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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

Monogram 1/48 F-80 "The Beer City Special"36th FBS, 8th FBW, Korea 1951

The technological revolution in aircraft design and operation that resulted from the successful development of jet engines brought about more technological change in the five years between the end of World War II and the Korean War than [...]

Review: Dora Wings 1/48 Republic P-47B Thunderbolt

Originally designed to meet an Air Corps specification for a high-altitude point-defense interceptor, forced to become a long-range escort fighter for lack of an alternative, then finding its metier as a low-altitude ground attack [...]

Review: First lookMagic Factory F4U-1A / F4U-2 Corsair

Photos to come later. This is first impressions: Most important: don't believe the voices over at Hyperscale. The kit is not unbuildably wrong - not as much as the usual critics are unreformable. The rivet pattern in the wings they are all [...]

Hawker Tempest IIfirst flight post restoration

This is the only flyable Hawker Tempest II in the world. The Tempest was the biggest, most powerful, fastest British fighter of World War II and the last World War II RAF fighter to see combat, flying in the Malayan Emergency 1948-51, when [...]

Mikro-Mir DeHavilland Venom FB4

De Havilland proposed a development of the Vampire for the high altitude fighter-bomber role in 1948, using a thinner wing and a more powerful engine. With the4 company identification of DH 112, further development to fulfill Air Ministry [...]

I hate news like this, especially when it involves a friend

The remaining hours of the final Reno Air Races have been cancelled after a crash between 2 planes killed each of those planes' pilots Sunday afternoon. Pilots Nick Macy and Chris Rushing died in what a statement from the Air Races is [...]

Searching for "Akagi" right now!

Robert Ballard's team is diving today in search of the Japanese carrier Akagi, which they think they have found at a depth of 17,500 feet. Here's the livestream: (link) (link)

Eduard 1/48 Wildcat V

The Aircraft: The FM-1 Wildcat was an F4F-4, redesigned to have armament of 4 .50-caliber weapons with the per-gun ammunition load of the F4F-3. It was produced by Eastern Aircraft, a division of General Motors, with production beginning [...]

Review: Eduard 1/48 A6M2-N "Rufe"

Following delays in the design and development of the Kawanishi N1K1 floatplane fighter, Nakajima designed and produced the A6M2-N (Navy Type 2 Interceptor/Fighter-Bomber) as a single-seat floatplane based on the Mitsubishi A6M Zero Model [...]

Eduard 1/48 Grumman/Eastern Aircraft FM-2 "Wilder Wildcat"

The Wilder Wildcat: Quick: which World War II U.S. Navy fighter had a kill-loss ratio of 32:1? Was it the Hellcat? Nope. The Hellcat’s score was 19:1. Was it the Corsair? Nope. The U-bird’s score was 11:1. It was in fact the FM-2 [...]