A few weeks back Tom Brown, the editor of the club newsletter “The Scratching Post,” approached me about writing a monthly column for publication. His idea was that I would write articles about modeling, this would usually be armor or diorama related as these are the areas I most commonly build, or other related subjects. I promised Tom I would do what I could to help him out, so here is my first effort.
As most of you know I have a habit of saying something on a regular basis, even if no one else wants to hear it, this column will, I am sure, fall into that same area. For now, let’s start with some background information on myself and then we will take it from there. To begin with, I have been modeling for about 50 years now, with the usual obligatory gaps in there brought about by the discovery of females, real cars, and a visit with my Uncle Sam. My first kit was built when I was eight and it was a 1/72 scale 39-cent Lindberg SPAD XIII World War I biplane. My next effort was an Aurora 1/48 Japanese Zero molded in a God-awful bright orange plastic Soon I found myself diverge to ships, cars, Aurora Movie Monsters and anything else that caught my plastic fancy.
When I started building plastic kits my family was living in Arizona, where my father was stationed with the USAF. Being in Arizona was great, there were two real hobby shops in the town where we lived and even more in nearby Phoenix, not to mention the drug stores and five and dime stores that all sold models at the time. While I may not have had the selection of manufacturers we do today I still had plenty of places to buy models.
Another great part of living in Arizona back then was the fact that not too far from where I lived you could find the Graveyard, which was then still full of WWII Aircraft and a lot of folks out there owned and flew these types of aircraft on a regular basis. I never had to wait for an air show to see a P51, a Corsair, or Hellcat, or several other old Warbirds flying around.
In 1976 I moved back to Jacksonville after some time in the Army, and a lot of other moving around and growing up, or older anyway. I soon found my way to Jack’s Hobby Shop, now Rail and Sprue Hobbies, and my first involvement with a plastic modeling club, Central Arkansas Modelers Society (CAMS). CAMS is where I got to know Dave Branson Sr. and Jr., Pete Harwell, Gary Johnson, Noel Lawson, Frank McCurdy, Jim Brown, Ric Taylor, Frank Averett (Noel’s Dr. Strangeglove), Rick Knapp and many other fine modelers and people. As part of the club, I joined IPMS and competed regularly at the local, regional and national level. I remained part of CAMS until it was disbanded, shortly after that I left Arkansas, but I continued to be involved with modeling clubs, first in Florida, then North Carolina, South Carolina, St. Louis and Kansas City before returning to Central Arkansas in 2000. During my time modeling, I have built a little bit of everything at one time or another but I found dioramas to be the most interesting and challenging for me. Dioramas requires an ability to build models, paint figures, create scenery and groundwork, make architectural models and research, lots of research.
I’m not sure what my next offering will be, but if any of you guys have some ideas, or questions let me know and maybe I can find something to hold the interest of at least one or two of you folks.