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@tcinla Tom Cleaver

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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.

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

Looking for an excuse to drag out your F-89 kit? Here it is!

It's certain that there are a large number of modelers who have Revell's big 1/48 F-89D/J Scorpion sitting on the Shelf of Doom. Here's a reason to drag it out and set to work. Chad Summers (Flying S Models) has created a 3D-printed resin tank [...]

Revell 1/48 RAAF Beaufighter 21

History: The Beaufighter originated in 1938. During the Munich Crisis, Bristol Aeroplane Company began private development of a long-range fighter capable of carrying heavy payloads under the leadership of Chief Designer Leslie Frise. Evaluatio[...]

Hasegawa 1/48 A-4F Skyhawk “Lady Jessie”

From "The Hook": "Naval Aviation lost a devoted friend when Jessie Beck, 83, died in Reno, NV, in July 1987. As the first woman to own a major Nevada casino - the Riverside Hotel and Casino, she was called "the gambling grandmother," but to Ai[...]

77 Years Ago…

Dawn comes early in England during the summer. At 0200, June 6, 1944, the rumble of 48 Pratt and Whitney R-2800s reverberated over the quiet English countryside surrounding the former RAF base of Beaulieau Roads between Southampton and Bournemo[...]

Thank goodness I managed to get my FJ-3

Kitty Hawk/Panda have announced they are shutting down. One of the principals posts at Large Scale Planes and state "we are selling the kits on-hand, there are no new molds." You can bet the price of the FJ-3 has just gone up, so if you're a Na[...]

Dora Wings 1/48 Marcel Bloch MB.155.C-1

History: The Bloch MB.155.C1 was the last of the MB.150 series of fighters to enter production and see operational service. Arriving in squadrons in the final weeks before the Armistice in June 1940, only some ten were completed before the fall[...]

Trailer for Russian WW2 flying movie

Released April 29, the feature film "Devyatayev", shot with the participation of the TV channel "Russia 1", . The film tells about the last years of the Great Patriotic War and is based on the real story of the Hero of the Soviet Union Mikhail[...]

Dora Wings 1/48 MB-155

The MB-155 was the last development of the Marcel Bloch 150 series to see service. This is in the markings of GC I/1 Cne Germain Coutaud, who scored 8 victories in 1940 in the MB-152 and 155, making him one of the few Bloch aces (perhaps the on[...]

Armory Models 1/48 Fairey Flycatcher (early production)

History: The Fairey Flycatcher holds the honor of being the first designed-for-the purpose single-seat carrier-borne fighter to enter production. It served the Fleet Air Arm from 1923-1935, and was remembered with affection by the pilots who fl[...]

Dora Wings 1/48 Seversky P-35A

The P-35 was a military development of the Seversky SEV-3 three- seat amphibian, designed by Alexander Kartveli, Seversky's chief designer and was the first aircraft produced by Alexander P. de Seversky's airplane company. The SEV-3 flew in June[...]