This is kind of long; so thanks in advance for reading it!
As some of you know, I teach Aircraft Structural Repair and Corrosion Control (painting aircraft) at the USAF Technical Training School aboard NAS Pensacola, Florida. I'm a Civil Service employee; after retiring from the USAF 5 years ago.
About a year ago, I decided to ask the student population if any of them would be interested in building some model planes for our glass showcase in the school's hallway. These models would be "Legacy Projects" left behind at the school after the students finish their 4-months of training. I already had about 10 of my own models in that showcase. I'm sure you can imagine how many teenagers these days HAVE NEVER built a model before--too many video games! The response was very good...better that I had hoped, and I've had about 9 Airmen and even 4 NCOs (other Instructors) building models--most of them for their first time!
Sadly, it is really expensive for the students to get to the LHS because it is a $50.00 / 40-mile round-trip cab ride to purchase their kits and supplies. So sometimes I go shopping for them.
The group meets twice a week for 2 hours after school in one of the laboratories where we set up tables, paint racks, airbrush compressor, etc. Attendance and interest seems very "Seasonal", as we typically have plenty of interested Airmen in the winter time, but the summers in Florida; well, let's face it...they'd rather be at the beach.
Under my guidance, and that of 2 other somewhat experienced modelers (Instructors), these troops have turned out some beautiful aircraft! X-1, P-38, F-84, P-51, P-39, Sopwith Camel, Neuport 17, B-25, B-17, etc.
When they finish their model; the deal is that they have to give a 3-5 minute briefing on the aircraft's history, technological advancements, armament and combat use, etc. --in front of the entire Squadron at Friday afternoon's Final Formation...then it goes in the showcase. I even managed to "acquire" two new lighted, locking showcases to display the models in.
Most of them have finished their kit in the 4 months of training; but occasionally I'll have to apply decals / dullcote, or glue on a canopy or some other final detail they were unable to finish.
I think it's also important for the students to learn a little about other countries' aircraft; the ones we've fought, and the ones we've fought along-side. We need Airmen that are mission-ready to fix the aircraft; but I'm trying to get these troops interested in aviation and history in general. I've donated several of the kits; as have other Instructors and Retirees.
I'm asking that if any fellow model builders have a kit or two in their "stash" they would be interested in donating to the Tech School Students, please feel free to send me a message. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!
What we're primarily interested in is U.S. Army Air Service, Air Corps, and U.S. Air Force, but recently we dedicated a shelf to "Allies and Adversaries" to include a Fokker D.II, Do-335, J2M3 "Jack", and a Canadian CF-101B so far.
Anyway, thanks for reading!