The Legendary Chip Fyn
July 1st 1938 - August 22nd 2012

Someone once asked me, "Are you famous?"
"Well that depends," I answered,
"Have you ever heard of me?" - Chip Fyn

Dear Friends and fans of Chip Fyn,

I want to thank you all for your warm consolation. As many of you already know, my father passed away recently, and very peacefully, in a beautiful spot in the woods near Flagstaff Arizona. He was in the place he loved, doing what he loved, working on Fiddlers Green.

Some of his ashes will be sprinkled in the garden at the family home where his mother and father were likewise sprinkled. The rest will be treasured by dear, sweet Annie, the finest woman a man could ever know.

In their many years together they travelled everywhere, across the country and beyond in the Fiddler's Green RV, along with their little Westies and an occasional traveller or two, in perfect freedom, celebrating life and everything in it.

My father believed in hard work and dedication, and he worked harder than any man I have ever known, but he also believed that you don't need to sacrifice your freedom for your job as long as you love your work. Fiddlers Green is proof of that and it is a testament to what a man can offer the world, and to what the world can offer in return.

He got everything he wanted from life with pure blind persistence and I could tell by his smile over the past few years that he had achieved what he defined as success. It wasn't millions of dollars or power over others. Neither was it a wild life of excess and waste. It was the strength with others to get by on only what you need for now so that you can build what you imagine and leave behind a world that is better for you having been a part of it. This, I assure you, he did.

He would have lived forever, if he could, for just one purpose, and he would have been satisfied forever bringing Fiddlers Green to you, his model'n pals, those who have supported him, encouraged him, laughed and cried with him, lived and died with him, ever since I was just a boy. But sadly, he knew his time had outlasted his luck.

He knew I would be writing this today. He even hinted to me one late evening in 'The Beaver' RV after a long day of sharing ideas and working on the website, the most enjoyable work a father and son could hope to share, that "it would be nice" if a person could be "not just lost" after he passes, and that some part of him would continue to live on.

He told many people that he wanted me to pick up the reigns and ride that horse the next few laps for him. But when he leaned back in his big captain's chair and yawned, and then looked over at me with fatherly pride in his eyes, I think he knew that I would take a crack at it.

The past few days have been among the hardest of my life, but the memories have been among the best. The days ahead will be a challenge as I try to work through what needs to be done to keep Fiddlers Green alive and strong, to keep it changing and growing, and (if Daddy don't mind) maybe even a little better.

It's YOU who makes Fiddlers Green what it is. I can only steer the ship in my Daddy's big captain's chair if you keep cutting and folding and doing what you love the way you were always meant to do it.

p.s. He always used to say he wanted a big brass band to play when he dies, so if anyone has one of those I will try to work it in.

Sincerely Yours, Scott Fyn.

A Tribute by Jason T Masters

The loss of Chip Fyn saddens me. Scott will fly the ship wonderfully. A few years ago I had sent him a humorous modelling tips piece that I wrote, along with some pics of a couple of my biplanes, which he graciously added to the Fiddler's Green website. Having those tips there for all to see gave me a great thrill. For a couple of years I didn't build any models. I had lost my job, my house, and most of everything I own. But I didn't lose my folder of unbuilt card models. For the past three years since I lost my job, I've been dealing with severe depression and anxiety. I have always suffered from these, but it had reached a critical point. I've always found peace when I work with my hands. Card modeling came naturally for me. When I was at my worst I lost interest in everything. My therapist said I needed to start doing things with my hands again, to be a small step forward. I found myself browsing through my already printed out cards of the Flying Circus triplanes from FG. This in itself was enjoyable. But I picked out Fritz Kempf's triplane from the others because I always liked the "kennscht mi noch?" on the middle wing. Roughly translated as "Do you yet remember me?" or, as was his intent, the more to the point "remember me now?" as he flew under and away from a defeated adversary. I built the model, which took an embarrassingly long time because of waxing and waning energy, but finally finished it and felt proud of something for the first time in a long while. Slowly I started working on more projects, including restoring my ancient BMW, and those physical activities, combined with other things, have recently put me on a solid road to recovery. I recently built the Albatross and A6M5 Zero-sen card models. But it started with Fritz Kempf's triplane.

Almost exactly one month before he passed I sent Chip an email to say hello, and asked him about my modeling tips piece. He said it was still there, and that he had thrown in a few cartoon emendations a couple weeks before. I looked at them and the whole thing looked great. I was proud of it again. I wrote him back and thanked him, and sent him a few ideas and some JU-87 Stuka pics for the site. He replied again, telling me how he was retiring from running Fiddler's Green, and that new hands (Scott's) would be at the wheel. He thanked me for my input. It felt wonderful to get these personal responses from him.

I did not know about his passing until the day I read Scott's beautiful letter a couple weeks ago. It was a stunning few moments as I realized that someone whom I admired and considered a friend had passed. I have grow to have a deep love for FG over the years since I've been building. I've always enjoyed Chip's musings. After reading Scott's email, I realized there was only one thing to do. I got out my paint and picked Fritz Kempf's triplane off the shelf and went to work. This was the model that began my recovery, so it was the emblem of me, in a sense, and I had Chip Fyn to thank for it. The photo I've attached is how I imagine Chip passing away: in a Fokker Triplane, headed into the sky, asking us if we still remember him. Of course we will. Ever onward, brother. And he'd better roll to starboard before he smacks into my painting!

With all fond affection and remembrance
Jason T Masters

Some journal notes about my brother, my oldest brother, Chip Fyn:

Dear Scott and Lovers of Chipness,

On Friday, I received news of my oldest brother's passing in the hills north of Flagstaff, Arizona.

Chip was half person, half free spirit. Always inspiring, though often inscrutable, he created a life that was just extraordinary and inspiring. His trailer, "Happy Home", was a Walden on wheels. In the summer he had a view of the Oregon seacoast and in winter he gazed out on Superstition Mountain in Arizona. When he knew that his death was approaching, he drove the trailer north to Flagstaff where the skies are wide and the mountains are framed by Ponderosa Pines. It was there that he died; it was exactly where he wanted to be, and exactly the natural neighborhood where his family would have imagined he would be in the end.,

"Happy Home"(and its descendants) was replete with the books he loved, a friendly glowing woodstove, and a drafting table with coffee cups and computers, all wrapped in an air of Borkum Riff pipe tobacco. He lived off the grid, though ironically he was better connected to the world than most anyone I know. His community consisted of kindred spirits, "modeling pals" as he called them, and it was growing larger by the year. Ideas powered Chip, crazy, wildly imaginative, Tolkienesque ideas, many of them brilliant... some just plain dumb. His best idea, I think, was to create a wooden hitch-hiker from Sugar Pine felled in the High Sierras. He missed his native Connecticut, so with chisel and nostalgia he fashioned "Happy the Hitch-hiker". Freshly-painted with leather satchel on shoulder, Happy was placed on Highway 50 near Placerville, California.

Sadly, Happy's journey was marred on day one by a night in jail for "hitch-hiking on an state highway" (CHS Code 1239-56-987, or something). Happily, though, this arrest made news all over California and, once sprung from jail, Happy set out again, this time making it a bit farther East with every ride. His satchel was stuffed with post-cards saying something like this:

"Hi. I am Happy and I miss my grand-dad in Connecticut. I am aiming to get home by Christmas, will you give me a lift if you are going East. Look, I know I am cute, and you may be tempted to "rip me off", but let's make a deal: Keep me for three days if you like, but I really need to be on my way to see Gramps."

Guess What: Happy made it East after myriad lifts and as many postcards. My favorite correspondence was from a woman named Joanne from Toledo. She explained that, with Chip's permission, she would like to keep Happy for a whole week. Reason: She had an office party to go to and no date. Happy was the talk of the party. He also became the talk of the art world for a brief while, for I learned about this amazing journey while listening to NPR one night and - imagine my surprise - hearing my brother, Chip, being interviewed about Happy. Apparently, Joan Mondale was also tuned in, because from Monroe, "Happy" toured Eastern Europe through the USIA, an example of American folk art today. But wait, there is more: Happy, finally having returned home to Monroe, Ct, was soon dusted and packed again for his first trip to the Antipodes. He joined us in our living room in Wellington for 12 years, and never once stopped smiling over his good fortune. Finally, though, after holding his hitch-hiking arm up far too long, it fell to the floor one night, the first indication that Happy had a terminal illness, known to us as "termitititus." He is part of New Zealand soil now.

Chip was artist, lover of life, and philosopher, a legend. I was always proud to call him brother, and I looked up to him in so many ways. I am also proud of the person Scott, his son, has become. It is now Scott who is doing so much to wrap up the realities of Chip's life while rekindling that wonderful spirit Chip had. Good on ya, Scott!

With Chip's love of Westies, I am reminded of a declaration that Steinbeck made in "Travels with Charlie", his own dog. After his own trip through America with Charlie, Steinbeck said something like this: "I am glad to report that in the battle between reality and romance, romance is the clear winner." Good on ya, Chip!

Lou Dausse - I only had the pleasure of meeting him once, at a barbecue at his home in Chandler, Arizona, and found him to be a generous and gracious host. I know many of us will miss him greatly.

Roger Cousineau - Man, what a loss. I was at the barbecue at his house too and he once stayed with my wife and I in Tucson for about three days around Christmas while Annie was visiting relatives. He parked his mobile home in our yard and we had a really great time visiting. He had some really great stories about printing his models in Britain and then making annual trips to the states to sell them here. Its a real loss of a great model designer and a great personality.

Bill O'Neil - Hello, Scott - I met your Dad a coupla times, at IPMC. First, I'm very sad to hear of his death. I'll assume he took along a laptop, charger w/adapters, and extra #11 blades. Seemed to be a free- and wise-spirited man. Likely an excellent father and guy to be around.

Mari Mack - Expressing gratitude to Chip, for inspiration on a life well lived. "A man's true wealth is the good he does in the world." Kahlil Gibran

Tom N Sharon Kamrowski -

I first began card modeling during my second deployment to Iraq. I was introduced to it by an officer in my Engineer Section who designed his own models of farm tractors/equipment using AutoCad. He told me about all of the card models that were available online and I came across Chip's site and downloaded the FG Piper Cub. I built me first model using regular printer paper, the scissors on my Swiss Army Knife, and a glue stick from the PX. Once I built it I was pretty much hooked, and my wife sent me a hobby knife & blades, a cutting mat, Tacky Glue, round & square toothpicks, and lots of cardstock. I have been a Magic Keys subscriber for about 7 months or so, and find card modeling a much more "portable" part of the hobby than plastic modeling (which I still do also). I was very sad to hear of Chip's passing. He was an integral part of the card modeling hobby. I had few personal dealings with him, but when I did, he was always helpful in resolving any issue or question that I had. My thoughts are with his family and his westies. I have included a picture of my first-ever card model taken in Iraq where it was displayed on my desk by taping it to the monitor of my PC. - at Camp Victory.

Mark Waldenberger -

I came to Fiddlers Green many years ago now and it was then that I met Chip. I came on rabid with ideas about a series of models for FG that I wanted to work on based on old movie palaces and then expanded out from there with an idea about classic buildings along the old route 66. Chip was always ready to give advice and just be there to guide you with a gentle hand. As time went on, he became a mentor, a teacher and a friend. Most recently, he was always there with a kind word or a model or a prod to get my mind off my divorce and offered to help me in any way if needed. Little did he know that just by doing that and keeping my mind off the the troubles and woes that were assailing me, he already had helped so much. How can you possibly express the depth of loss you feel when someone, on e of those rare lights in an otherwise dark and dreary world, comes into your life and effects you so positively and then in an instant is gone? I have been wrestling with this since I learned of Chip's passing. In our conversations prior to his leaving us, he had talked about "retiring" but I thought he was just toying with me because I could never see him handing over the wheel of FG to anyone. It was when I had heard he had passed that the true meaning of his impending "retirement" hit me. There is a hole in my life now for a true friend, a wonderful person, a visionary to this hobby, a teacher and guiding hand has left us. Chip was one of those wondrous people who come into our lives and make everything just a bit brighter by doing nothing more than giving a kind word or providing, in his case, a model to make your cares go away. He showed me every kindness and his last words to me will stay with me for ever. He said, "Thanks for all the interest and love you've sent along over the years Mark.. You're a special pal indeed." It gave me and still gives me great pleasure to be thought of as one of the modelling pals of FG! Thank you Chip for all that you did, for FG and for creating not just another website out in the internet wastes, but a community where everyone can come and grow and share in the experience of being a pal and making pals. You will be sorely missed Chip but FG will be here to continue the dream, the promise and the hope that is Fiddlers Green. Sleep well and know that all of us pals out here will do our best to help Scott along and keep your dream and your memory and the legacy of Fiddlers Green alive so that future modelling pals have a place to hang their hats, a place to call home.

Derek Roberts - Dear Scott and Annie - my deepest condolences for your sad loss. The World is a little emptier.......

From John - I have spent countless hours browsing Fiddler's Green just to look and read the excellent, humorous, and interesting notes.
I eagerly anticipated each weekly installment of new models. And Oh those new ones!
Course my back-log is enormous, my bank account dwindles because of ink for my printer, but oh lo the hours of entertainment!
Priceless! Here's to an inspiration!

"I would like to be a "Could Be."
If I could not be an "Are"
I would rather be a "Has Been"
Than a "Might Have Been" by far,
For a "Might Have Been"
Has "Never Been"
While a "Has Been" was an "Are"

Will miss you

Mayer Brenner- It's not easy to do a new thing, especially in ways that things haven't been done before. Doing something new in a way that reflects your own unique personality can merge life and work is particularly distinctive. That's what Chip Fyn was able to do.
I was a fairly early supporter of Fiddler's Green long before the internet. I dealt with Chip back then through written mail, and the notes that he'd stick in the packets he'd mail back and sometimes print on the side of a model.
When FG moved to the web and email replaced the Postal Service it was always reassuring to see that Chip still had FG on its feet, through one business gyration or another. Even when he was frustrated or annoyed by whatever had come up he was always able to filter this though his own cockeyed sensibility. It was Chip and his vision, more than any specific project or model, that always drew my support. I'm sorry to hear he's gone. I know he'd be pleased to have a legacy, especially one in the hands of family.
Daniel Shippey -

I remember a lot of conversations with Chip over the years. Most were on the phone as he and Annie only made it by our house once but one conversation that has always struck me was in about 1998 or 1999. I was talking about the emergence of China as an adversarial force against the United States that I hoped would never result in even a limited war. He said "Oh Dan, there won't be another war. We all talk to each other on the internet now and the governments can't lie to us about what's happening around the world." Now you could make all kinds of arguments about how we have more mis-information in the information age and how governments still mislead us but I still love the optimism he held for the internet and for people. He always seemed to struggle a bit with the fact that his best selling models were weapons of war. In 2000 I made up a Chip Fyn for President campaign button with the promise of the "Worlds most affordable Air Force" He laughed at the button but then in an aside said "You know how far that is from who I am don't you?"

Ranganath Weiner -

For many years your Dad's work with modlin' touched the souls of many of my students. You see, during my professional life as a public educator, I ran a space and technology program magnet program for at risk middle school children. As part of the vehicle design portion of my program, fiddler's modlin' was a major component. Even now, years after I have retired, I go to a Vietnamese restaurant that is run by one of my former students. He brings our soup (gratis) from his heart (no charge) sets the soup on the table, turns to me and asks as he hands me paper and pencil, "Please write down that awesome paper modeling site that you always shared with all of us". You see, many of my students had no safe haven during middle school years except when they sat down to build a paper model. For many of my countless students, your Dad's models represented life and everything else was just waiting to live. He did good work for more kids than he will every know. Thanks Chip...

From the newsletter:

I should also mention something about the legal situation. As some of you know, there are legends about Fiddlers Green that involve survival after the grave. Sailors can drink rum and smoke tobacco after they spend 50 years or more at sea. The problem is, that he only spent 49 years and 3 months, and we have to get a judge to make a ruling on that, but I'm pretty sure he will rule in our favor. Chip might get special consideration for all the surfing he did!

From a retired District Court Judge in the State of Colorado, USA:


Let it, hereby, be known to all paper modelers
Whereas Chip Fyn commanded the helm of a greatly respected, internationally marketed paper modeling company, and
Whereas Chip Fyn continually promoted world peace, while ironically selling models of the world's weapons of war, and
Whereas Chip Fyn, like any true-born Irish seafaring man should go on to the proper Heaven of Fiddler's Green, now therefore
It is Ordered that Chip Fyn shall be admitted to Fiddler's Green forthwith, and with all due haste.

So Ordered this 10th day of September, 2012, by the Court

Honorable Jack F. Smith, District Court Judge
State of Colorado


The three pictures below were sent in by John Glessner, who took honorary first place in the FG "Best Display System" category for his amazing display at the Paper Model Convention in Sterling VA in 2012. Very clever indeed! Regarding the pictures, he wrote: " I remember that day. This very enthusiastic fellow came in with two large RC planes he made from FG designs. He was so happy to meet Chip and talk to him. They went on for some time. Chip pointed out a MiG-3 FG design that I had there. This interested the guy enough to build an RC plane of that. I think it was then that Chip gave me the green FG polo shirt (a very high quality shirt indeed). It was a very good day and a very good convention." -John

Here is a video (in Dutch) that shows the island we lived on in Holland in 1977/1978. The video predates our stay there by at least a decade, but it hadn't changed much in that time. It's gone now, but the memories live on.