Armor Modeling and Preservation Society
The Armor Modeling and Preservation Society (AMPS) is a social club with the common interest of modeling miniature armored fighting vehicles, military model figures, ordnance, dioramas, and related equipment and promotion of historic military vehicle restoration. AMPS is an international club headquartered in the United States
History and purpose
Clubs centered around the hobby of modeling have existed since the 1950s. The Armor Modeling and Preservation Society, Inc. was founded in 1993 by armor modelers as a means of promoting the hobby using the 'open system' of contest judging.
AMPS was formed as a membership club to promote the hobby of armor modeling, with bylaws that prevented any officer from deriving their income from the hobby of military vehicle modeling. The club operated without incorporation until early 2007, when it was incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation in the state of New York. In 2011 AMPS gained recognition from the US federal government as a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization.
AMPS has several purposes:
- The first is a social function, providing a means for those interested in the hobby of model military vehicle building (including model figure building as well as diorama building) and restoration to associate with other hobbyists.
- A second is educational; AMPS events and publications provide detailed historical information on actual armored fighting vehicles, ordnance, and the history of their usage, as well as providing techniques for improving scale models, figures and dioramas.
- Finally, AMPS provides some funding for restoration of actual military vehicles and makes charitable contributions to morale-building efforts for service members serving in combat areas (see below).
Structure and membership
The AMPS bylaws and constitution provide for an Executive Board consisting of a President, First Vice-President, eight regional Second Vice Presidents, and a Secretary. Additional non-elected officers include Treasurer, Publications Editor, and Marketing Director/Public Information Officer, Web Master and Chief Judge. The founder and first President of AMPS was Steven "Cookie" Sewell. The current president is John Charvat.
Membership is open to anyone with an interest in the hobby. Annual membership fees are $30 for members in the United States, $35 in Canada and $40 in other countries. Almost all members are located in the USA, Canada, the UK and Mexico. Currently, AMPS has just over 700 members.
AMPS members often form local 'chapters' of the society. These local clubs operate as part of AMPS but their local base allow their members to meet (usually monthly) and share hobby skills, materials and references.
Current active AMPS chapters and affiliate chapters include:
- KCAMPS: Kansas City, Missouri
- AMPS Centex, Austin, Texas (Austin Armor Builders Society)
- Patton's Best/AMPS Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky
- AMPS Albany, Albany, New York
- AMPS-Chicagoland, Chicago, Illinois area
- AMPS Indy, Indianapolis, Indiana
- CVAMPS, Central Virginia AMPS (Richmond area)
- AMPS Mexico (Mexico City area)
- AMPS Dallas, Texas
- AMPS Eastern Pennsylvania
- AMPS Atlanta, Georgia
- AMPS Frontiersman, Buffalo, New York
- Central Florida AMPS
- Washington Armor Club (Washington D.C. area)
- AMPS SoCal Los Angeles, California area
- Western Front AMPS San Jose, California
- AMPS Ottawa: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
- AMPS New Zealand
- AMPS Paris, France
- AMPS Northwest, Tacoma, Washington
- BRAG (Blue Ridge Armor Geeks): Lynchburg, Virginia
- AMPS Israel
- Lone Star Armor Brigade (AMPS San Antonio), San Antonio, Texas
Benefits of membership
Membership in AMPS gives the modelers several benefits:
- a) Voting rights in the society. AMPS members vote on officers and thus the direction of the society.
- b) Discounted admission to all AMPS shows.
- c) Discounted pricing from numerous armor-modeling-related firms who have partnered with AMPS.
- d) Six issues per year of the society journal, Boresight.
AMPS publishes a semi-monthly journal, Boresight. Articles in Boresight are written by the members, and the publication itself is edited by volunteers. The journal typically provides several articles on real armored vehicles for reference purposes, along with modeling articles and how-to guides. AMPS accepts advertising in Boresight as a means of providing discounted hobby products to its members. Initially the publication was produced in a black and white format, the magazine is now a professionally produced publication an all color format.
AMPS also has an official society Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AMPSArmor/
The major event hosted by AMPS is the annual International Convention, held each April. This three-day show brings together hundreds of members and non-members to view models, participate in a model contest, buy hobby products, view actual military vehicles, and attend seminars. Recent international conventions have included over 500 scale models on display. The most recent international show was held April 7–9, 2016 in Sumter, South Carolina. Seminar speakers usually include tank crew veterans, well-known modelers and researchers, and industry representatives from firms such as Tamiya and AFV Club. The 2010 show was the most successful AMPS show ever with 634 models entered as well as club display tables.
Smaller regional and local contests are also held from time to time, typically attracting 100+ scale models for single-day events.
- AMPS East is an East Coast USA show, held annually since 1999, normally in the western Connecticut (in recent years) or northern New Jersey (formerly) area.
- AMPS Centex is a midwest show held in Austin, Texas every other year.
- Kansas City AMPS holds a show every October in Kansas City, Missouri.
- AMPS Atlanta holds a show each February since 2009.
- Central Virginia AMPS has held three regionals in the Richmond, Virginia area
The scale models entered in the contest are judged according to the AMPS Contest Rules, and may be awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals. Scale models are judged for accuracy, level of detail, skill in construction, and paint/markings finish. Some of these models take hundreds of hours to complete. Each modeler is provided with a feedback form showing the points given in each area and what areas need to improve. An 'open' system of judging is used in which each model competes against a standard, not against other entries. Thus, instead of 1st, 2nd and 3rd-place medals, awards are given to all models that reach specified cutoff scores. Since participants are not competing against one another, there is no disincentive to the sharing of techniques and ideas.
The feedback provided in these events is a key factor in helping modelers improve. The AMPS system provides formal feedback, giving specific information about what to improve in the model.
An 'AMPS Master' is a modeler who has either won "Best of Show" at the AMPS convention or who is recognized by AMPS as a Master-level modeler due to other accomplishments. The current AMPS Masters (recognized as masters although never 'Best of Show' winners) are:
Stephen 'Cookie' Sewell
Masters awarded at conventions are:
1995: Ken Davis
1996: Bob Collignon
1997: Dave Dean
1998: Bob Clifton
1999: Mike Siggins and Chris Mrosko
2000: Roger Lang
2001: Lynn Kessler
2002: Charlie Prichett
2003: Jason Jennings
2004: Douglas Lee
2005: Alexander DeLeon
2006: Don Barclay
2007: Mark Hazzard
2008: Steve Milstone-Turner
2009: Tom Jett
2010: Mark Corbett
2011: Cesar (Manny) Rodriguez
2012: Jim Weschler
2013: John Kesner
2014: Chris Durden
2015: Dave Vickers
2016: Tony Zadro
AMPS recently launched a clearinghouse project to gather donations of plastic model kits and supplies for shipment to United States military personnel deployed to combat areas. Nearly 2000 kits and hundreds of supply items and books have been sent overseas to help morale and alleviate stress and boredom; additional shipments will follow.
- Model military vehicle
- US Army Ordnance Museum
- Armored fighting vehicles
- History of the tank
- Self-propelled artillery
- Armored warfare
- International Plastic Modellers' Society (IPMS)
- Boresight, May/June 2016, p. 6
- Boresight, May/June 2016, p. 9