Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tale of the Tape

I spent about a half hour this morning doing nothing but taping up my Foyt Olds in preparation for applying the black stripe down the side. Sorry for the lack of photos lately, I haven't been able to set up an area and haul anything out to shoot. Hopefully shots of the Foyt Olds soon.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Goals: Somewhat Met

As expected, it was a busy long weekend. But perhaps even busier than I thought.

Wednesday shopping turned into a mini-saga and took far longer than expected, but I did get a lot done.

Thursday was Thursday.

Friday I did get the leaves raked and the lights up, with much internal snipping and sniping with my wife. And I got caught up in helping rearrange the living room. Lonnng story we shan't go into. And a social evening out.

That carried on until Saturday, when I finally just stopped for a little while to watch football. Then it was off to dinner out and another shopping excursion.

Sunday I did some cyber shopping and some other computer work - that took a while, too. Finally by late Sunday afternoon I was pretty done for.

So what does that mean for hobbies? Zero accomplishment on the Mustang. Nada. So that's frustrating. And on the scale cars, I got the tires painted and wheels assembled on the Foyt Olds, and the orange paint polished reasonably well. I need to mask and get the black on. Oh, and I got a front support and the spoiler prepped for paint (forgot to do them in the first round...)

And I did get a bottle of stout to fermenting in the keg. That could be the long-term best accomplishment of the weekend.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Long Weekend Goals

The office is shutting down at noon today, followed by four days off! In my perfect little dream world, it will go something like this:

1. This afternoon: Pick up a few items on the Christmas shopping list, get some fine beer for tomorrow's repast, wash the truck, get a haircut.
2. Tonight: Crash on the couch and watch Captain America, which according to Netflix is in the mail and should arrive today.
3. Thursday: Haul the wife, kids and grandma to my parents for much overeating. Probably little else will get accomplished.
4. Friday: Finish raking the leaves, put up the Christmas lights. (Hey, it's supposed to be in the upper 50s!)
5. Saturday-Sunday: I really need to get back to working on the Mustang. I need to clean the oil pan, get the timing cover on, get the oil pan on, and start work on the valves. I'd love to get the head back on, but we'll see.

And I'd also like to work on my AJ Foyt Oldsmobile, my '64 Watson and start my '55 Kurtis-Kraft. And paint minis!?! Oh, and I have a batch of stout I want to get brewed up and going in the keg.

Alas, the wife wants to rearrange the living room and the kids' playroom, so I'm sure that will be a priority. And I'm sure other things will come up. Odds of getting just one thing on that list done: 25:1.

I'll report back next week. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Proofreading Karma

A couple posts back I had a little fun with a kit manufacturer's misspelling of "USS Enterpise" on a Star Trek kit. And wouldn't you know it, I come in to work today only to have an error of my own pointed out. On a corporate holiday card (nothing says happy holidays like an ecard from a battery manufacturer!) I neglected to add a space between "brightand".

Fortunately it was just a draft layout and didn't go out to any "valued customers," but still. Karma, she's a nasty one.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Buckle Your Seat Belts

Well, we're certainly entering a busy time of year.

There was the Santa parade Saturday that got the kids fired up, then a family birthday thing yesterday. Now Thanksgiving is already Thursday, and then the whirlwind that always is December.

Hopefully I can get some hobby activities in there somewhere. You'd think this would be the time of year to rest, wouldn't you? Ha!

I did bottle a batch of beer Saturday (a week later than planned), and also worked some on a couple of race cars, specifically getting the seat belts more or less together, hence the title of this post. On my '64 Watson, I had done it twice already, but still wasn't happy with it. I think I like it now. And last night/this morning I did the harness for my '86 Olds. These aren't 100% accurate recreations, but as representations with the fiddly photo etch bits and masking tape, I think they will do quite well, thank you. I need to get some photos maybe this week...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fast Friday: 1986 Indy 500 Winner

Before 2011 winds to a close, let's take a look back 25 years in Indy 500 history.

That year was memorable for a number of reasons, not the least of which was it was deemed "The Greatest Spectacle in Raining" after days of rain pushed the race back from its traditional Memorial Day weekend date to the following Saturday. I remember making the return 300 mile trip, and it was as nice a day as you could want for a race. And it ended up a thriller, with Bobby Rahal winning the closest 1-2-3 finish in race history to that point.

This model represents Rahal's winning 1986 March Cosworth. It is based on the AMT '86 March kit based on Al Unser's 1987 winning effort. Not many modifications are necessary to make it a true '86 - fill in the hole on the side of the cowl, add the airscoop at the back, adjust the rear wing strut and make some bigger winglets on the rear wing.

As is usual in model building, not everyone agrees on the color. Some say straight up Tamiya works best for Budweiser red, but I mixed my own from Testors enamel, mostly gloss red, with some dark red thrown in to deepen it just a bit. I'm happy with the result. Decals are of the usual excellent quality delivered by Indycals. One of my favorites!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Proofreading at Starfleet?

Disclaimer: See the blog post at Model Kit Review that inspired this one here.

Part of my job involves proofreading. Believe me, it's not as easy as it sounds, and so I have great compassion for the poor fellow whose job it was to proofread something when errors are pointed out.

So when I get a chuckle out of an obvious error, it is a knowing chuckle rather than a conveyance of any sense of superiority. Lord knows I've made my share of mistakes. "Gleen" instead of green in a tradeshow banner, anyone? At least that one did get caught before it went to the printer. Whew.

Anyway, I did indeed get a good chuckle out of this one. I'm sure the proofreader has been condemned to proofing Klingon dictionaries for the rest of his career. (Yes, I'm aware it is the fault of some poor soul at AMT, not Starfleet.)

By the way, part of today's work agenda for me includes proofreading some automotive adhesive sell sheets. In Chinese. Keep in mind I don't speak a word of Chinese. All I can do is make sure what is in the word doc appears in the final layout. It may as well be in Klingon. And you wonder why things you read from China are in such fractured English? I like to think there is some poor fellow in China trying to do what I do, only in reverse.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On the Nightstand: Mayflower

With everything else going on, my reading time the last several years has been curtailed. Still, I like to read, and try to find time at the end of each day to make it through a few pages. But it takes me far longer than it used to to actually finish a book!

At the moment, I am working on Nathaniel Philbrick's "Mayflower." Not a bad book overall, but a rather misleading title. The book actually covers a much broader period than the Pilgrims settling in Plymouth, extending to explore the settlement of additional colonies, the personalities and politics involved, and ultimately King Philip's War.

And let's just say, at least according to Philbrick, things didn't go as they did as we were taught in school, or how it was portrayed by the Peanuts gang.

Not surprising, really, when you consider these are humans, after all, with all the inherent flaws despite their puritanical belief system. (And Puritans were actually not the same as Pilgrims, apparently. Still not sure I can briefly explain the difference, but they are different.) For example, Miles Standish comes off as more of a classic Napoleonic complex character rather than a heroic leader. A bit brash and impulsive, he is certainly driven to make a name for himself. And Squanto, whew. Far from the compassionate savior of the Pilgrims, he comes off as quite the conniving little bastard, playing the settlers and Indians against each other for his own political gain. I think it's only natural we romanticize our forebears, and highlighting the good in people can be inspirational, but it's also interesting to roll the curtain back a bit to take a closer look at what may be the most romanticized event in American history.

From a gaming perspective, I was hoping to be inspired to perhaps think about starting some King Philip's War gaming. Well, hoping may be too strong a word, as I certainly don't need anything else on my plate right now. And the book does present some interesting scenario opportunities, with fairly detailed descriptions of several battles following an examination of causes of the war, the "lining up of sides" as it were, etc. But for now, I think I will have to keep that project on the back burner.

All in all, while some accusations in reviews of the book being "Indians good, English bad" are warranted, it does provide a fairly thorough overview of a period I knew fairly little about in a single volume.  And with Thanksgiving just around the corner, it's a timely read, as well. Of course, I'll probably never be able to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner again without commenting on the fact that eating turkeys wasn't the only thing some of the English were doing with turkeys... And that's all I'll say about that for the moment.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

148th Pennsylvania

Mini painting has sort of been placed on the backburner the last few weeks. In addition to other projects (some model cars) working their way to the forefront, other life projects have also moved up. Rake the leaves, for one. Getting busier at work, for another.

But for today, here is another one of those ACW units I was talking about a few weeks ago. This one shall be known as the 148th Pennsylvania, because that's one of the flags I had, not so much for any pure historical context. Still, I think it looks good.

Once again, Dixon minis. But I have a confession to make on paint. I have apparently been having a series of premature senior moments, and have failed to accurately present how I paint Union uniforms. My preferred method for the coats is Floquil Dark Blue, drybrushed with Testors intermediate blue. I can't believe I haven't mentioned Floquil previously. My approach to pants is also a bit different than my norm, as I use a Apple Barn or whatever it is called hobby acrylics sky blue from Michael's. That sometimes takes two coats over the primer to get the precise coverage I want, then I wash it with the aforementioned Floquil Dark Blue, and sometimes highlight with the Testors Intermediate Blue again.

So there you have it! More Yankees!

Friday, November 11, 2011


Armistice Day. Veterans Day. Remembrance Day. It has many names, but one meaning. Never forget.

Somehow, my collection of WWI minis, now growing a bit long in the tooth, I suppose, has escaped recent photography. I haven't played a game with them in years, and there are no immediate prospects. I've considered picking up Death of Glory and Test of Battle, but haven't been able to justify it with no opponent ready to go. Yet as one of my very first forays into wargaming, I can't bring myself to get rid of the armies, either. And so, they rest.

In the meantime, here is a period appropriate subject. Eddie Rickenbacker's SPAD XIII.  A beautiful aircraft, and I have always been fascinated by the stories of the Lafayette Escadrille and the Hat in the Ring squadron. I do have his autobiography, and really should sit down to read it someday.

It should be noted this subject also has a connection with my theme of Fast Fridays. Before the war, Rickenbacker was a race car driver, participating in the Indy 500 four times before the race was suspended for the war in 1917 and 1918, when the backstretch was used as an airstrip. Later, in 1927, he would become owner of the Speedway. The Speedway closed its gates again from 1942-1945, when Rickenbacker sold it to Anton Hulman. The rest, as they say, is history.

Model notes: 1/72 scale, built from the old Revell kit. Most likely used Testors enamels, though in this case I seem to recall possibly Humbrol. As for rigging, I hit on this idea years ago and to my knowledge only my roommate at the time seems to have picked up on it and uses it regularly - I use paint brush bristles. That's right, just get any old paint brush, cut the bristles to length, put a dab of superglue on the end of each one and drop into place. No drilling, no tieing, no trying to heat things up to make taut. A lot of times the simplest solutions are best.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Welcome Followers

I see  there are two people out there who have signed up to see if anything of interest to them gets posted to this humble blog.

Welcome, Joao Mota and MiniMike!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Whistling Dixie

The last couple of evenings while my wife and I prepare dinner, for some reason she has been humming the Battle Hymn of the Republic. She can't really explain why, it's just stuck in her head at the moment, she says. Of course, ever ready to play the role of her foil, I start in with a rousing rendition of Dixie. Yes, we're an odd couple sometimes.

So in that spirit, along with the suggestion that my posts have leaned toward the cause of the Union, here are some more Confederates painted up some time ago, fuzzy photos and all. These appear to be Foundry minis, which I know I haven't bought any ACW Foundry minis in years, so this must go back a ways. As best I can recall, it does not represent any specific unit, and was in all likelihood painted with the usual mix of Vallejo and Testors acrylics.

But doesn't the officer look dashing?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lord of the (Piston) Rings

A brief progress report on the Mustang.

I drove out to see the body man last Friday morning, but I guess I should have called ahead - he wasn't there. But a peek through the window looks like not much progress has been made. Which, as I've said, is fine with me to a point. It's his garage space, after all, and I'm not ready to reinstall the engine and such anyway.

Speaking of the engine, I put the pistons in this past weekend. My BIL came up with the proper tools for the job, and once we sorted it out, it actually went rather well. So, while steps are small, progress is being made!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fast Fri.., er, Monday: 1969 Camaro Pace Car

I was out and about Friday and unable to get a post in on Fast Friday. Which is really a shame, as Friday marked the 100th anniversary of Chevrolet, a true American icon if ever there was one!

So in recognition of this achievement, I present my model of the 1969 Camaro Indy 500 pace car. At least one of the surveys I've seen in recent weeks asking people to select their all-time favorite Chevy had the '69 Camaro ranked No. 1, and the pace car being noted specifically as one of the best looking cars of all time. I hope you think so, too, and I hope you think my model does this remarkable car justice.

Notes: Built from the old MPC kit, the one that also included the Corvette and Trans Am. It's not the best kit in the world, but it built up OK. I used flock for the carpets, added seat belts, and used decals I bought from a supplier on ebay. They are really excellent decals, though I had to buy two sets because I screwed up the first one - no fault of the decals. I forget his name, if anyone wants it I can look it up.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I just noticed this little blog has cleared 1,000 visits. I hope it has provided a few moments of interesting reading and/or photo viewing in what I am sure is a busy day for all of you!

I've been trying to be diligent of posting every day, or nearly so (weekends are tough), and I shall plan to continue to do so if readership continues. What say you, valued reader?

As for today, I did not even get my 20-30 minutes of quiet me time this morning. It was one of those mornings by the time I let the dog out, fed her, cleaned the cat box, emptied the dishwasher, took out the trash and cleaned up a pile of cat barf, the babies started crying and I sat with them until our daycare provider arrived. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I'm Not Broke, Just Badly Bent

The good news: My recent auctions have brought in nearly $150 in revenue. The bad news: I paid the credit card bill that included recent Mustang parts and getting the engine cleaned and bored.

Let's just say, ouch. It pretty much wiped my account out.

The hobby budget for the foreseeable future is going to be very tight, especially given that I have at least a thousand dollars worth of work/parts to go on the Mustang. Let's just say that money doesn't exist at the moment. I hope I can put some/most of that off until spring.

I think I need to start looking at more things I can sell off. Seriously, I rolled up a bunch of coins in my drawer and came up with $54 cash. Hey, every little bit is going to help at this point.

Berdan's Sharpshooters

Another unit recently finished. Well, at least as far as it's going to go right now. No leader yet, and I still have some more unpainted, but how many sharpshooters does one need? These were also a nice break from the usual blue, grey, red and drab I usually paint. Nice, crisp green uniforms, probably not nearly dirty enough, but I like how they look.

These are all from Dixon, painted primarily with Testors Euro Dark Green acrylic, with the rest the usual mix of Testors and Vallejo. Oh, and Reaper. I don't think I've mentioned on any of these posts yet that I typically use Reaper flesh. Seems the best to me. Then a wash of Vallejo saddle brown, though I recently bought some Games Workshop brown flesh ink that I intend to try. When? Who knows? I seem distracted by other projects again!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Hangover

Had a good night trick or treating with the wee ones last night. So maybe it's a good day to post these photos. While it has been years (decades?) since being actively engaged in any sort of Dungeons & Dragons or other fantasy gaming, I do occasionally like to dig out some of the old minis for a trek down memory lane. There remains something about the old Grenadier castings that I can only describe as pure. No wild fantastic schemes. No worrying about accuracy. Just good old fashioned heroes taking on the evil hordes in some incredible adventure.

These happen to be from the Nick Lund goblin collection. I did have delusions at one point of maybe doing a skirmish game or something with them, and maybe someday I will. One can only do so many bluecoats and redcoats, after all. I still have quite a few of these and other Grenadier minis in the stash, some with the horrid paint jobs I applied with Testors enamels as a kid, some I bought painted by others (not so well) and some still without any paint at all.

These are often the most enjoyable elements of my many hobbies. No researching uniform colors. No worrying about paint color or decal accuracy. No worrying about why I have leftover bolts after reassembling a heater box. Just sit and paint however you want. Perhaps a good way to start what will surely be a frantic two months with the upcoming holidays and all.