The family of James J. Allaire, a participant on our New Frontier Flight that was successfully launched into Earth orbit on May 22, has donated Mr. Allaire’s impressive collection of spacecraft models to Celestis.
Mr. Allaire, who lived in Derby, Connecticut, was a dedicated spacecraft modeler. Before the advent of the Internet, he conducted a great deal of research reading books about spacecraft. The Internet enabled him to learn much more about rockets. The online photos he found helped him craft next-to-exact replicas of spacecraft. He really liked to craft a perfect replica of a rocket using various household items, such as foil packaging from candy wrappers to get the coloring on the heat shields just right. He kept all this paraphernalia in his modeling room with all his models, which were in mounted in specially-built display cases. This hobby was a stress reliever for him: He truly enjoyed the detail work of crafting a model, or scratch-building pieces of a model that he felt were more accurate for the particular rocket model he was building.
Mr. Allaire entered numerous space model competitions locally, regionally and nationally (including International Plastic Modelers Society competition) and won various awards. The out of town competitions gave him the opportunity not only to see other modelers and check out their techniques, but also to explore the area where a contest was being held. With his wry sense of humor, he enjoyed viewing some of the tongue-in-cheek dioramas that some modelers crafted. He took his nephews, who also did modeling for a time, on these weekend trips to space model contests. And it wasn’t just his nephews who modeled: his niece also built a model and competed.
A number of years ago, Mr. Allaire started a spacecraft modeling class at his local library to teach kids how to model. Although he never held a title from the modeling clubs with which he was associated, he benefitted from his affiliation with the local modeling club, Connecticut Yankee Modelers. The club held afternoon sessions at a local hobby show to show kids the art of modeling. He also enjoyed meeting and discussing modeling with other people from the Southwestern Connecticut area.
Celestis appreciates this fine gift from the Allaire family!