Back to Back Issues Page
ing Tips & Tools Monthly, Issue #75--March-Modeling
March 15, 2013
The Ides of March, 2013

Modeling Challenge

Chivalry In The Skies

Some scale modelers of WW II aircraft are lucky enough to have a father or grandfather who can bring life to their models or dioramas. Others, through research can gain enough information to depict a scene with a sense of realism. My wife bought the book "A Higher Call" by Adam Makos and Larry Alexander for me and I was severed from my modeling until I finished all 400 pages. It lives up to the sub heading,

A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II the book was released late last year and of it, Publishers Weekly said it's , "A top-notch narrative of the unlikely encounter between one of Germany’s leading fighter aces, Franz Stigler, and the rookie crew of an American bomber in the frigid skies of Germany in December 1943...Based on thousands of hours of interviews and an evident knowledge of his subject, Makos details the frantic life of the German fighter pilots living on the edge, and the American bomber crews, far from home, fighting to survive...A riveting story of humanity and mercy set against the ghastly backdrop of war."

Quite frankly, I could put it down only long enough to eat and grab a few hours sleep. I was right back into it until I finished. It vividly depicts life (and death) on a B17, nicknamed The Flying Fortress", perhaps America's most successful bomber.

The story begins with the life of a German fighter pilot from the days he learned glider flying with his brother until he found himself wedged into a Messerschmitt Bf-109 in the skies over Libya.

Happily the German Air Force remained largely segmented from the Nazis an SS side of Hitler's war effort. At the same time you will find yourself admiring what Franz survived--multiple bail outs, crashes, and over 480 missions.

the authors , move seamlessly from German pilot Franz Zielger to B-17 pilot, Charlie Brown who you instinctively know will meet in the air.

But first you get a taste of how well Americans were readied for that meet an how Germany's finest were beginning to lack needed support. It didn't make them any less dangerous.

Frankly, I loved this book. I finished it a couple weeks ago, but I know I'm going to reread my favorite chapters before bed tonight!

I am already trying to decide the elements of a flying--make that barely flying B-17 alongside an enemy Messerschmitt 109.

Speaking of Reading

Since I have gotten this iPad I have probably read more than at any point since high school. I have learned many modeling techniques from eBooks and at this juncture, more important to my Christian life, many that have helped me apply the Bible to my life.

I don't intend this to be a sermon, but in the world we live in today, God's teachings can get further and further away.

I downloaded a book entitled "Right Thinking In A World Gone Wrong", by John MacArthur. It is a Biblical response to today's most controversial issues.

I recently began to personally examine my lifestyle, this book became my starting point. An easy read, this book shows you how life can be transformed by the Holy Spirit, despite the surrounding culture.

If you haven't taken the time recently to determine just how much of today's malignant lifestyle has crept into your life, this book and the Bible will get you back on track.

I have a Dremel, why get a pin vise?

the pin vise, or twist drill is a handy tool for drilling small holes in durable parts or shaving the circumference of a hole in a fragile part to make a mating part fit better.

The vises are really a form of handle with an adjustable throat or collet (the vise part) most often used as miniature drills.

Actually there are many modeling uses for this tiny hand powered drill that can't be accomplished with its electrical "big brother". With a wide variety of tiny drill bits, you can hole anything from plastics, to wood, plaster and even metals. One thing I have been wanting to try is adding flexibility to my figure modeling using small, .125 magnets in place of glue to attach arms to say model sailors. The idea is to use a pin vise to drill a hole (not all the way through) the body's arm socket and superglue a magnet.

I have a variety of arms, some with swords, some guns, some holding rope others that can depict a sailor climbing foot ropes. Drill each with an eighth-inch hole. A magnet in each makes them easily swapped on a torso for different applications.

Pin vises make excellent holders for reamers, wire fit twisting and miniature round file.

Instructions, guides and manuals

Over the years, I have found one of the most important items in a scale model kit is a good set of instructions.

Even more important is a clear numbering system for the hundreds of parts that relates precisely to the steps in the plan.

As modeling kit prices increasingly crack the $300, $400 and $500 mark, this seems like a small expectation.

Revell has a great system for numbering parts which are molded onto sprues along with clear instructions in a variety of languages.

It goes downhill from there. Some manufacturers, particularly Italian glue number to parts and include a set of instructions for a model ship in Italian though they aim at a worldwide market.

I still think the opposite is worse, a clearly written set of numbered instructions with no numbers on the parts.

For instance, I am working on a model with three wagons two freight and one a water tank. There are only about 100 parts, but for the wagons there are three sets of wheels tongues, brakes, under carriage details and water barrels.

There are small differences and parts are not interchangeable. Just when you've got the parts together you think fit one wagon, you find one that doesn't fit. You try to match it to a parts list--whoops no list.

Soon, you've got a workbench littered with parts, some assembled, most not.

Giving up is not an option, it is to be a gift ,so you set it aside for another day.

Advantages of Passing 73 REALLY!

Got this in my email inbox the other day, the problem is, a lot of it fits.

1. Kidnappers are not very interested in you.
2. In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.
3. No one expects you to run--anywhere.
4. People call at 9 pm and ask, " Did I wake you ???? ".

5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.

6. There is nothing left to learn the hard way.

7. Things you buy now won't wear out.
8. You can eat dinner at 4 pm.

9. You can live without sex but not your glasses.
10. You get into heated arguments about pension plans.
11. You no longer think of speed limits as challenge.
12. You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room.
13. You sing along with elevator music.

14. Your eyes won't get much worse.
15. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.
16. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.
17. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.

18. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size.
19. No one gets stressed if you take a mid-day nap.

20. You can't remember who sent you this list and you notice these are all in Big Print for your convenience.

Your Help and Ideas Needed
To Expand SMH Idea Base

Making daily decisions involving for the past 62 months has led to the creation of over 425 pages of articles on the various facets of scale modeling, this monthly e-zine and a host of modeling questions answered.

As we get ready to embark on our fifth year, I am hoping to open the site up to input from other scale modelers. You may have noticed the Navigation Bar has been sub-divided into the major hobbies covered.

Each of these sections now has one or two pages that invite participation with questions, tips and pictures regarding your various modeling endeavors.

We want to hear from you as do the other 25,000 modelers who log onto this site monthly.

As I get ready to roll into my 74th year, I can’t believe how much I have learned about hobby activities In the past two years. I have heard from other modelers with similar experiences.

To help me develop and maintain my website your comments on its content are essential. You can send me your comments by visiting the “Voice Your Opinion” feature at the top of the Navigation stack in the left column on each page.

It was never my intention to make this website a one way street as my knowledge is no where deep enough for me to be termed an “Authority”. I hunger for your feedback, comments, ideas, tutorials, plans, pictures and even your negative comments if considered constructive.

The Internet and that includes work best when they are interactive and that is collaboration only you can provide. It has been a pleasure serving as your guide for these past two years and by no means am I throwing in the towel, for I honestly believe the building and maintaining of this website are instrumental in keeping my mind active.

I want to open up this site in the fast lane. That is your part of the two-way street.

Its In Your Best Interest

If you have been giving some thought to launching your own home business in 2010, it is worth your time to take a look at what I found:

Steps To Success

Until Next Month

Back to Back Issues Page