Showing posts from 2017

How the Kamado saved Christmas.

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

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

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

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

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…

I'm gonna blame the medications

So the shoulder story continues.  I have not really regained any function in my arm north of the elbow and with the pain, lack of motility, etc., modeling progress has been glacial. Fortunately, alcohol - usually bourbon (Bower Hill of Louisville, Mr. Knights should be pleased to know) - has proved an effective way to augment my evening analgesia without moving up to narcotics. It is a genuinely fine Bourbon but it has not in any way assisted my productivity.  Sleep is pretty sparse these days too, and only really possible with a little bit of narcotic dosing at bedtime.

In the meantime, my MRI came back reading like a horror film script with quaint little phrases like, "full-thickness, complete tears," "edema and irregularity," and "degenerative fraying."  Surgery is coming up this Monday, and I anticipate a couple of weeks of rocky times during recovery.

I have already cut back on my time at the office and have been working from home when possible.  Th…

A significant setback

I've often joked in my modeling reports about challenges and setbacks, like unexpected Navy football games or the lack of the proper wine pairings, but this time I am facing a new kind of setback and I don't quite know what to do about it.

"The Boys" have played a prominent role in many of my reports, and have now become a main character in today's story.  Rowan, whom we call "little dog," is a full-energy 4 year-old, 65 pound, male Irish Setter.  In the background of the photo is Sully (formally styled as Suleiman the Magnificent); a 6-year-old, 120 pound Anatolian Shepherd Dog.
Sully is the leader of the pack, and like his eponymous forebear, considers himself ruler of a vast domain. Much to the consternation of the royal bodyguards and Keepers of the Exchequer, he loves to explore said domain on long private jaunts which universally begin with an incompletely latched gate or door.   So, last Monday evening, after a line of thundershowers passed, I sp…

Diminishing Doom / Continuation Challenges

I made progress on several projects this weekend, assisted by an Indians blow-out loss that occurred early this afternoon, along with very limited work and domestic responsibilities.

For the task of diminishing my Shelf of Doom, my Italeri AU-1 now has nearly all its decals in place, along with the ever-challenging Corsair undercarriage. Panel line enhancement had been done previously with artists oils over a Future gloss coat.  The prop is also now painted up, but yet to be mounted.  The gear doors and some detail painting are next up.

I provided a little love to my erstwhile Fathers' Day blitz-build Mustang in RAF reconnaissance colors as well.  I sprayed it with Xtracrylix PRU Blue, which was an absolutely gorgeous paint to work with.  It's a tad dark for 1/72 perhaps, but, hey, these were freshly painted for 541 Sqn in June 1944 and I'll be showing full invasion stripes, so pristine paint is not out of the question.  I did rebuild the prop, finding the Hobbyboss piece…

The shelf of doom

Every fall the Huntsville Plastic Modelers Society hosts a model show and competition.  There are a couple of twists this year.

First, because of conflicts over the space, they were forced to move the show to the last weekend of August.  Now those of you familiar with Alabama will know that August is NOT fall here, especially so when Crimson Tide football does not begin until September.  (I'll have to check to be sure, but I believe our Fall is legislated to officially begin four hours prior to the opening kickoff of the first game in the University of Alabama's football schedule).

Second, in a break from past years and most shows, the folks at HPMS are not offering any special theme awards this year.  Last year, upon the 40th anniversary of the show, they had a special award for models first kitted before 1976.  I brought some real clunkers, including a DeHavilland Sea Venom and a pair of P-47s, all originally from Frog molds.

Since there is no show theme this year, I felt…