According to my mother, the first word I said was “airplane” (“oh-pane”) at around 11 months of age when a P-38 flew over the park we were in. I’ve had a love affair with airplanes and the people who are involved with airplanes ever since, which has become my career as an aviation historian and author.
I built my first model, a Strombecker all-wood P-80 (that dates it!) at age 6, after watching my father build other wood models for me. I quickly graduated to plastic models when I found Mr. Twist’s Fix-It Shop on South Gaylord Street in Denver, with its corner shelves full of wondrous kit boxes. I built my first biplane (a Hawk Models Nieuport 17 – still available from Testors) before I was old enough to know that “biplanes are hard.” With time out in the 1960s after graduating from high school for the Navy and college and “The Sixties” I returned to the hobby in 1970 hand haven’t left since.
I became a screenwriter in Hollywood in the 1980s, after first getting published as an aviation author in the 1970s in Air Enthusiast Quarterly. I’ve flown the back seat of an F-4E Phantom for an article on the Wild Weasels in Air Force Magazine, and had 20 minutes stick time in Jim Nissen’s 1918 Curtiss JN-4D Jenny for an article in Plane and Pilot, and been in everything in between over the past 45 years. When I worked in politics in Sacramento during the 1970s, I was a member of a club that flew Stearman N747JR (we called ourselves in as “Boeing 747 Junior”) and got around 100 hours in that fun machine.
I’m one of the original members here of iModeler, and consider it the best model club on the planet.
Author of “Fabled Fifteen: The Pacific War Odyssey of Carrier Air Group 15”, which you can order here:
You can order “The Bridgebusters: The True Story of the Catch-22 Bomb Wing” here:
You can buy “The Frozen Chosen” here:
You can buy “Pacific Thunder” here:
You can buy “Tidal Wave: From Leyte Gulf to Tokyo Bay” here:
You can buy “Holding The Line: The Naval Air Campaign in Korea” here:
Full review at Modeling Madness on October 17.
The Nakajima Type 4 Fighter, given the designation Ki.84 and the name Hayate (“Gale”) by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force, was the most formidable Japanese Army Air Force fighter of the Second World War, possessing none of the shor[...]
I think I first saw a photo of the Red Arrows maybe 40+ some years ago, back when they were flying Gnat trainers. I was knocked dead by them. Over the years after, I used to say to myself, "I gotta go to the UK, and see the Red Arrows." So, when[...]
For those who missed it first time around, it's back, at the very attractive price of 21 pounds.
Just a superb kit, you're nuts not to get one.
The Curtiss XP-55 Ascender was a response to Circular Proposal R-40C, issued on November 27, 1939, which called for a fighter more effective than any currently operational - with a superior top speed, rate of climb, maneuverability, arm[...]
A nice simple cardboard box full of plastic parts just arrived.
I even have to get the instructions via e-mail and it's a good thing I took advantage of the Sprue Brothers decal sale and got the Kits World B-17G stencil decals and markings for[...]
Sad news. Flew with her 10 years ago.
What's a real "joy killer" is the thought it was some 70-year old $5 part that failed, as a warbird restorer friend told me a few years ago was going to be the cause of the end of warbirds. The entire B-[...]
The A6M2 Model 21 Zero revealed it was slightly underpowered when it entered combat in 1941. Mitsubishi answered this problem with the A6M3, powered by an uprated Sakae 21 engine, which used a two-speed supercharger for better altitude [...]
David Thomas has lamented that there are no PR Mosquitos here at iModeler. I thought to correct him, and then realized I hadn't posted this article about doing the Airfix PR XVI.
So now there is a PR Mosquito at iModeler!
The one ro[...]