Fine Scale Warship Modeling
Meet the Artist


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The model maker and artist is Ed McDonald. He was only six years old when he finally came to understand the advantage of waiting for the paint to dry before attempting assembly of the model. In the fourth grade "talent" contest he brought in a model of an aircraft carrier that he had built. The teacher felt that it really wasn't what should be called "talent" as compared to saxophones and such. But the rest of the kids voted his model "best of show" anyway.

Ed is a veteran. He spent six years in the US Navy aboard U.S.S Ranger (CVA-61) in the late 60's and early 70's. So, he has an appreciation for the sea and the Navy - and an understanding of how a naval vessel is built and how it works - and how it performs in combat and in two typhoons.

He can't recall just how many radio controlled model airplanes he built and crashed while he served. The very idea of actually launching and recovering a balsa RC airplane on the deck of a major modern carrier while underway was quite an experience that was actually rather frowned upon by shipboard Naval authority. But, with some minor influence and no small amount of begging, he was able to establish the right to fly such aircraft during ship "down time". Nevertheless, since the steel arresting cables were considerably larger than the models, the result were usually disastrous.

Ed continued building models through the 70s and 80s. In the late 80s he started a company, Microscene, that created graphic add-on software products for Microsoft Flight Simulator. The first four were marketed by Mallard Software. By the early 90s, Microsoft was marketing the addons and Microscene was creating all the 3d graphics for Flight Sim. Some of the most detailed and interesting graphic objects that were ever available for Flight Sim were designed by Ed. It should come as no surprise that many of these were ships. Ed designed a 3d Yorktown (CV-5), Akagi and Enterprise (CVN-65) in the waters off of Okinawa in Microscene's Japan add-on scenery products. In it's day, that Enterprise was the most complex and highly detailed 3d computer model that had ever been created. Many more ships were added later in various products including a task force with Ranger (CVA-61) and several frigates, Kitty Hawk (CVA-63), Constellation (CVA-64), Nimitz (CVN-68), Vinson (CVN-70) and Lincoln (CVN-72). Appropriate 3d aircraft models such as a Wildcat, Zero, Corsair, F-14 and F/A-18 were also included so the user could actually attempt carrier launches and landings. The models were complete with photo texturing, functional arresting gear, moving elevators, re-fueling locations, turning radars, night lighting and even fully functional landing light systems. Each of those ships established new standards for computer generated 3d graphics.

After many years of running Microscene, Ed sold the company and semi-retired, which afforded him adequate time to return to real 3d modeling.

The improvements and advances in modeling techniques and materials in the late 90s and early 2000s have been no less than staggering. Today, incredibly high detail can be included in a model through a wide diversity of third party add-on manufacturers and high quality scratch building materials. Improvements in the basic molding methods have also been staggering. The models of the 20th century are now considered old and totally outdated. And, the rate of change in 21st century modeling continues at a breakneck pace. Models manufactured in 2009 are far and away superior to those made even as recently as early 2008.

Additionally, through the internet, a wealth of information, plans, historic photos and knowledge is available. And, for every day that passes, information that used to be difficult, time consuming and costly to acquire from the National Archives, becomes increasingly available on the internet.

Ed eagerly looks forward to additional improvements and is involved in the modeling industry in the analysis and review of those changes.

Ed's models have been described as works of art, items to be treasured, inspirations, gorgeous and having set benchmarks for many models to come. Please see the testimonials page for many additional comments.