Hello, and welcome to the world of the Mad Modeler.
This is a portfolio, blog, website, spot on the world wide inter-webs where I will be posting about my hobby of building models.
So here is the story of me.
I built my first model when I was 4 years old. I had watched my brothers build models in the basement of our townhouse in base housing in Fairbanks Alaska, and realized that I might like to do the same. On a trip to the base PX, I convinced my father to buy me a model airplane. I spent the rest of the evening in the basement following the pictures as I glued piece after piece together. When it was finished, I ran upstairs to show my mother and father my creation. I was sure they would be proud of my creative accomplishment. I was wrong. Being 4 years old, I did what any 4 year old would do when they got something on their fingers. I wiped them on my pants. Turns out my mother was more pissed at all the model glue on the ruined Sears jeans I was wearing than proud of my “build”. Not a good start to my career of turning chunks of plastic into tributes of modern and historical machines.
Not to worry. Over the years my mother recognized that I had an artistic talent hidden in my self. She soon encouraged me to build. I loved airplanes and all things involved in flight. I joined 4-H and earned awards in Model Rocketry. I had dreams of becoming an astronaut one day. Join the Air Force, become a pilot, move on to Test Pilot, and then to the Space Program.
Alas, my mother realized the coke-bottle bottomed glasses I wore would forever prevent that. Still, she fed into the artistic side. She enrolled me into a Revell Model Club. Once a month I received a model from Revell to build. A catalogue was always included so you could order more. For about two years I built models of the USS Missouri, a Stuka Dive Bomber, a WWI Spad fighter (which I convinced her to buy the Fokker Tri-plane to go along with it), a Lunar Lander, a Star Trek Enterprise, and many more. The club sent models in a progression of skills, and my skills improved with each one.
I built and flew control line aircraft as well. But limited finances prevented me from moving into Radio Control for many years.
I joined the Navy right out of high school, and volunteered for Submarines. My creative nature continued, but with more adult projects. I built several black powder pistols from kits, finishing the stocks and blueing and browning the metals. I also went back to models, but with a different track. I began to build plank on frame model ships. But I continued to build the occasional plastic model.
Several years after I retired from the Navy, my wife bought me an RC model P-51 kit for Christmas. I recognized it right away for what it was. She thought it was just another model. I’m sure she didn’t realize what she had just gotten me into. I joined a local flying club, bought a trainer and some RC gear, and learned to fly. A dream from my youth had finally been realized.
I was a fairly competent pilot. But I was a better builder. I built RC P-51s, a P-40 Warhawk, a P-47 Thunderbolt, and from scratch, a Hawker Hurricane. Each build was modeled after a specific aircraft of WWII. The P-51 is the Miss Penny (in honor of the wife). The Warhawk was modeled after a P-40E of the US Army Air Corps 24th Pursuit Group in the Philippines, in honer of Lt Buzz Wagner. The Thunderbolt was modeled after the “Georgia Peach” of the 510th Fighter Squadron. The Hawker Hurricane is modeled after Flight Officer William Dunn’s “kite” of the RAF Eagle Squadron 71. Each build was meticulously researched, and the model was built, painted and detailed to be as close a representation of the original as the scale would allow.
You may have noticed the use of “is” and “was” in the last paragraph. The P-51 is a very forgiving model, and is a joy to fly. Sadly, the Thunderbolt crashed. As did the P-40. That one really hurt. I had spent the better part of 6 months, stuck fingers, 2 trips to the Emergency Room and 7 stitches in building it. When it crashed, I was already starting my build on the Hurricane. I finished it. And it sits in the rafters of my shop, consigned to spend its days there, rather than in the air. Because, well, I’m a better builder than I am a pilot.
After moving to Missouri, buying a farm with a decent size fishing pond on it, I thought about carving out a landing strip to continue my flying. But as my wife and I discussed it, we both realized that flying them was just to dangerous on my mental health when they crashed. One day, while we were relaxing by the pond drowning a few worms, I mentioned that I could build a seaplane to take off and land on the pond. She replied that I should just build a boat. Eureka! The answer to my desire for RC, my need to build, and my sentiment for historic accuracy. But just as important, the relative safety of not having to worry about my meticulous creation crashing a burning on its maiden flight.
And so dear readers, my modeling has developed into RC boats, and static flying machines. On these pages you will see projects I have built, and am building. You will find advice on building techniques, as well as personal opinions on products and materials. I welcome comments on my posts, including constructive criticisms.
You will also find pages here with some of my writings on military history. Enjoy them, link them, reprint them if you like. Just make sure you give appropriate credit for them.
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