In 1995, the IDF drafts me for my 3-year tour. The military routine leves me with surprising amounts of free time, but engenders little personal space. I recall trying different ways to assert my individuality. I don't recall thinking about my boundaries much then, but when I look at these photos now, I see the bottles as protective bubbles I erect around what I build.

I recall these models supplying a ready conversation topic with almost anyone I meet at the time. I get to feel good about being special, and I get to explain how cool my technique is.

F-16, 1:144, Revell kit, 1 liter

I like using triangular Keglevich bottles for delta-wing jet fighters. They seem to accentuate the form and motion of the model. I find that jet fighters make some of the best subjects: there is an obvious way to mount them inside the bottle. A rod of transparent or semi-transparent plastic simulates jet exhaust, and I hang the aircraft on it. Landing gear in the "down" position is an extra challenge to assemble in a bottle.

Mirage IIICJ, 1:144, scratch build, 1 liter

With an aircraft-in-bottle, I can skip a lot of detail and still have an interesting model. The workmanship is in getting a recognizable replica through the glass, not in the panel lines or cockpit detail. I scratch-build this one from balsa and apply no paint except for markings and trim. The prototypes are natural aluminum except for red trim; the model follows that scheme with natural wood.

Two Kfirs, 1:72 1 gallon / 1:144 1 liter

The 1:72 Kfir in that huge, one-gallon gin bottle is my largest AIB, and shows the most detail. I recall making at least 4 Kfirs in different scales, both from kits and from scratch. These two models are from Italeri kits.

I present these two models as part of 9-model collection of aircraft in bottles at the 1997 IPMS Israel Nationals and win first place in small-scale aviation category. 1:144 Kfir photo by Ofer Zidon who lists this photo under 1998 Nationals.

Fokker Dr.I, 1:72, Revell kit, 1 liter

Fokker Dr.I, top view Fokker Dr.I, front view

My only propeller airplane in a bottle, this is also one of the trickiest. I recall difficulty coming up with a way to mount it inside the bottle (no jet exhaust and all), so I don't. The model is free to slide inside the bottle.

Su-15, 1:144, scratch build, 750ml

Su-15, side view Su-15, top view Su-15, bottom view

I build this model for a man whose father had worked for Sukhoi in Russia. No 1:144 Su-15 kits exist; I scratch-build this one from balsa and sheet styrene.

F-5, 1:144, Italeri/Dragon kit, 330ml


I build this model is a gift for Jacob Terner, commander IAF museum at Hatzerim AB.

AH-64, 1:144, Italeri/Dragon kit, 1 liter

AH-64, side view AH-64, top view

I take some liberty to fit the Apache in a bottle. I cut two of the blades flush with the inside walls of the bottle and leave the other two their scale length; this is visually unobtrusive and preserves the scale lookl of the prototype while physically fitting the model into a relatively small space.