Find out about Model Airplane International’s editor: Richard Franks
Born in a well-known hill-top town in Dorset, Richard’s first recollection of modelling is at about the age of eight. His first model was an Airfix 1/72nd scale Fokker Dr.I resplendent in Humbrol gloss 'Post Office Red'! Although his first model was an Airfix kit, like so many modellers from the 1950s through to the 1970s, he tended to make more Matchbox kits in the proceeding 6-8 years. This was simply because his nearest model shop was some 13 miles away and therefore his most common source of models was his local newsagents, which he would call in to while cycling to and from school and this often stocked Matchbox kits.
During the next 10 years Richard developed his modelling skills as well as his other loves, photography and motorcycles. The latter two were to take over from modelling by the early 1980s, as he turned to photography for local and national newspapers. Starting work in 1982, he soon ‘rediscovered’ his hobby and during the next nine years his interests slowly moved away from riding competition motorcycle trials and doing photography and back to modelling. Initially he worked on a mixed bag of subjects, having discovered the joys of Tamiya and their 1/12th scale motorcycle kits that were launched around that time, and was at last able to get to his 'local' model shop courtesy of his motorcycle (having ridden from the age of 13 it is no surprise he got a motorcycle many years before driving a car!).
After nine years working in an office in 1991 he achieved a lifelong ambition, when he was successful in joining the Royal Air Force Museum as a curatorial officer at their reserve collection based at Cardington, just outside Bedford. Moving some 140 miles to take up the post, he started work at the museum and settled in to learn the job of accounting for all the three-dimensional artefacts held at the facility. It was not long before he joined a local model club and was welcomed into the larger modelling community. At this time he also started to do work for some UK modelling magazines. Initially he wrote reviews for Plastic Kit Constructor and Scale Aircraft Modelling, but in 1994 he was doing reviews for the former as the latter had temporarily ceased publication, when he was made aware of the impending launch of a new title. This title was initially to have been edited by Mike Keep, but at the IPMS Nationals that year everyone was shocked and saddened to hear that Mike had died suddenly that very evening. The turmoil that followed saw well-known aviation author Sue Bushell taking the reins of the title at short notice and it was launched with the January 1995 edition. Richard continued to write reviews for PKC and the new magazine, but by mid-1995 he had stopped doing reviews for the former to concentrate on doing more for the new title.
In July 1995 Sue stood down as editor due to other work commitments and Richard took the mantel of editor. He continued in this role for the next nine years, as well as editing three other modelling magazines from 1998 through to 2004, but by early 2004 his workload had diminished to such an extent that he had the opportunity to take stock. After many hours of careful consideration he decided that his time with the publication was at an end and the time had come for him to leave. He handed in his resignation just prior to the IPMS/UK Nationals in 2004 and left the job at the end of January 2005.
Initially Richard felt a little 'lost', although he had many plans to consider, but he was delighted to be approached just a few days after leaving his previous job by a publisher who wanted to discuss a few matters with him. From this came Richard's first meeting with ADH Publishing, although he had been aware of their excellent Tamiya Model Magazine International for many years. After a number of meetings an agreement was reached and Richard was delighted to accept the role as editor of a new aircraft modelling magazine to be produced by ADH Publishing. Richard has said that he is;
"delighted to be joining ADH and to be directing this new title from the outset... the team at ADH are a great bunch and they have done so much to reinvigorate my enthusiasm for my hobby", he also says that "I am really looking forward to working with ADH and producing a new, high quality magazine, that will fully meet the requirements of the modern aviation modeller... watch this space!"