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Those of you who were familiar with the aviation art of Tony Weddel will be saddened to hear of his death. Tony passed away on August 2, 2015 at the age of 73. He had been in a nursing home in Glen Rose, Texas for the last ten years or so as the result of a stroke and heart attack. Most of his prints are no longer available, although a few show up from time to time on ebay. Other than that, eight different prints...including 2 P-38s, a B-17, an Me-410 and a UFO...can still be seen and purchased from http://scalepublications.freeyellow.com/art%20tn.htmlas long as the supply lasts. If you've never seen Tony's work, you've missed a tremendous talent. He was my friend. I'll miss him.
There's nothing like having the original tech orders that specified how camouflage was to be applied to aircraft, both Air Corp and Navy, in WW-II. Even better are the exact specs for insignia and the dates when each insignia style was used. 51 years ago, Jay Frank Dial...a professional modelbuilder and amateur aviation historian...produced a thin book that summarized that information using nothing more than the original tech orders as his source. Jay passed away many years ago and his book has become virtually impossible to find. Since I knew Jay at the time he produced the book, I have an original. To honor Jay and to make that original material available to one an all, I have produced his book in a downloadable PDF format. It has also been enhanced with an index to make finding the information easier, along with ten photos of actual aircraft to help you see what the camouflage patterns really looked like. Viewable with an Adobe Acrobat Reader or print out any or all of it as a hard copy. Price is a paltry $9.99 and can be purchased by going to this link: http://modelersweaponsshop.freeyellow.com/camouflagebook.html
I, too, often wondered about Jim and where he was. Jim and I met when we were both members of the Texas Aviation Historical Society that met in Dallas. While the focus was aviation history, there were always models showing up (We can't get away from them, can we?), with the end result being the occasional contest. I was 21 and Jim was in his early 30s. Jim used to tell a story...and actually printed it in one of the Journals... that I would never forgive him because I was IPMS/USA #2 instead of #1. Of course he was kidding. In truth, the reason all of the early members ended up with the numbers we did was because Jim opened letters, pulled out the checks and assigned IPMS/USA numbers on a strictly random basis. To give you a little background of the very early days, consider this: When the IPMS/USA became a going concern...meaning after the first few membership numbers were handed out...our first publication was the British IPMS newsletter. The Brits would send their newsletter to Jim, he in turn would mail it over to me (30 miles from Dallas to Fort Worth) and I would do something that most people have forgotten existed and younger ones have never heard of. I sat down at a manual, portable typewriter in the dining room and retyped the newsletter onto an 8 1/2" x 17" mimeograph stencil (How many of you even know what I'm talking about?), then I would mail it back to him. He would then take the stencil to work with him and use their mimeograph machine to run off the appropriate number of copies to be mailed out. Interestingly, the company he worked for knew he was doing all this on company time and did not object to his activity. Whether or not Jim bought the stencils from the company or they let him take what he needed, I can't say. I lost track of Jim a long time ago. Sadly, I was at the 2000 Convention in Dallas and didn't know Jim was there. Either he never came by the table in the vendor's room where I was or did and I didn't recognize him (and he didn't identify himself) or I never got near him because I was only there in the daytime as the result of driving back and forth between Dallas and Fort Worth. That was the only IPMS/USA convention I've ever attended and most likely I'll never get near another one. The IPMS/USA is a great organization and one that I'm very proud to be a part of. In fact, the IPMS/USA had a lot to do with my ending up as a freelance writer/professional modelbuilder. I doubt seriously things would have turned out this way for me if it had not been for Jim Sage and the IPMS/USA. Yep, Jim was a special person and one that we all owe an immense debt of gratitude. Since he's no longer on this earth, some kind of special award/trophy needs to be created, with the first presentation to be made at the 2014 convention. The James H. Sage Best Of Show Trophy would be the obvious choice, but that position is already taken. Anyone else have other ideas? Keep in mind that Jim's preference was aircraft. Richard Marmo