Editor's Note: Here is a truly remarkable guy - living on the same island, right under my nose, for almost 20 years now (!), until the other day I blundered down his driveway, to discover him:
Click on Image to Enlarge
In any case, the above is only the beginning of the awesome things Paul can show us: he's built not only wooden model sailing ships - scratched straight from nothing but hull drawings in books (!) - but also 1:1 scale versions of the Real, Cruising McCoys! Likewise for motorcycles - including custom, weatherproofed decals and castings to go on them - in short, all kinds of techniques useful across the entire spectrum of modelling. (And yes, we have already made some heat-formed clear parts - a dedicated post on that coming soon.)
So now, it is with great pleasure that I would like to introduce - and extend a hearty, ModelFleet welcome, to - Paul Wheeler:
"I am...a relief carrier at the Post Office...I love military models and spent my formative years building them, until peer pressure (girls!) stopped me in high school. To say I was really into it is an understatement, with hundreds built, dioramas, etc. All my spare time! Apparently an embarassment to all, according to my parents, who threw out my entire model collection (many, many years in the making) as soon as I left for college. It still, after all these years, is devastating. In their mind big boys don't play with toys. I think I have spent the years since doing exactly that, in every way possible! (Good On 'Ya, Paul - me too! -Ed.)
...I checked out your modeling site on the web...I am somewhat ashamed that you saw my ships as clearly you are an expert. (Thank You, but you are being way too modest, buddy! -Ed.) I see that you cast parts, I also have cast quite a few parts from epoxy and have been thinking of trying low temp metal for some parts. I'm sure you probably have experience in this. (Not yet - actually, I'm looking forward to you teaching me more about that. -Ed.)...I did cast a lead keel for one of my boats by collecting a sh**load of old batteries and melting down the plates. Something I would not care to repeat!
...I have so many questions I want to ask you on the modeling front alone. Do you make a living at this? (Not at all! -Ed.) Work elsewhere? (I wouldn't say that, either... You could think of me as a sort of salvage expert, recovering blood from the Wall Street leaches who sucked it out of you and the economy in general, in the first place - and then providing my modelling services back to you, for (next to) nothing. In other words, I'm F-in' Robin Hood - except I don't (have to) steal!
Seriously though, fire away with any and all questions, Paul - though I get the impression that in most cases you will end up "schooling" us - and of course we'll want to see your ships, construction and finishing techniques, including who knows what-all you've figured out that we haven't even dreamed of!
Again, we are totally jazzed to welcome you aboard ModelFleet, buddy!