About the Phantom Phlashers:
History of the Phantom Phlashers courtesy of Bill Powers.
In 1971, a group of modelers in Birmingham got together to form the
Birmingham Plastic Modelers Association, a group that has been in
continuous existence ever since! As I remember, Dave Beck and Ernie
Bradford were the movers and shakers getting the ball rolling. An old
newsletter reports there were sixteen modelers at the initial meeting
and 23 by the March, 1972 roster. Two of those modelers are still
active in the club. Today we have forty five listed on our roster.
Speaking of newsletters, much of this information was gleaned from the newsletters we published in the early days.
In 1972, Ernie designed and built display tables which we used to put on "shows" at local malls and the State Fair. The design was published in the July and August 1972 issue of the British IPMS monthly magazine.
A highlight of the early meetings and contests were the 16mm movies of airplanes in World War Two. In January, 1972, we saw the original "Memphis Belle" made in 1945. Little did we know at that time what a classic we were watching!
Homewood Cycle and Hobby Shop was our benefactor then, a relation that continues today with the next generation of owners! Our early newsletters always mention the door or contest prizes furnished by Walter at the hobby shop.
Our first club membership contest was June 1972, I took second with a Hawk Me 163, which I still have! Back then we had two categories, flying and non flying. I have a flier from our third contest/ mini convention held in 1977 at the airport Holiday Inn. By then we were up to 31 categories. One feature of our early contests was "slides and/or movies will run continuously in an adjacent room". A great place to sit down, relax and see the real thing in action.
We have been consistent in holding a local contest open to the public every year for the past thirty-three years. Due to cost, we moved the location of our contests to Anniston, Alabama which has a very nice, well lighted "convention center". We usually hold our contest in the spring and attract modelers from all over the southeast. In 2007 over one hundred modelers attended bring over four hundred models with them.
Our first meetings were in member's homes, then in an unheated and non air conditioned room at the local fixed base operation, then in a corporate building of one member and finally in the mid 1980's, at the new Southern Museum of Flight in return for providing models for display and assistance for their programs. We still meet there on the first Saturday of each month. The club continues to build for the museum, with recent efforts including a 1/72 air wing for the museums 1/72 U.S.S. Enterprise diorama.
Our meetings are fairly informal, beginning with a short business agenda to discuss upcoming contest, Toys for Tots contributions, IPMS matters, etc. This is usually followed by a demonstration of some modeling technique. Of course, we have the show and tell time for both completed models or the latest kit someone has just bought. All this can be interrupted when a member brings in boxes of surplus kits to sell!
Over the years modelers have come and gone in our club but we have always been blessed with some very talented modelers who have served as inspiration for others.
As for the name...Birmingham was the home of the 106th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, which used the RF-4C Phantom. It was only natural for us to adopt the name "Phantom Phlashers" in honor of our local unit. Unfortunately, the Phantoms have been retired and the group now flies tankers, but we still remember the roar of those Phantoms thundering down the runway. For many years, we would have a club contest for the best Phantom and we included a "Best Phantom" trophy in our local contests.
This lineage is the inspiration for our annual Anniston contest theme.