John Tate

ASM Member Since: 1995
Division: Masters
Day Job: International Man of Mystery
Online Profiles: (none)
Modeler of the Year Winner: Yes
Model of the Year Winner:  
E-Board (current/past):

President (2021-current)
P, VP, Contest Director, Pro Tem – several times since 1999


How/when did you get started?
I’ve been building models since I was a kid in the late 1960s. Model kits were everywhere in those days and every kid in the neighborhood built car and plane models. Even back then, scale modeling was a way to capture history, from WWII to the Vietnam War to the Apollo program. As a kid, building a model helped make sense of what was going on in the adult world.


What are your favorite tools?
All I need to build a model is a trusty No. 11 X-acto knife, some gray wet-or-dry sandpaper, toothpicks, an old cutting mat, CA glue, paints, brushes and my boxes of spare parts. I’ve been using CA glue since the 1990s but otherwise everything I know about building models I learned back in the Golden Age and have stuck with it ever since.

Stash Management

What’s your favorite build?
One of my favorite modeling projects was working with Tony Humphries on a Battle of El Alamein photo article back in 2017. Not only did I learn about the historical elements of that pivotal WWII battle but also had fun posing models in realistic settings, such as the below HO Scale Ju-52 diorama.

Group projects can be fun and also bring recognition to ASM, such as our winning Renault FT and Matilda Group/Chapter entries at the IPMS Nationals in Phoenix, AZ in 2018.


Do you compete outside of ASM contests?
Have won many trophies at local and regional contests over the years; besides ASM’s own Chile Con contests, my favorites were the late, great Tamiya Con contests in Aliso Viejo, CA, in the early 2000’s and the thoroughly enjoyable Gathering model shows put on by the Engar brothers in Ogden, UT during the same period. I’ve also picked up a small bag of trophies from several IPMS Nationals but for me being part of the contest judging process at Nats was what made those trips worthwhile.

Anything Else to Add?

It’s not the plastic, it’s the people.  I’ve made life-long friendships in the hobby and being part of the brotherhood of modelers was worth more than any contest win.  Helping out other modelers, working on club projects and enjoying a few laughs about this hobby of ours is what’s kept me in the club cutting sprue all these years.