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Frank Cronin
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Monogram 1/48 AT-6 Built by Stan Staples

December 29, 2013 · in Aviation · · 14 · 2.3K

I became aware of Stan Staples in 1967. I obtained a copy of a magazine entitled “1001 model airplane ideas, clubs you can join” published by Delta magazines. The purpose of the magazine was to promote an awareness of IPMS. There were a number of contributers to the magazine but Stan's work stood out to me and really re-ignited my hobby of building models. In 1972 My family and I transfered to Chico, CA, where Stan lived. I made it a point to introduce myself to him. From that point on we were fast friends. Sadly, last year, Stan passed away just short of his ninetieth birthday. Early on Stan became my mentor. I learned so much from him and am eternally grateful to him. He was the consummate gentleman. His skills in model building began well before the introduction of plastic models. He built stick and tissue and solid balsa models when he was very young.

He learned to fly at the age of 15 in a Curtiss Robin. He left Chico State University prior to completion to join the USAAF. His goal was to be a pilot of and A-20 Havoc but instead he was assigned to pilot a B-24 with the 461st Bomb Group (H), 764th Bomb Squadron, “The Liberaiders”. He flew out of Tarretta Field which was about 12 km south of Cerignola, Italy. After the end of the War he returned to Chico, finished his education, and became the owner of the local photography studio. He remained in the USAF reserves and eventually retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He was very active in IPMS almost from the beginning and he remained close to his old bomb group association.

He continued to fly and owned his own airplane a Cessna 195. This model of the was built shortly after released the kit. It is in the same scheme of one that he flew in 1947 out of Hamilton Field CA while in the USAFR. There is a photo of him in this aircraft on page 104 of the Arcadia Publication entitled “San Francisco Bay Area Aviation”. A number of years ago we traded models. I made a P-51 of the 357th FG for him and he gave me this model. This is the only model I have of his and it is showing the signs of age. All of his other models were donated to the museum at the old McClelland AFB. The base is no longer military but the museum is still there. In his final days he asked if I would complete a model he had started of a P-40F that was used as a hack by the CO of the 461st BG. It was then to be sent to the president of the 461st BG association. It was my privilege to do so.

A couple of the photos attached (if they come out) are: 1.Stan and Merle Olmstead historian of the 357th FG) critiquing the P-51 I had made for Stan. 2. A group established in the Chico are we called the “Chico Staff” which had Hub Zempke as our titular leader. Stan is in the front row kneeling. Most everyone in the group has a WWII aviation history and some of the names would be very familiar. Hub had passed away just prior to this photo being taken. The “Staff” has been disbanded as there are only three of those pictured that are still alive. 3. Photo of the first meeting we had with Colonel Hubert “Hub” Zempke. This was taken in 1974 and we remained close to Hub until he passed away. 4, Photo taken by Stan of the plane he learned to fly in at age 15, a Curtiss Robin.

Stan was a very important part of my life not only as a modeler but as a friend. I am submitting this as a homage to Stan. I have included Stan in a web-site that was created for me by my grandson. Stan and some of his models are shown in the guest section.

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7 additional images. Click to enlarge.

14 responses

  1. glad that came through...fine tribute as all ways...i went to guests

  2. Good looking examples of Stan's work, and a very nice tribute to him. Thanks for sharing, Frank.

  3. Very nice models, Frank, and a very interesting and touching story.

  4. Thanks for sharing your story Frank. You were lucky to have known him. The models he built look still look great and interesting to hear of him building his models before plastic models really existed. I enjoyed looking at your website and the work you have displayed there.

  5. Great tribute. The fact that you have such fond memoroes of him, and the fact that you are still modelling, says a lot about the man and his abiltiy to influence others in such a positive way.

  6. Sounds like you have met a lot of people in your travels Frank. The ones that help you along the way are the ones you don't forget. Sounds like Mr. Staples was the major influence in your choosing this hobby & for that we can all be thankful.
    As an aside, it sounds like he & my father were neighbors in Italy. My father was a second pilot in the 376th Liberando's.

  7. Nice story and Texan build as well...thanks for sharing.

  8. Thanks for that Frank. Great story and a fine tribute too!

  9. Nice commentary Frank, a very thoughtful story of a good friend, the best!

  10. WOW, Frank that is great tribute and an excellent model too, thank you for sharing this 🙂

  11. Great post, Frank. I too have seen Stan Staples' work in my old magazines. 1001 Model Airplane Ideas, and Air Space Model, along with the OLD Scale Modeler magazines are some of my favorites. I have always wondered what happened to the contributors - Stan, Lee Scow, Scott Slobodian etc. Thanks again.

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