jeez what are the chances of meeting in a hobby shop years ago then meeting again on a forum about a show that does not exist anymore? then randomly calling the show host to find out that yes that did happen all those years ago ...
With the show ending, I wasn't able to give enough detail to confirm young Jimmy Church and a youngER Duke did meet in that CA hobby shop in the mid/late 80s. Here is a "Readers' Digest" version of what happened, then Jimmy can decide if we did indeed cross paths some 25+ years ago.
At the time, somewhere in 86-87 time frame, I was working on the highly classified Advanced Technology Bomber (ATB, later to be called the B-2) as an engineer for the USAF. The B-2 prime contractor, Northrop, custom built (actually custom rebuilt might be a better term as the site had once been a Ford(?) automotive plant) a facility in Pico Riveria, CA, for the design/development/mananement for the ATB. There was also some parts and components produced there, but the aircraft themselves were being assemblied at Palmdale. It was not uncommon for us to travel back and forth from Pico to Palmdale, always by car since we were not permitted to travel on the Northrop daily air shuttle to/from Palmdale.
My boss at the time, a retired USAF Lt Col, was a world class plastic model aircraft builder. In fact if you tour the National Museum of the US Air Force, several of his models are on display there yet today. He knew where every hobby shop was in LA it seemed, and if we passed one, he'd stop if time allowed. On the day in question, we stopped to visit a hobby shop between Pico and Palmdale, I think somewhere along the Antelope Valley Freeway. As we stood looking at various models, supplies, and magazines, we clearly overheard a young man trying to convince others in the store (not sure if they were friends, random customers, or store employees) he had seem a very strange aircraft overfly the car in which he and some of his friends were using to go out into the desert. He was sure it was the "Stealth Fighter".
He and his buds had stopped at the hobby shop specifically to look at a plastic model kit that had been recently released of an aircraft called the "F-19 Stealth". Now remember, at the time the existence of a "stealth fighter" was something of an open secret. Many made the assumption this a/c would have been designated F-19 since F-16, F-17, F-18, F-20 and F-21 aircraft were all acknowledged and flying. So the model company (Testor?) put out a plastic model kit with the F-19 designation, based on descriptions they claimed they had gotten from "USAF/aerospace industry insiders." Of course the real F-117 looked nothing like the model kit, popular images of the non-existent F-19 as portrayed then in the military aviation press, and as described by none other than Tom Clancy in one of his early techno-thrillers.
So here we are in the hobby shop listeneing as this young guy, holding up the box art of the F-19 kit, was trying to come to terms with what he saw wasn't what was on the box. He then, in very good detail, proceeded to describe the F-117 perfectly; including the arrow head shape as seen from below and the shallow V tailplane. Naturally his small audience was challenging him, some good naturedly, others outright accusing him of lying/being high/being drunk etc. Without question, he had seen an F-117, exhibited a fine eye for detail in the process. After we got into our rental car, my boss and I busted a gut laughing, but feeling sorry for the kid at the same time.
That sound like you, Jimmy? I figure the kid was 17-18 yrs at the time, would put him in his early/mid 40s today. IF it was you, did you trot out a series of "I told you so's" a few years later when the USAF released the artist rendering of the real "stealth fighter."