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Next Club Contest     Clinics Schedule Next Sponsored Contest
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Next Club Contest

2021 Virtual Contest # 1 is :

Moe Blater's
"Sci-Fi, Real Space, Science & Fantasy"

With entries due on January 9th


ROE for "Sci-Fi, Real Space, Science & Fantasy"


1. The contest subject is "Sci-Fi/Real Space/Fantasy/Science."  This is a virtual Special Contest and not a points contest.


2. Entries can be any scale, subject, or era as long as it still fits within the theme.


3. There is a max of 1 entry per member.


4. Entries should be new builds.


5. Entries need to be submitted by Jan 9 at midnight.


6. Please include kit manufacturer and scale when you submit your entry, along with your division level (Basic, Intermediate, etc.), and any additional info that you would like the judges to be aware of, (e.g. conversions, scratch-built parts, special techniques used etc.)


7. Please submit a maximum of 4 pictures of your entry to and please try to limit the size so that they are 2 or 3 Mb each at most, if possible. As a suggestion, you could take a front view, rear view, left or right view and a plan view from above, but we'll leave the final decision to you.


8. The Contest Director will lead the judging with an appointed team to judge the entries.


 Upcoming ASM Contests Info

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

January 9th (pics due date)  -  2021 Virtual Contest #1 "Sci-Fi, Real Space, Science & Fantasy"


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

ASM Contest Schedule section of the websiteContest Schedule


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

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

Test Page

Next Sponsored Contest

TBD for 2021


Upcoming Sponsored Contests:

TBD for 2021


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

Sponsored Contest ROE

Upcoming Events Calendar

  2020 Schedule
January 17-19, 2020 Albuquerque Comic Con, Albuquerque Convention Center, Albuquerque NM.  See ASM Trip Report from the 2011 event.  See ASM Trip Report for the 2012 Event.
January 24-26 Model Car Contest, sponsored by the Albuquerque Model Car Club, at Expo New Mexico, in conjunction with the 29th Annual Super Nationals Custom Auto Show.  Contest is on Jan 25th. 
February 15 Model Fiesta 39.  San Antonio Event Center, San Antonio Texas.  IPMS Region 6.
March 28
Postponed to Aug 15
CoMMiESFest 2020 - Tentatively rescheduled for August 15. "20/20 - Sweating the Small Stuff"  Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Golden, Colorado, 9AM-5PM. IPMS CoMMiES, Region 10.
April 3
Meeting cancelled
"USS Iowa" Presentation by Kathy Meyer at April 3rd ASM Meeting
April 4
Trinity Site Open to the Public.  The April 4th event has been canceled.  8:00 AM to 3:30 PM at White Sands Missile Range.
April 16
Postponed to Aug 22
Route 66 Model Expo 2020, Rescheduled for August 22.  Bixby Community Center. Tulsa Modelers Forum, IPMS Region 6.
April 25
Postponed to Sep 5
Best of the West 2020 Show and Contest.  Rescheduled for September 5.  East Side Cannery Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada.  IPMS Region 8.
April 25
Postponed to Sep 27
Modelmania 2020.  Rescheduled for Septmeber 27.  "Call of the Wild"  Stafford Center, Stafford Texas.  IPMS Houston, IPMS Region 6.
May 1-3
Postponed -
Now canceled
StarFest 2020.   Science Fiction Convention, Was Postponed - Now canceled for 2020. Marriott and Hilton DTC Convention Hotels, Denver Colorado.  ModelFest & model contest at StarFest, hosted by IPMS CoMMiES.
May 7-9
to Sep 24-26.
Now canceled.
AMPS 2020 International Convention.  "Last Battles" Radisson Hotel Harrisburg, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.  Was May 7-9 - Rescheduled for September 24-26 in Danbury, Connecticutt
June 5
Meeting Canceled
"USAF Air Superiority in the Korean War" presentation by Douglas Dildy at June 5 ASM Meeting
--- Squadron Eaglequest 29 - normally in June -  has been cancelled
July 29 - August 1
Event Canceled
IPMS/USA National Convention Embassy Suites and San Marcos Convention Center, San Marcos, Texas.  Canceled due to Corona Virus situation.  Will be rescheduled in 2023.
August 5-9
Rescheduled to
Dec 9-13.
Now canceled
Star Trek Convention - Las Vegas 2020, Rio Suites Hotel, Las Vegas NV.  See Star Trek Trip Report from the 2011 event. Star Trek Trip Reports for 2013 and 2014
Rescheduled to Dec 9-13 at Caesars Forum Conference Center. Finally canceled on 13 Oct 20.
2021 convention is scheduled for Aug 11-15, 2021 at Rio Suites Hotel.
August TBD
State Fair
Model Entries
- Fair has been
New Mexico State Fair  ASM-Sponsored Model Contest; Model registration dates are still TBD at this time.  Will be two days from 9 AM to 5 PM each day. Judging probably on Wed or Thur the week following.  ASM Display-Only Theme: "The Korean War (1950-1953)"  The state fair runs Sep 10-20.  Model pick-up is on Mon, Sep 21 from 9 AM to 5 PM.
August 15
Tentative New Date
- Now Canceled
CoMMiESFest 2020 - Was March 28.  Tentatively rescheduled for August 15. "20/20 - Sweating the Small Stuff"  Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Golden, Colorado, 9AM-5PM. IPMS CoMMiES, Region 10.
August 22
Rescheduled Date
Route 66 Model Expo 2020, Was April 16 - Rescheduled for August 22.  Bixby Community Center. Tulsa Modelers Forum, IPMS Region 6.
August 28-30
Event Canceled
Bubonicon 52 - 2020.  Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, Albuquerque Marriott Uptown, 2101 Louisiana Blvd NE (Louisiana & I-40), Albuquerque, NM
September 11
 - Display Canceled
ASM Model Display at the 2020 Folds of Honor Patriot Gala at the Isleta Resort and Casino in Albuquerque, NM 
September 18
(Date TBD)
- Event Canceled
ASM Model Display at the 2020 Air Force Ball at Kirtland AFB
September 24-26
Rescheduled Date
- Now Canceled
AMPS 2020 International Convention.  Was May 7-9.  "Last Battles" Radisson Hotel Harrisburg, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.  Rescheduled for September 24-26 in Danbury, Connecticutt
September 25
Rescheduled Date
- Now Canceled
Best of the West 2020 Show and Contest.  Was April 25 - Rescheduled for September 5.  East Side Cannery Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada.  IPMS Region 8.
September 27
Rescheduled Date
Modelmania 2020.  Was April 25 - Rescheduled for Septmeber 27.  "Call of the Wild"  Stafford Center, Stafford Texas.  IPMS Houston, IPMS Region 6.
October 3 Trinity Site Open to the Public.  8:00 AM to 3:30 PM at White Sands Missile Range.
October 22
Salt Lake City XX.  Miller Campus Salt Lake Community College, Sandy, Utah.  9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  IPMS Salt Lake City Chapter, Region 10.  Canceled - hope to reschedule for 2022.
November 3
Postponed - TBD
ModelZona 2020  Red Mountain Community Church Gym Building, 6101 E. Virginia St, Mesa, AZ from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.   IPMS Craig Hewitt Chapter, Region 10.
December 9-13
Rescheduled Date
New Venue
Star Trek Convention - Las Vegas 2020,   Was Aug 5-9.  See Star Trek Trip Report from the 2011 event. Star Trek Trip Reports for 2013 and 2014
Rescheduled to Dec 9-13 at Caesars Forum Conference Center, Las Vegas NV.
  2021 Schedule
August 18-21 IPMS/USA 2021 National Convention.  Rio Hotel Resort and Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada.  

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

Notes and News Items

      ASM100.jpg (82854 bytes)

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

Click here for all 2020 Contending Models


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

and the 2019 Region 10 Website of the Year Award


ASM100.jpg (82854 bytes) IPMSUSA%20Logo%20LD.jpg (17589 bytes)

Region 10 Chapter of the Year Cup



** The 2020 New Mexico State Fair was canceled **

ASM-Sponsored Model Contest and Korean War Display canceled



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

President's Report - The Fez

By Tony Humphries, ASM President

October 2020 Article: 


The Autumnal Fez

So another month has come and gone and another article deadline appears. Tsk, tsk. What to write about....? It was suggested by our illustrious Webmaster that we all write about what would we have done at the Nats this year? Just for something different and that was indeed an interesting idea. But, this would be a short article if I just did that, as I wasn't going to attend, even before the Covid thing arrived. It's only one state over from here, but it's still an insane drive and I'm getting too old for that kind of thing. Phoenix was far enough for me, so the answer is "nothing" on that one. You have to remember that anyone such as myself who grew up in the UK is just not used to it. Even the distance from Albuquerque to Phoenix is pretty much the same as driving from the southwest tip of England to the northeast tip of Scotland. Even leaving aside risks like tidal waves of rain, low-flying cabers, and Haggis poisoning, the distance alone means that no one in their right mind would do it. So adapting to the vast distances between cities over here (and especially in the Southwest where we’'e so well spread-out) takes some doing.

Anyway, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Now, moving swiftly on and to news affecting the entire club, the current board had thought about at least a partial shutdown of the club services recently, while the Covid-restrictions remain in place, particularly given the low turnout for the recent virtual contests.

We will, I think, continue the monthly newsletter for now even when there isn't a lot in it. We had considered making that quarterly since we have had little to publish lately (hint, hint) but we'll keep it going monthly for the moment and see how it goes. Remember though, if you want this to carry on--contribute!

Contests are another matter, however, and these are going to be scaled back. The next one starting at the beginning of October--probably the 6th but I expect Ken will confirm that to everyone--is going to be an Open Contest, obviously incorporating the Battle of Britain theme that we had originally intended. So hopefully we'll get some more entries this time around, as the response to recent contests has been disappointing to say the least. This one will also be the last contest for 2020, unless Scott's rotary wing special contest comes to pass. And it may. Rules and submission instructions are on the website by the way, if you are unsure of what to do, but to cut a long story short, all you really have to do is build something new, take three or four pictures of it with your cell phone and email it to us. It would definitely help if you tell us who you are, what it is, what kit you used and whether you did anything in particular to make it look the way it does. Otherwise we're going to have to do some heavy-duty crystal ball work, here. But that's all it needs. It's very simple. Definitely not rocket science. Just point, click and try to keep your thumb out of the way.

One other change to tell you about, is that we were due to have elections next month (November) for the new E-Board, to take us through 2021. We think that there are going to be too many practical issues in doing that virtually, so the current board is going to continue in an acting capacity until we can meet again in person--at which point, the first order of business will be to elect a new board. As I have often said before, please consider standing when the opportunity arises to do so. We can't keep having the same old people doing the same stuff or the club will go as stale as an Albertson's donut. And surely you don't want that? 


From the Judges Chambers

By Ken Liotta, ASM Contest Director

October 2020 Article: 

Hello my fellow plastic model building enthusiasts. It has been waaayyyyy too long since we have all been able to visit with each other to share in our mutual love of the hobby, thanks in no small part to the health crisis that has plagued the world, our country, our state, and our community. Undoubtedly you have all been affected by the COVID virus in one way or another.  I am certain that I speak for the entire ASM E-Board when we send all of our best wishes for safety and good health to each and every one of you, your families, and your friends.

As you also may have noticed, our little escape from the real world (ASM club meetings) has also been impacted. Back in March/April, we had originally hoped that our meeting times and place would only be slightly altered (for a month or two), and that we might have been able to meet again, as a club, by now. Unfortunately, this rat-bastard of a virus has not only prevented that from happening, but we learned last month that UNM had to take the precautionary high road of safety to maintain the Continuing Education Center closed through the end of this year (not to mention the still-current gubernatorial mandate, restricting large group gatherings). And there still remains the possibility that the UNM-CEC will remain closed a few months (or more???) into 2021!

Looking back to April this year, when it was becoming more likely that we would not be able to meet as a club any time soon, the E-Board developed the (first ever, in ASM history)  “Virtual Model Contest,” to be tested out in May. That May VMC had some promise with 10 total entries and the staff figuring out how to make them fun, enjoyable, and fair. As our (E-Board’s) concerns grew, when the chances of us meeting as a club any time soon were diminishing, we modified our club’s schedule to include several VMCs through to the end of the year.

In July, VMC #2 had 7 total entries. Then this September’s VMC #3 received 5 total entries. For the last 2 VMCs, in an effort to inspire the membership to build, finish, and participate in them, the E-Board staff made up about 40% of the entries. (Please, be assured that ASM’s President Tony Humphries, and I as your Contest Director, have followed an airtight method in which all entries have remained anonymous throughout the entire judging process where I and two other judges have looked closely at the digital images that were submitted for each entry). Once the three judges arrived at the results, the anonymity was maintained until publishing on the club website and in the club newsletter.

So… where am I going with this? 10, 7, and 5… do you see a trend there? (Perhaps 10, 4, and 3 is more accurate, if you only look at the membership participation part of it). Our concern is that you (the membership) are losing interest. Or are you busy with… life? Or are you all still building, (when you can) but you don’t know how to take the pics and forward them to the club’s dedicated email address where Tony is constantly monitoring incoming receipts? Or do you all miss the in-person “show-and-tell” aspect? Or is the “Virtual Model Contest” a lame idea? Because of this uncertainty, and after significant email discussions, we have chosen to cancel the October VMC, but have left the November “OPEN” VMC on the schedule. To provide a little extra “cushion” (for those who wish to finish up their little masterpieces on Saturday), a midnight Saturday, Nov 7, image entry cutoff date was assigned. I wish to stress the theme of “OPEN,” because this will still include any “Battle of Britain” entries that would have been entered in the October VMC. The “open” part also leaves the subject matter choice, wiiidddeee open. Your collective participation could have an impact on how we as members and as the E-Board move forward with how we participate in 2021. So I am asking all of you, if you are on the fence whether to participate in this part of the ASM adventure, please give some serious thought to doing so. While all of us on the Board truly miss sharing all of your in-person participation in club activities, we hope that as many of you as possible can remain active and stay in touch with the group through this little adventure.

I wish to express our gratitude to the membership for your participation so far, in the VMC trials. In closing, the results for VMC #3 are being posted on the website as I write this, so I am anxiously anticipating the results. And lastly, best of wishes to all of you for safety, good health, and prosperity for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021. Model on, Brothers of the Sprue.


President's Report - The Fez

By Tony Humphries, ASM President

September 2020 Article: 

Aces Fezzes High

So here we are, days after the 75th anniversary of VJ day and a few days before the 80th Battle of Britain day (Sept. 15 for those who weren’t aware--if I remember correctly, anyway) and it's a sad reflection of the times we find ourselves (or even our sleeves) in, that what would normally be solemn, well-observed and significant events have just disappeared into the shirt-storm (cough) that 2020 has become. Presumably, autocorrect has stepped in already to make sure that I don't offend anyone there. It usually does, and frequently changes the meaning of whatever I'm trying to type. Annoyingly. I mean, how many times do you think I say "duck" in a normal day? Those who know me personally will know that the answer to that, is very, very few indeed. The word that it rhymes with, on the other hand...

Anyway, getting back to matters at hand, I'm sure we are all looking forward to the end of this pandemic. Unfortunately with winter on the way (yes I know it's still 100 degrees out there today but it'll be here before you know it) and the inevitable flu season around the corner too, I don't see us meeting up in person or even getting back to any vestige of normality here for some time. I've heard some people talking about a two year time frame for this thing. Let's hope not, but at this stage it wouldn't surprise me. To put things into some sort of perspective, I have family who were planning to come and visit from the UK again this fall. They've been told that they won't be allowed to travel to the US (unless they sell a kidney to buy incredibly expensive insurance) until April 21 next year, at the earliest. So if you're one of those 1914-style optimists who thinks it'll all be over by Christmas, well I hope you're right, but I think you might be disappointed.

Hopefully most of you out there are still gainfully employed for the most part and able to work from home in many cases. How many of you have a kit on the home office table next to your laptop and are sneaking in a bit of sanding and assembly during those interminable Zoom meetings, I wonder? Don't worry, your boss isn't reading this (well probably not, anyway) so you can be honest. Just remember to check that your camera is off and don't spill Solvaset on your keyboard and you should be fine. You know it makes sense.

Well, I don't know about you, but it seems to be getting pretty hard to come up with anything new to write about these days. You've probably already noticed, in fact... Because nothing much is happening I suppose. At least not to many of us personally. Those of us who are working from home, stay in our cozy little bubble and watch the same old stuff on the news. The same stupid celebrities doing the same stupid stuff. Only with masks on (usually) these days. Such is modern life though, I suppose.

It's amazing isn't it?  We have a world of information at our fingertips, levels of knowledge and a speed of communication that our ancestors couldn't even have dreamt of and what do we do with it? Send each other cat memes and political ads. Bring back the 14th Century, I say. They really knew how to have a pandemic back then. The Black Death killed about half the population of Europe, I believe. A real "go big or go home" event. Plus, you could wave a sword at as many Frenchmen as you liked without getting into any trouble. In fact, it was encouraged. And they could do the same to you, of course. Happy Days indeed.

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

By Mike Blohm, ASM Webmaster

Spider_web.jpg (89398 bytes)

The ASM Website pages are updated through the June 2020 meeting at this time.  Note: there were no meetings in April, through November, so the model pictures and meeting pictures have a placeholder but perhaps no pictures.  Pictures from the new Virtual Contests will be posted as they occur.  Model pictures from May's "The Desert"  Virtual Contest #1, June - July's "Korean War" Virtual Contest #2, and August - September "Two or Three" Virtual Contest #3 are posted on that webpage and the Contest Results webpage. 

The website's changeover to 2020 webpages was completed in January.  All of the "yearly" web pages (model pics, meeting pics, modeler of the year, and model of the year) have been created and populated with the pictures and information for 2020. The 2020 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 2020 pages will take you to other 2020 web pages.  If you are on previous year's pages (for example 2018 Model Pics) selecting a "year" web page will take you to that same year's pages.  Note that selecting the Home Page will always get you back to the Home Page.  

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

Some reminders about the ASM website:

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

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

There is also a "NM State Fair Model Contests" page listed in the "Index" at the top of the Articles Page.  It also has a link on the Home Page. This page includes links to separate  NM State Fair contest resuls pages from 2005 to 2019.  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 2020.  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 get posted in two locations, so they should be available after they get removed from the Articles webpage.  For example, trip reports get posted on both the Articles webpage and the Field Trips webpage.  Review articles get posted to the ASM Reviews webpage and the Articles webpage. 

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

Website of the Year!

by Joe Walters, ASM Newsletter Editor

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations, Mike! Best. Website. Ever.


ASM Member Articles



New Angles to Old Battles

By John Tate


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

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

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

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

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

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


ASM Member David Paul Passes Away

By Mike Blohm

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

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

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

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

Descriptions for pictures below:

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

1     2     3     4     5

6     7     8     9



ASM Website Changes

By Mike Blohm

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

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

1 2 3

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

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

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



Wingnut To Mengnut

By John Tate

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

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

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


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



Webmaster's Update:  With the cancelation of the 2020 New Mexico State Fair, this display is no longer going to take place.  However, USAF models might still be a player for the 2020 Air Force Ball in September.  We have not heard yet whether that event will be canceled.


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

 by Mike Blohm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Jackie Cochran's Seversky Racer

 By Mark Vaughn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Ken's Armor Files


By Ken Piniak


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


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


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


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


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


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



Sabre Aces of the Korean War

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


 by Mike Blohm

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

1     2     3     4

5     6     7

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

 Joseph C. McConnell, Junior


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

8     9     10     11     12     13

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

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

14     15     16     17     18     19

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

James J. Jabara 

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

 20     21     22     23     24     25

20-21. Jabara standing in the cockpit and near the tail section of an F-86
22. Jabara deplanning after a mission. Not the cigar - he was also known as "The Ceegar Kid."
23. Jabara being carried by squadron members after his 5th and 6th victories.
24. Jabara pre-flighting F-86A FU-257 on his first tour.
25. Jabara deplanning from an F-86F on his second tour.

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

 26     27     28     29     30     31

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


Manuel J. Fernandez, Junior


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

32     33     34     35     36     37

32-33. Fernandez in front of and in cockpitt of an F-86. Note colors of his flight gear.
34. Fernandez boarding his F-86F, likely FU-857. Note 334 FIS patch.
35. Fernandez being congratulted by Jabara after Fernandez's 5th and 6th victories on
Feb 18, 1953. Note exposure "poopy" suit worn by Fernandez.
36. Fernandez deplaning from a mission.  Note back-pack parachute.
37. McConnell and Fernandez meet President Eisenhower in May 1953 after returning to U.S.

Fernandez's F-86E-10 model coded FU-830 was his first aircraft and depicts his scheme in March 1953. This jet was wrecked while Fernandez was on R&R in Japan. This model was built in 1975 at the same time as McConnell's using the early Hasegawa F-86F-40 kit. The same surgery was performed on the wings and external tanks, depicting an E model with the leading edge slats. The model was painted overall natural metal (silver) with a light gray interior and wheel wells and black instrument panel and ejection seat. The decals were from Microscale decal sheet 72-100 F-86 Sabres, Korean War. I believe the Korean Theater yellow ID stripes were also hand-painted on this model. Some sources showed the background color of the 334th FIS patch as gold instead of yellow--as the decal came--so I painted that gold. Note that the 4th FIW's Sabres had their squadron patches painted on the fuselage sides below the cockpit. The 51 FIW's Sabres had a different colored rudder stripe for each squadron, and not squadron patches. Fernandez also scored 6.5 victories flying an F-86F-1 that was coded FU-857. 

38     39     40     41     42     43

38-41. Model of Fernandez's F-86E-10 Sabre using the Hasegawa kit.
42. Fernandez's F-86E FU-830 taxis out for mission at Kimpo Air Base.
43. Fernandez with Bendix Trophy that he won on Aug 31, 1956 flying an F-100.


George A. Davis, Junior


Lieutenant Colonel George A. "Curly" Davis, Jr. was the 4th ranking U.S. ace of the Korean War with 14 victories - 11 over the MiG-15 and 3 over Tu-2 bombers. Davis was also an ace in World War II with 7 victories, flying with the 342nd FS, 348th FG "Kearby's Thunderbolts" in the Southwest Pacific Theater. His total score of 21 victories make Davis the 17th ranking American ace (tie) and 13th ranking USAF ace (tie). Davis is a member of the "Inner Seven" made up of pilots who were aces in both WW II and Korea. Major Davis served with the 4th FIW and became the 334th FIS squadron commander in Oct 1951. His 14 victories were scored in a 4 month period from Nov 1951 to Feb 1952. Davis scored his kills in groups, with a "quadruple" on 30 Nov 30, 1951 when he downed three TU-2 twin propeller-engined bombers and one MiG-15 making him the 5th U.S. jet ace of the war. His age at that time was 31. He also scored 5 "doubles" that included 4 kills in 2 back-to-back sorties on Dec 13, 1951. Davis was killed in action during aerial combat on Feb 10, 1952 when he was outnumbered 6-to-1 but still engaged the MiGs in order to protect a B-29 formation. He downed 2 MiG-15s but was himself shot down. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for this action, the only Sabre pilot so honored in the Korean War. Davis was the leading USAF scorer at the time of his death. He was posthumously promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. More details on Davis, his WW II history, and his model build are available in an article that was previously published in the August 2019 ASM Newsletter and is posted on the ASM Website on the ASM Kit Reviews webpage. 

 44     45     46     47     48     49

44. Major Davis next to F-86. Note 334 FIS patch on his helmet.
45. Davis in front of F-86A after his 4 victory mission where he became the 5th U.S. "jet ace" on
Nov 30, 1951. The F-86's four victory markings were scored by Maj Richard Creighton.

46. Davis standing in F-86 cockpit indicating a two-vicory mission.
47. Gun camera footage for one of Davis's MiG-15 victories.

48. 1st Lieutenant Davis in his P-47D Thunderbolt in late 1944.
49. Captain Davis in his P-51K Mustang in early 1945 in the Phillippines.

Davis's F-86A-5 model coded FU-225 is the Matchbox F-86 kit and depicts the aircraft he was photographed with after his 4 victory mission on Nov 30, 1951. This aircraft was actually the usual jet of Major Richard Creighton, who made ace on Nov 27, 1951. This build occurred in 2001 and is the same kit as described in the Jabara build above. The model was painted overall with Model Master Aluminum Plate (Buffing) paint with a light gray interior and wheel wells. The light gray nose cone is the actual color of those parts without paint. Davis's early 4 FIW scheme with the black and white ID stripes could almost be completed using just the kit decals, needing only a small change to the code letters and serial. An Aeromaster letters and numbers decal sheet was used for the correct numbers. Some pictures of FU-225 show red star kill markings, which were Creighton's victories.

50.     51     52     53     54     55

50-53. Model of Davis's F-86A-5 Sabre using the Matchbox kit.
54-55. F-86A FU-225 on the flight line at Kimpo Air Base and taking
off on a mission to MiG Alley.


Royal N. Baker


Colonel Royal N. "The King" Baker was the 5th ranking U.S. ace in Korea with 13 victories including 12 MiG-15s and 1 La-9. Baker also scored 3.5 victories in WW II. His total of 16.5 victories make him the 29th ranking American ace (tie), and 24th ranking ace in the USAF (tie). Baker was the 21st jet ace with his 5th kill on Nov 17, 1952. His age at that time was 34. Baker commanded the 4th FIG from Jun 1952 to Mar 1953, flying 127 combat missions. He was the leading Korean War scorer for much of his tour. His biggest day was Dec 7, 1952 where he scored 1.5 victories. During WW II he flew Spitfires with the 308th FS, 31st FG in the Mediterranean scoring 2 Fw 190 and 1 Bf 109 kills. He later flew P-47 Thunderbolts with the 493rd FS, 48th FG in the ETO scoring 0.5 Bf 109 kills. Amongst his assignments after Korea was director of testing for the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB in 1957. Baker was later the 7th AF Vice Commander in Vietnam in 1968 and he flew 140 combat sorties, piloting every kind of USAF combat aircraft based in Vietnam. He was 17th AF Commander in Germany from Jul 1969 - Feb 1971, and retired as a Lt General in Aug 1975. Baker died in Apr 1976.

56     57     58     59     60     61

56. Colonel Baker in the cockpit of his F-86. Note the "Crown" painted on his helmet.
57-58. Official photos of Baker as a Colonel and as a Major General.
59-60. Baker's F-86E "Angel Face & the Babes / The King" on the ramp at Kimpo Air Base.
Baker downed several MiGs flying this Sabre.
61. Baker with his crew chief A2C Holland and his F-86E the afternoon of his 13th victory.


Baker's F-86E-10 model is the Heller F-86F kit and depicts his jet in Feb 1953 when he had scored 10 victories. This is a pretty good kit with decent detail without the wing fences and has two types of tanks, nice wheel wells, and open speed brakes. There is a Luftwaffe box top kit and a USAF "MiG Mad Marine" box top kit. The decals for John Glenn's scheme is in both, but the Luftwaffe kit does not have the yellow ID stripe decals. The USAF kit does, but unfortunately they have the incorrect shade of yellow (too orange) and those will need to be sourced elsewhere. This kit was built in 1997 in Baker's F-86E scheme. Like the other builds, the model was painted overall with Model Master Aluminum Plate (Buffing) paint with a light gray interior and wheel wells and black instrument panels and ejection seat with seat belt decals. Decals for his scheme came from Microscale 72-244 Korean War Aces #2. These have been included in both the later Eagle Strike Productions 72-059 Wings Over Korea sheet and the Print Scale 72-079 American F-86 Sabre sheet. The name on his jet is "Angel Face & the Babes" after his wife and children and is located below the gun troughs (ports). His aircraft has the patch of the 336th FIS "Rocketeers." Baker also had a large crown surrounded by a blue ribbon with "The King" (his nickname based upon his first name "Royal") located on the side of his jet behind the canopy. Microscale 72-244 shows this crown on both sides of the jet and that is how I built it. However, the recent Eagle Strike Productions 72-059 and Print Scale 72-079 sheets both show the crown on only the left side. I have seen lots of pictures of the left side of his jet, but none of the right side to confirm this. This F-86E model was also used in ASM's "50th Anniversary of the USAF" display in 1997 before it went on display at the USAF Academy

 62     63     64     65     66      67

62-. . Model of Baker's F-86E-10 Sabre using the Heller kit.
66. F-86 flight from the 336 FIS "Rocketeers," third-ranking squadron with 116.5 victories.
335 Fighter Interceptor Squadron "Rocketeers" patch.

I hope this article has spurred you on in your Korean War builds, as well as providing some historical background on the men and aircraft that fought in that conflict. The USAF Academy display currently has 13 Korean War aces in the collection with 12 Sabres and 1 Corsair night fighter. I am working on F-86 models flown by Lt Col George Ruddell (8 victories in "MiG Mad Mavis") and Major James Hagerstrom (8.5 victories in Korea in "MiG Poison" and 6 in WW II, another member of the Inner Seven). I hope to have those done for the June contest and the State Fair. There may be a follow-on article later this year that covers additional aces from the Korean War. I recommend the following sources that I used for further reading on the Korean air war. 


1. Stars & Bars - A Tribute to the American Fighter Ace 1920-1973 by Frank Olynyk, Grub Street, London, 1995.
MiG Alley - Air to Air Combat Over Korea by Larry Davis, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1978.
Korean War Aces by Robert F. Dorr, Jon Lake and Warren Thompson, Osprey Aircraft of the Aces #4, 1994.
F-86 Sabre Aces of the 51st Fighter Wing by Warren Thompson, Osprey Aircraft of the Aces #70, Osprey Publishing, 2006.
F-86 Sabre Aces of the 4th Fighter Wing by Warren Thompson, Osprey Aircraft of the Aces #72, Osprey Publishing, 2006.
F-86 Sabre in action by Larry Davis, Aircraft Number 33 / 126 (revised), Squadron/Signal Publications, 1978/1992.
7. Multiple Wikipedia articles on the Korean War aces in this article.



July 2020 Sponsored Contest


"Models That Support the Folds of Honor Display"

The subject for the sponsored contest hosted by Matt and Mike Blohm at the July 10 ASM meeting is "Models That Support the Folds of Honor Display." The idea is to increase the number of model subjects that the club has on hand for our Folds of Honor (FoH) display every year, as well as other displays that we conduct. Entries can be models of any genre (aircraft, armor, ships, figures, dioramas, etc.) and any scale that fits what was/is being used by the US military (any Service) from September 11, 2001, through the present (2020). Entries for this contest need to be new builds. We are hurting for armor and ship/submarine models for the FoH display. Note that modern USAF subjects (2001 – 2020) can also be used for our "Air Force Ball" display each year. Awards will be given in each division with potential splits (air, ground/sea, etc.) based upon the level of participation. If the July meeting is canceled, we will reschedule the sponsored contest later this year. We need the models completed for the two displays in September.  Click here to see articles on previous Folds of Honor displays:  2018    2017




Cobra Cage Match: Who Kits the Best P-39?

 by John Tate

There are three 1/48 model kits of the iconic WWII P-39 Airacobra fighter plane, from Monogram, Eduard, and Hasegawa. How do they stack up? Having built all three, here's what I found.

Monogram. Although forgotten today, this was the first 1/48 super-kit, an accurate replica with open panels and a detailed cockpit. Released back in 1967, it marked the transition in 1/48 scale from toys to detailed models. I remember as a kid building one of these kits in the late 1960s and it was impressive - a load of detail and options. Monogram re-released the kit several times, finally with a ProModeler update in the late 1990s, and its successor Revell did a final reissue in 2011, based on the ProModeler version. This is the reissue I'd recommend.

As a model it's easy to build and accurate, but with enough correctable issues to give you a chance to use your modeling skills. I upgraded my model to a Russian P-39N, using extra parts from the Hasegawa kit, but I'd recommend building the model the way it was intended, as a P-400 with open access panels -  follow this strategy and you'll get a nice replica with a minimum of trouble.

Eduard. This kit also made a splash when it was released in 2000, and I built "Air-a-Cutie" from it not long afterwards. The kit had extra parts allowing construction of any P-39, from a P-400 to a P-39Q. It was accurate and detailed and even came with a nifty nose weight. Decals were first-rate. However, it had some problems when constructed, notably the wing trailing edges being too thick. But with some work a nice replica could be obtained, and with Eduard re-releasing this kit many times over the past twenty years, it's easy to find and affordable.

Hasegawa. This kit was supposed to be the final word in Airacobras when it was released in 2006 and it was very nice in the box, with finely detailed parts and options in various releases to accurately build every P-39 version. Building it, though, uncovered the classic Hasegawa conundrum - the parts guy didn't talk with the fit guy, resulting in a troublesome build. If you stick with it you can get a nice replica but be prepared to come up with fixes to fun problems like the canopy being too skinny for the fuselage coaming. I made it work, though, and finished it as a red-nosed Russian P-39Q, using a Print-Scale decal sheet. Be forewarned: finding these Hasegawa P-39 kits is not easy and even second-hand they can be expensive.

So which kit comes out on top? I'd choose the Revell/Monogram kit for an early P-39, the Hasegawa kit for a late P-39 (Q or N), and the Eduard kit for the best overall value. Each of these kits is buildable and worth your time, so don't shy away from them if you have them in your model kit stash. With the aftermarket and decal options available now for 1/48 P-39s, you can't go wrong with any of them. With these kits, it's a lucky three-way tie with the modeler as the winner.



2020 Supernationals Model Car Contest

 by Chuck Herrmann

The biggest model car show in Albuquerque each year is held as part of the Albuquerque Supernationals custom car show. It is put together by our fellow local model club, the Albuquerque Model Car Club. This year the show was held January 24 - 26 at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds Expo New Mexico.  This year there were about 100 models entered in the contest as well as on display. There are multiple classes; winners are picked by club members. There are also some Best of Awards and the People's Choice. See photos and caption numbers below. 

1     2     3     4     5     6

1.  The Special Theme for the event was Bonneville Salt Flats or Land Speed Record cars. 

2. The winner of the Bonneville Theme was Dave Allin's Studebaker Avanti, a fully detailed replica of a real car.

3-4. Best in Show was Jason Schofield's 1953 Chevy Nomad. This is not a resin body but a kitbash using Vette and Nomad kits.

5. Best Detail Winner was Brad Smith's 1957 Chrysler.

6. And the Best Paint and People's Choice Trophies went to Mitch Hudgin's Cherry Bomb.

7-21. Here are a few more photos of contest entries.

7     8     9     10     12     13

14     15     16     17     18

19     20     21

This year the featured guest at the Supernationals was Chuck Miller, a designer and car builder. He built the original Red Baron (from Tom Daniels design) for Monogram, and recently built a second replica which was at the show. He also graciously signed many autographs, including on this contest entry of the Red Baron (pic 19). Also he signed several members' kits, which were put on display (pic 20).

Red Baron Trivia: Through 1973, the Monogram Red Baron had sold over three million kits! It has been reissued many times, including about seven years ago.  It is hard to believe nowadays, but back in the late '60s the plastic model industry was so big that model car companies and car show promoters commissioned builders like Miller to replicate the big selling models as real cars, which were used to promote sales of the plastic kits and attendance at car shows.

The Red Baron was also popularized in the Peanuts comic strips, and was a huge selling record, Snoopy and the Red Baron, The novelty hit song was recorded by The Royal Guardsmen in 1966, ultimately making it to #2 on the charts. The band recorded several other Red Baron and Snoopy themed records, including Snoopy Vs Osama in 2009!  Most recently, the original song is briefly featured towards the end of Quentin Tarantino's 2019 film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.   

ASM Pays Tribute to the Doolittle Raiders

on the 78th Anniversary of Their Historic Mission

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

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

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Click here for additional information on the Dolittle Raid



 Last of the Flying Tigers

 by Mike Blohm

Frank Losonsky, the last surviving member of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) "Flying Tigers," passed away on Feb 6, 2020, at the age of 99. He served as a crew chief maintaining the shark-mouthed Curtiss P-40B Tomahawks (actually Hawk 81-A2s) flown by the 3rd Pursuit Squadron "Hell's Angels" of the AVG. Losonsky had served in the US Army Air Corps for two years before signing up with the AVG in May 1941. The AVG initially consisted of 100 Aircraft and 311 members, and Losonsky was one of the youngest.  The 3rd Pursuit Squadron's aircraft had a red tail stripe and were numbered 67 through 99. The Flying Tigers were organized within the Chinese Air Force. The AVG began combat operations in December 1941 and had shot down 297 aircraft and produced 20 aces by the time they were disbanded on July 4, 1942.

Losonsky returned to the US when the AVG disbanded. He later returned to China as a mechanic with the China National Aviation Corporation, a quasi-civilian airline that took part in logistics operations flying supplies between India and China over the Himalayan Mountains ("the Hump") after the Japanese had cut the Burma Road. After the war Losonsky became a pilot with TranAsiatic Airlines in Burma. Losonsky and his son Terry wrote Flying Tiger - A Crew Chief's Story: The War Diary of an AVG Crew Chief in 2004.  Pictures below (see numbers and captions) show Losonsky with the AVG in China and in more recent days, incluing some pictures from when he flew in a P-40 at the 2016 Atlanta Warbird Weekend, when he was 96.


1     2     3     4     5     6

7     8     9     10     11     12

13     14     15     16

Picture at top of article - AVG patch
1. Formation of 3rd Pursuit Squadron P-40Bs (Hawk 81-A2).  Chuck Older in the lead in number 68. 
2-3.  Two variations of 3rd Pursuit Squadron "Hells Angels" patch.
4. 3rd PS ground personnel in front of P-40. Frank Losonsky is in front row, second from right.
5-7.  Pictures of Frank Losonsky in cockpit and on wing of AVG P-40.
8.  AVG crew chiefs working on a P-40 underneath camoflage nets.  3rd PS P-40s were number from 67 through 99.
9. Lonsonsky in front of hanger; may be while with the China National Aviation Corporation.
10. Losonsky shaking hands with USAF member during a visit to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Sep 2017.
11-14. Losonsky at the 2016 Atlanta Warbird Weekend, where he flew in a two seat P-40.
15. Color photo of 3rd Pursuit Squadron P-40Bs (Hawk 81-A2).  Chuck Older in the lead in number 68. 
16. Another version of the AVG patch as carried on the sides of their aircraft (without red circle). 

Further information on the AVG is available in an article on David "Tex" Hill and a model of his Hawk 81 posted in the Aircraft section of the ASM Review Articles webpage:




Kit Review

1/350 USS Indianapolis by Academy/MRC

 By Mark Vaughn


Before we lost Harry Davidson, I built a 1/350 USS Indianapolis to commemorate his cousin from Clovis who was lost when it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. There is a recent movie that covers that event. Harry wanted the model for display in Clovis, so this was built straight out of the box as a museum display piece.

While I was thinking more of an old Revell type kit, this one has about 500 parts, many smaller than a grain of rice! Of course, I got the photoetch railings too. At first, I did not believe the color scheme. She was fresh out of a refit, new paint, with dark blue decks and a dark blue lower hull stripe with the accustomed gray upper vertical surfaces. This free build was starting to get serious!

As I usually do, I carefully fitted a piece of basswood along the keel with slow curing epoxy. I have heard tales of molten polystyrene using the fast curing variety. I have certainly melted plastic mixing bowls with it. Since I wasn't using the (spindly, almost useless) kit stand, but rather a wooden base supplied by someone else (with little varnishing skill), it was necessary to provide wood or something like it internally for screws. Like weight in the nose of aircraft, it's easy to forget this (ask me how I know). I turned some brass pedestals on the minilathe. I had a local awards outfit make a nameplate.


There were a few kit criticisms. The radar antenna was solid which I faked as best I could with dry-brushing. Also, the crane was solid, and again, I did my best to make gray "openings." This seemed absurd to me, since the catapult was detailed. I made a few replacement parts on the lathe, either because the plastic ones were too spindly or were lost in the carpet. There are a few cockeyed parts in the masts that should have been remade. One thing I like to do on portholes is use a mechanical pencil and rub in "glass". The graphite does a good job of darkening while giving the portholes a little gloss. I used G-S Hypo Cement to attach the photoetch railings. Tackier than CA with a longer pot life, I find it easier to use with the hypodermic needle applicator it comes with. And you can’t glue your fingers together with it.

I debated with myself whether there should be an ensign, but since it was torpedoed at night, decided against it. They never seem to look right anyway to my eye. I didn't rig the superstructure as, at 1/350, a one-inch cable is invisible at three mils. What I remember most about this build are the disagreements with Harry about colors. Fortunately, there are online refit photos showing the color scheme, particularly the coloration of the raft floor webbing. In the end, Harry (and the museum in Clovis) were pleased.



USS Bataan and the Cavalcade of Wings

 By Mark Vaughn

Albuquerque Scale Modelers (ASM), the local IPMS chapter, supports the Cavalcade of Wings both monetarily and through the efforts of some of the members. In and after 2012, for the New Mexico centennial, CoW and some IPMS members built a series of models of World War II US Navy ships named for New Mexico places and other New Mexico themes for display in museums across New Mexico. One of these is the USS Bataan, LHD-5, named for the infamous death march that so many New Mexicans from the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery Regiment were a part of. The kit chosen was MRC/Gallery 1/350 scale Wasp/Iwo Jima, with decal mods as needed. This kit has about 1500 parts.

I "inherited" the kit partially assembled by Larry Niederman. The budget was expended and the US Naval Academy Alumni Association sponsors were impatient. While Larry builds exquisite aircraft models, he had been talked into doing this ship without knowing the magnitude of the kit by Harry Davidson. Harry volunteered me to finish it. Assume the good parts are Larry's and the rest mine.

Since the ship is an amphibious assault ship with a lot of otherwise invisible landing craft, it was decided to show its payloads as if it was in drydock. The wood balks are quite out of scale, but I went ahead and used the base as I received it. There were no complaints from the client. Indeed, they liked the presentation. Go figure.


Since my ship models usually have masts and sails, I had not used photoetch railings before. After a bit of experimentation, I found that G-S Hypo Watch Crystal Cement was easier to use than CA or other adhesives (since, I have found that tacking them in place with a few dots of PSA, followed with CA from a glue looper, works nearly as well).

The oohs and aahs of museum visitors over the railings made it worth the time. The model is on display at the New Mexico Military Museum in Santa Fe.

Webmaster's Note:  Click here for additional articles on ASM's support to the New Mexico Named Ships Project



ASM Model Displays in 2019

 By Mike Blohm

This article is a summary of the five model displays conducted by ASM during 2019, and a thank you to everyone that participated in the displays and/or contributed models. Our goals with the displays were to promote the hobby of scale modeling, to let the public know that Albuquerque has an active model club, and to perhaps gain some new members. All the displays turned out to be highly successful. Descriptions of the display and pictures are included below. More detailed stories and additional pictures are available below on this ASM 2019 Meeting Pictures webpage:

Our first 2019 display was at the Albuquerque South Broadway Cultural Center and Library and it ran the entire month of February. The theme was "What is Scale Modeling" and we had 79 models in three display cases. We also put on a Make & Take on February 9 in conjunction with the display.


Our second display was at the Kirtland Air Force Base "Air and Space Fiesta" airshow on May 18. We had five tables with 77 models at the event. The theme was the "History of the USAF" with some Real Space and Theoretical Space thrown in due to the theme of the air show. We were located in the center of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and Space Pavilion hangar, and the estimated crowd that flowed through the hangar that day was 30,000 people. Airshows are where we get max exposure of the hobby, and the people really loved the models.


Our next model display supported the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing event at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. The museum was running the film "The Day We Walked on the Moon" three times on Saturday, July 20, simultaneously with other Smithsonian-related museums across America. The museum also had Apollo Program artifacts from their collection on display for the duration of the event. The ASM model display had a total of sixteen models and ran from mid July through mid September. It included eleven Real Space models from the American space program and five Theoretical Space models from the 1950s.


Our annual model display at the 2019 New Mexico State Fair on September 5 - 15 had the theme "1939 - 80th Anniversary of the Beginning Of World War II." We filled one case with 36 models. The conflicts of 1939 covered by the display included the Invasion of Poland, the Winter War (Russia versus Finland), the Khalkhin Gol/Nomonhan Incident (Russia versus Japan), and the second Sino-Japanese War (China versus Japan). A more detailed article on the "1939" display will be published in the February ASM Newsletter. As of January 2020, the 2020 ASM display theme will be "70th Anniversary of the Korean War" with models from anytime during the war (June 1950 - July 1953).


The final 2019 model display was at the 2019 Air Force Ball held at Kirtland Air Force Base on September 21. The event celebrated the 72nd birthday of the USAF as well as the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. ASM had two large tables totaling 76 models with one containing 45 "History of the USAF" models from the Korean War through the present, and the second containing 31 "D-Day landing" models.


ASM did not conduct a model display this year at the Folds of Honor New Mexico's "Red, White, and Blue Celebration Dinner" fund-raising event on September 23. The 2019 event was held at a small venue and they did not have space for our normal display. ASM did contribute a 1/48-scale A-10 Thunderbolt model for the auction, which sold for $150, and they appreciated that very much. They do want ASM to put on a display at their 2020 event. So please work on some models that could be used in that display. We currently need modern armor and naval subjects (ships and submarines).




Ken's Armor Files

Stowage on Modern US Armored Vehicles

By Ken Piniak

One topic that gets even the experts is all of the gear that is stowed on modern US armored vehicles. Beginning especially with all the media coverage of Operation Desert Shield/Storm (ODS), people were amazed by the shear amount of stuff carried in and on US vehicles. Often this is referred to as "extra stowage" or "extra gear." It is not "extra" anything; it is just gear, and mostly required gear. So here I will go over just what all that gear is, and how to model it on a vehicle. This information is most relevant to vehicles used during the Cold War, ODS, and the initial invasion of Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). It is also relevant to vehicles deployed to the National Training Center (NTC) at Ft. Irwin, vehicles deployed on REFORGER, and those in South Korea. During Vietnam and many of the actions in OIF vehicles operated out of base camps, and carried very little gear with them, so much of the personal gear would not be present. The gear carried on a vehicle can be broken down into two main types; gear required by the crew/personnel, and gear required to operate the vehicle. Let's take a look at the gear for the crew.


Bradley covered
with gear
Bradleys with
M1 Tanks M1 Tank

Throughout the Cold War and beyond, heavy mechanized units were expected to operate, in combat, for at least three to four days without resupply. Therefore, they had to carry everything they needed to survive with them. Exactly what was carried, and where, varied by unit; and was covered by the unit Standing Operating Procedure (SOP). Although these varied from unit to unit, the basics are all the same. Also, these amounts are required minimums; you could always carry more (and we often did). Each soldier carried/wore their basic combat gear: one full uniform, helmet, flak vest, web gear, gas mask, and weapon. Everything else was divided up into three bags: A bag, B bag, and C bag.

Living on
the tank
Duffle bags
and water
Model tank with
duffle bags
and rucksacks
M60A1 tank with
Camo net on turret
and pole bag on side

The A bag was carried by the soldier, and went with him. Usually the rucksack, sometimes a duffle bag, it contained at least one fresh uniform, socks, and underwear, toiletry items, a sleeping bag, and anything else that a soldier would need right away. The B bag, usually a duffle bag, carried another uniform, boots, more socks and underwear, along with the field gear that was expected to be needed very quickly. This usually included cold weather gear and wet weather gear. The B bag should travel with the soldier, but may be transported separately and get to the soldier later. The C bag, the last duffle bag, contained another uniform, socks, and underwear, and the rest of the issued field gear. This bag was often transported separately from the soldier and delivered to him when needed/available.

All this means that for every soldier on a vehicle, you have one rucksack and two duffle bags. A tank has a crew of four, a Cavalry Bradley five, I believe an M113 carried ten, and an Infantry Bradley nine. At three bags per crewman, that gives you twelve to eighteen bags of required personal gear carried on a vehicle. Additionally, in ODS, we were not allowed to sleep on the ground and were issued cots. So add four to nine cots to the vehicle. The crew has to eat. Assuming three meals a day, one case of MREs will feed a soldier for four days. So add four to nine cases of MREs to the load. The crew also needs water, so add at least one five-gallon can of water to the vehicle. In ODS and OIF, cases of bottled water were often carried. Many units also began to issue insulated 1 gallon water jugs and ice chests. These were regular civilian items, and came in a variety of colors. In ODS we carried extra canteens; usually two, one quart canteens on the web belt, and an additional two-quart canteen. In OIF, they carried a camelback water container on their back or inside their body armor or rucksack. That covers the required gear for the crew.

Model Bradley with
full bustle rack
Water, MREs,
oil can
Gear on rear Model M60A1 with
pole bag on side
of turret
M60A1 tank in
Germany with
camo net

The vehicles themselves need maintenance and repairs. They carry tools, equipment and supplies to keep them operating. What has to carried, and where it goes, is covered by the vehicle Basic Issue Items (BII) list in the vehicle Operators Manual or Technical Manual (TM) and unit SOP. Some unit SOPs are pretty generic; they might state that a tank must carry one spare road wheel and two spare track blocks mounted on the turret. Others can be more specific; i.e., one spare road wheel will be mounted to the left side of the bustle rack and two spare track blocks will be mounted to the right side of the turret in front of the bustle rack. Most SOPs require at least one spare road wheel, track blocks, and other parts to fix broken tracks and road wheels. They also have at least one five-gallon can of oil for the engine, and one for the transmission. Additionally, Bradleys, M 113s, M 577s, Humvees, and most wheeled vehicles need water for the radiator, so add another five-gallon water can. And lastly, most vehicles were required to carry a camouflage system consisting of one net (in bag) and one support bag of poles and spreaders. Every vehicle also comes with one tarpaulin (tarp). Many units specify the use of additional stowage containers. The 20mm ammo boxes often seen mounted on the back of tank bustle racks are a good example of this.

Where a vehicle is can also dictate some gear stowage. German law requires tactical vehicles to be equipped with a rotating or flashing "whoopee light" to alert civilian traffic. This is usually mounted on top of the vehicle or on the rear. Vehicles involved in training exercises or deployed to the NTC are equipped with Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES) gear which includes firing simulators and a "kill light" that looks similar, but is different from, the whoopee light. Vehicles involved in REFORGER or other exercises have a blue or orange panel mounted on the side or turret to show what "side" they are on. Vehicles in REFORGER can have all of these at once!

Finally, if a unit is involved in combat operations, it will be packed full of ammunition (ammo). Most of the ammo is packed in specified racks or bins; but extra ammo can be carried on the outside of the vehicle. In ODS, we carried lots of extra ammo, especially for the machine guns.

At this point, a vehicle is pretty well covered with gear, all of which is required by SOP. This does not include any extra personal gear, comfort gear, or war trophies. And if you have ever looked inside of an armored vehicle, you know that there is very little room in it, so all this stuff gets piled on top or hung along the sides. So now you know why US armored vehicles are covered with so much "extra" gear.

Legend camo
Early M1 with
Whoopee light
on rear fender
M3 Bradley
ammo stowage
Bradley gear Model Bradley
ammo stowage
Model Bradley

So now how do you model all this stuff? Back in the 1970s-80s, there was very little gear available, either from the major model manufacturers or the aftermarket. If you wanted to add any gear, you had to make it yourself from epoxy putty or tissue paper soaked in diluted white glue. Today there is literally tons of gear available. Major manufacturers (AFV Club, Tamiya, Academy, Meng, Rye Field, Trumpeter, etc.) provide lots of stowage gear with their kits, or as accessory sets. Aftermarket companies (CMK, Verlinden, Legend, DEF Model, Plus Model, etc.) provide gear in resin, photoetch metal, paper, and other materials. The quality of most of these items can be great, but be careful. They do get some things wrong (Note: specific manufacturers and items listed here are simply ones that I have used or know of, it is not intended to be a complete or all-inclusive listing).

Tamiya, especially, often has you just glue items to the side of the turret or hull of a vehicle, with no indication of how it is actually attached. In real life, everything should be securely attached to the vehicle, or it will come off and get lost. Most items are attached using straps and tie-down loops (sometimes called footman loops). Other items are strapped to guards, hand rails, antenna mounts, lifting eyes, or something. During ODS, many US units created improvised tie-down points on the sides of their Bradleys; often using straps and the bolts on the armor plates. After ODS, the US Army added tie-down points to the sides of Bradley fighting vehicles and an additional bustle rack to the turret of M1 tanks to better handle all this gear. In the beginning of OIF, some Bradleys had locally-fabricated racks mounted to the sides of the vehicles. Several companies model these, including Legend and Verlinden.


Duffle bag strapped
to vehicle
War trophy portrait
of Saddam
Model with all gear
strapped or tied down
M1 with additional
bustle rack
M60A3 with tarp
covering additional
bustle rack
Model tank with
tarp covering
bustle rack
Tank under

Sometimes, crews will remove the camouflage net from its bag and place it on the vehicle. Italeri included this in their M-163A1 Vulcan, but it is pretty crappy. Legend does a nice version in resin; AVF Club and DEF Model have the material in a thin plastic. One trick US tank crews like to do is use the vehicle's tarp to cover the gear stowed in the bustle rack to protect it from rain, snow, and mud. Some aftermarket companies, especially Verlinden, use a lot of "random" tarps and tent rolls to fill space when they don't know what to put there. As I explained earlier, there is no "random" anything, every item has its purpose.

There are, of course, exceptions to everything. If you have a photo of a vehicle that shows something different, go ahead and build it.

ASM's "1939" Model Display at the 2019 New Mexico Sate Fair

 By Mike Blohm

  ASM100.jpg (82854 bytes)          

This article provides a look at ASM's model display at the 2019 New Mexico State Fair that occurred on September 5-15, 2019.  The display's theme was "1939 - 80th Anniversary of the Beginning Of World War II."  The conflicts of 1939 covered by the display included the Invasion of Poland (Poland versus Germany and Russia); the Winter War (Russia versus Finland); the Khalkhin Gol / Nomonhan Incident (Russia versus Japan); and the second Sino-Japanese War (China versus Japan).  Most people have probably never heard of the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, which had a major impact on Japan's expansion strategy in World War II.  Likewise, people probably know little if anything about the Winter War, which likely encouraged Hitler to invade Russia in 1941.  The display provided the opportunity for fair attendees to learn something new as well as view some nice models.  The display had a short history of each conflict along with maps located at the top of the case.  Pictures of these histories and all the models are also available on the ASM Website's 2019 NM St Fair Contest webpage. 

The display had a total of 36 models ranging from 1/72 scale to 1/16 scale.  The models were grouped by conflicts and participating nations.  Large scale and small scale models were mostly on separate shelves with flags showing their nationality.  Aircraft took up the top two shelves and armor went on the floor of the case.  Four of the display models were also model contest entries (identified by orange tags in the pictures).  The display included subjects in each nation's inventories at the time of the conflict, and not necessarily subjects that saw actual combat.  The Invasion of Poland section had the most models--32 total--with 22 aircraft and 10 armored vehicles and figures.  England and France declared war on Germany, but their forces did not get into the fray before Poland had surrendered, so we did include models from them.  See pictures and caption info for the model subjects, scale and builders.  The Winter War, Sino-Japanese War, and Khalkhin Gol each had one aircraft model.  As mentioned previously, these are fairly unknown conflicts and builds are few.  Lastly, we had one Condor Legion aircraft model from the Spanish Civil War, which had ended in early 1939.  These four aircraft were all located on the right side of the second shelf.  Scale breakdown was 23 in 1/72, 5 in 1/48, 1 in 1/32, 6 in 1/35, and 1 in 1/16.  Model contributor's were as follows:  Larry Glenn (5), Tony Humphries (3), John Tate (3), Josh Pals (1), Bob Henderson (1), Scott Jaworski (1), Jim Medina (1), Frank Randall (1), and Mike Blohm (20). 


1     2     3     4     5     6

7     8     9     10     11     12

13     14     15     16     17     18

 Picture captions:

1-3. Views of the display case, with 36 total models.
4. Historical info and maps for Invasion of Poland and the Winter War.
5. Historical info and maps for Khalkhin Gol and the Second Sino-Japanese War.
6. Invasion of Poland - French aircraft: Potez 630, Bregeut 693, Dewointine D.520, Bloch MB. 152, Curtis Hawk 75, all by Mike Blohm.
7. Poland - French: Morane-Saulnier MS.406; British: Hawker Hurricane Mk I, Spitfire Mk I; Polish: PZL P11; and German: Messerschmitt Bf 109E, by Mike Blohm.
8. Poland - German: Bf 109E, Bf 110, and Dornier Do 17 by Mike Blohm; and Junkers Ju 87B Stuka by Tony Humphries.
9. Poland - French: Hawk 75, D.520 (both Vichy France markings), Loire-Nieuport LN40; British: Blackburn B-25 ROC all by Larry Glenn. Lockheed Hudson by
                    Ray Blohm.
10. Poland - British: B-25 ROC, Hudson; Polish: PZL 25B Karas by Larry Glenn.,
11. Sino-Japanese War - Polikarpov I-16 Rata (China): Winter War: Tupelov SB-2 (USSR) both by Mike Blohm.: Khalkhin Gol: I-16 (USSR) by John Tate.  
Bf 109E (Spanish Civil War) by Frank Randall.
12. Poland - PZL P11 and PZL 25B Karas.
13. Poland - German: Junkers Ju 88, Heinkel He 111 both by Mike Blohm. Ju 52 by John Tate.
14. Poland - French: Renault FT-1 and Renault Universal Carrier by Tony Humphries, and Char B1 by Josh Pals; Polish: Renault R35 by Scott Jaworski.
15. Poland - French: Universal Carrier by Tony Humphries; Polish: Renault R35 by Scott Jaworski; and German: Panzer 38(t) by Bob Henderson.
16. Poland - German: Panzer 38(t) by Bob Henderson and "Blitzkrieg" diorama by James Medina.
17. Poland - German: Panzer I, Sondernkraftfahrzeug 251 half track, and 88mm Flak all by Mike Blohm.
18. Poland - German: "Blitzkrieg" diorama by James Medina; and Russian BA-6 Armored Car by John Tate. 


Trip Report - USS Wisconsin

 By Lloyd Powell

Click here for trip report pdf file


ASM Builds Model for 2019 Folds of Honor Event

 By Mike Blohm

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

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

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

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

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





ASM Model Display at the 2019 Air Force Ball

 By Mike Blohm

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

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





Field Trip - Commemorative Air Force

by Lloyd Powell

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







Kit Review

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

 By Mike Blohm

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

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

1     2     3

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

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

4     5     6     7

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

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

8     9     10

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

11      12     13     14     15

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

16     17     18     19

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

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

20     21     22     23     24     25

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

26      27     28     29     30     31     32

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

33     34     35


ASM Model Display Supports Apollo 11 Lunar Landing Anniversary

Event at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

By Mike Blohm


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


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







Apollo 11

By Frank Randall

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

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

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

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


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

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



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

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


By Frank Randall

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

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

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

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

    X-15-1: 56-6670, 81 free flights

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

    X-15-3: 56-6672, 65 free flights

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

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

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



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


Apollo 11

By Ken Piniak

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

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

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


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

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

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


Kit Build

 Trans Um

By Ken Piniak


This is a Revell Deal's Wheels/Funster "Trans Um" kit bashed with an MPC 1/32 Trans Am kit to create a caricature of the car from the movie Smokey and the Bandit.



2019 IPMS Region 8 Convention

By Chuck Hermann

Over the years I have been to several (now ten) IPMS Regionals. It is always interesting to see modelers new to me and their work. So when I saw that the IPMS Region 8 event would be the weekend after Easter, I was able to combine a holiday family trip to Utah with a stop in Vegas on the way home for the event.

The IPMS Region 8 Convention was held Saturday, April 27, in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a one-day event. The show was held at the Eastside Cannery Casino and Hotel, in one of the meeting rooms. The facility was nice, everything looked relatively new.

There were 131 entrants; I did not hear a final count, but I would say there were about 300 or so models. IPMS Region 8 covers Southern California and southern Nevada, LA to Las Vegas.

The vendors were set up around the edges of the room. I would say there were maybe thirty. ASM members probably know that automotive models are my thing. And unlike many other IPMS shows, there were plenty of automotive kits available. I was able to grab seven kits along with some paints and decals. But there were also a lot of military and sci-fi kits, as well as supplies and tools.

There were 56 categories of all types of models. Unlike many IPMS events, there were more auto than airplane classes! The model car turnout was pretty good, with a nice mix. Oddly there was only one each in the Open Wheel Competition and Open Wheel drag classes. And as usual the aircraft tables were packed. I spoke to builders from California, Nevada, and even Idaho.

The awards presentation went pretty crisply; even with some regional awards, it was done in about forty minutes.

Here are some photos of the stuff on the tables, lots of automotive since that is my thing but I also took some of what interested me from the other classes.

(Webmaster's Note: Numbers by pictures go with the captions listed below.)

1. Closed Wheel Competition Table. Drag was a separate class.  2. Large scale winner, 1/16 T-Bird.  3. One of the street rod winners.

4. The judges hard at work.  5. Open Wheel Winner.  6. Best Automotive winner.  7. One of the street rod winners.

8. Best Hot Rod Special Trophy Winner.  9. Closed Wheel winner. 

10. The overall Best of Show Trophy went to this crazy detailed Star Wars Millennium Falcon model.


    2.            3.    4.    5.

6.    7.    8.    9.       

                10.    10.   





Kit Review

 Building the Blue Thunder Prototype 01

By Ken Piniak

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


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

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

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


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


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


Kit Review

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

by John Tate

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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



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

    By Mike Blohm

The Albuquerque Scale Modelers (ASM) conducted a model display at the Air and Space Fiesta Air Show at Kirtland Air Force Base on Saturday, May 18. 2019. Our goals were to promote the hobby of scale modeling with a display of USAF and space-related models that fit the theme of the air show, and to let the public know that Albuquerque did have an active model club and to perhaps gain some new members. I think that we put on a great display and successfully met those goals.

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

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

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

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









Modeling for Upcoming ASM Display Events

  By Mike Blohm

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


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




ASM Model Display at Albuquerque South Broadway Cultural Center

By Mike Blohm

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