9th Annual International Convention
April 11-12, 2003
While 2003 has thus far been a sobering year, one would be hard pressed to tell that from the people who came to the AMPS 2003 International Convention last weekend (11-12 April 2003). Attendance and entries were down from last year by 15%, but considering how many AMPS members are deployed or supporting action in the Middle East the turnout was really outstanding.
This year the theme was "Korea 1950-1953" and many of the participants had beautifully done entries for the annual competition. 163 people registered for the convention including members from Canada, the UK, and the Netherlands. Registrants also received a special Korean war decal sheet from the new "Decalcomaniacs"company, a first for the AMPS International.
Over 500 people attended the show, and were gratified to both see some of the best armor modeling in the world as well as over 80 tables of vendors groaning with products that "had" to be purchased! While many old friends were back - Chesapeake Model Designs, S &J Hobbies. Red Lancers, R & J Hobbies, RHPS, M & Models and many, many more - others such as the Small Shop made their first appearance too!
Seminars this year included Tom Gannon on Israeli Patton tanks, John Rauscher and friends (it was a participatory seminar!) on British kit and uniforms in Korea, Tom Jentz on German colors and camouflage , the always popular Steve Zaloga on how he details his beautifully done pieces, and not one but TWO seminars from former Marine and long-term AMPS member Ed Gilbert - one on the history of the Fleet Marine Force and one on USMC armored vehicles in the Korean war.
While the weather was not too cooperative - Friday was rainy and Saturday morning a bit blustery - this year the Aberdeen Proving Ground Ordnance Museum was open to the public, and more than a few attendees paid their respects to the Museum.
This year the competition had some new twists as a new, more simplified system of scoring was introduced. AMPS Chief Judge Steve Andreano, aided and "abetted" by Assistant Chief Judges Bob Collignon, Bob Clifton, Paul Roberts, Jim Hensley, and Mike Petty ran a course to certify team chiefs on Thursday night and created a dozen new table captains including Cindy Gazso, AMPS's first lady team chief! Backed up by the redoubtable data scoring team of Devon Terpening and Sue "Keyboard Queen" Bibeault, all of the scores were quickly and accurately tabulated and entered in the long-term judging database.
Each entrant in the annual competition received a score sheet with four worksheets attached to it that explained how his model was judged and what the judges liked about and what they thought the modeler could improve to make it better. AMPS is one of the very few organizations to do this, and it is appreciated by nearly all of the participants.
There were a lot of winners, too. There were 3 Junior, 10 Basic, 127 Intermediate, 137 Advanced, and 1 Masters medals awarded. Many of these great entries received other awards, too. A Gold medal in the Advanced level, Best American vehicle, the New Jersey Historical Modelers Association Craftsmanship Award and Peoples' Choice Award all went to one model - a 1/16 scale scratchbuilt M5A1 by Steve Stone of Cincinnati, Ohio. A Gold medal in Advanced, Best Small Army Award, and the "Dave Lockhart Memorial Award" for Judges' Best in Show went to a Polish C7P with 155mm GPF by Jason Jennings of Lynchburg, Virgina. Jason was also selected to join the ranks of the AMPS Masters with his award of "The Dave, as it has become known.
Also the AMPS members selected their choices as the Best Manufacturers' products for 2002. Best kit plastic kit- Tamiya's T-55A; Best multimedia kit - ZS-55A by Panzershop; Best new plastic accessory - KMT mine plow by SKIF; Best new multimedia accessory - FAMO Bilstein crane by Tiger Model Designs; Best new figure(s) - 101st Airborne in Bastogne by DML; Best new modeling product - Brass gunbarrels and accessories by ModelPoint; Best new reference work - Armored Car by Richard P. Hunnicutt.
AMPS also honored two of its own -- founding members Vern Goodrich recevied the annual service award for support to the Society and BORESIGHT editor Jeff McKaughan received the "Founding Father" award for his dedication to the society and the hobby of armor modeling.
AMPS 2004 will be back in the Harve de Grace Community Center on 16-17 April 2004. After a number of great nominations for the theme, the winner was "Engineer and Recovery Vehicles" so plan on digging out that FAMO with crane or M88 for next year!
As usual, AMPS was a "family" affair with all of the members participating to make it a great show. This year so many participated it is hard to single out any one member for his contribution - Howie Belkin for the T-shirt designs and fliers, Bob Clifton for the Judges' coffee mugs, Bob Collignon for the pins and plaques, "Doc" Wiseman for the "lifters" to get the tables up to eye level for those of us with aging backs (!), Ed Fortuna for the entry blanks, Mike Siggins for the judges' scorepads - the list goes on and on. But unlike many shows where only a handful of people participate in setting up and running the show, AMPS has more participation and more people doing things which deserve kudos but never get them. My heartfelt thanks to all of you, for making AMPS 2003 a GREAT show.
Armor Modeling and Preservation Society