Merrimack hobby store owner builds models to perfection

Model Aircraft Fabricators is a rewarding destination for those seeking model airplane, trains, model car and boat kits, building materials and authentic decals for models, rockets, rocket motors and craft tools – or the expertise of master modeler Paul M. Linn Jr.

Linn, who grew up in California before moving to Nashua and then to Merrimack, is a professional model builder. His enthusiasm for making models was ignited at 7 years old when his father taught him to build model planes. Linn is the proprietor of the hobby shop, newly opened in April, at 416 Daniel Webster Highway.

Linn’s store is located at the far end of Merrimack Village Mall, better known, he muses, as DW Diner Mall. The hobby store houses an array of Linn’s hand-crafted models, including a 14-foot, remote-controlled, balsa wood airplane with a wingspan of 27 feet. It is a Gotha bomber, a World War I replica that Linn is making for a client down South.

“It will fly,” Linn said. “They use a massive field out in Georgia. The plane was the most successful nighttime bomber the Germans ever made. I have people coming here to see the progress. Everybody’s got some kind of crafter in them – it’s still in them.”

The hobby store’s workshop also showcases a large
paddle-wheeled riverboat whose wheel is clamped gently in a small vise while the paddles await more paint. It will feature a smokestack spouting simulated smoke, banjo music and lights. The whirring or buzzing or grinding of Linn’s tools ceases as he welcomes shoppers arriving for some holiday specials.

Model kits, sturdy nylon kites made in Colorado and many other hobby items are the quarry of the day for some of the visitors. Others come for books that illustrate the various specifications of vintage airplanes, boats and automobiles. There also are some packets of magic tricks, diversions Linn says go well with the fun entailed in model making.

“People over the years would see my work and they’d say, ‘Now, you have to open a store,’??” Linn said. “Today, I’ve opened that store. Now, people come in and say, ‘I never knew you were here,’ but after their first time, they come back, a lot.”

The opening of the store was preceded by 18 years in the fabricating industry and a lengthy stint as a customer service specialist for manufacturers. Linn said he’s happy now to provide a place where those who appreciate making models can come for supplies and advice or to learn techniques and hobnob with one of their own.

“I’m not full retail,” Linn said. “I’m closer to Internet price. People who buy on the Internet come here to touch a product, feel it, see it. Then, they realize my price is next to Internet and that they can walk out with what they buy.”

Linn is a family man and finds a measure of joy in helping his kids and others discover the fun of making something from bits and pieces and parts that comprise a completed model. He also enjoys seeing parents come in for some education in model building.

“Some kids think you pull something out of a box and play with it,” Linn said. “Once they know they can build their own, it becomes a source of pride. They can say,‘I built that.’??”

Linn credits an early mentor, Morris Tereo, of Nashua, for teaching him how to build models from a blueprint. Tereo believed in doing things right or not at all. Linn, too, lives by the creed. If something Linn is making is not as it should be, he starts over again. The habit, he said, has helped him perfect his craft. He recently completed an intricate tableau of scenery that will be a part of a model train setting, fully enclosed and operational in a space beneath the glass of a glass-topped table.

Others recognize Linn as a professional builder. He has won international acclaim for a model of a German Tiger remote-control helicopter he built. It won in the Static Intermediate class at a competition hosted by the International Radio Control Helicopter Association. He also is proud of another work, a Trans World Airlines “Super Connie,” a plane designed by Howard Hughes for TWA. Linn’s model had an 11-foot wingspan and a 10.5-foot fuselage.

Opportunities to share skills are abundant. Linn is an aerospace educator with the Civil Air Patrol’s Cadet program, wherein some 40 adults and 110 kids ages 12-17 learn about the science of flying, search and rescue techniques, emergency procedures and more. The group is building a Piper plane with a seven-foot wingspan.

He also is a valued resource for members of the Southern New Hampshire Flying Eagles R/C Club, based in Merrimack. Members toting a variety of remote-control aircraft practice their hobby during the summer at a field near Exit 11 of the Everett Turnpike.

Linn’s most recent class in rocket building, hosted at the Merrimack Public Library on July 15, drew around 25 kids, boys and girls wanting to learn the basics of building model rockets. Operational models, he added, require a battery and an igniter – components not included in the basic class.

“They loved it,” Linn said. “If they’re going to do aerospace or engineering or aircraft design, they want to build something. It’s in me to get kids building. I’ve been a builder since third grade.”

For more information on Model Aircraft Fabricators, visit the business on Facebook, visit online at www.modelaircraft
or call Linn at 424-7888.