Tank Farm “Open House” Road Trip Roundup
Last weekend the Brickmania set up a display at the Americans in Wartime Museum‘s fundraising Open House at “Tank Farm” in Nokesville, VA. We were invited to display by Paul Kopsick, the official historian for National Dusters Quads and Searchlights Association and a volunteer at the Tank Farm. We set up our display in a large garage that is usually full of armored vehicles the rest of the year, but this weekend it was filled with displays by militaria collectors, model makes, and Brickmania’s LEGO® tanks.
The Open House consisted of several large fields dotted with about 75 historical armored vehicles from various 20th century conflicts and time periods. Among the armored vehicles were encampments of various living history actors wearing period costumes. Those represented included the Wehrmacht, British Long Range Desert Group, US Airborne, French Foreign Legion, and others. There were also various tents and pavilions set by different organizations, many of which included displays of historic artifacts.
Brickmania set up our Peleliu Invasion diorama along with a 22 foot display of armored vehicles. New additions to the Peleliu Invasion include a pair of the our new DUKW kits, ferrying supplies to (and wounded soldiers from) the beach.
While at the “Tank Farm” we met Allan Cors, whose vision brought this amazing armored vehicle collection into being, and is the driving force behind the Americans in Wartime Museum project. (Allan was featured in the UK Daily Mail where you can see Brickmania’s van and display in the pictures).
The second day of the show was less attended due to the constant drizzle and unseasonably cold temperatures (all of the historical actors stuck around except the Germans). By afternoon the weather cleared up enough for live action to continue, including an impressive World War II flamethrower demonstration by the US Marines.
We scheduled an appointment to tour the Ropkey Armor Museum on our return trip. This museum is the based around the private collection of US Marine / Korean War veteran Fred Ropkey who has been collecting military artifacts since his youth. Ropkey has an outstanding collection of fully restored armed vehicles, most remarkably US tanks from the M1917 through the M48, but militaria of all sorts from the renaissance through the present day.
Of course our colorful vehicle raised a lot of questions about what we do, so we brought out some of our own collection to show off. The other visitors and Fred himself seemed quite impressed by our LEGO armor we produced from the van. They asked us to leave some of our models and we plan to deliver a display for their museum next week on our way back through.
We usually try to visit a museum or historical monument whenever possible on our travels. On this excursion we were able to display in the midst of one Museum’s event, while visiting another museum on the way home. We’ve been meeting a lot of other folks who have interest in historical preservation and so far the LEGO displays have received a warm welcome (rather than the hysterical laughter we expected). Next week we’re heading out to display aboard the LST 325 and look forward five days of total immersion in history.
More pictures from Ropkey Armor Museum are HERE.