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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

Hobby Boss 1/48 F-105D Thunderchief “Cherry Girl”

Frequently, my choice of models to build is influenced by whatever book project I am working on. That was the case with this model, which I decided to build while writing “Downtown: the U.S. Air Force in Southeast Asia 1961-73" that will be rele[...]

A WW1 site you must visit

Mike "Sandbagger" Norris is one of the best WW1 modelers out there. His models are stunning. And the 100+ page PDF build logs are textbooks in their own right - and are downloadable. I just added all of them to my library and will put the knowle[...]

Bill Whisner’s Ponies

Tamiya P-51B to do 352nd FG ace Bill Whisner's "Princess Elizabeth," a name he put on to celebrate the visit to the group by Princess Eilzabeth, later Elizabeth II. That fall, he traded up to a P-51D-10 he named "Moonbeam McSwine" after an Al Ca[...]

Great color photos from WW2

Some things are misidentified, but nothing anyone here can't figure out.

Great Wall P-61B “Lady In The Dark”

Since it seems P-61s are suddenly popular here, I'm posting the review I did of the Great Wall Hobby kit at Modeling Madness a few years back, which may be of assistance to people. You can cut to the chase at the end which may save you both mone[...]

Empire of Japan: Hasegawa Ki. 43-I “Haya busa”

The Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa ("Peregrine falcon") Army Type 1 Fighter was the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force first “modern” fighter with retractable landing gear. In fact, it was a “halfway house” between the ultra-maneuverable Ki-27 and the Ki[...]

Bill Bosworth does a boat

Not only does the man make amazing scratchbuilt models, he's no slouch with a ship. These shots of the Revell 1/350 Tirpitz just showed up in my in-box. He occasionally drops by here, and wanted me to say that when it comes to putting photoetc[...]

Sir Peter Jackson and the airplane thief – a fascinating read

A really fascinating - that's right, I said FASCINATING! - article on Sir Peter Jackson and Gene DeMarco. If you wondered why WNW got dragged down with the rest of the wreckage, this will fill you in.

Clyde East, the Tac-R Ace of Aces

History Born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia on July 19, 1921, Clyde Bennett East was the fifth of nine children. Raised on a rural family farm, he longed to experience adventure in the military. At 19, failing to meet the entry requirements f[...]

HK’s new 1/48 Lancaster

The scale-down of the excellent H-K 1/32 Lancaster to 1/48 ships next month. MSRP US$107.00 - the 45-year old Tamiya Lancaster lists for $130.00 according to the Tamiya America website. For those who may be interested, Kits World Decals has a [...]