Friday, April 27, 2012

Fast Friday: Recognizing Fast CY6 Vendor Service

Today’s Fast Friday veers from its usual racing theme to recognize some exceptionally fast service from I-94 Enterprises. Take note, all you CY6 fans!

I emailed Dave at I-94 last Sunday with a list of items I’d like to order. He replied on Monday that all but one item was in stock, and offered up some options. After some more discussion back and forth, in the end I decided to just go with what he had in stock, and he sent an invoice. I paid it via Paypal about 8:30 Wednesday morning, and the package was waiting for me when I got home from work Thursday!

Now I know I live in the same state just a few hours away, but given the state of the postal service and everything else, I half wondered if Dave himself drove it up and dropped it in my mailbox. That is an amazingly fast turnaround by any measure.

So for any of you out there into CY6 or considering getting into it, I-94 Enterprises is highly recommended for your aircraft, decal and rules needs.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Confederate Artillery

After yesterday’s post featuring Union artillery, I felt it only fair to give equal time today to a Confederate counterpart. This set is another one painted up some time ago, and it appears to be all Dixon.

The bulk of my ACW collection is infantry, by quite a wide margin. I have some artillery, but not a lot. I have a few more pieces in the pile to paint, but have looked at getting more. The Sash & Saber sets look nice.

As for cavalry, I have some dismounted Union cavalry painted up I should show one of these days, and some unpainted Confederates deep in the pile. No mounted troops, which isn’t a huge issue for ACW, but it would be nice. I’ve had my eye on some Perry plastics for a while. Seems like I say it a lot, but one of these days…

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Federal Artillery

As far as I know, my lone direct ancestral connection with the Civil War is a great great grandfather who was with the 16th New York heavy artillery. Edwin Joseph Buzzard. How's that for a name?

He apparently enlisted on Dec. 26, 1863 in Oswego, New York, at age 20. According to one source, he was a private with the 16th, then transferred to Co. D of the 6th Artillery on May 10, 1865, then to Co. A on June 27 and promoted to corporal on July 13 before being mustered out on Aug. 24 in Washington.

The combat reports, on small forms, don't specify Buzzard's deeds. They mention his large unit's participation in Virginia action at Petersburg, severe shelling by rebels, Confederate attacks, long marches, nights lying in woods, driving the enemy out of rebel works, death and wounding of officers and enlisted men, being close to the Confederate capital of Richmond, Va., and troops' attempt to build a canal at Dutch Gap in Virginia.

The whole thing has actually always been a bit perplexing. By the 1840s, that particular branch of the family tree had mostly moved from New York state to Michigan, not an uncommon occurrence and hence all of the Michigan place names like Rochester, Genesee, Troy, Flushing, etc. Edwin was born in Oakland County, Michigan (Pontiac area - near Detroit) in 1848. So why did he enlist in New York? I've always wondered if the date is a clue. Was he in New York visiting relatives for Christmas? Did he just not want to go home for some reason? 20 years old, nothing else to do?

After the war, he didn't return "home" either. He ended up in Auburn, Michigan, just west of Bay City (think of the bay formed when you hold your hand up as a mitten). We'll probably never know what motivated these moves.

He died in 1921.

So today, I bring you some Union artillerists I painted some time ago. I think they are Foundry minis. One of these days I would like to put on a big ACW game with these 25/28 figures. How cool would that look? I think I've mentioned before, though, I've never really settled on a set of rules. Ah, some day.

And yes, genealogy is something of yet another hobby, though I haven't really done much with it in years.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Irish Brigade: 69th New York

Lest you think this blog has become nothing but an outlet for my p'ing and m'ing, I decided to dig through the archives for something more fun worth posting. Plus we've been void of any good gaming posts for far too long.

So, who among ACW gamers has never had at least a passing interest in the Irish Brigade? Its exploits are well documented, so I won't go into them here. But there is something about this brigade that captures the imagination, no? My goal is to ultimately do the entire brigade, but of course had to start with the core unit, the 69th New York.

Figures are from Redoubt. Actually, this is the first time I painted up any from Redoubt, and I rather liked them. The whole mixed head option is very appealing, and the detail is raised well enough to make them fairly easy to paint, and I find the poses animated and realistic. The end result is rather good and effective. The heads and overall style are quite a bit different than Dixon (which still make up the bulk of my ACW forces), however, and while I don't mind them sharing a table, I think mixing within a unit might look a bit odd.

Paint was the usual standard mix of Polly S, Testors and Vallejo.

I spent the weekend entirely at home, as quite honestly I was just not in the mood for any human interaction whatsoever. I did get a few home-related things done (like mow the lawn), but I also made time for some reading (Hunger Games trilogy) and some hobby-related exercises. These included some more work on the paper Skylab (actually getting close on that) and getting back to some CY6 things. I also placed a small order for some decals and more planes on that front. I know there are some busy weeks and weekends coming up, but we'll see.

And for those of you keeping score at home on the Mustang saga, I respectfully declined the invitation to appear on the Judge Judy show. Call me idealistic and naive, but I just could not come to grips with how quickly he was willing to sell himself out so that someone else would pay his tab. I may never get my money, but going through district court will mean that he himself is held accountable and responsible. What's right is right.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fast Friday: A Rant

I really don’t mean for this blog to become such a downer, but aside from the ongoing and increasingly frustrating Mustang saga, one of my other favorite hobbies seems to be falling apart at the seams – Indycar modeling.

At best, this is a niche hobby within a hobby niche. But its participants are pretty hard-core, and unfortunately don’t always agree with each other on various issues, but if you look beyond that, it’s allowed me to share my builds with like-minded people – and learn a lot about Indycar racing and model building in general in the process.

Largely ignored by the mainstream modeling industry, Indycar modeling has been strongly supported by a core group of dedicated cottage industries. There are some “big” names that have been around for years, and some newer talent ready to help grow the hobby. I’ve bought several items from them, and it’s really just a great bunch of guys.

But one of those just ran into corporate American greed and has received multiple cease and desist letters, starting with one from Firestone who demanded he stop selling his decals that can be used to build a model of a Firestone Cobre sponsored car from the mid-1970s. It is also possible, actually you could say it’s probable, that another member of the Indycar modeling community alerted Firestone of this individual’s activities. That’s another issue, one that gets a lot of blood boiling and puts the hobby as a whole in serious, serious jeopardy. I’m not sure I'm ready to share my feelings on that component of this story just yet.

Now, I don’t know the person making the decals beyond some online interaction, and wouldn’t recognize him walking down the street. I bought some decals from him a couple years ago on another subject that were very good. His more recent projects, while well done, did not dovetail with projects I had on my to-do list. But from everything I can tell, he’s just a simple hobbyist, one who just wants to help fellow hobbyists, and I always liked to see what he was working on.

This individual was selling limited runs of his decals. We’re talking quantities of 10 here. Ten.  1-0. Less than a dozen. For $6 apiece. Six. Not sixty. Not six hundred. Six. Gross revenue: $60. Try buying a single Firestone tire for that. Now factor in his time, his materials cost, his shipping costs and I’d guess his net revenue is in the red.

Simply put, this guy is not making money off another’s brand. He’s sharing his art with the hope that others can enjoy a having a unique model in their collection, and maybe trying to cover some of his expenses.

Look, I work in marketing for a living, and understand companies need to protect their brand. You can’t have a fly-by-night operation in China selling tires and calling them Firestones, or even Flamestones or Firerocks. And you certainly don’t want someone setting up a stand on the corner of 16th and Georgetown selling Firestone t-shirts, or certainly not Firesucks shirts or Firestone thong underwear or whatever else they have in their brand standards as inconsistent with their strategy.

But cottage industry model race car decals?

I know it’s easier for corporations to enact sweeping regulations in an attempt to have one-size-fits-all rulings that tie everything up in a nice bow so they can drive home in their fancy cars and go to their fancy restaurants and whatnot. But the real world isn’t so cut and dried. Never has been. A little common sense would show that on a case by case basis, this is not a big deal. No money worth mentioning was made (these guys make more in 20 minutes than this guy made in weeks doing this), and the brand was treated respectfully. Unfortunately, common sense isn’t all that common, but greed is. Both at the corporate level, and by whoever turned him in.

Put the checkered flag away, boys, there are no winners here this week.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Patriots Day

A salute to all on Patriots Day, April 19. I understand the movement to proclaim September 11 Patriots (or Patriot’s) Day. Obviously that day is significant in its own right, with many patriotic actions evident in response to the 2001 day’s horrific events. But April 19 to me really belongs to the Patriots. You may have heard of a few little scuffles called Lexington and Concord?

Of course, that led to a conversation at work this morning about the Oklahoma City bombings and the FBI siege climax in Waco, both on April 19, and the Columbine massacre, April 20. What is it about this time of year?

Which then led to a question, are one man’s patriots another man’s terrorists? Did the British think of the Minute Men as we would think of terrorists today?

Somehow, I think not. It seems to me standing up for one’s liberty and personal freedoms against the military representatives of a secular government it deems unjust is significantly different than killing men, women and children because your god told you to. Grossly oversimplistic, I know, but, to wit: the belligerents of 237 years ago have long since let bygones be bygones and become the strongest of allies, much to our mutual benefit. I really don’t see the same happening with the current antagonists in the upcoming decades. Millennia, maybe. Not decades, or even centuries.

As for the domestic incidents, I can’t explain beyond something just wasn’t right in their heads and they could not adapt to accepted norms. Certainly none of them inspired any sort of significant support like 1775, leaving them at the fringe of civilized society.

Let’s just get through the day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

When Hobbies Aren't Fun

Apologies for the lack of posts lately. I know I mentioned I would only be gone a week, and I was – a pleasant trip to Florida.

But since I’ve been back, hobbies have deteriorated into a definite not fun aspect of life. All because of the Mustang saga.

I’ve posted the story before, about how I took it to a shop for body and paint and the work was not done, and I didn’t get my money back. Before going on vacation, I filed in small claims court and have a court date of May 3. That’s bad enough, filing a lawsuit over what should be an enjoyable, relaxing hobby experience. Courts have no place in hobbies.

Then last week I get a letter inquiring if I would be interested in going on the Judge Judy TV show to have my case arbitrated. On TV. In Los Angeles. All over 850 bucks.

I told them to go ahead and try to contact the defendant. Which they did. In under five hours, and he agrees to go on the show. For weeks and months I tried to talk to him, but he never answered his phone, or his emails. Even his mom refused to talk to me. And he talks to them right away.

I am furious. He’s found an out – CBS will pay any judgment against him if he goes on TV. Basically, no accountability on his part. Dude, it’s time to grow up and face the music. Just talk to me.

I’m about this close to putting out an ad to sell the darn car – just haul it away.

Hobbies are supposed to be fun. And this has turned into a nightmare that just won’t go away.