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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 *
* Archived Articles #1   #2   #3 * Website Updates *
Fred's Foto Files * Nuclear Weapons Heritage Model Display *
Cavalcade of Wings Model Display * Recently Archived E-Board Articles  *


Next Club Contest

The March 6th meeting is an


Theme (Points) Contest


The February 7th meeting was an

ASM Swap Meet with No Contests


 The January 3rd meeting was the

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

 Special (Non-Points) Contest



 Upcoming ASM Contests Info

March 6th  -  "Open" Theme (Points) Contest

April 3rd  -  "Hurricanes" Special (Non-Points) Contest

May 1st  -  "The Desert" Theme (Points) Contest

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

ASM Contest Schedule section of the websiteContest Schedule


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

2020 2020 Presentations and Model Clincs
Apr 3 "USS Iowa" Presentation by Kathy Meyer
Jun 5 "USAF Air Superiority in the Koraen War" by Douglas Dildy
TBD Air Force Armament Museum Presentation by Mike Blohm
2019 2019 Presentations and Model Clincs
Apr 5 Wings of Freedom Tour Presentation by Josh Pals
ASM Website Demo by Mike Blohm
May 3 Dallas Airshow Presentation
Jul 12 Photographing Models by Ken Piniak
Aug 2 World War I Aircraft Rigging by Bob Henderson
Oct 4 2019 IPMS/USA Convention Report/Presentation by Dave Straub
Nov 1 Casting Resin Parts by Dave Straub
Dec 6 Discussion on contest theme suggestions for the 2020 Contest Schedule
TBD 2020 Air Force Armament Museum Presentation by Mike Blohm
TBD 2020 Tentative - "MiG Alley" Presentation by Douglas Dildy

Test Page

Next Sponsored Contest

March 6th  -  "Civil Air" (all non-military) hosted by David Epstein



Upcoming Sponsored Contests:


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

Sponsored Contest ROE

Upcoming Events Calendar

  2020 Posting in Progress
January 18-20, 2019 Albuquerque Comic Con, Albuquerque Convention Center, Albuquerque NM.  See ASM Trip Report from the 2011 event.  See ASM Trip Report for the 2012 Event.
January TBD Scorpfest VI / Modelmania Tucson.  Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, Tucson, Arizona. Sonoran Desert Modelers, IPMS Region 10.
January 20 NM AMPS meeting at Mike Mummey's house at 1:00 PM.  Contact Paul Kirchner for directions. 
January 26 Model Car Contest, sponsored by the Albuquerque Model Car Club, at Expo New Mexico, in conjunction with the 28th Annual Super Nationals Custom Auto Show
February 16 Model Fiesta 38.  San Antonio Event Center, San Antonio Texas.  IPMS Region 6.
March 30 CoMMiESFest 2019 - "One Small Step..."  Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Golden, Colorado.  IPMS CoMMiES, Region 10.
March 30 32nd Annual Tulsa Modelers Forum Open Contest & Show  Bixby Community Center. Tulsa Modelers Forum, IPMS Region 6.
April 6 Trinity Site Open to the Public.  8:00 AM to 3:30 PM at White Sands Missile Range.
April 26-28 StarFest 2019.   Science Fiction Convention, Marriott and Hilton DTC Convention Hotels, Denver Colorado.  ModelFest & model contest at StarFest, hosted by IPMS CoMMiES.
April 27 Modelmania 2019.  "Made In France"  Stafford Center, Stafford Texas.  IPMS Houston, IPMS Region 6.
April 27 Best of the West-24 Show and Contest.  East Side Cannery Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada.  IPMS Region 8.
May 9-11 AMPS 2019 International Convention.  Buffalo Grand Hotel, Buffalo, New York
May 18 ASM Model Display at the Kirtland AFB "Air and Space Fiesta" Airshow
June 13-15 Squadron EagleQuest 28,  Grapevine Texas
July 15 - August 31 ASM Model Display at Apollo 11 50th Anniversary of Lunar Landing Event at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, Albuquerque NM
August 7-10 IPMS/USA National Convention Chatanooga Convention Center, Chatanooga, Tennesee.  Hosted by IPMS Chatanooga Scale Modelers
July 31 - August 4 Star Trek Convention - Las Vegas 2018, Rio Suites Hotel, Las Vegas NV.  See Star Trek Trip Report from the 2011 event. Star Trek Trip Reports for 2013 and 2014
August 19-20
Model Entries
New Mexico State Fair  ASM-Sponsored Model Contest; Model registration dates are on Mon Aug 19th and Tue Aug 20th from 9 AM to 5 PM each day. Judging probably on Wed or Thur that week (TBD).  ASM Display-Only Theme: "1939 - Start of WW II"  The fair runs Sep 5-15.  Model pick-up is on Sep 16th 9 AM to 5 PM.
August 23-25 Bubonicon 51 - 2019.  Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, Albuquerque Marriott Uptown, 2101 Louisiana Blvd NE (Louisiana & I-40), Albuquerque, NM
September 21 ASM Model Display at the 2019 Air Force Ball at Kirtland AFB
September 23 No ASM Model Display this year at the 2019 Folds of Honor Patriot Gala in Albuquerque due to new temporary venue and not enough room for display tables. 
October 5 Trinity Site Open to the Public.  8:00 AM to 3:30 PM at White Sands Missile Range.
November 2 ModelZona 2019  Red Mountain Community Church Gym Building, 6101 E. Virginia St, Mesa, AZ from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.   IPMS Craig Hewitt Chapter, Region 10
December 29 NM AMPS meeting at Mike Mummey's house at 1:00 PM.  Contact Paul Kirchner for directions. 

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

Notes and News Items


   ASM 2019 Model of the Year Showdown

All ASM members are reminded that the December 6th meeting includes the ASM 2019 Model of the Year contest. This is a head-to-head competition between all the Best of Show winners from the 2019 Theme (Points) Contests and the Best Overall winners from the 2019 Special (Non-Points) Contests, at each division level (Juniors, Basic, Intermediate, and Masters).  Of note, winners from the "75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge" Special Contest are also players in the Showdown. 

Your model must be present at the December meeting to compete, but you do not personally need to be there, so please arrange for someone else to bring it if you cannot attend.  We would like to see all the contending models on the tables!  There are 27 contender models through the November 1st club meeting. 

A listing of all eligible models is on the ASM Website at 2019 ASM Model of the Year Contenders webpage. 


ASM Super Raffle

Raffle will be held at the December 6th ASM Meeting

3 Kits auctioned separately: 

Automotive: Revell/Germany 1/16 scale Porsche 356

Aircraft: Hobby Boss 1/32 scale B-24J Liberator

Armor: Trumpeter 1/35 scale Smerch

Tickets are $5 each, or 5 for $20

Tickets are bought in separate kit categories


E-Board Challenge Build

To compete, ASM members must enter at least one model, in theme, at every
points and special contest starting at the March 2019 Open points contest.

At the December 2019 meeting those members who have met the requirements will
have their names put into a "hat" and a winner will be drawn for a gift card at
Hobby Proz. 


ASM Model Display Supports
50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Lunar Landing Event
at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History


July 20th, 1969 - "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"

Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins


Story and more pictures were in the August ASM Newsletter

and are posted on the Articles Webpage


Group Model Build Project for 58th Special Operations Wing

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

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

Pictures of some of the kits are shown below


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



Current Articles


Deadline to submit proposed ASM Newsletter articles to

Joe Walters is the 20th of the month prior.

ASM E-Board Articles

Click Here for Recently Archived E-Board Articles

President's Update

by Josh Pals, ASM President

November 2019 Article: 

The October meeting saw the nominations for the 2020 E-Board. After twisting arms, nominees were put forward. The only contested positions are the four nominees (Scott Jaworski, Bob Henderson, Ken Piniak, and Dave Epstein) for Pro-Tem.

We will have a ballot vote at the November meeting for those positions. The rest of the E-Board positions went uncontested with Ken Liotta as Contest Director, John Tate as Vice-President, and Tony Humphries as President. Because these positions were uncontested, a "show of hands" was conducted. All three of the 2020 E-Board members have served before in each position and I am confident they will do a great job in 2020. I wish them all the best.

I was rather disappointed at the lack of enthusiasm of members to step up and join the E-Board. I do and will always appreciate those members who help with our displays and help with the New Mexico State Fair and hope we can continue to have that level of support in the future. I understand we have new members and I completely understand the hesitance as a new member to jump into a position as a club officer after just joining the club and getting back into the hobby. While all those who are veteran E-Board members have done a great job, having the same people and just switching positions, can get a little stale. It's always nice to get "new blood" with fresh ideas and perspectives. This is our club, yours and mine. If you have ideas or, think something can be done differently or better, please consider running for an E-Board position in 2021.

Contest Update

by David Epstein, ASM Pro-Tem/Acting Contest Director

November 2019 Article: 

I need to start off with an apology and a correction to October's contest results. My error was in awarding the Best of Show award in the Masters division. I awarded Casey Rupley the BOS award for his beautiful F-4J Phantom. It was pointed out to me later that it was a Hasegawa kit and thusly, per Contest Guidelines, March 28, 2016, page 6 of 9, first bullet point; "A Best Of Show Model in each divisions chosen from those models that are In Theme for that meeting, not eligible for the award."

Since the final judging for the BOS in Master's was down to either Casey's F-4J or Scott Jaworski's SdKfz. 251/17 2cm, the BOS award will go to Scott as his kit was "In Theme."  I apologize most humbly, Casey, and to anyone tracking points on their own, and Congratulate Scott on the award.

Now, on to regular business. The October contest was an "Enter the Dragon"-themed contest to include all kits manufactured by Dragon, DML, & Cyber Hobby. There were 11 entries in theme across the divisions, 21 total entries in all divisions (by 10 members). No juniors, 1 Basic, 8 Intermediate and 12 Masters. 6 Aircraft, 7 Armor, 3 Automotive, 4 Science Fiction/Fantasy and 1 Diorama//Vignette and 4 In-work entries. The stand-outs for me were Dave Tingley's Bf-109 G6, Bob Henderson’s '49 Mercury Woody, and Casey Rupley's F-4J Phantom II.

I know this was a "Theme" Contest, and they sometimes have a lesser showing of entries/entrants, but I don't understand why. If you enter a model that is not in "Theme, you can still earn points/awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Places, as well as the standard points for each entry, and a possible People's Choice award. You miss out on 10 points for not being in "Theme" and possibly 150 for the BOS, but in the overall picture, it's still points.

The upcoming November contest is an "Open" contest, and for those of you that are in it for the competition and points, it is the last points contest of the year. It is open to any kit, scale or subject, genre, etc., so I hope to see a lot of entries from all of us, yes, I may even have a close the year out entry...  Even if you look at your model and think it's not worthy of competition for some reason(s), bring it anyway. You could win an award due to it not having a "fatal flaw," or not as many issues as others entered do, as has happened in the past to myself as I'm sure it has to others. If your entry doesn't place in a contest, you can make improvements and enter it again until it does!

It was kind of fun subbing in as the contest director for the last half of 2019. I have learned a lot! I look forward to again serving the club in 2020 as a Pro-Tem member if elected and will follow the next contest director closely to learn as much as I can so if called on in the future as a substitute, or elected, I will have a much better grasp of what I am doing.


President's Update

by Josh Pals, ASM President

October 2019 Article: 

On September 21, ASM put on a display at the Air Force Ball at Kirtland. It was a success with a lot of positive comments from the attendees. Check out Mike Blohm's article on the AF Ball Display.

October is here and that means it's time for nominations for the 2020 E-Board! If you want to run for a position, raise your hand at the October meeting. If you're not able to make it to the meeting, let someone who will be at the meeting know that you're interested in running. It would be great to get some new club members on the board as new blood is always great and keeps things from getting "stale."

Tickets are still available for the Super Raffle at $5.00 each or five for $20.00. Not a bad price for the chance to win one of three awesome model kits like the 1/16 Porsche 356 C Cabriolet, 1/35 Russian 9A52-2 Smerch, and 1/32 B-24J. The drawing will be held at the December meeting.

Ettin Games and Hobbies, located in the Hoffmantown Shopping Center next to Hobby Proz, has a "Figure Painting Night" every Tuesday. For $5.00 they provide paint and brushes and you can paint all you want! The figures need to be prepped at home, however. You can bring in your own brushes, if you prefer. I've gone twice and find it pretty relaxing and interesting talking with other people painting and picking up new techniques to use. Ettin Games and Hobbies is having a figure painting contest on October 25. You need to purchase a figure(s) from them and then you get 10% off any supplies to complete the figure(s). You're allowed to enter up to five figures. Ettin Games and Hobbies is open Monday - Thursday noon to 11:00 p.m., Friday noon to midnight, Saturday 10:00 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday noon to 8:00 p.m.


September 2019 Article: 

The entry dates for the New Mexico State Fair were pushed up several weeks and the days were changed from the Friday and Saturday to a Monday and Tuesday. The display cases were short of the glass shelves, which caused Frank Randall to use his charm in acquiring additional shelves from other areas that didn’t need them. Many entrants, even those from other areas, were not too happy with the change in entry dates and that the entrance had been moved to the opposite side of the building.

Despite the change, our entry numbers weren't too far off from previous years. We had a total of 73 entries, not counting the club display, which is lower than 83 from last year. Youth and Senior Youth were down with 3 entries in Youth from 3 entrants and 2 in Senior Youth from 2 entrants. The Adult section was down from 32 entries last year to 26 entries from 16 entrants and the Professional section had a slight increase from last year’s total of 40 entries to 42 entries from 12 entrants.

Since judging won't be until after the deadline for the newsletter, I will share the results at the September club meeting and Mike Blohm will post the results on the ASM Website. I would like to personally thank all those who entered their models and loaned models for our display. I would also like to thank everyone who came to help with the entries. A special shout out to Mike Blohm for organizing the display this year.


Website of the Year!

by Joe Walters, ASM Newsletter Editor

On July 24, 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. Interestingly, Mackowski’s text for this award included “The Corsair consistently has quality content, including kit reviews and modeling tips without padding it with content that is better suited to a website.” Wonder what he’s talking about there.

[NB: This newsletter is not eligible for that award, as this Regional Coordinator made it a rule that only newsletters edited by IPMS members are eligible, and I’m not a member. -JW]

Congratulations, Mike! Best. Website. Ever.


Hello ASM

by David Epstein, ASM Pro-Tem

Hello ASM, my name is David Epstein, and (as a Pro-Tem Board member) I have apparently been volunteered by the E-board to assume the mantle of interim or temporary contest coordinator for the remainder of the year in the absence of Chris Kurtze. We have not been able to reach him and send him our best wishes and prayers that he is okay.

As this is going to be new to me, I can assure that I will not be changing anything regarding the current contest schedule for the remainder of the year. I will be more of an overseer and points-tallier, or a tie breaker in judging if need be.

I look forward to the opportunity to gain more experience within the club, and hope I don’t mess things up too badly. I look forward to seeing all of your quality entries each month and invite suggestions of any type. If you have any questions, I will do my best to give, or get you the correct answer.

Personally, I have been a modeler since my dad bought me a Lindberg Curtiss Jenny when I was about eight, and I painted a portion of the back patio yellow as well as the model. Over the years I took two long hiatuses from modeling during two marriages, got back into it between marriages. I moved to Albuquerque in 1999 and joined the club then only to fall away after a year for my second marriage. In 2015 I got my second divorce, moved back to Albuquerque, and rejoined the club and have been an active member and modeler since.

Let’s all have some good fun and fellowship and get lots of entries on the table for the remainder of the year. Build, Build, Build!


July 2019 Article: 

and Some Words from the Prez

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, June's contest was a Special Non-Points contest with the theme being "D-Day." As with most Special contests, the turnout was lighter than usual, with five entries in Intermediate and seven entries in Masters.

Rob Whitlock took Best of Show in Intermediate with his British Centaur IV and Scott Jaworski took Best of Show in Masters with his British Churchill Mk.III Type D AVRE Carpet Layer Tank.

We have five contenders left in the E-Board Contest Challenge! Mike Blohm, Bob Henderson, Scott Jaworski, Frank Randall, and John Tate. With only five contests left, it will be exciting to see who makes it!  If all five make it to the December contest, then all five names will be put in a hat and the winner will be chosen at random and receive a Hobby Proz gift card.

Since we have several new members, who may not know all the "rules" when it comes to all the different contests, I'll explain a little here. When entering either a "Special" or "Sponsored" contest the models must be in the theme of those contests. When entering a "Points" contest the model does not need to be in the theme for the contest. However, if the model is not in theme, it won't be eligible for the extra points awarded for being "in theme" nor will it be eligible for Best of Show. For more information on model contest eligibility please check out the ASM website under "Contest Guidelines" or feel free to ask any of the E-Board members.

The New Mexico State Fair is almost upon us and some changes have been made. The fair runs from September 5 - 15 and the entry dates have been changed and moved up. Entry dates to enter models are Monday, August 19, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday, August 20, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The theme for our "Display Only" case is the 80th anniversary of the start of WWII. The reason we have a theme for a "Display Only" is that the club is given four cases to use for entries and if we don't fill them, we lose them. Fortunately, the past couple of years have been record breaking and we have filled all four cases and a case from the car club! Let's go for the hat trick and make this year another record breaking, case stuffing year at the fair!  If you would like to help out with entries, judging or pickup please let me or Mike Blohm know.

June 2019 Article:

May was our second points contest with the theme being Automotive. With many members being avid aircraft or armor modelers, we had a great turnout of automotive subjects! We had a total of 23 automotive subjects on the table. Aside from the high number of vehicles on the table, the quality was just as high. I would like to thank everyone for their entries and hope that all of you had fun building something "shiny" for a change of pace.

We had a Junior entry this month! Alexander Tate took Best of Show, People's Choice, and a Gold ribbon with his VW Beetle. Great job Alexander! We look forward to seeing more of your builds!

In the Basic class, Jeannie Garriss took Gold ribbons with her '57 Corvette and 2014 Corvette Stingray. John Wyer took Best of Show, People's Choice, and a Gold ribbon with his Tommy Ivo's "Showboat' four-engine dragster.

In the Intermediate class, Ken Piniak took 3rd with his '70s vintage kit of a '74 McLaren F-1 race car and 1st with his Caricature of the Bandit's Trans Am in the "Other" category. Don Smith took 2nd with his civilian version of a Kurogane bulldozer. 1st place, Best of Show, and People's Choice went to Bob Henderson's 1956 Ford F-100 pickup. James Medina entered a stunning 1/144 Millennium Falcon that took 1st for scifi, and Ken Piniak took 1st in aircraft for an awesome Blue Thunder helicopter.

In the Master class, Chuck Herrmann took 3rd with his '37 Ford Rat Rod. John Tate took 2nd with his SIMCA 5. 1st place, Best of Show, and People's Choice went to Scott Jaworski with his 2016 Ford GT. Dave Epstein took 1st in the ships with his PBR Mk ll. John Tate took 1st places with his 1/16 Renault FT in armor and his P-47 in aircraft.

Just a reminder to members: You don't have to enter a model that is "in theme" for points contests, you just won't be eligible for Best of Show if it's not.

June’s contest is a Special non-points contest, 75th Anniversary of D-Day, which means only those subjects which fit into that theme will be allowed. As always, you can bring in models for the "Display Only" to show off.


May 2019 Article: 

How many of us have completed a kit only to find extra pieces on the sprue for an optional build you didn't do? Knowing how precious styrene plastic is, you can't bear to throw away perfectly good plastic. The same goes for that kit you bought that has multiple markings but you only want the one. Do you have an old "dog" kit that you never will build and can't seem to get rid of but don't want to throw it away? Do you have a kit that you bought for a specific part to use in a different build and now are left with a partial kit?

The ASM Parts Box is a treasure trove of all kinds of odds and ends. Whether you're looking for that one piece you lost to the carpet monster, or are looking for pieces to use on your kitbashing project, the ASM Parts Box is almost sure to have it. So while you're at the next club meeting, be sure to check out the clear plastic storage tote to see what treasures you might find. If you're not looking for any treasure, please consider donating your spare decals or sprue bits!


April 2019 Article: 

The March Open Points Contest marks the first points contest of 2019. It also marks the first contest held in the same room as the business portion. Quarters were somewhat cramped, but we made it work without any complications. The tables were filled with some very good quality models with a total of forty entries across the divisions.

In Basic, Jeannie Garris took home a Silver and a Gold for her X-Wing Fighter and Off Road 4x4, respectively. Aaron Schmiedicke took Gold for his Monument Valley UFO, and Gold, Best of Show, and People's Choice for his TIE Interceptor.

In the Intermediate Division, Armor category, Third place went to Don Smith's US Jeep with 37mm anti-tank gun. Second and First place went to Rob Whitlock's Flakpanzer 4 Ostwind and Char B1 Bis, respectively. In Aircraft, Bob Henderson's PBY-5A from the Black Cats Squadron took Third place. Second place to Ken Piniak's AH-1Q TOW Cobra and First place went to Charles Petrilli's MiG-29A. In Science and Fantasy, Third place went to Bob Henderson's Fam's Vespa. Don Smith took Second place with his TIE Fighter and First place, Best of Show, and People's Choice went to Jim Medina and his Tantive 4. We added another category, Miscellaneous, as sometimes some models just don't "fit" into the other categories. In the Miscellaneous Category Mark Vaughn took Third place with his Visible Gummi Bear. Second place went to Ken Piniak's 2 Spool Turbofan Engine that was motorized and had sound! Jim Medina took First place with his "It's a Boy" Sherman tank.

Finally in the Master Division, Diorama/Vignette category, Glenn Bingham took First and Second with his P-8A Poseidon and V-2/A-4 Rocket, respectively. In Science Fiction/Fantasy Josh Pals took Third with his Gypsy Avenger Jager. Mike Blohm took Second place with his Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch and First place went to Josh Pals's Obsidian Fury Jager. In Automotive, Chuck Herrmann took First and Second place with his VW New Beetle and Surf Woody Roadster, respectively. In the Aircraft category Steve Brodeur took Third place with his Grumman SA-16 in Artic Rescue markings. Second place went to Casey Rupley's US Navy F-18F and First place went to Scott Jaworski's A-4F Skyhawk. In the Armor category, Third place went to Chuck Herrmann for his BMW R75 motorcycle, Second place to Patrick Dick and his Renault FT-17, and First place, Best of Show, and People's Choice went to Scott Jaworski's Chieftain Mk. 5 in Berlin Brigade Camo Scheme.

April's contest is a special non-points contest with the theme being "Fabulous Fifties" - any subject/scale from the 1950s. The next points contest is in May with the theme being "Automotive" any scale of wheeled or tracked civilian automotive subject. 


June 2019 Article: 

Underground, Overground, Wombling Free...

by Tony Humphries, ASM Vice President

I often wonder (and you may do this too) as I merrily skip my way through life--am I odd? Or particularly unusual? The answer to that, is of course "yes," but allow me to elaborate... Am I the only one who walks around looking at the world in general as one enormous and potential modeling accessory?

For example, when opening a bottle of wine or anything else with good quality foil on it (okay, it's mainly wine to be honest), I immediately think, "aha-- 1/72 scale aircraft seatbelts" or "1/35 weapon slings."  When out walking the dog, we meander around the park like a pair of drunken Wombles (you may have to look that up, depending on your upbringing... may help if so) looking for sticks that might be useful for palm logs in a pacific island diorama. Or twigs that can be turned into scale trees.

Who among you doesn't have glycerin for preserving small plants for that Vietnam jungle scene that you want to build? Buying it in large quantities can lead to funny looks from the pharmacy staff of course, since it is used not only in soap making but also for enemas, apparently. Who knew? So don't wince or walk with a limp when you buy it. Just a word to the wise...

Or who doesn't pick up dried leaves to crumble for diorama ground cover, or even dry the leaves from your tea-bags when you've made your morning cup of tea? I am assuming here of course that you are a civilized member of society and drink hot tea rather than that ghastly icy stuff that my wife keeps trying to foist upon me. Lipton, schmipton, I say. Give me Tetley or PG Tips any day of the week (this is not a paid endorsement by the way, but hey, if you're listening out there...). Tea bags from the iced stuff might work too for all I know, but I am not rushing to find out. Call me a bluff old traditionalist, if you will. I don't care. I wear the badge of a cantankerous (and foreign) old git, with pride.

Anyway, getting back to the subject at hand, do you consider the leaf litter/forest scene/ground cover possibilities? Well, if you don't, maybe you should. Ground up tree leaves can be very useful there. And taking a leaf (no pun intended) from the late and great Shep Paine's book, what looks more like dirt than real dirt?

Perhaps it's worth saving the wire from that broken lamp and stripping it to use in your next aircraft cockpit super-detailing project? Well, unless it's a Dallas Cowboys or Manchester United lamp of course, in which case it is clearly tainted beyond saving and should be disposed of immediately and with extreme prejudice... There are of course many other things that can prove useful to you--the wooden stirring sticks from Starbucks et al, for example, make useful planks in certain scales as well, so make sure you pick a few of them up next time you're in there buying that $10 cup of liquid absurdity. You know it makes sense.

So aside from having cemented my reputation here as a terrible cheapskate and a grumpy old bar-steward, I think the lesson here is simple and particularly significant in these frugal times: accessories are all around you, and they aren't necessarily made of resin. So, Womble on folks. Womble on.


May 2019 Article: 

And Now, a Word or Two From Our Sponsors

by Tony Humphries, ASM Vice President

Now that we have re-started our eBay effort (for fundraising purposes, of course), I think it's time to issue another appeal. Many of you have been very generous over the years. The people who selflessly do so much for our club and promote its interests are clear--I"m thinking of John Tate, Jack Garriss, and Frank Randall in particular here, but I think other guys on the current E-board, and many of you off it--Tim, Tom, and Pat, for example--have stepped up when needed; and those who don't have kits to donate have put in a lot of time and energy, which is just as valuable and much appreciated also. I hate for us to have to go "cap in hand" to you all once again, particularly those who have donated so much in the past, but we need to ask you once again, I'm afraid, if any of you have kits that you can spare? Alms for an old ex-leper, etc. It's all for a good cause, after all. Presumably you agree, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this or attending our meetings.

As a famous typewriter enthusiast once wrote "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their club." It is also written that "By their donations shall ye know them." I'm not sure where that kind of (not very) subtle emotional blackmail is written, apart from here of course, but it has to be somewhere. We also mustn't forget that, aside from our own membership, we have been fortunate enough to receive some great donations from outside of the club, too, and from some who have passed on or been unable to continue building due to ill health. With luck (for us at least), those kind of donations may happen again in the future. Not that we want to injure anyone or hasten their demise, however, so please don't go breaking fingers, sticking pins in dolls, or poisoning anyone's coffee at our meetings. We don't want this to turn into a styrene Game of Thrones, after all. I am just hopeful in a general sort of way, not suggesting that we do anything concrete to bring that about!

Just as a word to the wise (and if you haven't already done so) you also might want to take this article as a reminder to have a word with your significant other (or "others" if you live in some of our less traditional communities) and make some plans about what to do with your own stash when your time comes and you go to that great spray-booth in the sky. Some of you may give instructions for your relatives to contact the club and offer them any modeling related items that you may have remaining, although in my case at least, I would appreciate it if club representatives don't go knocking on my wife's door until she has had a suitable interval to celebrate and dance on my grave (only joking, dear...).

Not everyone will want, or indeed be able, to do that, of course, but if others feel it appropriate to do the same thing (donate, that is, not dance on my grave), then that"s great and I'm sure the club will be grateful. Just something for you to think about anyway. If you do want to have that kind of discussion, though, do it now. It's later than you think (Bwaaah-ha-ha, etc.). And if you want to dance on my grave once I'm gone, feel free. It's not as if I'm going to be knocking on the coffin lid or banging it with a broom and shouting at you to keep the bloody noise down, after all. I'll already be drinking with Ernest Hemingway in that ever-open celestial bar and probably trying to sneak furtive glimpses down the front of Marilyn Monroe's dress, so you can do what you like at that point. I'll be busy.

Anyway, in the meantime, on behalf of the club I would like to say thanks again to John Tate for his continuing efforts on the eBay front, thanks to all of you who have made donations recently, and thanks also to the eBay Ladies (eBay seller ID - goinggoingsoldtoyou), who have taken so much of the hassle out of the process for us and for a very reasonable fee. I have bought things from them myself and can't recommend them highly enough. The whole effort has brought us some very useful revenue in the past and hopefully will continue to do so, now that we've re-started it once again. If you can help, your contributions would be greatly appreciated.

And now that our PBS-style beg-athon is over, we return you to our normal programming...


StarFest and Models

by Joe Walters, ASM Newsletter Editor

Over the April 26 - 28 weekend, my wife and I will be attending the annual StarFest sci-fi convention in Denver, and rumor has it a couple of folks named Blohm might show up and even bring some models for the excellent competition they put on there! Expect a full report and photos of lots of sci-fi models in next month's letter!

In the dealers' room at this show, there are always many model kits being offered for sale, and there are also a couple of local dealers that offer many accessories for sci-fi models that you just don't find anywhere else, so this convention has a lot to offer the sci-fi modeler!

In addition, the local CoMMiES outfit puts on a "modeling university," which includes Make & Takes and presentations much like the clinics we put on at out meetings now and then.

And there's more!  Building a model of the starship Enterprise? You can get William Shatner and/or Nichelle Nichols to autograph it, as they are both guests this year (this is Ms. Nichols's final year appearing at conventions, as she has decided to retire from these appearances). Ben Browder (Farscape, Stargate SG-1) and Peter Macon (Bortis on The Orville) are coming too, as are a number of other guests from various sci-fi related venues, and several physicists and space scientists who will be giving presentations about ongoing and upcoming space exploration projects.

We're looking forward to this, as we always do!


Ask Not What Your Club Can Do for You...

by Tony Humphries, ASM Vice President

April 2019 Article: 

Okay, so let’s recap on a point that I raised at the March meeting and which I hope struck home to those in attendance. It is basically this: the club used to have a great newsletter--good enough to rival the best that other IPMS chapters put out. It was informative, inventive, and entertaining. At least I think it was, and I hope that others agree. There were frequent kit reviews, trip reports, and articles about all aspects of scale modeling. We were doing well.

The last two newsletters have been very poor, however, with little in February's newsletter and March's having one single article, and that was rubbish. I should know--I wrote it. This simply isn't going to work. It's not sustainable. We have a club with at least 85 paying members currently, and several lifetime members too. So how do we end up with such a poor newsletter recently? Well, let's get one thing straight.  It is absolutely not the fault of our esteemed editor, Joe. He has been doing a lot with a little for a long time and balances his editing duties with a busy life outside of the club. We should be, and indeed are I believe, grateful to him for everything that he does for us. But Joe can only publish what he receives and if nobody sends him anything, well guess what?  We have a pretty empty newsletter.

I know that many of you have been on trips that are space, civil aviation, military and/or modeling related. Lots of you have built kits recently and continue to do so, which is if course great to see on the tables every month. So, why not write a little about some of those trips or builds?  It's easy and doesn't require a lot of pictures or indeed the literary (or drinking, although you can if you like) skills of Ernest Hemingway or anyone of his ilk. Those that have already done this (or trip reports, etc.) --and thank you to those that have--will vouch for this. Just jot down a couple of paragraphs about what you saw or how your build went, what you enjoyed, what the challenges were (if any) and show us a picture or two. Your cell phones can take perfectly good images these days. There's no need to spend several thousand dollars on expensive cameras, lenses, filters, lighting etc.

But it doesn't just have to be kit reviews or trip reports. There are other things that you can add, too. A story that you heard from a veteran, perhaps. A historical article. Some info that you found out about a potential modeling subject. Even a cartoon that you saw that was funny (not political though please). There is lots of scope and I know that we can do better here. We can get back to where we were easily and I urge you to do your part to make that happen. Onwards and upwards! Man the barricades! Let's storm the Winter Palace! Well, you get the idea...

The E-Board

Following on from this, I think we need to talk about elections and executive board positions as well. None of the positions on the board are particularly difficult or time-consuming to undertake. They really are not onerous and involve little work outside of attending the (usually) monthly meetings, with the exception perhaps, of the Contest Director's role. This involves some work on club nights and also requires the points totals to be added up and distributed monthly and a brief written report in the newsletter also. Even this is not hard. So why do we have so few people willing to step up and fill these roles? Any of you can do it, I assure you, and I appeal to those of you who have never held any of these positions before to give it a go. It would great to see next year's board composed of entirely new people who have never held any of these position before!  We have quite a number of younger members, and you guys are the young blood with new ideas that we are going to need to look to for the future direction of the club. It's time for us old guys to hand the reins over to the next generation. So please think about this and put your names in the hat when the next elections are announced.

Outside Events

A further point here is that when we run outside events such as Make & Takes, displays, the State Fair, Chile Con, and other contests, etc., we need to have new blood (but not just younger members) involved in these too. We can't rely on the same seven or eight people who always show up to do this. Often these guys are showing up because they love what they are doing, but sometimes they are doing it because no one else will. We can't rely on 10% of our club to carry the other 90%. It's not fair to them. How would you feel if you were at work and were one of the only ones actually doing the work, while everyone else cruises along, chats all day around the water cooler and puts no effort in, while you're busting your butt and then draws the same paycheck as you at the end of the month? Well, that's what it feels like for the few who are always standing up and being counted. Now it's your turn. You can do it!

 Bottom Line

The bottom line is, and if you take nothing else away from this article/diatribe, then let it be this: We have great monthly competitions and meetings and put ourselves out in the community to celebrate our hobby and to commemorate the sacrifices of, and to draw attention to, the work that our serving military and veterans do/did--the Folds of Honor, Air Force Ball, and forthcoming Kirtland air show, for example. We have excellent club competitions and the experience gained in these helps us to feature regularly in competition at the national level too.

If you want any of that to continue, then please consider helping out. Stand up and be counted! We have some great models on the table every month from some truly talented modelers. If you want this to continue and you want a place to show your models off, then please step up. If you don't, this club will die. Slowly and painfully. It's as simple as that. The old guard can't do everything and can't continue forever. Once we are gone, what are you going to do?  It's a question that you need to ask yourselves and I believe that I can count on you to come up with the appropriate answer (and it's not "F - Off, Tony!") however much some of you might want it to be...).

Thanks for listening.

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

By Mike Blohm, ASM Webmaster

Spider_web.jpg (89398 bytes)

The ASM Website has completed its changeover to 2019.  All of the "yearly" web pages (model pics, meeting pics, modeler of the year, and model of the year) have been created and populated with the pictures and information for 2019.  All these pages are updated through the February 2019 meeting at this time, and March info is being posted.  The 2019 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 2019 pages will take you to other 2019 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.  

Some reminders about the ASM website:

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

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

There is also a "NM State Fair Model Contests" page listed in the "Index" at the top of the Articles Page.  It also has a link on the Home Page. This page includes links to the NM State Fair contest resuls pages from 2005 to 2018.  It also includes all the current Section and Class entry criteria.  Read through this information to learn what models you should be thinking about entering in 2019.  Note that ASM Master and Intermediate modelers are asked to enter in the "Professional" Class.  Please note that there is a link in the Upcoming Events calendar that will take you to the actual NM State Fair site. 

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

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

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

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

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

ASM Member Articles


ASM Builds Model for 2019 Folds of Honor Event

 By Mike Blohm

The Albuquerque Scale Modelers club provided a 1/48 scale A-10A Thunderbolt II "Warthog" model for the auction at the Folds of Honor New Mexico's "Red, White, and Blue Celebration Dinner" fund-raising event held on September 23, 2019, at the Tanoan Country Club in Albuquerque. The Folds of Honor Foundation provides scholarships and other assistance to the spouses and children of soldiers killed or disabled in service to our country. The model was built by Mike Blohm. The Monogram model kit was donated by Brian Peck. The Folds of Honor was very appreciative of our donation and thanked us for again contributing models for their auction. ASM had two F-16 models for their 2018 event.

The model was built as an A-10A of the 78th Fighter Squadron "Flying Tigers" of the 23rd Fighter Group while assigned to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Group at Jacobabad, Pakistan, in March 2002. The scheme was from the Print Scale 48-073 A-10 Thunderbolt II decal sheet. The kit came with decals for a warthog-faced A-10 of the 47th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 917th Tactical Fighter Group, Air Force Reserve in a Europe 1 paint scheme (two greens and one gray). However, I wanted to build a three grays scheme with the colorful shark mouth used by the 23rd Fighter Group Flying Tigers, as that would be more appealing to any potential bidders on the model.

The kit was built out of the box other than the decals. It is an older kit with raised panel lines, and a lot of fit problems that required sanding. The 1/48 scale kit is pretty huge. I usually build 1/72 scale aircraft, and the A-10 was bigger than a B-17 model in 1/72.  It probably had more parts. too. To avoid it being a tail-sitter, I loaded the front of the fuselage below the cockpit with modeling clay holding a lot of fish sinkers--as much as I thought the narrow nose gear would hold. To my dismay, the model sat back on its tail after I had everything put together. The kit does come with a clear plastic "support stand" that I had not wanted to use, but did use in the end. It is way back by the tail and is pretty unnoticeable. I used a whole lot of Master Model Light Ghost Gray (FS36375) and Dark Ghost Gray (FS36320) to paint it. What I really would have liked was a decal or a template for the fake canopy on the underside of the nose that is in Gunship Gray (FS36118). I ended up drawing the outline of that in pencil and then painting it on. I was surprised at how well that came out. Building the ordnance took a long time. I built six CBU-71 canisters (that is the closest thing the pieces match to), four AGM-65 Mavericks and two LAU-88 triple rail launchers, and an ALQ-119 ECM pod. Getting all those attached to the pylons was a major pain.

The base for the model is a large 18 x 20 picture frame. I inserted a thick grey-colored mat under the glass that looked like an aircraft parking ramp, and had a 3 x 4 inch metal plate built with the appropriate wording about the model. That plate and a smaller plate stating "Model by Albuquerque Scale Modelers" were then attached by double-sided tape onto the glass.

The A-10 model sold for $150 in the auction. The winner donated it to the nine-year-old son of one of the scholarship recipients at the dinner. The boy is a special needs child who is "all about airplanes."  So the model is going to a good home. The 2020 Folds of Honor event will be held at a larger venue, and they do want ASM to put on a large model display for that event. So start building for that!





ASM Model Display at the 2019 Air Force Ball

 By Mike Blohm

The ASM model display at the 2019 Air Force Ball went very well. The event, held on Saturday, September 21, at Kirtland AFB, celebrated the 72nd birthday of the USAF as well as the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. ASM had planned to have three tables in three different rooms on which to display models, but we ended up with just two. One was in the main room where the festivities took place. It was decorated in a USO theme with lots of camouflage netting and we set up 31 D-Day-related models there. The other table was located in the entryway into the club where the attendees checked in. We ended up closely-packing 45 models on that table, covering the Korean War, Viet Nam, Air Defense Command, and Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, and Inherent Resolve. We brought 23 tubs of models but due to the space limitations not all were put out on the tables. We did have a total of 76 models on the two tables.

Lots of people stopped by and asked questions about the models and we were thanked for putting on the display. Ken Piniak wore a World War II tanker uniform complete with pistol and submachine gun, so he got lots of questions. Thanks to the following ASM members for setting up and manning the tables during the event: Josh Pals, Frank Randall, Ken Piniak, and Matt and Mike Blohm. Thanks also to John Tate for dropping by with his models and helping with the set up. Thanks to the following people who loaned models for the display: Glenn Bingham, Tony Humphries, Keith Liotta, Larry Glenn, Steve Brodeur, Jim Medina, Len Faulconer, Dave Tingley, John Tate, Josh Pals, Frank Randall, Ken Piniak, and Mike Blohm.





Field Trip - Commemorative Air Force

by Lloyd Powell

I went out to the Commemorative Air Force open house on August 10 at the Moriarty Municipal Airport. Worth the trip. Here are a few photos







Kit Review

 Dragon's Apollo 11 "Lunar Approach"
Columbia" + LM "Eagle"

 By Mike Blohm

This review is on the Dragon 1/72 scale kit Apollo 11 "Lunar Approach" (11001) that depicts the Command Service Module (CSM) "Columbia" and the stowed Lunar Module (LM) "Eagle" connected and enroute to the Moon.  This model was constructed to be part of the ASM model display that supported the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing event at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History here in Albuquerque.  We had 16 models in that display, including the LM "Eagle" in 1/48 scale and a Lunar Roving Vehicle in 1/32 scale, but we did not have a model of the CSM "Columbia."  This "Lunar Approach" kit would fill that missing element.  The big challenge was to get it done in time for the all-day event at the museum on July 20th, the anniversary date.  The build started on Saturday, July 13th, which was three days prior to the Apollo 11 launch, 50 years ago.  My "race to the Moon" was to get the model done and on display at the museum before Apollo 11 got to the Moon.  The completion target date was Thursday, July 18th.  This review includes a kit overview and sections on model assembly, model painting, decaling, and the final assembly. 

Kit Overview.  The model comes in a large box and has 11 different sprues consisting of 165 parts, many of which go unused (picture 1)  There is a similar Dragon kit "Apollo 11 - Lunar Landing" (11002) that depicts the LM sitting on the Moon while the CSM soars above, so it looks like a lot of the parts in the Lunar Approach kit box are for that other "on the Moon" kit.  And that leads to a lot of confusion in trying to build this model.  Overall, this is a great model and it has a lot of clever engineering on where the sprue attachment points are and how the parts fit together to eliminate the chances for gaps.  However, this great kit is totally let down by very inadequate instructions.  It should have been a booklet of steps showing how the parts should fit together and be painted.  Instead, it is a single sheet of paper that folds into four sections--one and a half cover the CSM and one and a half cover the LM (see 2 and 3).  The fourth section shows the layout of the parts on the sprues.  It took a lot of dry fitting and looking at pictures of the real articles to figure out where the parts should go, what angle they should be at, etc.  Of note, there are no pictures of what the real LM looked like when it was stowed and attached to the CSM on the way to the Moon (think about it). 

1     2     3

Additionally, some of the diagrams on the instructions are incorrect or missing steps, such as attaching the folded parts of the legs and the lower parts of the legs with the landing pads.  They leave out that one of these lower legs should have the ladder attached (where Neil Armstrong climbed out of the LM)--they instead depict four legs and no ladder.  Remember all those extra parts?  Yes, there are four legs without a ladder.  So after dutifully following the instructions and being at a later step, I realize "hey, there's supposed to be ladder on one of these."  So I had to go back and figure out which one needed the ladder.  And the ladder is actually part of one of the other lower legs, and not something you glue onto the legs.  Since I had super-glued it originally, I had a fun time disassembling one of the leg combos.  And since I was racing the clock, this was not an appreciated side-track. 

Model Assembly.  Most of the parts are attached to the sprues so that they can be easily cut off and needed minimal sanding to smooth out.  Some exceptions were the grip handles that attached onto the outside of the CSM.  They also needed to fit into tiny holes at an angle on the capsule, and those took a lot of work (4).  The Service Module (SM) parts did not fit together well.  I wrote their part numbers on the inside of the pieces with a marker so that I could keep track of them as I glued them together.  How they should attach to two inner support rings is a bit nebulous in the instructions, so you have to sort out which should be glued first and what goes next. (5)  I did use some gap-filling super glue and rubber bands to keep the pressure on and hold it all together.  Step 3 on the instructions includes installing six struts onto the top bulkhead of the SM where the capsule will fit, apparently to cushion it when it is installed (6).  More on this later (foreshadowing...).  The multitude of thruster units come with two nozzles installed and two to be glued onto the unit.  I painted them but left them off until near the end of the build.  It looked easier to first glue the units in place, and then glue the loose nozzles on, which turned out to be the best way to do it.  The SM's rocket engine nozzle was left off until the very end as well (7) 

4     5     6     7

The LM is a pretty straightforward build.  The top section was built first followed by the lower section.  These were kept separate until the very end.  The gold-colored parts of the LM's lower section were painted while they were still attached to the sprues.  More on that below.  I left off all the antennas and thrusters until the end of the LM build.  The LM legs are molded as simulated gold foil.  This looks great when painted, but the connection points for the parts (flat areas for gluing) are not prominent and getting things attached was difficult.  I used a lot of super-glue in these areas.  Luckily most of the attachment points are obscured behind the legs.  I already mentioned the problem with the "missing ladder."  The LM has two rocket engine nozzles.  The top nozzle was no problem.  For the bottom engine, the connection (peg) part at the top of the nozzle did not fit into the slot provided, and I had to cut off part of it and do some workarounds with super-glue to get it into place.  With the completion of the capsule and SM and the two sections of the LM, I was ready to start the painting.

Model Painting.  Painting the kit was a challenge for several reasons.  The non-existent instruction book should have covered the paint scheme in detail.  What you do have is 16 diagrams on the bottom of the box (see picture 8 and 9).  These are not bad, but they need to be about five times bigger.  The paint scheme is the four sides of the CSM (in 90 degree sections), left to right as if you would spin it.  The LM is eight similar diagrams of the upper and lower sections in the 90 degree sections.  Lastly, there are two diagrams of the LM's top section and two diagrams of the LM's lower section, looking straight down from above and straight up from below.  So your challenge includes keeping your spins all lined up as you paint the CSM and LM.  I again used a lot of pictures of the real articles to cross-check the paint scheme.  Be aware that the LMs on the Lunar missions were not all painted the same.  And don't necessarily believe the captions on the pictures.  For example, I found one titled "the Apollo11 LM" and noticed there was a Lunar Roving Vehicle parked next to it.  Those were used on Apollo 15, 16, and 17.  So beware; however, it was on the internet, so it must be true (10). 

8     9     10

Here is a listing of the colors that I used and the painting sequence.  Airbrush painting was used except where noted.  The capsule was painted Model Master (MM) Aluminum Plate - Buffing Metalizer.  Sections of the SM were painted first with MM RLM 21 White.  Those were taped off with Tamiya Tape and the rest of the SM was then painted with the MM Aluminum Plate - Buffing Metalizer (11 and 12).  The raised middle section of the SM's bottom was painted MM Magnesium.  For the outside of the SM engine nozzle, the top half was MM Titanium Buffing Metalizer, with the lower half MM Exhaust Buffing Metalizer.  The entire inside of the nozzle was painted MM Burnt Metal, as that had been fired to get them headed to the Moon. 

11      12     13     14     15

Before assembly of the lower section of the LM, the gold-colored parts had been sprayed with Tamiya Gold from the spray can while they were still on the sprue (13).  I found it easy to touch up the gold where it was "crinkled foil."  The areas that remained gold were taped off and MM Flat Black was painted over the rest of it (14 and 15).  References need to be checked closely for this.  The gold and black are not alternating colors around the sides.  I had to stick a piece of tape with "Gold" written on it for one side to make sure that I did not screw that up. 

16     17     18     19

For the top half of the LM, I debated about which color to paint first, the MM Aluminum Plate - Buffing Metalizer or the MM Flat Black, as taping would be involved.  I elected to do the aluminum first and tape those edges before the black was applied (16-18).  It was a back and forth re-spray due to some overspray and marring of the aluminum from handling it.  The slightly rubbed edges on the black areas revealed aluminum underneath, which looked good.  The two engine nozzles of the LM were both painted MM Exhaust Buffing Metalizer inside and out, as they had not yet been fired.  The major sub-assemblies--LM legs not yet attached--are shown in picture 19.  After all the CSM and LM sections were painted, the thrusters and the antenna were attached (21).

 Decaling.  The 16 diagrams on the bottom of the box also double as the decal instructions.  Again, much too small for easy use, and some of the decal numbers are incorrect as to what is on the decal sheet.  Looking at the sheet was disheartening at first due to the sheer number of decals, but it turned out that a lot were "spares" and were not used (20-25).  There are some very tiny "one word" decals for the CSM that I left off, as trying to put them on was marring the finish.  I had to use a magnifying glass to determine if some were oriented correctly.  The small pictures on the box were not much help there - it showed where they went, but not how they should be placed. 

20     21     22     23     24     25

Final Assembly.  With all the separate parts completed it was time to hook them all together (21).  The first problem encountered here was attaching the capsule to the top of the SM.  Remember that foreshadowing?  The capsule is mounted onto a post sticking vertically out of the SM's upper bulkhead (6-7).  This is not shown in the instructions.  However, when this is done the outer edge of capsule did not seat flush against the top lip of the SM.  Part of the problem was those six struts sticking up, preventing it from pressing down far enough.  I bent those over and out of the way, but the capsule edge was still a bit too high and not flush with the SM.  I ended up shaving a bit off that vertical post and then using super-glue around the lip of the SM to hold the capsule securely in place.  If I build this kit again, I would leave all those struts off completely and shave off the two small support pieces that are around the base of that vertical post.  Those seemed to prevent the capsule from seating at the proper height.  All this screwing around with mounting the capsule marred the finish a bit, so more re-painting was required.  The next step was securing the CSM to the display base.  The base is made up of a flat horizontal lower section and a vertical arm that are screwed together (26-28).  There is a plug that is supposed to be inserted into the side of the CSM that the vertical arm of the base is supposed to slide over.  This is another problem area of the instructions, in that it does not mention opening a hole for the plug before the SM is put together.  I did locate that spot and used an exacto blade to open it.  How to insert the plug through the hole in the vertical arm and into the SM is also nebulous--which way it goes--and I screwed that up, and while attempting to remedy that the plug fell apart.  At that point I went to basic engineering and found a wood screw that fit through the hole in the vertical arm and screwed it into the SM.  That worked just fine. (Chris Kraft and Gene Kranz would have been proud.)  When I connected the assembled LM onto the rod protruding from the tip of the CSM, I discovered that the model was front heavy and the base was very likely to tip over.  So I used modeling clay and a lot of fish sinker weights at the back end of the base to balance it out.  I printed out a small Apollo 11 mission patch and stuck that onto the horizontal part of the base.  The last item added was the photo-etched antenna array (four circular dishes) that attaches to the aft end of the CSM.  The problems encountered with attaching the capsule and the base resulted in a slight half-day slip of the projected completion date. 

26      27     28     29     30     31     32

In summary, this is a great looking model when it is finally completed, but it has its challenges along the way.  The big failing is the very inadequate instructions.  A better detailed set would have made this a much easier build.  I had wanted to get an Apollo 11 model built for the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, and getting it completed for the ASM model display at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History was a very good reason to get it done.  I did get it there the morning of July 19th, before the Apollo 11 crew entered lunar orbit 50 years ago, so I did win that race.  And yes, I would build another of these kits.  The next one will be that "on the Moon" version, which looks to be reissued by Dragon in the near future.  An article on the ASM Apollo 11 Anniversary Model Display (pics 33-35) can be found on the ASM Website at:

33     34     35


ASM Model Display Supports Apollo 11 Lunar Landing Anniversary

Event at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

By Mike Blohm


The Albuquerque Scale Modelers (ASM) club provided a model display to support a 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing event at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History.  The museum was running the film "The Day We Walked on the Moon" three times on Saturday, July 20th, simultaneously with other Smithsonian-related museums across America.  The museum also had Apollo Program artifacts from their collection on display for the duration of the event.  The ASM model display was set up at the museum on July 15th and 16th, and has a total of 16 models.  Eleven are Real Space models, and five are Theoretical Space models from the designs of the late 1950's and early 1960's.  See pictures below.  We have two models from Apollo 11 - the Command Service Module Columbia and docked Lunar Module (LM) approaching the Moon in 1/72 scale, and the Lunar Module Eagle in 1/48 scale; and one model from Apollo 17 - the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) in 1/35 scale.  There are also models representing the X-15 program, Project Mercury (Mercury-Redstone 3 - Alan Shepard), Project Gemini (Gemini 3 - Gus Grissom and John Young), and the Space Shuttle program (Challenger), along with an astronaut with Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), a V-2 rocket, the Vanguard TV-4 satellite launch vehicle, and a Soyuz space capsule.  Theoretical Space models include the Lunar Lander Concept Design by Dr. Wernher von Braun, 3 Stage Ferry Rocket and Retriever Rocket from Colliers Magazine, the Nuclear Exploratory Vehicle design for a nucler-powered spaceship, and the Mars Liner from the Disneyland Rocket to the Moon exhibit.


We had five vertically-standing rockets that would have been nice to display, including three from the July 12th "Man In Space" contest, but unfortunately the display case provided to ASM would not accommodate those taller models.  The Space Shuttle Challenger with boosters and central tank was displayed laying on its "belly" instead of standing up on the crawler-transporter, to provide a complete set of all the NASA manned space programs.  We had a short time to pull this all together but it turned out very nice.  Jim Walther, the museum director, mentioned to me that "it was good to have models from the model club back in the museum again."  Hopefully ASM will be able to support future museum programs as well.  Because the display lacked an Apollo command module, the "Apollo 11 Lunar Approach" model was started on Saturday, July 13th and the build "raced" Apollo 11 to the moon.  The model was completed and delivered to the museum on Friday, July 19th as the real Apollo 11 went into orbit around the Moon, fifty years ago.  More on that build in a future article.  Thanks to the following ASM members for loaning models for the display: Steve Brodeur (LM), Ken Piniak (LRV and MMU), Frank Randall (X-15 and Gemini), and Mike Blohm (remaining models).  The model display will run at the museum until approximately August 1st. 







Apollo 11

By Frank Randall

July 20, 1969, a 10-and-a-half-year-old boy was glued to the TV watching a grainy black and white broadcast of the Apollo 11 landing. I remember my Dad saying that this would be a history-making event. And now, fifty years later, we remember that great event. So who was that first man on the moon making that great statement, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind?"

Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 - August 25, 2012). He was a naval aviator, test pilot, astronaut, and university professor.  A graduate of Purdue University, Armstrong studied aeronautical engineering. He became a midshipman in 1949, and a naval aviator the following year. He saw action in the Korean War, flying the Grumman F9F Panther from the aircraft carrier USS Essex. In September 1951, he was hit by anti-aircraft fire while making a low bombing run, and was forced to bail out. After the war, he completed his bachelor's degree at Purdue and became a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) High-Speed Flight Station at Edwards Air Force Base in California. He was the project pilot on Century Series fighters and flew the North American X-15 seven times. His first flight in a rocket-powered aircraft was on August 15, 1957, in the Bell X-1B, to an altitude of 11.4 miles (18.3 km). He flew the North American X-15 seven times, including the first flight with the Q-ball system, the first flight of the number 3 X-15 airframe, and the first flight of the MH-96 adaptive flight control system. Armstrong was involved in several incidents that went down in Edwards folklore or were chronicled in the memoirs of colleagues. During his sixth X-15 flight on April 20, 1962, when Armstrong was testing the MH-96 control system, he flew to a height of over 207,000 feet (63 km) (the highest he flew before Gemini 8). He held up the aircraft nose for too long during its descent to demonstrate the MH-96's G-limiting performance, and the X-15 ballooned back up to around 140,000 feet (43 km). He flew past the landing field at Mach 3 at over 100,000 feet (30 km) in altitude, and ended up 40 miles (64 km) south of Edwards. After sufficient descent, he turned back toward the landing area, and landed, just missing a bunch of Joshua trees at the south end. It was the longest X-15 flight in both flight time and length of the ground track.

He became an employee of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) when it was established on October 1, 1958, absorbing NACA. He was also a participant in the US Air Force's Man in Space Soonest and X-20 Dyna-Soar human spaceflight programs.  Armstrong joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in the second group, which was selected in 1962. He made his first spaceflight as command pilot of Gemini 8 in March 1966, becoming NASA's first civilian astronaut to fly in space. During this mission with pilot David Scott, he performed the first docking of two spacecraft. During training for Armstrong's second and last spaceflight as commander of Apollo 11, he had to eject from the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle moments before it crashed.

On July 20, 1969, Armstrong and Apollo 11 Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin became the first people to land on the Moon, and spent two and a half hours outside the spacecraft while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit in the command and service module. Along with Collins and Aldrin, Armstrong was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon. President Jimmy Carter presented Armstrong with the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, and Armstrong and his former crewmates received a Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.


After he resigned from NASA in 1971, Armstrong taught in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati until 1979. He served on the Apollo 13 accident investigation, and on the Rogers Commission, which investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. He acted as a spokesman for several businesses, and appeared in advertising for the automotive brand Chrysler starting in January 1979.

While my Dad was stationed at the Air War College, we had access to a computer lunar lander simulation and we discovered it could be programed with the same parameters that Neil Armstrong encountered during the landing of the Eagle module. After many tries we did manage to land the Eagle (fifteen tries according to my Dad), so we are not the pilots that Mr. Armstrong was to get it right on his only try. Mission Control later revealed that the module only had about 45 seconds of fuel left at landing!



Hansen, James R. (2012). First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Kranz, Gene (2000). Failure is not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond. Alexandria, Virginia: Simon & Schuster.


By Frank Randall

The North American X-15 was a hypersonic rocket powered aircraft operated by NACA (later NASA) as part of the X-Planes series of experimental aircraft. The X-15 set speed and altitude records in the 1960s, reaching the edge of outer space and returning with valuable data used in future aircraft and space craft design. During the X-15 program, thirteen flights by eight pilots met the Air Force space flight criterion by exceeding the altitude of 50 miles (80 km), thus qualifying these pilots as being Astronauts. Three X-15s were built, flying 199 test flights, the last on 24 October 1968.

The first X-15 flight was an unpowered glide flight by Scott Crossfield, on 8 June 1959. Crossfield also piloted the first powered flight on 17 September 1959. Twelve test pilots flew the X-15. Among these were Neil Armstrong, later a NASA Astronaut and first man to set foot on the Moon, and Joe Engle, later a commander of Space Shuttle missions.  On 15 November 1967, US Air Force test pilot Major Michael J. Adams was killed during when X-15-3, AF Serial No. 56-6672, entered a hypersonic spin while descending, then oscillated violently as aerodynamic forces increased after re-entry. The airframe broke apart at 60,000 feet (18 km) altitude, scattering the X-15's wreckage for fifty square miles.

The second plane, X-15-2, was rebuilt after a landing accident on 9 November 1962 which damaged the craft and injured its pilot, John Mackey. It was lengthened by 2.4 feet (73 cm), had a pair of auxiliary fuel tanks attached beneath its fuselage and wings, and a complete heat-resistant ablative coating was added. The plane was renamed the X-15A-2, and took flight for the first time on 25 June 1964.

Five principal aircraft were used during the X-15 program: three X-15 planes and two modified "nonstandard" NB-52 bombers:

    X-15-1: 56-6670, 81 free flights

    X-15-2 (later X-15A-2): 56-6671, 31 free flights as X-15-2, 22 free flights as X-15A-2 - 53 in total

    X-15-3: 56-6672, 65 free flights

    NB-52A: 52-003 nicknamed "The High and Mighty One" (retired in October 1969)

    NB-52B: 52-008 nicknamed "The Challenger," later "Balls 8" (retired in November 2004)

My X-15 build used the Monogram 1/72 kit.  It's a decent kit with good details, is a pretty quick build, and gives you the option of the canopy open or closed, and a pretty good carriage for the back of the vehicle as the X-15 did not have back wheels, just skids. The skids are in the kit but there are no struts for them. The model decals represent the X-15A-2 with the rebuilt and extended frame. I painted it with three different blacks and a very dark gray to try to get the look of the original. Also be aware that the external fuel tanks were different colors and markings for each mission so check your references! Overall not a bad kit in this scale and it's the only game in town in 1/72.



Evans, Michelle (2013). The X-15 Rocket Plane, Flying the First Wings into Space. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press.


Apollo 11

By Ken Piniak

When I was a little boy - a very little boy - my grandfather, Milton E. Burreson, worked for the space program. He was a contractor for Boeing, and, for a time, Aerojet. He lived in Houston, Texas, Huntsville Alabama, and finally, Titusville, Florida. My family visited my grandparents several times, in Huntsville, and especially in Florida. One time, while visiting in Huntsville, we went to see Rock City.

Once, while visiting my grandparents in Titusville; I was playing with my Major Matt Mason Moon Suit toy. This toy had rubber arms with a wire in them, which often came out. Mine did, and poked me in the thumb (this was long before toy safety laws). Grandpa had to use needle nose pliers to get it out of my thumb; I guess it helps to have a rocket scientist in the family. And yes, I cried, the damn thing hurt! But that didn't stop me from playing with it! Another time, we visited them for Christmas in Florida. We went swimming in the ocean on Christmas Day! Okay, wading in the surf, I was just a little kid after all. But coming from northern Indiana where everything was frozen, going in the ocean on Christmas was a pretty big deal!

The best time was watching Apollo 11 lift off. The public was not allowed on the cape back then. This was long before the visitor center was built. Heck, this was even before Walt Disney World was built! We had to watch from across the Indian River. I was too small to see anything with all the big people in the way. I don't remember if they set up loudspeakers, or if it was just all the people with radios, but I could hear what was going on.


As the countdown neared zero, everyone got quiet. When the rocket engines lit up I couldn't see it, but I could feel it! The raw power of those engines made the ground rumble. Once it got above the heads of the people, I could see it. This big, bright, upside-down flame. I couldn't see the rocket, the flame was too bright. And it just kept going up, up, up, higher than anything I had ever seen, higher than any airplane, and it still kept going! Finally, it just got too far away to see any more. And then it was gone. Later, we watched on TV when Armstrong climbed out and stepped onto the moon. The image was very grainy, and I could barely make out what was happening.

That was the last space mission for my grandfather, he retired after that. I was never able to get him to talk about what he did, even when I got older and was in the Army. He never talked about a lot of things. But he did give me some Apollo training manuals.

So far, I have never returned to Cape Kennedy. I never got to see a Space Shuttle launch. But I got to see Apollo 11 and its Saturn V launch. To this day, fifty years later, it is still the biggest and most powerful craft ever built. And the only one to carry humans beyond Earth orbit.


The information presented below supported the June 7th, 2019 ASM Contest

"75th Anniversary of D-Day"

Special (Non-Points) Contest


The information below is from ASM's Chile Con 3 Website.  D-Day was the central theme of the 2014 Region 10 Contest.

June 6th, 1944 : D-Day

 The Allied invasion of Western Europe at Normandy, France

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D-Day is a term often used in military parlance to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. "D-Day" often represents a variable, designating the day upon which some significant event will occur or has occurred.  The initial D in  D-Day has had various meanings in the past, while more recently it has obtained the connotation of "Day" itself, thereby creating the phrase "Day-Day", or "Day of Days". 

By far, the best known D-Day is June 6, 1944 — the day on which the Invasion of Normandy began — commencing the Western Allied effort to liberate mainland Europe from Nazi occupation during World War II. However, many other invasions and operations had a designated D-Day, both before and after that operation.

The Invasion of Normandy was the invasion and establishment of Allied forces in Normandy, France during Operation Overlord in World War II. It covers from the initial landings on June 6, 1944 until the Allied breakout in mid-July.  The invasion was the largest seaborne invasion at the time, involving over 156,000 troops crossing the English Channel from the United Kingdom to Normandy.  Allied land forces that saw combat in Normandy on June 6 came from Canada, Free French Forces, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. In the weeks following the invasion, Polish forces also participated and there were also contingents from Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, and the Netherlands. Most of the above countries also provided air and naval support, as did the Royal Australian Air Force,  Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Royal Norwegian Navy.  The Normandy invasion began with overnight parachute and glider landings, massive air attacks, naval bombardments, an early morning amphibious landing and during the evening the remaining elements of the parachute divisions landed. The "D-Day" forces deployed from bases along the south coast of England, the most important of these being Portsmouth.    Source: Wikipedia.


D-Day History

Select Chile Con 3 web pages have historical information on the D-Day invasion, including all of the landing beaches.  The links below take you directly to the different articles.  Click on maps for larger images.


Utah Beach Omaha Beach Gold Beach Juno Beach
 Channel Crossing Pointe Du Hoc Sword Beach Airborne Assault



Kit Review

 Building the Blue Thunder Prototype 01

By Ken Piniak

The movie Blue Thunder (Columbia Pictures, 1983) follows the testing and ultimate destruction of the Blue Thunder helicopter prototype number 2. No mention is ever made of prototype number 1. This, then, is the story and model build of prototype number 1.


Sometime before the events portrayed in the film, #1 was involved in an accident and returned to the manufacturer for repair. I could find no information as to the cause of the accident, the condition of the pilot, or the extent of the damage to the aircraft. After repairing the damage, the manufacturer opted to retain the aircraft for additional upgrades and testing, based on field reports from testing the two aircraft in an urban environment. The aircraft proved to be under-powered, so they upgraded the engine, transmission, and rotor assembly. The engine went from 590HP to 650HP. The strengthened composite rotor blades were much stiffer than the originals, which had a pronounced droop when stationary. The belly armor was replaced with a new, lighter composite armor, 3/4 inch thick. The electronics and surveillance equipment received major upgrades. New communication equipment was added to connect to more databases, which resulted in a new antenna array. The rear cockpit configuration was changed, with one monitor unit removed, and other units and the keyboard relocated. Initial testing showed that it was desirable for the observer to be able to control all of the various sensors as well as the gun turret when the pilot cannot. Since the aft cockpit is not configured to use the Harrison Fire Control system, a joystick was added in the old keyboard location--the observer can use it to operate all of the sensors as well as the gun if it is not being used by the pilot. Lastly, operating the helicopter in an urban environment revealed a serious hazard of wire/cable strikes. Wire cutters were added to cut through power lines, telephone lines, etc. Since the aircraft would most often be used at night, a very dark blue over black paint scheme was applied. After testing out the new upgrades and modifications, the manufacturer turned the aircraft over to the Los Angeles Police two months after the second prototype was destroyed in a collision with a train. It was used by the City of Los Angeles for many years, and was often loaned out to the DEA, Border Patrol, and Customs. It was heavily used in the weeks after 9/11. After 27 years of service, Blue Thunder was officially retired in 2010. Its final fate is unknown.

I originally built the Monogram 1/32 scale Blue Thunder helicopter back in the 1980s, when I was much younger and less experienced. I did an okay job on it, but I can do a better one now that I am older and wiser (?).  So I decided to have another go at it. Digging through the spare parts box, I found the original cockpit, canopy, rotor, tail boom, and other small parts. The main fuselage, landing gear, and gun turret were missing. I had never painted it (I liked the blue plastic) or added decals, but the decals were missing. I would need a new kit to work with. There are two 1/32 scale kits of Blue Thunder; the original Monogram kit and a copy made by Kitech, out of China. The Monogram kit is long out of production, but can be found at swap meets, sales, or on the internet (eBay is my friend), at prices ranging from really low to crazy expensive. At the time I could only find a Kitech kit, which was really cheap at about fourteen bucks.

I had heard that the Kitech kit was a reboxing of the old Monogram kit; it is not. It is a low-quality copy or "knockoff" of the original, and definitely inferior. It has much less detail than the Monogram kit, and has major fit issues, which are aggravated by severe warping of many of the parts. The decals are awful, and the clear parts are not clear. Nevertheless, if you are willing to put in some work, it can be made into a nice model. Since the Kitech decals are crap, and I had lost the original Monogram decals, I ordered a great set form Fireball Modelworks (unfortunately, these are no longer in production).


Once I had everything together, I laid it all out to see just what I had. While the Kitech kit is definitely inferior overall, some of its parts are equal to or even better than the Monogram parts. The instrument panel, rear cockpit bulkhead, and engine are great!  The cockpit tub and gun are decent. The main rotors are okay. My original cockpit looked good, but not very accurate; back then references and photos were impossible to get. Today, however, a quick search of the internet brings up all kinds of photos and information. From this information, I learned that I could not use my parts (or even the entire new kit) to build the helicopter as it looked in the movie. The  Monogram kit was based on the short-lived TV show, with a number of differences to the aircraft, especially in the cockpit. The decal set by Fireball included alternate decals to make prototype #1, so I decided to build that instead of the movie bird.


Starting with my original Monogram cockpit, I added wires, boxes, and a joystick to represent the "new upgrades" added by the manufacturer's engineers. I also added a fire extinguisher (missing in both kits) to the rear bulkhead. The observer's seat swivels, and I added shoulder harnesses. The Monogram kit includes a nice hexagonal pattern in the molded on "belly armor" that I like. The Kitech kit includes this under the main fuselage, but not on the tail boom. So I removed the tail from the Kitech body and grafted on the Monogram tail in its place. Ironically, I liked the Kitech tail fan better, so I cut out the Monogram fan and added the Kitech unit. I installed the cockpit and the transmission and glued the body together. Because of the warping of the Kitech parts; I started with the tail (Monogram, no warping) and slowly worked my way around the belly, top, and nose, clamping as I went. I was going to graft the Monogram engine to the top, but the Kitech engine was just as good, so I kept it. The landing gear was warped, and did not fit the mounting points on the body. It took lots of work, super glue and epoxy putty to get it all lined up and cleaned up. The curved front plate (behind the gun turret, shown on the previous page) had huge gaps all around. It required lots of styrene strip, epoxy putty, and more super glue to blend it in. Because of all that warping of the fuselage, neither the Monogram nor the Kitech canopy fit well. I went with the Monogram part because you can see through it (the Kitech canopy can be fixed by polishing it out) and I had cut open the side hatch to show off the cockpit. Again, this piece had to be glued a little bit at a time. I ended up with a slight gap at the front which had to be filled in with styrene strip. The "engine intake" parts, engine cover, and the "camera surveillance unit" parts are Monogram, the "Nitesun" searchlights, shotgun microphones, and gun turret parts are Kitech. The rear synch elevators and "ammo belts" for the gun are a combination of both kit parts. The new antennas and wire cutters are from the parts box. I used an MV lens for the landing light. The decal set by Fireball Modelworks is complete and accurate, with every marking and stencil seen on the aircraft in the movie. They are even readable! The paint is Testors Copenhagen Blue Metallic, which came out darker than I expected. Worse, when I added a flat clear (to match the matte look of the real bird) the paint turned almost black! I had to go back to a gloss/semigloss finish to bring back the blue. The belly armor is Model Master flat black. The observer's helmet is from the Kitech kit, the pilot's "Harrison Fire Control Helmet" is from a 54mm pilot figure. With the hatch in the open position, she sits ready, waiting for the crew to jump in and take off after the bad guys!


Kit Review

Takom 1/16 Renault FT "3-in-1"

by John Tate

Several of us in the club built these big-scale Renault FT tank models for ASM's Group/Chapter entry at the 2018 Nationals and did well enough with them to win a respectable second place. But after Nationals I still had one half-built on the model shelf so decided to finish it up and do a review.

First, it's true what you've heard--the Renault FT was the first modern tank and easily the best tank of WWI. But when the Great War ended, the FT's service was far from over, as these tanks saw plenty of action between the wars, from Brazil to China, and were still useful enough as a combat weapon to see action in the early stages of WWII. What that means to us as modelers is that there is plenty of variation in markings and camouflage to make this kit a fun build.


The Takom FT is a recent kit, with the "3-in-1" version released in 2017, so generally it's well-engineered and goes together nicely. There are three basic construction stages--the hull, the running gear/tracks, and the turret. I built the kit with an interior and spent much time painting and detailing the engine and driver's compartment, but then buttoned it up anyway, so if you're looking for a quicker build you can skip most of this work. The engine is very nice but needs spark plug wires and priming valves, and the throttle controls in the driver’s compartment need control wires that run to the front of the hull. Here you have to decide if you want to build the turret with the Puteaux cannon or Hotchkiss machine gun; the cannon version used the kit shell racks and the machine gun version had ammo boxes attached to the inside of the gunner's area, but unfortunately no ammo boxes are supplied with the kit. No cannon shells, either--a noticeable oversight if you want to open up the interior.  

Something else I noticed about the interior--there's a firewall separating the engine compartment from the crew compartment. Some accounts say the WWI tanks lacked this firewall, so check your references.

Two turret choices--the hexagonal omnibus turret or the round Girod turret. Both could house either the cannon or the machine gun, and both were used throughout the service life of the tank. I chose the Girod turret with cannon, as the shell racks for it came with the kit. The Girod turret took some work to get right, as I had to add the raised seam line around the top of the turret, plus some bolt heads that were either missing or poorly-formed, but no significant problems.

The running gear and tracks are almost models in themselves and although tedious to get together, are generally trouble-free. The tracks are fully workable when properly assembled. Paint as you build to make finishing easier, and use extreme care when separating the individual track plates from the sprues or you'll end up with divots in the plates which will have to be repaired. You'll also need to decide at this stage if you want the WWI-style wooden front idler wheel, commonly used on most FTs, or the updated steel one, as seen on many French tanks in 1940.


Well, after several weeks to months of steady work, you're finally finished, so how do you paint it? First, do your research and match your build to a real vehicle in a real photo. There are a myriad of FT images online, so finding something interesting shouldn't be difficult, especially as no two of these beasts seemed to painted the same way. There weren't a lot of variations with the FT itself, but there were a few that were noticeable, so pay attention to details in the interest of accuracy. I selected a Vichy French FT used in colonial Morocco to oppose the Allied landings during Operation Torch in 1942, as it had the French post-WWI steel idler wheels and double trail hooks for the tow chains, but still had the early WWI-style vision plate for the driver. Many French FTs that faced the Blitzkrieg in 1940 had a later armored visor for the driver, which unfortunately isn't included with the kit. Decal markings for the model were from the spares box, as there is a distinct lack of accurate decal markings for the FT in this scale, although those that come with the kit are usable.


Overall, this is a nice kit of a great historical subject, and well worth building if you want to try something different in an uncommon scale for armor. By the way, a reminder--the FT would make a good addition to ASM’s "1939" display at the State Fair this year, as it was in service with both Poland and France at the start of WWII.



ASM Model Display at the Kirtland AFB Air and Space Fiesta Air Show

    By Mike Blohm

The Albuquerque Scale Modelers (ASM) conducted a model display at the Air and Space Fiesta Air Show at Kirtland Air Force Base on Saturday, May 18. Our goals were to promote the hobby of scale modeling with a display of USAF and space-related models that fit the theme of the air show, and to let the public know that Albuquerque did have an active model club and to perhaps gain some new members. I think that we put on a great display and successfully met those goals.

We had a very primo spot for our display near the center of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and Space Pavilion hangar. Whereas we thought we were going to be allowed only two tables for the display due to space limitations, we ended up with room for five. We had brought some spare tables, and they also had one spare for us to use. We had brought a lot of models, thinking we would have to pare down based on what would fit. With the five tables we ended up using them all and had 77 total models in the display. From left to right around our horseshoe setup (see pictures), we had sections on the USAF in the Korean War, the "What is Scale Modeling" P-51Ds vignette in five different scales, the Viet Nam War, USAF helicopters, New Mexico Air National Guard aircraft, the bombers and aircraft of the Strategic Air Command, the Military Airlift Command/Air Mobility Command, the Air Defense Command, and the aircraft in Desert Storm through the current operations in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. Finally, there was a section with Real Space and Theoretical Space models. Some attendees did inquire about models of World War II aircraft. One thing I had thought about bringing was a 1/72-scale B-17 and a B-24 to talk about Kirtland's past role as a bomber training base during World War II. Unfortunately I left those at home, thinking that we would not have space. So we will need to look at making sure to bring those next time around.

We were there at 8:00 to set up, so we were well ahead of the folks coming on base for the air show. We heard later that there was a big traffic jam with very long waits. We had a continual crowd of lookers all day long, and had lots of questions and comments on the models. Based upon comments that I heard, people's favorite aircraft was the F-4 Phantom followed by the A-10 Warthog. A lot of folks mentioned that they had previously built models and wanted to know where they could get kits to get back into the hobby. We pointed them at our favorite neighborhood hobby shop. We passed out a lot of ASM handouts and perhaps we will get some new members. We did get a lot of thank yous for putting on the display. One of the USAF members supporting our hangar came by as we were packing up and told us that there were more than 40,000 attendees at the air show, and that about 32,000 people had visited the STEM and Space Pavillion. There were a lot of cool interactive-type displays in our hangar, plus shade. So I guess ASM and the hobby of scale modeling did get some good exposure with the public during this air show.

Thanks to all who contributed models and to those who set up and manned the display. Model loaners included Victor Maestas, Keith Liotta, Ken Piniak, Jack Garriss, Larry Glenn, David DeYoung, Josh Pals, Bob Henderson, Frank Randall, Mike Blohm, and the Defense Nuclear Weapons School Museum. Manning the display were Josh Pals, Ken Piniak, Larry Glenn, Jeff Frickstad, Ken Piniak, and Matt and Mike Blohm.









ASM Pays Tribute to Lt Col Richard "Dick" Cole, last of the "Doolittle Raiders" who passed away

on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019 at age 103.  Cole was co-pilot to Jimmy Doolittle in B-25 Aircraft # 1.



18 April 1942 - Doolittle Raid on Japan - "Doolittle's Raiders"

B-25 "Mitchell" bombers launch off the aircraft carrier USS Hornet to bomb targets in Japan.

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The Doolittle Raid, 18 April 1942 was the first air raid by the United States to strike the Japanese home island of Honshu during World War II. The mission was notable since it was the only time in U.S. military history that United States Army Air Forces bombers were launched from a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier on a combat mission. The Doolittle Raid demonstrated that the Japanese home islands were vulnerable to Allied air attack, and it provided an expedient means for U.S. retaliation for Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.  The raid was planned and led by Lieutenant Colonel James "Jimmy" Doolittle, already a famous civilian aviator and aeronautical engineer before the war. The raid, however, had its roots in the mind of Navy Captain Francis Low, who early in the war surmised that, under the right conditions, twin-engined Army bombers could be successfully launched from an aircraft carrier.  Requirements for the aircraft for a cruising range of 2,400 miles (3,900 km) with a 2,000 pound (900 kg) bomb load resulted in the selection of the North American B-25B Mitchell to carry out the mission. The B-26 Marauder and B-23 Dragon were also considered, but the B-26 had questionable takeoff characteristics from a carrier deck, and the B-23's wingspan was nearly 50% greater than the B-25's, reducing the number that could be taken aboard a carrier and posing risks to the ship's island. Subsequent tests with B-25s indicated it could be launched from a carrier, hit military targets in Japan, and fly on to land in China. Negotiations with the Soviet Union to land in Siberia, shortening the flight by 600 miles (970 km), were fruitless. All 16 aircraft were lost on the mission, and 11 crewmen were either killed or captured. The crews of 13 aircraft, however, were recovered and returned to the United States, and a 14th crew interned by the Soviet Union eventually made its way home in 1943   Source: Wikipedia. 

Models for the Kirtland AFB Airshow

    By Mike Blohm

Below is a listing of the models that we would like to have loaned for the ASM model display at the May 18th "Air and Space Fiesta" Airshow at Kirtland AFB.

Please send me an E-mail to let me know what models you can loan, so that we can size them out for our two six foot long tables.

See the two articles below for how to bring your models to Hobby Proz, by 5:00 PM on Friday, May 17th for pick-up.  We will return them to Hobby Proz ASAP after the airshow. 

Glenn Bingham - P-51D Tacos ANG

 Mike Blohm -  F-51D, F-86, AT-6, B-26, F-82, F-80, F-94, A-7, A-1, O-2, OV-10, F-5, F-4D, F-104, E-3, 3 x P-51D's* (1/72, 1/48. 1/24)

 Jack Garriss - BOMARC, F-35

 Larry Glenn - SR-71

 Bob Henderson - F-16C Tacos ANG (1/32)

 Chris Kurtze - F-84G, F-106, F-102, AC-47, CH-53E

 Keith Liotta - Air Force 1 (VC-25), C-5, KC-10

Victor Maestas - X-1, X-15, F 117, F-100, F-105G, UH-1, HH-60, A-7, P-51D* (1/32)

 Nuc Weapons Museum - B-36, B-47, B-50, B-52, B-2, A-7 Tacos

 Frank Randall - P-51D* (1/144), F-80, A-10, F-4G, RF-4C, F-22, YF-23, U-2, AC-130, F-16C, F-15E, F-15C, EF-111, T-37, F-16, UAV

 Real Space / Theoretical Space - Let me know what you have

 * What is Scale Modeling P-51's

ASM will be located in the "S.T.E.M Center" building (building 333) in the southwest corner of the airshow ramp.  See the attached maps below. 

 Click here for a "Frequently Asked Questions" Word document. 


Update - ASM Model Display at the Kirtland AFB Air Show

  By Mike Blohm

Here is an update on ASM's model display at the Kirtland AFB air show on Saturday, May 18th.  The theme is "Air and Space Fiesta" so we are planning for a mix of USAF models (aircraft, missiles, vehicles, figures) and space models, to include both real space and theoretical real space models.  For the USAF subjects, we would like to use a lot of the same items that got loaned for the Folds of Honor and Air Force Ball in 2018.  We will attempt to highlight the aircraft and missions that were/are at Kirtland AFB.  I will have a list of desired loaners on the big screen at the May 3rd meeting.  If you have a model that's not on my list, please let me know.  We only have two tables for the display, so we will try to gauge what we think will fit.  We would like to go with 1/32 and 1/48 models where possible, as that will be impressive to the crowd.  We are going to use some of the big bomber models from the Defense Nuclear Weapons School Museum display to highlight Kirtland's nuclear test mission, so that will use up a chunk of the space.  We will bring the "What is Scale Modeling" display and P-51 models and work that in, space permitting.  Please let me know what real space and theoretical real space models you have, and we will try to get those worked in as well.  We might try to fit in some UFO's for grins.

We will have a sign-up sheet at the May 3rd meeting - looking to have 6 to 8 people for the day.  We will have some parking passes to park close to the display building, so we will need to meet ahead of time to car pool onto the base.  We do need to supply our own tables and chairs.  Wear an ASM shirt if you have one and bring your ASM name tag.

Expect the usual drill of delivering tubs of models to Hobby Proz in the days before the airshow.  Ensure your name is on your tubs and that you have a list of your models in the tub, along with any special instructions on packing or handling.  Reminder E-mails will be sent out as the event gets closer.


ASM Model Display at the Kirtland AFB Airshow

 By Mike Blohm

ASM is planning to to put on a model display at the Saturday, May 18th airshow at Kirtland AFB.  The theme is "Air and Space Fiesta" so we would like to include a lot of space models as well as the usual aircraft models.  This year is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing (July 20, 1969) so we need to highlight that event.  The 50th anniversary is also the theme of our "Man in Space" contest on July 12th, so this is a good reason to get your model(s) done early!

We are going to be located in a smaller building than in past airshows and we will only have two tables that can be either six feet or eight feet long.  We need to supply those ourselves, as well as our chairs. Therefore, we need to scrounge up two portable eight feet long tables to maximize the amount of models that we can display. We will need volunteers to help transport and set up the models and then man the tables throughout the day.  We probably need about 4 people to continuously man the tables.  Since folks will also like to break off to see parts of the airshow, we probably need at least about 8 total people.  It's a fun time, so please come out to help.

We will likely do a combination of "history of the USAF,"  "Man in Space" and some other genres--any kit you want--to show what the hobby offers.  We will try to include aircraft and missions that were/are at Kirtland AFB.  Expect the usual drill of delivering tubs of models to Hobby Proz in the days before the airshow.  Ensure your name is on your tubs and that you have a list of your models in the tub, along with any special instructions on packing or handling.  Reminder E-mails will be sent out as the event gets closer.  If you would like to participate, or just loan some models, please contact me so that we can get a list of models going and determine what will fit our two tables.   We will discuss this at the April 5th meeting as well. 

Here are some links to articles and pictures for our last two model shows at Kirtland AFB:  2016    2011


Modeling for Upcoming ASM Display Events

  By Mike Blohm

Over the last couple of years ASM has been able to conduct model displays at some fairly regular events.  The purpose of our  displays is to promote the hobby of scale modeling to the public and to try to gain some new members.  The recurring displays include the Folds of Honor (FoH) Patriot Gala, which we supported in 2017 and 2018, and the Air Force Ball at Kirtland AFB that we supported in 2018.  We hope to repeat the Air Force Ball this year.  We do have an invite to the 2019 FoH Gala.  See pictures below.  The model themes for these events is the same each year, other than encompassing anything new in the current year.  The AF Ball theme is the "History of the "USAF."  The FoH theme is "Aircraft, Armor, Vehicles, and Ships (including figures and dioramas) used by the U.S. Services from 2001 to Now."  Note that we opened up the 2018 FoH display to "Korean War to Now." 


ASM lacked some model types in our  in our 2018 displays, and I would like to encourage ASM members to build some specific models that we could use roll out for our display each year.  We need some modern ships (surface and subs), armor, support vehicles, artillery, figures, and dioramas.  In the aircraft area, we need bomber and transport/support aircraft--best in 1/144 scale.  As you would expect, we do have a lot of fighter types available.  We also need ICBM's, IRBM's, cruise missiles, and SAM's.  See pictures below from the AF Ball and FoH displays.  Keith Liotta is keeping a listing of aircraft, so please coordinate with him to see what is already built or underway.  These models do not need to be IPMS Nationals contenders.  If you have a kit that you've wanted to build for your own collection that matches a need in our displays, please think about cranking it out this year.  If you don't have room for it in your own display case, we can probably store it as a loaner model at the Defense Nuclear Weapons School Museum display until we need it.  



Kit Review - Airfix 1/24 Scale Hurricane Mk I

By John Tate

First released back in 1973, the big-scale Airfix Hurricane is not unknown to modelers but like many large airplane model kits, is seldom built.  However, when ASM VP Tony Humphries traded the kit to me late last year, I decided to give it a try to see how it went together.  I'm happy to say it's a great kit.

First off, this is''t a generic Hurricane; it's a metal-winged, eight-gun Mark I with a bulbous Rotol spinner and prop.  This fighter type was a mainstay of the RAF during the Battle of Britain so I decided early on the markings I would use, from an excellent Techmod sheet, for 303 Squadron ace Josef Frantisek.  For more on his life and wartime career, check out this BBC link:

I knew of a problem with these Airfix 1/24 scale kits - the cowlings didn't fit once the engines were installed; I experienced this when I built their 1/24 Stuka a number of years ago.  So I decided to leave out the engine and seal up the cowl panels; I'm glad I did, it greatly simplified construction and the rest of the build went smoothly.  I did the same with the wing panels, closing up the wing gun bays, and was pleased to find they fit well.

 The cockpit is well-detailed, a match for any current model kit, and once installed, I found the only addition necessary was a set of PE seatbelts for the Sutton harness.  A cautionary note- make sure the rear bulkhead is flush with the fuselage halves; the armor plate should stand a little proud of the bulkhead.

 There was a gap when I attached the wings but once they were on and aligned with the fuselage, I sealed the gap along the join lines, leaving a surface line for accuracy.  The overall alignment of the model - wings, fuselage and horizontal stabilizers - was good.  I'd read reviews that said the kit wings were too thick but I didn't find this to be the case- they looked accurate and in-scale.

 Next came the landing gear.  I used a Scale Aircraft Conversions (SAC) white metal gear set specifically designed for this kit and found it fit well.  Of special note is the kit's tail wheel strut, which needs replacement by the SAC item as it isn't strong enough to support the weight of the model.  The kit wheel wells are boxed-in, well-defined and accurate.

 The kit tires are rubber and unfortunately have a circumferential seam line.  However, I was able remove it by hardening the seam with CA glue and sanding it off.  Once fixed, the tires fit well and when placed on the finished model provide some shock-absorbing protection.


 Painting was easy as the dark earth, dark green and sky camouflage used by the RAF in 1940 is a dream for modelers- easy to paint, good coverage and tolerant of weathering.  This particular aircraft was painted in a Type A scheme.

 My only nitpick with the kit was the spinner - not shaped correctly and too big, which mars an otherwise excellent model.  So I used a Trumpeter 1/24 Mark I spinner as a guide and carved down and sanded the Airfix spinner until it looked right.  Turned out the thickness of the kit spinner made this an easy job, and the result was a huge positive difference to the finished kit.  BTW, the Trumpeter spinner?  Too small for the Airfix model, so cross-kitting won't help you here.

 What has me perplexed is why Airfix hasn't done anything to upgrade this kit over the past 46 years.  Surely it would be a simple matter for them to retool the kit's Rotol spinner, then maybe throw in a new-tooled De Havilland prop and spinner, and a tropical air filter, to increase the versatility of the kit and boost its appeal to modelers.  Just as perplexing is the slight interest shown in the kit by aftermarket companies- there are literally thousands of resin doodads available for everything with wings but this lion of a kit has been practically ignored.  Go figure.

 All in all, this was an enjoyable build and the finished model is an accurate replica of a Hurricane.  You have a real sense of accomplishment when you complete a model this big.  If you have time, dedication to subject and standard modeling skills, give this old-timer a try- you'll be rewarded with an excellent model of the unsung plane that stopped the Luftwaffe in its tracks and saved Britain and the world, nearly 80 years ago.



ASM Model Display at Albuquerque South Broadway Cultural Center

By Mike Blohm

The Albuquerque Scale Modelers (ASM) model club conducted a month-long model display at the South Broadway Cultural Center and Library in Albuquerque from February 1-27, 2019.  The theme of the display was "What is Scale Modeling."  Models of all genres and scale - 79 total - were on display in three cases.  See pictures below.  One case had five P-51D Mustang models lined up in all the popular scales:  1/24, 1/32, 1/48/ 1/72, and 1/144.  Signage was included to explain what scales they were and what that represents.  A large tri-fold display board provided information on what scale modeling is, what the scales mean, pro's and con's of the various scales, availability of model kits, and examples of model building supplies.  Promotional materials for ASM and IPMS/USA were provided.  Five ASM members helped set up the display:  Josh Pals, Jack Garriss, Chuck Herrmann, Frank Randall, and Mike Blohm.




ASM conducted a Make N Take at the Library on Saturday, February 9th as part of the month-long display.  Seven kids took part in the model-building and had a great time.  At the end of their builds they were flying them around the library.  See second set of pictures below.  The kit built by the kids was the Revell Snap Tite F-14 Tomcat in 1/72 scale.  Our thanks to Hobby Proz for helping with the cost of the kits.  Five ASM members supported the Make N Take:  Josh Pals, Tony Humphries, Ken Piniak, Bob Henderson, and Mike Blohm. 






Modeleing the Aircraft of

Ken Walsh, USMC - The First "Corsair Ace"

   By Mike Blohm

Captain Kenneth "Ken" Walsh , US Marine Corps (USMC) scored 21 aerial victories in the Pacific Theater during World War II.  Walsh is the 18th ranking U.S ace (tie).; 4th ranking in the USMC. the first "Corsair ace" and also the top "Corsair ace."  Walsh was originally a aircraft mechanic and radioman for two years before being accepted for flight training.  He served five years in scout and observation squadrons on the carriers Yorktown, Wasp and Ranger before being assigned to fighters with VNF-121.  He joined the VMF-124 "Checkerboards" in Sep 1942, the first unit to fly the "Corsair" in combat.  VMF-124 and arrived at Guadalcanal Island in Feb 1943.  He became the first "Corsair Ace" on 3 May 1943 when he downed two Zekes off the Russell Islands and would become the squadron's top ace.  Walsh would score 12 victories in 19 days (12-30 Aug 1943).  These included 4 victories on 30 Aug (4 Zekes) north of Ranongga Island and three "triples": 1 Apr (2 Zekes & Val); 13 May (3 Zekes) off the Russell Islands; and on 15 Aug (2 Vals & Zeke) near Vella Lavella.  Walsh flew 3 combat tours with VMF-124.  Walsh was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on 15 and 30 Aug 1943 by President Roosevelt on 8 Feb 1944.  Walsh then served as an instructor at Jacksonville until he joined VMF-222 for an additional combat tour, flying fighter-bomber missions in the Corsair in the Philippine Islands and Okinawa.  He scored one additional victory, his final, on 22 June 1945 (Zeke) off Okinawa.  His victories included: 17 Zekes, 3 Val dive bombers, and 1 float biplane. His awards included 5 Distinguished Flying Crosses.  Walsh flew strike missions during the Korean War with VMR-152 from Oct 1950 to July 1951.  He retired from the USMC as a Lieutenant Colonel in Feb 1962, and died in July 1998. 



The model of Ken Walsh's F4U-1 "birdcage" Corsair is the Hasegawa kit in 1/72 scale, built in early 2001.  It is depicted on Guadalcanal Island in May, 1943 when Walsh was a 2nd Lieutenant and had scored five victories.  This is an accurate kit but the interior detail is lacking, having just a floor panel with consoles and an instrument panel that get instrument decals applied, and a basic seat.  The model is finished in Testors Model Master enamel paints  Intermediate Blue FS35164 on the upper surfaces and Dark Gull Gray FS36231 on the lower surfaces.  Walsh's markings came from MicroScale sheet 72-314.  All of Walsh's Corsairs were coded "13." 



ASM Model Display at the 2018 Folds of Honor Patriots Gala

By Mike Blohm


ASM put on an excellent model display at the 2018 Folds of Honor Patriot Gala, which was held on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at the Santa Ana Star Hotel Casino in Bernalillo. The Folds of Honor provides scholarships for the children and spouses of America's fallen and disabled Service members. The Gala is one of their primary fund-raising events, where donated articles are auctioned off in a silent online auction and old-fashioned verbal auction during the dinner.

We had 81 total models on three tables located in the auction room, and we had a lot of attendees come by to look at the models and ask questions. Thanks to all the ASM members who loaned models for the display. There were six ASM members manning the tables. Thanks for this help to Josh Pals, Frank Randall, Chris Kurtze, Ken Piniak, and Matt and Mike Blohm.

Because of concern there would not be enough models available for the 2001-2018 time period, the display was opened to include subjects from the Korean War and the Viet Nam War. Attendees at the event last year had asked about subjects in use by the services prior to 2001, so expanding it worked, and the "old-timer" attendees were happy to see these models as well. Our display next year will continue with that expanded theme.

Chris Kurtze and Patrick Dick both provided a 1/48-scale model on an F-16C Fighting Falcon in the markings of the New Mexico Air National Guard's 150th Fighter Wing "Tacos" for the auction.

Feedback from the Folds of Honor leadership was that all the models were "works of art" and that the F-16s were a hit and did very well in the auctions. Chris's F-16 was auctioned at the dinner on Saturday and Patrick's was auctioned at the Golf tournament on Monday, October 22. Special thanks to Patrick and Chris for donating their models.  We learned later that Chris's F-16 was sold for $250 and Patrick's for $225. 

The breakdown of the 81 models at the display was as follows. Korea: 12; Viet Nam: 17; 2001-2018: 36; Other: 16. This is ten more models than we had at last month's Air Force Ball display. We have already received a request for one more Tacos F-16 for a museum in Gallup. ASM should continue to support this very worthwhile effort in 2019.  Additional pictures are posted on the 2018 Meeting Pictures webpage.







Modeling the Aircraft of

Major John B. England - Yoxford Boys Ace

By Mike Blohm

 Maj John B. England, US Army Air Force, scored 17.5 victories in the Eurporean Theater of Operations and is the 26th-ranking American ace (tie), and the 20th-ranking USAF ace (tie).  He was the 2nd-ranked ace of the 357th Fighter Group (FG) "Yoxford Boys" and the 362nd Fighter Squadron (FS).  The 357th was the first 8th Air Force group to fly the Mustang in combat – on 11 Feb 1943.  Only the 56th FG scored more total aerial victories, and the 357th had the highest rate of victories for the last year of the war.  England made "ace" on 24 Apr 1944, and scored his victories in bunches.  He scored a "quadruple" on 27 Nov 1944 (4 Fw 190s) south of Magdeburg, Germany; a "triple" on 24 Apr 1944 (3 Me 110s) south of Munich; a “2.5” on 13 Sep 1944 (2.5 Bf 109s) south of Nordhausen; and a "double" on 6 Oct 1944 (2 Bf 109s) west of Berlin.  He commanded the 362 FS from Aug 1944 to Feb 1945 and was promoted to Major on 4 Dec 1944.  After WW II, England transferred to the USAF and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 20 Feb 1951. He served a short tour in Korea, flying six missions in the F-86E "Sabre" with the 16 FIS, 51 FIW, claiming a damaged MiG-15 on 25 Jan 1952.  England became commander of the 389 Fighter Bomber Squadron in Oct 1953.  He was killed on 17 Nov 1954 in an F-86F flying accident  at Toul-Rosiere Air Base, France.  Alexandria AFB in Louisiana, England's home state, was renamed England AFB in his honor.  


The model of England's P-51B "U've Had It!" is the venerable Monogram 1/72 scale P-51B Mustang kit, depicted in June 1944 at the 357th's base at Leiston, England when he held the rank of Captain.  The model was built in Nov 2001 and is finished in Model Master aluminum plate (buffing) enamel paint for the undersurfaces and sides.  The upper surfaces are Model Master Olive Drab (FS34087), which was added to their bare-metal ponies when the 357th expected to soon be operating out of airfields on the continent after D-Day.  England's markings are decals from a Super Scale decal sheet.  The P-51B wears complete D-Day stripes markings, which are from the Super Scale P-51 D-Day Stripes decal sheet.  England also flew a P-51D named "Missouri Armada" that was completely olive drab on the upper surfaces.



ASM Model Display at the 2018 Air Force Ball

By Mike Blohm

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

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

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




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

By Mike Blohm

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


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




SLC XVIII "Dem Brudders" Do It Again!

By Jack Garriss

Salt Lake City modelers held their bi-annual contest on September 22 this year. Formerly known as "The Gathering," the one-day contest is well attended by modelers from many states. Dick Engar as Chairman and his brother, Bill, as Head Judge run a well-organized program and this year was no exception. Eighty-one modelers entered 383 models in 54 categories. The Vendor's room appeared to be doing a lively business with all the usual bargaining and deals being struck and the raffle offered some terrific kits as well. Lots of hard work went into this show and the results reflect it. The contest was preceded the evening before by a dinner and auction at Golden Corral. 

Commentary on pictures below, left to right:

Largest Gundam competition they've ever had; Judging in progress; As always, lots of armor; More Sci-Fi than usual




Some Reflections on the 2018 Phoenix Nationals

By Tony Humphries

So, another Nationals has come and gone. A competition that ASM enjoyed some success in (as you will discover in a moment) and also where we were well represented in terms of attendees. Quite a few of our club made it out there and hopefully everyone enjoyed themselves?

So how did we do? I am sure others will respond with a list of trophies and accomplishments, but notably both of our entries in the Group/Chapter entry (we had one from the "Sandia Modelers" group and one official ASM entry) did well, with a 1st and 2nd place secured against some pretty stiff competition! I think the judges were impressed with both the presentation and information that we presented with both of our entries and I believe that both factors were the key to victory in that category. Also, one of our FTs went round and round on a turntable, and we should never underestimate the impact of (deliberate) motion and shiny things on the judges.


The Matilda entry, which claimed 1st place, was a repeat (with some improvements) of our 2013 Nationals entry, which the judges at that time forgot to judge (not that we are bitter or anything... it was only a year of our lives that it took to put that together) so it was nice to see that validated. The Renault FT entry was an entirely new experiment in a new scale for us (1/16) and getting a 2nd place with that was an achievement that we should be proud of. Thanks in particular for the Matilda build's win should go to Ken Liotta for the execution of his display and the work put into the entire entry, and definitely also to Jim Guld, who built a number of the most striking models, although all who contributed and suggested ideas (and there were quite a few) should be celebrated too--particularly those who repaired Jim's models after UPS used them as soccer balls. I have no doubt that a list of them will be forthcoming shortly anyway and maybe in this very newsletter.

Some notables that I can recall were Victor Maestas coming 1st with an astonishingly shiny B-25 in one of the aircraft categories (I'm still seeing purple spots now) and getting a number of other placings too. Others that I recall were top three finishes by Frank Randall, Larry Glenn, Ken Liotta, Partap Davis, and David Epstein all in the adult categories, and my own daughter Kathleen Humphries, who placed in two categories in the twelve-and-under section. Apologies to anyone that I missed there, as I am sure there are a number of you. I am equally sure that someone will provide, in this esteemed publication, a list of all trophies won for your delectation and delight and to fill in for my memory lapses.

Having looked at the entries in both the pre-teen and teen categories, there seems to be great hope for the future of the hobby. Something of a relief really and worth stressing I think, to counter the doom-mongers who I frequently hear saying that the hobby is dying. Yes, we are getting older and it was disturbing to hear my eleven-year-old tell me that she had trouble finding me as from a distance I looked like everyone else at the show; i.e., 5' ft 10", reasonably old, fat and balding... with glasses. Indeed, many of us could be seen squinting at the models on display and leaning unsteadily in to try and get a better view of something that could probably be seen from space, by anyone with normal eyesight... Thankfully, I had a wide selection of ridiculous t-shirts to help to some degree with identification and I would urge others to do the same at future conventions. It really helps people to find you if you aren't in khaki cargo shorts and a grey convention t-shirt.

Anyway, as I as saying before I strayed a country-mile away from the original point, from the evidence of this convention there are many younger modelers coming through to take our place, I am happy to say. The quality of the entries in the adult categories also were quite breathtaking, with some of the best models that I have ever seen in person on display, and many exceptional models that didn't place at all, such was the quality on show. The winner of the best ship was one of my personal favorites and congratulations on that beautifully scratchbuilt 1/35 entry. Many of the dioramas were also excellent. The armor diorama with the sheep was another that caught my eye (although not from any unsavory attachment or interest in anything Ovine I should add...since I have some Welsh ancestry and bearing in mind their reputation, I thought I ought to make that clear...).

So, apart from the models, what were the other good points about the show? Well, there was a great chance to socialize with like-minded people from all over the world and chew the proverbial (and in the case of the hotel food, literal) fat. The vendor room was very good also, with some unusual and highly sought-after models on sale. There were also some good deals to be had, especially if you know how to haggle. If not, watch Monty Python's The Life of Brian and give it a go yourself next time. Although offering the vendors twenty shekels for a kit is probably not going to go down too well these days, and calling somebody "big-nose" may lead to some unpleasantnes..... There was plenty of space on the tables to put your models on, too, once you had registered, and the lighting in the model room was very good as well--I brought extra lights for our chapter entry, but was happy to find that I didn't need them.

I felt, personally (and your experience may differ) that there were some problems too. Obviously not everything is going to go to plan and the hosting chapter(s) in Phoenix should generally be commended for the show that they put on. Some things could be better though--the heat and dust were ridiculous although, granted, the hosting chapter can't do much about that..... But having to carry your models over an (at times) busy road to the convention center from the hotel was annoying and risked damage, especially for those who had large group entries or dioramas to move. The loading dock could surely have been made available? Also the initial registration was bordering on a fiasco apparently, with one of our members waiting four and a half hours to register on the Wednesday (first day of registration)! I'd have gone to the bar after the first hour myself, but that's probably just me... Even when I registered on Friday morning it took 45 minutes or so and there were only three people in front of me in the line. That has to be improved and I am sure that the folks in Chatanooooooooga (is that enough "o"s?) will rise to the challenge. Maybe they will provide a better incentive to register online? More people on the registration desk? Practice the process with your own club members first to ensure that it works? A line for cash only payers? Distribution of forms, pens and clipboards at the door of the venue so that people can fill them in while waiting? An area to complete the paperwork and only allowing people to join the line once they have done so? Just thoughts off the top of my head anyway. They might work, they might not.

Whose idea was it to judge on Friday night too? That was disastrous to our FT Group build, as we had a couple of models that we were rushing to finish--if Friday night had been available to do that and the judging had been on Saturday afternoon as normal, then we would have had a bigger and better display. Also some of our attendees would have finished other models and been able to enter them. Obviously it's best to have your models built in plenty of time--everyone knows that--but finishing them in the hotel room the night before is a long-standing tradition, and one that should be maintained, I feel!  We didn't find out about this until Friday morning and with some of our guys coming in to town that day, it was a real problem. This also resulted in some awards being dished out on Saturday morning which rather ruined the suspense of the award ceremony, I thought. It's probably easier for the judges and presenters to do this but I really don't think it helped many of the modelers and I for one think it was an idea that should definitely not be repeated. But maybe that's just me?

In addition to that, I thought that the hotel was over-priced and not as exclusive as it thinks it is. The cost of parking was bordering on extortion ($36 to park overnight in one lot?!?) and the hotel parking lot was full when I arrived, which was also frustrating. Well, unless you paid an arm and a leg for valet parking. Funny how that's always available, isn't it? Other things that didn't go too well for me personally were the cost of registration ($50? Really?) and the awards presentation. The guys running it did a good job with the audio-visual stuff (apart from the constant malware/virus alerts) and the guys reading the results did their best, but there are so many categories and splits now that my brain (or what is left of it these days) was oozing out of my ears by the end of the aircraft categories and I had to leave to get some fresh air. Even the armor results bored me, and that's what I build! Maybe at future events we could reserve and timetable half-hour slots each for aircraft, armor, ships, sci-fi, and miscellaneous and have a scheduled break between each one? I think everyone would be grateful for that. We could probably save time in the armor category too by just giving them all to Jim Wechsler straight away and leaving it at that! Also no-one was allowed in the model room to collect their models until the presentation finished, despite about fifty people waiting around to do exactly that. It seemed petty and unnecessary and it would have reduced the size of the ensuing melee if people could have removed their models when they wanted to. Maybe there was a good reason for that, I don't know, but if there was it would have helped if the guys on the door had known it and/or shared it. The trophies were frankly tiny and looked cheap too. Even the guys from California who seemed to win every single armor category, could have carried them all home in the pockets of their shorts. Hopefully theirs weren't as scratched up as mine was either. The trophies that is, not the shorts...

It's possible that these were only issues for me though. In which case, shove me in a trash can and call me Oscar. Despite this, it was still an enjoyable convention and I look forward to attending the next one. It's inevitable that whatever you do, you're not going to please everyone and I think we all understand and accept that. I probably won't get to Tennessee since I don't want to drive for a week to get there and trusting your models to the airlines may be a bit rash--if United can kill your dog, what will they do to your models?!?  But the 2020 convention in Texas might be do-able and to all those making the journey, I look forward to seeing you there!  It's seems like a long way away (in both time and distance) but it's only two years, so you'd better get your building trousers on. Itll be here sooner than you think. Anyway, thanks to Phoenix and congrats to the Texas chapter who will be hosting in 2020. We look forward to enjoying your hospitality and drinking all of your beer. Hopefully it won't be so bloody hot there either!

Actually if we ever get around to hosting another Nationals in Albuquerque, and I really think we should, then at least we know how to emulate the conditions. All we have to do is pack everybody in and set the building on fire... It will feel about the same!


World War I Armor Modeling

By John Tate

In the centenary of WWI, Great War armor modeling has undergone a renaissance the same way WWI aircraft modeling has--new tank and figure kits and a wealth of reference material are available now on what was once an overlooked area of scale modeling. Recently I picked up two useful reference books on WWI armor modeling that every tank builder should have on his shelf--Modelling WWI Tanks, a Histoire & Collections  by Frederick Astier, and Armour in Theatre: Camouflage & Markings, Tanks in the Great War 1914 – 1918, Scale Armour Modelling Colours Vol. 4, by Mark Healy.

Modelling WWI Tanks, published in 2016, is a thick softcover book that covers master-level builds of a Mark IV Female, a Mark IV Male, Saint Chamond, A7V, Schneider CA, and Renault FT, with most models placed in dioramas for context plus historical text and photos. The model photography is first-rate and brings out all the richness and detail of the subjects. This is a book you read for inspiration to plan your next build--you won’t be able to finish it without starting construction on a WWI tank model.

Armour in Theatre Vol. 4 is a true reference book, packed with historical text and photos, battle diagrams and color profiles that provide excellent coverage on the development and employment of the tank by Britain, France, and Germany in WWI. To the delight of the modeler, much attention is paid to camouflage of WWI tanks and the color profiles are among the most accurate available, with text helping place each tank in battle context. Most interesting is a concluding chapter on what tanks would have been employed by the Allies if the war had continued into 1919. This is a must-have book for anyone embarking on a WWI armor project.

Both of these books helped motivate me to finish a couple of WWI modeling projects that had been on my shelf--a Mark IV tank diorama and revising the camouflage of an A7V Sturmpanzerwagen. I've included a few images of these projects. Note the barbed wire on the Mark IV diorama--Zebrano 1/35 barbed wire from Belarus. Unlike two-dimensional photoetch barbed wire, Zebrano wire is three-dimensional, complete with tiny barbs, and looks and handles just like the real thing. Scale barbed wire is a necessity for most WWI dioramas and Zebrano provides a product that is the most accurate available.



New model kits, references and accessories catering to the WWI modeler are helping re-create the equipment and battlefields of modern history’s most momentous year--1918. In 2018, put a WWI kit on your build list and add a new dimension to your scale modeling repertoire.



StarFest 2018

By Joe Walters


Webmaster's Note:  The order of the pictures posted below match the discussion sequence in Joe's article.  Parts of this article are in blue to honor Chiana. 

It happened again!  The annual StarFest science fiction convention tool place this past April 20 - 22 at the Marriott Denver Tech Center in Denver, Colorado.

It's really a conglomeration of several simultaneous conventions and events (including ArtFest, ComicFest, CosPlay, Game-Fest, KlingonFest, Model­Fest, RoboCon, ScienceFest, and StarFest itself). These now all take place under one roof, and a ticket to one gets you into all.

Registration opens Friday morning, and the conference runs well thru Sunday (the last event ended at 6:00 PM this time). To make life easier, my wife Linda and I picked up the habit some time ago of driving up on Thursday (the parking lot is jammed full early Friday), and we drive back home on Sunday.

StarFest features celebrity guests, who appear on stage and sign autographs and are generally approachable), panels on all sorts of topics, guests in amazing costumes, parties, music, and far too many scheduled events to possibly attend all of them.

There is also an art show depicting a dazzling array of sci-fi and fantasy subjects; classes on costuming, surviving the zombie apocalypse, creating mock weapons, and more; movies and TV showings, writing workshops, kids' activities, model make & take, Tom Grossman's airbrush demos, the Model Show (the part that will interest most of you, more on that later!), panels on science featuring JPL and Lockheed scientists, and on and on.

We were particularly fascinated by that last bit. The scientist currently in charge of Hubble Telescope operations spoke on latest discoveries and future plans for the satellite; People involved in the InSight Mars Lander (which launched days after the convention!) briefed us on that mission, and much more. We had to miss the one we wanted most, the Kuiper Belt exploration presentation, as that took place at the same time a guest we had to see.

The show takes place at the Marriott Denver Tech Center, which is in the southern part of town, so you only have to drive to Denver, not through it! The place recently underwent a major renovation, and is now just beautiful. The rooms are large and clean, the staff helpful and friendly, and things just seem to work right at the place. We like it!

Food service was rather limited before the renovation, but not now! The atrium now features a large restaurant and bar with lots of seating, a diverse menu, and some excellent food. During the convention, there were not one but two of those convention-burger serving line setups, and we never had to stand in a long line for those. There are even places to sit and eat now, something that was lacking before!

It's hard to tell how many people attend these things, as some people come for the whole thing, and some do one or two days. How do you count them?  I'd guess easily two to three thousand people were there, but that's just me.

Many costumes were in evidence throughout the show (and there is a Saturday night costume competition that is not to be missed!). Here are a few:

As with all conventions (even our Chile Cons!), there is a vast Dealers' Room filled with people seeking to part you from your money and exchange it for something they won't have to carry back home. StarFest is no exception, and the variety of merchandise is nothing short of mesmerizing, and much of it would be of interest to modelers!

First off, this.  I didn't even know this was a thing! These are tiny LEGO figures, about an inch high or so, and they represent many many characters. In this shot alone, I can pick out Pennywise the clown from IT, four Lord of the Rings characters (pretty sure that's a Nazgul next to Legolas), Ash from the Evil Dead movies and TV series, the Grinch, Pinhead from the Hellraiser series, and more. And they were selling! I don’t get it.

And this is a close-up! Check out the entire display on the next page. And this was one of three booths selling these things!

And guests! There were many, though we did not see them all. These three stood out.

At left, Levar Burton (Geordi LaForge from Star Trek: The Next Generation) has done this for so long that he really has the process down. He was an excellent guest, had answers for everything, and was completely in control of his presentation.

At right, Gigi Edgley (Chiana from Farscape) was really fun, very energetic, and a very popular guest. She was continually in motion; I took several photos of her, and they all have something blurred, usually a hand like you see here. Incidentally, she confirmed that Chiana is gray, not blue, it's just that the set lighting gave her a bluish tint on occasion. And she told a fun story about the day she had that gray makeup applied all over.

 At left is Mary Chieffo, from Star Trek Discovery, the new series currently in production. She's a little hard to recognize here, as her face is completely concealed on the show when she plays the Klingon L'Rell. She had a lot of interesting insight to share about the new show, the cast, and the surprises revealed during the last part of the first season.

Not pictured is Penny Johnson Gerald, who also appeared. She currently play's the ship's doctor on The Orville, but was also on many episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. As someone with a foot in both worlds, she had a lot to say about how different the two productions are, and how careful they are on The Orville about crossing certain lines.

Okay, okay, models!  Fine.

The CoMMiES group puts on Model University, and classes run throughout the convention, and include such sessions as Resin Casting, Studio Scale Ships, Modeling 101, Decals, Intro to Resin Figures, Lighting, Miniatures, and more. There is also a Make & Take area, and Tom Grossman was here demonstrating Iwata airbrushes.

Vern Clark runs the Model Show, the contest. We need to get some ASM members up here to enter this thing! Competition is high, but you guys can measure up. This year, I counted sixty-plus models, though some were parts of collections. Let's get up there and bring back some goodies!

So! What do you think? Are you inspired? This is an annual contest that just cries for some ASM participation!

StarFest 2019 takes place at the same venue, April 26 - 28, 2019. Monitor as time goes on. And be there!










Modeling the Aircraft of

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

By Mike Blohm

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

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



Syrian MiG-21

By John Tate

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

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

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



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

By Fred Franceschi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Remembering Gil Johnson

By Mike Blohm

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

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



A Tribute to Harry Davidson

By Mike Blohm

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


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


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


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



Modeling the Aircraft of

American Volunteer Group Ace David "Tex" Hill

 By Mike Blohm


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


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




Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle"

History and Restoration

 by Mike Blohm

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

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

 Pictures below show:

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

3.  The crew posing in front of the Memphis Belle

4.  The crew back after their 25th mission

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

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

7.  Memphis Belle under refurbishment in 2011

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

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

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

1     2     3     4     5     6

7     8     9     10     11

12     13     14     15     16     17

Links to Memphis Belle articles:

American Aces of World War I

by Mike Blohm


Douglas Campbell

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


Nieuport 28 Model

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



Frank Luke, Junior

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



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


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

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

Yamamato's Guardian

by John Tate

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

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

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

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

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



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

by Tony Humphries


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


 Below, left to right:

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

The other of the two tanks mentioned above.

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

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


Additional info:

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

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

Webmaster's Note:  This is a 3-part article posted in the order received, so start at the bottom

Tales from the Shelf of Doom

The Final Chapter

By Ken Piniak

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

Tales from the Shelf of Doom

Part 2

By Ken Piniak

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

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

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


 More cockpit details:

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

 TOW missile racks:

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


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

Stay tuned…

Tales from the Shelf of Doom

Part 1

By Ken Piniak

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


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


My original attempt to build it

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


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


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

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


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

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


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

Adding new parts

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

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

Tales from the Shelf of Doom

Part 2

By Ken Piniak

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

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

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


 More cockpit details:

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

 TOW missile racks:

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


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

Stay tuned…


Hellcat Aces of VF-27

by Mike Blohm

Modeling the Aces of VF-27

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

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

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

 Pictures of VF-27 Hellcats and Insignia: 


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

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

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

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

 Pictures of USS Princeton (CVL-23):


1.  USS Princeton underway on shakedown cruise in May 1943

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

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

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

6.  Damage to midship area of the carrier. 

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

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


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


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



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

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

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

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

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

ASM Group Field Trip

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

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




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



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

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



Cavalcade of Wings Website

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

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


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ASM continually supports the nationally-recognized Cavalcade of Wings model display at the Albuquerque Sunport international airport with newly-built models, model repairs, and cleaning/inventorying tasks, and performed all these tasks during this period.  This display of aircraft involved in New Mexico’s history is likely the largest number of models on display at an airport in the USA or perhaps the world, with 1350 total models in 19 display cases.  Several ASM members are on the CoW E-Board.  The original CoW chairman Harry Davidson (pictured above) was a long time member of ASM.  Harry passed away on June 10, 2018.  ASM member David Straub photographed the collection and performed extensive research that produced over 3,000 pages of documentation that led to the stand-up of the CoW website in Dec 2013.  The ASM webmaster, who is also a member of the CoW E-Board, provided inputs on the creation of the CoW website.




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IPMS/USA Home Page

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

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

IPMS/USA Region 10 Home Page

Region 10 Chapter Links

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

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


IPMS/USA Nationals 2019 Links

IPMS/USA National Convention

August 7-10, 2019

Chatanooga Convention Center

Chatanooga, Tennessee 

Hosted by IPMS Chatanooga Scale Modelers

Check out the Official 2019 Convention Website at:

IPMS/USA 2019 Nationals Website



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

Local Contest Information

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

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

CoMMiES Fest 2019

March 30, 2019

Jefferson County Fairgrounds

Golden, Colorado

Hosted by IPMS CoMMiES, Region 10


Best of the West -24 Show and Contest

April 27, 2019

East Side Cannery Resort and Casino

Las Vegas, Nevada

Hosted by IPMS Las Vegas, Region 8

Website at:  Best of the West-24 Show and Contest

Click here for Best of the West Flyer




The 2017 Region 10 Convention and Model Contest

was held on June 16-17, 2017

at the Marriott Pyramid Hotel

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Click on the logo above or here to go to the Chile Con 4 Website

   Chile Con 4 Theme

Star Wars - 40th Anniversary


May the Fourth Be With You


Chile Con 4 Results
Click here for:
Preliminary Awards Slide Show
(High Resolution - 386 MB)

Preliminary Awards Slide Show

(Low Resolution - 25 MB)

CC4 Model Pictures Gallery 1
CC4 Model Pictures Gallery 2
CC4 Model  Pictures Gallery 3





2014 Region 10 Convention and Model Contest

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

Hosted by Albuquerque Scale Modelers

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

---  Thrice the Spice  ---



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

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

Pics from Chile Con 2:

Armor, Autos, Vendors, and Outside Vehicles

Everything Else

Contest Results & Pics from Chile Con 2


Chile Con wpe1A9.jpg (1223 bytes) 2006 
Region 10 Convention & Model Contest
May 5-6, 2006
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Click here for to go to Chile Con 2006 home page:  Chile Con 2006
Click here for Pictures from Chile Con 2006:  Thumbnail Pictures
Click here for the Contest Results Listing from Chile Con 2006:  Contest Results
Click here for the Contest Results with Pictures from Chile Con 2006:  Contest Results with Pics