848 articles · 76,180 karma · 161 friends · active 4 hours, 18 minutes ago

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

H-K Models 1/48 B-25J Mitchell

What became the B-25 Mitchell medium bomber originated in a 1938 Army Air Corps proposal for a twin-engine medium bomber. The February 1938 proposal from North American aviation was accepted and followed by the production of the NA-40 [...]

ICM 1/48 B-26K Counter Invader

Designed by Douglas Aircraft’s legendary Ed Heineman as a replacement for the A-20, the A-26 Invader was almost 150 percent larger than the earlier design. Powered by two R-2800s and using a laminar-flow wing, the aircraft had good speed [...]

Airfix 1/48 Gannet!!

Airfix has announced a 1/48 Fairey Gannet. With a wing-fold option! Bye bye CA kit.

Further newstest buiild of Dora Wings P-47B

Here's the recently-released photos of the test-build of the new Dora Wings P-47B. While the rest of the scale modeling internet is doing back flips and shouting "Huzzah!" the scale muddlers at Hyperflail are flailing it with red [...]

Coming from Dora Wings ; P-47B and P-47C

These sprue test shots have just been posted by Dora Wings. The kits will come later this spring. There has never been a dedicated model of a P-47B or P-47C. The closest one could get was the Hasegawa kit of the P-47D-1, where the cowling [...]

Mars Models 1/48 Lavochkin La-15

The Airplane: The Lavochkin La-15 is proof of the truth of the John Clark Rule (Clark is Tom Clancy’s go-to character for “getting things done” for those who don’t get the reference): “Good enough is good enough, and perfect is a [...]

Sabre Mk. 6, JG 71 Richtofen

I just ran across this model, which I built 12 years ago. I've rephotographed it for this article. When the North American Sabre flew in 1947, it attracted attention throughout the West’s aviation industry. In 1948, the Royal Canadian [...]

Modeling in 2022

In no particular order

Eduard 1/48 A6M3 Model 32 Zero

The Airplane: 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 [...]

Squadron Leader Johnny Johnsonthe last Dambuster

I noted in the author's foreword of my coming book on VIII Fighter Command that none of the people in the book, many of whom I had been privileged to know, were still alive. Obituary from The Telegraph: Squadron Leader Johnny Johnson, who [...]