ASM Articles Page

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


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

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

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


Next Club Contest


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

**  Masks are not required to be worn in the UNM Conference Center  **

* Meeting start time is 6:30 PM *

Model entries close and judging begins at 7:00 PM



June 3rd ASM Meeting




The May 6th ASM Meeting was an

"Open" Points Contest



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Upcoming ASM Contests Info

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

June 3rd  -   Clinics Night - No Contest

July 8th  -  Points Contest # 3 "Open Contest"

August 5th  -   ASM "Swap Meet" with No Contests

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

ASM Contest Schedule section of the websiteContest Schedule


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

2022 2022 Presentations and Model Clincs
  Events will be scheduled and posted - please check here often
Jan 7th "NM State Fair & USAF Anniversary Ball Model Displays" by Mike Blohm
Jun 3rd "Aerial Firefighting" Presentation by Frank Hoback
Sep 9th "Big Week" Presentation by Col Doug Dildy
Oct 7th "Viet Nam Era C-130s" Presentation by Col Harvey Chace
2021 2021 Presentations and Model Clincs Conducted
July 9th "USAF Air Superiority in the Korean War" presentation by Douglas Dildy
Sep 10th "The Final Weeks of World War II in August-September 1945"
by Colonel Harvey Chace, USAF Retired
Nov  5th "USS Iowa" presentation by Cathy Myer

Test Page

Next Sponsored Contest

September  9th

"75th Anniversary of the USAF"

Hosted by Mike and Matt Blohm

Anything in USAF markings from 1947 to 2022 - any scale, any kit - new builds


1947 - 2022


May 6th, 2022 was the

"The Ukraine War"

Hosted by John Tate

Any subject from the Ukraine War - Russian or Ukrainian





Award Plaques for "Ukraine War" Sponsored Contest




Upcoming Sponsored Contests:


New sponsored contests will be posted as they become scheduled

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

Sponsored Contest ROE

Upcoming Events Calendar

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

2022 Schedule
Date Event details will be posted as they become known, as will changes & cancellations
January 14-16 Albuquerque Comic Con, Albuquerque Convention Center, Albuquerque NM.  See ASM Trip Report from the 2011 event.  See ASM Trip Report for the 2012 Event.
March 12 CoMMiESFest 2022.  Arapahoe County Fairgrounds Event Center, Colorado.
Theme: "Orange"   IPMS/Region 10 CoMMiES
April 7-9 AMPS 2022 International Convention.  The AMPS 2021 Convention was rescheduled to
April 7-9, 2022. 
Marriot at City Center, Newport News, Virginia
April 23 Desert Scale Classic 18. Model Championship & Swap Meet.  Phoenix, Arizona.
April 24 NM AMPS Meeting at 1:00 PM at Dave Miller's house
April 30 Modelmania 2022.  Stafford Center, Stafford Texas.  IPMS Houston, IPMS Region 6.
May 13-15 StarFest 22.   Science Fiction Convention.  Hyatt Regency Denver Tech, Denver Colorado.  ModelFest & model contest at StarFest, hosted by IPMS/Region 10 CoMMiES.
July 9 Houston Automotive Modelers Society 15th Model Car Show and Contest.  Cypress Creek Christian Community Center Form, Spring, Texas.  IPMS Region 6.
* July 20-23 * IPMS/USA 2022 National Convention.  La Vista Conference Center, La Vista, Nebraska.  IPMS/Fort Crook
August 20 ASM Model Display at the 2022 Folds of Honor Patriot Gala at Embassy Suites.
August 25-28 Star Trek Convention - Las Vegas 2022, Bally's Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas NV.  See Star Trek Trip Report from the 2011 event. Star Trek Trip Reports for 2013 and 2014
August 26-28 Bubonicon 53.  Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, Albuquerque Marriott Uptown, 2101 Louisiana Blvd NE (Louisiana & I-40), Albuquerque, NM
August TBD New Mexico State Fair  ASM-Sponsored Model Contest; Model registration dates are TBD.
The State Fair runs Sep 8-18.  ASM Display-Only Theme: Still TBD.   Model pick-up is on Mon, Sep 19 from 9 AM to 5 PM.
September TBD ASM Model Display at the 2022 Air Force Ball at Kirtland AFB. 
Theme: USAF 1947-2022
September 24 Salt Lake City XXII Expo.  Scale Model Contest and Exhibiton. Salt Lake City Community College, Sandy, Utah. IPMS Salt Lake City Chapter, Region 10. 
Website:  IPMS / Salt Lake City
October TBD Sante Fe Comic Con (2021 website info).  Dates for 2022 are still being worked.  Likely at Buffalo Thunder Resort, Sante Fe, New Mexico
November 6 ModelZona 2022  Red Mountain Community Churh, Mesa AZ.  9 AM to 4 PM.  IPMS Craig Hewitt Chapter, Region 10.


Notes and News Items

      ASM100.jpg (82854 bytes)


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




The Folds of Honor Gala Charity Event and ASM Model Display

will now take place on August 20th, 2022

Links to all past ASM displays available at:


2021 New Mexico State Fair Contest Results and ASM Display

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ASM successfully conducted the model contest and the Korean War display at the 2021 NM State Fair.  Pictures are posted on the website (see below and 2021 Meeting Pics webpage).  They were also published in the ASM Newsletter.   

Pictures of the 2021 model cases are shown below


Click here for the ASM 2021 NM State Fair Model Contest Results Webpage

This webpage includes Results and Pictures of all the Model Entries

Click here for Official 2021 Model Contest Results (pdf file)

Click here for an article on ASM's "Korean War 1950-1953" display



  Judge's Winners
from December's ASM 2021
"Model of the Year Competition"
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Best of Show
Best of Show
Best of Show
Best of Show
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No Entries Mark Vaughn James Medina Dave Straub
No Entries Civil War Cannon
"Red Jammer"
Y-Wing Diorama
January 2020
USS Currituck
Seaplane Tender
June 2021
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People's Choice Winners
from December's ASM 2021
"Model of the Year Competition"
ASM100.jpg (82854 bytes)
People's Choice
People's Choice
People's Choice
People's Choice
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No Entries Mark Vaughn James Medina Brian Peck
No Entries Seversky AP-7 Racer
Jackie Cochran
March 2020
"Red Jammer"
Y-Wing Diorama
January 2020
Avro Lancaster
March 2020

* Click here to see all eligible models from the years 2020 and 2021 *

ASM 2021 Modelers of the Year
Juniors Basic Intermediate Masters
AJ Tate Mark Vaughn Bob Henderson Chuck Herrmann
Not Present
at Jan Meeting

* Click here to see Final 2020-2021 Points Standings *


ASM won the 2019 Region 10 Chapter of the Year Award

and the 2019 Region 10 Website of the Year Award

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Region 10 Chapter of the Year Cup


Current Articles


Deadline to submit proposed ASM Newsletter articles to

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

ASM E-Board Articles

Click Here for Recently Archived E-Board Articles

Club Column

By John Tate, ASM President

May-June Article 

There were a few developments at our May 6th ASM meeting that are worth noting to the club.  First, by sentiment of the membership, it was decided that in addition to a guest speaker, our June meeting will host a modeling clinic, the first since the pandemic.  There was also some interest expressed in holding another Chile Con contest, at a future date to be determined.

But first, I would like to congratulate the winners of the Ukraine War contest I sponsored; Best Aircraft and Best Armor went to Scott Jaworski for his excellent wargaming scale Mi-24 Hind E and T-64 tank In Ukrainian markings, with Best Intermediate going to Ken Piniak for his brewed-up 1/72 Russian T-72, a common sight these days in the Ukrainian countryside.  The Ukraine War has generated interest for many modelers and we will see more scale replicas from this conflict in the future.  On a related note, as hobbyists we also have an opportunity to support Ukraine with our scale modeling dollars since that country is home to several well-known lines of hobby products.  These products are also of excellent quality and good value for money so purchasing them affords a rare opportunity to support freedom as well as making a wise consumer choice.




Our June 3rd meeting will host guest speaker Frank Hoback giving a presentation on aerial firefighting; Frank is a retired air tanker pilot who has flown just about everything, including four-engine Privateers, so this should be an interesting talk.  He's also an accomplished scale modeler with an eye for scale modeling detail.  ASM member Jerry Little might also put in a speaking appearance, discussing a favorite plane for many of us- the B-52- that he flew during his Air Force career.  Speakers will be followed by a modeling clinic given by ASM members.

There was some talk at the meeting about organizing for a future Chile Con regional-level contest.  As many of us can attest, there is no small amount of effort involved in putting on one of these shows so if we want to host another model contest to be proud of, we all have to be willing to put in the work for it.  I am encouraged by the skill and enthusiasm of the ASM members who have expressed interest so far in volunteering, and with a healthy club treasury at our disposal we have a good basis for a future show.  This matter will be discussed by the E-Board before moving ahead but in the meantime consider as members your willingness to pitch in and get a future Chile Con off the ground.

Mike Blohm has contacted one of our favorite guest speakers, Doug Dildy, Col, USAF (Ret.), who will give a talk at our September meeting on The Big Week, the USAAF effort in February 1944 to knock out the Luftwaffe's fighter force.  Check the ASM website for more updates.

Thanks to all ASM members for your dedication to and interest in the club, especially given the difficulties of the past few years; it should be a matter of pride for all of us that our club has continued to thrive with the hobby despite all adversity.


March-April Article

There were several pandemic-related events affecting the club recently but following the Governor's decision last month to rescind statewide COVID restrictions.  UNM lifted its masking requirement effective 3/18/22, meaning our April 1st swap meet will be mask-free.  Hopefully that's it for this notorious pandemic that's claimed so many lives and put the world through so many changes over the past two years, but we're ready in case it throws us another curve ball.

Recent sales of donated kits and model supplies have put the club solidly in the black and in a good position to maintain our operations.  We'll continue to be careful with expenses and adding to our treasury balance as opportunities arise.

Scale modeling gives us a chance to recreate history and there's been no shortage of that recently, given events unfolding in Ukraine.  Therefore, to capture in miniature some of that conflict, I'm sponsoring a contest for the May 6th meeting, "The Ukraine War," open to any model subject related to that conflict.

The modeling year is just starting and there are still four open contests ahead.  So hit the work bench and finish those pandemic projects you started but never finished - finally there's a chance again to share your work.


February ASM Meeting Canceled and New COVID Rules

January 23rd E-Mail

ASM Members,

 Over the weekend UNM provided to ASM a "Lease Agreement COVID-19 Addendum" which requires the following:

1.  Follow UNM COVID guidelines and ensure all attendees follow same.

 - Wear a 3-ply mask at all times unless actively eating or drinking.  Bandanas and homemade cloth masks are not acceptable.

 - Maintain 6-foot distance from each other.

- Wash hands and use hand sanitizer frequently.

2.  Lessee (ASM) agrees to provide UNM Continuing Education a plan with any additional COVID safety precautions (example: checking for proof of vaccination or negative test).

As our next club meeting is coming up on February 4th, a majority on the E-Board decided to cancel the meeting (a swap meet night) due to the need to put us into compliance with the new ASM guidelines, to give us time to develop a compliance plan, and because of the current status of the Omicron COVID variant in New Mexico.  However, we plan to continue with our March 4th, 2022 meeting as planned and to convert the April 1st meeting into a swap meet night.

Therefore - no February 4th ASM meeting will be held.  Our next club meeting will be March 4th 2022.

We will keep the membership advised as to any new developments and new ASM COVID guidelines when they are available.

John Tate

ASM President

January Article 

As we pass from one grim pandemic year to the next, it is fitting to remember those stalwart club members we lost during 2021:

 Jack Morris

 Jeff Frickstad

Glenn Bingham

These gentlemen were members of ASM for decades and active participants who contributed greatly to our club.  They will be missed.

 I've been reflecting on our mortality, and our hobby, during the past year as modelers in and out of our club have passed away and left for us their scale modeling collections.  At our December meeting for example, kits kindly donated to us from the estate of modeler Ed Longhi were sold to members to generate funds for the club.  It was an exceptional donation and greatly appreciated, but there is something sad about receiving treasures left behind by a fellow modeler.  As none of us are getting any younger, the coming of a New Year should focus our attention on what's important in the hobby, and our lives.  Perhaps it's wise to prepare a bucket list of the 10 models you would like to build before passing on and start working on them now; don't spend an eternity in the Hereafter wishing you had built that Wingnuts kit you had stashed away.  This is also the time to dispose of those kits you will never build, those paints you will never use and those references you will never read, to keep your collection from being a burden on your loved ones.  By planning ahead you can, in a small way, beat the Grim Reaper to the punch.

If there is a silver lining to this darkening cloud, it's that the club has returned to a solid financial footing and is poised to maintain full operations at our current venue through the end of the current calendar year.  Thanks for this go to ASM Pro Tem member Victor Maestas, who arranged to receive the donation of the Ed Longhi kit collection.  There is even enough revenue in our accounts to contemplate a future ChileCon regional model show sometime in the next few years.  But is this something members would like to see?  Let the E-Board know your views and if it is something you advocate, think seriously about your ability to volunteer and participate- it's hard work and takes commitment to put on a show of that size.  Everyone will have to lend a hand.


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

By Mike Blohm, ASM Webmaster

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The ASM Website pages are updated through the April 1, 2022 meeting and contest.  The February Meeting was canceled, so there were no contest results or pictures to post from that.  . 

The website's changeover to 2022 webpages has been completed.  All of the "yearly" web pages (contest results, model pics, meeting pics, and model of the year) have been created and populated with the pictures and information so far for 2022. The 2022 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 2022 pages will take you to other 2022 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 (2018) pages.  Note that selecting the Home Page will always get you back to the Home Page.  

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

Some reminders about the ASM website:

The “Marquee Banner” that scrolls across the top of the Home Page will always have the latest info on club activities – contests, events and speakers for the upcoming month, notice that new schedules and Newsletters have been posted, and whether an event has been postponed – so always check that out first when you visit the ASM website.  If the weather looks bad enough that the meeting might be cancelled - check that banner before you drive to the meeting.  We did use it in Jan 2022 and in 2011 when meetings were canceled due to the pandemic and by UNM due to a snow storm (all campus buildings were closed).  There will probably also be an audio alert (beeping sounds) that will go off when the page initially comes up if a meeting has been cancelled. 

There is an  "ASM Review Articles"  page link in the "18 Links" bar at the top of every major webpage, and also listed in the "Index" at the top of the Articles Page.  This page is an archive of all previous review articles authored by ASM members - it has links to different sections of the page based upon the review topic - aircraft, armor, automotive, books, etc.  Please take the time to write up a short blurb if you are building a new kit and submit that and some in-progress / final pics to the website and ASM Newsletter. 

There is also a "NM State Fair Model Contests" page in the "18 Links" bar at the top of every major webpage, and also listed in the "Index" at the top of the Articles Page.  This page includes links to separate  NM State Fair contest resuls pages from 2005 to 2021.  It also includes all the Section and Class entry criteria.  Current year information will be posted as soon as it is available.  Read through this information to learn what models you should be thinking about entering in 2022.  Note that ASM Master and Intermediate modelers are asked to enter in the "Professional" Class.  Please note that there is also a link in the  that will take you to the actual NM State Fair site. 

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

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

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

Some of the links on the "Website Updates" page back to older article postings no longer work .  If you cannot find an older article mentioned in the Website Update listings, it would be best to check the "Archived Articles" page as it was probably moved to that location.  Articles moved to the Archives are always posted at the top of that page, so the most recently removed articles will be found at the top of the page.  Scroll down to go back in time - the ASM Time Machine. Note that the Archives were broken up into three sections (dates are listed) due to the amount of articles being archived.  Note that most articles now get posted in two locations, so they should be available after they get removed from the Articles webpage.  For example, trip reports get posted on both the Articles webpage and the Field Trips webpage.  Review articles get posted to the ASM Reviews webpage and the Articles webpage. Big events like club model displays will be included on that year's Meeting Pictures webpage. Links are available on those pages.

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

Website of the Year!

by Joe Walters, ASM Newsletter Editor

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations, Mike! Best. Website. Ever.


ASM Member Articles


Aircraft Displays at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma

By Mike Blohm


This field trip report covers the aircraft and helicopters on display at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma in Yuma, Arizona. I visited the base on a business trip in July 2021 and was able to take some time to check out and photograph the aircraft that they have on display. MCAS Yuma is home to AV-8B Harrier IIs and F-35 Lightning IIs operated by the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1), Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1), and Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 (VMFT-401).

There are two groups of aircraft on display that have served at MCAS Yuma over the last 50 years. The first is at the main gate and the second is in front of the base headquarters building. Descriptions and pictures of the displays are included below. Some brief info is also covered on these aircraft’s service in their units. Additional pictures are posted on the ASM Website.

 Main Gate Display.

The display by the main gate has five aircraft that includes: 

1) a Hawker Siddeley AV-8A Harrier mounted on a pedestal in the markings of the VMA-513 "Flying Nightmares" (pics 2-4);

2) a Douglas A4L Skyhawk, also on a pedestal, in markings of VMA-214 "Black Sheep" (pics 5-6);

3) a McDonnell F-4B Phantom II in the markings of VMFAT-101 "Sharpshooters" (pics 7-8):

4) a Northrup F-5E Tiger II in a two-brown aggressor lizard scheme in the markings of the VMFT-401 "Snipers" aggressor squadron (pics 9-10); and

5) a McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II in the markings of the VMA-211 "Wake Island Avengers/Bastion Defenders" (pics 1-12).  This is the latest addition to this display. Some of the aircraft carry rocket pods and Mk 82 bombs. 

VMA-214 flew various versions of the A-4 Skyhawkfor 27 years to June 1989, when they transitioned to the AV-8B Harrier. They are currently transitioning to the F-35B. VMFAT-101 was the last USMC F-4 training unit with its F-4’s being retired in May 1987. It then transitioned to the F/A-18. VMA-513 was decommissioned in July 2013 after 69 years of service, last flying the AV-8B. It was recommissioned in June 2020 as a F-35B Fleet Replacement Squadron (training unit). 

Pictures of the aircraft display by the main gate are posted below. Descriptions are given for each photo number.

1     2     3     4     5     6

7     8     9     10     11     12

13     14     15

 1: Side view of the display at the main gate.

2-4: Hawker Siddeley AV-8A Harrier on pylon

5-6:  Douglas A-4L Skyhawk on pylon. F-5E in background of pic 6.

7-9: McDonnell F-4B Phantom II

9-10: Northrup F-5E Tiger II Aggressor

11-12:  McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II

13: AV-8B and A-4L on pylon

14: AV-8B nose, F-4B, and and  AV-8A on pylon.

15:  Aerial view of gate display. The HH-1N was repaced by AV-8B


Headquarters Building Display.

The display by the headquarters building includes:

1) a Bell HH-1N Iroquois "Huey" in the markings of the Yuma Search and Rescue Flight.  This HH-1N was previously displayed by the main gate, but was moved to this area to make way for the new AV-8B. (pics 18-19); 

2) a Beech UC-12B Huron logistical operations support aircraft (pics 20-21); and

3) a McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier in the markings of the VMA-311 "Tomcats."  (pics 22-25).  The AV-8B has Mk-82 bombs with BSU-49 high-drag tail units on the wing pylons (pic 26).  .    

VMA-311 flew Harriers from Sep 2000 to May 2016. They transitioned to F-35Bs in May 2016 and its designation was changed to VMFA-311. The UC-21B’s at Yuma were replaced by newer UC-12W’s in 2012. The HH-1N Hueys at Yuma were recently retired.

Pictures of the aircraft display by the headquarters building are posted below. Descriptions are given for each photo number.

16     17     18     19     20     21

22     23     24     25     26     27

 16-17: Front and rear views of the display at the main HQ building.

18-19:  Bell HH-1N Iriquois "Huey."

20-21:  Beech UC-12B Huron.

22-25:  McDonnell-Douglas AV-8B Harrier II.

26:  Mk-82 bomb with BSU-49 high-drag tail unit mounted on left wing pylon.

27.  McDonnell-Douglas AV-8B Harrier II coming in to land at MCAS Yuma.

It is somewhat difficult to get close to or visit the gate display because it is up against the outbound road on one side (narrow sidewalk there and a low fence), the base outer fence on another, and some trees and bushes on the last side. You have to park your car behind one of the nearby buildings and hike through some grass to get there. Therefore, I have a mix of pictures with some taken from my car when stopped at the red light while on the way out the gate, some after I hiked over to the display, and some from the main drag outside the base. An interesting group of aircraft and worth the hike if you want to get close up. The outside-the-base look will be necessary if you do not have ID that will let you get on the base. A drive-by / pause will work if there is little traffic. Or you can park across the street and walk over to the fence line. The display by the headquarters building is easily accessible from a parking lot right next to it. If you are on Interstate 8 driving between Phoenix and San Diego, it is just a short detour to get to the base and check out the display.

Ken's Armor Files

A Look Back at the Cold War: Building a T-72 From Scratch

By Ken Piniak

I originally built this T-72 back in 1983, at the height of the Cold War. It is scratchbuilt/kitbashed, using the then-brand-new Tamiya T-62 kit as a base. There were basically no good references to go by at the time; the best reference I had was the book "Soviet Tanks Today" by Steve Zaloga, published in 1983.


All of its photos are black and white. Essentially everything you see on this model is rebuilt, scratchbuilt, or taken from something else, the only original parts left from the T-62 are the drive sprockets and the rear fuel drums. With very little references to go by, I had to "guesstimate" a lot of it.

Both the turret and hull had to be re-done. The road wheels were built using wheels from several 1/25 Jeep CJ kits, the support arms are from a Tamiya M60A1, the support rollers are from a Heller AMX-13. All of the stowage boxes on the turret and hull fenders are made from sheet styrene, as are the fuel tanks. The entire front of the hull had to be rebuilt from plastic sheet, and the front "V" splash guard and the frame for the engine air intake are Plastruct angle iron strips. The turret had to be chopped up and reshaped using lots of styrene and putty. The gunner's sight and hatch are both scratchbuilt; the TC's hatch and machine gun were converted using the kit parts.


The oldest photos I have of finished model are from 1992, at which time it was nine years old. In one photo I compare it to a then-new AMT/MPC/ERTL T-74 kit I had just finished; I think the scratchbuilt one is better.

In 2021, I decided to revisit this old build, and fix it up a little bit. It had gotten some damage over the years - hey, its nearly forty years old, and I wanted to correct a few things I never got to doing before. Some of the road wheels had broken, and an idler wheel. In this photo of a broken road wheel, you can still see some of the chrome from the Jeep kit it came from.


I also had to repair the fuel drums and the rear of the hull. The oil tank and engine exhaust were broken off, so I replaced them with parts from the AMT/ERTL kit. While working on those, I decided to do a few upgrades. The first two were things I had planned to do all along, but never did.

The machine gun was modified from the Tamiya DsHK. I was going to cut off the feed mechanism from the top of it, and never did. I snipped that off and sanded it down. Then I added the small triangles at the front fenders. They are just styrene sheet. I also used a pair of nippers to cut out the sides of the original Tamiya tracks, to better replicate the RMSH tracks from the T-72. All of this took less than ten minutes, but it took me almost forty years to get around to it. No excuse for it really, just lazy.


I never liked my original engine fan cover; the glue had soaked thru the screen. I pried it off with a screwdriver and replaced it with one from the AMT kit. I also added a bit of photoetch to the engine deck, and a leftover hinge for the engine cover. I had a scraper blade left over from a Dragon kit, so I added it to the front.


One of the tie-down loops had broken off the turret, so I replaced that, and added a bit of photoetch to the top of the sight. Also, one of my headlight guards lost a couple of pieces; I replaced them with copper wire. While working on the lights, I added some new lenses from SKP.

I did not want to do too much in the way of upgrades to it; I wanted to keep it pretty much as I originally built in back in the day, and there is simply no way I could bring it up to modern standards. But then I don't have to, there are plenty of better kits available now, I even have some of them. So at that point I touched up the paint and called it done. Comparing the finished tank to more modern kits like my Dragon M-84 or the Amusing Hobby T-72M1 I found that it does hold up pretty well, especially considering the lack of resources I had. The dimensions are a bit off, but not bad. The shape and layout of the back of the turret and the rear of the engine deck are wrong, but I could not make out the correct details with the photos I had.

One thing I did notice on mine, because it was based on the Tamiya T-62 kit, the turret is too far forward. I had no way of knowing that at the time. Here the hulls are lined up (first picture); and here are the turrets/guns lined-up (second picture). 


A small difference, but it is there. Otherwise, it is pretty close. All in all, I am quite happy with how it came out, especially for when I built it!



Waco CG-4 Glider Build for the Cavalcade of Wings

By Mark Vaughn


The Cavalcade of Wings display at the Albuquerque airport had a model that was disintegrating.  It was a Waco CG-4A that was used for training in New Mexico during World War Two.  Fort Sumner was one of six NM glider fields and it was the hub of advanced instruction.  The current Fort Sumner airfield is the old glider field.  The current airfield at Tucumcari is also an old glider field. There were others.  If you look on Google Earth 15 miles ENE from Clovis you'll find the ghostly remains of field #5 in the middle of a wind farm, with a cattle tank in the middle of it.  There were others.  Cutter-Carr was the civilian contractor supplying instructors, a familiar name. 

Fort Sumner matchbook cover, front and back from the war.


Back to the model.  Here is a photo of the old model.


As you can see, the fuselage, which is made from some solid black cast material, disintegrated, as if it had taken a direct hit!   This was not due to physical mistreatment but internal stresses finally tearing it apart.  Usually I can salvage/repair models for the Cavalcade of Wings, but I decided to just start over.  I don't know how old this original was but it has raised lettering on the under surface of a wing, so it was an old kit.  Fortunately Italeri made one in 1/72, a 1975 mold, and I snagged one on eBay.  It has a rudimentary interior (seats along the wall) and a basic cockpit.  Since this is for a museum, and most patrons would likely not understand why the glider's nose was "broken," I built it with the swing-up cockpit down so there was little reason to doll-up the interior.  You could drive a Jeep into one of these!  I would have done more with the cockpit had I realized how visible it is with the greenhouse windshield - painted with Future! 


The actual build was simple right out of the box.  While the Wacos we see in the D-Day movies have the invasion recognition stripes, the trainers did not have them (preserving my stash of black and white trim film).  I resisted filling the wing-fuselage join since these had a big gap.  They were kit planes with removable wings.

The Italeri decals disintegrated on contact with water, so I had to use some stars from my stash.  Since the stars on the demolished models were the early ones without the "paddles," I removed the paddles with a little surgery.  They are not quite right, since the tips of the stars should go all the way to the edge, but since the viewers will be feet away, and unaware of this detail, good enough.  Apparently, some trainers didn't have numbers or they were painted out, so I didn't worry over the disintegrated tail numbers.  Here's a photo of a training wreck with numbers painted over.  You can barely see the old numbers under the paint.

One final thing about these gliders is that while there are landing gear, there are also skids for when the wheels tear off in the soft soil of the farmer's fields in Normandy. 

So, here's the final product.  You can see the skids under the cockpit.  See what I mean about the visibility through the greenhouse windshield?  Oh, and there's a window in the top of the fuselage as well as small portholes in the side. 

I invite all of you to build for the Cavalcade of Wings.  Museum builds get far more "views" than they do on your own shelf. 


ASM Model Display at the 2021 Air Force Anniversary Ball


1947 - 2021

By Mike Blohm

The ASM model display at the 2021 Air Force Anniversary Ball was a big success. The event, held on Friday, October 15 at Kirtland Air Force Base (AFB), celebrated the 74th birthday of the USAF. The USAF became a separate service on September 18, 1947 with the passage of the National Security Act of 1947. The theme of the event was "Casino Night." There was no secondary historical anniversary theme this year. Therefore, we decided to include the "71st Anniversary of the Korean War 1950-1953" display that we had done at the 2021 New Mexico State Fair alongside the "USAF 1947 to Present" model display as we had set up at the 2018 and 2019 events.

This year we had two large tables set up in the main ballroom that the attendees would pass by as they entered into the event. ASM arrived with 26 tubs and boxes of models and set up a total of 76 models on the tables in a multitude of scales. They were arranged in chronological order from the right end starting with 1947 to the left end at 2021, to go with how the people would walk by the tables. See the pictures posted below.    

For some variety and humor the far right end started with my "You Are Leaving New Mexico" diorama with a flashing UFO levitating a cow on a beam of light - that was a big it - and the P-38H Lightning of New Mexico's fighter ace Capt Danny Roberts who scored 14 victories in the South West Pacific theater. Next in the lineup were some early test aircraft including the X-1, XF-82, and X-15. The Korean War section was next with 34 total models covering all aspects of the conflict. We had a mix of models from all the U.S. services, including some armor and US Navy beach assault models from the Inchon Landing, a Sea Fury from the United Kingdom, and six aircraft flown by North Korea. The Mercury-Atlas "Friendship 7" model included in the Korea section had a tie-in with the awesome "F-86 Sabre versus MiG-15" diorama done by Glenn Bingham that depicts Major John Glenn downing his third and last MiG-15. So we did have a space exploration model in the display and we did get some questions from the attendees about the availability of space models.



The next section covered aircraft from the Viet Nam war (11 models) including John Tate's A-1E Skyraider flown by Medal of Honor winner Major Bernard Fisher, and aircraft in the Strategic Air Command and Air Defense Command. These were followed by modern aircraft from the Gulf War through the present time. This area included 1/144 and 1/200 scale models of large aircraft such as bomber, attack, reconnaissance, and cargo/airlifters. Finally, capping off the far left end were models of an F-51D and an F‑16C from the New Mexico Air National Guard's 150th Fighter Wing "Tacos" in 1/48th scale by Glenn Bingham and Dave Epstein for some more local flavor in the display.

Lots of people stopped by and asked questions about the models and the subjects, and we were thanked for putting on the display by the Kirtland AFB Commander and the AF Ball POC. The POC remarked that the display was great and a visual reminder to all the attendees of the mission of the Air Force. He also mentioned that we should be a part of every AF Anniversary Ball event and that he would pass the word for next year. We did hand out some ASM flyers so maybe we will get some new members in the club. 

Mike and Matt Blohm set up the display and manned the tables during the event. Thanks to the following ASM members who loaned models for the display: Frank Randall, Glenn Bingham, Steve Brodeur, Ken Piniak, John Tate, Scott Jaworski, Bob Henderson, Dave Epstein, Victor Maestas, and Mike and Matt Blohm. Note that there were additional models provided by the members listed above that could not be displayed due to space limitations.



ASM Member Glenn Bingham Passes Away

ASM member Glenn Bingham passed away on December 15, 2021.  An article will be posted when it becomes available.  Click here for Glenn's obituary from the Albuquerque Journal Newspaper (2 Januray 2022). 

Several pictures of Glenn and his amazing models are posted below.







Revell 1/24 Scale Gemini VI Build

by Mark Vaughn


I had in the back of my mind for a long time to build an old school 1/24 Gemini model. I built one in 1965 when the kit came out. I actually found it in an old spares box; it survived my adolescent firecracker and magnifying glass "welding" phases! This kit was a rush job by Revell during the space race with 1965 molds based on artist (mis)conceptions, and NASA mockups. It has several known errors. In Revell's defense it was "correct" for the time it was first produced. (See pics 1 and 2)

I chose to build Gemini VI. Because it rendezvoused with Gemini VII, there are lots of photos of them in flight. VII actually launched first and waited around for eleven days with other things to do while VI's aborted launch was delayed. VII was up for nearly two weeks while VI was up for slightly more than a day.

Let's start at the bottom and work up. (Pics 3-6) The paint colors called out for the kit service module were based on those in a color coded mockup, shown on the left, instead of the real thing, as seen on the right.

Most of the kit components are correct a few are not quite. Interestingly, Gemini flew the first fuel cells in space--a brand new technology. Here's a close-up of a real one (right).

Here's a before and after of current and childhood service modules.

The paint colors were easy enough to correct and each of the kit's service module's components were in at least one of the Geminis, so I just built it as is. The photos of the real Geminis are scarce and often incorrectly labeled, so I was not totally sure about the configuration of Gemini VI anyway. Mea culpa.

The tan interior color was matched to the existing Gemini B that still exists (the DOD version that never launched). This may or may not be correct, but most folks use it. I think that the real color might be Alodine, a hexavalent chromate conversion coating (that might give everyone around it cancer). There are several types. Some Gemini service module photos look like parts I used when I was a payloader. It's fast to apply and used to be easy to do. The Haynes "Gemini 1965-1966 (All Missions, All Models) Owner's Workshop Manual" helps with colors, configuratons,etc. Note that the ten manned Geminis were launched in less than two years!

I did not sweat the accuracy of the service module too much since--there was a gold thermal radiation blanket that obscured the whole thing! (See pics 7-10).  While this was not included in the kit there is a fine upgrade kit by RealSpace Models ( that supplies a fine part that you can cover with gold Bare-Metal foil. I don't recommend using their foil. This part is fairly accurate. Here's a shot of it before foil, in situ, and one with the foil. . 

I think it looks pretty close to the real thing, below, on Gemini VII. Compare with this artist's conception to the right.

I did not try to reproduce the cable debris. This was actually supposed to stay with the booster but didn't on some flights. It's not nice to mock the payload engineers.

Moving to the outer part of the service module and the retro module, several things needed upgrading. The kit shrouds for the attitude control nozzles are wrong. They are based on an artist's conception. Fortunately, the aforementioned upgrade kit also has resin replacements. The photo below (See pic 11) shows the difference; the kit parts are dark while the resin parts are white. Quite a difference!

The other thing that needed upgrading was the decals. In particular, Geminis I - VII had thermal tape zebra stripes, barely visible in the photo with the cable debris. After this they used oval Velcro patches. These tapes, I believe, were a function of problems with calculating radiative heat transfer. White-body and black-body radiation heat transfer were easily calculated in the 1960s, but gray-body was not. So they didn't have the time to concoct a gray paint that would absorb enough--but not too much--light (heat) from the sun to keep the cryogenic liquids in the service module liquid. So they slapped black tape on the bright white ceramic paint, as a quick fix for schedule issues in a space race.

Again, there is a decal upgrade just for this that I found from these guys:

Which not only get you the stripes but much better decals for the crew capsule. Putting the stripes on spaced properly and straight posed a problem. I made four paper guides using SolidWorks to do just that, shown below (See pics 12-15). 

I'll include the files with this and I'd be happy to give it to anyone thinking about doing this as well. If you use the raw jpeg, it should print to the proper scale. There are 72 stripes on the retro module and 88 on the service module. They generally don't line up with each other, naturally. Also, they are not typically exactly straight on the real thing so don't sweat that too much. Just use PSA or I prefer crafter's tape to stick them to the top and bottom of each module while decaling.

A word of warning, consider modelling a Gemini VIII or later. These zebra stripes are tedious, even with the paper guides. The Velcro patches would have been much easier. Also note that I painted a circle of Evergreen sheet and covered the thru-holes in the service module plate. I found no photos of what it looked like so artistic license...

The retro section seems okay as is, with the upgrade resin ACS nozzle shrouds. (See pics 16-17).  I enhanced the retro rockets themselves with the black stripes (the inert rockets had white stripes) with trim film decal material. Here again, the real thing had misaligned stripes. Probably black tape? Also, since these rockets fired in series, they should be aligned to the center of mass, which is not on the central axis. More on that later.

I may doll this up a little later on by putting the cable harness on the cross. Since the interior of this module will be rarely if ever seen, it would be for my gratification only.

Now for the reentry module. (See pic 18).  Remember the escape towers on the noses of Mercury and Apollo in case something went wrong? Gemini didn't have one. Instead they had--ejection seats! Yuri Gagarin used one on his famous first flight. The Russians hadn't figured out heat shields yet. The Gemini VI astronauts wisely didn't opt for using them during their misfire. The kit just has a "seat" with no detail. There is or was an upgrade for this and the interior that is no longer sold by LVM Studios. I wish I'd built this ten years ago, I guess. Yeah, I checked eBay. But with the astronaut figures on the seats, meh, there is not much to see anyway.

Aside from the seats, there are a few things that the upgrade kit I actually had helped. There are shrouds over the separation system, the red boxes, which are misshapen or absent on the kit. Resin to the rescue! The exterior "shingles" are also incorrect as well as the areas just forward of the doors. Again the artist conception shows nice round blends here. In reality, this blend is not so artistic. I opted not to use the resin fixes since they were not well molded and required a lot of sawing, fitting, putty, etc. The kit version looks fine to me.

In a similar vein, the upgrade kit supplies a horizon sensor. It sort of looks like the real version and I may replace it with one I make at a later date. That's the white thing forward of the left seat. The kit comes with the ascent shroud instead but that would be the first thing that is ejected. Otherwise the astronauts would spend all their time correcting roll.

The kit cockpit has some detail, mostly correct. The upgrade instrument panels might be technically more correct but the casting was pretty miserable, so I went Revell. The interior of the doors was troublesome. I've left them as-is for now. There were locking mechanisms and pouches. Unfortunately, I find little clearance over the astronauts heads so, again, as-is.

Considering the kits age, the astronauts are quite good. Molded in two parts along the coronal or frontal plane, they are fairly accurate, although the instructions call for the silver coloration of Mercury rather than the white of later suits. They come with clear visors but I left those off for now since they are quite thick. Invisible glass again.

I faked the orange rubber seals on the flanges with paint. The white stripe is a cover for the parachute lines. Gemini did not descend tail first. They came down horizontally on a two point bridle. The original intent was for descent to be with a paraglider! I remember one tiny Gemini model that actually had optional landing skids!

The nose is enhanced with many tiny red decals from the upgrade. The upgrade also addresses the nose, shown below. (See pics 19 - 20)

This photo was on the fold, sorry. I razor-sawed off the front of the kit nose, substituted the upgrade nose and voila!

Now all I need to do is figure out a good display stand. A good model is never really done--always something else to do. (See pics 21-22)


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ASM's "Korean War" Display at the 2021 New Mexico State Fair

By Mike Blohm


This article provides a look at ASM's model display at the 2021 New Mexico State Fair that occurred on September 9-19, 2021.  The display's theme was "The 71st Anniversary of the Korean War 1950-1953."  This was the same theme that was going to be used in 2020 until the fair was cancelled due to the pandemic. 

 We filled up a whole case with a total of 33 models covering the major aspects of the conflict. We had a mix of models in multiple scales from all the U.S. services, the United Nations (UN) allies, and North Korea.  The display included a high level description of the Korean War and maps showing what had occurred during the invasion, the UN counterattack, the Chinese intervention, and the eventual stalemate.  Information cards covered the major battles, including the retreat to the Punsan Perimeter, the Inchon Landing, the Chosin Reservoir, and MiG Alley.  Cards were also provided describing each of the models.  Pictures of the models are included below.  More pictures of individual models will be posted soon.   

 The air war had the largest amount of models in the display with 21 total, mostly in 1/72 scale.  These included US Air Force, US Navy and US Marine Corps (USMC) jets and propeller aircraft, a Sea Fury from the United Kingdom's Royal Navy (1/48), and six aircraft flown by North Korea.  The ground war section had four models. These included three US Army subjects: an M-26 Pershing heavy tank, a M4 Sherman medium tank; and  a self-propelled M40 155mm gun of the 937th Field Artillery Battalion.  North Korean armor was represented by a T-34/85 tank. These were in 1/35 scale, except for the Sherman, which was 1/48.  The Inchon Landing section of the display included seven US Navy and US Army beach assault models--landing craft, amphibious vehicles, and ground vehicles and a soldier all in 1/72 scale.  Three of the display models were also State Fair model contest entries. Scale breakdown for the display was 26 in 1/72, 4 in 1/48, 3 in 1/35, and 1 in 1/144 (included in the excellent F-86 Sabre Versus MiG-15 diorama built by Glenn Bingham to create a forced perspective). 

 Thanks to all the model contributors, who were as follows: Frank Randall (3), Glenn Bingham (2), Scott Jaworski (2), Bob Henderson (1), Ken Piniak (1), Mark Vaughn (1), and Mike Blohm (23).  A large number of this last group of 23 models had been built to support ASM's Korean War display during the "USAF 50th Anniversary" celebration at Kirtland AFB in 1997.  2022 will be the USAF's 75th Anniversary. 

 We do not yet have a proposed theme for the ASM display at the 2022 NM State Fair, so put your thinking caps on.

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Caption for pictures above:

1-3 - Overall views of the display case, and the left and right halves.

4-6. Top shelf: Aircraft models in 1/72 scale plus maps and historical summary of the Korean War and information on "MiG Alley."

4. North Korean Yakovlev Yak-9 "Frank" and Lavochkin La-11 "Fang" and the "F-86 Sabre versus MiG-15" diorama by Glenn Bingham depicting the third and final victory of Major John Glenn USMC who later became a Mercury Atronaut and U.S. Senator and flew a Space Shuttle mission.

5.  Face off between the MiG-15 "Fagot" flown by Soviet ace Colonel Yevgeny Pepelyaev and the F-86 "Sabre" flown by USAF ace Capt Joseph McConnell. 

6.  F-80 "Shooting Star" flown by 1Lt Russell Brown, who was the victor in the first jet versus jet air combat over a MiG-15; and an H-19 "Chickasaw" rescue helicopter.

7-9. Middle shelf:  Aircraft models in 1/72 scale.

7.  North Korean bombers Ilyushin IL-10 "Beast" (Sturmovik) and Tupolev Tu-2 "Bat," and U.S. Navy F-2H "Banshee" and F9F "Panther." 

8.  U.S. night fighters: F4U-5N "Corsair" flown by Lt Guy Bordelon, the only USN ace in the Korean War; F-94B "Starfire" flown by Capt Ben Fithian and 1Lt Samuel Lyons who downed an La-9; and the F-82G "Twin Mustang" flown by 1Lt Skeeter Hudson and 1Lt Carl Fraser who scored the first aerial victory in the Korean War defending Seoul.  Lastly is the F-86E Sabre flown by ace Capt Harold Fischer.   

9.  F-84E "Thunderjet" flown by 1Lt Jacob Kratt the top-scoring F-84 pilot with three victories (two over MiG-15s); a B-26 "Invader;" an LT-6G "Mosquito" forward air controller aircraft; and an F-51D "Mustang" flown by 1Lt James Glessner, who scored a Yak-9 victory. 

10-12.  Bottom shelf showing the ground war with info cards on the most significant battles during the war.  Also includes some 1/48 scale aircraft. 

10.  Diorama of a M40 self-propelled 155mm gun motor carriage of the 937th Field Artillery Battalion built by Glenn Bingham. 

11.  U.S. M26 "Pershing and M4 "Sherman" tanks and North Korean T-34/85 tank (actually in Soviet markings).  F-80 "Shooting Star" and UK Royal Navy Hawker "Sea Fury" and a USAF pilot figure all in 1/48 scale. 

12.  Models in 1/72 scale covering the Battle of Inchon invasion from the sea:  Willys Jeep, M4 Sherman tank, U.S. infantryman, LVT-4 AMTRAC, DUKW, Landing Craft Mechanized Mk III, and Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel "Higgins Boat."

13-16.  Maps shown in the display depicting North and South Korea, the phases of the conflict, and "MiG Alley."

Garage Build 

By Ken Piniak

This is a garage display kit that I put together for my brother. It is a 1/43 scale kit from a series called Great Garages, marketed by Estes/Centuri Corp., the people who make model rockets. It included the car.



Ken's Armor Files

Building Annelise, Part 2

By Ken Piniak

Part 1 is posted immediately below this article.

Once I had the tank mostly done, I started on the crew figures. It was winter, and photos show the crew wearing the reversible winter uniform. I found a set of four figures from Royal Model that looked like it would do the trick. The set consists of four partial figures, two half figures and two busts. When they arrived, I discovered that the hatch openings were all too small, the figures would not fit in them. I filed down the bottom portions of the tank commander and loader until they fit in their hatches. The two busts were not even close to fitting in any of the hatch openings, so I had to come up with a new idea. I took one of the busts and grafted it to the lower body and arms of an old, seated Lindberg figure. This figure would become the bow machine gunner; and would also be the test figure for the camouflage I would use. I cutdown a Blackdog Jadgtiger crew figure to fit the hatch opening for the radio operator. The driver is a Bandai figure that came with the tank. I knew there was no way I could paint the camouflage on the uniforms, so I did it using decals. The decals for the camouflage work­ed out quite well, so I used decals for the insignia too.

I wanted to show the tank after it had been returned to combat after some repair work. I chipped and chewed up the zimmerit a little bit; and I added some shell impacts to the front of the hull and turret. The decals for the turret number and name came from a Trumpeter 1/72-scale kit. The green background for the name looks too bright to me, but it is the best I could find. The German crosses are Bandai, from the kit. All the decals responded very well to Micro Sol and settled in to the zimmerit with no problems.


The tow cables were mounted based on some photos I found online. I added lots of my mud mixture to the underside of the tank, the tracks and running gear, and all around the lower portions of the vehicle. I used the mud to tie all the different parts together. I also added a ladder from the Bandai Field Works set. It was also based on some photos.

The kit instructions show three jerricans mounted inside the hull, but they were missing. I replaced them with some resin parts from Blackdog. At that point I decided that it would be best not to overdo things, so I installed the figures and called it done.



Ken's Armor Files

Building Anneliese, Part 1

 By Ken Piniak

I inherited a bunch of old Bandai 1⁄48-scale German armor kits from my dad, including this King Tiger. It was started by my dad, who built the interior and suspension, along with some other bits. I decided to make this a collaboration between myself and my dad. I would keep the interior and suspension pretty much as he built them, and I would build the exterior. I did end up making a couple of additions to the interior, mostly to the engine compartment. But I did not “undo” anything he did, not even the mistakes.

The Bandai engine was really nice, but the rest of the compartment was empty. I painted the compartment red primer and added some cooling fan/radiator units that I found on Shapeways. The Bandai interior is not very accurate, especially in the turret; but you can’t see very much of it, so it is not a big deal. I left most of the interior as it was. I did add another set of ammo racks to the hull; the shells were painted by my dad. The ball machine gun is from Verlinden and I added some periscopes to the cupola, again from Shapeways. With the interior done, I started on the exterior, which would be all mine.

I had some very specific plans for how I wanted to build this. I knew that there were only about fifty tanks with the Porsche turret built. They all had factory zimmerit; and they were all used on the Western Front, mostly at Normandy and the Ardennes. I wanted to do something different. With a little research I found that exactly two Porsche turret tanks were used on the Eastern Front: Turret number 314 and 323, belonging to 3 Kompanie, 503 Schwere Panzer Abteilung (503rd Heavy Tank Battalion), which saw action in and around Budapest during the winter 1944/45. Number 314, named Anneliese, is fairly well known and documented; in that there are three photographs of it taken during the winter. So, Anneliese it is. The photos of the tank show it undergoing maintenance/repair. I decided to portray the tank after the work was completed and the tank returned to combat.

The tank Anneliese had some unique aspects to it. It was an early model Porsche turret with the one-piece gun barrel. It had a good coating of zimmerit, and a winter camouflage paint job, both of which appear to be well maintained in photos. It had spare track blocks mounted on the turret (unusual for a Porsche turret) and more mounted on the back, between the exhaust stacks. Also, the jack block was removed from the back, and a five-gallon (twenty-liter) jerrican with a custom bracket was in its place.

King Tigers often have fenders and side skirts missing, so I decided to remove some. They were all molded to the upper hull, so it took a bit of surgery. Then I was able to glue the hull and turret parts together. Once the hull and turret were together, I started on the zimmerit, from Monroe Purdue. This is a laser etched paper material that works very well. The set for the King Tiger (Porsche turret) is designed for the Tamiya kit, getting it to work on the Bandai kit was tricky and took a lot of trimming and modifying. Fortunately, it does come with some extra bits, just in case. A couple of spots had to be done by hand, using Milliput. Using a knife, I added some damage to the zimmerit, concentrating on edges and wear points. I kept it fairly light, as photos show the zimmerit was well maintained (probably touched up at some point).


The kit gun was the later, two-piece affair, so I replaced it with a brass and aluminum part from RB. I wanted to have gun movable, but the metal barrel was just too heavy. I ended up gluing it. For the most part, the tools and stowage items are well done, separate pieces, except for the jack block, which is molded to the rear plate. I had to cut it off. The tow cables were badly molded, so I replaced them with some very nice metal and resin ones from Eureka. The axe is from another Bandai kit, while the shovel and track changing cable are Tamiya. The spare track blocks on the turret are also Tamiya. The headlight mount, jack mounts, engine deck lifting hooks, and a couple other bits are from a detail set by Artworx Models.

The kit tracks are pure garbage. The 1970s vinyl was thick, stiff, had no detail on the inside, and not much on the outside. I replaced them with a set of metal tracks by Friulmodel. These are really nice, required very little cleanup, and went together quickly. I dipped them in some Blacken It, then added some Humbrol Track Colour, and some rust. In the end, none of this will be seen, but I felt it was important to lay down a solid base for the weathering. It was time to start painting.

To begin, I laid down a base coat of Model Master Acryl Panzer Dunkergelb, followed by stripes of Tamiya XF-64 Red Brown and XF-26 Deep Green. There is nothing special about these colors, they are just what I had on hand. All the painting done up to this point was just to serve as a background for the weathering to follow; and would be almost completely covered up. The whitewash was heavily thinned Tamiya XF-2 Flat White, applied over hairspray. I built the color up slowly, allowing some of the background camo to show through. Then using water, several different brushes, and a toothpick, I "chipped" off some of the whitewash, concentrating on the horizontal surfaces and fenders; photos show the white on the sides of the tank was mostly undamaged.

Before I could install the tracks, I needed to muddy them up a bit, along with the suspension and underside of the tank. It would be impossible to reach these areas once the tracks were in place. The base for the mud was some old Pactra XF-52 Flat Earth. I added some other brownish paints to provide some color variation; and thickened it up with some ground-up pastels. The kit and the tracks were not designed for each other, so installing them was difficult. Just to make things even more fun, several road wheels and one idler broke off in the process, requiring repair. Once I finally got the tracks on, I could add more mud. I filled in some of the treads on the tracks, added mud to the road wheels, and around the lower portions of the vehicle and fenders. I left the left rear fender off, so I threw lots of mud up on the left rear of the tank. It is supposed to be Winter, and I figured that the tank would be operating on good hard surface roads or frozen roads, so I tried to keep the mud to a minimum.

One of the photos shows the tank with the engine bay opened up; with the cooling fans, radiators, and other pieces from the engine bay stacked up on the rear deck and on top of the turret. These items would leak and drip oil, grease, anti-freeze, dirt, and other gunk, so I added heavy staining to the deck and turret top. The photos show bright brush marks in places, indicating that the whitewash had been touched up. I replicated these using a brush and more Tamiya White. The jerrican on the back is from Bronco. I stole the tow hooks from a Tamiya Panther and used them to mount the tow cables.

(End of part 1)


ASM at the 2021 IPMS/USA Nationals

By Ken Liotta

Here is a list of those ASM members that were fortunate enough to place, their categories, and models:

 122. Aircraft; Small Jet; 1⁄72, Out-of-the-Box

            2nd -  AV-8B Harrier II.......................................................................................... Frank Randall

200A. Armor; 1⁄35 Closed-top AFVs; through Korea Axis Light and Medium

            3rd - 15 cm SIG ................................................................................................... David Miller

200C. Armor; 1⁄35 Closed-top AFVs; through Korea Allied

            2nd - Matilda......................................................................................................... Ken Liotta

206A. Armor; 1⁄35 Open-top AFVs or AFVs with Interiors Axis

            3rd - Renault FT-17............................................................................................. Patrick Dick

210B. Armor; 1⁄35 Vehicles Armored Halftracks

            1st -  SDKFZ 250 NEU MIT 5 cm....................................................................... David Miller

290C. Armor; Out-of-the-Box; 1/35 Closed-top AFVs Other

            2nd - M-1132 Stryker w/mine plow................................................................... Victor Maestas

325. Figures; Fantasy and Science Fiction; 121mm and larger

            3rd - Alien Mother................................................................................................ Victor Maestas

412. Ships; Submarines; 1/700

            2nd - Akula Class Submarine........................................................................... Ken Liotta

423. Ships; Conversions and Scratch-built

            1st - USS Currituck WWII Seaplane Tender................................................... David Straub

591. Auto; Out-of-the-Box; Hot Rods, Street Rods, Street Machines, and Customs

            3rd - Bimota Tesi 1D............................................................................................ Ken Liotta

860A. Miscellaneous; Miscellaneous Military

            2nd - Browning Caliber .50 M2 Machine Gun............................................... David Miller

891. Miscellaneous; Out-of-the-Box; Triathlon

            2nd - F4U-5/Ger 37mm Flak 37/NYFD............................................................ Ken Liotta


            USS Currituck...................................................................................................... David Straub




Chuck Yeager

American Ace and Test Pilot

  By Mike Blohm


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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



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

P-51 Mustang Aces by William Hess

Various Wikipedia articles. 



The Vice President Speaks - Airfix Kit Builds

By David Epstein

My fellow ASMers - First and foremost, I hope and pray that this finds you and your families safe and well during this “Pandemic,” and frankly hope this all comes to an end soon. I have been on a roller coaster of emotion with the virus, my health, constant pain, the state of the union, and on and on. I had my Pfizer vaccine injections and that makes me feel a bit better.

Down to business. I have been meaning to do an article about my newfound excitement regarding the newer release Airfix kits I have delved into. It started with the 1⁄48 Boulton Paul Defiant (to replace my Classic Airframes build of a few years ago, what a horrible kit!).  From the start of the Airfix kit, I marveled at the crispness of the new tooling, and as the build progressed found myself very impressed with the overall engineering, planning, and fit of the parts from big to small--down to where to place the ejector pins, how to arrange the sprues, and where to place the runners for each part, especially the clear parts. There are, of course, very fine mold lines to address, and sometimes the instructions were a bit vague, which necessitated careful test fitting in some of the more complicated assembly steps. The Defiant now awaits paint.

I have also completed their Bf109E4 (in the markings of “Pipps Priller” during the Battle of Britain)

P-40B (my first with a shark mouth decal which I have had poor luck with in past endeavors)

My first successful NMF P-51D

I also have a Spitfire Mk.IA, Korean conflict F-51D, and a Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF in the bullpen that I am looking forward to building.

If any of you have been pensive about trying a new Airfix kit, I highly recommend trying one out for size; I’m sure you will find them pleasantly enjoyable and affordable. Just be sure it is a new mold kit because they have reboxed some older kits in the new box style.

Oh, yes, and the instrument panel. This really stood out for me. The kits provide very nicely detailed instrument panels that you can paint if desired. Or, use the decals provided that are very precise and printed on a clear backing film, allowing the instrument panel to be the interior color while the instruments are black with white pointers and color highlights where applicable, giving a much more realistic  look, as opposed to the black background and black instruments we have seen for years. Proper alignment and some patient applications of your preferred decal softener will result in a very accurate instrument panel. This is the Defiant instrument panel (yeah, I bunged up the side panel decal and this photo does not do it justice...).


I have been building mostly for fun and not for contests since the pandemic began, and have been hampered by my disabilities, but I hope more of you build and enter the “Virtual contests” we have been having as your time permits you. It has been fun judging the entries of those who have been. Please consult the club website for details on these contests their ROE (rules of engagement) and their entry deadlines.

Or, just build them and enjoy it, and try out a newer Airfix kit if you haven’t already. I’m sure their other newer releases in other scales are just as well engineered.

Looking forward to our next meeting so we can all catch up! Stay well.




Field Trip - Kennedy Space Center

 By Mike Blohm


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

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



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


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

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


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




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




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

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

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


 Jack Morris - In Memorium

  By John Tate


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

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

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

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

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

1     2     3     4     5     6

 7     8     9     10     11


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

1. Picture of young Jack used in his Obituary

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

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

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

5 - 8. Jack at the February 2017 ASM Meeting

9 - 10. Jack at the July 2019 ASM Meeting

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

Jack will be missed!



 Colonel Fisher and his Skyraider

 By John Tate

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


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

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

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

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

* Added a scratchbuilt windshield wiper.

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


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

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

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



Kit Review - Bandai 1/12 Star Wars Stormtrooper

 By John Tate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






North Korean Prop Fighters in the Korean War

By Mike Blohm

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

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

Aircraft Histories

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

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

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

Operational History During the Korean War

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yak-9D Build

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