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When the muse calls...

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Sometimes a muse calls and you don't see it coming. It's a story worth telling as a New Year opens.

I am often self-conscious about my geeky-nerdy interests in things like old railroads, airplanes, wonderful foods, and craft beers. I certainly post less about the scale modeling experience on open media like Facebook and share those thoughts more often with like-minded folks through other avenues like modeling clubs, e-mail blasts, on-line forums, and, more recently, this blog.


I came to a better understanding of my urge to write about my experiences when I read an article last fall, published in the Center for Railroad Photography & Art's Railroad Heritage magazine by fellow academic Richard Koenig. He wrote:

But photographs, regardless of the subject matter, are inert by themselves - they need to be viewed and interrogated by an audience to take on and impart their meaning 


Koenig wrote about his engagement with a railroad enthusiast group in Bloomington, Indiana in …

Smaller Things

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I'm not much of a fan of mainstream TV, and haven't gotten caught up in the popularity of Stranger Things, but that doesn't mean I don't get caught up in fads.  Of course, tending to the obsessional, those fads are usually of my own making.

Right now, my fad is Smaller Things, specifically 1/72-1/76 scale vehicles.  They are also stranger things in their own way: they are oddball vehicles.  But, really, what other kind of model would draw my interest?  Oh, I'm sure there are people who build tiny run-of-the-mill Sherman tanks and German half-tracks in innumerable quantities, but that's not for me.  I'm fascinated by things like airfield ground support equipment, armored vehicles that ride on wheels instead of tank tracks, and  recovery vehicles of all sorts. (For those not familiar with recovery vehicles imagine a bulldozery, tow-truckish kind of beast built out of an honest-to-goodness tank).



I have to admit, this is not really a new obsession.  It's m…

How the Kamado saved Christmas.

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My blog header says that it will cover many topics, but so far only scale modeling has come to the fore.  It's time to break the mold.*  Hence, a Christmas story should be told.









For many years, I have been responsible for the protein phase of our Christmas feast.  This has typically centered on a standing rib roast of beef, prepared in the manner I first learned from Alton Brown on his Food Channel show 'Good Eats.'  While I don't do the whole over-the-top clay flowerpot thing that Mr. Brown espouses, the start-low, finish-high, "reverse sear" approach has served us well.  Still, the method has its deficiencies, including occupying the oven at otherwise unhelpful, i.e., too low and too high, temperatures through most of the day.  The high temperature finish also creates a greasy smoke that permeates the house and lingers in the oven for weeks, or at least until it's cleaned!    These problems were masked when our home had double ovens and a restaurant-gr…

Second Hand Rose

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The question of what happens to a model collection when the modeler can no longer enjoy it vexes many folks in the hobby, and can be especially thorny for families faced with valuation and dispersal of the esoterica intrinsic to collecting scale model kits.  Fellow blogger Jim Bates has even addressed this in an interview on The Plastic Scale Modeling Hour (episode 30).  Jim takes the stage at just about time point 18:30 in that recording.

Our IPMS-Birmingham club, the Phantom Phlashers has faced this issue a number of times in the last few years, with several members giving up big chunks of their collections.  One of our guys, Bob, was obviously in failing health when his family turned to another club-member for help.  This turned out to be a yeoman effort, because Bob had started many kits in recent years, and had unboxed and mixed parts of many others.  The started kits were made available to club members for building, while others were offered for sale. I picked up several from ea…

Storm Warning

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No, I'm not talking about the gales of November come early, or the clear conspiracy that arranged Alabama-style tornadoes to greet me in Ohio this past weekend.

There!  Did you hear that?  Did it sound like,  maybe...,  thunder?  What the Germans call Donner? Like Donner und Blitzen?



Perhaps it did.  You see, today is November 7th.  This year, the Friday before Thanksgiving is November 17th.  That means the 10-day forecast might have picked up the first inkling of this year's pre-Thanksgiving weekend, me-and-the-boys, blitz build.
With two botched weekend blitzes in a row during 2017, I'm not sure I can make any promises, but we'll give it a try once again.

Long-lead-time item procurement has begun, and I'll be ensuring that all needed parts and paints are on hand for the 5pm 11/17/17 kickoff.  Having just struggled through completing the Sword kit of the Beech Staggerwing, I can assure you that (despite the success of last year's Eduard Hellcat) no Eastern Eu…

Going old school

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So, in my previous comments on the Revell 1/144 scale 727, I mentioned that lacking dexterity for detail painting might make me fill some of my recovery time with another airliner build.  That has come to pass.

It seemed that the Hawker Siddeley Trident, as a similar '60s design single-aisle tri-jet might make for a logical companion to the 727.  Airfix first produced these in the 1960s, but the kits have always seemed hard to find, perhaps because the actual aircraft never served in North America.  As a result, my kit was purchased, already opened, at a model show many years ago and, with many other small scale civil aircraft, languished in the stash awaiting a relapse of "Airliner Flu."

Perhaps during that long incubation - or more likely, before - the kit developed the bane of all second-hand-model purchasers: The missing part😡.  In this case, the outer half of one of the engine nacelles. A quick trip to e-Bay confirmed that the Airfix Trident was still hard to find,…

Adapting to the circumstances

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So the rotator cuff injuries underwent a complicated repair last Monday, involving 8 different incisions and more than 2 hours under anesthesia.  The mapping on my right shoulder looks like the planning of a 1000 bomber raid over Germany in 1944. I have been pretty heavily medicated, significantly sleep deprived, and generally restless since the surgery, sleeping exclusively in a recliner in 2-3 hour bursts.  (I count today, post operative day #5, as a significant landmark because I wore big boy underpants again).

The above-mentioned factors result in such a limited attention span that I haven't been able to read any of the aviation, railroading, or general history magazines I so diligently stockpiled pre-operatively.  Fortunately, my Cleveland Indians (Who knew? But, Matt Underwood keeps telling me they're mine) have played several double headers in the last week, which occupy a good bit of time, and I found the library of the old Discovery/Wings Channel show "Great Plan…