."

Thanks to all who entered models in the 2017 New Mexico State Fair model contest and/or contributed models to our "Star Wars - 40th Anniversary" display. Thanks also to those who helped out with the model registration and judging. We will have a report on how that went at the September 1 ASM meeting. Contest results will be posted on the ASM Website shortly after the judging. Pictures of all the models will be posted ASAP. There are sometimes over 200 pictures posted.

The next event coming up is an ASM model display at the Folds of Honor Gala being held at the Sandia Resort and Casino on Saturday, September 23. The Folds of Honor Foundation provides scholarships and other assistance to the spouses and children of soldiers killed or disabled in service to our country. The Rio Grande Patriots is the New Mexico part of the Foundation. This will be a good opportunity to support the Foundation, advertise the club to the community, and perhaps gain some membership. Details are still being worked at this time and will be discussed at the September 1 meeting.

The display is going to be of models of any genre (aircraft, armor, ships, figures, dioramas, etc.) and any scale that fit what was/is being used by the US military from September 11, 2001, through the present. Because of limitations on what we might have available, a model in a paint scheme of a unit that did not actually deploy to Iraq or Afghan­istan, or depicts a time period before 9/11, is okay for the display if it is still representative. For example, an F-16 model of a Hill AFB squadron or an Air National Guard squadron from 1995 is okay if it is still representative of what they looked like in 2001 – 2017.

What is eligible will be discussed more at the meeting. We are looking for 20 - 30 models. There will also be a "People’s Choice" contest for the Gala attendees to vote for their favorite models, likely split up by model type (best aircraft, best armor, etc.). How many members we will need to help with the display at the Gala is still to be determined. Here are a few links that provide information on the Foundation.

Lastly, I wanted to talk about "the modeling of history," which I think a lot of us modelers do either consciously or subconsciously as we work on and complete our modeling projects. Personally, I find this aspect of model building to be worthwhile, interesting and fun to do.  I build a lot of models of the American Aces and I end up doing lots of research on both the pilots and the schemes of their aircraft.  That often involves tracking down biographies and unit histories either in book format or on-line. For my display, I put together a short biography of each pilot, and I often learn lots of "little known but interesting facts" about the pilot, the units, the aircraft, where they served, other people in the unit, etc., as I dig into the story.

The same scenario applies to almost any modeling project, if you really get into it. For a ship, you might learn what schemes it was painted in over the years of its service, what battles it was in, etc. As Jerry Little mentioned in his article last month, beware of what you find on the internet.

The same applies to book formats. You will often find information that differs depending upon where you look. So you often have to dig a little deeper to verify what you plan to build. Older folks will probably remember the red-painted "Millie G" scheme for Ed Giller's P-51D in Profiles magazine (must be true!) and the Revell P-51D model kit with it depicted like that. Another way to "model history" is to put together a project that covers or depicts an event in history.

Some good examples were the ASM Chapter builds on the Char B and Matilda tanks at the IPMS/USA Nationals. One article was included in the Bonus Pages of the September ASM Newsletter (and posted further below) that commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal, which began in August 1942 and ended in February 1943. We will be seeing more of this type of article in some upcoming ASM Newsletters. I encourage you to take a look at doing that -what topic interests you?  You can either build some models to go with an article, or write an article to go with some related models.

There is no "monthly American Ace short story" here in this article, because that has been expanded into a separate longer article on two US Marine Corps Aces that served at Guadalcanal Island - the article that I mentioned above. There will be another article on Guadalcanal by John Tate in a later newsletter. The F4F-4 Wildcat profile posted above this article is one of the aircraft flown by Joe Foss, the top American ace at Guadalcanal, with 26 total  aerial victories. 




August Article:

Hope everyone has recovered from the Chile Con 4 effort. Thanks again to all who supported the behind-the-scenes planning and preparations and putting it on; and to all who participated. Please see the July ASM Newsletter for more detailed reporting on the convention. Pictures of the model entries and the convention - three galleries - are posted on the ASM Website, as well as the most excellent CC4 Contest Awards slide show built by Joe Walters. Additional results information will be posted ASAP.

The next event coming up is the ASM-sponsored model contest at the 2017 New Mexico State Fair. This is one of our opportunities to promote the club to the community and attempt to gain some new members. We have been fairly successful in doing so at the fair. Please go to the NM State Fair webpage on the ASM Website for information on entering models at the contest. There are 18 categories set up very much like an IPMS/USA contest. However, you can only enter one model per category and you can only enter them once, even if you did not place. We have done fairly well lately in the number of entries. Last year we set a new record with 61. We have been doing an "ASM display-only theme presentation" at the fair for the last eight years, since 2009. You can see all those displays if you go to the Model Displays webpage. We did a "Science Fiction and Anime/Gaming Models" theme in 2010 that included twelve Star Wars models.  We got feedback from the fair people that our case was the most popular thing in the Creative Arts building that year. Back in the early days we normally had about half a display case available for the display, but lately we have been able to use a full case. With the recent "Star Wars - 40th Anniversary" theme at CC4, we should be able to fill up a whole case. If you did not get your entry done in time for CC4, now you have a reason to complete it and display it. There is an another article on the NM State Fair in the Bonus Pages about how to bring your models to the fair, either as entries or for our display, or both, so please check that out.

To close, here is another short American ace story on James H. Howard. Howard was born in Canton, China, and lived there the first fourteen years of his life. He initially served as a US Navy pilot for three years including a tour with VF-6 aboard the USS Saratoga before resigning his commission in June 1941 to join the American Volunteer Group (AVG).  He scored 2.333 air and 4.0 ground kills during 50 missions as a Flight Leader with the "Flying Tigers."  When the AVG disbanded in July 1942, he joined the US Army Air Force as a Captain. In September 1943 he was assigned to the 354th Fighter Group "Pioneer Mustang Group," the first unit to receive the P-51 in the European Theater of Operations (ETO). Howard received the Medal of Honor for his actions on 11 Jan 1944 where he single-handedly defended the B-17s of the 401st Bomb Group for thirty minutes against thirty Me-110 fighters during an escort mission to Oschersleben, Germany. Howard continued his attacks even after he had run out of ammunition. In that combat he claimed 3 kills, 2 probables, and 2 damaged, although the B-17 crews were willing to confirm 6 kills. He was called "a one man air force" by the 401st's group leader, and the wartime reporter Andy Rooney called his exploit "the greatest fighter pilot story of WWII."  Howard was the only fighter pilot in the ETO to earn the Medal of Honor. He named his P-51B "Ding Hao" which means "good luck" or "very good" in Chinese. The model pictures (Monogram's 1/72 P-51B kit) depict his aircraft in Jan 1944 and in my opinion it is amongst the best personal markings on a Mustang during WWII. Howard reluctantly painted the Japanese victory markings on his P-51 for the publicity pictures following his Medal of Honor mission. Howard became 356th "Red Ass" Fighter Squadron commander in February 1943 and 354th FG commander in February 1944. He rose to become a brigadier general in the USAF Reserves, and retired in 1966. He passed away in 1995. I apologize for the length of this "short story," but Howard's story is well worth telling.



July Article:

Report on Chile Con 4

This article provides some information on how things went at Chile Con 4. There will be additional information published in the Bonus Section where the team leads will provide info on their particular areas. From my own point of view, overall I think it went very, very well and we had only a few glitches during the convention. I believe attendees enjoyed the new venue - it was spacious and well lit. I hope everybody was able to get their "special projects" done and were able to enter them in the contest. The turnout was good and there were a lot of models on the tables. That fact resulted in one of the glitches - how long it took to judge the models and then get that information into the awards slideshow contributed to the awards ceremony starting late. The awards show itself was great (thanks Joe!). ASM did win the 2016 Region 10 Webmaster of the Year Award - thanks to all who contributed to making that possible! The Colorado Modeling Militia Enjoying Sci-Fi (CoMMiES) won the Chapter of the Year Award. Newsletter of the Year was won by the Sonoran Desert Model Builders for "Mold Lines." The dinner was probably the best I've seen over many years of attending other conventions. The vendor room was full and it looked like there was a good crowd of shoppers. Hopefully folks were able to find a good deal, and can start building for CC5. Maybe we can get side-by-side ball rooms for the models and vendors next time if we schedule it far enough out. We were able to sell almost all the trophy packages, so that was really great.

The CC4 website has already been updated a link to a webpage with all the model pictures (thanks Gil!). By the time this Newsletter is published, the Awards Ceremony slide show and a webpage with the category winners and model pictures should be posted. We will be compiling "lessons learned" from CC4 to help us out next time. If anybody has any inputs on what we could do better or what was great, please let the E-Board know. Please bring your winning entries and plaques to the July 7 meeting. We will have some tables set up to display those. If you had a Star Wars model that you did not get completed in time for CC4, please keep plugging away on that for ASM's Star Wars - 40th Anniversary display at the 2017 New Mexico State Fair at the end of August.

I do want to take this opportunity to thank everybody who helped plan the convention, sponsored the awards, helped put it on, and attended/participated in the event. Without all of you it would not have happened. In particular, thanks go to the co-chairmen Tom Perea and Ken Liotta, and to the team leads Joe Walters (publications and award slide show), Jack Garriss (registrar), Dave Straub (awards), Patrick Dick (trophy packages and vendor tables), Josh Pals (make & take), Jerry Little (advertising), Gil De La Plain (photography), Brian Peck (T-Shirts and 501st Legion Liaison), and Fred Franceschi (Vehicle Display). Also, a big thank you to Hobby Proz and Ken Liotta for the Super Raffle Prizes. And finally, thanks to the 501st Legion (Vader's Fist) Dewback Ridge Garrison Star Wars enactors, and the New Mexico Military Vehicle Preservation Association for their participation. There is a large graphic on the CC4 website thanking people and organizations that purchased trophy packages or had a vendor table.



June Article:

We are now less than a month out from Chile Con 4. I'm sure everybody is wishing they had “a bit more time” to get that cosmic project finished. I foresee some late nights coming up in the next few weeks. I wanted to mention a couple of the Special Awards that have not received too much coverage. Everybody is probably aware of the four Star Wars awards (Best Spaceship, Figure, Terrestrial Vehicle, and Miscellaneous) and the two World War I awards (Best Air and Land subjects).

The other lesser-known Special awards include the Best New Mexico Subject and the ever-popular and highly-coveted Lopez Demente award for the best tasteless ­subject.

Sponsored Awards include the Best Frickin' Laser Beams subject hosted by Patrick Dick; the Best Kirtland AFB-related Aircraft hosted by Jerry Little; the "Captain Danny Roberts Memorial - Best American Ace Aircraft Award" hosted by Mike & Matt Blohm and John Tate; the Head Judge's Personal Favorite "Art Evans Memorial Award" hosted by Ken Liotta; and the Chairman's Choice "Don Alberts Memorial Award" hosted by Tom Perea.

Hopefully you guys are building and entering models that fit some of these categories and themes. If you have Juniors in the family, please encourage them to build and enter some models. This is always an under-represented area. We have Junior's categories and trophies and would love to give them away.

If you would like to help out at CC4, please get with the points of contact during the June ASM meeting for the area that you are interested in. We need help with judging, photography, registration, security, and the Make & Take. The list of CC4 POCs is on the website (

To close, here is another short ace story applicable to the many Battle of Midway themes elsewhere in this newsletter, on Lieutenant Elbert "Scott" McCuskey, US Navy.

McCuskey was the top-scoring fighter pilot of the battle with five victories while flying the F4F Wildcat with VF-3 aboard the USS Yorktown. He claimed three Vals destroyed and three damaged during his first sortie on 4 June 1942, and two Zeros destroyed on his second.

At that time he was the top Navy ace of the first six months of the Pacific war with 6.5 victories. He later added seven more victories flying the F6F Hellcat with VF-8 on the USS Bunker Hill, scoring a "triple" on 21 Sep 1944 (Oscars) over Luzon; and a "triple" (two Zeros and a Nick) on 12 Oct 1944.

McCuskey had fourteen total victories, and is the 38th-ranking American ace (tie) and the seventh-ranking US Navy ace (tie). Pictures of McCuskey and a model of his Wildcat are included below. The red and white tail stripes and red dot in the national insignia shown on this model were removed from use per a directive in mid 1942 to avoid confusion with Japanese aircraft markings.



May Article:

I want to thank the ASM members that have stepped up and purchased trophy packages for Chile Con 4. We are about halfway there, with 43 sold of 83 total, as of April 24. If you haven't purchased one yet, please consider doing so. Please contact Patrick Dick.

The May 5 contest is "Star Wars - 40th Anniversary," so we hope to see a nice preview of models that will be showing up at Chile Con 4. There have been a ton of new kits out to celebrate the anniversary of the movie, so there is a lot to choose from. Time is running out, so you'd better be building right now. As Yoda once said: "Build or do not build - there is no try to build."

One other item that I’d like to plug is ASM building models for the Nuclear Weapons Heritage Model Display at the Defense Nuclear Weapons School Museum on Kirtland Air Force Base. We had a great number of builds and loaners in 2015, but we fell off in 2016. The display is both nuclear-related models (e.g., missiles, aircraft that carried nuclear weapons and nuke subs) and anything that was part of the Cold War (tanks, APCs, etc.). Please see Erik McIntyre if you are interested in building for the display. Some pictures of the models are in the Newsletter's Bonus Pages section, including one of ASM members in front of the Defense Nuclear Weapons School during the June 20, 2015, tour of the museum. More are available via a link on the ASM Model Displays web page.

To wrap up, here is another short ace story on Capt. George S. "Wheaties" Welch, US Army Air Corps. You may recognize his name as one of the few American pilots who got airborne during the Pearl Harbor attack, scoring four victories during two sorties flying a P-40B Warhawk. But most people don’t know the rest of his story. He was recommended for a Medal of Honor for that action, but it was downgraded to a Distinguished Service Cross because he took off without permission. Welch ended up scoring 16 total victories between December 1941 and September 1943. He scored a "triple" one year later on 7 Dec 1942, making "ace" in the P-39 Airacobra, hence the P-39 profile and model pictures with this article. Welch scored nine of his victories in the P-38 Lightning. After the war he was a test pilot and flew the first flights of the P-82B and P-82E Twin Mustang and the F-86 Sabre. He was killed during a test flight of the F-100 Super Sabre in October 1954. Welch is the 33rd-ranking American ace (tie), and the 27th-ranking USAF ace (tie).




April Article:

Chile Con 4 is looming ever closer. Please read Jerry Little's article on what the membership can do to help out. Trophy package purchases is where ASM normally loses money by having to absorb a lot of that cost itself. I encourage members to buy at least one trophy package. Those are priced at $40 each covering first, second, and third place plaques. The CC4 Trophy Package Information webpage is now up. You can see pictures of all the awards, their sponsorship costs, and what has already been sponsored and is still available. Patrick Dick is working those, as well as the Vendor tables. Shop early to get your favorite category! Registration forms are about to go up on the CC4 website. There is a discount for early registration (before May 27), and also for IPMS/USA members. There will be announcement when that occurs.

Next up after Chile Con is the 2017 New Mexico State Fair Model Contest in September. Our "display-only theme" this year is "Star Wars," so we should have a bunch of models from Chile Con to display. Check out the pictures of the "Science Fiction" display that we put on at the fair in 2010 by visiting the ASM Website's "Model Displays" webpage. We had thirteen Star Wars models for that. Please give some thought to whether we might want to do something different this year, like either some model building demonstrations and/or Make & Take events on one or both of the two Saturdays during the fair. The demos might be a simple as bringing some kits to build, and being prepared to demo some techniques if asked by observers. We may also want to look at having an ASM Group Field Trip after Chile Con.

Here is another short ace story, this time with some model pictures as well as the profile at the top of this column, covering Lieutenant Stanley "Swede" Vejtasa, US Navy. Vejtasa initially flew the SDB Dauntless dive bomber with Scouting Squadron (VS) 5 on the USS Yorktown, where he participated in attack operations on the Marshall and Gilbert Islands, and in the battle of the Coral Sea where he helped sink the light Japanese carrier Shoho on 7 May 1942. He scored three victories over Zeros in his SDB on 8 May 1942 during an anti-torpedo plane patrol. This mission was covered quite realistically in the Dogfights TV series on the History Channel. Vejtasa then transferred to the newly-formed VF-10 "Grim Reapers" on the USS Enterprise flying the F4F Wildcat.  He saw combat in the battle of Santa Cruz, where he downed two dive bombers and five torpedo planes in one mission on 26 Oct 1942. He ended the war with eleven total victories.

IPMS Las Vegas is hosting the VegasCon 2017 / Best of the West 22 Show and Contest on May 6, 2017, at the East Side Cannery Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is an IPMS Region 8 contest. Further details, a flyer, and links are available in the Local Contests section below.




March Article:

"Et tu, Airafixo?"  It is the Ides of March month, and therefore one must be careful with one's X-Acto knife. For all you ASM members with degrees in Latin, you will translate that as "Even you, Airfix?"  Airfix has again put me in an all too familiar position. They have just released their new 1/72-scale B-17G kit, which from the reviews that I've read may be the best B-17 kit yet issued. So what is the familiar position? I already have several B-17 kits in my stash to build, including the last "best kit yet" by Revell-Germany. I'm sure this sounds familiar to a lot of you, too. So, do I need to buy this new kit? Of course I do!  But should I?  For now I am trying to resist. But as Obi-Wan Kenobi once said: "Resistance is futile." We shall see.

On to other things. I'm sorry that I missed the February meeting, but from the pictures it looks like it was a pretty good swap meet. Chile Con 4 is now one month closer. So many models to build and so little time. Hopefully you've considered purchasing at least one trophy package. Patrick Dick is working those, as well as the Vendor tables.

John Tate has completed a whole set of Star Wars kit reviews that are posted on the ASM Website and in this issue of the ASM Newsletter. Please check those out, and maybe you'll get inspired to build for both Chile Con and the New Mexico State Fair. Thanks to John for authoring those. Please consider writing a kit review of your latest build. All it takes is a couple of paragraphs and a few pictures. If you are trying out a new technique, then other members would love to learn about it.

To wrap up, here is another short ace story. Major Don "Buzz" Beerbower is one of the least-known major aces of the European Theater of Operations in WW II. Beerbower flew with the 354th Fighter Group "Pioneer Mustang Group" and became its 2nd ranking ace with 15.5 victories. The majority of those were scored in his P-51B "Bonnie B II" depicted at the top of this article and in the pictures below.  He commanded the 353rd Fighter Squadron from June - August 1944. Beerbower was killed in action by flak on 9 August 1944 during a strafing attack at Epernay Airfield near Reims, France. He is the 2nd ranking ace of the 9th Air Force, 28th ranking USAAF/ USAF ace (tie), and 33rd ranking American ace (tie).




February Article:

First off, I wanted to explain why I decided to title this column "The Eagle's View." I think the goal of my monthly articles should be to give a high-flying overview of what the club is doing, both right now and somewhat over-the-horizon into the future. That's the kind of view that a high-soaring Eagle has, so I thought that might be appropriate. It has nothing to do with a certain fighter aircraft with various monikers that I will not mention here (talk to me later).

The February meeting is our first swap meet of the year, with no contests. Try to keep your plastic-sold to plastic-purchased ratio even. Please consider donating a recently issued kit, book, magazine or decal sheet to the Chile Con 4 Raffle - see Frank Randall. Note that you can still bring in works-in-progress models for 2 points each (max of 3) at the February meeting.

Chile Con 4 is fast approaching. As a politician once said, "Ask not what Chile Con can do for you; ask what you can do for Chile Con" (my apologies to JFK, but I'm sure that's what he probably meant). I hope there are some more Star Wars models under construction out there - we only had three at the January Sci-Fi Contest. The Contest Categories and Contest Rules have been posted on the CC4 website. Please get with Patrick Dick to sign up for a Trophy Package or to get a Vendor Table. Hopefully most ASM members will be able to afford sponsoring one package. The CC4 costs should be somewhere near the CC3 costs, which were $35 for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd award packages and $40 for the "Best Of" awards.

Finally, here is my promised short blurb on one of America's lesser-known aces. I thought it appropriate to first mention Capt Daniel T. "Danny" Roberts, who was from Tucumcari, New Mexico. Roberts flew the P-39 with the 8th Fighter Group and then the P-38 with the 475th Fighter Group in the Southwest Pacific Theater in 1942 - 43 and commanded the 433rd "Possum" Fighter Squadron. During that time he scored 14 aerial victories before being killed in action on 9 Nov 1943 when his own wingman collided with him during a hard turn while engaging a Ki-43 Oscar. At that time he was right behind Dick Bong and just ahead of Tommy McGuire in the scoring race. His P-38H is depicted at the top of this article and in the pictures below. There is a link on the ASM Website's Home Page to a longer story on this forgotten, high-scoring ace. Matt Blohm, John Tate, and I are sponsoring the "Capt Danny Roberts Memorial Award - Best American Ace Aircraft" at Chile Con 4. So get building for that!




January Article:

A Look Back at 2016 and the Upcoming 2017

I want to thank Tony Humphries for his service as ASM President over the past four years and Jerry Little for his service as Contest Director for the past two years. Both of them did great jobs in their positions and helped ensure ASM continued to be a place to learn modeling skills and have fun doing so. Thank you also to the rest of the 2016 E-Board for their past service to the club and for agreeing to continue on in 2017.

Here is a quick recap of ASM events that occurred in 2016 - we were quite busy. On February 25 we had a group field trip to the War Eagles Air Museum in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. This is a great museum and an easy drive from Albuquerque. ASM conducted a Make & Take on April 21 with Cub Scout Pack 338 in Rio Rancho. About thirty Scouts participated in this event. On June 4 and 5, ASM provided a model display for the Kirtland AFB Airshow. The theme of the airshow and ASM's display was the "75th Anniversary of Kirtland AFB (1941-2016)."  ASM had a great display with seventy models of all genres and scales spread over four tables, and we had seventeen members manning the display over the two days. We had thousands of visitors check out the models and talk about the hobby of scale modeling. Great job, ASM!

Our last event of 2016 was the New Mexico State Fair Model Contest on August 26-29. We set a new record for model entries with a total of 69 models by 40 entrants. ASM also put on a display with the theme of "Desert Storm 25th Anniversary" that included 31 models. Overall, I think we did a great job of promoting scale modeling and the club with the public in 2016. My thanks to all who participated. There are links to all these events on the ASM Meeting Pics webpage.

Looking forward to 2017, we have a couple of major events that will need maximum membership participation. The first is Chile Con 4 on June 16 – 17. Planning is well underway and we have committee chairmen that will all need help. We'll talk more about this at the January 6 ASM meeting. Please keep checking the CC4 website for the latest updates.

We are still working to determine if ASM will have a model display at the 2017 Albuquerque Comic Convention on January 14-15. If this comes to fruition, we will need both models and folks to man the display in shifts over those two days. Expect it to be similar to our comic convention displays in 2012, 2013, and 2014. These were all a lot of fun.

As you likely know, the theme for CC4 is "Star Wars 40th Anniversary."  This is also likely to be the theme of the ASM display at the 2017 New Mexico State Fair Model Contest. So - I would encourage you to build some Star Wars models that you can enter at these two events, as well as the ASM Moe Blalters "Sci Fi, Real Space, Science and Fantasy Contest" in January. Victor Maestas is working on the ASM 2017 Contest Schedule. There will likely be a "Star Wars 40th Anniversary" Sponsored Contest in May hosted by Joe Walters, and Mike and Matt Blohm. What other year will give you the opportunity to build a model eligible for four separate contests? And it gives you no excuses for not entering one—eventually. I encourage you to get busy and build lots of models and participate fully in our activities. I think there will be a lot of fun to be had.

For new members who may not know me well, I've been building models since I was around eight years old. I've been a member of IPMS/USA since 1976, and a member of several different IPMS/USA Chapters around the country. I've been a member of ASM since 1995. and have previously held the ASM E-Board positions of Vice President, Contest Director, and Pro Tem, and have been the ASM Webmaster since 2004. I am a retired Lieutenant Colonel with thirty years of service in the USAF, and flew F-4 Phantoms for about eighteen years. Amongst my assignments was a tour as an instructor at the USAF F-4 Fighter Weapons School, the USAF's version of Top Gun. I mostly build 1/72-scale aircraft, sci fi, and real space models, but occasionally go to the "Dark Side" with armor and 1/48 and 1/32 aircraft. I really enjoy digging into the history behind all my model subjects. I build models of the aircraft flown by the American aces for a collection at the USAF Academy, so I am going to try to include a short paragraph on some of the relatively unknown American aces in future President articles.

I am looking forward to serving as the club's President for 2017 and hope we have a productive and enjoyable year.


Pictures above are of Major Richard Bong's P-38J Lightning "Marge."  Bong was America's top ace of World War II with 40 victories.


Vice President's Report

By Jerry Little, ASM Vice President

The Column Without A Name

December Article:

Okay, Now what am I gonna do…?

What a great pleasure it is to be part of ASM and to have served on the Executive Board (E-Board) over the last three years as Contest Director and Vice President. At last, now is the time for others to step in and help serve the club in the coming years. I enjoy being part of what is arguably one of best clubs in the country has made me a better modeler and hopefully, done my part to make the club a little better as well. The two highlights during that time were ASM being selected as IPMS/USA Chapter of the Year and a super successful Chile Con 4. Seeing all the great work done by the club members and CC4 convention leaders made me proud to be part of ASM! So thank you ASM for letting me be part of the E-Board! I look forward to all the great things the new board members will accomplish!

So now what am I gonna do? Well, in light of the recent election, I’ve collected a bunch of Russian aviation kits to build! Look for some articles in the newsletter that cover reviews and possibly a build article or two and maybe a clinic on how to spend hours and hours trying to match the most elusive paint colors in the modeling world… Okay, maybe Brian Peck had a little to do with making me buy those Russian jets…

ASM has a great opportunity to display some of the outstanding things the club has done at the next IPMS/USA Nationals (Phoenix 2018). The question is: What do we do? The host of the Nats has offered a display (not contest entry) to local clubs to showcase what they do as part of Region 10 and IPMS. We’ve had a couple of great suggestions and as a club, we need to decide if we want to participate and what we want to showcase.

The first recommendation was to display all of the Nats winners we’ve had in the club. This is to show the participation and skill that our members have in the community.

The second recommendation was to display some of the annual Models of the Year to show how our club participation leads to great modelers. One point is that some of our MoY have gone on to place at subsequent Nats! The third recommendation was display in groups some of the extracurricular outreach activity we do in small vignettes like Boy Scouts Make & Takes, ComicCon displays or even the most recent Folds of Honor. Finally, the fourth recommendation was to display all the Previous Nats winners we have in the club. This would highlight all the fantastic modelers ASM has produced over the years. All of these are important and as a club, we need to choose which to do and how we should accomplish that. So, give it some thought and at the next meeting we’ll decide as a club and get started on showing the modeling world what a great club ASM is!



November Article:

When You're Not Modelling...

Yeah right... when are we ever "not modeling?"  We all wish we could be sitting at the work bench building on the latest Trumpeter MiG-29 kit, but we all know things like life get in the way of that - you know, food and sleep and such! But if you are like most of us modelers, you at least think about modeling when you're not at your desk. There are still plenty of related things to do when not screaming about the fit of the latest Tamiya kit!

One of the modeling things we need to think about is ASM and what direction do we want the club to go in. We have elections coming up at the November meeting and will have the opportunity to vote on a couple of positions for the club E-Board. Basically, we need to select a Vice President, Contest Director, and some Pro-Tems for the board.  I believe they are all good choices (including me!), so we can't go wrong as a club getting people involved. The key is voting!

We get members involved on the board, but we also get members involved in the voting so they can have a say in how the club is run. This is probably one of, if not the, most important activity you can participate in as an ASM member. The key question you have to answer before voting is, "do I like where the club leadership is taking the club?" Sometimes that is as simple as "yes" and you vote accordingly. Other times, that may mean it is time for "new blood" on the E-Board. Whatever the answer is, you have to take the time and make sure your voice is heard.

Another area to think about is what will our club contests look like next year? ASM does a fantastic job of getting members and guests to build models every month. I believe the key is having great subjects. The new contest director will likely call for suggestions soon, so be ready with your favorite idea. You never know what the list will include, so it's always fun to see what comes up and what motivates us to build.

Speaking of the new Contest Director, we have a couple of veterans running for that position. Both are great modelers and will bring different perspectives to club modeling.

Speaking of modeling away from the desk, Nationals is coming to a town near us!  As many of you know, Phoenix is hosting the 2018 IPMS Nationals August 1 - 4, 2018. The theme is "Build it!! Bring it!! Show it!!" which means everything is on the table!  The show will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center located in the heart of Phoenix. The other theme is the convention will be very "club oriented" and we intend to participate with an ASM display. I'll be looking for ideas on that in the coming months. There isn't a limit to ideas for the display.

One last thing to consider regarding the 2018 Nats: It's important to stay on top of hotel reservations. If you call, the reservationist will tell you they will not take a reservation until after 1 Jan 2018. You can still make reservations on the website but you have to "un-click" the "show available rooms only" box.  I will tell you that not all nights are still available. You can find more information at the convention website


September Article:

Look Around...

...they're everywhere! That is kind of the feeling I got when I went on my last trip for work. One of the things I love to do is look for aircraft on display. Most of the time you can find the aircraft in the obvious places like museums and of course at airports... but sometimes you can find them at museums in airports! On my "down days" while on my most recent trip, I had the opportunity to drive around and look for airplanes on display at Edwards AFB. That is a pretty easy task because just about every Air Force base will have planes on a pole or, as we like to say, "planes on a stick!"  There is usually a "Gate Guard" at most of the entrances to the base.

The challenge with the Edwards aircraft is they are all over the place and it is a very large base!  I needed a way to get to them quickly if I was going to see them all!  Besides the obvious museums on base like the "Test Pilot Museum" and "Neil Armstrong Flight Center Museum," Edwards has numerous other significant planes on display throughout the base. I started with the Google! Using Google's satellite imagery, I was able to find all the gate guards (red circles in pictures) that weren't in the obvious place and a few that were quite a surprise.

I knew I was going to spend a day down in Palmdale so I looked on Google for the surrounding airfields and found William J. Fox airfield and, lo and behold, sitting right out there on the general aviation ramp was quite a surprise. A MiG-17, a Fouga Magister, and an Experimental Velocity!  That was a trip I had to take and see for myself!

When the trip was over, I had the opportunity to hunt and find a ton of historically significant aircraft. That will lead to a presentation and one of the future club meetings on all the jewels found on my trip! Using Google isn't a new idea and there are plenty of sites dedicated to doing just that; however, it is worth a simple look when you are planning on taking a trip. You might not know what you are going to find!



August Article:

I Found It on Google

One of the tools we don't always talk about in modeling is the internet. It is fair to say that the internet has become a large part of the way we model today. Whether it's ordering kits online from a number of retailers or even "chatting" with other modelers from around the world on our favorite message sites, it has likely become the biggest tool in our modeling tool bag.

It all probably starts with research! What used to take a trip down to the local library or the purchase of a magazine is now all available through a few mouse clicks. If you use "the Google," you can find information on any modeling subject conceivable. Pictures, historical information, and personal accounts from people involved are all available. The nice thing about the internet is you can find multiple inputs from a variety of sources that may not be available to you in a more conventional form. I found two accounts of a dogfight over Western Europe that was told by the pilots of the opposing aircraft! While it didn't help with details of the model, it did provide some very strong motivation to get the model completed. It is almost too easy!

Another area to find great information is on many of the modeling "message boards" on the web. This information ranges anywhere from the latest kits to be released ( to builds of subjects that you may be interested in building yourself ( but wanted a quick look at the kit before starting. This wealth of information is endless when it comes to picking up new techniques to even finding flaws in the kit before you start that epic build. Another important point is that you will find multiple examples of builds and one will likely fit your style of building.

What also makes this a great resource is you are not limited to the local area! The internet is world-wide, so you are often looking at modelers from around the globe. If you need information on a particular model subject, you are likely to find someone from the local area where that subject is noted for. An example of this may be looking for information of a particular aircraft like the de Havilland Hornet and end up exchanging information with the curator of the only Hornet museum in the world (he happens to be a modeler too!). Albuquerque Scale Modelers are connected on the internet with our own website ( and Facebook page ( with connections around Region 10, the US, and the rest of the world! As a matter of fact, Facebook played an important role in the execution of the latest Chile Con! We are connected with all the Region 10 clubs and they were able to "see" the electronic flyer!

With any good thing, there can always be a bad side. While often you find invaluable information out there on the web, you can find bad information as well. It's easy to claim one is an expert on a particular subject when you are trapped in your parent's basement spending too much time on the internet! So you have to confirm all your sources when things sound a little sketchy. See pictures below of B-2 wing molding.  The good news is there is always someone out there with the right information! The other downside can be that we lose local interest in our brick and mortar hobby shops. If you buy everything on line, the next time you need that one bottle of paint or glue ... you're going to have to wait a week and pay shipping. As always, buyers beware!


The internet is a great thing and social media can play a valuable part in our hobby! It is as simple as a click of the mouse. A few links for excellent hobby resources:


Hobby Proz:  


Sprue Brothers:

Hobby Link Japan:

Brit Modeller:

Large Scale Planes:   


Aircraft Resource Center:


July Article:

The nice thing about standards ...

Wow!... just wow! I have to say, and just about everyone around also said, that Chile Con 4 was a huge success. We don't often get to have that kind of impact on our modeling community. When it comes to modelers, sometimes we are our own worst critics. Maybe it's inherent in the judging we always seem to do when we look at our own models. Or perhaps at club contests or other contests around the region, we always look for things we could do better. Well, there wasn't much we could do better at Chile Con 4, so maybe we have a new standard!

The industry standard at model contests used to be 1/72 and 1/48-scale prop. We even "pre-engineered" a split in those categories while anticipating the turnout. Something funny happened and it appeared with had as many 1/32-scale aircraft on the table! That probably has a lot to do with a few things. First, more quality kits are available. Also, the crowd isn't getting any younger so those bigger pieces make it easier to build. Finally, the manufacturers are producing subjects everyone wants. Not just the same old WWII "Mustawulfire" that we are used to seeing. It was nice to see a lot on the table ... and there was plenty of room. Perhaps it will be standard to see more 1/32-scale models at the contest.

The nice thing about the Marriott venue was the room! It was great to see everyone moving around the room without crowding the tables. It was great to be able to look at a model without another pressed up against it. Even with the high number of models in the Sci-Fi category, the models weren't too close even though the tables were full. It really made for an enjoyable judging experience by not having to worry about moving models or missing something important. That makes for a better contest experience for the club and the visitor.

Speaking of visitors, I had the pleasure of meeting some new modelers from around the Region. One guy in particular was attending his first contest. He and his father seemed to really enjoy Chile Con, and he had no trouble finding a large group of different modelers to talk about all aspects of the hobby. He is a great modeler and even walked away with a few plaques for the work he presented. But what struck me was how he listened to all the modelers hoping to pick up that new technique or tip. The other thing that came up in conversation was the members of the 501st Dewback Ridge Garrison that were present at the show.

It's not every day you get to see so many iconic Star Wars characters at a show this side of Comic-Con. The members of the 501st ( were outstanding and provided that extra touch for the Star Wars 40th Anniversary theme of the contest. That wasn't all - the members of the New Mexico Roadrunner Convoy Military Vehicle Preservation Association turned the parking lot into a military staging area that was a perfect complement to the 100th Anniversary of WWI theme at the show. You might say these extras added the spice to the Chile!

Andrew S. Tanenbaum, a computer scientist, once said; "The nice thing about standards is that you have so many to choose from."  Tom Perea and Ken Liotta did a great job as co-chairmen. Also a big "Thank You" to the team of ASM members who worked the contest also helped make this a new standard for Regionals. The contest was a great success, from the animated Star Wars characters to the military vehicle display, but the most important part was the modelers who made the effort to attend and be part of the contest with their fantastic models. Perhaps that is the new standard for Chile Con ... who knows!


June Article:

Think of it as an opportunity ...

Modeling offers a lot of opportunities for those that are members of a club. We get to expand the hobby beyond the workbench with things like Make & Takes for the Boy Scouts, displays at ComicCon, and even updating the Cavalcade of Wings at the ABQ Sunport. Just think what the folks on the other end of those opportunities are thinking. Many of them are seeing scale modeling for the first time or the first time they’ve gotten to ask someone about it. It must be wondrous for many young enthusiasts as well.

We’ll see many new people at the upcoming Chile Con 4 as we host the Region 10 convention. And yes, there will be people wandering around the tables wide-eyed and amazed at the models! They’ll see all the guys diving deep in the details of this or that particular subject wondering how they know so much. Kids will want to touch and wonder if they are for sale. You might even get a “can I have that” or two. It will be a spectacle.

Each of these visitors will quickly find a favorite, much like we modelers do when we peruse the tables. And this will be another opportunity to invite others into the hobby. We need to take the time to introduce the visitors to the hobby. Explain to them the art form and how they can get involved. Perhaps a personal story or two about how we each got started and what drew us to this life-long passion (or vice depending on how you see it!) The idea is to motivate them to pick up a kit and give it a try. Take the opportunity and maybe we'll have a new modeler for life.

Although Chile Con is just around the corner, there's a lot of other activity going on this summer. Of course the Elephant in the room is the Nationals. This year it is in Omaha, Nebraska, July 26 through 29. The Nats are being hosted by IPMS/Ft Crook Chapter and this is not their first rodeo (see what I did there ... Nebraska ... rodeo ... anyway). There are a few club members going so we can look forward to a great report in August or September. And speaking of Nats, the 2018 Nats will be held in Phoenix, so all of those not going to Omaha will get the chance to attend next summer. I spoke with the Craig Hewett guys about hosting ModelZona (Nov 4, 2017) the same year and they said,  "ModelZona is a go in November! We’re not going to let a little ol' Nats slow us down!"

In October (the 21st), the IPMS/High Plains Modelers will be hosting “High Plains Con XVIII” at the Larimer County Fairgrounds in Loveland, Colorado. I don't have any details at this time, but the timing is great for us in that it doesn't interfere with our normal meeting time and it’s a month before ModelZona.

May Article:

T-60 and counting!

"Houston, we are go at throttle up" ....those are the words the crew radios down to CAPCOM with the Space Shuttle engines reach 104% and the velocity starts to increase after maximum dynamic pressure. What that represents is the point at which the spaceship is no longer reacting to the combination of speed and pressure put on it by the density of the atmosphere... The shuttles engines are throttled down to 64% to keep the pressure down on all the components of the spaceship. In rocket science, they call that Max Q.

Well, ASM has reached Max Q in prep for Chile Con 4. We are now at "throttle up," which means we're past all the rough stuff and into smooth air. With only 60 days to go, it's time to start putting the finishing touches on the plan.

Probably the most difficult part of any contest is judging. Having spent the last few years as the contest director for the club, I can tell you the desire is to be accurate, but also important is consistency. Consistency is important because we are only judging the models on the table. At Chile Con 4, we expect a large turnout. That means we'll have to get through a lot of model in a limited amount of time. Efficiency counts! That is why IPMS national standards focus on the basics. In order to get through a lot of models, you have to have a measured approach to judging. You start by eliminating the models with major errors of basic construction. Then continue to narrow the field until a clear winner is decided.

The problem we will likely see at Chile Con is the enormous number of talented modelers and they will not have a lot of "basic" problems so we'll need a lot of experienced judges to start digging a little deeper! If you've had experience judging at the national or regional level, please get with Ken Liotta and let him know you will be available to help judge.

With less than 60 days to go, it's time to jump in and be ready to go! Let Ken know if you are interested in judging. It's one of the best parts of supporting a model contest!  Remember, when the Shuttle was "go" for throttle up, they were traveling at 1,600 miles an hour and the engines stayed at max power the rest of the way to space! Don't wait to be a part of Chile Con... we are T-60 days and counting!

The date is now set for ModelZona 2017! The contest is 4 November and will be held at the at the Commemorative Air Force Museum at Falcon Field, Mesa, Arizona, on Saturday, November 4, 2016, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ModelZona is hosted by the Craig Hewitt Chapter of IPMS/USA.

For something a little out of our area (Region 8), the IPMS Las Vegas chapter will host the "Best of the West - 22," VegasCon 2017 on May 6, 2017. It is located at the East Side Cannery Resort & Casino, 5255 Boulder Highway, Las Vegas, NV. Hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (

What role will you play?

April Article:

It's a simple question you have to ask yourself when it comes to our summer convention and contest. For sure there is something for you to contribute. Albuquerque Scale Modelers does not suffer from a lack of talent. We've been blessed as one of the best clubs in IPMS as noted in the last few years by being selected as the IPMS USA Club of the year. It's not just the ability to build killer models, it's the level of commitment every one of you have to making this club what it is.

We have an opportunity to host the best Region 10 Convention and Contest alongside of our Chile Con 4 contest.  Our goal should not only be the best host that we can be, but to also be better than we were the last time. Chile Con 3 had a few setbacks in the planning stage when the hotel changed the dates on us late in the game. As a club, we rallied around the problem and was able to provide a great event. This time, things are even better. The R10/Chile Con team led by Tom Perea has secured an awesome venue in the Marriott Pyramid and our rooms will be bigger and better than before. So what can you do? Simple... participate. We'll need people to help set up, help modelers register, security and most important help judge. Also, you can be a great club liaison just by helping that out-of-town modeler find their way around the venue. As we get closer to Chile Con, the team will provide more information that will make you a walking modeler's help desk when it comes to the event!

There are also plenty of opportunities to support the convention by entering your models, buying trophy packages and even the coveted Chile Con t-shirts. But the most valuable contribution is your time. Look for Tom or Ken Liotta at the next meeting and see where you can fit in! Now it's time to bring all that talent from the workbench to the contest table.

Speaking of events, there is an interesting one coming up in Phoenix on 22 April. The Craig-Hewitt IPMS chapter is hosting their Annual Clinic. It is meant to educate local modelers about the hobby. They provide demonstrations of a wide range of tactics, techniques and procedures and they have experienced modelers available to answer all kinds of questions about just about everything related to model building. Some of the highlights are learning about figure painting, building aircraft, cars, armor, ships, and sci-fi subjects, decaling, making bases, and observe and participate in seminars on airbrushing. Another great thing is they are providing a Make and Take for younger modelers. So if anyone is going to be in the Phoenix area on April 22, stop by the American Legion Post #1 at 364 N 7th Ave, Phoenix AZ 85007, between 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. (0930 -1500 for you military types). A flyer for the event can be found here

Also in the Phoenix area is the Desert Scale Classic 13 on April 8, 2017. This is Arizona's largest model car contest and swap meet. If you've been before, DSC 13 will be held at a new venue: the Deer Valley Community Center, 2001 W Wahalla Ln, Phoenix AZ 85027, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. A flyer for the event can be found here.

March Article:


Enlightened... that's what we all want to be when it comes to philosophy, life, and, well... models. We seek the truth, but we settle for opinion. I was recently excited to learn that a couple of the model manufacturers were going to produce long-sought-after kits in quarter scale. Hobby Boss announced the Su-34 Fullback, a Russian frontline fighter-bomber, and Kitty Hawk announced the Su-17 Fitter, a Soviet era fighter-bomber that became a staple of many Soviet bloc and third-world countries' air forces. To my amazement, but not my surprise, the kits were panned in the blogosphere... all the while no one commenting had ever seen the kit! Not one person had laid a hand on the model, yet somehow, they were able to determine the accuracy of the kits.

We tend to lose sight of the purpose of this hobby. We need to come away from the experience with a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment for the time and effort we spent constructing the subject. While it may be part of basic human nature to be critical, we've done ourselves a great disservice by trying to live in an obsessive world that is in search of constant gratification on a moment's notice. We don't need to fall victim to the trap of getting sucked into the conversation that is the loudest, we need to build it for ourselves and our own education and enjoyment.

And speaking of enlightenment, one of the downsides of getting old is the incredible amount of light needed when building models! On my work desk, there has always been a competition on the battle space for lights, tools, and model parts. I had literally three desk lamps on the small space just to provide enough light to see.

Well, taking a tip from fellow modeler Chris Kurtz, I sought a solution in what is called an "Arch Lamp," simply, a light bar that arcs over the desk and provides ample light for the desk.

I searched all over for the perfect (read "obsessive") solution, only to realize I needed to build it myself. It was really quite simple and inexpensive. The basic parts are a one-inch piece of aluminum bar stock from Lowe's and an LED light kit from Amazon. Both parts came to less than thirty dollars.

My desk is 48 inches wide, so the arch was deceptively long! The total length is about seven feet when you calculate the distance needed. I used self-adhesive strips on the back of the LED strips to attach it to the aluminum (above right). The challenge - okay, obsession - was "wanting" the aluminum strip to be a smooth arch. The solution was to build a temporary "slip-roller" out of wooden dowels and roll the aluminum into the arch (below). It worked so well, I rolled the aluminum into a hoop! Of course my monumental accomplishment with the homemade slip-roller came back to haunt me later when I unclamped one side of the arch and it sprung back to center and cleaned everything off the desk while doing so...

The light is simply attached to the desktop by small clamps and has a thumbscrew on each end for positioning. This lamp provides an abundance of light for the desk and was simple and cheap to build. The benefit of using aluminum is that it acts as a heat sink and keeps the desk cool. The only real problem now is if the light is on at night, aircraft on approach to the Sunport try to land in my driveway.


February Article:

Ahh... Region 10. The Albuquerque Scale Modelers plays and important role in the region. Most significantly, this year, we are hosting the Region X Conference here in June in conjunction with Chile Con IV (4). I took the opportunity to head down to Tucson, Arizona, earlier this January to support the Sonoran Desert Modelers at their local contest and swap meet: Scorpfest/Modelmania.

The contest was an excellent opportunity to get out with other modelers and enjoy the hobby we love. The turnout was great with well over a hundred models on the table and at least fifteen vendors in attendance.

While some may consider it "small" by other's standards, I thought it was great as it allowed for great fellowship and good chance to see others' work around the region. I was able to pick up a couple of Gold/Silver medallions for my entries and share in the fun. Oh, and of course I left with a few kits from the vendors and a new airbrush from Grex. Gerald Voigt was there representing Grex and proved to be a great wealth of knowledge and support for my airbrushing activity..... Tip #1: turn down the air pressure!


Also during the contest, I was able to get around and tell everyone about Chile Con IV and the Regional. A lot of folks were excited about coming to Albuquerque and looking forward to the convention. We may have even picked up a vendor or two as well. Hosting these contests is a great way for a club to support the region and share with all the region members. ASM does a great job representing the hobby and the area.

To be honest, Scorpfest wasn't the only thing I did in Tucson. Who in their right mind would pass up Pima Air Museum? I got down there early enough on Friday to spend the afternoon at the museum and take a tour of the Boneyard! That tour was a little bitter-sweet since I saw more than a few tails of jets that I used to fly while in the Air Force. It was kind of sad realizing that I’m old! But, I did learn a few things about the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, or "AMARG" as most know it. The "yard" is actually split into two areas; AMARG, where the Air Force provides maintenance and regeneration capabilities for aircraft that may return to flying (storage) or used for parts (support) for the military or foreign air forces that bought our hardware. They do about a billion dollars a year in parts and services for the DoD. The other side of the yard is the "Boneyard." That's where planes go to die. You'll see tons of B-52s and other aircraft that have been cut up or parted out for other uses. They refer to that side of Kolb Road as the "reclamation area." Sad...



So, one little interesting fact: There is only one F-14 left in the Boneyard. The rest have all been destroyed in an effort to keep Iran from obtaining parts for their remaining eight flying Tomcats. Also, know that Australia has retired all of their F-111s, and there is only one Aardvark left in the yard. Now, the only F-14s and F-111s left in existence will be at museums...


January Article:

Merry New Year everyone! Two thousand seventeen looks to be a great year for ASM. We've got a lot going on this year as we host the 2017 Region 10 Convention at Chile Con IV. While CCIV isn't until June, the time between now and then will go quickly. There is still a lot left to do in getting ready for the convention, however, we have a crack team in place to make that happen!  I'm looking forward to Chile Con and all of the other activity happening in the modeling world between now and then.

First out of the chute is Scorpfest IV being hosted by the Sonoran Desert Model Builders ( in Tucson, Arizona, on January 14. The contest will be a single day from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. I'm planning on heading down for the contest and swap meet to support and maybe drum up some business for CCIV.

On the same weekend, the 2017 Albuquerque Comic Con ( will occur at the Albuquerque Convention Center. The show starts Friday evening and runs through Sunday. The best time to attend is Saturday and the list of guest is growing. Everyone from the "Wax on, Wax off" Daniel (Ralph Macchio) to "Sweep the leg" Johnny (William Zabka) of Karate Kid fame will be there signing autographs. These two "Yutes" are not that young anymore...

Additionally, the CoMMies are coming (No, they didn't hack the election)! CoMMiESfest 2017 is March 4 at the Jefferson County Fairground in Golden, Colorado, from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The theme for the show is "Let it Snow," which may be appropriate since it is Colorado in March. Check out their website for more details (

Finally, ASM has a FaceBook page! If you are on FB, go over to Albuquerque Scale Modelers and send a friend request ( There is a lot good information there for the modelers. The page isn't intended to compete with our website, however - it is a way to see what's going on around the local modeling world. As all the cool kids say these days, "Like us on Facebook!"



Contest Director


By Victor Maestas, ASM Contest Chairman

January 2018 Article:

The December meeting held the Supersonic themed special contest as well as the Model of the Year showdown. For the Supersonic contest, in Intermediate, David Epstein’s X-15 took best entry and Victor Maestas’s X-1 took best entry in Masters. These models were also then put into consideration for the Model of the Year contest for all of the Best of Show models from 2017. There were a lot of great entries to judge from this year’s contests.

 The following models took Model of the Year:

Basic:                      Logan Carbin’s T-55A Russian tank

Intermediate:           David Epstein’s Yuan Class submarine

Masters:                  Chris Kurtze’s F-5E aggressor

 With the November contest completed, the final points tally has been compiled and the Modeler of the Year for each division is now decided. Congratulations go to the following people in each division:

Juniors:                   Aleya Montano

Basic:                      Logan Carbin

Intermediate:           David Epstein

Masters:                  John Tate

This year’s contest tables had a lot of entries and here are a few statistics:


         Contests, spread over 10 contest nights: 7 points / 3 special / 5 sponsored

 Model entries:

         Total number of models entered (points, sponsored and special contests): 187

 Work in Progress entries:

         WIP entries: 105


December Article:

The November meeting had the final Points Contest of the year with an Open theme. In Basic, Charles Pitrilli took Best of Show and People’s Choice with his Nissan Skyline with some heavy road weathering. In Intermediate, John Dodd’s impressive Bismark battleship took People’s Choice and David Epstein’s very clean Yuan-class submarine took Best of Show. In Masters, Brian Peck’s nicely executed F4U-1A Corsair took both Best of Show and People’s Choice awards.

The December meeting will have a special contest with a theme of “Supersonic.” Special contests are not for points and up to five entries per modeler can be entered. Also in December is the Model of the Year contest. All models that have taken Best of Show throughout the year are eligible, but the model must be on the tables to be considered. Winners for Modeler of the Year and Model of the Year will be announced at the January meeting.

The contest schedule for 2018 is being developed and the E-Board and the Contest Director (John Tate) are taking suggestions. Please contact John or any member of the E-Board with any ideas for contest themes for next year.


November Article:

The October meeting had a Points Contest Theme of "Red Star," covering any subject that represents Communist-influenced nations. In Basic, Logan Carbin took Best of Show and People's Choice with his T-55A tank on a very nice base to show off his work. In Intermediate, new member Ethan Schwartzmann's Su-100 Tank Destroyer took both People's Choice and Best of Show. This model had very well-done weathering and color modulation to break up the green paint scheme. In Masters, Chris Kurtze's very well-executed F-5E in aggressor markings took Best of Show and People's Choice awards.

Best of Show
& People's Choice
Best of Show
& People's Choice
Best of Show
& People's Choice
Best Orange Subject
Best Orange Subject
Most Creative
Orange Subject
Logan Carbin Ethan Schwartzmann Chris Kurtze Chuck Hermann Josh Pals Robert Henderson
T-55A Su-100 F-5E Tijuana Taxi 2000 '32 Ford Pumpkin Panzer

The November meeting will be the final points contest of the year with an "open" theme. All kits, subjects, and scales are eligible. Please note that Brian Peck will be hosting his "Heavies" Sponsored Contest. Any subject that is considered a heavy bomber for its era is eligible to compete in this contest.


October Article:

The September meeting had a Points Contest Theme of "First or Last" with a very large turnout. Across all levels, there were 43 entries! In Basic, Logan Carbin took Best of Show and People's Choice with his very well done Ho 229 flying wing. In Intermediate, David Epstein's F-110A Spectre (Air Force name before changing to F-4 Phantom II) took Best of Show and Scott Williams's Voyager I spacecraft took People's Choice. This model had very impressive (and fragile looking) photoetch structures. In Masters, Dave Straub's scratchbuilt USS Patoka Tender and USS Los Angeles airship took Best of Show and John Tate's Ju-52 diorama "Rommel's Lifeline" took People's Choice.

Best of Show
& People's Choice
Best of Show
People's Choice
Best of Show
People's Choice
Logan Carbin David Epstein Scott Willaims David Straub John Tate
Ho 229 F-110A Voyager I USS Patoka "Rommel's Lifeline"

The E-Board sponsored a contest with a theme of "Knife Fight/Night Light" that combined two themes. Entries could be entered for either or both themes. The award winner for Basic is Logan Carbin's F-117 Nighthawk. In Intermediate, Robert Henderson's P-61 Black Widow took the award for Night Light and Len Faulconer's F-102 Delta Dagger took the award for Knife Fight. In Masters, Chris Kurtze's F-102 Delta Dagger took the Knife Fight award and Frank Randall's Mosquito NF Mk. II took the Night Light award. Awards will be presented at an upcoming meeting

The October meeting will have another points contest with a theme of "Red Star." All subjects representing Communist influenced nations are eligible for in-theme points as well as a shot at Best of Show for the contest. As usual, all other entries are eligible to compete for points in this contest, but won't get the additional 10 in-theme points


August Article:

July saw the return of a points contest with a theme of "1967."  In Basic, Rick Shryock earned a Best of Show and People's Choice for his Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser RC truck. It was a very clean build with scratchbuilt parts including machined wheels!  In Intermediate, David Epstein’s X-15 set world records in '67 and his entry earned Best of Show. Chuck Hermann’s 1967 Alpha Romeo 2000 GT race car earned the Intermediate level People's Choice award. In Masters, Chris Kurtze earned both Best of Show and People's Choice for his nicely weathered A-37B Dragonfly with scratchbuilt details added. The aircraft was ordered and the first prototype was flown in 1967.

Best of Show
& People's Choice
Best of Show
People's Choice
Best of Show
People's Choice
Rick Shyrock Chuck Hermann David Epstein Chris Kurtze
Toyota Land Cruiser Alfa Romeo 2000 GT X-15 A2 A-37B Dragonfly

August's meeting will have a swap meet with no contests, so bring stuff to sell, barter, or trade! The next contests will be in September:

- Theme contest: "First or Last."  This includes any subject or any scale that represents the first or last of anything such as prototypes, aircraft with retirement schemes, first flight, last flight, etc.

- E-Board sponsored contest: "Knife Fight / Night Light". This contest is for any subject, scale, or kit that includes a cutting device in the name (cutlass, rapier, sabre) or in the subject (figure with a knife) or any subject, scale; or kit that operates primarily at night (night fighters, armored vehicles with IR spotlights, special ops, owls, etc.). There will be a special award for subjects that combine both categories.

- New Mexico State Fair (September 7 – 17): Display theme will be Star Wars. Look for entry and judging dates.


July Article:

June's special contest had a "Kill Markings" theme, which included mission markings as well. This month also included Patrick Dick’s "GM" sponsored contest. There were 24 entries on the tables this month competing in these contests although there were no Junior entries. Charles Petrilli's very clean build of an RGM-79SP GM Sniper II earned Best of Show in Basic. In Intermediate, Robert Henderson's Panther G tank took Best of Show with rings on the barrel for vehicles destroyed. In Masters, Ken Liotta’s Hs 129A took Best of Show with mission marking on the tail. As part of the "Kill Markings" theme, Mike Blohm also brought in a display of nine aircraft of US Aces.

Best of Show
Best of Show
Best of Show
Best GM
Best GM
Best GM
Charles Petrilli Robert Henderson Ken Liotta Brian Peck Mike Blohm Chuck Hermann
RGM-79SP GM Sniper II Panther G
Panzer V Ausf G
Hs 129A
North American
P-51D Mustang
M4 Sherman
1968 Corvette
Sedan Delivery

Upcoming contests include the fourth points contest of the year in July with a theme of “1967.” Any subject that represents the year 1967 is eligible for the extra “in-theme” points. August is a swap meet and September’s points contest theme is “First or Last” as well as the E-board’s “Knife Fight/Night Light” sponsored contest. Also in September, the display theme for the New Mexico State Fair will be Star Wars.


June Article:

May's contest theme was the third points contest of the year with a Star Wars theme.

In the Juniors category, Aleya Montaño took Best of Show and People’s Choice awards with her X-Wing fighter in a flying pose with nicely-done weathering.

In Basic, Logan Carbin also took Best of Show and People’s Choice with an impressive Rebel X-Wing fighter (Poe’s). His entry had well-done weathering and laser bolts for a dramatic display.

In Intermediate, David Epstein took People’s Choice with his well-executed French Submarine/ Cruiser, Surcouf. You don’t see floatplanes parked on the deck of a sub very often! Adrian Montaño’s imposing and impressive large-scale Millenium Falcon took Best of Show.

In Masters, Patrick Dick took People’s Choice with his TIE Striker in NVA markings. I look forward to seeing the rest of this collection! Larry Glenn’s sharp build of a TIE Striker took Best of Show in the Masters category.

Special and Sponsored Contests

Next month we will be having a Special Contest (Kill Markings) and a Sponsored Contest (General Motors, sponsored by Patrick Dick). For special contests, the rules are a little different compared to the regular Theme Points contests.

First of all, there are no Modeler of the Year points awarded for Special or Sponsored contests. Also, in Special contests, all entries have to be in-theme, five entries per person are allowed, and generally there is only one “Best Of” award per divisional level.


May Article:  

April's contest theme was World War I, since 2017 is the 100th anniversary of US involvement in that conflict. There was a good selection of entries, both regular and in-theme. In Basic, Logan Carbin's Fokker Dr.I took both Best of Show and People's Choice with a nicely-built entry with a hypothetical paint scheme. In Intermediate, David Epstein's Model T Ambulance took Best of Show with a very clean out-of-the-box build, and Robert Henderson's Pfalz E.IIIa took People's Choice with a colorful camouflage scheme. In Masters, John Tate took Best of Show with his well-executed British Tommy bust and Larry Glenn’s Me 410B-1 took People’s Choice with a sharp OOB build with the additional challenge of German mottling on the fuselage.

Model Contest Judging: This month’s CD tidbit is on the subject of judging. In our club contests, the upcoming Region X contest and even National Convention contests, the overwhelming deciding factor on the placing of a model in a contest is basic workmanship. The things that judges look for include alignment (wheels, wings, tank treads, antennas, props, etc.), construction flaws (unfilled seams, glue globs, floating wheels not touching tank treads, fogging on transparencies, disappearing pane lines, etc.), and finish issues (fingerprints, decal silvering, overspray, and paint runs, as well as consistency and symmetry).

Only when all of the above have been considered, will the judges look for minor things such as detailing, weathering, accuracy, etc.

The final tie-breaker for equal placing entries is considering which entry looks most like the subject it is representing overall. This rarely happens even at the Nationals level. This approach puts the emphasis on tangible issues, and less on the opinion/preference of the individual judges.

This is also described in greater detail in the ASM Contest Guidelines posted on the Club website. Please get with me (or any of the ASM judges) if you have any questions on what judges look for in model contests.


April Article:

For the March meeting, there was a good turnout for the first points contest of 2017 with the customary "Open" contest theme.

In Basic, Aaron Schmiedicke's imposing Battlestar Pegasus took both Best of Show and People's Choice, an impressive build. Steve Brodeur took both Best of Show and People's Choice with his Ki-43 Oscar in 1/32 scale with a very interesting and well executed camouflage over natural metal. Masters had a good selection of models with Chris Kurtze taking Best of Show with his Ta-152 and People's Choice with his USS Essex. Even if this was built mostly Out-of-the-Box, the scope and quality of the detail and weathering work on his ship was inspiring.

The Contest Public Service Announcement for this month is on entry forms. Please remember to completely fill the forms out as best you can. It makes putting the results together quickly and compiling the points much easier with all the relevant information filled in, especially a week later when trying to remember details from the meeting. If a question comes up or there is an unclear "grey area" relative to your entry on any part of the form, please ask.


February Article: 

Welcome to another contest season at ASM! The contest schedule is in final review and will be posted online shortly. There are some interesting themes to build for (lots of opportunities to push the envelope) this year. Some of the ASM contest themes are tied to other events including the New Mexico State Fair and Chile Con IV (Star Wars and WWI), so if you plan ahead, you can have several opportunities to enter your models.

Speaking of themes, below is a breakdown of the various types of contests held during the year at ASM.

If there are any questions on the organization of the contests (types of contests, judging, points awarded, etc.) you can check the Contest Guidelines posted on the website or get ahold of me.         

The January customary Moe Blalters Sci-Fi, Real Space, Science, and Fantasy special contest had a bit of a light turnout, but had some very well-built models on the table. Since this is a Special Contest, there were only awards for best in each skill level. The top entries included Anthony Weaver’s War of the Worlds Diorama in Basic, Michael O’Brien’s Vulcan Warpshuttle Surak in Intermediate, and John Tate’s Space Marines Vindicator AFV in Masters. For Patrick Dick’s Frickin’ Laser Beams sponsored contest, the top entries included Anthony Weaver’s War of the Worlds Diorama in Basic, Ken Piniak’s USS Constellation and John Tate’s Klingon Battlecruiser in Masters.



The Finer Points

By Jerry Little. Out-going ASM Contest Chairman

January Article:

The Final Point

So this is the last time I'll write as contest director for ASM. I've been fortunate enough to be contest director for another great year in 2016. We've shared a tremendous contest season and a lot of models were built for the club Theme contests as well as Sponsored and Special contests. In fact, ASM put 390 models on the table in the form of contest entries or Works in Progress. That is an amazing number if you consider we averaged over 38 models a month! Well done, ASM!

When you have great modelers, you have great models. That is no different this year. Our Model of the Year contest was very tough. Narrowing the selection to only models that were Best of Show didn't really make it easy! As you can imagine, when a model is good enough to earn Best of Show, you know it's going to be tough to pick the best of the best. With so many to choose from, the team selected Larry Glenn's P-51 Mustang 'The Millie P" as the Model of the Year in Masters. Larry's 1/48 Tamiya Mustang was well done with the iconic prancing horse and checker nose!  In Intermediate, the choice was difficult. With a lot to choose from, the team selected Chris Kurtze's 1/35 "Beutepanzer M8 Greyhound" from the "Captured" theme contest. The model even had a unique base made from a surplus baking pan! The model looked like it could have been snatched right out of the historical photos it was built from.

Not to be outdone by Dad, Chris Kurtze Jr's Panther G was chosen as Model of the Year in Junior. The fit and finish of the model was spot on and really demonstrated the quality of model builder that Chris has become. Finally, in Basic, Jeannie Garriss reminded us all of what a great modeler she is with her "French Police Car." Her Best of Show from the "Rescue Me" themed contest in April was an easy call!

Congratulations to all modelers for the outstanding work they did throughout 2016 and competing for Model of the Year. Knowing the Albuquerque Scale Modelers, 2017 will be an equally competitive 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 2017.  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 2017.  All these pages are updated through the February 2017 meeting.  The 2017 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 2017 pages will take you to other 2017 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


National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Group Field Trip

 By Mike Blohm

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 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 Stratofortress and Hound Dog missile, Mk 17 and Mk 53 nuclear bombs, external centerline tank/weapons pod for a B-58 Hustler, the Atomic Cannon, Honest John rocket, Nike Hercules surface to air misile (SAM), B-29 Super Fortress, replica Trinity Site nuclear bomb test tower, and an F-16 Falcon.  FYI, ASM did contribute funding for the paint used to refurbish their B-52! 

A selection of pictures is included below. More pictures - 62 total - are included on the 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.







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 135 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 -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 in the Aces Gallery display at the USAF Academy are a mix of Hasegawa, Italeri, and Revell kits, all in 1/72 scale.  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 Shirley and model of his F6F-3 Hellcat "White 23"


1.  Lt James "Red" Shirley

2. - 4.  Three views of "White 23" on 24 Oct 1944

 Pictures of Lt Brown and model of his F6F-5 Hellcat "White 9"


1.  Lt Carl "Brownie" Brown, Jr.

2. - 4.  Three views of "White 9" on 24 Oct 1944

 Pictures of Lt Stambook and model of his F6F-3 Hellcat "White 17"


1.  Lt Richard Stambook

2. - 4.  Three views of "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 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 nucleear 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. 

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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. 

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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). 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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) 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 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.




Live Reporting from the 2017 Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas

by Moe Blaters, Ace ASM Reporter


Pictures provided by Moe Blaters will be posted as they are received each day, with descriptions when provided by Moe Blaters.

August 2nd, 2017 ( Star Date 95188.17 )  :  Cast of Deep Space 9 on stage; unidentified Space Chicks


August 3rd, 2017 ( Star Date  95191.14  ) :  Entry area to convention; Klingon coming through; Khan guy;  Green space chick


August 4th, 2017 ( Star Date  95193.65  ) :  The Borg Queen arrives; Data as Sherlock Holmes; Star Fleet crewmember;


August 5th, 2017 ( Star Date  95196.15  ) :  The Vendor Room

August 6th, 2017 ( Star Date   95198.75* ) :  Hawkgirl; Space ship models in the Vendor Room; Mister President



The Real "Behind the Scenes" Story at the Star Trek Convention

(That's What they Call It, Anyway...)

My name is "Moe" and I'm actually a special agent for an inter-galactic organization that I can't mention.  Actually it's a name that I can't pronounce or even spell.  And actually, my name is not really Moe, but that's a different story.  And don't call me Shirley.  Being associated with a model club is a good cover for my job.  Whenever I get a truth scan, I just answer "Why yes, I work on models."  A lot of modelers are aliens, especially in New Mexico - Roswell and all that - and I get to track them.  How do you think they get all that detail - lots of big, huge eyes and lots of extra hands to hold all those parts while gluing.   

I'm here on special assignment at the 2017 Star Trek Convention.  That's what they call it anyway, but it's really just an alien gathering held every year where who knows what shows up.  Do you really think those are all costumes?  Not hardly - well, actually some of those are pretty hard.  Did I mention that I used to have a partner named Jest for awhile?  He was absorbed by an alien named Bow during one of our missions, but that's a different story.  Now I work alone.  At least I think I work alone - I did have an encounter with a pod thing a while back.  

My job is to keep an eye (or two) on things and collect all the intel that I can.  So here is what I've uncovered so far at this nefarious gathering.

Star Date 95188.17 - on Earth anyway. 


The first thing I noticed was the gang from Deep Space 9 up on stage (first picture).  They've really changed since the last time I saw them on the station.  Guess they got recalled to Earth.  I wonder if they brought back Gilligan and the Skipper with them.  Some guy named Kirk and his side-kick Spock dropped them off at the station when they accidently saw the Enterprise.  Did you really think they just got lost on a three hour cruise?  You thought they were looking for whales, but they caught a minnow instead.  They kept the Professor to be an intern for some guy named Scottie.  But you don't see him signing autographs at any Star Trek Conventions, do you?  And don't believe all those historical documents either.  I'll try to get with Sisko when the crowd clears out a bit.  I wonder who he is pretending to be now, and if he still has that baseball that I gave him?  There were a bunch of mini-photon torpedo's hidden in that.  Wouldn't want that to fall into the wrong hands, or claws, or tentacles, or whatever...

Then I ran into those two space chicks from the planet Dixy (picture two).  Don't let those smiles fool you - they are wanted in multiple systems.  I could tell you stories about them, but that would be a different story.  The last time that I saw them they were hanging out with two Klingon chicks - perhaps sisters - named Duras or Dumbass, or something like that.  They had a real vendetta going for a guy named Picard, but that's a different story.  I think I'll ask them to join me for a drink, and we'll see where that goes.  I just happen to have a bottle of Romulan Ale on me - of course, that's not what they really call it.  The things I have to do to gather intel.  They are really shape-shifters, so I could end up talking to myself.  Maybe I'll warn the one chick that is wearing the red outfit not to hang out with any away teams.  Or I might arrest her for impersonating an officer.   Will continue this story tomorrow, if the Earth is still here. 

 Star Date  95191.14


Well, the Earth is still here so that's a good start.  I was walking into the convention this morning and these two guys in white armor asked me if I knew where the droids were.  I suspected they were from a galaxy far, far away, and I told them they were lost.  Actually, I knew they were here to party - the word gets around the universe about this little "gathering."  They said their ship had malfunctioned - the hyperdrive was stuck, and they couldn't do anything about it.  I was going to take a picture of them, but they said no, because the Emperor or Vader might see it, and they'd be in big trouble and maybe not authorize their travel expenses.  I told them they might find a mechanic in Area 51, but the parking lot was pretty full this week.  So I told them to go look for a guy named Geordi - likes to wear weird sunglasses, even inside - and maybe he could help him with their drive.  I told them to watch out for those space chicks from Dixy.  They could end up in a ditch out in the desert in just their underwear - might get woken up by one of those horses with no name, if it's not raining.  There is a huge black market for their funky white armor.  A lot of the fans here - the ones who aren't aliens - have their foot in two universes - you know what I mean - and will pay a lot of bat guano (yes, that's a currency) for their armor even though it's the most ineffective stuff in the universe.  Speaking of bat guano, that's the currency of the planet Fullofit.  Their culture has spread throughout the galaxy, and a lot of them are hiding out on Earth.  You've probably heard the sayings "__it hit the fan" and "spread the wealth?"  Those came from a botched bank robbery on Fullofit.  That was a messy case that I had to clean up, but that's a different story.

One thing most of the aliens and fans at this gathering don't know is that this entry way (picture 3) is one of the few stargate ring transporter thingies that's still working on Earth.  That's why the "convention" is held here.  You need to be careful walking through there because you never know when some high-flouting Goa'uld System Lord or his Jaffa dudes will come barging in, with O'Neill and his gang in hot pursuit.  That's a good place to loose your hands, claws, tentacles, etc.

Then I run into Khan.  (Picture 4.)  Ahh - Khan.  Quite the modest guy.  Want to know how great he is?  Just ask him, but it will take a couple of hours.  He is one of the aliens that I'm assigned to tail.  His code name is "Maaaahvelous."  Seems he is trying to corner the market for all the rich Corinthian leather in the whole galaxy.  He's got this vendetta for that Kirk guy and wants to make sure that no captain's chair in Star Fleet will be comfortable.  He's pretty easy to track, because whenever he enters a room everybody screams "Khaaannnn!!!"  Not sure what that's all about, but my investigation continues.  I've heard that you don't want to stand too close to him - he has this thing about ear bugs.  Quite nasty, those little guys. 

Then there's the Klingons (picture 5).  If you really want to tweak them, you just ask "didn't you look different in the first series?"  Of course, then they become all aggressive on you.  Then you say "I'll bet Worf could kick your ass!"  Then you just hand them some blood worms and Klingon Wartog beer, and everything calms down.  Make sure they don't have a  Daqtagh in their back pocket - they are quite sneaky, you know. 

One thing you notice is that there's always green space chicks hanging around (picture 6.)  They've heard that Earth is really into "going green" so they all flock here.  I'm sure a lot of them are working for the EPA.  They are easy to identify if you put on your rose-colored glasses filters.  If you check out the Vendors room, you'll find some aliens selling "carbon credits."  Run a scan on those out before you buy any - some are quire radiocative.  I'm pretty sure Quark is behind those - think it's Rules of Acquistion # 2001.  If you buy enough of those carbon bars, you can build a Monolith.  Be careful where you position those in your house.  I still haven't run into Sisko and his thermonuclear baseball.   Think I might have seen Ginger, so maybe she made it off the station.  I'm off to go play some sabacc - they call it "poker" here on Earth - with one of my old buddies and his "princess" girlfriend before I turn in.  Hopefully he doesn't shoot any bounty hunters tonight.  And you thought he was dead - but that's a different story.  I think a shower was involved.  I think Judge Dredd is here too - Mister "I am the Law" - and I don't want to have to persuade him to not lock us up.  Our organizations sometimes work together, but I am undercover, you know.  He's been quite successful moonlighting as an actor on Earth.  Not sure who the bad guys are more afraid of - Judge Dredd or Rambo. 

 Star Date  95193.65


Day 3 of this "gathering" had started off pretty well until little "Miss Queen of the Delta Quadrant" showed up (picture 7).  That guy trying to give her a hug was assimilated and turned into a robot right before our eyes.  Those flashing metal parts are quite the style in the Delta Quadrant.  She is a very dangerous entity, and it's quite unnerving to see her head detach and float around.  When she says "off with her head!" she really means it.  Good thing Alice isn't here.  Well she might be, in some kind of costume, but her stealth smiling Cheshire Cat pet and that weird guy in the top hat usually give her away.  I think there is some sort of a connection between Janeway and Alice, because the Borg Queen is always after the both of them.  I've been investigating that.  I think Janeway was really on a secret mission to save the planet Wonderland when she got lost in the Delta Quadrant.  Most people don't know that Alice and Doroththy are twin sisters.  I suspect that the Wicked Witch of the West was really the Borg Queen trying to assimalte the planet of Oz.  But she didn't know that the Wizard was actually a Jedi Master hiding out on Oz from Vader.  The Borg have a thing for assimilating human's pets too - hence her famous saying "and her little dog, too!"  Good thing Toto was fast - I think it had something to do with Oz orbiting a yellow sun.  His original  name was Krypto before Dorothy found him. Her three companions never got assimilated because they were missing some key parts.  Those "ruby slippers" were part of an elaborate transporter system.  I'm also keeping an eye on Picard just to make sure he's not pining-away for his metal parts.  I also think he liked his cool Borg name - "Locutous" and saying "Resistance is futile!"  I'm also watching Seven-Of-Nine, but that's OK.  It's a good thing this is a blaster-free zone during the "gathering," or I'd pretend I was skeet shooting when the Borg Queen sends her head flying around - "assimilate this - bitch!"  Blam-blam!  Now I'm sounding like Ripley.  She's around here somewhere with Newt, Hicks and that "game over!" guy.  Hope that other "queen" isn't here, too!  Those Alien guys are really quite good at card games, but it's unnerving when they grab their cards or winnings from the pot with their extendable jaw and teeth thing.  The cards get covered with slime, too.  Speaking of card games, don't let Geordi stand behind you if he has those funky glasses on. 

Then I bump into Data (picture 8).  He's quite a guy, or robot, or andoid, or whatever.  It's pretty obvious that he's spent a little too much time on the holo-deck.  I think he's in search of some nefarious types, by that Sherlock outfit that he's wearing, so I might tail him for a while.  I will have to be on the watch-out for his smarter brother.  At least Data is not wearing his Captain Jack Sparrow outfit.  He pulls that off pretty well.  I shall have to warn Data about the two Stormtrooper guys.  Somebody might point out Data as the only droid that's here, and there could be trouble.  That Vulcan guy in the picture is obviously a fan, as it looks like he's smiling, a bit anyway.  It's always the little things that give you away.

I saw this Andorian Star Fleet crewmember hurrying across the convention floor (picture 9).  I think she was worried about the ring thing.  Most people think they are from the planet Andoria.  But they are actually from the mini-state of Andorra right here on Earth, which is right next to Spain, deep in the Pyrenees Mountains.  I did visit there one time tailing a suspect - almost missed it when I sneezed - nice stamps and some great whiskey.  It's so cold there, the natives have turned blue.  Not sure what the story is on those antenni things.  Might have to do with seeing over snow drifts, or maybe out of a snow drift.

 Star Date  95196.15

Today I made another swing by the Vendors Room (picture 10).  As I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of black marketeering going on, and this place was really hopping.  I always check out the Vendors Rooms for Neutralyzers, blasters, and radioactive carbon credits.  You'd be surprised at how many of those "flashy things" are actually real, and all the criminals are hot to get them.  But it's not just criminals anymore.  The TV networks and movie studios are now using them too.  Think about this scenario:  You turn on the SyFy channel to watch Star Trek and - "Wow - what a surprise!  I've never seen that episode before!  I think I'll watch it!"  Remember, they only made 79 episodes, and you've probably seen them a hundred times each.  So you may want to turn your head away when you turn the channel.  From the look on that fan's face, I knew that there was at least one real "flashy thing" in the room.  Using my undercover role as a "model builder," I wandered around looking at the model kits and the other goodies for sale.  I did find a couple Neutralyzers - Harry Mudd had one - and I used them on the sellers to confiscate them.  But you need to be careful if you find a Gorn or Hutt with one.  Kirk helped me build a bazooka one time when I found a Gorn with one.  Sometimes I run into J and K at these gatherings, because they are on the look-out for these, too.  Sometimes they wear purple or pink to throw off the criminals.  You can do that in Vegas.  They were not happy when that movie blew the cover on their organization.  Most successful science fiction movie producers are aliens with some insider information on what's really going on in the galaxy.  I had to investigte some of those guys (really "things").  Ever wonder why a movie script never got completed, or a movie didn't do too well?  Well, there are stories behind those, but this is a different story.  One other double agent working for MIB is Q.  You probably didn't see that one coming, but it's actually pretty obvious.  You don't want to get on his bad side - he does hold a grudge. 

I had lunch in one of the coffee shops with Mulder, Scully, and Kolchak to catch up on what's going on.  Glad they are going to be back in business. Scully is still skeptical, even though she's surrounded by aliens.  I need to give her some rose-colored glasses.  I'm going to go over to Caesars Palace later on to talk with Gort.  He moonlights there as a statue when he's not at the Academy Awards show.  Klaata nikto barada, and all that.  Oops, got that in the wrong order - that could be pretty dangerous.  You thought those were minor earthquakes in LA?  Nope - that was Gort unhappy with the award selections.  He was not very happy with the remake of his flick, but I did talk him out of detroying the Earth by getting him a date with Seven-Of-Nine.  Speaking of tremors, I had to tail Burt earlier today in the Vendors Room to make sure he did not pick up any "really heavy" artillery.  He hasn't been happy since his man-cave got trashed by those cousins of the rock creatures that Kirk ran into on Janus VI.   

 Star Date  95198.75*


I ran into Hawkgirl the last morning of the "convention" (picture 11).  Pretty sure she is here undercover for the Justice League.  A bit hard to go undercover with those big wings.  Well - she has a Star Fleet belt buckle on, so she is sorta undercover.  She might be masquerading as a Silverhawk, but she could use some more silver.  Or, she might just be checking out the casino for the next DC convention.  It was hard to look her in the eyes because of the pointy things on her helmet.  I told her to watch out for the Borg Queen's flying head, if she was going to fly around the casino.  And to watch out for Burt too - those Graboid things did grow wings later on, and he might get confused.  

I swang through the Vendors Room one more time looking for contraband, and I see these guys (pictures 12 and 13).  I suspected they might be part of an invasion force from the Micro Galaxy trying to hide in one of the display cases until nightfall.  Or - they might be shrunken-down ships trying to save on the parking fee.  Or - they could just be plastic models.  Since I am associated with a model club as part of my cover, I decided to check for seams, glue marks, and paint overspray.  You'd think that fingerprints on the paint job might be an obvious sign that it's just a model, but there are actually quite a few Giant Hand Things out there in space that try to grab your ship, and they do leave giant thumb prints if you are lucky enough to escape.  It is thought they were designed by a long-forgotten race as a countermeasure to the Doomsday Machines that came from another galaxy.  They were originally in that episode, but got cut because somebody thought they were ridiculous looking.  If only they knew.  I stated out loud "I think I'll go get Dredd to help me judge these models."  At that point, the hatches opened up and the Micro perps came out with a white flag.  They said they were going to Pheonix next year for the Nationals, and they came to Vegas to see if their disguise would work.   I told them that they needed to sand down the seams a bit more, and maybe do some better weathering.  They asked about fixing the battle damage marks, and I said that nobody would believe those, even though they were real.   

The President came to close out the "gathering" (picture 14).  He thanked the Star Fleet crew members for their hard work in keeping the galaxy safe.  We "other attendees" appreciated the sentiment, as we knew that he did not know about all the other secret organizations involved as well.  He was given a set of DVD's with all the episodes - remastered in 4D and with the extra 30 minutes that was originally included in each episode.  You probably didn't know that Star Trek was a 90 minute show, did you?  And a universal translator.  And a sealed box with a pair of rose colored glasses "for emergency use only." 

So to close - There are eight million stories in the naked galaxy - this has been one of them. (Who did you think that TV show got that line from?).  I will see you at the 2018 "Gathering," if the Earth is still around.  I think V'ger might be attending, which could be trouble. 

* Just wanted to see if you were checking - yes, this is the wrong date.  


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.



Kit Review - Revell Fokker D.VII in 1/28 Scale

by John Tate


Wingnut Wings revolutionized WWI aircraft modeling with their excellent 1/32 kit line but it wasn't that long ago that modelers who wanted replicas of Great War flying machines had to make do with whatever kits were available,  which was especially true of big-scale biplanes.  One of these was Revell's 1/28 Fokker D.VII, Kit 4665, released in 1996 and the last of Revell's well-known line of 1/28 biplanes dating back to the 1960s.  Although the Fokker D.VII kit was widely panned after its release, due to hard-to-correct wing and fuselage shape issues, this out-of-production kit can still be a fun project and is worth the effort if there's one hidden away in your model stash.

I picked up my Fokker kit from the legendary Goodman Collection local estate sale back in 2008, a never-to-be-equaled adventure in scale model rummage & salvage.  The kit box was in poor condition but the parts were intact and it looked like a simple build, so why not put it together?  I was aware of the useful article by Frank L. Mitchell in the January 1999 issue of FineScale Modeler, which highlighted the necessary surgical fixes for the model, but in the spirit of my "rescued" kit I opted instead for an out-of-the box build.


Overall, I found it an easy model with no surprises; everything fit together with a minimum of work.  The cockpit had simplified detail but with careful painting it looked OK.  Likewise the kit engine and machine guns, which lacked the kind of detail one would expect in a large scale, but cleaned-up and painted they looked the part and fit well.  The wing struts were a bit thin and I was worried they wouldn't hold up the wings but they did their job and lined-up well.  Rigging was a breeze, as the real D. VII only had bracing wires for the undercarriage and control wires from the fuselage to the upper wing, elevators and rudder.

The kit had only one marking option, for a red & white Fokker D. VII from Leutnant August Raben's well-known Jasta 18 circa Summer 1918, which I was happy to apply to my model.  Later I learned that many Fokkers from this unit had their wing undersides left in the original lozenge pattern, but no decals for this were included in the Revell kit.  The decals in my kit were in terrible shape from exposure to the elements but with some careful work I was able to revive them and apply them to the model, a testament to the toughness of Revell's decal sheets.  Since I built my model, the reconstituted Copper State Models (same product range, now based in Latvia, has marketed a 1/28 lozenge decal sheet for this kit, which will be helpful no matter what scheme you choose.


I was happy with the finished model as it was big and menacing and looked the part of the deadly Fokker biplane fighter from the last year of WWI.  The "upside down" top wing might be noticeable to us airplane enthusiasts but not to the casual observer and I found I could live with it on a display model.  The other dimensional issue, the too-deep/too-wide fuselage, is less noticeable and if a modeler really feels the need to hack away at the kit, I'd say fix the wing but don't worry too much about the fuselage.

 These kits are hard to find today, but if you get one or have one, give it a try, with or without the corrections- it's well worth building and with a minimum of work you can end up with an impressive replica.

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.

Revell Rogue One Imperial AT-ACT Cargo Walker
Kit Review

by John Tate

Last year's movie blockbuster Rogue One, the final installment in the Star Wars prequel saga (and arguably one of the best Star Wars movies yet made), introduced several new machines to the Star Wars universe, one of which is a variation of the infamous AT-AT Walker Imperial assault transport, the AT-ACT Cargo Walker.  Revell released a box-scale, SnapTite model of this vehicle to tie-in with the movie release, and when my son saw one on the shelf at Hobby Proz, he had to have it.  Turns out, it's a great little kit and a fun build for all ages, and a great way to get into Star Wars modeling ahead of ASM's upcoming Chile Con 4 regional contest.

Although the kit is marketed as a SnapTite model, it's well-designed and engineered for a precise build, in a way that will appeal to modelers of all ages.  The parts are clean and smooth and most fit together with little trouble and I was impressed by how easy assembly was; everything went together so nicely that a kid could build it in an afternoon.  However, I wanted a more finished look for the model so used CA glue on some parts, filled a few seams and sanded mold lines, then gave it a shot of gray primer before adding a wash and dry-brush weathering.  The orange cargo panels on the hull sides can be added later, which greatly simplifies painting.  And don't be shy about weathering an AT-ACT; these behemoths were Imperial "trash haulers" so presumably would get a lot of the same abuse as our own terrestrial construction equipment.


 Modeling observations aside, this kit is designed to be fun for kids, too, so the Walker legs and feet can be articulated and the plastic is tough enough for this to occur without damage to the model.  Best part, though, is the battery-powered light-and-sound module in the Walker control head, with the activation button blended in with the surrounding plastic detail so that it is almost undetectable.  This module really brings the model to life and with today's technology, should be designed into all sci-fi kits.  I added a small red plastic windshield to the control head for realism and to enhance the lighting effects.

 Even with scale-modeler enhancements, I finished the model in a weekend and it was a lot of fun to put together.  In fact, I would rate this kit as one of the top five model kits I've ever built and it was an enjoyable change from the usual diet of airplane and armor kits.  Kudos to Revell, and Disney, for releasing this fun little kit.  The only enhancement I would suggest, is a set of X-Wing, U-Wing and Imperial Striker attack fighters to go with it in the same scale, so that a kid could recreate the epic Battle of Scarif with the finished model.  Pick up one of these kits and rediscover the fun and adventure of scale modeling.  Recommended.


Trip Report - Cavanaugh Flight Museum

 By Mike Blohm

This trip report covers a visit to the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in June 2016 during attendance of Squadron's EagleQuest 25.  This museum is located in Addison, Texas, just northwest of Dallas.  Brian Peck, Matt Blohm and myself took a couple of hours to make a quick tour through the museum, which has 54 aircraft and some vehicles on display in 5 hangars and on their flight line.  Aircraft of note include: Fokker D.7 and Dr.1, Sopwith Camel, FG1-D, FM-2, TBM, Yak-3, P-51D, P-40N, Spitfire Mk VIII, HA-112 (Bf 109), B-25H, B-25J, A‑1H, F9F, F-86, MiG-15, MiG-21, F-104A, F-105G, and F-4C.   Pictures of some of them are posted below.  More pictures are available on the Field Trips webpage Warbird rides are available in 9 different aircraft (4 trainers, 3 attack/observer/bombers, and 2 fighters) and 1 helicopter. 

Per their website, the museum is devoted to promoting aviation studies and to perpetuating America's aviation heritage; the museum fulfils its mission by restoring, operating, maintaining and displaying historically-significant, vintage aircraft, and by collecting materials related to the history of aviation. 

The museum has a lot of great stuff packed into a small space.  Definitely worth a visit.  Plan on two to three hours to get through everything. 

They are open Mon-Sat 9 AM - 5 PM and Sun 11 AM - 5 PM.  Admission is Adults: $10, Seniors & Military: $8, and Children (4-12): $5. 

Their website is at:


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.



Aluminum Overcast Visit

By Fred Franceschi

Fred's Foto File

This B-17G-105-VE, known as Aluminum Overcast, was first flown on May 18, 1945, too late to see action in the Second World War, and it was sold as scrap for $750 in 1946.

It was modified and used at various times to haul cattle, as a pest control and forestry dusting aircraft, and for a variety of other purposes. In May of 1979, it was acquired by the Experimental Aircraft Association, where it was displayed, then restored to almost original configuration, with radio and avionics equipment updated to meet current airworthiness requirements.

This B-17 was painted to represent airplane 42-102516 of the 398th Bomb Group, shot down on its 34th combat mission over Le Manoir, France, on August 13, 1944.

The Aluminum Overcast visited Albuquerque's Double Eagle Airport during January of 2017, and I drove my Command Car there on January 8, just for the hell of it.


I just had to take these first two shots after Brian Peck's demonstration on painting B-17 exhausts and superchargers during our January meeting.

Damn, but it looks beautiful.

Starting up the engines. Notice the person with the fire extinguisher. That is normally required when airplanes are started in both military and civilian life.

Next two images: Heading for the runway.


Next, a couple of shots of the airplane flying overhead. Seeing one plane flying over is impressive; it must have been awesome, or terrifying, to see five hundred or a thousand of these flying over at one time. The underwing star looks a bit small and further rearward on the wing than I would expect, but maybe that is how the original was painted.

Below and next page: Coming home.

A couple of closeups of the nose as the plane returns from a flight.

The advantage of having a WWII military vehicle is that I can (with permission) park my truck under the wing of the B-17 for a photo shoot.




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.




Ken's Armor Files

by Ken Piniak

Camp Life during Desert Shield/Storm

The Third Armored Cavalry Regiment was the first heavy armored unit to be fully deployed to Saudi Arabia during Desert Shield. As soon as our vehicles arrived and were offloaded from the ships, we deployed out into the desert and took up positions to defend Saudi Arabia from an Iraqi attack. We operated out of base camps; the base camp for the First Squadron of the Third ACR was Camp Bessey.

At first, conditions were very primitive; we just lived off of the vehicles, with camo nets to provide some shade and protection from the wind.

Over time, we made improvements. The Engineers built showers and latrines.


Headquarters purchased Bedouin tents for us to live in. Fitting up to four men, these were actually quite comfortable.

A mobile kitchen trailer (MKT) was set up to provide hot food.

We began to conduct physical training (PT) and sports to keep fit. Some of the guys created a set of improvised weights to work out with. They used cases of water for a bench, jack stands for supports, and torsion bars, road wheels, tracks, and other heavy items for weights.

Back in the States, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger heard about soldiers using improvised weight equipment and donated thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment to be sent to the soldiers in the field. So we got brand new weight gear thanks to the Terminator!


Eventually, our GP Medium and GP Large Army tents began to arrive from the States, and we passed our Bedouin tents on to some other unit that needed tents. Life went on. We worked on our vehicles, pulled guard duty and KP, found new friends, and trained for the war we all knew was coming.

On Thanksgiving, the Red Cross delivered a big turkey dinner for us, but the big hit was the snow cone machine!

By December, the nights were getting cold, although the days were still warm. Christmas was nice, and for New Year’s Eve we had dinner with some people from New Zealand! But then came January, and the war. That was the end of Camp Bessey.


The author and a friend.


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. 


City of Albuqueque Proclaims
"Harry Davidson Day"

 By Mike Blohm

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 5 City Council meeting where the proclamation was read and presented to Harry. Pictures of the proclamation document and the ceremony are included below.

The proclamation cited seven accomplishments by Harry, which are summarized as follows.

1.   Harry is a life-long resident of New Mexico who flew missions in the Pacific in the Navy's last operational flying boat, the Martin P5M Marlin;

2.   In 1963 Harry proposed the installation of the Cavalcade of Wings at the Albuquerque Sunport, which is seen by thousands and known and respected by aviation aficionados worldwide;

3.   Harry has served as the unofficial historian of both the Sunport and Kirtland AFB for many years and his knowledge of the history of the people, planes, and events is legend;

4.   Harry created and oversees the Albuquerque Aviation History group, arranging speakers and displays;

5.   Harry worked to get funding to restore the Ingram Biplane that is the centerpiece of the art display at the Sunport;

6.   Harry introduced many people to the joy of flying through his work as a flight instructor;

7.   Harry is a one-of-a-kind person who has made an indelible mark in preserving Albuquerque's aviation history and his determination to create the Cavalcade of Wings is the primary reason that the display exists.

The document is signed by the members of the Albuquerque City Council.

This award was very well deserved by Harry for all his hard work over the years, and ASM is proud to have Harry as a longtime member. Support of the vast Cavalcade of Wings model display at the Sunport is an ongoing effort by ASM, and contributes to the public's knowledge of the hobby of scale modeling. Multiple ASM members serve on the Executive Board of the Cavalcade of Wings.

In addition to the proclamation by the City, Harry was also honored by the Cavalcade of Wings Executive Board with a plaque for his half century of dedication in preserving Albuquerque's Aviation Heritage with the Cavalcade of Wings Historical Collection and his service as the Chairman of the Board.




Kit Review

Great Wall Hobby Handley Page Victor B.2

 By Larry Horyna

Retired from active service in 1993, the Handley Page Victor was the last of the British "V" bombers (the Vulcan and Valiant being the first two). Removed from the strategic nuclear bombing mission in 1968 due to the discovery of fatigue cracks, many Victors were modified to fly strategic reconnaissance missions. After the nuclear deterrent role was handed over to Polaris missile carrying submarines of the Royal Navy, the Victor found new life as an aerial refueling tanker. In this capacity, the Victor saw service during the Falklands War refueling Vulcan bombers on the long range "Black Buck" missions. The 1991 Gulf War saw the Victor in its last use in wartime before being retired.

Great Wall Hobby has recently released a 1/144-scale kit of the this historically important Cold War British aircraft.

Given the scale, the kit is very well detailed. The casting is clean and crisp with very little fit issues. There were a few ejector pin marks in places that were a bit of a hassle to remove, most noticeably on the tiny fuselage intake doors near the tail. Nose weight is required to get the model to sit on the gear (very little though, three grams as I recall). The large wing leading edge intakes pose a bit of challenge as there is a seam running right through the middle of it (but, hey, isn't that just a fact of life for "jet guys?"). Careful filling and sanding will get rid of what was the only seam issue on the kit.


One other very small gripe. There are several antennas on the fuselage. Three are very small blade antennas. Two have to be glued on but for some reason, one is molded on the fuselage top center, making it a certain victim of covering the fuselage seam. After accidentally sanding it off I made a simple replacement from plastic card. I just thought it was strange that Great Wall elected to mold that antenna on the fuselage when the other two would not have been in the way. That's about it for assembly! Everything else was a breeze as far as fit. The real challenge was the paint scheme. The leading edges of the wings and tail had a slight wraparound, which required a lot of masking. In fact, I would say that I spent half the time on this model masking! The result was well worth it, though.

Paints were Tamiya acrylics following the same techniques I use for larger scale models. I start with a black pre-shade, followed by base colors and then a highlight using the base color with a little white mixed in. This is the third model I have used post-shading on and I like the technique very much. I keep a bottle of a particular mix for this. It is made up of Tamiya black and red brown thinned about 75% with Tamiya thinner. I spray this in shadowed areas as well as on the demarcation lines between the camo colors. There is a very good tutorial on where Brett Green demonstrates the technique.


 I used Future for the clear coat followed by the decals. The kit decals went down without a problem and reacted well with only a few coats of Micro-Sol. Next came a panel wash using MIG dark brown followed by Testor's clear flat mixed with just a little semi-gloss. I wanted a tiny bit of sheen but not much because of the scale. Lastly, the landing gear were added. Here there is one little glitch in the instructions. The instructions have you add the gear doors before the gear struts. This is a little unusual but it works fine for the main gear. If you follow the instructions for the nose gear you will have a problem. The doors will interfere with the strut going into the bay. You will want to attach the gear and then the doors. Otherwise, this was a very nice little kit and a very enjoyable build. Highly recommended.


ASM Model Display at the 2016 Kirtland AFB Airshow

By Mike Blohm


The Albuquerque Scale Modelers (ASM) conducted a fantastic model display at the Kirtland AFB Airshow on Saturday June 4th and Sunday June 5th, 2016.  It was a great way to promote both the club and the hobby of scale modeling.  The theme of the model display was the "75th Anniversary of Kirtland AFB (1941 - 2016)" to match the theme of the airshow.  We did our best to have all the aircraft that were involved in the history of Kirtland AFB and it's many missions over the years, plus some models to show what other subjects can be built within the hobby.  We started with three tables on Saturday and increased that to four on Sunday, with a total of 70 models being on display.  I think we had more planes on our tables than they had on the flight line.  Model scales varied from 1/32 to 1/144.  We had three huge 1/48 scale aircraft (B-17G, B-24J and B-29A) courtesy of Don Goodrich, that got a lot of attention.  Additionally, we had five ASM-built nuclear bomber models on loan via Erik McIntyre from the display at the Nuclear Weapons Heritage Model Display (B-36, B-47, B-50, B-52 and B-2) at the Defense Nuclear Weapons School Museum representing that testing mission at Kirtland AFB.  Some pictures of the airshow display are included with this article; more are available on the ASM Website. 

ASM was located in a great spot in the center of the display hangar.  We had literally thousands of visitors stop by to check out the models, talk about scale modeling, and discuss the history of the aircraft that had been stationed at Kirtland AFB.  The parents loved the aircraft and armor whereas the kids loved the science fiction subjects, particularly the Star Wars models and the UFO flying saucers.  Actually, most people loved the sci-fi.  We had to be fast to stay ahead of the little kids who wanted to touch the models, but luckily we had only a few minor, repairable casualties.  Lots of veterans enjoyed seeing their aircraft types in the display and sharing their stories of when they had flown or worked on them.  We even had a few people show us cell phone pictures of their ancestors and ask us if we could identify the aircraft in the picture that they had flown or supported, as they wanted to build a model of their planes.  I'm happy to say that we were successful with those requests.  We also had a few requests to provide some models for additional historical displays, and I'll talk about those at the next ASM meeting. 

We passed out lots of flyers on both ASM and the upcoming New Mexico State Fair Model Contest and encourage folks to visit our website.  It sounded like we might get some attendees at a meeting to check out the club.  Additionally, lots of the kids seemed excited to come enter a model at the State Fair, as well as a few adults.  It was a lot of fun, and I think we succeeded very well in promoting both the club and the hobby of scale modeling.  My sincere thanks to all the ASM members who participated in manning the display and/or loaned models (see alphabetical list below).  We were able to have enough folks to watch over the models - a challenge with four tables - and to answer all the questions that came our way.  In particular I'd like to thank Victor Maestas, Josh Pals, Matt Blohm, and Larry Glenn who assisted me in the coordination with Kirtland and the initial set-up on Saturday morning. 

Matt Blohm

Mike Blohm

Theron Brawley

Jeff Frickstad

Jack Garriss

Larry Glenn

Don Goodrich

Gil Johnson

Bret Kinman

Josh Kinman

Victor Maestas

Jim Mesco

Josh Pals

Ken Piniak

Andy Rogulich

Dave Tipps

Frank Randall








History Lost and Found -  General Giller and the Millie G

By John Tate

For scale modelers, what can be more exciting than the story of a pilot who flew P-51D Mustangs in the ETO during WWII?  Since we were kids and first drawn to this hobby, fighter pilots have been our heroes, so when Albuquerque Scale Modelers member Glenn Bingham alerted the club via email on June 30 that the Albuquerque estate of Major General Edward B. Giller was being sold, I did not want to miss it.  I was not immediately familiar with Maj. Gen. Giller, but I discovered that as modelers, all of us were familiar with the plane he flew - the famous "Millie G" from the 55th FG, 343rd FS, 8th AF, depicted on dozens of model kits and decal sheets and even a restored warbird, thanks to a series of well-known 1944 air recognition photos (picture 1 below).

I was fortunate to obtain from the estate sale one of Maj. Gen. Giller's WWII photo albums, which documented his time at Wormingford irfield in England, including many shots of his fellow pilots and squadron mates. Inside I found several pictures of his Mustangs as well as photos of P-38s he flew, but one of my favorites was this one - his squadron's WWII briefing room (picture 2).  We have seen this setting in a hundred WWII movies, but this is the real thing - how many of us have imagined ourselves seated before a mission map just like this, ready to take on Berlin, while gluing together our plastic P-51s?

Being a fighter pilot was not all work and no play, however - here's the bar at the "new" officer's club at Wormingford. (picture 3). To have been a fly on the wall and to have heard some of those flying stories...

Here's a great shot of Ed Giller in Spring 1944, in the cockpit of a P-38, the plane his squadron flew before exchanging them for P-51Ds later that summer.

Giller ended the war as a Lt. Colonel and group commander, but his career really took off after WWII, when he enrolled at University of Illinois and obtained a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. He was assigned to the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, in charge of the radiation branch, and then to Albuquerque to the Air Force Special Weapons Center, and involved in nuclear testing throughout the 1950s.  Remember those famous pictures of suburban homes being blown apart by a nuclear blast?  Those were the projects he was involved in, before going to work for the CIA and the Atomic Energy Commission and, along the way, managed Project Blue Book, the famous USAF UFO study; he retired from active duty as a Major General in 1972 but continued working as a civilian with a defense contractor, Pacific Sierra Research, in Washington, DC, until 1990, when he retired and returned to Albuquerque. That's quite a career - now you know how these gentlemen ended up being known collectively as the Greatest Generation.

As it turns out, Maj. Gen. Giller also crossed paths with IPMS/USA. In a prominent place in the General's living room was a display case containing four in-flight models of the Millie G, representing the four different P-51Ds he flew from 1944 to 1945.  I was fortunate enough to pick up the display during the last day of the estate sale, thinking perhaps a modeler from ASM might have built it for him, years ago. When I brought the display to our club meeting on July 8, veteran ASM member Jack Morris recognized the display immediately but pointed out, to my surprise, that the models were not presented to General Giller by ASM, but by IPMS/USA, at the 1968 National Convention in Washington, DC, where General Giller was a banquet speaker. Sure enough, Jack was able to locate an IPMS Quarterly, Vol. 4 No. 2, from 1969, which contained an article on General Giller and the Millie G, as well as some photos of General Giller receiving the four P-51 models at the banquet. The models were constructed from the Hawk 1/48 P-51D kit, which in 1968 was the best model available of the P-51D in that scale; Jack told me they had been built by IPMS modeler Tom Mitchell, from Texas. Those models were part of IPMS history as well as General Giller's history, and I felt fortunate that just by accident, I was able to rescue the display (pictures 9-16).

When I discovered the story behind the display models, I contacted Jim Pearsall, IPMS/USA historian and Publications Director, who kindly arranged for re-publication of the 1969 IPMS article in our club newsletter (pictures 5-8). It gives a good account of the WWII story of General Giller and his P-51D Mustangs, but keep in mind when reading it, of the difficulties of researching and publishing back in the pre-IT days; the article was prepared and set by hand.

I learned a few things from my experience with General Giller's legacy; that this is a better hobby if we collaborate and share information, that old hands still have sharp memories, and that it is important to act quickly and decisively to preserve history. But most of all, that those gentlemen whom we present models to at IPMS functions, really do appreciate our handiwork and our efforts to capture the history those models represent. Remember this the next time an opportunity presents itself to build and present a model to a veteran at one of our events; this can be more rewarding than all of the trophies and awards we will ever win at competitions. And if you're looking for a worthy P-51 modeling project, give some thought to the Millie G; as modelers, there's no better thank-you to Major General Giller for his lifetime of service to this country, than by preserving his memory with a beautiful replica of his sleek Mustang.


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Field Trip - Udvar-Hazy Annex


Smithsonian Air and Space Museum


By Victor Maestas

In April, 2016 I had a work training class near Washington DC.  I went a day early so I could have time to go to the Udvar-Hazy Annex of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, VA.  I attended one of the free "highlights" guided tour.  This tour started with early aviation and went through most of the museum in chronological order.  The docent stopped at certain aircraft to give background on the plane, the people involved and details on how the museum selects and restores artifacts.


This museum restricts its artifacts to prototypes of historically significant aircraft, including the first to accomplish something (record holders), aircraft piloted/crewed by significant persons and aircraft involved in historical events. The museum is always adding exhibits and there are about 170 aircraft and over 150 large space artifacts on display. Some of the vehicles on display include:

Boeing 367 "Dash 80" (707 and KC-135 prototype) that introduced jet passenger aircraft to the public by doing barrel rolls over the Seattle 1955 Seafair and Gold Cup Hydroplane Racers at Lake Washington.

B-29 "Enola Gay"

SR-71A  2023/61-7972 last flight from LA to DC - 1hr 7mins 53.7secs on 1990 Mar 6


Selection of US WWII aircraft including
P-40E Warhawk  
F4U-1D Corsair

Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver


Selection of German WWII aircraft including

Do-335 Pfiel   

Me 163 Komet

Arado 234 Blitz jet

He 291 Uhu



Selection of Japanese WWII aircraft including:

Aichi M6A1 Seiran

Kyushu J7W1 Shinden

Kugisho MXY7 Ohka Model 22 (Cherry Blossom)

Nakajima J1N1-S Gekko


Bob Hoover's North American  Rockwell Shrike Commander 500S

Double Eagle II balloon gondola, piloted by Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, and Larry Newman, the first balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean on 17 August 1978

F-35B with engines on stands for display

Red Bull Stratos Capsule Felix Baumgartner jumped to Earth from a helium balloon in the stratosphere on October 14, 2012. Doing so, he set world records for skydiving an estimated 24 miles, reaching an estimated top speed of  843.6 mph, or Mach 1.25 becoming  the first person to break the sound barrier without vehicular power relative to the surface on his descent

NASA Pathfinder solar powered UAV - set the altitude record for solar-powered aircraft - as well as propeller-driven aircraft - to 71,530 feet (21,800 m) on July 7, 1997.

Space Shuttle "Discovery"

"Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind" Mother Ship film prop


There were also a large number of models on display in cases around the museum.  Most of them were of the painted carved-wood type (mostly in flying poses on stands).


Restoration Hanger

The museum has an on-site restoration hanger where artifacts are prepared for display in the museum.  Work in the hanger can be seen from an overhead viewing area. The museum is also connected to Dulles Airport by a taxiway, so flying aircraft can take their last flight to the museum.


The docent explained that people often ask if the aircraft on display are restored to flying condition. The answer is yes and no.  Most artifacts are taken apart and all parts restored to as close to factory perfect as possible, then coated in a preservative to prevent corrosion or deterioration.  They are then reassembled and put on display.   Even though they are probably able to become airworthy, the aircraft would have to be completely taken apart and have all the preservatives removed.  Artifacts that go to this museum are for historical record and will never leave.


Some of the artifacts being worked on while I was there include:

"Friendship 7" Mercury capsule

B-26 "Flak Bait"

Horten Ho-336 flying wing

Start Trek nacelles - the film prop Enterprise is being restored by the Smithsonian to match the "Trouble with Tribbles" episode, (see reference material on top of the white paint booth)

Sikorsky JRS-1 utility/transport flying boat, survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941


This museum has a great selection of very interesting artifacts.  This museum has a lot of the larger aircraft/spaceships that will not fit in the main museum on the DC mall.  If you like seeing historical aircraft and spacecraft in great condition, this museum is a must-see.  I spent about six hours at the museum including a Space Program movie at the IMAX Theater.



ASM Cub Scout Make and Take

By Tony Humphries

 On Thursday April 21st, ASM (specifically Theron Brawley, Josh Pals, Bret Kinman, Victor Maestas, Jack Garriss and Tony Humphries) attended a meeting of Cub Scout Pack #338 at the Church of Latter Day Saints on Caberzon Blvd, Rio Rancho. After an initial introduction, principally by Tony and with help from Theron, the Scouts were split into groups of approximately 6 or 7 Scouts and along with some of their siblings, they were given a choice of snap-together model kits to assemble. The choices were the Scooby Doo Mystery machine or a Monster Truck and both proved popular. With assistance from the ASM members present, around 30 scouts and siblings assembled their kits over the course of the next hour and all seemed to enjoy the event.


Both the Scouts and the parents in attendance were very happy with the results and many of the parents came to thank us afterwards and to tell us how much their children had enjoyed themselves. The Pack also presented ASM with a poster afterwards to commemorate the event, as you can see below:


It is unfortunate in our view that IPMS have discontinued their support for these events as everyone there seemed to enjoy themselves very much, and we had at least 2 enquiries about our club and our meeting schedule, which shows that these make and take events are potentially still a valid recruitment tool.  As support has been discontinued, however, this is likely to be the last event of this kind that we are able to organize, but at least we went out on a good note. ASM would like to thank the members of Pack 338, their parents, their leaders and especially Shawn Quigley for helping us to organize this event. A picture of all of the ASM team (aside From Bret, who had left at this stage) is shown along with the poster, above.



ASM Field Trip - War Eagles Air Museum

Santa Teresa, New Mexico

By Larry Glenn

On February 25, 2016, Brian Peck, Tommy Willers, Ken Peniak and myself took the long journey to Santa Teresa, NM to visit the War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM).  This was not the first trek to WEAM by ASM members, but it was the first for me.  For an out of the way place, the museum is certainly well represented in aircraft, some military vehicles and many classic automobiles.  WEAM has 36 aircraft on display and 52 vehicles.  Additional exhibits include several nuclear weapons, vintage flight simulators, aircraft engine displays, both propeller and jet, uniform exhibits of allies and WWII German aviators, vintage gas pumps and many other artifacts and exhibits.

Some of the more notable WWII aircraft on display are a F4U-4 Corsair, a TBM-3E Avenger, a P-40E Warhawk, a P-51D Mustang,  a P-38 Lightning (it was in after war racing livery), a Sea Fury Mk X, a Fieseler Storch, a A-26C Invader, a DC-3 (C-47) in civilian attire and a yet to be restored Soviet TU-2.  More modern aircraft included a T-33, a F-86 Sabre Mk.. VI (Canadair), a FJ-2 Fury, a T-38B Talon , a Cessna T-37B Tweety Bird, an A-7E Corsair II, a F-84F Thunderstreak and a MIG-15, a MIG-15 two seater and a MIG-21. 

The classic automobiles included a 1935 Auburn Model 85 Boat Tail convertible, a 1936 Packard Super 8 convertible, a 1918 Oldsmobile Touring car, several Fords, including a 1914 Model T Speedster, a 1927 Model T, 1929 and 1930  Model A's, a 1970 E-Type Jaguar roadster,  and other assorted Chevrolets, Oldsmobiles, Cadillacs, MG's, Jaguars and a lot more.  The military vehicles included the standard Jeeps, a M706/V-100 Commando and, and as you entered the premises, a M163 and Hawk anti-aircraft missile battery.

 We were escorted by Gus, a fellow modeler and collector of military memorabilia.  Gus permitted us entry into the cockpits of the MIG-15 and MIG-21 and into the gunner's station in the TU-2.  Ken brought his collection of flight helmets and other flight gear and was photographed in the gear in the aircraft. 

 We spent about 3 hours at the museum and I took over 100 photographs of the exhibits, many of which are posted below.  We left Albuquerque shortly after 7:00 a.m.  The trip took about 4 hours.  The drive is well worth it and for those who have not seen it, it is a trip well worth taking.

Pictures below by Larry Glenn

Pictures below by Brian Peck

Report and pictures below by Ken Piniak

On Feb 25, four of us: Ken Piniak, Brian Peck, Larry Glenn, and Tommy went to War Eagles Air Museum. I have been there before, so I only took photos of things that were new to me.  I have a small collection of flight gear, and the high point of the trip was being able to dress up as a pilot (US, Soviet, and East German) get my photo in and around some of the aircraft.





 By Jerry Little

"Steampunk" means a lot of different things to different people, but the one thing we can agree on is that the word is cool!  Most enthusiasts consider Steampunk as a subgenre of science fiction; however, there is a much greater diversity to the steampunk genre in that it often includes fantasy and historical fiction. One of the most important, if not the most important, aspect of Steampunk is the aesthetically pleasing nature that is created in its artistic designs. Two fundamental elements are 19th-century Victorian style that combines modern technology fused with industrial steam-powered machinery and the hybrid nature of the alternative history in storytelling.

The word "steampunk" wasn't used much until the 1980s. Even though elements of steampunk were around much earlier, like many things, the name came about by "accident" in a letter-to-the-editor where a science fiction author recommended they call his group of writers "steam-punks."  This was a play on the already-used term cyberpunk.

Since the artistic value plays the largest role, probably more important than the technology, most of our modern references to steampunk visuals go back to Disney (is this Walt Disney the man or the company - maybe a little clarity?). The 1954 film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the submarine Nautilus provided most of the cues for what we see as Steampunk design today. The design was based on Disney artist Harper Goff's work. Goff was also credited with work in the initial development of Army camouflage and the Navy's work on "dazzle"-type camouflage of ships. Goff also created another iconic submarine design, the Proteus from the movie Fantastic Voyage. His work was a balance between visual aesthetics and use.

Given the growing popularity of the genre, I thought it would be a cool contest for the Albuquerque Scale Modelers and decided to host a sponsored contest last December. Since there really is no rule in what constitutes a steampunk entry other than it loosely has to follow the idea of industrial modernism...  I was open to all entries. We had a great turnout for the club and we weren't disappointed in the entries.

Considering the theme, it was mandatory to have at least one Nautilus entry. Interestingly enough, there were three Nautiluses entered. Two were what many consider "Disney Nautiluses" of Captain Nemo fame, and the other was a very obscure resin and white metal kit from a company called BCI. Steve Brodeur displayed the classic Disney Nautilus in 1/240 scale. Mike Clagett also entered a solid resin version of the Nemo Nautilus designed by Scott Brodeen. Although the BCI Nautilus was said to be based on the Jules Verne book, it is a striking fish-like departure from the Disney style we are used to. That is what caught my eye!

Mike Clagett did a great job on the BCI Nautilus. He finished it with a copper-clad look that highlighted some of the features, like the contra-rotating annular propellers and the hull-forming conning tower. The model included the four stacks that are so prominent in the Jules Vern book. Mike also included the always-needed large barbed and raked spar for those times when ramming was in order! His Nautilus captured the award for Best H2O Machine!

The entries weren't limited to "under"-the-surface machines; we also had a few "over"-the-surface machines as well. Mike Blohm entered a neat model that we all know called the "Flap Jack." While not strictly Steampunk, it was quirky in the spirit of the competition. Mike also had a scratchbuilt Airship Atlantis that combined elements of multiple modes of transportation into a really cool "above"-the-surface flying machine!  Unfortunately, Mike's Atlantis ended up in the "What if" category of "What if I had finished it in time to enter in last month's contest!" He did have it ready for ASM's annual Sci-Fi contest in January. Mike Clagett also had a paper-craft model of Count Leonard "Never call me Lenny" Von Falconsk's Crimson Destructor (X-Wing Bi-plane) displayed in flight.

What really stood out was Robert Henderson's scratchbuilt Flying Steamboat. Robert did an awesome job building what was a cross between a turn of the century hot air balloon and Leonardo De Vinci's mechanical paddle boat. Richard's Paddle Wheel Balloon was my pick for Best Aerial Machine!

Congratulations to both Mike Clagett and Richard Henderson on their excellent models and imaginations in Steampunk!




Cavalcade of Wings Website

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

ASM members are asked to please help assist in the catalogging and case-cleaning events that will be happening shortly at the Albuquerque Sunport.

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 1300 total models in 18 display cases.  Several ASM members are on the CoW E-Board, including the chairman 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 / 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

VegasCon 2017 / Best of the West-22

Show and Contest

May 6, 2017

East Side Cannery Resort and Casino

Las Vegas, Nevada

Hosted by IPMS Las Vegas, Region 8

Website at:  Best of the West 22

Click here for Best of the West 2017 Flyer


CoMMiESFest 2017

March 4, 2017

"Let it Snow"

  Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Golden, Colorado

Hosted by IPMS CoMMiES, Region 10

Website at:  CoMMiESFest 2017

Model Car Contest at the 26th Annual Super Nationals
Custom Auto Show

February 4, 2017

Presented by the Albuquerque Model Car Club

In conjunction with the

26th Annual Super Nationals Custom Auto Show (February 3-5)

Model Judging is on Saturday, February 4th

Entries must be submitted before 12 Noon on Saturday



2014 Region 10 Convention and Model Contest

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

*** Please note the change in the date for Chile Con 3 ***

Hosted by Albuquerque Scale Modelers

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

MCM Elegante Hotel and Event Center

2020 Menaul Boulevard NE

Albuquerque, New Mexico  USA

---  Thrice the Spice  ---


ASM thanks the following companies and people for their support and sponsorship at Chile Con 3 :




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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Links to information on ASM's 2006 Region 10 Contest:
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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

Alternate Links to ASM Website Pages: