ASM Articles Page

ASM Website Pages - Click on applicable Title below to visit that page


ASM100.jpg (82854 bytes) Index ASM100.jpg (82854 bytes)

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

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


Next Club Contest

 Click here for info on ASM's 2021 Virtual Contests


** Due to the continuing pandemic, only current members and invited guest speakers **
will be allowed at ASM meetings.  Contact the club Secretary, Frank Randall at
 the ASM E-Mail site ( ) for membership
information, to join ASM, or if you have any questions.  


** The August 6th Meeting is a Swap Meet with No Contests **

* Meeting start time is 6:30 PM *


The July 9th ASM Meeting was the



"Jet-Engined" Theme (Points) Contest

Guest Speaker Presentation: "USAF Air Superiority in the Korean War"
by aviation author Douglas Dildy


Sponsored Contest: "Chuck Yeager - the Legend of Legends"
hosted by Dave Epstein & Ken Liotta


See article "Chuck Yeager - American Ace and Test Pilot" by Mike Blohm


Meeting start time is 6:30 PM

Model entries close and judging begins at 7:00 PM


ASM Conducted Three Virtual Contests During 2021

Click here for info on ASM's 2021 Virtual Contests


Contest #1 Contest #2 Contest #3
Sci-Fi-Space Open BIG or small



 Upcoming ASM Contests Info

***  See Contest Schedule for status of upcoming contests  ***

August 6th  -  "ASM Swap Meet" - No Contests

September 10th  -  "Pandemic Virtual Model Contest Entries" Theme (Point) Contest

October 1st  -  "Hurricanes" Special (Non-Points) Contest

November 5th  -  "80 Years Ago (Pearl Harbor)" Theme (Point) 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.

2021 2021 Presentations and Model Clincs
  Will be scheduled and posted when in-person meetings resume
July 9th "USAF Air Superiority in the Korean War" presentation by Douglas Dildy
Nov  5th "USS Iowa" presentation by Cathy Myer
TBD Air Force Armament Museum presentation by Mike Blohm

Test Page

Next Sponsored Contest

July 9th  

Sponsored Contest: "Chuck Yeager - the Legend of Legends"
hosted by Dave Epstein & Ken Liotta


See article "Chuck Yeager - American Ace and Test Pilot" by Mike Blohm on this webpage


Upcoming Sponsored Contests:

TBD for 2021

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

Sponsored Contest ROE

Upcoming Events Calendar

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

2021 Schedule
Date Event details will be posted as they become known, as will changes & cancellations
April 23-25
StarFest 2021.   Science Fiction Convention, Postponed - Date now TBD. Marriott and Hilton DTC Convention Hotels, Denver Colorado.  ModelFest & model contest at StarFest, hosted by IPMS CoMMiES.
May 8 Modelmania 2021.  Stafford Center, Stafford Texas.  IPMS Houston, IPMS Region 6.
June 25-27 Albuquerque Comic Con, Albuquerque Convention Center, Albuquerque NM.  See ASM Trip Report from the 2011 event.  See ASM Trip Report for the 2012 Event.
July 24th Houston Automotive Modelers Society 14th Model Car Show and Contest.  Cypress Creek Christian Community Center Form, Spring, Texas.  IPMS Region 6.
August 11-15 Star Trek Convention - Las Vegas 2021, Rio Suites Hotel, Las Vegas NV.  See Star Trek Trip Report from the 2011 event. Star Trek Trip Reports for 2013 and 2014
* August 18-21 * IPMS/USA 2021 National Convention.  Rio Hotel Resort and Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada.  
August 20-22 Bubonicon 52 - Take 2.  Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, Albuquerque Marriott Uptown, 2101 Louisiana Blvd NE (Louisiana & I-40), Albuquerque, NM
August TBD New Mexico State Fair  ASM-Sponsored Model Contest; Model registration dates are still TBD at this time.  Will be two days from 9 AM to 5 PM each day. Judging probably on Tue or Wed the week following.  Tentative ASM Display-Only Theme: "The Korean War (1950-1953)"  The state fair runs Sep 9-19.  Model pick-up is on Mon, Sep 20 from 9 AM to 5 PM.
September 10 ASM Model Display at the 2021 Folds of Honor Patriot Gala at Isleta Resort and Casino
September TBD ASM Model Display at the 2021 Air Force Ball at Kirtland AFB.  Theme TBD
October TBD Sante Fe Comic Con 2021.  Dates TBD.  Buffalo Thunder Resort, Sante Fe, New Mexico
November 6 ModelZona 2021  Location TBD.  IPMS Craig Hewitt Chapter, Region 10.
April 7-9. 2022 AMPS 2022 International Convention.  The AMPS 2021 Convention was rescheduled to April 7-9, 2022.  Marriot at City Center, Newport News, Virginia


Notes and News Items

      ASM100.jpg (82854 bytes)


** Due to the continuing pandemic, only current members and invited guest speakers **
will be allowed at ASM meetings.  Contact the club Secretary, Frank Randall at
 the ASM E-Mail site ( ) for membership
information, to join ASM, or if you have any questions.  




ASM Model Displays in Fall 2021

As of July 23rd

Participation in the ASM model displays is totally voluntary. 


Click here for pdf file of this ASM Model Fall 2021 Displays article


IPMS/USA National Convention

Aug 18 - 21 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Provided for reference - Convention dates impact State Fair entry dates and club manning. 


2021 New Mexico State Fair 

Dates of note: 

Model Entry dates are Fri and Sat 20-21 Aug from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM each day 

There is an Entry Fee this year of $5 per person that covers all Divisions in Creative Arts  

Model Judging date is TBD - it will be either Mon 30 Aug or Tue 31 Aug 

The actual State Fair dates are Sep 9 to 19 

Model Pick-up date is on Monday, Sep 20 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  

We will need ASM members to help with the entries (likely two shifts per day) and the judging.  Please contact Josh Pals and Mike Blohm if you can help out.  

The ASM Display-Only theme for 2021 is "The Korean War".  Models desired for the display include all participating nations from 1950 to 1953 - aircraft, helicopters, armor, vehicles, figures, carriers/ships, dioramas - any scale.  They can be representative of the time period if color schemes are compatible.  It does not have to be from a participating unit.  For example a Banshee from a West Coast USN unit would be workable if it has a Korea-type color scheme and period markings.  A pdf copy of the spreadsheet of Korean War models available from club members is posted below.  If you are willing to loan a model for the display and are not included on the list yet, please let me know.  Please build new models per what we still need.

Click here to see pdf version of the Korean War Models spreadsheet.


1. Models in the State Fair display will be trapped there until Monday, 20 Sep, which will impact what is available for the displays at the Folds of Honor (Sep 10) and the Air Force Anniversary Ball (Sep 18).  Both of these would typically include Korean War models. 
2. The same is true for the Sep 10 ASM Model Contest "Pandemic Virtual Contest Entries" - so plan accordingly. 
3. Models entered in the State Fair Model Competition and in the ASM Display do get points towards the Modeler of the Year competition (50 points each for contest entries, 25 points each for display models; 3 models max in total, any combination). 
4. Models that fit our Korean War theme display can also compete in the Fair's Model Contest.  We will move them into the ASM Display case after judging occurs.
5. Display models can be delivered to the Fair on the entry days (20-21 Aug), or during the judging day (either 30 or 31 Aug).  We will also do pick-ups at Hobby Proz during the morning of the entry days.  Let us know what your plan is for dropping off your models. 
6. If you are attending the IPMS/USA National Convention on Aug 18-21 and would like to enter models in the State Fair, we will try to arrange surrogate entries by other ASM members not attending.  We will set up an entry drop-off at Hobby Proz.

More information will be provided as we get closer to the State Fair dates.

NM State Fair webpage link below:  Includes the entry categories and contest rules.


Folds of Honor Patriots Gala

Date: Friday, Sep 10 at the Isleta Resort and Casino

Manning: Probably 3 to 4 people; dress is suit and tie.

Models from all U.S. Services - Korean War to Present.  Aircraft, helicopters, armor, vehicles, figures, ships, subs, dioramas - any scale.  Can be representative of the time period if color schemes are compatible.  Does not have to be from a participating unit.  ASM has been lacking in the following model types:  modern armor, ships, subs, figures and dioramas.  Number of display tables will drive the number of models we need.  Please E-mail me with what types of models you can loan for the display. 

We are looking for a volunteer to build a 1/48 scale A-10 Warthog for their auction. 

U.S. Air Force Anniversary Ball

We are still coordinating with Kirtland AFB about participating in this event.

Date: TBD - Likely Saturday, Sep 18 at Kirtland AFB

Manning: Probably 3 to 4 people; dress is suit and tie.

USAF models 1947 to Present.  Aircraft, helicopters, rockets, missiles, SAMs, ground vehicles, figures, ships (they do have some), figures, dioramas - any scale.  

There may be a "theme" at the event that will drive other model types.  The 2019 theme was "75th Anniversary of D-Day" so we also had D-Day models. 

ASM has been lacking in the following USAF model types:  ICBMs, IRBMs, cargo/transports, special mission, figures, and dioramas.  Number of display tables will drive the number of models we need.  Please E-mail me with what types of models you can loan for the display.  


1. We will look at dividing the Korean War models up so that we have enough for the State Fair display and the FoH and AF Ball as well.

2. When we sort out what models to use, we will request additional info on your models for placards - names of units, pilots/crew, dates, locations, etc. 

3. Further details on delivering models for the display will be posted.  Typically ASM members can bring them to Hobby Proz mid-week before the display date in a plastic tub with your name on it and a list of your models included.  We will pick them up from the shop and return them afterwards.  With the potential back-to-back displays we may bring them back to the shop after the last display. 

Links to all past ASM displays at:



ASM 2020 Virtual Model of the Year Winners
Virtual Model of the Year
Virtual Model of the Year
Virtual Model of the Year
Virtual Model of the Year
No Entries Mark Vaughn Paul Fontenoy Jim Guld
No Entries Civil War Cannon River Monitor Mosel A10 Mk IA Diorama
ASM100.jpg (82854 bytes)
ASM100.jpg (82854 bytes)

Click here for all 2020 Contending Models


ASM has won the 2019 Region 10 Chapter of the Year Award

and the 2019 Region 10 Website of the Year Award


           Region 10 Chapter of the Year Cup


Current Articles


Deadline to submit proposed ASM Newsletter articles to

Joe Walters is 10 days prior to the date of the upcoming club meeting.

ASM E-Board Articles

Click Here for Recently Archived E-Board Articles

Club Column

By John Tate, Acting ASM President

Attention ASM Members:

 1. June 4th ASM Meeting is a Go.

 2. Meeting starts promptly at 6:30 PM and ends at 9:00 PM with everyone and everything out by hard deadline of 9:30 PM. Model contest entry deadline is 7:00 PM to allow enough time for judging. This is a change from our past practice of starting our club meetings around 7 PM and going to whenever we decided to leave. As staying late will now cost the club money, no dawdling.

 3. Meeting room is cleared for 150 people. People vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear a mask, unvaccinated do need to wear a mask. This is the honor system but since the health of our membership is involved, don't play games. Optimally, members should get a vaccination goingforward if they want to participate in club meetings.

 4. Refer to the ASM Contest schedule for dates and themes.

5. Start cutting sprue!

 John Tate

Acting ASM President


January Article

Tony Humphries stepped down from the club president spot last month at the end of his calendar-year term, and as club vice president I became acting president until our first in-person club meeting, when a new E-Board will be nominated and elected by the membership.  Tony deserves our thanks for serving competently as club president for several terms over the years, including and especially the unforeseen pandemic year of 2020, and fortunately he will be sticking around as an active modeler and club member.  Pro Tem E-Board member Dave Epstein has stepped into the vacated VP position with approval of the Board.

 So where do things stand with the club?  Well no surprise, we're still in limbo due to the pandemic.  Presumably at some point in the future, mass vaccinations and a declining infection rate will allow UNM to reopen its conference center, and we can resume in-person meetings.  How that will happen and what the new rules will be are of course unknown at this time.  Future events could still throw a monkey wrench into our reopening plans so flexibility will be the key.  However, there's a consensus on the Board and in the club that the UNM space is the one that best meets our needs, so we'll try to stay there as long as they will have us.

In the meantime, our club has no expenses and a bank account in the black; we're in a good position to get going again once the pandemic ends.

Modeling-wise, there are several virtual contests on the club contest schedule this year and an IPMS Nationals coming up in Las Vegas in August.  If you find yourself with some extra time during lockdowns, haul out some of those dream projects and start building; if you think about it, we'll probably never have a better time to get some scale modeling done than right now.

If you have any questions or concerns during our lockdown phase, feel free to contact me at


President's Report - The Fez

By Tony Humphries, ASM President

December Article

The Final Fez

Well, here we are with the last newsletter of 2020, a year that many of us would prefer to forget, I'm sure. We all know what's been going on in the news and I hope that everyone is taking this seriously now. I think that most of you are and I am relieved about that. Obviously, if you don't, that's your choice. Or your funeral, as we say in England. Maybe literally...

Anyway, the current outbreak obviously means that we are still not going to be meeting in person any time soon. Even when we are able to do so, there are many questions that we still have to address. Will we only allow people into our meetings who have been vaccinated? If so, how do we prove it?
Maybe we can have a numbered tag stapled to everyone's ear in an agricultural manner? Well, okay, maybe that's going a bit far... Do we still require masks? Do we limit ourselves to, say, 20 people per meeting and continue to socially distance throughout? There are clearly many unanswered
questions currently, although the current (acting) E-Board have been discussing these already in the hope that vaccinations will soon become available and also that people will take them. If you refuse to do so or refuse to wear a mask then I don't know what we will do about that, as yet. I certainly wouldn't let you anywhere near me or my family, personally, but what steps the club will take remain to be determined.

There are some difficult decisions facing many of us in the coming months anyway both personally and within the hobby and many clubs of our size (or larger) are going to face some serious issues. There will no doubt be people who will not want to be told what to do and whether they are even able to
remain members of our own, or other clubs, or whether they will be allowed into regional or national conventions again remains to be seen. We don't have anything in our by-laws about that and I doubt that anyone who's not Mayan had actually foreseen this calamitous event or prepared their club for it. I think it's important for us to acknowledge that it's not going to instantly return to normal as soon as a vaccine is available. As I said, we haven't made any of these decisions as a club yet, but once we do, you can rest assured that you will be told about it as soon as we know ourselves.

You may wonder why I am discussing issues that may still be several months away. Well I thought I'd mention it since it was fresh in my mind, but also it's a discussion that I won't be involved in guiding or shaping as club President, as I am about to step down from that role. I had expected, honestly, that we would have elected a new E-Board by now and that many of us on the board currently could have handed over our roles and responsibilities to a new
generation of club members, to take the club ever onwards. None of us expected things to turn out the way they have though.

As far as my own reasoning is concerned, I have too many other things going on outside of the hobby at present (again) to be able to devote the time
and energy to this role that it both needs and the club deserves. Consequently, I am going to pass that mantle on to someone who does. I am delighted to say that I will hand over my current duties in the next couple of weeks to an exceptionally capable replacement in John Tate, our current Vice-
President. As you probably already know, he has been a member, both of ASM and IPMS, for many years now and is a talented, well-known, and widely respected modeler with a huge trophy haul to his name and a large number of contacts within the hobby, that can only benefit us as a club. He's also a thoroughly decent, friendly and approachable guy too, which also helps. There's basically nothing about this hobby that John doesn't know and I know that he will do a splendid job as President. I can't think of a better man for the job. He's been President of the club before, too, so what more could you ask for? I know he'll do a better job than I did!

Anyway, I will close here by saying thanks to all of you for your support over the past year-and-change and I wish you and your families a wonderful
Christmas and a Happy, prosperous and above all, safe New Year. Be careful out there!

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

By Mike Blohm, ASM Webmaster

Spider_web.jpg (89398 bytes)

The ASM Website pages are updated through the June 4th "Open" contest.  Note: there were no meetings in April, through December, 2020 and in January through May 2021.  The Contest Results and Model Pictures have been posted for the Virtual Contests that occured through those periods, but there have been no pictures to post on the Meeting Pictures webpage.  Pictures from the new Virtual Contests will be posted as they occur.  Special 2020 and 2021 "Virtual Model Contests" webpages have been created to show the contests and their ROEs since they may occur across multiple months (i.e., Jan - Feb). 

The website's changeover to 2021 webpages was completed in January.  All of the "yearly" web pages (contest results, model pics, meeting pics, and model of the year) have been created and populated with the pictures and information for 2021. We are not currently tracking the 2021 modeler of the year because the virtual contets are non-points contests.  The 2021 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 2021 pages will take you to other 2021 web pages.  If you are on previous year's pages (for example 2018 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.  

There were some changes in Oct 2020 to the 18 hot link buttons bar shown at the top of each ASM webpage to make it easier to navigate to the more popular pages.  Added in the lower right corner were ASM Reviews, the New Mexico State Fair, and Website Updates.  The Website Updates link wording include the date of the last update (for example 10-24 meaning October 24th.  Review the entire article on the changes at ASM Website Changes.

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 link in the "18 Links" bar at the top of every major webpage, and also 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 in the "18 Links" bar at the top of every major webpage, and also listed in the "Index" at the top of the Articles Page.  This page includes links to separate  NM State Fair contest resuls pages from 2005 to 2020.  It also includes all the Section and Class entry criteria.  Current year information will be posted as soon as it is available.  Read through this information to learn what models you should be thinking about entering in 2021.  Note that ASM Master and Intermediate modelers are asked to enter in the "Professional" Class.  Please note that there is also a link in the  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. Note that the Archives were broken up into three sections (dates are listed) due to the amount of articles being archived.  Note that most articles now get posted in two locations, so they should be available after they get removed from the Articles webpage.  For example, trip reports get posted on both the Articles webpage and the Field Trips webpage.  Review articles get posted to the ASM Reviews webpage and the Articles webpage. 

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!

Website of the Year!

by Joe Walters, ASM Newsletter Editor

On July 24, 2019 the Region 10 Coordinator Mike Mackowski announced the 2018 award winners, and once again Mike Blohm was named Webmaster of the Year!  From Mackowski's announcement:

Mike Blohm (from Albuquerque Scale Modelers) is the R10 Webmaster of the Year for 2018. Albuquerque's site is very comprehensive, easy to navigate, promotes IPMS/USA on the main page, and has a specific page for people new to the hobby. Their self-nomination essay is attached and is very detailed.

Citation: For producing a sharp, easy to use, well organized website with useful and timely content including ready links to IPMS/USA.

Chapter of the Year was awarded to IPMS Craig Hewitt Chapter, which, considering they hosted the Nationals last year, was certainly well deserved!

Newsletter of the Year went to The Corsair newsletter of the same chapter, an excellent and deserving publication.

[NB: The ASM Newsletter is not eligible for that award, as only newsletters edited by IPMS members are eligible, and I’m not a member. -JW]

Congratulations, Mike! Best. Website. Ever.


ASM Member Articles

Chuck Yeager

American Ace and Test Pilot

  By Mike Blohm


Note: This article supports the "Chuck Year - The Legend of Legends" Sponsored Contest on July 9, 2021, hosted by Dave Epstein and Ken Liotta.

Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager passed away on December 7, 2020 at the age of 92.  He is well known for having been an American ace in WW II as well as a famous test pilot who was the first person to break the sound barrier.  Yeager started his military career as an aircraft mechanic in the US Army Air Corps in September 1941 and advanced to the rank of Corporal,  He entered enlisted pilot training In September 1942 and received his pilots wings and the rank of Flight Officer in March 1943.  He was transferred to the 363 Fighter Squadron of the 357 Fighter Group in March 1943 at Tonopah Field, Nevada where they trained on the P-39 Airacobra.  He was grounded for a week after clipping a farmer's tree during a training flight.  Yeager sailed with the group to England in November 1943 where they later became known as the "Yoxford Boys."  

Yeager had a total of 11.5 victories in WW II and was the third-ranking ace of the 363 FS.  His first victory was a Bf 109G on March 4, 1944 during a mission to Berlin, and he also damaged an He-111K.  He was shot down and wounded by an Fw-190 on March 5, 1944 over France while flying a P-51B.  With the help of the French Resistance he was able to escape to Spain on March 30 and returned to the group on May 27, 1944.  He was able to remain with the group instead of being sent back to the USA by appealing to Gen Eisenhower.  When the area that he had escaped through was overrun by the Allies after D-Day he was allowed to return to flying missions. 


Yeager did not score again until he shared 0.5 victory of a Bf 109 on September 13, 1944.  He had five victories ("ace in a day") on October 12 during a bomber escort to Hanover when his flight engaged a gaggle of 22 Bf 109s.  On November 6 he downed an Me 262 jet while it was on approach to landing and also damaged two other Me 262s.  Yeager's last scoring was four Fw 190s on November 27, 1944 during a bomber escort to Magdeburg where he was in an engagement with 150 enemy fighters.  The 357 FG scored 30 victories that day.  Yeager had no ground victories.  He was transferred out of the 357 FG in January 1945 holding the rank of Captain at that time. 

Yeager named his aircraft Glamorous Glen after his girlfriend Glennis Faye Dickhouse, who became his wife in February 1945.  His three assigned aircraft were: P-51B 43-6763, B6-Y Glamorous Glen; P-51D-5NA 44-13897, B6-Y Glamorous Glen II; and P-51D-15NA 44-14888, B6-Y Glamorous Glen III. 

Yeager remained in the U.S. Air Force after the war, becoming a test pilot at Muroc Army Air Field (now Edwards Air Force Base), following graduation from the Air Materiel Command Flight Performance School.  Yeager broke the sound barrier on October 14, 1947, in level flight while piloting the Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis at Mach 1.05 at an altitude of 45,000 feet over the Rogers Dry Lake of the Mojave Desert in California.  The success of the mission was not announced to the public until June 1948.  Yeager was awarded the Mackay Trophy and the Collier Trophy in 1948 for his Mach 1 flight,  and the Harmon International Trophy in 1954.  The X-1 that he flew that day was later put on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum


Yeager later commanded fighter squadrons and wings in Germany, as well as in Southeast Asia where he flew 127 combat missions during the Vietnam War.  In 1962 Yeager became the first commandant of the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School, which produced astronauts for NASA and the USAF,  He was promoted to brigadier general in 1969 and inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1973.  Yeager retired on March 1, 1975 but he continued to fly in commemoration flights on the anniversaries of breaking Mach 1.  He passed away on December 7, 2020. 

The models below were built by Victor Maestas.  Tamiya 1/32 scale North American P-51D Mustang Glamorous Glen III, and Eduard 1/48 scale Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis.



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

P-51 Mustang Aces by William Hess

Various Wikipedia articles. 



Field Trip - Kennedy Space Center

 By Mike Blohm


This field trip report covers a visit to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) at Cape Canaveral, Florida that I was able to make during a business trip in January 2020.  I made the trip on a Saturday and arrived at KSC at about 1000 in the morning after about a one hour drive from Orlando.  When I was almost there I passed a sign for a "Warbird Air Museum" that I decided I would check out on the way back to Orlando. More on that later (foreshadowing).  Pictures of the KSC visit are included in the sections below.  The version posted on the ASM Field Trips webpage has over 90 pictures. A reduced set is posted here on the Articles webpage.  A shorter story with less pictures will be published in the ASM Newsletter. 

It took a while to figure out their kiosk system to get an entrance ticket and I discovered that the tours to see the launch sites were all sold out.  You can get tickets to those on-line ahead of time, which I should have done.  The maps below show the layout of the KSC exhibits and attractions.  After entering the site, the first exhibit you hit is Heroes & Legends, which covers the astronauts.  There was a fairly long line for that.  This exhibit is next to the Rocket Garden missile park, so you can view those from slightly afar as you wait.  When the doors to that attraction open, you are ushered into a large round room where you see an interesting movie projected on the walls.  When that is over the inner doors open and you have access to the interior of the exhibit.  That is how all the exhibits are orchestrated at KSC.  Maybe that is the best way to do it, but I would have liked a separate entrance to bypass the movies and go straight to the displays.  Lots of good stuff to see.  The exhibit has Wally Schirra's "Sigma 7" Mercury capsule and the Mercury-Redstone 6 booster rocket that was supposed to be used by Deke Slayton, the 7th Mercury astronaut who was medically grounded and did not go into space during that program.  He later flew in the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.  Other displays include the Gemini 9 capsule (Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan), the Mercury Control Center equipment, a Mercury space suit worn by Gus Grissom on his flight, and other astronaut and space exploration memorabilia.  You exit through the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. 



My next stop was a closer look at the Rocket Garden.  I have model kits to build of most of these, so I spent a fair amount of time getting some detailed shots of nozzles, fins, fuel lines, etc.  The map above show all of the missiles so I will not list them all here..  Of note they have a Juno 1 (Explorer 1 satellite), Mercury-Redstone, Mercury-Atlas, Gemini-Titan II, and a Saturn 1B on its side (all stages connected).  There are also some rocket engines and cutaway capsule mockups to view. 


Next on my tour was the Apollo/Saturn V Center (ASC), so I hoofed it over to the "Bus Transportation" area where you wait to get on a bus for the drive out to that attraction.  The line was tremendously long, and I probably spent an hour waiting to get on a bus, and that was all standing up.  This was my biggest mistake of my tour--I should have come to this first and bypassed everything else, and gone back later.  This exhibit at ASC was well worth the wait.  It looks like they have addressed this problem now.  On their website they now mention reserving a bus time for this attraction when you first arrive and get your tickets.  So apparently you can now show up at the Bus Center at your appropriate reservation time.  I hope this has resolved the problem--remember to do that when you first get there. 

The bus trip out to the ASC takes you on a short tour and you go by the huge Vehicle Assembly Building where they stacked the Saturn rockets and the Space Shuttles.  You also drive by a "crawler" transporter and get to see some of the launch sites from afar.  Make sure that you sit on the right hand side seats as everything will be looked at through the right side windows of the bus. 


The ASC exhibit has a lot of stuff to see and you could probably spend four hours here.  Again you have to wait and see a movie--this time looking down at the Apollo Launch Control Center equipment--before you can enter the building.  The main display item is a Saturn V lying on its side, with all the stages separate, so you can see the engines and connectors for each stage.  You enter the building next to the first stage rocket engines.  Yes, they are huge.  The rocket is surrounded by other displays to see on each side of it as you move towards the top of the rocket.  Displays along the way include an Apollo Command Module and Support Module; a large cutaway model of the Saturn V that is solid on one side and interior visible on the other; and a full-size diorama display of the Lunar Module on the Moon surface with astronauts doing experiments.  That last display is great and has a wealth of details for modelers.  I am old school and that will always be the "LEM" to me.  They also have the Apollo 14 capsule, Apollo 17 space suits, and a Lunar Buggy on display, and you can touch a Moon Rock.  I wonder what they have done with that display after the Corona Virus.  They have a "Right Stuff" gift shop in the building specializing in Apollo-related items.  Sit on the left side of the bus heading back to KSC. 




When you exit the bus you are at the Space Shuttle Atlantis building.  There is a full size set of solid booster rockets and an external fuel tank at the front of the building and you can appreciate how big it was.  Again you have the huge line and a movie to see before you can go in.  Be up near the doors and have your camera ready when the movie ends if you want to get some pics without a crowd of people in the way.  The shuttle is hung with a slight bank angle with its doors open and robot arm extended, so that you can see inside its bay.  Very cool.  There are some higher tiers with a better downward view of the bay, and you can walk all around it and under it to see the tiles.  Besides Atlantis, the building also has a mock up of the Hubble Space Telescope, astronauts in space suits, a shuttle engine, and hands-on type things for children. 




It was getting close to closing time, so I headed for the Journey to Mars building.  There is a full size model of the Orion spacecraft (capsule) near that display so check that out.  It is somewhat bigger than the Apollo capsule.  Displays in the Mars building included replica mock-ups of the rovers that landed on Mars.  My last stop was the "Space Shop." gift shop.  It was getting dark as I exited and I was able to get some nice pics of illuminated rockets. 

So overall it is a great place to visit and definitely worth the trip if you are in that part of Florida.  The daily admission price is pretty high--currently at $57 for an adult on their website.  There may be discounts not listed on the website, like seniors, military, AAA, etc.  Plan for a whole day.  Here are my recommendations and lessons learned.  Get there early and make the bus reservations first thing.  If you want to do the launch sites tour book that on-line very early before your visit.  That is not included in your admission to KSC.  Plan on three or four hours over in the Apollo/Saturn V Center.  Sit on the right hand side of the bus on the way to that, and the left side on the way back.  Have extra battery charger packs for your cell phone camera.  Think about the sun angle and times of day if you want to take pics of the Rocket Garden.  The KSC website is at:

And yes, that Warbird Air Museum (Valiant Air Command) did become my trip on Sunday.  Stay tuned for that trip report. 

 Jack Morris - In Memorium

  By John Tate


Jack Morris, a longtime ASM member and friend to many in the club, passed away on Jan 16, 2021 after a brief illness; he was 80 years old.  Jack is survived by his daughter Amanda, and his friend Dianne Fogel.  Jack was a Colonel, USAF (Retired) and a Vietnam veteran who had a distinguished career in the development of aircraft munitions and weaponry.  Jack had resided in Santa Fe, NM since 1994. 

Jack joined IPMS/USA back in the 1960s; he had a coveted, low membership number of 716 and was an experienced national contest judge.  Our club membership records show him on the roster going back to 2000 but I recall first meeting him at a local scale modeling show in the late 1990s.

In retirement, Jack had a second career as a graphic artist, specifically producing aircraft profiles and decal sheets for the scale modeling hobby.  He was well known in our club for the custom decal sheets he graciously produced for club members; a 1/48 VNAF Criquet sheet he produced for me a decade ago is the most prized decal sheet in my collection.

Most of all, I remember Jack for his wit and comraderie, joining us at our after-meeting Village Inn diner gatherings and sharing a wealth of information about aircraft, the Vietnam War, scale modeling and IPMS.  His passing is a real loss for the club.  I once asked Jack what his favorite aircraft from the Vietnam War was, and without hesitation, he said it was the Phantom.  I can't think of a better tribute from ASM members than building a Vietnam-era F-4 Phantom II jet model this year to honor his memory.

Here is a link to Jack's obituary in the Sante Fe New Mexican:

1     2     3     4     5     6

 7     8     9     10     11


Pictures of Jack added by Webmaster.  Picture descriptions by numbers:

1. Picture of young Jack used in his Obituary

2. Jack's EC-47 model entry in the June 2006 ASM contest "The Best Two-fer" (twin-engined prop aircraft)

3. ASM members at the 2013 IPMS/USA National Convetion Awards Dinner

4. ASM members at the 2018 IPMS/USA National Convetion Awards Dinner

5 - 8. Jack at the February 2017 ASM Meeting

9 - 10. Jack at the July 2019 ASM Meeting

11. Military Memorial Service location for Jack at the Sante Fe National Cemetary held on March 18th (provided by John Tate who represented the club)

Jack will be missed!



 Colonel Fisher and his Skyraider

 By John Tate

A Shau Valley, Republic of Vietnam, March 10, 1966 - a U.S. Special Forces base was under attack from the North Vietnamese and USAF A-1E Skyraiders of the 1st Special Operations Squadron were striking the enemy. One of the Skyraiders was hit and crash landed at an airstrip at the Special Forces base, its pilot, Major "Jump" Myers, taking cover behind an embankment. Major Bernard Fisher, flying another Skyraider, made a quick decision to land his plane under intense enemy fire and rescued Major Myers. On January 19th, 1967, Major Fisher was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism, by President Lyndon Johnson.


I first learned of Major Fisher, who retired from the Air Force at the grade of Colonel in 1974, from a Caracal 1/48 decal sheet on the A-1E Skyraider, which had markings for his plane.  Wanting to know more, I read Colonel Fisher's 2004 autobiography, "Beyond the Call of Duty," which was a highly readable and enjoyable book about Colonel Fisher's career, Skyraider operations in Vietnam and the circumstances of the famous rescue.  I was hooked, so had to build a model of his plane.

When it comes to modeling options for 1/48 A-1E Skyraiders, there's only one game in town, the four-decades-old Matchbox kit, re-released by Revell in 2013. It was very much a creature of its times, with toy-like folding wings and rudimentary representations of ordnance. But the good news was, it was generally accurate in shape and the cockpit was OK, at least with the canopy closed. So I got to work. Since I wanted a completed model I kept AMS to a minimum but still made some basic fixes and corrections for the sake of accuracy. One thing I didn't do was effect the suggested wing swap surgery with a 1/48 A-1H Skyraider kit; that was never going to look right and was more trouble than it's worth. Here's some of the work I did to the kit:

* Added seatbelts to the kit's non-ejection seats, correct for this plane in 1966.
* Added a reflector gunsight to the instrument panel coaming.

* Added a prop, wheels and wing pylons from a Monogram 1/48 A-1H Skyraider kit.
* Added "iron bomb" ordnance, mostly 500 pounders, from the spares box.
* Added a variety of antennas to the aircraft spine, to match period photos of A-1E's.
Shortened the landing gear legs to give the model a proper "sit."
* Scraped and sanded the heavy side braces off the windscreen, which were not present on the real plane, and added internal braces.

* Added a scratchbuilt windshield wiper.

* Added a correct centerline tank and pylon from the Tamiya Skyraider kit.


The biggest job was closing the folding wings but the task wasn't too bad, just tedious. When I got most of the work on the kit finished, I painted the model in an overall gray color, similar to USAF ADC Gray, which was correct for this early batch of Skyraiders, and added silver leading edges to the wings and horizontal stabilizers. Painting the "Blue Room" canopy was fun and easy.

The Caracal decals went on nicely, and were accurate for the plane, but make sure to check photos of real planes from the period to get placement correct.

I was proud of the model when I finished it, not because it's a contest-winner, but because I had to put some work into the model to get a nice replica, to honor a great aviator and American hero, Colonel Fisher, who passed away in 2014. With each year, the Vietnam War passes further out of human memory, and as modelers we can do our part to make sure history isn't forgotten. If you get a chance during the coming year, check your shelves for that Vietnam War model subject you overlooked, and like me, take a chance to learn something new about the story of the war and the men who served in it. 



Kit Review - Bandai 1/12 Star Wars Stormtrooper

 By John Tate

We all know these bad guys - Imperial Stormtroopers - so no further introduction is necessary; if you really need to know more about them, binge watch the incomparable Star Wars movie series, spanning more than 30 years. What is new, is the superb Star Wars model line released by the veteran Japanese model company, Bandai. The detail, accuracy and fit of these models is amazing and if you haven't built one, give one a try.

Among the many Star Wars model kits released by Bandai is a 1/12 figure line consisting of everything from General Greivous to Boba Fett. The Stormtrooper kit was irresistible so I picked one up from Hobby Proz and started building. The kit is finely engineered and for the most part can be built as a snap-together kit. That said, it's not kid's stuff; you need to pay close attention to the fit of tiny pieces as you put it together. If you take your time, you will be rewarded with an articulated figure that can be accurately posed alone or with other Star Wars figures. The only nitpick I had was the figure helmet had a seam line down the back which had to be glued, filled, sanded and painted. Not a big problem but to improve model appearance I took the time to address it.

The kit comes with a nice selection of laser weapons; I chose to pose mine with the "DLT-19" heavy blaster rifle. A neat feature of the kit is the selection of posable hands which fit over weapon grips.

Generally, movie Stormtroopers have a clean uniform so initially I was going to leave the figure unweathered but decided to add a little real-world wear with a light acrylic wash to represent a trooper in service at an Imperial outpost. Not a lot of pigment, just enough to highlight details. A small decal sheet is included with the kit but is unnecessary for the build.

A positive attribute of this 2018 kit is that the plastic seemed more tolerant of enamel paint than earlier kits, which crumbled like chalk when exposed to paint thinner. Still, I wouldn't press my luck- use acrylics when finishing these models.

The kit instructions were nicely done and the exploded views were helpful during the build.

There you have it - a great kit of a great subject. Seriously, even if you're a model airplane nut like me, give one of these kits a try - you'll have a lot of fun and a neat souvenir from the Star Wars universe.






North Korean Prop Fighters in the Korean War

By Mike Blohm

This article covers the model builds and a short history of two Soviet-built propellor-driven fighters that saw service in the North Korean Air Force in the Korean War. These include the Yakevlov Yak-9, NATO-reporting name "Frank" and the Lavochkin La-11 "Fang." Model kits involved include the 1/72 scale Encore Models Yak-9D and the MPM La-9 / 11. These models were intended for ASM's "Korean War 80th Anniversary" display at the 2020 New Mexico State Fair, which unfortunately was a victim of the covid virus situation that shut down all of our planned displays for 2020.  Since I did get both models eventually built for our club's Virtual Contests, I decided that doing an article on them would be a good counterpart to the "F-86 Sabre Aces of the Korean War" article that I did at the beginning of the year.

The North Korean Air Force - the Korean People's Air Force (KPAF) - had Yak-9s, La 9s, and La-11 aircraft in its inventory during the Korean War. This article includes short histories of the aircraft, their operational history during the war, and the builds of the two kits.

Aircraft Histories

The Yakovlev Yak-9 was a single-engine single-seat multipurpose fighter aircraft used by the Soviet Union in World War II and through 1950. It was the last in a line of propeller-driven Yakovlev fighters that included the Yak-1, Yak-3, and Yak-7. The Yak 3 was the favored mount of the French Normandie-Nieman Escadrille that flew with the Soviets during WW II. The Yak-9 started arriving in Soviet fighter aviation regiments in late 1942 and played a major role in taking air superiority over the Luftwaffe's Focke-Wulf Fw 190 and Messerschmitt Bf 109G fighters during the Battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943. The Yak-9D was a long-range version of the Yak-9. Further development of the design included the Yak-9U in 1943 and the Yak-9P in 1946. which was the most advanced. Some sources state that the Yak-9 was the equivalent of, or superior to the P-51D Mustang. The Yak-9 remained in roduction from 1942 to 1948, with 16,769 total built (14,579 during the war). Many of the surplus Yak-9Ps were supplied in 1949 to satellite nations in the Soviet bloc, including North Korea.

Yak-3 of the French
Yak-9Ds of the
Black Sea Fleet
Yak-9P of Post
WW II Soviet AF

The Lavochkin La-11 was an early post-WW II Soviet long-range piston-engined single seat fighter aircraft. The La-11 was the last of a long line of Lavochkin propeller-driven fighters. The La 5, La-5FN, and La-7 were flown by Russia's top ace (also the top Allies ace) Ivan Kozhedub with 62 victories. Of note, Kozhedub was later the commander of the Soviet's 324 IAD (Fighter Air Division) on the China - North Korea border during the Korean War, which flew MiG-15s against U.S. forces. Kozhehdub was not given permission to fly any combat sorties. The La-11 was developed from the La-9 prototype to be a long-range escort fighter. It is sometimes referred to as the La-9M. To create this long-range aircraft, the La-11's armament was reduced to three cannons and it featured increased fuel and oil capacity. The La-11 was found to be poorly suited for combat above 23,000 feet. La-11 production ran from 1947 to 1951 with 1,182 total aircraft built. 
La-7 flown by Ivan
Kozedub in WW II
La-11 in Soviet
Soviet La-11
in flight

Operational History During the Korean War

When I decided to do this article I went in search of source documents that I own and also articles on the internet to determine the propeller aircraft types that the KPAF had in its inventory at the beginning of the Korean War. I was specifically looking for info on the Yak-9, La-9, and La-11. Unfortunately my search came up short. I then thought that a good source on the subject matter would be Douglas Dildy, as he has written several books on the Korean War and the KPAF. These include Fury from the North - the North Korean Air Force in the Korean War 1950-1953 (Helion & Company) and F-86 Sabre vs. MiG-15, Korea 1950-53 (Osprey Books). These are great books and highly recommended! Doug was able to provide me with a lot of very good info, which I have condensed into the paragraphs below along with other material.

The Soviet Union's Far East Military District transferred 84 Yak-9s to the KPAF in May 1949. This included 12 original Yak-9s, 9 trainer Yak-9Vs, and 63 Yak-9Ps. At the beginning of the Korean War (25 June 1950), the KPAF had 79 Yak-9s total. 42 Yak 9Ps were in the 56th Fighter Aviation Regiment (FAR). Yak-9Ps attacked Kimpo Air Base (AB) on the first day of the war damaging a U.S. C-54 transport, the control tower, and the fuel dump. They also strafed the Republic of Korea Air Force's L-4 Grasshopper (Piper Cub) and Harvard (T-6) aircraft at Yan-do destroying seven. On the second day Yak-9Ps escorted Il-10 Sturmovik bombers that attacked the railway station at Seoul. All but one of the Yak-9Ps were lost during the North Korean invasion and the U.S. and United Nations counter offensive. This single Yak-9P was withdrawn to Yani air base in the People's Republic of China. The 56th FAR was reconstituted in September 1950 with 40 Yak-9Ps from the Soviet Union. The KPAF also received 40 La-9s and 2 La-9UTI trainers. 38 of the La-9s formed the new 58th FAR in December 1950 through January 1951 at Yani air base. The newly renamed 56th Guards FAR deployed to Antung air base in China and Sinuiju air base in North Korea. These two units fought against USAF F-51s and USN F4U Corsairs during 1951 until their aircraft were replaced with the MiG-15. 56th GFAR losses were so heavy that they received 10 new La-9s in July 1951. In November 1951 the 56th GFAR had 9 Yak-9Ps and 10 La-9s and the 58th FAR had 21 La-9s.
Damaged Yak-9P at
Kimpo AB in 1950
Damaged Yak-9P at
Kimpo AB in 1950
Damaged Yak-9P at
Kimpo AB in 1950
GIs guarding
captured Yak-9
Damaged Yak-9P at Kimpo
Boy standing on
destroyed Yak-9
Damaged Yak-9
in hangar
Yak-9 and IL-10
awaiting transport
Yak-9 testing at
Yak-9 testing at

The 56th GFAR was re-roled as the KPAF's first night fighter unit in June 1952 with 9 surviving Yak-9Ps and 14 new La-11 aircraft. The night fighter units initially intercepted USAF B 29 Superfortress night raids but the La-11 was ineffective because it was not fast enough, and this mission was switched to the MiG-15. The night fighter units also fought against the USAF's B-26 Invader and the USN's Tigercat and Corsair aircraft that had been conducting unopposed night interdiction operations against truck convoys and railroad trains in North Korea. The La-11s did escort Tu-2 bombers on several raids. The 56th GFAR and 58th FAR began training on the MiG-15 in October 1952 and their surviving 12 La-11s were transferred to the 3rd Night Bomber Regiment. The few surviving Yak-9Ps were transferred to training units. At the end of the Korean War the 3rd Night Bomber Regiment had 9 La-11s remaining. All the Yak-9s and La-9s had been transferred to 5th Air Division Fighter Training Regiment. This included 10 Yak-9Ps, 2 Yak-9Vs, 15 La-9s, and 2 La-9UTI (2 seat trainers).

Yak-9P in North
Korean museum in
 post-war scheme
La-11 in North
Korean markings in
China Aviation Museum
La-11 in PRC
markings in Beijing

USAF victory claims over these and similar propeller aircraft were as followws:  Yak-3: 4;  Yak-9: 12;  Yak-18: 1;  La-7: 3; La-9: 7; unidentified prop: 3.  Since the Yakovlev types and the Lavochkin types are visually similar, the breakouts of these numbers could be suspect. Yak-3 claims are probably Yak-9s and the La-7 claims are probably La-9s, as these two aircraft types were not in the KPAF inventory.  La-9 claims could include La-11s.  Note that the first USAF victory of the war was against a Yak-11 two-seat trainer by an F-82E Twin Mustang on June 27, 1950 that was attacking Kimpo Air Base.  Two La-7s and three IL-10s were also downed that day.

Based on the information above, did the KPAF have any Yak-9Ds in its inventory during the Korean War? The "original Yak-9s" aircraft mentioned in sources may have included Yak-9Ds but this is unknown, and probably unlikely. I had built my Encore Models Yak 9D in KPAF's markings earlier this year based upon schemes that I had seen before I received this information from Doug Dildy. I did look at the differences between the Yak-9D and the Yak-9P to see if I could modify the already-built kit into the P version. Unfortunately, there are some big differences that would require major surgery, if able to be done at all. The biggest is that the P does not have the large under nose air intake--it was removed and replaced by a raised scoop that runs along the top of the nose. The P also received an additional nose-mounted cannon across from the single cannon in the D. The easiest fix to make is a plexiglass-covered bay on the fuselage behind the cockpit that contained an ADF antenna. Based on all this, I decided to keep the D as is. It is accurate as "representative of the Yak-9s used by the KPAF" and will work in a Korean War display. AModel does have a 1/72 scale Yak-9P kit with North Korean markings, so I may look at building that in the future so we have a totally accurate model.

Yak-9D Build

The Yak-9 model is the Encore Models (Squadron) 1/72 scale Yak-9D kit molded in the Ukraine and packaged in the USA. This model had been started years ago for an ASM contest but had never been completed. I had been planning to get it finished for our June 5th, 2020 "Korean War" Special Contest, and when that turned into Virtual Contest #1, I pressed ahead with the build. According to the website, this model started as an Encore Yak-9DD/T/K kit in 1998, and was later reboxed as a Yak-9D (the kit that I built). It does come with two fuselages--one for the D and one for the DD. It was later reissued by ICM and a company called Alanger. The kit comes with three decal choices--all for Soviet schemes in 1942-1944. To build a North Korean aircraft I went to my decal sheet stash and found an old ESCI Korean War sheet that did include a Yak-9. These sheets are notoriously off-register, so it was a good thing that I had two copies in order to get six total stars and circles that looked good. Because I had started this kit years ago, I did not have in-progress pictures of the build. I do have a second Encore kit, so I was able to get pictures of the sprues for this article.

Kit instructions - 1 Kit instructions - 2 Spues & decal sheet Cockpit interior parts

Here are some comments on the Yak-9 build. The kit has decent sidewall detail in the cockpit, an instrument panel, floor board, control stick and a seat (actually the back portion of the seat attaches to a bucket seat on the floor board). There are no instrument panel or seat belts decals. It does have wheel well details on the inside of the top wings. The recessed panel lines are well done. There was some fit problems with the wings to the fuselage that needed some filler at both ends. The clear bullet proof panel behind the pilot's head needed some shaving to allow the canopy to fit over it. The canopy did not quite fit at the back end and needed some white glue to fill the gap. One hit on the kit is that the wings do not have the prominent air intake holes/ducts in the wing roots, and these have to be hand-painted on the model. I did a lot of looking at photos of North Korean Yak-9s to determine what shade of grey to use on the model. There were some color photos of derelict Yak-9s destroyed on the ramp at Kimpo Air Base during the first year of the war (see pictures). I eventually chose Model Master Flat Gull Grey and painted the aircraft overall in that color. Although I did not use the kit decals, they look pretty nice. The old ESCI decals were a challenge. Panel lines were highlighted with a black wash. Ground artist pastel chalk was used for weathering and engine exhaust stains. Overall the kit was a good build and looks like a Yak-9D. There may be better 1/72 kits of the Yak-9D out there now than this Encore model. As mentioned above, AModel does have a Yak-9P kit.

Yak-9 Model Pictures

La-11 Build

The La-11 model is the MPM 1/72 scale Lavochkin La-9 / 11 kit. According to, this kit was initially released as a new tool MPM kit in 1989 and was reboxed in 1994 (the kit that I built). The La-11 model build had also been planned for ASM's "Korean War Anniversary" display at the 2020 State Fair, but this was a new start this year. I wanted to make sure that we had enough North Korean aircraft in the display to go with a likely large number of US and Allied aircraft. I also had a Tupelov Tu-2 build planned, but that is another story to come. The model parts are on a single sprue, made in a very hard dark brown plastic that is difficult to sand. It has a clear, nicely detailed vacuform canopy--more on this later. The instruction sheet has a parts break down diagram of the sprue, and a single exploded diagram of all the parts with arrows showing what goes where. Usable but not great. It shows which parts to use if you want to build an La-9 or an La-11, the differences being the La-9 had a radiator scoop beneath the fuselage, a different cowl (no upper intake there), and an extra gun bulge on the fuselage. The La-11 had an upper intake added to the cowling, replacing the lower radiator scoop, and one less cannon. The kit decals include schemes for a Soviet La-9 in 1946 and a Soviet La-11 in 1947 both in overall gray, and a North Korean La-11 in a mottled dark green over gray in 1950. (As noted above, they did not get La-11s until 1952.) I ended up building an overall gray North Korean scheme using markings from the Siga Models La-9 kit, which I had originally considered building but passed up to go with the better detailed MPM kit.

Kit instructions - 1 Kit instructions - 2 Decal sheet Sprue & other parts

Here are some comments on the La-11 build. The cockpit is very sparse. There is a floor board, a seat and a control stick and a back wall that the seat fits against. This all sits up against a shelf that fits at the back of the cockpit cut-out. There is no side wall detail, but it has a nice instrument panel with recessed instrument details. There is no decal for this or seat belts, so I hand-painted the instrument panel and used some seat belt decals. There are no locating pegs or holes for any of this other than for the stick in the floor, so it was all fit-checking and gluing and a bit difficult to get it all straight when the fuselage was finally glued together. The floor board was too wide for the fuselage and had to be trimmed. It looks pretty good when finally put together (see pictures).

There were gaps after the fuselage was glued that had to be filled. The wing's trailing edges were too thick and had to be sanded down. The assembled wings did not fit well against the bottom of the fuselage. To fit the lower wing against the fuselage at the wing root without a huge step and gap, the fuselage needed to be cut back until the wing fit flush. This then left a pretty big gap that needed filling and sanding. After this surgery, all the fuselage and wing gaps were filled with Squadron White Putty and sanded (see pictures). The two horizontal tails had no attachment mechanisms (pins or holes) and were super-glued against the fuselage. These would be a problem later and needed to be re-glued several times during the painting process. The cowling's sprue attachment points were a problem and required careful cutting and then sanding. There were gaps when the cowling was glued to the fuselage. The gear doors had a lot of flash. The wheels did not have any mounting holes and were a flat gear end to wheel hub superglue job like the horizontal tails. The gear doors were provided in one piece and had to be cut into two pieces for a gear-down model. I mentioned earlier that the plastic was super hard and cutting through them was very difficult. And as would happen, the holes in the wheel wells for the struts were too small, and drilling them out was also difficult. The kit included a separate spinner piece in a different kind of plastic from what was on the big sprue because the original piece did not have the cut-outs needed for the propeller blades. That was probably a known mold flaw. This piece caused a problem later on.

Cockpit parts
Cockpit parts
Fuselage to wing
fit & gap problemt
Assembled & ready
to paint - top
Assembled & ready
to paint - bottom

The La-11 had the same paint scheme as the Yak-9 but I wanted to have a little variation so I added some Model Master Gunship Gray to the Flat Gull Gray, and painted it overall with that mixed shade. The kit's North Korean star with circles decals were off-register, so I elected to use the decals from the Siga Models Yak-9 kit. These had stenciled red and blue lines (not solid) surrounding the stars, and provided another good variation between the two aircraft. MicroScale silver stripe decals were used for the two metal bands around the cowling. As I mentioned earlier, the kit had a vacuform canopy. I did fit check the canopy from the Siga Models La-9 kit, hoping that might work, but unfortunately it did not. All the pieces-parts went together well at the end until I tried to glue on the canopy and the spinner. There must have been a problem with the materials they were made of, because the glue that I was using (Faller Super-Expert) would not work on them at all. Eventually I did get them to adhere, but the canopy did have gaps that needed filling with white glue, and a canopy re-paint was required. Washes and weathering were accomplished the same as the Yak-9. The model does look like an La-11 when it is finally all put together. Interavia also produces a 1/72 scale La-11 model but I do not know how good that kit is

La-11 Model Pictures

Pictures below show side-by-side comparisons of the two North Korean aircraft from a couple of different angles.  Comparisons with the IL-10 Sturmovik (a KP kit) and the MiG-15 Fagot (a DML kit) are also shown.  Next, there are pictures of the Yak-9 with two of the USAF aircraft that encountered it during the Korean War--the North American F-51D Mustang and the Republic F-84E Thunderjet.  1Lt James Glessner, 12th Fighter Bomber Squadron, 18th Fighter Bomber Wing, downed a Yak-9 on November 2, 1950 flying F-51D FF-736 (54-11736) as depicted below.  This is the Matchbox kit.  1Lt Jacob Kratt, 523rd Fighter Escort Squadron, 27th Fighter Escort Wing, downed a Yak-9 (reported as a Yak-3) on January 23, 1951 flying F-84E FS-493-B (51-493) also depicted below.  This is the Heller kit.  He also downed two MiG-15s on January 23, 1951, the first double MiG kill mission of the war.  Kratt was the top F-84 scorer in Korea with three victories.  The MiG-15 depicted below is in the markings of the top Soviet ace who flew for the North Koreans, Yevgeni Pepelyaev, the commander of the Soviet's 196th Fighter Aviation Regiment.  Finally, there is a comparison of the aircraft with the North American F-86F-1 Sabre, which bears the markings of 1Lt Joseph McConnell, the top US ace of the war.  The pictures below taken on the runway base show the actual grey scheme colors of the two models better than the light blue background. 



With these two models completed, we now have a few more North Korean aircraft for our ASM display, if that ever happens. Perhaps the Korean War Anniversary theme might be a player for the 2021 NM State Fair.  Many thanks to Doug Dildy for the operational history information in this article!




New Angles to Old Battles

By John Tate


Like other kids who had the misfortune of becoming scale modelers, I went astray on the path of life when I saw the famous 1969 movie, Battle of Britain.  A cinematic sky full of Spitfires and Messerschmitts and Heinkels--wow, I was hooked. To indulge my budding airplane addiction, my dad bought me the then-new Revell 1/32 Spitfire I, which I built in a sunny afternoon or two that summer, and it looked great! There was no turning back.

Fifty-odd years later, I've built enough Spitfire kits to give the ghost of Lord Beaverbrook pause, and had every intention of knocking out a few more for the upcoming contest. In fact, I recently purchased the ultimate trifecta of early-mark Spitfires--from Eduard, Airfix, and Tamiya--to add to the pile, but finally, after all these years, couldn't bring myself to start in on yet another Battle of Britain modeling project.

What was needed was something new, a fresh angle on a well-known battle in a big war full of well-known battles. Then I remembered--what about the air arm that ended up as a footnote in the festivities--the Regia Aeronautica?

The Italian Air Force was at the height of its power and prestige in 1940 and Mussolini intended to get a slice of the fascist pie before his frenemy Hitler gobbled up all of Western Europe. What could be better than an operatic contribution of an air corps to the defeat of Britain? To that end, a small group of bombers and fighters--the Corpo Aero Italiano--situated itself on airfields in Belgium and got to work bombing English coastal towns. After conducting a number of raiding missions from late October 1940 to early February 1941, it was decided they had caused enough mayhem for the glory of Il Duce and headed back to sunnier climes.

One interesting note--the main Italian fighter, the biplane CR.42, actually gave a pretty good account of itself, holding its own in turning fights with Hurricanes, although it was of course hobbled by the same shortcoming as the mighty Messerschmitt--lack of range. Final score for the CAI was dismal though--twenty aircraft lost to various causes for no RAF aircraft downed.

The lesson here for modelers is that there's always another model subject to try out, even in representing a well-known battle that has been "done" a hundred times before. In scale modeling, look for the unusual and you'll always find an offbeat kit or subject to catch your interest. Next year, 2021, will be the 80th anniversary of a number of well-known battles--the Sinking of the Bismarck, Barbarossa, and Pearl Harbor, to name just a few. Ask yourself, what can I build now to shed new light on those events and maybe bring a second look to my model on the contest table? The research can be as interesting as the build.


ASM Member David Paul Passes Away

By Mike Blohm

David Jon Paul passed away from a heart attack on May 28, 2020. He had been an active member of ASM since August 2019. We have just recently become aware of David's passing because of the cancelation of our club meetings due to the Corona virus situation.

David was born in Longview, Washington, on February 27, 1967. He graduated from Manzano High School in 1985 and received a BA in Business Administration from New Mexico Highlands University (Las Vegas, New Mexico) in 1990. David entered the US Army in 1990 and served in Germany working on the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS). I am sure he could build a great model of that! He was discharged from the Army in 1994 and returned to the US to continue his education and work in the technology manufacturing business. He was interred in Longview Memorial Park, Longview, Washington, on June 22, 2020.

David started attending ASM meetings in August 2019, and entered models in the science fiction genre. Pictures of David at various meetings and his very nicely done model entries are included below. Of note, he won the Staff Pick for Favorite Model in Basic at the January 2020 Science Fiction, Real Space, and Fantasy Special Contest for his "Space Battleship Yamato Versus Gamelon Cruisers" entry. David's family donated his unbuilt kits to ASM and we hope to have a special tribute contest to David using those kits at a future in-person meeting sometime in 2021. One of those models was a 1/35 scale MLRS. He was a fine model builder and a good club member, and he will be missed.

Further details of David's life are available in an obituary online; click this link to see it:

Descriptions for pictures below:

1 - 3. David Paul at Aug 2019, Nov 2019 and Jan 2020 ASM meetings.  4. David's Battleship Yamato Versus Gameleon Cruisers entry  at Jan 2020 meeting.
5 - 6.  Daid receiving "Just Staff Pick Award at Feb meeting for the Battleship Yamato entry.  7 - 9.  David receiving award for entries at Mar 2020 meeting:
Comet Empire Cruiser and "Specimens of the Southwest" diorama.

1     2     3     4     5

6     7     8     9



ASM Website Changes

By Mike Blohm

A couple of changes have been made to the ASM Website to make it easier to navigate to some of the more popular and important webpages.  The webpages index bar at the top of each webpage has 18 hot link buttons to our club's most important topics.  Three of these hot links have just been changed to different subjects.  These new links include ASM Reviews, the New Mexico State Fair, and Website Updates.  These changed links are all located in the bottom row/lower right corner of the index bar--see red box in picture #1 below.  The replaced links are shown in picture #2 below.

The ASM Reviews webpage has it's own index of review genres (aircraft, armor, etc.) that will take you to that particular section.  As of November 2020 there are 125 kit/products reviewsc on that webpage.  The NM State Fair link takes you to the main State Fair Contests webpage, where you can select whatever year you want to check out (currently 2005-2019).  The Website Update link will take you to that webpage , where the updates are in chronological order with the most current on top.  Note that there is also a "date stamp" (for example "10-15" meaning Oct 15th) included at the end of the Website Update link box wording that will inform you of the date the last update occurred.  This small "date stamp" is only on the Home webpage.  All the newly added items on the Website Updates webpage have links to their specific location taking you straight to it.

1 2 3

This new webpages index bar format (the 18 hot links) will be updated on all these 18 pages and will be found on everything 2020 related.  I will try to get all those webpages updated ASAP.  If you venture off into some past year's webpages, like 2019, you will still see the old format.  Note that as of March 2020 the ASM Website had 195 total active webpages going back to 2003.  There is a ton of stuff to see.  As always, if you are Lost in Space, hitting the ASM Home button always takes you back to the Home webpage.

The three replaced topics and links are all still available for selection in the index section near the top of the Articles webpage.  See picture #3.  These subjects include Hints & Tips, Modeling Links, and Archived Articles.  There have not been many additions recently to these webpages.  If you have any favorite modeling-related sites or a tip you would like to share, please submit them and I will get them added.

Most new monthly additions to the Articles webpage also get simultaneously posted on another applicable webpage.  An example would be a kit review that was simultaneously posted on the ASM Reviews webpage.  When these items expire on the Articles webpage, they are deleted there but will remain on the other applicable webpage (Trip Reports, ASM Reviews, Meeting Pics and Major Events, Model Displays, etc.).  They will not be posted on the Archived Articles webpage if they are posted elsewhere.  So if you are trying to find an old item, think about what it was best related to and search there, or fire me an E-mail.  Before the aforementioned process was adopted, items were just transferred to the Archived Articles.  There are currently three separate webpages for those going back to 2004.  



Wingnut To Mengnut

By John Tate

On April 17, 2020, the scale modeling world received shock news that Sir Peter Jackson's top-flight Wingnut Wings model kit company was closing down, with its staff laid off and assets to be sold. The Wingnut Wings website remained online but no new orders were being taken and, as the weeks dragged on without additional news, it appeared the worst was confirmed--they were gone forever.

Predictably, eBay prices for Wingnut kits began to creep into the stratosphere as hobby outlets sold off existing stock and the realization set in that those Wingnut kits hidden away in modelers' kit stashes were likely to be the last ever seen of these legendary kitsets. Today, it's not unusual for some of the more desirable model kits to sell for $500 or more.

There was speculation that another model company would buy out the Wingnut Wings operation and release its kit line at some future date but given the state of the world economy that was starting to look unlikely, at least in the short term. Therefore, it was a surprise to see Hannants' announcement on June 20 that Meng would release a 1/32 Fokker Triplane model from a Wingnut Wings future-release kit mold, as Meng was to have done the plastic parts for the kit.


That raises some interesting questions--what about the other blockbuster future kit releases announced by Wingnuts, such as the 1/32 Handley Page O/100 and O/400 WWI bombers, and the two Avro Lancaster kits? These would be major undertakings for any model company and even Meng might have difficulty marketing them; in contrast, the popular Fokker Triplane is a small kit in 1/32 and much less of a risk. So the future remains unknown not only for Wingnut Wings future releases, but their large existing kit range as well. Stay tuned--this is the most interesting story in the hobby world right now and promises to get even more interesting in the months and years ahead.



Webmaster's Update:  With the cancelation of the 2020 New Mexico State Fair, this display is no longer going to take place.  However, USAF models might still be a player for the 2020 Air Force Ball in September.  If that gets canceled too, then we can use them in 2021.
Follow-on Update: The 2020 AF Ball event was indeed canceled.


Models for ASM's Korean War Display at the State Fair

 by Mike Blohm

 We are starting to plan the ASM display at the 2010 New Mexico State Fair. As far as we know the fair is still occurring. We request all ASM members please send Josh Pals and me a list of whatever Korean War models you have already built, or are building, that you would be willing to loan for the display. You can include pictures if you'd like to. We would like to survey what members currently have available and determine a good set-up

A second purpose of this list is to determine what types we do NOT have. If you are planning to build a model for the June - July "Korean War" Virtual Contest and have not yet decided what to build, I will provide a list of choices that are needed for the display. You can pick something from that. We will communicate that "need list" ASAP through Joe. 

 Please remember that we are looking for any subject, kit, or scale that fought on both sides during the Korean War from June 1950 to July 1953.. There were multiple countries involved in the United Nations forces. Dioramas would be especially nice, as well as figures and artillery pieces. 

Josh's E-mail is:
Mike's E-mail is:

 ** Send your E-mails only to Josh and Mike so as not to compromise your model's anonymity if it is being entered in the Korean War Virtual Special Contest (entries June 20 to July 4). You can include pictures.  

Note: For the display - please let us know if you have a model of a type/subject that participated in the war, in a representative paint scheme, that could work if we have no other model available. It does not need to be in the scheme of a unit that actually participated. An example would be an F9F Panther jet in glossy dark sea blue with the markings of a squadron that was based in California, and not aboard a carrier off the coast of Korea. We can annotate the info card as necessary. 

Pictures below show Korean War models that were included in ASM's 2018 Folds of Honor display (left) and the 2019 Air and Space Fiesta airshow display at Kirtland AFB (right).




Jackie Cochran's Seversky Racer

 By Mark Vaughn

Through IPMS and the Cavalcade of Wings, I volunteered to make a model of Jackie Cochran's Seversky Racer for Steve Owen at the Western New Mexico Aviation Heritage Museum. This museum is primarily devoted to the TAT arrows and airmail beacons, having relocated a beacon with buildings to the Grants-Milan Airport. It also has several aircraft models of local historic crashed planes as well as some actual recovered parts.

   They have an exhibit about Jackie Cochran's record breaking flights that doubled back over New Mexico, which needed a model of her 1938 Bendix aircraft. Her career achievements are incredible and worth investigating ( She flew a Seversky AP-7 racer which was basically a P-35 with a more powerful engine. 

The P-35 was a prewar fighter with the USAAC. Some were sold to Columbia, Sweden, Russia, and Japan(!). When Major Seversky was thrown out of his own company, it was renamed Republic. The P-47 was a larger direct descendant of the Seversky racers and P-35, via the P-43.

Steve had a Williams Bros 1/32 P-35 S-2 (1970 tooling), which we rejected due to some issues such as cavernous sink holes, raised, inaccurate panel lines, and--most important--no appropriate decals. Also, it is slightly different from Jackie's plane. By happenstance, I had a 1/48 HobbyCraft kit of the 1938 Cochran AP-7 Bendix racer, complete with the appropriate decals, so we went with the more modern (but smaller) kit. Originally tooled in 1993, the kit is basically a hybrid between the Seversky racer and the P-35. The fuselage is slightly too long, the canopy too high, and the dihedral too sharp; all basically impossible to fix without major surgery. One of the great things about building for normal folk and museums is that the vast majority don't know or care about such "glaring" errors, like we do. I cannot stress how fulfilling it is to build for museums. They are universally grateful for whatever you can give them. Furthermore, your models get far more "views" than just sitting on your own shelf. And you end up with more shelf space.

I did fix a few of the easier issues. Jackie (and Major Seversky, an amputee) entered through a side window/door in the fuselage aft of the cockpit. The seat back folded down to permit this. The interior of the model fuselage is thus visible, since I polished and "Futured" the side window plastic. So I made a floor out of scrap as well as continued the internal longeron/frame structure aft.

The interior of the racer and the P-35 was unpolished bare aluminum. The racer had far less instrumentation than the P-35, resulting in a comparatively bare cockpit. I have no photos of the aft interior but a racer would have little or no equipment there.

There were a surprising (frustrating) number of sink holes and ejector pin marks. I missed one, as you can see. I polished the exterior plastic to remove as many blemishes as I could prior to the bare metal finish. I hate bare metal finishes since they always seem to make otherwise good models look toy-like, to my eye. I chose not to "enhance" the cockpit, due to the small scale and the closed canopy.

The canopy is quite a birdcage, requiring extensive masking for spraying. Assembly was typical for a kit of this vintage with gaps, sinks, and misfits. The wheel spats are especially ill-fitting and required surgery to get them to look this good (less bad). The engine was well detailed but basically invisible. According to my reference photos, the Bendix plane had no landing lights (these came later) but did have a ring antenna and radio behind the pilot’s head, not included and faked from my spares (the box art shows them, though). Also, the rear faces of the propeller blades were not blackened on Jackie's plane, for no known reason (a "glaring" oversight?). Later racers and fighters did.

The bare metal finish, Model Master buffing, looked okay to me. I hate bare metal finishes Here's the finished item (above).

Did I mention that I hate bare metal finishes? I left well enough alone and did not blacken the panel lines. At over ten mils, in 1/48 these are a half inch wide! The decals really perked it up for me. I left everything pretty glossy as the racer actually was constantly well buffed, see below. I figured most folks viewing the model would not understand the doped fabric control surfaces versus bare metal, so I left them matching, although I still twitch a little. The nice thing about the Racer is that it was brand new and meticulously cleaned for racing--no need for weathering!

Jackie painting her infamous number 13 right before the Bendix race. Shiny surface.

I was aided in the details by two books: Sever the Sky, by Edward Maloney; and Thunderbolt, from Seversky to Victory, by Warren M. Bodie. The former has several errors, but has a lot of good photos. The latter has a little on the racer but takes it through the P-47. If you would like to learn about an amazing pilot, Jackie Cochran the Story of the Greatest Woman Pilot in Aviation History by Maryann Bucknum Brinley is a quick read. I was ignorant of her amazing career--I had thought Amelia Earhart was the big deal in women's aviation. Cochrane was the first woman to break the sound barrier, and founded and headed the WASPs. Her list of aviation records is incredible. All the while she headed a very successful cosmetics company. She saved LBJ from dying and often hosted Ike at her ranch.

It was not all smooth for Jackie. In the 1938 Bendix race, she all of a sudden had fuel feed problems from one of the wing tanks, causing severe balance issues. She rocked her wings, and tilted the plane which eventually decreased the problem, still finishing first. A wadded up piece of paper was found in the tank, blocking the outlet. Accident or misogyny, no one will ever know. Well, get the book if you want to know more.

Steve was well satisfied with the model and kept offering payment, which was refused, of course. I did accept the Williams kit. Since it’s an S-2 racer I'd have to do the metallic green Frank Fuller racer (did I mention I hate bare metal finishes?). I may also do the Cochran racer with the later P-47 style landing gear (and landing lights) with the part kit I have left, or just make one for me. The model is on display at the museum 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Saturdays--check before you go ( 



Ken's Armor Files


By Ken Piniak


I have heard, and read, other modelers comment that tank modelers have it easy--if they make a mistake, they can just cover it with a bit of mud. Now I suppose that some modelers may do that, but most of the time they don't. In fact, it's more the opposite, especially with today's very detailed suspensions and lower hull detail--you end up covering up a lot of detail that you put a lot of effort into building. However, the simple fact is tanks attract mud and will find mud anywhere and everywhere. Be it the hottest, driest desert, the cold Artic north, the wettest winter, or driest summer.


So at this point the real question is: how much mud is too much mud?  Honestly, there is no such thing as too much mud. Exactly how much mud you as the modeler want to add is entirely up to you, and the situation you want to model.


Tanks and AFVs can get stuck in the mud, buried in the mud, and covered in mud.


It can be wet watery mud, thick sticky mud, hard dry mud, or any combination of mud and dirt.  It can clog up tracks, wheels, and drive sprockets.


In winter, the mud can even freeze up, immobilizing the vehicle. Any vehicle can get muddy, but tracked vehicles seem to get it the worst. And it is not just US vehicles (although that is where my experience comes from); mud happens to everybody.


So, how does this relate to your armored masterpiece? If you are putting it on a scenic base or in a diorama, add mud (and dirt) to match the base and the story you are trying to tell. If your model is on a plain base (or no base), add mud as you desire. I am not going to go into how to make or add mud; there are plenty of tutorials around for that, check out YouTube. Use photos to help you decide just how much mud you want and where. You can find plenty of good photos in books, online, or use some of these. The recent movie Fury is a great reference, showing tanks and other vehicles moving and operating in a great muddy setting. And above all, have a little fun with it!



Sabre Aces of the Korean War

Modeling the F-86 Jets Flown by the Top U.S. Aces


 by Mike Blohm

This article is an incentive for ASM members to finish their builds for the "Korean War" Special Contest that is currently scheduled for June 5, 2020 and also for the ASM display at the 2020 New Mexico State Fair in late August. The article covers the model builds of the top five United States Sabre aces of the Korean War. It also includes a brief history of each of the ace's service in the war and their later careers. These models were completed for the Aces Gallery at the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado and the builds for these five particular models range from 1975 to 2001. All the kits used are in 1/72 scale with a wide range of kit manufacturers. These include Hasegawa, Fujimi, Testors, Heller, Matchbox, Hobby Craft, and Academy. I have not yet built the new Airfix F-86 kit, but that is in my stack. Comments will be made on the kits used in the builds below. For me, the Fujimi kit is the most accurate of this assortment. F-86 decal sheets in 1/72 scale for Korean War aces have unfortunately been minimal. Microscale put out six sheets in the mid 1970s that covered a few of the top scorers sprinkled in with other Korean War or Vietnam aircraft schemes. You can sometimes find these on eBay. Eagle Strike Productions and Print Scale have both produced a sheet recently, but unfortunately they repeated schemes already available and did not cover some high-scoring pilots that definitely should have been included. Some of the F-86 model kits in 1/72 scale do come with decals for aces (Fischer, Jabara, Moore, and Jolley). But I have had to do a lot of hand-painting and decal-bashing of codes and serial numbers to get models of the 41 Korean War aces built. Of note, the Fujimi kit has four different USAF schemes and therefore you get a nice set of properly sized numbers to cut and paste with. Getting back to the subject of this article, the top five Sabre aces are covered below. Between them they scored 72.5 total victories.  Refer to captions below based upon picture numbers.

1     2     3     4

5     6     7

1. F-86 Sabres of the 51 FIW on the ramp at Suwon Air Base (K-13) near the end of the war.
2. "MiG Alley - 200 Miles" sign at the gate to the 4 FIW flight line at Kimpo Air Base (K-14).
3. Map showing "MiG Alley" in northwest corner of Korea adjacent to China and the Yalu River.
4. Photo of restored F-86 and MiG-15 at 2013 Planes of Fame airshow showing similar profiles
and relative sizes that prompted employ ID bands.
5. F-86s from 335 FIS "Chieftains" of the 4 FIW, highest scoring squadron (218.5) in the war.
6. F-86 flight from the 25 FIS of the 51 FIW. Red tail stripe on vertical fin denoted the 25 FIS.
7. "MiG Maulers" poster showing the Sabre aces of the Korean War ranked by their number of
victories, except for Charles Cleveland whose fifth victory was not confirmed until April 2000.

 Joseph C. McConnell, Junior


Starting from the top, the highest scoring U.S. ace in the Korean War was Captain Joseph C. McConnell Jr. with 16 victories over MiG-15s. He is the 33rd-ranking American ace (tie), and 27th in the USAF (tie). He was the 27th U.S. "jet ace" with his 5th kill on Feb 16, 1953. His age at that time was 31. He served with the 39th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS) of the 51st Fighter Intercept Wing (FIW). He scored all his victories in a five month period in Jan - May 1953, including three victories in two sorties on May 18, 1953. His jet was hit in combat on April 12, 1953 by a Soviet-flown MiG-15 (per some sources) that he eventually downed, and McConnell had to bail out over the Yellow Sea. He was immediately picked up by a USAF Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw helicopter--there is a famous picture of that rescue (see below). He was withdrawn from Korea after scoring his 16th victory on May 18 and had flown 106 missions at that time. Of note, McConnell was a B-24 navigator during World War II and flew 60 missions with the 448th Bomb Group in the ETO. He had wanted to go to pilot training but was instead sent to navigator training. McConnell was killed in a flying accident while testing the F-86H Sabre at Edwards AFB, CA on Aug 25, 1954 due to a controls malfunction. You might remember that a similar tragedy occurred with Major Richard Bong, the top U.S. ace in World War II, who was killed during a flight test of the P-80 Starfire at Burbank, CA on Aug 6, 1945. A movie--The McConnell Story (1955)--and book--Sabre Jet Ace (1959)--came out after his death, and McConnell AFB in Wichita, Kansas was named for him (and his brother Thomas, also a USAF pilot and veteran of WW II). 

8     9     10     11     12     13

8. Captain McConnell in flight gear next to checker-tailed 51 FIW Sabre
9-10. McConnell during publics relations photo shoot after 16th victory
11. McConnell after mission. Note 39 FIS "Cobra" and 51 FIW patches on his flight jacket.
12. McConnell being rescued from the Yellow Sea by a H-19 Chickasaw helicopter.
13. McConnell's F-86F FU-910 "Beauteous Butch" on the ramp at Kimpo Air Base

McConnell's F-86F-1 model depicts his scheme in May 1953 (see pics 14-18). This 1975 build was a modification of a very early Hasegawa kit that was available at that time. Called the "F-86F" it is actually an F-86F-40 that was flown by the Japanese Air Self Defense Force, and had an extra one foot length at the wing tip added to the "6-3 wing." To resolve this, the rounded wing tips were cut off, the appropriate amount of wing removed, and the wingtips glued back on. A relatively minor piece of surgery to get the F version flown in Korea. I think that I may have used some tips in an IPMS/USA Quarterly or Update on this procedure. For 1975 this was a pretty decent F-86 kit, but it had minimal interior detail. Also, the external tanks had different fins and pylons that were not the type used in Korea and these had to be modified. There is no engine detail down the inlet and no exhaust pipe--basically it was see-through end-to-end, so that was corrected. What I did not catch in my limited reference material back then--I built this when I was stationed at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand--was that the jet should have had small wing fences added on the leading edge of each wing. The newer F kits do have these fences. This was a "hard wing" bird without leading edge slats, which provided a better turn radius at high Mach numbers and allowed the F-86 to turn with and inside the MiGs. The model was finished in overall natural metal (silver) with light gray interior and wheel wells, and black instrument panel and ejection seat. The decals were from Microscale decal sheet 72-103 F-86E Sabre Aces. I believe the Korean Theater (Far East Air Force) yellow identification stripes on the wings and tail were hand-painted, as was the blue nose flash on each side of the intake. The checkered tail indicates the 51st FIW, and the yellow tail stripe the 39th FIS. This jet and several previous were named "Beautious Butch" after his wife Pearl "Butch" (Brown) McConnell. It originally had diving red MiG-15 silhouettes for the kill markings (see profile at top of this section). After his 16th kill the jet was repainted for public relations purposes and the silhouettes were changed to red stars and the name incorrectly misspelled as "Beauteous Butch" as shown on this model.  Note that the Eagle Strike Productions sheet 72-059 includes this scheme.

14     15     16     17     18     19

14-17. Model of McConnell's F-86F-1 Sabre "Beauteous Butch" using the Hasegawa kit.
18-19. 39th Fighter Interceptor Squadron patch and 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing patch.
The 39 FIS was the fifth-ranking squadron in the war with 101 victories.

James J. Jabara 

Major James J. "Jabby" Jabara was the second-ranking U.S. ace in Korea, with 15.0 victories over MiG-15s. He served two tours with the 334th FIS, 4th FIW. He also scored 1.5 victories (Fw 190s) in World War II during two tours and 108 combat missions in the ETO flying the P-51 with the 382nd Fighter Squadron (FS), 363rd Fighter Group (FG) and the 355th FS, 354th FG. He also had 4 probable victories and 5.5 Ground kills. His overall victory total of 16.5 makes Jabara the 29th ranking U.S. ace (tie), and 24th ranking USAF ace (tie). Jabara was the first U.S. jet ace of the Korean War and the first jet versus jet ace, scoring his 5th and 6th victories on May 20, 1951. His age at that time was 28. He scored these two victories while he had a hung fuel tank still attached to his wing, for which he should have avoided combat and returned to base. He was ordered back to the U.S. at that time as "too valuable to risk in combat" after scoring 6 victories in just 3 months. He returned for a second tour in Feb - Jul 1953, where he scored an additional 9 victories. His score included four "doubles." After the war Jabara held various squadron commander positions and in 1958 he flew combat missions over Taiwan in the F-104 Starfighter. He later flew the B-58 Hustler in the 43rd Bomb Wing and flew at least one combat mission in Vietnam in the F-100 Super Sabre. Jabara was killed in an auto accident on Nov 17, 1966 while serving as 31st TFW commander at Homestead AFB, where he was flying the F-100. He was the youngest colonel in the USAF at that time. An airport just northeast of Wichita, Kansas was named the Colonel James Jabara Airport in his honor. 

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20-21. Jabara standing in the cockpit and near the tail section of an F-86
22. Jabara deplanning after a mission. Note the cigar - he was also known as "The Ceegar Kid."
23. Jabara being carried by squadron members after his 5th and 6th victories.
24. Jabara pre-flighting F-86A FU-257 on his first tour.
25. Jabara deplanning from an F-86F on his second tour.

Jabara's F-86A-5 model is the Matchbox F-86 kit and depicts his scheme in May 1951. F‑86A coded FU-259 was his personal jet during his first tour. This kit was built in1997 and was the only 1/72 scale F-86A model kit at that time and might still be. The canopy interior and wheel wells are very sparse. Instrument panel and seat belt decals were therefore found and added. The kit does not have any wing tanks. One issue of the Matchbox kit did come with Jabara's exact scheme of FU-259 but unfortunately I did not have that one. However, most of the kit decals could be used to make Jabara's scheme. These include the black and white ID stripes used by the 4 FIW at that time--based upon the D-Day invasion stripes of WW II--before the yellow ID bands became the Far East Air Force standard in early Spring 1952. I wanted the model collection to have some A models with the black and white stripes, and not be made up of just yellow wing bands. Of note, there was a period of time when the 4 FIW was changing to yellow band that they retained the black vertical tail stripe, and also when they had nothing on the vertical tail at all - just wing and fuselage yellow bands. The correct number codes and serials for FU-259 were made using a Superscale or Aeromaster letters and numbers decal sheet and the winged-star name plate was hand-painted. The model was painted overall with Model Master Aluminum Plate (Buffing) paint with a light gray interior and wheel wells. During his second tour Jabara often flew an F-86F-1 that was coded FU-857, which was also flown by ace Manuel Fernandez. Microscale sheet 72-245 Korean War Sheet #3 has decals for Jabara's final F-86F-30 coded FU-513 that he flew in Jul 1953. This scheme is also in the Hobby Craft F-86F-25 Sabre kit. Note that this F-86A model was used in the Korean War portion of ASM's year-long "50th Anniversary of the USAF" display in 1997 at Kirtland AFB before it went on display at the USAF Academy.

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26-29. Model of Jabara's F-86A-5 Sabre using the Matchbox kit.
30-31. 334th Fighter Interceptor Squadron and 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing patches.
The 334 FIS was the second-ranking squadron in the war with 142.5 victories.



Manuel J. Fernandez, Junior


Captain Manuel J. "Pete" Fernandez Jr. was the 3rd ranking ace in Korea, scoring 14.5 MiG-15 kills. He was the 26th U.S. jet ace, scoring his 5th kill on Feb 18, 1953. His age at that time was 28. He served with the 334th FIS, 4th FIW from Sep 1952 - May 1953. Fernandez scored mostly single victories but he had 2 "doubles" and one 1.5 kill sortie. Fernandez competed for top scorer with Jabara and McConnell. Fernandez enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and received his wings in Nov 1944 but was an instructor in the U.S. and saw no combat. He re-enlisted in the USAF and provided air cover for the cargo planes with the 23rd FS, 36th FG during the Berlin Airlift in 1948-1949. Prior to wrangling an assignment to Korea, Fernandez was an advanced instructor at the Nellis Air Force Base Gunnery School in Las Vegas, Nevada and was an expert at deflection shooting. Fernandez was ordered home from Korea at the same time as McConnell. Fernandez won the Bendix Trophy Race in 1956 flying an F-100. He retired from the AF Reserves as a Major in June 1963. Fernandez was killed in a flying accident on Oct 17, 1980 near Grand Bahama Island

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