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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.

My most recent book, "Clean Sweep: VIII Fighter Command Against the Luftwaffe 1942-45" will be published by Osprey on May 23.

My wife of 27 years finally escaped Parkinson's on February 20 and sailed west to the unknown land beyond the sunset where she once again paints seascapes with her friends, her cats.

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

Review: Eduard continues to own the Wildcat

Eduard brought out the "classic" F4F-4 Wildcat, following that with the first really accurate FM-2 "Wilder Wildcat" in any scale, and then stealing Tamiya's fire about updating their 30 year old F4F-4 as an FM-1 with an [...]

Review: 2023 newcomersArma, Magic Factory, Mini-Art

2023 saw three new companies enter 1/48 kits with products that, when completed, can be called, "definitive" and "best in scale." Arma's Hurricanes definitely win "best in scale." I took a Hurricane IIc and [...]

Review: Halberd kits of 2023

To my mind, Halberd is hands down the best resin kit maufacturer currently working. And Andrey is doing it all on his own, in Ukraine with all that means! This was the year of all-resin kits. There was the Mustang I/XP-51, the P-51 racer [...]

Second release: Modelsvit 1/48 P-51H Mustang

The original Allison-powered Mustang was a lightweight fighter with excellent handling capability. North American was aware of this during the aircraft’s original wartime development, and put considerable effort into trying to come up [...]

Review: Halberd Models 1/48 North American Mustang I

In October 1981, Edgar Schmued came out to the Planes of Fame Air Museum to take part in a program celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first flight of his most famous design, the North American P-51 Mustang. At the event, he was asked [...]

Review: MiniArt 1/48 P-47D-25RE Thunderbolt

The P-47D-25RE Thunderbolt went into production in the spring of 1944, following experimentation with a new full-vision “bubble” canopy in 1943 with the YP-47K, following Hawker’s development of such a canopy for the Typhoon. It [...]

Review: Academy 1/48 Beechcraft T-34B Mentor

The T-34 was the brainchild of Walter Beech, who developed it as the Beechcraft Model 45 private venture at a time when there was no defense budget for a new trainer model. Beech hoped to sell it as an economical alternative to the North [...]

Halberd Models Piper Enforcer (Model 1971)

Over the years, many aircraft types have evolved become far more by having their existing piston engines replaced with turboprop powerplants.Less common is to eimagine a World War II-era fighter as a modernized, turboprop attack aircraft [...]

Here's a nice Christmas present for airplane geeks

Coming this Christmas from Disney+ and Executive Producer/Star/Certified Airplane Nut John Travolta. Frederick Forsyth's "The Shepherd" (link)

Review: Magic Factory F4U Corsairs

The F4U Corsair was designed by Vought Aircraft in response to a 1938 BuAer RFP for a fleet defense fighter. The prototype appeared in 1940, the first fighter to be powered by the new Pratt & Whitney R-2800, 2,000 hp radial engine. In [...]