AMPS 2001 Show – One Big Party!
By Cookie Sewell
Over the years, the Armor Modeling and Preservation Society's annual convention has become a "must" for many armor modelers in the US, and now a good number of those from abroad as well. This year, it seemed more like a big party than a convention, as over 1,000 modelers and friends came and enjoyed themselves, as well as Maryland hospitality!
AMPS hosts what is an International Convention, as we have a great number of members outside the US and this year was no exception. Members from Canada, Britain, and Holland were all in attendance, and all who came had a great time. 199 modelers placed 588 models on the tables, of which 562 were in competition and the rest placed on open display. Those who entered did very well, winning some 345 medals for their efforts.
The modelers came to see, talk, make new friends, and as always, leave the vendors' area much poorer than they arrived. This year over 40 vendors kept wallets open and money flying!
Since AMPS is more about camaraderie and common interests, this year there were seven great seminars on hand. Tom Jentz gave a presentation on Krupp export tanks to 18 hardy souls and Tom Gannon covered the myriad of Israeli armored vehicles and conversions for 27 more on Friday afternoon. On Saturday, Lynn Kessler explained how to formulate diorama groundwork and layouts for 30 interested modelers; Ron Volstad, the well-known artist behind many Osprey books and DML boxes for many years , told a crowd of 52 about how he researches and paints the artwork for those projects; Bob Oehler of Tamiya USA showed 22 German fans six different ways to put on the ever-tricky layer of zimmerit; and Steve Zaloga garnered an overflow crowd of 74 in one of his always popular shows on tips and tricks for armor detailing.
Last of all was one of the truly unique experiences in recent times: three magazine editors holding an AMPS "stump the stars" panel with 25 people interested in writing modeling articles. The panel consisted of: Jeff McKaughan, editor of AMPS' own "The Boresight"; Terry Thompson, editor of "Fine Scale Modeler"; and Ken Jones, editor of the British magazine "Military Modeller". (Surprisingly, a fourth editor, Pat Stansell of "Military Miniatures in Review" was also at the show, but alas, could not stay for the panel.)
Other AMPS traditions were maintained at the show. Mike Memmo – the "Self-propelled PA System" – again did a great job of running the annual raffle. Ben Cliche, AMPS's own "Ticket Goon", kept the seminars on track and on time. Data loggers Sue "Keyboard Queen" Bibeault and Nancy Sewell, under the calm hand of Devon Terpening, processed all of the judging sheets and scores for the awards presentation. Bob Collignon made sure that the handsome AMPS 2001 pins were done, and Bob Clifton again prepared the souvenir coffee mugs for two-tour judges. The AMPS Public Affairs Officer, Howie Belkin, created the truly memorable show T-shirts and logo – for "Keeping the Peace", a Woodstock-esque dove on an M16 wearing a helmet and flak jacket.
This year, for the first time, ALL of the judges showed up to judge the best of class models and join in the inhaling of 20 large pizzas! (Thankfully, no pizza until AFTER the judging is done!) Judging this year was handled by Head Judge David Lockhart, with able assistance from Assistant Chief Judges Steve Andreano, Bob Clifton, Bob Collignon, Mike Siggins, and Don Jones. Over 60 AMPS members also participated in the judging process, and our thanks go out to them as well.
While from our point of view as the AMPS executive board all of the people who cam were winners, the big winners at this show were the following modelers. Karl Leidy won the "Andy Smith Best Shot" award for Best Basic Level Model with an M51 Isherman. The theme award for "Keeping the Peace" went to Jim Carswell for an uparmored Canadian M113 in UN colors. Hugh Dyarman won the TWENOT Award for the best Dutch related subject for a Churchill Mk. VII; Mike Reaves the KC AMPS Best US Artillery Piece award for "Long Tom", and Rhodes Williams the New Jersey Historical Miniatures Society Award for Outstanding Craftmanship for his diorama "Spring Cleaning".
John Smith VIII (yes, as in THAT John Smith!) did very well with his M-1A1 engine change – complete with working lighting! – that won a Gold in Advanced Level and Best in Show - Most Popular Model. Lynn Kessler presented a nice little diorama titled "The Frozen Chosin" which won a Gold in Advanced Level, Best Diorama, and Best in Show - Judges' Choice award, which also elevated Lynn to the Masters' Level.
Biggest surprise of the night – at least to the recipient! – was the award of the second AMPS "Founding Father" award for inspiration and support to armor modelers which went to Ken Jones, the editor of the British magazine "Military Modelling". We were fortunate enough to have Ken attend the show with his wife Sandra, and both of them were truly floored by the announcement of the award. Ken received this award for his 22 years at the helm of this internationally known publication and maintaining its tight focus on military subjects and shows.
Next year, the AMPS 2002 show will remain in Harve de Grace at the Community Center. Target dates for the show (center rental permitting) will be 19-20 April 2002. The theme, selected by the members at the annual meeting on Friday night, will be "Desert Warfare" which is open to all modern (post-1899) subjects dealing with desert combat.
Once again, my personal thanks to all of those who came and those who worked to make AMPS 2001 a great show!