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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


The first quarter moon hung in the western sky gleaming dimly through scattered clouds over the Pacific; the moonlight sufficient to illuminate the many wakes of the huge formation of ships below. At 0300 hours, an observer would have [...]

Arma Hobby 1/48 Sea Hurricane IIc

The Hurricane Mark II was powered by a Merlin XX and had the wing center sections strengthened. Hawker had experimented with improving the fighter’s armament by fitting cannons. Their first experiments used two 20 mm Oerlikon cannons in [...]

Review: Trumpeter 1/32 TBD-1 Devastator

From the beginning of carrier aviation, the torpedo had been seen as the best weapon for aircraft to use against warships, given the light explosive weight and inaccurate aiming of aerial bombs. Due to the technology of the torpedo itself [...]

Just landed on my porch! Arma 1/48 Hurricane IIc

So, after a wandering trip from Poland through the US Postal System (thanks, Louis DeNoJoy) of 9 days once the package landed in Florida, my order for two of the new Arma 1/48 Hurricane IIc's landed on the front porch this morning. Initial [...]

This is cool news

Article from Warbird Information Exchange: Bringing a Fokker D.XXI back to airworthiness has been the lifelong dream of Mr. Jack van Egmond sr. owner of Egmond Vintage Wings at Hoogeveen airport in the Netherlands. Reviving a piece of [...]

KOREA: THE FORGOTTEN WAR 1/48 Hasegawa F-86F "The Huff"

First Lieutenant Jim Thompson's F-86F "the Huff" is famous for being famously photographed with the most astounding nose art of any USAF fighter in Korea. Thompson, a wingman in the 39th FIS of the 51st FIW, shot down a PLAAF [...]

Eduard 1/48 F4F-4 Wildcat (early)

The F4F-4 Wildcat was the result of a British request for a Wildcat with folding wings, to allow more to be carried on the escort carriers they operated from. At the same time, the British asked for an increase in armament from four to six [...]

It's here!! Trumpeter 1/32 TBD-1

The beeg box from Squadron landed on the front porch here at Le Chateau du Chat an hour ago. Preliminary observation: I was right that it is based on the Great Wall Hobby kit. That's good news. Other than everything is big, nothing looks [...]

KOREA: THE FORGOTTEN WAR - 1/48 Hasegawa F-86E-5(Can)Major John Bolt, USMC

The F-86 Sabre was the first really successful US jet fighter, with 9,800 Sabres produced between 1949-60 in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Italy and Australia. The F-86A was capable of supersonic flight in a dive, though the airplane was [...]

1966 Monogram 1/24 1937 Cord 812S Phaeton Cabriolet

The Car: The Cord 810, and later Cord 812, was a luxury automobile produced by the Cord Automobile division of the Auburn Automobile Company in 1936 and 1937. It was the first American- designed and built front wheel drive car with [...]