Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Indy Wrapup 2012

Well, I’m back from Indy. Wow, what a race. Record number of lead changes (35) among ten different drivers. That’s amazing. Slightly disappointed in ended under a yellow, but hey, the guy was going for the lead on the final lap of the Indy 500. Can’t blame them.

I was pulling for Ed Carpenter in that final stretch, then Tony Kanaan, but Dario is a worthy champion. He can be abrasive at times, and sure his wife can get annoying after a while, but he gets Indy.

The other thing about this weekend was it was HOT. They said it was only 91 on Sunday, but they take that temp at the airport. Must be under a tree, too. It couldn’t have been less than 95 at the track. Track temp was in the 130s. Fortunately our seats are in the shade, so we managed OK. Lots of water and Gatorade consumption. The day before we sat around in the shade a lot. I did get to the memorabilia show and saw some of my fellow Indycar modelers, which is nice. It’s always good to put faces with names. And as you can see from the photo, our accommodations are for true race fans only. J

This was my 32nd Indy 500. I’ll reorder my tickets this week for the same seats. I don’t know how they will top this one, but then again, I say that every year. And somehow they do.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fast Friday: Happy Carb Day!

Happy Carb Day!

Much like Fast Friday last week, Carb Day is another Indianapolis Motor Speedway tradition. Historically it was used as a final check of the carburetors before the race. Although modern technology has rendered that point moot, the name has stuck.

I have gone down early enough to be at the track on Carb Day before, but alas, this year is not one of them. They will run the final Indycar practice this morning, then the Indy Lights race, pit stop challenge and concerts. A fun day in all. Then the Hoosier Hundred is tonight at the State Fair Grounds.

I’ll be heading out later today after work, setting up camp tonight in the dark before a full day at the track Saturday and the race Sunday. The bad news is, it’s supposed to be really, really hot. They are saying 94 Saturday and 94 Sunday. And it always feels hotter at the track, what with all the concrete and people. Planning on drinking lots of water.

Not much in the way of posts this week, but I do have a few hobby related updates:
·      Mustang – Got two rough estimates this week of $12,000 and $15,000. Not gonna happen. Talked to another guy last night that didn’t give a price, but sounds more like what I need. Retired guy, does it mostly for friends and family. It’s a former co-worker of a neighbor. Wish me luck.
·      Car modeling – I hope to see a bunch of that crew at Indy this weekend, several will be attending  memorabilia show. Not a model show in the true sense of the word, but close enough!
·      CY6 – Got some paint laid down on some Japanese and Chinese. Need to do some detail paint and decals, etc.

With that, have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fast Friday: Happy Fast Friday!

It’s Fast Friday! The real Fast Friday. For those who don’t know, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the final day before the first day of qualifications (aka, Pole Day) is traditionally known as Fast Friday. This is the final chance for the teams to make a statement about how fast their car really is, to start playing some of the mind games that goes into the unique qualifying format for the 500.

This year has an added twist: With the new V6 twin turbos, they decided to allow extra boost for today and qualifying only. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, they predict it might be good for up to another 5 mph, which is good, but why not have that in place all week? So far the top two speeds (Marco Andretti and Scott Dixon) have been in the 223 bracket. Will we see 228? That seems high to me. I’d say 225, maybe 226. I’d feel pretty good with one of those speeds, I think. Might even take pole. It’s also supposed to warm up considerably this weekend, which makes a difference. The final dash for the pole during Happy Hour could be interesting indeed.
At the other end of the spectrum is the Slowtus. In the end after much wrangling, only two cars have this anchor, er, I mean engine: Jean Alesi and Simona de Silvestro. Can you say 32 and 33? Too bad, those two deserve better. They’ve both been struggling to get to 210. In fact, they were allowed the extra boost early just to get there. It’s been a while since there has been that big of a discrepancy between the front and back of the field.

Anyway, pictured today is Josef Newgarden in the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car. He’s been fast all week, tops a couple days. He also has the only incident, a spin and brush of the wall on the front straight. Still, pretty impressive thus far for a rookie. A lot of his speeds have been with tows, I hear, so we’ll see what happens when he gets out alone for his four laps. If I had to guess, I’d say one of the Penske or Ganassi guys on pole. But the race, you never know…

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Here is the rest of the CY6 project I was able to complete last weekend. Yes, I know that totals out to only six aircraft, but at the rate I am going, that’s a lot.

As you can probably tell, this is a pair of P-39 Airacobras. Sorta. I should probably clip that cannon off the front of the one. My original intent was to do four P-400’s for use with the Guadalcanal campaign book. But partway through, I got new info on the paint scheme (who knew those were camouflaged similar to the Flying Tigers?), and so in keeping with recent themes, these ended up as P-39’s in early-war livery. They are most likely destined for use in the Aleutians as well, hence the numbers that match photos I found of P-39’s in that theater. Rest assured I do have some more unpainted P-39/P-400’s, so I will be able to get some painted up for Guadalcanal.

In other news, I did bottle up the latest batch of homemade brew last night. It’s an American blonde ale, sounds pretty good. It will be ready for drinking in about a month. I need to get a shot up of the Cascadia Pale Ale I just did. I must say that it turned out quite well, and may rank among my favorites to date. I have ingredients for another pale ale, I might try that one next.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


A couple more that were finished up over the weekend, a pair of P-38 Lightnings. These are from Scotia and painted up better than I thought, actually. While these may be a later model, I painted them up in an early-war olive drab over neutral gray. The immediate idea is that they will see service in some Aleutians scenarios, among others.

(Wow, I called these P-39s in the original post. Oops. Edited for accuracy.)

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Productive Weekend

This was a weekend for getting things done – hobby related and otherwise.

On Saturday, I got to hang out with the girls a while Saturday morning while my wife went garage saleing, then after I got some outdoor work done, they actually zonked out for a nap for a couple hours. That’s been a rarity lately, and it ended up being my longest uninterrupted time at the bench in weeks. Probably a month and a half or more, if I really think about it.

I used the time to work mostly on some CY6 items that had been languishing, and start some new CY6 projects. More on those in a future update, but this week I’ll at least try to share some of what I finished, like these two P-40Bs. These are the new Raiden minis, and they are simply stunning. While I can’t claim to have seen every 1/285 or 1/300 aircraft out there, these probably rank as the nicest in my collection. So far I picked up a half a dozen, with these two painted up to represent Pearl Harbor defenders Ken Taylor and George Welch. Somewhat limited in terms of scenario options, perhaps, but nice looking aircraft. The other four are slated for Flying Tigers duty. I’ve started them, but they’re not finished yet. These were painted with Testors/Polly S neutral grey undersurfaces and olive drab upper. National insignia are from Dom's decals, the others from I-94.

And to top it all off, I even got the garden planted this weekend! We planted the usual items – tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, green beans, peas, lettuce, carrots, onions, zucchini, squash and pumpkins. It may be a little early, but as was the case last year, the last part of May tends to be busy for us, and before you know it, it’s June and getting late. So I’m very glad we got it in. It has done very well the last few years, so I think we can look forward to some tasty goodies. We also have plans to upgrade our herb garden, so we’ll see how that goes. Oh, and my wife had some new idea about planting with Epsom salts that is supposed to act as a natural fertilizer. We’ll see how that goes. I’m also thinking about investing in some nicer tomato cages. You can see I didn’t put any up yet – I have those old circular, flimsy ones that are pain to put in and don’t work that great anyway.

About the only thing I didn’t get to this weekend is I do have a batch of beer that needs bottling. Maybe some evening. Yeah, right.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fast Friday: 1978 Tom Sneva PC-6

I realized it has been a while since I actually posted one of my models on a Fast Friday. With Indy practice set to start, it seemed time to remedy that.
Here is Tom Sneva’s 1978 Penske PC-6. While not the first over 200 mph (Tom did that the year before in a McLaren), this was the first to complete all four qualifying laps over 200, including a one-lap record of 203.620, good for the pole.

Driving for Roger Penske, Sneva also ran a strong race, but came up just 8 seconds short behind Al Unser, contributing to his “bridesmaid” reputation. Sneva would finish second at Indy three times (1977, 1978, 1980) before finally winning in 1983.

This was built with the venerable AMT PC-6 kit. It’s actually the Bobby Unser version, which carries the No. 1 Sneva had at Indy in 1978. So mostly I was able to use kit decals (believe it or not), but I did create my own SNEVA for the cowling. I did not make all of the corrections really required to make this a good model, such as the bulkhead behind the seat. If memory serves, I used straight-up Testors enamel rattle can paints. I may have used a couple extra contingency decals from other sources - I can't recall!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

3, 2, 1 Blastoff!

I know, I need a new hobby activity like a hole in the head, right? So why not model rockets?

Last Saturday, my wife and I dropped the kids off at my parents so we could take a trip to Ikea to pick up some furniture she wanted. I parleyed that into a stop at the FLHS, where I saw my esteemed gaming opponent, picked up a few miscellaneous items, and bought an Estes model rocket starter kit.

Wait, what?

Yes, it's true. I've been thinking about it for a few weeks since our trip to the Huntsville rocket center so I could show the girls what a rocket does. Plus I used to do these quite a bit as a kid, so it wasn't a complete shot in the dark, so to speak.

So Sunday I put together the first rocket along with the launch pad and surprised the girls. Their first question was "Will it fly to the moon?" Well, not quite. But the FLHS did have that 1/100 scale flyable Saturn V...

Anyway, for those interested, this is a nice set from Estes. It comes with the rocket seen here, which required some minimal assembly and sticker adhesion - no painting, no gluing on of balsa fins, etc. It also includes the launch pad and ignition controller. Just add engines and batteries and you're good to go. Pretty good bargain, actually.

We managed two launches. The first I put in only three squares of wadding (the instructions recommended 3-4), and the parachute must have gotten too hot and spot melted in a couple spots and didn't fully open. I gently pulled it apart, repacked it, put in five squares of wadding for launch 2, and everything went perfectly. I'm sure we'll do it again!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fast Friday: It's May!

May. The best month of the year for race fans. Of course, for me, the Indianapolis 500 is the linchpin of the whole thing. I’ve only missed the Memorial Day classic once since 1980, and have been to every one since 1985.

The race has lost some of its luster over the last 15 years or so, but it is still something special on race day. The introduction of multiple engine manufacturers this year helps, but only Chevy and Honda seem to have any get-up-and-go, while the Lotus looks more like an anchor. And the cars are all still Dallaras and look the same, though different at least from the past 10 years. And the condensing of qualifying to a single weekend and fewer practice days makes for a short “month.”

By the time I really got going in the 80s, the glory days of “run what you brung” were already pretty much gone forever. It’s probably why the 60s and 70s are my favorite era to model – all the cars were unique, and had their own quirks and style. Innovation at its best. If someone could come up with a way to go faster, go for it.

But still, it’s May once again. And there are plenty of storylines, as always. And the Speedway beckons. If you've never been, it's hard to imagine just how big a place it is. So whether you are into Monaco, Charlotte or especially Indy, start your engines!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Liberators! Update, and Resisting Temptation

It isn’t much of an update, but I did finally go through the Liberators! page here and at least listed out my inventory. I’ve been perusing the books again, and wishing I had the time to dedicate to this project. They really are gorgeous figures.

At the same time, I find my eye wandering toward the southern theater, while the figures I have are for the north. Do I really need to buy more stuff!? No, but dang it’s cool.

This on the heels of being sorely tempted by Warlord Games’ new WWII Belgian anti-tank gun, and, oh, have you seen the stuff from Capitan Miniatures? 18 mm boarding actions between Americans and Barbary pirates? With minis in the same beautiful style as these Liberators! Must resist temptation and paint up some of what I have…