Sorry to rehash this sad topic, but I just this evening learned of Al's passing, and must say I'm feeling a great loss. I used to spend a lot of time on RMS, and back in the 90s when Revell's 1/48 B1 kit was still "rare", it was Al who answered my query as to whether anyone had one available for sale. This was also my first "online" purchase (eBay hadn't been invented yet), and Al sold me his copy for what at the time was a steal - $50. Of course, he was careful to warn me that his kit was not for collecting, since it had been "cobbled" together from two different kits. I told him I didn't care, that I intended to build it. Soon thereafter the big box from Arkansas arrived on my doorstep, and a friendship was born.
Like many, I never met Al in person, but we conversed regularly via email, and quite often over the phone - I was able to help with the occasional computer problem, and he was always willing to provide honest critique of my modeling work. In fact I was preparing to send him photos of my latest effort in hopes of receiving yet another assessment when I discovered I'd lost his email address (new computer), and a quick google search revealed the sad news.
I am genuinely surprised at the depth of the sense of loss I am feeling, especially for someone I'd never met face to face. But that is the sort of person Al was. I recognize more than a few "old-timer" names are still here on RMS, and I know many of you will understand when I say it's going to be a long time before I can pick up a piece of styrene without saying to myself "Build what you want, the way you want to..."
Thanks for being a friend, Al. I wish I could remember whether I ever got 'round to sending you those 3-blade C-130 props.