I used to build models as a kid, usually cars or aircraft. They were built to be toys, and were often objects of destruction, so nothing from that time survives.
As an adult, at around age thirty (1984), I lived and worked in Southeastern Virginia. I moonlighted as a computer programming instructor at the local Thomas Nelson Community College, and one of my classes was at Langley Airforce base. Inside the base, the drive to the hospital where the class was held ran close and parallel to the runways. I'd see takeoffs and landings sometimes, and it was common to see a pair of F-15s in the air. Once I saw a pair of Eagles start their takeoff roll and quickly go to full power, a long tail of flame shooting out the back of the engines as the planes leaped down the runway and into the air. As soon as they were airborn, they arched steeply up and quickly vanished into points atop a column of dark smoke. I couldn't believe how quickly they were gone. Langely handles interdiction for the East coast and is well practiced in scrambling, I can tell you. I wanted to capture that feeling of awe, so I built a pair of F-15s in 1/32 scale, taking my time and trying to do a good job, carefully painting the cockpit and wheel wells and using cans of spray paint for the exterior, then adding all the little decals, of which this Revel kit had plenty. They came out nice.
In 1985 I took a job with Grumman Aircraft in Long Island, New York. To be continued!?