I Shoulda Listened
Sometimes things don't work out the way you expected them to, and that's certainly been the case with my ongoing adventures in scale modeling. As a case in point (a bizarre one, but a case in point nonetheless), let's take a look at the influence of spouses on the hobby. (We're going to look at the positive side of that, by the way. A lot of modelers get to experience the negative side, but so far we/I haven't been in that situation, at least not lately, and we're not going to discuss it today. Karma, as it were...) What we are going to discuss is the simple act of listening to others, and to spouses in particular. It's going to be a brief discussion for once, but I think it will make the point. To wit:
Mrs. Friddell Number One was an artist, and still is. She's pretty good at what she does and she was kind enough to give me some artist's tools that had application to scale modeling way back when, many of which I still use on an almost daily basis, but at the end of the day I always had to ask; she never just came up and said "can you use this"?
Mrs. Friddell Number Two wasn't an artist and, as far as I know, still isn't. She tolerated the hobby but I don't think she ever understood it and therefore wasn't in the position to offer suggestions of any sort, which meant there were never suggestions regarding tools or supplies.
Mrs. Friddell Number Three is different. She was and is an artist, of the textiles variety, and she's not the least bit shy about offering suggestions. That used to bother me, back before I learned to listen, or at least before I realized that she was going to say it whether I wanted to hear it or not. After all, modeling was my hobby, not hers. What could she possibly know about anything that could help me with my ongoing attempt at become a decent scale modeler? Hmm---let's see...
First there was The Wire. I had placed an order for three feet of a thin-gauge malleable wire to use on aircraft engines, and paid five bucks for the privilege. She found out about it and went to her beading box, from which she withdrew a 25-foot spool of 28-gauge wire that she'd paid four bucks for, give or take. I started out that particular adventure by telling her I wasn't interested in using beading wire on my models. Nowadays it's all I use when I wire a scale engine.
Next came The Paint Brush. That's right, a simple, stinking paint brush, one that she saw on the shelf at King's Hobby in Austin during one of our weekly visits. It was an ok brush in terms of quality; a decent sable brush, but it featured this gimmicky can't-roll-off-the-desk triangular handle that she thought I needed. I laughed at it and told her I didn't need one. She bought it for me and I tried it, at which point I decided I wasn't going to use anything else.
Then came The Airbrush. If you've been modeling for more than fifteen minutes, and if you've been painting with compressed air, then you've also developed some pretty strong opinions about what you do and don't like in the way of airbrushes. I certainly had, and I was pretty dismayed when both my Badger 150s went Tango Uniform at the same time. I was up the proverbial Defecation Creek without a paddle until I remembered the airbrush she had given me, much against my will, back during the first year we were together. The label on the outside of the box said "Omni Detail Gun" and I'd promptly put it away and forgotten about it until the day my "real" airbrushes crashed. I pulled out the Omni in desperation, the first time I'd ever actually looked at it, and discovered that it was a Thayer and Chandler double action airbrush currently marketed by Badger. I also discovered that it was far more capable than either my Badger 150s or myself and was, in point of fact, the airbrush I'd been looking for my whole hobby life. It was a revelation.
This past Christmas she decided I needed a new compressor even though I had no issues with the one I'd been using for the past 20 years or so, and she bought me one over my moderately strong objections. It has both a regulator and a storage tank, it's actually quiet, and I don't know how I ever got along without it.
There's a simple point to be taken from all this. Modeling is my hobby, not hers, and I'm the one who's knowledgeable about it. I know what I need, I know what I want, and I honestly don't need anybody making suggestions to me regarding my tools. Or do I? Upon reflection, my previous attitude towards the whole thing was, for the most part, pretty darned arrogant and more than a little bit foolish. Sometimes it's a really good idea to listen to somebody else. All you have to do is bring yourself to do it!
I like what I do and I do what I like, and what I do
Is make the funky music.
But there's nothing wrong, nothing at all, with a little help from your friends. Consider it a lesson learned!
A Warhawk Too Far?
Let's start this off by saying the Curtiss P-40 family are neat airplanes; good looking and far more capable in real life than contemporary and revisionist historians (as well as a great many modelers) ever give them credit for being. Those fighters, each and every variant of them, are well worth modeling, but it took Hasegawa's 1/48th and 1/32nd scale releases of the type to bring accurate polystyrene kits into the hands of the multitudes. Good as they were (and are), there was a fly in the ointment, since Hasegawa took a modular approach to things when they did their tooling in order to get the most bang for their buck, which in turn resulted in a family of kits known far and wide as a tough date, with some going so far as to declare them unbuildable. The five E-models, one K, and one N that I've built to date put me firmly in the "I like that kit" camp, and the following will illustrate why that is.
One final thing before we leave this particular project: The Hasegawa P-40 families, in either 1/48th or 1/32nd scale, are truly excellent kits, well-detailed and, most importantly, kits that produce finished models that actually look like the Curtiss P-40. We could make the argument, and plenty of people have, that those kits aren't especially good because of their modular construction and the problems doing things that way incur, but at the end of the day the finished result is as good, no more and no less, as the person building the model. The kits require finesse and some degree of modeling skill, but Hasegawa wouldn't be selling them if they thought they were unbuildable. Look at it this way: If you don't already have the skills to work with these kits, you'll acquire them soon enough once you get started, and everybody needs at least one P-40 in their collection! 'Nuff said!
And in late-breaking news:
Had By a SpAD, or The NAV in SEA
It's photo-essay time again, folks, and today's adventure is courtesy Doug Siegfried of The Tailhook Association. Our topic is one of those timeless aircraft that we all know and love, so without further ado:
Those Plank-Winged 84s
The 1950s were a decade filled with glamorous aircraft, harbingers of the change that was sweeping across jet aviation like a well-honed scythe. Republic Aviation's straight-winged F-84 family wasn't glamorous, and it wasn't ground-breaking, but its members performed yeoman service throughout the 50s. The plank-winged F-84s fought a war in the Far East and helped an emerging NATO hold the line in Europe. It was there when it was needed and, thanks to Jim Sullivan, we're going to take a quick look at a few of the earliest members of the family today.
A Fan of the 49th!
Yep; that would be me---a hardcore fan of the 49th Fighter Group, at least from their inception up until the mid-1950s. We've looked at their airplanes many times before and, thanks once again to the kindness of Bobby Rocker, we're going to view a couple more of them today. Enjoy!
The Relief Tube
I'm taking a different track with this part of the blog today, for reasons that are readily apparent to anyone who normally follows the project. To get straight to the point, I'm significantly late once again so I'm cutting this issue short without an Under the Radar entry, or a Happy Snaps or Relief Tube. I've got things to put in those sections but it's been a long day and I don't want to delay publication yet again---it's a credibility issue if nothing else. Those departments will be back next time, but not today.
One more thing, and I'd like your opinion in the matter. I've recently begun receiving what amount to magazine articles for publication here, but this isn't a magazine and those articles don't really fit into what passes for a format in my little corner of the world. They do, however, make me wonder if it isn't time to morph at least part of this project into some sort of an e-zine. That would entail a big jump in commitment for me, and a significantly greater investment in time as well, but it seems as though a Next Step (one that I've been putting off for the past several years, by the way) could be near at hand. What do you think about that? Are you interested?
From my perspective such a project would have to be free to its readers and supported by advertising dollars which may or may not be available, and which would ultimately determine the fate of the project. That's something that's yet to be determined, and I'd have to know the size of that particular elephant before going any further so what about it? Are you interested in seeing an electronic Replica in Scale e-zine? If you are, please drop me a line at replicainscaleatyahoodotcom (except use the normal e-mail format instead of that gobbledygook I employed in order to try to avoid all the spam I'd receive had I not spelled out the "at" and "dot" in the address).
Maybe it's time to move up, or maybe it isn't. What do you think?
That's it for today. Be good to your neighbor and we'll meet again soon, or at least sooner than we have been of late!