Why start with the CH-53E?

Why start with the CH-53E?

When I started publishing photo reference books for scale models, I didn't want to cover sexy jets; there are already great books on the F-14, F-15, F-16, and F/A-18. I wanted to cover subjects that someone still needed to cover. 

Since I wanted to take most of the photographs, the subjects needed to be ones I had seen. Living in southern California, I have gone to air shows at MCAS Miramar, March ARB, Edwards AFB, MCAS Yuma, and Davis Monthan AFB. This means I would cover aircraft used by the US military; we don't get many foreign visitors.

I built plastic models growing up, sticking to 1/72nd scale since the models were smaller and cheaper. I had quite an air force hanging from the ceiling of my bedroom until I went to college. After college, I got married and eventually became interested in building models again. This time, I started building in 1/48th scale since I had more room, and the larger size meant I could add more detail.

Academy released their 1/48th CH-53E in the early 2000s, and I grabbed one or two for the stash. Looking at the kit, I found things to improve upon: no rivets, a simple main rotor head, and more. I started taking more and more CH-53E pictures at air shows, capturing the details I needed. I had thousands of photos by the time I had built six of them. The photo is the first CH-53E I had completed after delivering it to HMH-465.

When I started publishing books, the CH-53E was the obvious choice. I had thousands of photos, it was one of my favorite model-building subjects, and there weren't any good books still in print. The only downside was that I hadn't seen many CH-53Es built at contests, and the kit was long out of production, selling for crazy prices on eBay. What could go wrong?
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