The Three A’s

Recently when I interview Scott Bregi of IPMS-Tidewater he said he built The Three A’s…Aircraft, Automotive and Armor. I have to say that several in our local club also follow that description.

Though I have several automotive kits in my stash, I rarely if at all build any. Even though I love cars (real ones) and enjoy working on them, I never had much luck building model kits of them.

I’ve built several, but none would be worth entering and the ones that would be in the running never saw completion. I’m going to have to change that…someday! LOL When I do do automotive subjects, I tend to look at the kit and see what I can do to make it different. Such as scratchbuilding components for it. I guess when you can’t master something you change it or work around it completely.

Such as these…a trailer, a custom western states rancher style pickup bed and a flatbed and ag sprayer for AMT’s 1:25 Ford Louisville

Back when I was a kid, aircraft and flying was my passion long before high school, cars and girls became a part of my life. In fact, in high school not only did I learn how to drive, but also I learned how to FLY! Every kid I knew my age had a drivers license, you weren’t cool if you didn’t. But what was even cooler was having a pilots license, not every kid had one of those! So for me an flap was something that hung from a wing, not a fender. A throttle was not a pedal you mashed with your foot, but a lever or knob you pushed forward with your right hand to rev the motor.

Some say if you can build aircraft models you can build anything. Armor seems to be the most forgiving of minor mistakes. Hey you always cover the blemish with mud, equipment or debris. One of my armor building friends agrees but added…but to do it with a proper sense of realism takes a bit of talent too! He is right of course. I find that when I start an armor project I get to a point when I find myself asking…What the hell is that and where does it go? Us Air Force brats didn’t spend much time climbing on and around tanks and such. We were too busy admiring the sleek and graceful lines of flying machines.

Cars and trucks…well if you paid attention in auto shop class in high school you know a distributor cap from an axle assembly. My years of building models, being around and flying airplanes paid off many moons later in the Air Force. My job at point of my career was crating pieces & parts. Most had the proper identification tags on them to tell us what they were and knowing that we knew what procedures to follow to package them for shipment or storage. Sometimes a piece would show up with no paperwork and the question would be asked. “What the…is this thingy?” Being a modeler and aircraft buff I knew what most things were. Even if it was of a general nature, it served to lead us to the right place to look to find the answer. “That’s a landing gear door actuator, probably off a T-38 or F-5.” Or “That’s a canopy from an F-16.”

Car modelers I know who are also really into automotive can more often than not tell you what make and size motor it is whether in scale plastic or actual. Armor guys typically do the same for their topic of passion…“That my friend is the early hull of a…” or “That’s a late Vietnam era ____ notice the flash suppressor.”

So we all should add another A to our list. An A for knowing the history and more specifically what parts and assemblies compose the subjects which we model and admire.


  1. Great column Gerry!
    As you know when you first met me I was exclusively an automotive builder. Since being exposed to our other club members, going to contests and especially while working on my current aircraft carrier project, I’ve branched out considerably, adding aircraft, armor, figures, and heavy equipment and trucks to my already expansive collection. I’ve really gained an appreciation for others’ work and look forward to working on other non-automotive subjects as well. If anyone is considering trying a new area of modeling, I totally recommend it! You learn a lot and by going out of your comfort zone you improve your skills and expand your abilities.

    Bob Kremer

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