A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

April 13, 2024

Northern Virgina Model Classic 2024

My "Ambush at Colleville sur Mer" was awarded Best Diorama in Show

I attended the Northern Virginia Modelers Model Classic 2024 in Fairfax VA today. This was the Northern Virginia Modelers big annual show. They are an IPMS club, but one did not have to be an IPMS member to attend or enter. The show was quite large. About 400 people registered and about 50 vendors. I was told that they normally get more vendors, but the AMPS had their annual meet in Indiana on the same day, so some vendors went to that. I am a member IPMS and AMPS, but this show was a lot closer and I don't build too much armor. I focus more on trains and figures. So I went to this show.

It seemed to me that the vendors were doing brisk business. I saw lots of people carrying large bags of kits to their cars to add to their stash. 

This was one of Jeff's builds. Very well done.
I met a lot of very nice people. The knowledge contained in these hobbyists is incredible. for example, there was a fellow named Jeff  (I didn't get his last name) who was a specialist in Luftwaffe fighter pilots. When he builds a kit, he researches the pilots too.  He recounted some interesting tales about the pilots he researched. He is an excellent builder too. He does armor and aircraft to a very high standard. He is also starting with figures.

I entered models in three categories. They were, the Ambush at Colleville sur Mer diorama in 75mm in Misc Dioramas, Medussa and Demophilus in the bust category, and "What Have We Done" in the 90mm and below figure category.  I am happy to report that I received 2nd place awards for Demophilus and "What Have We Done", a first place and Best diorama in Show  for Ambush at Colleville sur Mer.  

I was dismayed to discover that the camp fire light in my shadow box diorama was not working. I fixed it when I got home. Turns out the LED went bad. 

Dave Hoffman's Best in Show Winner

I also helped judge figures along with other members of the National Capitol Model Soldier Society.  Dave Hoffman, who along with his wife Darcy is a driving force in the NCMSS, received several awards awards and got Best Model in Show for his Ashigaru figure. The figure is exquisitely painted with excellent ground work. I especially liked how he mounted it on a miniature bonsai stand. Congratulations to Dave.

Here are some other models that caught my eye.

Nice Porsche 934 in 1/12th scale. I received this kit as a birthday present from my brother, but am hesitant to build it. I am not experienced in building car models.

Vader's light saber is drooping

Always a lot of airplane models at these shows. This was
one of 4 tables with aircraft models. 

I believe this got first place in military vehicle dioramas

Interesting concept

April 11, 2024

D-Day and the Civil War


Merritt opens her B-Day present- Brio trains
I am back in Virginia and recovering from two weeks of visiting and babysitting my granddaughters.  It was a blast. The little ones are so full of energy and wonder. So much fun to be with them.  Some highlights included giving my granddaughter Merritt her first train Brio train set. She knew exactly what it was and immediately began to play with it. She sees a lot of trains in Birmingham, and she is fascinated by them. 

Ruka watching a metro train
When we returned to Virginia, my son and his family showed up. He and Mizuki had to attend the World Vaccine Conference in DC, so we got to watch Ruka. She has not seen as many trains as Merritt. However, the playground by our house is adjacent to the RF&P/CSX main line. She saw dozens of trains and they all caused her to stop and watch. She seemed especially interested in the Metro trains. We also ran some trains for her on  the Aquia Line much to her delight. 

While we were gone, RMC published an article I wrote about the Aquia Line in their April 2024 issue. They also used one of my photos on the cover. I received a lot of nice feedback from folks about this article.  Above is a set of possible cover photos that I submitted to RMC. Which one do you like the best?

BTW, Otto Vondrak came up with the title on the cover. I think it is a clever pun, definitely not something that I would have thought up. 

Before heading to Alabama, I went to the RPM East in Malvern, PA. It was a good meet and well attended. I had the chance to visit Ron Hoes and Greg Wiggins's layouts. I also presented a talk about the Aquia Line to a packed auditorium. 

Phase 1 of the D-Day dioramas is on exhibit at the Army Navy Club in Washington, DC. 

We plan to start work on Phase 2 of the D-Day dioramas next week. Meanwhile, check out this interesting article relating D-Day to the Civil War.