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WonderFest™ 2004

By Jeffrey W. 'Griffworks' Griffin - text © 2004
Image captions by John Lester
Images brought to you by Scott Scariot, Vince Hoffman, Tony Agustin, Pat Amaral and the number 6 © 2004.

A photo archive of thousands of images from this show is available on 3 CDs: click here for details.

WonderFest is held in the rolling hills of Louisville, Kentucky, and has been over a decade now. It's held at the Executive West Hotel with easy access to the airport, a courtesy airport shuttle van, an excellent restaurant and an indoor swimming pool that's open year-round - which also has an awesome little patio area under excellent cover, but more on that later....

For years, I've had conversations with Thomas Sasser & Larry Wherthey just how kewel WonderFest is and “you've got to make it one of these years.” Over the last three or four years, I've read the reports and posts from all the folks who've been to the show. I've been envious after all of the things I've heard and have tried to go for over 8 years, but was always stopped by something - almost always to do with my commitment to the USAF. Well, this year, I managed to slip one past Uncle Sam and made it to WonderFest!

I was not disappointed!

I arrived early afternoon on Friday and checked in to a room I was sharing with three others. The staff was friendly and very nice to deal with. The hotel itself is sort of quaint, tho I never got that “ghost” feeling that others have talked about.

After a minor misadventure (never trust MapQuest!) , then ventured forth in search of folks who's faces I might recognize from the collection of pics I'd kept on my HardDrive and did my best to memorize. Walking down the hallway, I espied Joe Brown! One of my heroes was there before my eyes! After a somewhat scary introduction on Joe's part - he thought I must be some sort of cyberstalker -, we talked for a bit. I then wandered back to the Lounge, where I ran in to Jim “MAR10” Martin and a drink. Introductions were made and we chatted for a bit. The night turned in to sort of a blur from there, but things only got better. I eventually met Erin “DasPhule” Lantz, Sal “Godfather” Bravo, “Thag” and many others whom I greeted with a hearty “Hi, I'm Jeffrey Griffin. Let's go get a drink.” This quickly became my standard greeting throughout the evening. I have no clue how many people I met, but I was warmly greeted by each and every one of these fine folks and felt instantly like part of the crowd. I'm still not sure if it was because Jim and I were alternating buying rounds or that maybe I actually do have a positive personality after all.…

I'd heard a great many thanks about the official Meet & Greet in the Lizard Lounge. I was a bit disappointed once it began and the band started playing, not because they were horrible, but because they were so darned loud, drowning out almost all hope of conversation 'til they took a break. Were they good? I don't know. They were loud. However, it was here that I met an even larger number of people whom I'd swapped email and posts with at Starship Modeler and Hobby Talk over the years. So, it was well worth the loud music.

I'll skip the details of the night's festitivies, but it was well worth staying up late and hanging out with all these great modeling geeks!

The next morning, I got in to the Dealers Room with my Early Bird ticket. I'd heard the advice from a number of folks that it was well worth the price if you wanted to make sure you had those Must-Have kits. And it was. I don't think I missed out on anything, but it sure was nice to walk around the spacious Dealers Room before the Floodgates of Heck were opened up at 10am! Plus, I was guaranteed to be one of the first 200 folks in the Dealers Room, thus gaining one of the free Polar Lights models, which were their Marvel SuperHeroes line of pre-painted vehicles. Thanks, Polar Lights! My son loves his Hulk car.

[Pool Party]

^ Saturday night, by the pool

Image: A journey of a thousand miles begins with loading the car ....

Image: Guarding the station (actually, watching for it to catch fire or worse ...) are (l-r) Vir, Larry J, Tony A., Chad and Larry 'Tour Guide Barbie' Strickland (seated)

Image: Terry, Neil and Mark Yungblut assembling the sation Friday night.

Image: Slowly coming together under Terry's watchful eye.

Image: Blappy serves up a plate of modeling goodness.

Image: Chris Doll and Coby 'Cobywan' Lorang (behind) join the crowd in Blappy's room watching the station take shape.

Image: Tony, Alfred Wong Clone #51 and Pat Amaral, down by the pool

Image: People started congregating at the pool when the dealers' room closed at 5pm.

Image: Things started hopping as the sun fell.

Image: The crowd, about 9pm

Image: Terry and Tom 'The Beausabre' Clark are deep in discussion while OneZero looks for more pizza.

Image: Larry J. and Virgil examining the loot from the Great Resin Dump.

Image: Michell 'Miss Hell' Lantz asks "Why is it so hard for you guys to decide what kind of pizza you want?"

Image: Erin impersonates a zombie at the awards ceremony. (Oscar winning performance, too)

Image: Anti-banquet: Jeez, Jimi, maybe you should try to eat that in TWO bites....

Image: Jeff 'Lemme buy you a drink' Griffin

Image: Relaxing sunday night

Image: Chris Doll holds court.

Image: Our den mommies: Becky 'Darth Tigger' Hoffmann (standing) and Miss Hell.

The rest of the day was also something of a blur. I dropped a buttload of money in the first 5 minutes after walking up to Federation Models table, took that haul up to the room and came back for round two! I was like a kid in a candy store and the time just flew by! I lost track not only of time and what presentations were taking place when, but of how much money I spent!

I had volunteered to help w/the Make It & Take It room, helping brand-spanking new modelers assemble some kits, so I did that next. I highly recommend it and plan to volunteer for two hours again next time I go. It was a very rewarding experience and a chance to actually slow down for a few minutes and get my breath back.

Unfortunately for me, I missed out on each and every one of the presentations made in two different rooms. I did, however, stop Chris White for a moment to thank him for attending and his work with Polar Lights. Great guy! I also chatted with Eric Kristiansen for perhaps 20 minutes. I did, however, make it up to the contest room. What I saw there put me to Modeling Geek Nirvana! I won't go into details (the photos on this page speak for themselves), but I spent a good hour up there, with almost 10 minutes devoted to the Shrine of Trek Modeling that a dozen of the Starship Modeler guys put together in the form of "Jeffries Station". Abso-frikkin'-lutely outstanding! Congrat's on the Gold, guys!

Saturday night was an absolute blast! I opted out on going to see “Creature from the Black Lagoon” in 3D and just hung out at the pool for the Unofficial Starship Modeler Pool Party. A great amount of “beverage” was consumed that night, tall tales were told and the cops didn't kick us out of the area! We were there 'til about 2am and I don't think that they even showed up. Many thanks to the Noise Police - Mark Yungblunt and John Lester - for keeping us in line.

One of the great things I only recently learned about the Pool Party is it's sort of an unofficial Swap Meet. Folks bring stuff to trade and/or sell. Heck, some folks just bring a bunch of stuff to dump on tables as Freebies! Erin Lantz let loose with a box of “seconds” (bad castings that couldn't be sold) and the Vultures descended - yours truly included. I have no shame…

The party lasted 'til 8am Sunday morning, for some of us. Again, staying up all night and talking was great! Sleep was optional. I did another stint in Make It & Take It and made one last round of the Dealers Room. Things pretty much wound down from there - or so I thought.

I had the privilege of attending the Anti-Banquet. It's an “un-event” in which a number of folks opt out on the official banquet and go somewhere else to eat. Jimi “Bol loD2” Glancy was the one who picked the restaurant this evening - Texas Roadhouse. Without being self-incriminating, we had another blast. I don't think I've laughed that hard in years! I learned that Pat Amaral's a sneaky lil' devil and found out from Jimi that I turn a sort of mauve-ish color when the oxygen stops flowing into my blood.

After that, things really did start to wind down. We hung out in a suite for a couple hours, talking about just about everything. Scott “Trekmanscott” Scariot refined the “Top 10 Things Heard at WonderFest”, expanding it to the Top 20 with the help of everyone in attendance. It had a sort of melancholy feeling to it, if only for me.

Anyhow, I finally had the privilege to attend WonderFest and wasn't at all disappointed. I wish it could have gone on for a full week, in fact! If you've never been to WonderFest, why not? You really are missing out on one of the kewelest events EVER! At least for Sci-Fi Modeling geeks like us. It's worth the cost to get there to spend the night and carouse w/your peers. Even the shy folks at WF were exceedingly talkative and having an awesome time. I hope to attend again next year. And the year after that. And the year after that. And the year after that… It really does have the feeling of part model show, part reunion - and this was my first year!.

Many thanks to John for asking me to write this article. Appreciate it!

For additional images, please see The Beausabre's Wonderfest Pix, J. Heilman's Wonderfest Pix and


Below are some of the handouts provided at Sci-Fi U and the Wonderfest demos..
Download: Ron Gross' Basics of Resin Casting (Word)
Download: Terry Miesle's Decal Application (Word)
Download: Joe Brown's Scratchbuilding With Foam (Word)
Download: Larry Johnson's Washes & Drybrushing (Word)
Download: Mark Yungblut's Great Model Photography (PDF)
Download: Kirk Schermerhorn's Lighting Models (PDF)
Download: Brian Ludden's Sci-Fi U Weathering and Finishing Models (Word)

[The gang's all here]

^After the awards ceremony, some of the Starship Modeler crowd got together for a picture:
Front, lying down: Erin "Das Phule" Lantz
Front row (l-r): Terry 'TER-OR' Miesle, Joe Brown, Mark Yungblut, Vince Hoffmann, Dave 'Blappy' Guertin, Scott 'Trekmanscott' Scariot, Virgil Samms, Sal 'Godfather' Bravo
Back row (l-r): Evil Neil Prentice, Larry 'Private' Strickland, Tony Agustin, John 'OneZero' Lester, Jimi 'Bol Lod 2' Glancy, Jim 'Mar10' Martin, Jon 'Vir' Kunatz, 'DeaconBlue', Chad Ryan and Larry 'scifi58' Johnson.

Photo Gallery

Some of the writing on the entry cards was hard to decipher (and the guards kept us from turning over a lot of forms to even get names from!). If I've spelled your name wrong or mis-identified your model, please contact me to get it corrected!

Vehicles and Hardware

[Just a portion of the entries]

^ Just a few of the entries
Image: Alfred Wong brought 9 models
Image: Here's his Viper Mk 4 and Mk 1...
Image:Scott 'Homeboy' Owen's TIE/Obliterator ....
Image: ... and Alfred's Betty
Image: John Douglass' Fighter won a Bronze
Image: Tony Agustin's Last Flight of Gold Squadron won a Silver
Image: This huge, scratchbuilt Pod Racer won a Gold and Best Spacecraft
Image: Here's the cockpit
Image: Another view
Image: Engine detail
Image: It sported an incredible weathering job.
Image: All the markings were painted on.
Image: The first table of models
Image: Two kit-bashed, Matrix-inspired ships
Image: The Jolly Roger
Image: The Ra
Image: More models
Image: Some more
Image: Padawan's Talyn
Image: Joe Brown's Farscape One
Image: Zentraedi ship
Image: More models
Image: Another look
Image: Padawan's Prowler
Image: Another look
Image: Larry Johnson's SF3D suits
Image: Gustav
Image: AFS Mk II
Image: Rodger Young
Image: Maquis fighter
Image: Another look
Image: This cargo hauler won Gold
Image: Another look
Image: Closer look at the Lunar cargo carrier
Image: Closeup
Image: Overall
Image: Sitting pretty
Image: Cargo
Image: Front office
Image: Engine bells
Image: Front view
Image: Paduwan's Guild Hiliner, Erin Lantz's Talyn, and two trek kitbashes.
Image: Talyn
Image: More, with a scratchbuilt Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Diving Bell
Image: Closer look. The diver is a modified aquarium decoration
Image: Kitbashed Spice Runner 2
Image: Another look
Image: Big, scratchbuilt Icarus
Image: From the back
Image: Erin Lantz's 'Rustbucket Rick, which won either a bronze.
Image: Turn his head and his monoeye lit up.
Image: More models
Image: Shuttle Atlantis, deploying a satellite
Image: Cutting Edge's tile decals were used to good effect
Image: Apollo CSM
Image: Closer look
Image: USS Shickland, the on-line build ship, won a Silver
Image: This view kinda makes one want to reach for a shoe ...
Image: More models
Image: Closer look at the little ship


Image: USS Triton (kitbash)
Image: Five Star Stories mech and Cobywan's scratchbuilt ship.
Image: A closer look at the mech
Image: Even with the hammering the airline gave Coby's model, it took a Merit.
Image: Underneath
Image: Small Millenium Falcon
Image: Blackhawks aircraft, then and now
Image: Closer look
Image: Joe Brown's entries (top row) and Space Shuttle Columbia (Jay Chladek's, I think)
Image: Again, with Joe's Farscape One
Image: More of Joe's ships
Image: Joe's Spice Scout ...
Image: ... Babylon 5 maintenance craft...
Image: ... Luna ...
Image: ... Conehead ship ...
Image: .. and SS Enterprise.
Image: Closer look at the Columbia stack
Image: Aile Strike and another Gundam
Image: Closer look at the Aile Strike Gundam ....
Image: And the Uzi-toting Gundam
Image: Shuttle Discovery and a prototype Mars shuttle
Image: Another look at Discovery & stack ...
Image: ... and the Mars package
Image: Another look
Image: Lighted K'Tinga class on an innovative "stand"
Image: Overall
Image: From behind
Image: Mars launcher with Jimi Glancy's 'Escort Duty'
Image: Another look
Image: From the side ...
Image: ... and top/front perspective
Image: Scott Scariott's USS Aliquippa and USS Romano
Image: Closer look at the Romano, named for a friend of Scott's
Image: Mad Max car
Image: Closer view
Image: Front/left
Image: Gemini/Agena
Image: Docking
Image: Closer look at the Gemini
Image: Another
Image: Those are Tom 'Beausabre' Clark's SF3D mechs behind it.
Image: Closer look at Tom's suits
Image: Skinhead
Image: Modified Fireball
Image: More models
Image: K'tinga modified into a Romulan KR-class
Image: Another look
Image: End of the table
Image: Speedboat Shuttle
Image: Jim James' NSEA Protector...
Image: ... and his Batboat
Image: Closer look
Image: Terry Miesle's Ogre won a Bronze
Image: Another look
Image: Salvage One
Image: Another look
Image: Battlestar
Image: Another look
Image: This lighted Moya won a Merit
Image: KBoP
Image: Tony Agustin's 'A Deadly Trio' won a Bronze
Image: Closer look
Image: Enterprise-F and Tony's Deathstar
Image: The Enterprise is based on Starcraft's Prometheus kit
Image: The Deathstar was based on a 4" acrylic sphere
Image: Jupiter 2
Image: Another look
Image: Tony's 'Last Mission of Gold Flight' took a Silver
Image: The backdrop is a puzzle laboriously built from scratchbuilt, hand-cast details
Image: The Y-Wings are SMT kits
Image: The lead ship is already damaged
Image: Tony added a lot of scratchbuilt detail


Image: Karim Nassar's M1011 Pulse Pistol can be field-stripped down to basic components.
Image: Here's his TNG-era Romulan destroyer
Image: Karim mastered the kit for Ravenstar
Image: Work Bee and 23rd Century Klingon BoP
Image: Work Bee
Image: Closer look
Image: The RomBoP
Image: The start of Alfred Wong's lineup
Image: More
Image: More
Image: The big end
Image: Alfred's Viper Mk IV ....
Image: ... Viper Mk I ...
Image: ... Vipers, redux ...
Image: ... Sierran fighter ...
Image: ... Buck Rogers Hawk ...
Image: .... X-Wing and XJ-class X-Wing ...
Image: ... and again.
Image: The X-Wing sports Rogue-Squadron markings
Image: XJ
Image: R-41
Image: From the other side
Image: Last but not least, the Betty
Image: A kitbashed Klingon frigate
Image: Another look
Image: Scratchbuilt 'Moonhopper'
Image: It took a Merit
Image: Excellent use of Starship Modeler decals.....
Image: Klingon BoP on a cool base
Image: Front view
Image: USS Excalibur and a Galaxy-class starship
Image: Another look
Image: Lighted USS Endeavour
Image: Head-on
Image: Rear view, showing lights
Image: Mummy's racer
Image: Converted PT Cruiser
Image: Another look
Image: More models
Image: Another look at the TIE/Obliterator
Image: Closeup
Image: Type 1 Landing Craft
Image: Neil Prentice's mechs
Image: Another look
Image: The Hygog (?) won Best Gundam
Image: Closer look at the Patlabor
Image: Sulacco and mech
Image: closer look at the Sulacco
Image: Big and resin
Image: Front view
Image: Again with the Gold-winning Podracer
Image: Looking down over the engines
Image: "Cockpit"
Image: Controls
Image: Engines
Image: Front view
Image: Jon Kunatz's Klingon D-7
Image: Two more of Trekmanscott's models
Image: Closer look at the K'mpec
Image: Scott's Ferengi Marauder
Image: Scott should be commended just for attempting this beast of a kit
Image: John Douglass' ships rounded out the Vehicles & Hardware category
Image: Readers of our 'Other Guys' contest will recognize some of these
Image: Another look
Image: The other ships
Image: Another look
Image: Interdictor Robert Robbins
Image: Scout Jim Nevermann
Image: Armed freighter
Image: From the other side
Image: Another freighter
Image: Small ship in cool paint scheme
Image: Red ship

Jefferies Station

^ The IPMS/Techmages' group project, 1/1000 Jefferies Station J-57, took 14 people ten months to build

Download video (MPG - WARNING: HUGE FILE)

Image: The station stands 38" tall (with base)
Image: The saucer is from the Polar Lights c-57D kit; everything else is found objects or dollar store finds.
Image: James Fulkerson's Surya-class
Image: Neil Prentice's tug hauling three cargo pods. The warp engine "rotisserrie' in the center spins.
Image: View underneath.
Image: Tony Agustin's ship was made from the Polar Lights' Enterprise kit, sith some sheet styrene.
Image: The station, sans docks.
Image: The station was brought to Wonderfest in pieces. It took over six hours to test fit, mount ships and test electronics on Friday night.
Image: Becky watches as Vince and Tony assemble the 72 arms (each with 6 pieces).
Image: Neil secures the motor that turned the station.
Image: Light check
Image: It took a full hour to set up the display in the contest room


Image: Overall shot of the station
Image: Another, looking from slightly above ...
Image: ... and slightly below
Image: Side view
Image: Crowd pleaser
Image: Another side view
Image: Looking up
Image: Another view
Image: Ships
Image: More ships
Image: Lighting effects
Image: More lighting
Image: The station rotated about once per minute
Image: The station, sans docks
Image: The bottom segment contains four shuttlebays, all lit.
Image: Closer look. Terry Miesle scratchbuilt three types of shuttles, copies of which were cast by Erin Lantz
Image: Another bay
Image: Tony Agustin detailed the basic shape (an acrylic bowl) with sheet, strip and other styrene shapes.
Image: The whole contraption is bolted to a 'lazy susan' under the bays.
Image: Another bay
Image: Another closeup
Image: Many, many custom decals were made by Tony and John Lester
Image: All the exterior details were made by Tony. The top of the shuttlebay started out as an industrial smoke alarm cover.
Image: The "stem" of the station was made from 2 pieces of 4" PVC sewer pipe threaded together. Wiring runs the length. There's also a CPU fan buried inside to keep the whole thing from overheating.
Image: The individual space docks each have a brass tube that plugs into reinforced mounts in the stems.
Image: Each mounting area is illuminated by an LED in a 'sconce'
Image: Underneath the main "saucer"
Image: The lower "saucer" shape is from the Testors' Area 51 UFO kit.
Image: The main "saucer" is from the Polar Lights' C-57D. Even with a plexiglass plate reinforcing it, the darn thing bowed.
Image: More shuttles are docked to the saucer's rim
Image: On top of the C-57 is a salad bowl.
Image: Smaller 'VIP Shuttlebays' were inset into the bowl.
Image: Closer look
Image: The 'defense turrets' and central cone are from dollar store finds.
Image: Eight ships in eight docks, each with 6 'arms' made up of 6 pieces.
Image: Tony Agustin's USS Agustin in place
Image: The small maintenance ship docked at the end of the spine honors Jacques Cousteau's Calypso.
Image: Underneath
Image: Topside, aft
Image: Everything but the "mandibles" came from the Polar Lights Enterprise kit.
Image: Another look


Image: The maintenance ships (we called them "welders") were made from a bad cast of the system defense vessels.
Image: The one docked to Erin Lantz's dock sports the same markings as Tony's mail truck.
Image: Erin's USS Orion, in place
Image: Underneath
Image: Clyde 'Zog' Jones' Engineering Test Vessel # 7
Image: Another look
Image: Underneath
Image: She sports a ding above the shuttlebay where a pilot missed the entrance
Image: Terry Miesle's battle damaged Loknar-class, in place
Image: How many noticed it was from the parallel universe?
Image: Lead foil from a wine bottle was used for the shredded metal sections.
Image: Closer look
Image: That had to hurt ...
Image: The aft end of Joe Brown's USS Huron, from the Animated Series
Image: Underneath
Image: One of many small inside jokes.
Image: Underneath Jon Kunatz's Akula-class
Image: Vince Hoffmann built a Coronado-class thru-deck shuttle carrier
Image: The umbilical brings power in for LEDs ....
Image: ... that light the shuttlebays
Image: The carrier in her berth
Image: Another look
Image: James Fulkerson's Surya-class ship.
Image: Underneath
Image: The station is guarded by several small "monitors". Behind these is a yard tug tractoring a fresh warp engine.
Image: Power for the tug's lights was fet throw the stand
Image: Neil Prentice's Soyukazi Maru cargo tug.
Image: The pods were made from pipe sections and the caps to Bioncle packages; the "warp engine rotisserie" was scratchbuilt.
Image: What's that lurking under the saucer?
Image: Graffitti on one cap memorializes the builders
Image: Custom decals
Image: More
Image: Two tugs
Image: There wasn't room for Erin's Detroyat-class; it won him a Bronze though.
Image: Photos from the 10 months we spent designing and building this monster were displayed in a binder, along with some of the smaller ships.

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This page copyright © 2004 Starship Modeler™.
First posted 21 May 2004. Last updated on 28 May 2004.