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Tom Cleaver
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RIP John Alcorn

August 30, 2017 · in News · · 13 · 2.6K

Noted scratchbuilt modeler John Alcorn died this past Sunday of complications of Alzheimers and congestive heart failure.

I first met John 45 years ago, when he walked into a meeting of Golden Gate IPMS in Berkeley, California, at the behest of his good friend and co-worker down at Stanford Research Institute, the great George Lee. He brought in a 1/32 Bf-109E scatchbuilt in wood that looked like it was injection plastic.

Over the next couple of years, he brought in bits and pieces of his famous 1/32 scratchbulit A-20C - the landing gear that worked just like the original, the gunner's position that looked like he'd hit the real thing with shrink spray. Another year after he'd completed it, I moved out of the Bay Area and we saw each other sporadically at events until I moved down to Los Angeles and got involved in the movie business. Lost track of him till the 1998 IPMS convention in San Jose, where he brought his magnificent 1/24 DeHavilland DH.9, which won Best of Show. Connecting with him was like the last time we had seen each other was the weekend before. Stayed in touch with e-mail till the Alzheimers ended that

The best modeler and one of the best human beings I ever met. There isn't a major scratchbuilder out there who doesn't consider John a mentor.

The first photo is the Dh.9. The second is George Lee'sO3U that John finished after George died. It's in the National Museum of Naval Aviation, with a couple other of his models.

Fair skies and a tailwind, old friend,

Reader reactions:
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13 responses

  1. A true artist in the field indeed. Forgive my ignorance, but is that George or John in the photo?

  2. Thank you Jim, Thank you Tom.

  3. A fitting tribute Tom.

  4. Sad news, the Master of all scratchbuilders...

  5. A Giant walked among us...

  6. Got to meet John just once, a fine man, our hobby has lost one of its true Master Modelers.

  7. Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend Tom. Alzheimer's is a nasty disease. Hopefully someday there will be a cure for it. His work was amazing to say the least. He will be missed...

  8. Sad to see one of the true legends in scale modeling go. I only ever knew John from his books, but always considered him one of the Grand Masters of our trade. He will be greatly missed.

  9. I would echo what you already wrote, Tom: "Fair skies and a tailwind ..."

  10. It's very sad. Two of His books are long time on my bookself among the favourites. 🙁 He was a true artist.

  11. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    Truly a master and an inspiration to us all , one of the few Grand Masters of this our hobby.

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