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david leigh-smith
283 articles

Friendships, tanks…and chocolates.

February 22, 2018 · in Uncategorized · 60 Comments

iModeler makes more than scale kits, scratchbuilt projects, and dioramas. It builds friendships. By nature I think we modelers can be an insular tribe (do we become more self-contained because we are modelers or find modeling because we tended to be introspective as kids?), and I suspect a lot of us only relate to other people on our own terms.

The tag line for this forum is 'social scale modeling' and that's exactly what we do. From Jeff singlehandedly making sure every new member has at least one friend, to the huge efforts that go into the amazing group builds (I really wish I had more time), to the caring, inclusive and professional attitude of the admin team, this site really delivers in terms of friendship.

Today in the post I received this from a fellow iModeler. It's not the first time someone has reached out to me in friendship recently. This gift came from he result of some banter around tankers being a bit 'eccentric'. In truth I accept that all of our tribe are a bit bonkers.

Life (and people, I guess) can be hard and relentless. I just want to say thanks to all my friends... also - tankers are definitely amazing.


60 responses

  1. Nicely put David !
    Thanks for your contribution - you also help make the site what it is - you and all the other iModelers - thank you all.

  2. It's a pleasure, David. As noted, I only wish I had more time to build, and more time to support this great community.

  3. Very nice - thanks for sharing! It is pleasurable to find a "tribe" to belong to that extends beyond national borders, political philosophies, languages, etc. I thoroughly enjoy being able to give and receive encouragement, support and help via this community.

  4. 'plastique sans frontiers'

  5. What a surprisingly nice gesture...thanks for sharing your story.

  6. And thanks for reading, Craig!

  7. Real nice. Ahh the smell of styrene in the morning, smells like victory, or something as such.

  8. David, you are absolutely right! A wee bit more than a year ago I joined this club, and shortly thereafter I received a personal message from Tom B, asking if I were going to the 2017 IPMS Roscoe Turner Club show and if so, did we want to meet? I had been away from modeling for so long and didn't realize how BIG this hobby has grown since the late 70s / early 80s, when last I put glue to plastic. Long story short, since then I've had personal phone contact with numerous iMod members here, including Bernie (my Brother From Another Mother) Louis, a fellow DAT (he will tell you what that means if you don't know) "Mr. Corsair" aka - Jim, Josh, Paul, Frank, Craig, Dirk and numerous other great folks via the electronic autobahn! These are some of the finest men (in this particular place) I've known and I love talking to all of them. I don't get around much (health reasons) and talking with these folks has become the highlight of my days! I've "met" folks from all over the globe, and while many seem to be "Old Phartz" like me, some are young. These young modelers are the future of this - and many other "niche" groups.

    To David, Louis, Martin, Johannes, and all number of others, thanks for letting me share these fun moments with you !

    • PS - Tom, I AM getting the F6F sorted out ... finally. Thanks again!

    • We appear to share the same taste in friends. Boy, there are a lot of good people here.

      Thanks for sharing, Jeff.

    • I really enjoy talking with you too Jeff... It's always a pleasure my fellow DAT. It's uncanny at how many things we all share in common.

      I just posted these photos for you Jeff...

      This is my tank, hidden somewhere in Southern Germany 1983...


      and here we are road marching through a little German town. A sight that I am sure you have seen (and something you have done) on numerous occasions...

      I just found a bunch of old pictures I took... and can post up some more...

      Enjoy these my friends.

        • DAT is an abbreviation for "Dumb A$$ Tanker"... Later when we went into the M-1 series of tanks, we were called C-DAT's. Now we were considered "Computerized Dumb @$$ Tankers"... 🙂

        • David: DAT - A rather UN-flattering "name" (acronym) that others - usually Infantry (grunts, or what we tankers called "track grease") called us occasionally that stands for "Dumb A*s Tankers." We preferred the acronym CDAT: "COMPUTERIZED Dumb A*s Tankers!" Personally, call me anything except late for dinner!

          • Brilliant, just brilliant.

          • Didn't mean to echo what Louis wrote. We apparently were busy typing at the same time!

            As Louis said - amazing, the things we have in common. Even the same explanations nearly word for word!

          • Track grease! Egad! I always remember Bill Mauldins cartoon, Willie and Joe see this tank going by, and one of them says "A moving foxhole attracts the eye." Thanks for the photos, I love the road march one. Being an office pogue, I didn't get to see scenes like that. Impressive! Not to mention LOUD.

  9. As us Harps say "God bless all here!" Oh, and "God bless the work!"

  10. Yes all true, we are a special breed, thinly spread around the globe but here at imodeler we meet like souls to learn from and share thoughts and knowledge with. Thanks imodeler for a fab service offer!

    • Michel, it's way beyond the plastic. You look around at other sites (if I weren't a gentleman I'd name a few) and you can sometimes see criticism, bullying, schadenfreude, jealousy, and downright aggression. There is a culture here in iModeler that just won't tolerate those things. I'm not gloating in any way, just proud that we look after each other here.

  11. David, thank you for sharing this nice gesture. You are right, scale modelling is a great way to join with like minded friends all over the planet. It's allways a pleasure to see and read what we are all building and the adventures to overcome the challenges in many builds and subjects.
    IModeler is a great platform to support each other and share a lot of knowledge.
    And all this comes from a box full of plastic parts. Keep it going!

  12. I agree David. You hit the proverbial nail right on the head... and yes we "Tankers" are an eccentric lot ... 🙂

    We are very fortunate to have Imodeler and it's dedicated staff.

    There are times when we don't get to spend as much time at the work bench as we would like to. It's part of that "Life" thing that occasionally gets in the way of our hobbies.

    For me, I have had the pleasure of making some new friends here on Imodeler, some of whom live "across the pond"...(including you buddy). My new friends have helped me out of a few jams. Rick Wilkes provided a spinner for my Accurate Miniatures SBD, during the Midway GB. Rob Pollock sent me a beautiful set of drawings and instructions for a Sopwith Camel, since he knew I occasionally scratch build WW1 Radio Control planes.

    In turn I have done a few things to help out others in an effort to promote good will and our hobby. It's the right thing to do.

    As was writing this article.

    Thank you David. You are a gentleman and a scholar. But most importantly, you are my friend.

    • Louis, thanks for the reply.

      Many people have said we are fortunate to have iModeler as a 'home'.

      Perhaps when we come back to this hobby (as most of us have, after a break finding college, work, families, and other distractions) we are not only recreating scale models; maybe there is a wish to capture something simpler, nobler, and freer with our friendships.

      After all, when do we ever have friends like we did in our childhood? Loyalty, shared experience, understanding (no matter how 'niche' our interests are), connection, acceptance. I've experienced all those here with my friends, my tribe.

      Lots of sites are about the plastic. This isn't one.

      Thanks, Louis, I'm proud to call you friend.

  13. For all you tankers!

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

    • Easy Eight - a legend.

    • Wow! That's a really detailed model from the Movie! Why ... it practically looks REAL! LoL!

      David Mills, thanks for the great photo - I have some minor irritations about that movie, but overall, I enjoyed it a lot. Is that the actual Easy-8 used in the movie?

      • Yours truly with the 'Fury' Easy Eight.

      • I think it is. Brad neglected to clean it before he went home! Here are a few extras!

        3 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  14. What a great story David, thanks for sharing. Like you I thoroughly enjoy this site and the many friends and contacts I've made since joining. Marvin and crew are to be congratulated for establishing such an excellent site for us to communicate with one another. What a great group of personalities that genuinely want to help or assist one another concerning this passion for plastic we call a hobby. And God bless the wives that put up with us. However,having been a duck hunter for over 28 years, I still believe Tankers are a very strange and unusual breed.

    • Duck Hunter huh ? I just learned something about you Tom...

      I spent a lot of time at Ft. Bliss, AKA the "Duck Hunter Capital of the World". We used to pull guard duty on your stuff... a lot !

      Such was life in the Cav., while being stationed on a Duck Hunter base. 🙂

      Your mess halls were better than ours too... I'm just saying.

      • I believe we are all a strange and different breed in this hobby, Tom. It's just as well Martin and crew created this community; keeps us away from the public.

      • And Louis you Cav guys would always mess up our nice clean desert with those big clanky clank things. I forget what they were called.

    • My, my, my! Strange & unusual breed? I resemble that remark! We tankers have a certain mindset. Some would say we've lost our minds!

      1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

      • Yes ... that WAS my tank. No ... I did NOT put my tank in that hole! That "hole" USED to be a basement of a house in the Hohenfels tank training area in Germany around 1985.

        @ahos - William Mori, look at the picture of my Panzer. You were worried about having too much "weathering" or mud effects, right? You'll notice that the side skirts are so well covered with mud that it looks like the new desert camo that's painted on ... and that wasn't as muddy of a field problem as some were!

        Tom - we Cav Troopers called those clanky clank things "home."

        • I think the prosecution rests on the 'strange and unusual' charge. Good luck with any defence.

        • Ha ha... Good stuff Jeff ! That brings back some memories. I can remember seeing a tank that was stuck so bad, all you could see was the top parts of the turret !

          Tom,
          Yes those "clanky" things were our home...and we did tear up the desert. Here's a picture of when we accidentally set the desert on fire ! From our tracer rounds. You can see the smoke in the background, and yes the desert will burn.


          Noisy, smelly, filthy, greasy, uncomfortable, like living in a freezer during the winter, and an oven in the summer, but home none the less, for 30 to 45 days on average. Living the dream as we put it... 🙂 Here we are just as a sand storm was starting up... not fun !

          Yours truly "rocking and rolling" with Ma Deuce. If you look close you can see the ammo connecting links falling out as the empty casings were ejected. I was firing from an M-113 in this photo.

          This last picture I took when I was a driver and we were going down range on a live fire exercise. We just stopped, while the other tank just fired off the main gun. You can see the dust cloud just ahead of it. The back of the starboard side vision block and headlight from my tank is visible in this picture, as is the bottom side of the main gun tube, which is at the top center of the photo.

          These pictures should bring back some memories for you Tom and Jeff... Hope you all enjoy them.

          I just love this new feature now that we can insert photos with our replies !

          • Amazing photos, Louis, and thanks for sharing all these memories. It's great (and a privilege) to see some of 'non-plastic' parts of your life.

        • Very interesting and very cool. Just looking around the internet I have yet to find an image like this. Perhaps I’m hitting the wrong queries or just not looking hard enough. Either way this a great picture.

          • Hi William, welcome to the party. Really liked your Chieftan, are you working on anything at the moment?

          • Thanks for the compliments on the photo. This is one I took many years ago and it has never been published on the internet before. (Neither have any of the others I just posted above it) I'm glad you liked it. I have many more like this one in my collection from my Army days...
            Like David, I really liked your Chieftain too. Looking forward to your next article as well...

  15. David what a blessing, truly a very kind gesture. This site do have an bunch of like minded people. Sharing knowledge and skill for this hobby. Starting with Martin and the team that is now imodeler. It has been a pleasure to be a member of this site. Encouraging words and tips from so many of you here. But I have also made some good friends here as well. The group builds have also enhanced the overall uniqueness of the site. It is one that I visit everyday. Looking forward to what is new and view the models that were built with passion.

  16. Chuck, you are such a prolific contributor in this forum and given such a lot of support to others; an embodiment of the iModeler spirit.

  17. This is certainly the friendliest site for modellers you are likely to find. Good people good models and a few good laughs now and then. Whats not to like. Cheers David.

  18. Slainte, Anthony.
    Even our rivet counters on iModeler (and I can be one myself depending on the subject) are house trained.

  19. I certainly agree with the comments regarding iModeller, it's definitely more than just a modelling forum; being a little isolated here in China, it's been a big help in keeping me sane over last few years. I'm not a tanker but was a "shiney" in the RAF for a few years. However, my oldest brother (I'm the youngest of four) spent his national service as a tanker, after that he carried on as part-timer in the Terriers until he reached retiring age, then becoming a volunteer at Bovingdon Tank Museum. Due to ill health he's eventually had to stop doing that as well. Obviously, tankers never stop doing what they love.

  20. Thanks for the comments, George. I've been to Bovingdon several times and quite possibly met/talked to your brother as I always make some time to speak with the volunteers (they're usually so helpful and well informed). Hope you are both well, and hope to see more of your work soon.

  21. Well, this series is almost a year old, but I'm resurrecting it because what David said about our "tribe" is still valid. In the past year we've all had "Life" incidents ... some good, some bad, but ALL important in the great scheme of things. It's what makes us who and what we are. I always say "You live and learn ... or you don't live long." That was said by the character Woodrow Wilson Smith in a very good (IMHO) science fiction book. (Here is where I speculate that someone out there in iModeler Internet-Land will quickly know the more common name of that character, and can identify the book and the author of said book. Time starts NOW!) [12 Feb.2019; 17:39 hours, E.T. - USA; Greenwich - 6 hours, if I remember correctly]

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