WHY AM I SO NUTS OVER AIRPLANES?

Bill Murphy  ~  October 2020

The simple answer is that we were raise together.  

Our home in south Jackson, Mississippi was three miles from Hawkins Field, the home to Jackson’s Municipal Airport and the US Army Airforce’s ‘temporary’ AAF Base.  The landing pattern for Delta and Southern Airlines DC-3s was directly over our home.

I was born in early 1941, so my formative years were those hectic and heady days of WWII.  Dutch flyers of the Royal Netherlands Military Flying School were trained there, so the skies over our home witnesses a steady stream of both military and civilian aircraft… mostly all in low-level flight.

An older first cousin lived next door, and when he shipped off to basic training and then to Europe, he left in my ‘safe keeping’ a Comet stick and tissue model that he’d begun.  He promised to complete the model when he returned from the war.  Yes, he survived and returned home safely… but the poor model hadn’t survived my constant ‘viewing.’

The first model that I can remember was a paper model, purchased from a local five and dime.  As for toy planes, it seems that during the war every fighter was a P-40, and every bomber was an A-20 or similar to it.  And yes, I also had a metal pedal-plane.  As you can see from the photo, it too was very P-40ish.  I remember it as being red.  Strange.

One of my favorite plastic toys later on after the war was an early jet fighter… an F-84 Thunderjet made into a water pistol!  It fired (un-scale-like) through the nose.  It was great fun to strafe ants and spiders and the little girls down the street.

My first balsa model was a 10c solid model kit.  I quickly learned the do’s and don’ts of cutting balsa with a razor blade when I sliced through my bluejeans and into my leg.  One’s thigh does not serve well as a cutting board!

Aurora began producing plastic kits in the mid 50s.  One that I remember distinctly was their FW-190.  The year that kit came out, I received no less than THREE of them for my birthday, from different relatives.  Oh well.

I build plastic kits, although in my later years I’ve had to forgo 1/72nd scale due to my older eyes.  I build balsa models, stick and tissue, rubber and small gas/electric power.  I much prefer scale, golden age civilian, WWII, a few WWI types, oh, and the earlier jets.  For many years I’ve downloaded plans from the internet, well sorted and all on a bag full of flash-drives.  If I built a model from those plans every minute, beginning from my birth, I’d still be building!  We won’t talk about my library!  Oh yeah, I like boats and trains too!