The year was 1982, a small Florida town about an hour north of Tampa. I was 14 years old. I had never filled seams, never used an airbrush, and had no idea that any other model-related companies existed beyond the Monogram and Revell kits I saw in TG&Y and K-Mart.
But then I found the now-defunct magazine Scale Modeler in a nearby bookstore, which opened my eyes to the lengths to which modelers were going to build museum-quality models. I also learned about IPMS and joined a club in nearby Ocala, a metropolis compared to tiny Inverness. Between the magazine and the club, I began to enjoy the hobby deeper than I had before, and Carl’s Hobbies was a haven for me in the middle of the vast tracts of forest and orange groves of Central Florida.
|Location of the former Carl's Hobbies|
|Guess what. That Merkava is still in my stash!|
Inverness is a small town today, but it was much, much smaller back then. That it even had a hobby shop was remarkable. At the very least the shop provided an environment that inspired a least a few of us young scale modelers. We didn’t know how good we had it. Such as it was.