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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 the4 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

Just arrived – Mikro-Mir 1/48 DeHavilland DH88 Comet

Just arrived an hour ago from Ukraine. $65 delivered via eBay. I've long thought the DH88 Comet was one of the best-looking 1930s airplanes, and have wanted a 1/48 kit for a long time. Finally, Mikro-Mir delivers! Looking through what's in the[...]

Modelsvit’s P-51H Mustang

History: The original Allison-powered Mustang was a lightweight fighter with excellent handling capability. Pilots I know who have had the opportunity to fly these early Mustangs and compare them with the later Merlin-powered P-51B and P-51D un[...]

2019: Some good modeling memories

Since model-building is sort of half-work/half-play for me, I end up doing more models than most. These aren't all the models built, but they are the models I liked for various reasons... Airfix: I guess if you build four of a kit, it means you[...]

2020 – Oh Boy! Oh Boy!

Wow!! Wow!!! Wow!!!! From Hannant's "Future Releases" - ICM release list for 2020: 1/32 CR 42 - several different releases 1/32 Gladiator II and Sea Gladiator (also a "Foreign Services" release) 1/32 PT-13/17 Stearman also N2S-2/5 1/48 He-1[...]

AMG 1/48 Hawker Hart (Demon conversion)

History: Sidney Camm became Chief Designer at Hawker Aircraft Company in 1925, following his successful design of the Hawker Cygnet. Between then and his retirement from Hawker in 1965, he was responsible for the design of 52 different aircraf[...]

Modelsvit 1/48 P-51H Mustang – First Look

So, I got an e-mail from my friend Scott Zuiback over at "rebelalpha" on eBay that his Modelsvit shipment had arrived, so I hot-footed it over to the store and picked this puppy up. For those of you who do business with Scott, he's already sold [...]

Airfix 1/48 Spitfire FR XIVe

My fourth iteration of this kit (with one more left in the stash while I try to decide which markings/version to do). Did I mention I love this kit? History: t's a strange but interesting fact that the only "built for that specific powerplant"[...]

78 years ago today

For the 36 Enterprise fliers, their entry into World War II was “come as you are.” Air group commander Howard "Brigham" Young and his wingman, Ensign Perry Teaff, were passing over Barber’s Point when they spotted aircraft in the sky above the [...]

Freedom Models 1/48 Hawk III as a BF2C-1

History: Along with Boeing, the Curtiss Wright Corporation was the most prolific designer and manufacturer of single seat fighter aircraft for both the U.S. Army Air Corps and U.S. Navy between 1925 and 1935. Curtiss, however, differed fundame[...]

Kity Hawk 1/48 FJ-2 Fury

History: By the end of November, 1950, the Navy knew that its main fleet fighter, the Grumman F9F-2 Panther, was seriously outclassed by the opposition. LCDR William T. Ament of VF-112 had shot down the first MiG-15 confirmed by the Soviet reco[...]