The Armor Modeling & Preservation Society (AMPS) held its International Convention at the Penn Harris Hotel, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, from Thursday, May 4, to Saturday, May 6, 2023. The convention commemorated the 30th year of the organization’s founding in 1993, and this year’s convention theme was “The Pacific,” which included military vehicles and equipment used in conflicts between 1940 and 2022 in any theatre from Burma in the west, to Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast in the east, and from Australia and New Zealand in the south to the Aleutian Islands in the north.
The weather was perfect for each of the three days of the convention, and was extremely well attended—the event hosted 177 (entering-the-contest) registrants and 196 walk-in (not-entering-the-contest) registrants from as far away as Canada and Great Britain. All told, the event attracted close to 500 people. In general, the Penn Harris Hotel Convention Center facilities were extremely roomy, well laid out, and turned out to be perfectly suited for an AMPS convention. The hotel itself was reported to be very comfortable, and the newly-built (2021) Comfort Suites, designated as the convention’s overflow hotel, was very closely situated and quite attractive. In addition, an abundance of places to eat and drink within easy walking distance surrounded the convention center, providing many opportunities to take a walk or a break if needed.
As always, this convention proved to be a showcase of superb individual creativity and excellence—the show’s model competition attracted 646 total entries (614 judged, 13 judged master, 19 display only) in the various armor modeling categories. 80 tables were dedicated to completed models on display, and were nearly completely filled up by the end of the convention. Hundreds of gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded; some special awards were the K-Bar Award for the best USMC vehicle and the Braille-Scale award for the best model in 1/72nd scale, plus various “best-of” category awards.
A series of seminars on topics of interest to modelers and military enthusiasts were held with great success. All the seminars were fully booked and wait-listed; topics included: A Modeler’s Guide to U.S. Marking Systems, Building Cobblestone and Brick from Foam Board, and Weathering Track, among others. For those who could not attend, PowerPoint presentations of the sessions are available (click on a seminar at the right to download the file).
The convention hosted vendors from all over the country, selling books, reference materials, model kits and a large variety of model supplies. 18 vendors occupied 111 tables in the main venue area, forming a veritable bazaar of model kits and supplies. Many bargains were available and dozens of interesting and unusual items related to the armor modeling hobby were displayed. Such well-known vendors as Custom Dioramics, Ammo By Mig, MicroWorld Games, LLC, David Doyle Books, Wanamaker Hobbies, Vargas Scale Models, Graetner Woodworking (model display bases), and Eugene Bagnoli were in attendance. A couple of the vendors, notably Vargas Scale Models and Wanamaker Hobbies, were displaying the latest in model design—3D-printed model kits and accessories—which garnered great attention (and sales).
Also in attendance was Aaron Skinner of FineScale Modeler magazine, taking photographs of the model entries and chatting with the attendees. We hope to see a full-blown feature article in an upcoming issue.
Each year, the AMPS membership votes on a theme for the next year’s convention, which will be held in South Bend, Indiana on April 11-13, 2024. The 2024 theme will be “1944,” commemorating 80 years since that pivotal time during the Second World War.
See you in South Bend!
2023 AMPS Show Chairman