making - How I got started
When I grew up in the 50's, there was little TV and the electronics game craze was just a dream. My youth was
books, baseball and MODELS. I got hooked on WWII very early on, and by the time I was seven, I was reading all I could on
the subject. At the time, Hallmark Books was publishing easy to read, informative books with BIG print and lots of pictures,
and I ate these up. There was the Sinking of the Bismarck, The Battle of Britain, and many more. I still have these classic
publishings to this day. Wanting to explore my passion for that period, I started to draw feverishly. My parents got me books
on planes, ships, tanks...and I drew everything I saw, using up scores of my Dad's official stationary in the process. Then
I started building models in 1959. At first I built ships - the USS Missouri, the USS Arizona, the sub USS Halibut...I gobbed
on the glue and the paint, which no doubt outweighed the plastic, and could not wait for the next project. Revell was
big in those days, and models were not cheap - some cost $2!
When I moved back to France in 1960,
I was very worried that I would not find the models I wanted...but instead, thanks to very dear family friends Bobek and Fela
(they owned a toy and hobby store),the passion continued with new kits I had never seen in America!! Every time my parents
took me outside Paris to this store, I just went crazy. Bobek introduced me to all new brand names...I would buy Airfix kits
(in plastic bags), Heller kits, Matchbox kits...stuff I never saw in the US..I would build 'em and crash them up (there had
to be a way to make room for more kits). In 1965, I had my appendix removed and was laid up in the American Hospital
in Paris for almost three weeks with an infection. My Dad walked in one day with a three foot model of the new USS Enterprise,
and a new age began for me. Having nothing else to do, I began, for the first time, to TAKE MY TIME building a model. The
result was a model with less glue than plastic, with seams that were actually sealed, and a paint job done with tape and spray
cans (yes - all done in a hospital!). It was a miracle - I could be good at this, I thought. In my teens, I still read a book
a week on history, but spent more time looking for girls that were built than I did building models.
picked up the hobby again in earnest after college, when my life as a musician gave me plenty of free time during the week.
Then came my next revelation. I bought a Monogram B-17 kit, and inside was a color pamphlet on how to build a diorama, written
by this guy named Shep Paine. Who is Shep Paine and what does "diorama" mean??? Well, a few Monograms later, I had
the ultimate respect for that man and a new understanding of model building. Since that day back in the 70's, I have not stopped.
My output is very small, as most of the dioramas you see here have taken from 150 to 600 or more hours to build. The
research for these models was hard, but I did not have far to go, as my personal library numbers about 1000 books, my video
library has hundreds of hours of documentaries, and over 100 war movies. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed
building them! Steven Spielberg, if you're out there, I am willing and able to build the set for your next war movie!
I would like to thank the members of our armed forces who have dedicated or given their lives for
the ideals of a greater United States. May God bless you all for your service to our country. (Update 2018 - my son is now
among you, a lieutenant and Surface Warfare Instructor. I could not be more proud. My daughter works for the Navy Dept. GO
I have been a very lucky and rich man in areas outside
the material world. I would like to thank the people that have made a difference in my life, and have taught me what it really
takes to make these models: patience, dedication, appreciation and an eternal companionship with Hope. My kids
for teaching me how to love boundlessly and eternally - I am so very proud of you both. You're good, kind, smart, compassionate,
driven and thank the Lord you both have personality plus!! My parents for teaching me to be a good man at all costs -
may you both find love again in heaven. My sister Rickie for always being at and on my side, my brother Jacques (RIP I love
you my brother) for teaching me (in a strange way) that all sins are forgiveable, my Uncle Lee and aunt Amelia for always
giving me a home away from home, Alan and Larry for being cousins that are brothers, Rex for being the friend some can only
hope for. I miss you, but I understand the new life. Bill E. (RIP I love you Bill) for giving my soul guidance for the
rest of my life, Coop and Karen for teaching me friends are for a lifetime and not part time, Woody for being my brother,
friend and companion for so long (RIP I miss you so much Woody) and Kentucky Jerry for teaching me life is just
not always that serious. Dolores...your kindness has touched me forever.
in the old days in Paris, life was just wonderful and I learned to appreciate, so thanks Eric, Billy, Steve B., Bruce
(RIP buddy), my dear friend Liz, Marcia, Beanie, Mansour, Bobby C., Moose and Jim, Rod and Skelly, and Susan (RIP sweetheart...I
think of you often) and ASP for being so influential in my youth - the memories have never left me and never will. Back
in the 90's in NY, Ginny (RIP babe...I love you), Connie & Keith and Henry for their guidance and affection, and
always being there with love and believing in me. To my college friends....you have changed my life forever, and
I will never forget you Coop, David, Gary and all the boys at Sammy....and sweet Andrea for always understanding. Back in
PA, Wally, Bruce, Bill (RIP Bill I love You), Steve, Kevin, Kimbo, Charlie B., Naomi (RIP sweetheart - you were so gentle)
and all the boys in all the bands that made my life so great back then.
These days in Virginia , John D for always supporting me and telling me not to worry about things you cannot change,
Marcia and Vicki for being there and listening to me whine, and Ben for always having the right answer at the right time.
Trish, you are my rock, my friend, my counselor...love you.
- two years into my new position with a new team. What wonderful, helpful, kind people they are...thank you all for being
And finally, my thanks to my beloved Sharon. I will always be there
for you sweetheart and will always take care of you. We have a friendship others cannot even fathom. Thanks for putting up
with me all these years and always encouraging me to KEEP ON MODELIN'!!!!