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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 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:

Airfix 1/48 Spitfire FR XIV as an FR 18

It's a strange but interesting fact that the only "built for that specific powerplant" Spitfire to achieve a large production run was the Mk.I; while there were several other Marks specifically designed to make maximum benefit of the additional [...]

New Airfix Spitfire – teaser

Here are a couple shots of the new Airfix Spitfire XIV, done as a FR XVIII of 32 Squadron in Palestine in 1948, using kit decals, some Eduard decals, and Xtradecals for the individual markings. The FR XVIII is an easy "conversion" - keep the fu[...]

Another Bill Bosworth “We’re not worthy!”

Bill Bosworth send me these photos of his 1/32 scratchbuilt Douglas Mailplane. All you scratchbuilders leave me in awe. The rest of us can practice "We're not worthy! We're not worthy!!!"

Eduard 1/48 Fw-190A-8

The Fw-190A-8 is the most-produced Fw-190 sub-type with over 6,655 A-8 airframes produced from March 1944 to May 1945. A-8s were manufactured in at least eight factories during its production run. The aircraft was a development of the previous A[...]

It’s here!

Just picked up the new Airfix Spitfire FR XIVE at the LHS. Looking through it, this is the Spitfire XIV we've always wanted. Accurate shape, accurate dimensions. Good detail. Note in the photo of the sprues that the wing comes full-span, and [...]

D-Day Remembered

My friend, the late Archie Maltbie, had a pretty interesting D-Day story. That day he flew his first combat mission, as a pilot in the 365th "Hellhawks" Fighter Group of the 9th Air Force. From my article in this month's Aeroplane Magazine: A[...]

Parachutists re-enact D-Day drop

TV heads up

"The Cold Blue," the highly-anticipated documentary on the 8th Air Force is on HBO Thursday with multiple screenings then through the weekend. I just realized it seeing an ad earlier tonight. Anybody here with HBO who doesn't see it is going t[...]

77 years ago today

From my coming book "I Will Run Wild", quoted from the memoirs of John Bridgers, a naval aviator who experienced the Doolittle Raid, the Battle of Midway, the Battle of Guadalcanal, the Battle of the Philippine Sea and the Battles of Leyte Gulf:[...]

1/48 RAF Mustang ponies

Everyone "knows" that the Mustang was the airplane designed and built in 120 days for the British because North American's Dutch Kindelberger didn't want to build Curtiss P-40s under license, and that the first Mustangs were a disappointment bec[...]