AMPS 2008
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

I attended my first AMPS national show, held in Auburn, IN, on April 11 and 12. If you have not experienced an AMPS show, you really need to treat yourself. This show was held at the WWII Victory Museum, which houses a remarkable collection of period AFVs. What it lacks for in heavy armor (the meanest machine is an M18 Hellcat) it more than makes up for in the ubiquitous softskins that shouldered much of the warfare. Check the AFV Photos section next month for coverage of their vehicles.

The museum is made up of a collection of Allied and German AFVs that was housed at the Victory Memorial Museum in Belgium. It was purchased by the Dean V. Kruse Foundation, established by an Indiana family that made its fortune in classic automobile auctions. The venue has a comfortable warehouse familiarity to it that suits the collection—the back yard garage we would all love to have!

I entered the vaulted center showroom on Thursday afternoon as the AMPS staff and vendors were setting up. The empty display tables took up half of the central area, and the vendors' tables occupied the other half, with a wide aisle between them that allowed for easy mingling and spur-of-the-moment purchases. To the left side of the showroom is the military museum, and to the right side is a large automotive museum.

The display tables awaited the modelers' fine works, while the vendors tables awaited the display of the modelers' fine money.

I enjoyed meeting some of the notables in the hobby, such as Chris Mrosko of Warriors and New World Miniatures, Rob Ervin of Formations, Bill Miley of Chesapeake Model Designs, Mike Powell of Easy 1 Productions, Scott Taylor of Thatchweave Products, and Woody Vondracek of Archer Fine Transfers. A team from GCLaser was on hand with an impressive display of their laser-cut wood products and some well-executed dioramas featuring their wares.

John Gazzola manned the AMPS booth. Show Chairman Roy Chow and John Napolitan
Woody Vondracek and Archer Fine Transfers. Some of the popular Formations upgrades.
Chris Mrosko showcased new figures from New World Miniatures.
Paul Hruby and a team from GCLaser brought their impressive display of wooden containers and accessories, such as the cargo truck shanty below. Two large dioramas showed the products in familiar settings. Click on the Sherman and cargo truck to take a closer look. Other products include wooden armor for Pacific Shermans, a roadside shrine, and cable reels. They have some other exciting products in the pipeline.

The WWII Victory Museum is housing a collection of more than 50,000 mechanical drawings and plans for U.S. military vehicles from the late 1930s through the 1970s. These were about to be destroyed in 2003 by the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command (TACOM) in Warren, Michigan. The Military Vehicle Presentation Association (MVPA) learned of this and agreed to take responsiblity for them. MPVA members are volunteering their time to visit the museum on a regula basis to unroll, sort, and log the endless reams of drawings.

And now, for the display tables....


Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2007 Timothy S. Streeter