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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 me!) 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 and 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 love the fact that William Green, who wrote the first "serious aviation book" (All The World's Aircraft 1954) that I got my father to buy for me was the first person to publish me. 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 back in 1979 for an article in Plane and Pilot, and been in everything in between over the past 47 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", "Pacific Thunder: the Pacific War from Wake island to Leyte Gulf," "Tidal Wave: From Leyte Gulf to Tokyo Bay," "The Frozen Chosen: The First Marine Division and the Battle of Chosin Reservoir," "Holding The Line: the Naval Air Campaign in Korea," and "MiG Alley: The US Air Force in Korea - 1950-53" which will be released on November 26.

My most recent book, "Clean Sweep: VIII Fighter Command Against the Luftwaffe 1942-45" will be published by Osprey on May 23.

My wife of 27 years finally escaped Parkinson's on February 20 and sailed west to the unknown land beyond the sunset where she once again paints seascapes with her friends, her cats.

You can order all of them here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Thomas+McKelvey+Cleaver&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

The P-51D Mustang Bert Stiles Died In

Bert Stiles is the most famous author to graduate from South Denver High School, having written “Serenade to the Big Bird,” one of the true classics of Second World War literature. I’m the only other writer who graduated from that [...]

Review: P-51B "Little Jeep"experimenting with Super Metallics

Between 1942, when the American Volunteer Group was disbanded, and 1944, US air forces in China were a shoestring operation at the end of a long supply line, operating in a theater of operations that was considered secondary by the Allies. [...]

Airfix F-86F-40 modified to Sabre Mk. 6 and the Golden Hawks for F-86 Sabre Group Build

The Airplane: The Canadair Sabre series was built by Canadair under licence from North American Aviation. Sabres were produced until 1958 and used primarily by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) until replaced with the Canadair CF-104 in [...]

Bud Anderson, R.I.P.

Those of you who purchased my book “Clean Sweep: VIII Fighter Command vs the Luftwaffe,” have seen that the cover very prominently features the fact that the Foreword was written by Brigadier General Clarence Emil “Bud” Anderson. I [...]


E. L. Cord, owner of the Auburn Automobile Company, and other transportation firms, bought the Duesenberg Motor Corporation on October 26, 1926, for the Duesenberg brothers' engineering skills, talent and brand name. He intended to produce [...]

Review: 1/48 Academy F-86F "Paper Tiger"

The Airplane: The F-86F was developed as a result of the combat experience over Korea against the MiG-15, which had shown that the F-86A and F-86E were outperformed by the Soviet fighter at high altitude. Appearing in Korea in the summer [...]

Review: Eduard 1/48 P-51B "Salem Representative"

During September, 1943, rumors abounded among pilots in the fighter groups regarding things to come. Word of the first flight of the P-51B in Los Angeles spread through the world of Air Force fighter pilots like wildfire. When Chesley [...]

It’s here! ICM 1/48 B-26B Marauder

Christmas in April! There on the front porch was a big box from Prague, with the Kool Kitz from Eduard: the 1/72 Bf-109F double kit, and the Bf-109G-2, all beautiful. The 1/48 FM-1 (the first kit I ever managed to convince them to do) with [...]

Oh Happy, Happy, Happy Day! A 1/48 F-86A!!!

Clear Prop will officially announce the release of a 1/48 F-86A at the Moson Model Show this coming weekend. From design information made public,the kit will ultimately be released in multiple versions. OH HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY DAY! Clear Prop [...]

We're Not Worthy!! (Again)Bill Bosworth's 1/48 scale scratchbuilt H6K "Mavis"

I hear stamp collecting and knitting are hobbies that lots of people enjoy... The latest from Bill Bosworth: 1/48 scale scratchbuilt vacuform Kawasaki H6K Ocean Reconnaissance Seaplane (Allied code name Mavis) The wingspan is 32 inches.