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WonderFest™ 2005

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^ Rogues gallery, after the awards

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Image: The 'make-n-take' enabled modelers to introduce kids and other first time builders to the hobby.

Image: Friday night at the Lizard Lounge and a new tradition is born: Ugly Shirt Night!

Image: Boxes o' stuff at the pool party Saturday night

Image: Geekfest!

Image: Everybody was kung foo fighting ....

Image: Cobywan is working on the Big G

Image: "Was it something I said, Mr Probert?" gasps Dan Holmes

Image: Dan made friends with Bob Burns too.....

Image: Karim Nassar and his high-tech photo studio

Image: R2-D2 cruised the halls on Sunday (to the delight of the kids)

Image: Security was tight

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^ SSM's table was overflowing

By Justin 'Bluesman' Miller - text © 2005
Image captions by John Lester
Images brought to you by Scott Scariot, Vince Hoffmann, Justin Miler, Robb Merrill and by the letter M © 2004.

I have heard a great many things about the event known as Wonderfest, thanks to the posts on Starship Modeler and the articles that have covered the event in the past. This year it was my time to go and my turn to write the article. I also had the pleasure of being an "official photographer" for SSM.

I would be traveling and rooming with members of the COMMIES (Colorado Modeling Militia Enjoying Sci-Fi). My travel mates were Mr. Badwrench (Brad Guy) and Kylwell (Robert Merril). The COMMIES arrived on Wednesday and crashed at my place in Wichita before going on to Louisville on Thursday. The trip was uneventful except for some major road construction in Kansas City which slowed us down greatly. We finally arrived at the Exec West at around 3:00 a.m.

After a very short night of sleep, we were tired but eager to get down to Sci Fi U and soak up the information like a sponge. Sci Fi U is an all day event sponsored by Federation Models with help from Cult TVman and Starship Modeler. This year the sessions covered cockpit detailing and scratchbuilding, basic lighting, working with resin, airbrushing and basic tools and equipment. The sessions were well organized and very informative. Many thanks to Tracy at Federation Models and the modelers who presented each class for a great day of learning how to improve our modeling skills. Andrew Probert sat in on the class and afterward there was an informal Q and A session where we were able to shake hands, talk and even take some rather silly pictures.

There was break before we all headed down to the meet-and-greet party, where people with whom we spend all year conversing online finally get to meet face-to-face. Everyone donned their ugly Hawaiian shirts, but I put on the black tie and hat. I missed out on a free drink from Griff, but was instantly recognizable. I ran into Joe Brown on the way down; within fifteen minutes of arriving at the bar and I met Blappy, Rallymodeler, Psi Cop Babe, Stu Pidasso, Griff, Sal Bravo, Das Phule, Trillian and Stargazer and many others. There was a display of classic kits and new kits from Federation Models at the Lizard Lounge, as well as Marc King's 1/350 PL Refit. There were also excellent fully lighted models of the NX01 and TOS Enterprise.

The evening soiree in the hotel's "Lizard Lounge", also hosted by Federation Models, was chance to meet even more people and for folks to have a bit of a show and tell session about their models. M3 had his GBX for all to see and I got a crash course from Joe Brown on how to cover an epoxy shell over a foam master. Thanks, Joe! Everyone was looking for John and Linda, but they and an intrepid crew of volunteers were busy unloading a trailer and prepping their table for the Dealer's Room.

The evening drew to a close and the CoMMies retreated to undisclosed locations somewhere in the hotel. We all commented that we could go home happy at this point, but there were two entire days left.

On Saturday morning, we registered our entries and got in line for the dealers room. I had the opportunity to be in line with Stargazer and Trillian, forum memebers who had flown to the event from the UK. The line for the dealer’s room was back up clear down the hall to the lobby, but once it opened things moved smoothly. It seemed like everyone from Starshipmodeler hit their table first to get business cards and lots of cool stuff. Stargazer was thrilled that myself, M3 and Jonas bought Dark Star kits as he was standing there - Ian mastered and produced the kit - and he was nice enough to sign our boxes for us.

As I was touring the dealers room I found my way to Erin Grey’s, this year's convention guest of honor, table. It was early and there wasn’t a line so I went up to her and turned on the charm. We talked for a little bit and I got an autographed picture. Next to Erin was David Hedison from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Other guests this year were Andrew Probert, Mark Goddard, Bob May, Kenny and Kenny Miller, make up artists Greg Nictotero and John Goodwin and Comic and Sci Fi arists Frank Cho, Joe Devito, William Sout, Mark Shultz, Vincent Di Fate and Frank Dietz. The guests gave presentations throughout the day. I attended Andy Probert's slide presentation where he talked about his conceptual design work on Battlestar Galactica, ST:TNG, Airwolf and other projects. I also attended Erin Grey's presentation later in the afternoon.

Finally, I found my way to the contest room where there were a lot of great models from all avenues of sci fi, fantasy and horror. There was a lot of talent in that room and this was the place to show it off. This year featured extended viewing hours on Saturday night so people didn’t have to fight crowds. I took most of my pictures at this time because there were less people to bump into.

After the dealers room shut down, we headed by the pool where there was much beer, pizza and cheesecake, Psi Cop Babe's cookies and the SSM pool party was underway. There were several kits, parts and books available for trade. I brought two boxes of wood bases and people couldn’t believe I was giving them away. There were several boxes of parts dumped on tables throughout the evening and people scrambling to see what they could find. I think everyone was surprised to see Andy Probert show up and look through the parts with us. I had another opportunity to talk with Andrew Probert while standing around on the patio. We talked about design and modeling more than the Enterprise refit and it was one of many personal high points for me over the weekend. The pool party lasted until the wee hours, but I left around midnight or so.

Sunday consisted of more strolls through the dealers room, more talking with people from SM and more demos and classes. I attended Larry 'SCiFI58’ Johnson's class on weathering and dry brushing.

At the awards ceremony Sunday afternoon, the folks from the extended Starship Modeler family did very well. A lot of the CoMMies were awarded merits and Rob (Kylwell) Merrill got best Out Of Box for his Macross VF-0S fighter. After the contest but before the "anti banquet", some of us headed to Kylwell’s room for a photoshoot of our models. Karim set up a small studio and took pictures with his really cool digital camera.

Sunday night was the "anti banquet" (so named because it is opposite the show's formal closing banquet back at the Executive West) at the Texas Road House. Originally we thought 25 people were going but 35 people actually showed up. Like everything else that weekend, this outing was a lot of fun. After the steaks and beer a group of us headed out to see Episode 3, but the real adventure I’m told was my driving. We missed a few turns, stoplights and curbs but everyone made it out alive and unharmed.

Monday morning was a bittersweet day. It was all over and time to head for home. I met a few more people from the Starship Modeler forums as we were leaving. On the way home all the CoMMies talked about was the weekend and the great time we had. All I talked about was Erin Grey. When we got home my wife wanted to hear all about it and it took me 2 and a half hours just to tell her about the pool party.

My first Wonderfest was everything I expected and more, and we will be talking about it until Christmas!


Below are some of the handouts provided at Sci-Fi U and the Wonderfest demos..
Download: Terry Miesle's Airbrush Weathering Effects ( MS Word)
Download: Dave 'Blappy' Guertin's Mastering Models to be Cast (Adobe PDF)
Download: Mark Yungblut's Using Epoxy Putty (Adobe PDF)
Download: Mark Yungblut's Further Aventures with Epoxy Putty (Adobe PDF)
Download: Ron Gross' Basics of Resin Casting (MS Word)
Download: Joe Brown's Scratchbuilding With Foam (MS Word)
Download: Larry Johnson's Washes & Drybrushing (MS Word)
Download: Kirk Schermerhorn's BAsics of Lighting Models (Adobe PDF)

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

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^ THis scratchbuilt, original design took a Gold
Image: Its companion won a silver
Image: Mecha
Image: Gundam ball
Image: Doomsday machine
Image: McQuarrie X-Wing
Image: EVA
Image: Inspired by a water strider
Image: USS Defiant
Image: SF3D suit
Image: Dark Ambassador
Image: Wild!
Image: Viper Mk2
Image: Alfred Wongs' Vipers
Image: Alfred's Hawk
Image: Cylon
Image: Legs
Image: Starfighter and Spindrift
Image: TIEs
Image: Justin's Sky 1
Image: SAAB's latest venture
Image: Robb Merrill's YT
Image: Robb's VF-0s shared the 'Best Out of the Box' award
Image: Another look
Image: Robb was so proud....
Image: SF3d Fledermaus
Image: Another look
Image: Robb's Hovertank
Image: Burly
Image: Scott Scariot's Starfleet One
Image: SF3D suit


Image: Brian Thewlis brought this hovercraft all the way from Australia
Image: SF3D Neuspotter
Image: SF3D Nutrocker
Image: Another suit
Image: Scott's Stormbird
Image: Classic Romulan BoP
Image: Banged up Snowspeeder
Image: Kenny Haverly's Box-o-stuff entrant
Image: Kenny's KY ANG Valkyrie
Image: Shiny!
Image: Fighter on a stick
Image: Orion
Image: Anime fighter
Image: Ripley and power loader
Image: Slice-n-dice
Image: 2500 scale fleet
Image: Super stardestroyer
Image: Ships named Enterprise
Image: Chris Woods' Baton Rouge-class
Image: Starfighter
Image: Delta Flyer
Image: Destroid Monster
Image: Neon Zeon
Image: Flying sub is in trouble....
Image: More gundam
Image: UFO
Image: Sky 1/Skydiver
Image: Nice wheels
Image: Mole
Image: Roswell UFO
Image: Big, bad and very red
Image: Erin Lantz's Big Eye conversion
Image: Brad Guy's Snowspeeders
Image: Another look
Image: Mean and green
Image: Scratchbuilt Vorlon fighter
Image: Flying
Image: Journey to the Far Side of the Sun
Image: Classic Cutaway
Image: Another look
Image: Z-95
Image: Another red Gundam
Image: Vulcan Warp Sled
Image: Scratchbuilt Spindrift
Image: Closer look
Image: Grav tank
Image: Gerry Anderson models


Image: Matt Jacobson's Death Puffin
Image: Another look
Image: Gundam Calliope
Image: Clown ship
Image: Moon buggy
Image: Space:1999 Laser Tank
Image: Another look at this scratchbuilt beauty
Image: But will it fly?
Image: Robinson's Space Pod
Image: Cima Custom by Erin Lantz
Image: Jedi Starfighter and ring
Image: Sith Infiltrator
Image: Kit Rees' Starfury
Image: Hefty
Image: AT-AT
Image: Hygog
Image: Erin's Hovertruck
Image: X-Wing
Image: TIE
Image: Zaku
Image: Squashed like a bug
Image: Shoulder to shoulder
Image: Dave Lanteigne's Mercury capsule - it's the Delta7Studios paper kit!
Image: 23rd Century BoP
Image: Bringer of Fire
Image: Red
Image: Big TIE
Image: SF3D Suit
Image: Karim Nassar's W-Wing
Image: V Mothership
Image: Another look
Image: Joe Brown's aerospace fighter
Image: Scott Scariot's Alrt-class
Image: It's purple!
Image: Another classic
Image: Starfighter
Image: Another look
Image: Another Hygog
Image: Another classic E
Image: Klingon D-7
Image: SF3D suit
Image: Rebel transport
Image: Havoc
Image: Jim James' Slave 1 shared 'Best out of the Box' award
Image: Jerry


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^ Jim James' Starfleet Shuttle Museum was a crowd favorite, with lots of recognizable 'visitors'
Image: Overall view
Image: Runabout
Image: Landing bay


Image: Media Junkyard
Image: This creation was filled with inside jokes ....
Image: ... and had something for every sci-fi fan
Image: Irwin Allen and Gerry Anderson, side by side
Image: The perfect vehicle for hunting deer
Image: Backlot
Image: Gundam
Image: Another in a more active pose
Image: Madcat
Image: Thunderbirds
Image: Ripley vs. Alien Queen
Image: RC flyer
Image: Hobbits hiding from a Black Rider
Image: Witch in the woods


Image: If the moster doesn't get you, the floodwaters will
Image: Extinction
Image: Rumble in the prehistoric jungle
Image: Kevin Stokes brought a number of Gundam dioramas, all of which won awards
Image: This one took a Silver (I think)
Image: This a Gold
Image: Battle Zone
Image: Big Wheel
Image: Lunch
Image: Hydra dragon
Image: The many faces of Lon Chany
Image: Terry Miesle's Ice Mage
Image: Terry's Raging Bulls
Image: Fist of Kong
Image: Little kids' nightmare
Image: Treehouse
Image: Wolfman (on a motorized turntable base)

Anime, Figures, Humor, Kaiju/Dinos & Juniors

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^ This Caped Crusader took home a truckload of awards Image: Overall display
Image: Another look
Image: Batgirl!
Image: Worth another look
Image: Catwoman and Batman
Image: From the left
Image: From the right


Image: Riddick bust
Image: King of the urban jungle
Image: Vasquez
Image: Big Terminator
Image: To protect and serve
Image: Dueling
Image: Luke, he is your father!
Image: Here be dragons
Image: Lovely ladies are always guests at the show
Image: Flying
Image: Another rumble in the jungle
Image: Frogwoman
Image: This tank is toast
Image: Superbug
Image: Nina
Image: Evil Spock
Image: Bright
Image: Fellowship of the Ring
Image: Armed and dangerous
Image: Lara
Image: Barb Wire
Image: Nightwing
Image: Green Goblin
Image: Supers
Image: Wolfman
Image: Wolverine
Image: More ladies
Image: Spidey
Image: Indy and his dad
Image: Scary
Image: Beauty and the beast
Image: More supers


Image: Pale
Image: Dr Doom kicks back
Image: Here be more dragons
Image: Metal man
Image: On a pedestal
Image: Anime heroines
Image: The Major
Image: The hills are alive .....
Image: Boldly going
Image: Bug to the Future
Image: Bugs of a feather
Image: Rubber-suited rampage
Image: Judges'/staff models
Image: More
Image: I wish I was as good as she is when I was that age....
Image: Juniour dino
Image: Dragon
Image: Godzilla stomp!
Image: This one is barking at the moon
Image: On the prowl
Image: Sumo stance
Image: That gundam is going down
Image: Bar!
Image: Sauropod track
Image: Running
Image: Shiny
Image: Pointy
Image: Yikes
Image: Good thing he was already sitting down...

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This page copyright © 2005 Starship Modeler™.
First posted 27 June 2005. Last updated on 11 July 2005.