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Scale Modeling Tips & Tools Monthly, Issue #042-- "Birds of a Feather"
June 15, 2010
|June 15, 2010
Create Your Own N-Scale Critters
I wanted to add a couple of water-fowl (Mallard ducks) to the surface of a millpond I am modeling for my N-Scale layout and the scenery around Weimer’s Mill. I am planning a “V”-shaped wave being created by the duck swimming across the pond. Easy to dream, but try to make it a reality.
If you are looking for a beasty the size of a human head that is not attached to a six-foot critter, painted or unpainted, good luck. Preiser makes some good looking birds in HO, but that’s twice the size I am looking for.
A female friend of mine who is into bead making suggested I create my own using Polymer Clay, more commonly known as Sculpy.
Start with a pinch of Polymer clay and cut that in half. Next, roll it between your thumb and forefinger into a tube-shape. Place it on a flat surface and continue the rolling process. You want it to be about a quarter-inch in length and the thickness somewhere between the diameter of a piece of spaghetti and its diameter after it has been cooked.. You won’t need the sauce.
Sharpen one end into a duck’s beak. Fold the other end over about half its length for the duck’s body. Flatten it slightly and bend the tail-end upwards slightly.
Now you want to curve the beak end into sort of an “S” shape to resemble duck-shaped neck.
Hopefully, you’ve rolled out more than one of these min-drakes along with a swan or two and maybe a few pigeons. The point is, you want to harden more than a single duck when you crank up the kitchen oven (best when your wife’s not home).
I take a normal cookie sheet, cover a small area with aluminum foil. I use a medicine bottle cap as a container. I cook them in the oven at 100-degrees for about 20 minutes, or until hardened and then let them cool.
Keep the temperature under 150-degrees to prevent melting the cap which can make a real mess out of your roasted duck.
Before settling your duck into position, spot glue him to the end of a toothpick anchored in clamp or clip to keep it steady. Refer to a Google image of your bird for the appropriate colors.
A male mallard (drake) has a head and neck that are green with a white collar. Its front is a rusty brown and a back that is grayish brown and purple. The tail is blue and it curls upwards.
To simulate this, I opt for a brownish-grey (mushroom) coat over the entire duck and let this dry. Next color the head and about half of the neck British Racing Green. Once dried, tip the bill in yellow and with your finest brush, paint the white collar. In N Scale you wouldn’t see much more color detail than this.
Your Duck Can't Fly But...I could easily turn into a white blob by confining my modeling adventures to the interior of this 10X13-foot room even though I am somewhat disabled and use a mobility scooter to get around.
I have always had a hankering for models that move so I checked in with my LHS for some ideas. I wanted to try flying radio controlled, but hopefully without breaking the bank. The hobby guy pounced on me like a fish out of water. I'd always known he was into RC helicopters and he couldn't wait to get me started.
He explained it to me as a real fun way to take modeling outdoors. I had asked him which was easier to learn, flying planes or helicopters and which demanded more of an investment. He didn't bat an eye and quickly recommended helicopters, specifically the E-FLITE Blade mCX.
The Blade mCX is a pint-sized version of the RC helicopter which is a Ready-to-Fly model. It omes 100% factory-assembled, flight-tested and ready to fly right out of the box—no assembly or setup required.
Included in the box is the Li-Po battery and convenient AA battery-powered DC Li-Po charger, 4-channel transmitter equipped with Spektrum 2.4GHz DSM2 technology, and 8 AA batteries (4 for the transmitter, 4 for the charger). The DSM2 technology offers freedom from frequency restrictions and allows the Blade mCX to be flown anywhere, anytime indoors with precise 4-channel control.
It is supposed to offer first-time pilots the ability to learn to fly with ease, primarily indoors but I have already ventured outside on a windless day. That's right, I bought it on the spot. Impulsive without an iota or research.
I got the "Blade" home, acting like a little kid, it is a good thing the box contained everything needed. Uncharacteristically,I did take time to read the manual (always a good idea if you are going to fly for the first time). My experience has been a lot like most first-time buyer/flyers of the Blade mCX:
I am looking forward to my fourth flight of this little jewel at an indoor flying club tonight
Making Video Games Realistic
One of the neatest geek games to come out of CES this year was a remotely-controlled helicopter controlled over WiFi from an iPhone using a camera in its snout to transmit its aerial view to the phone’s screen.
The copter is computer-stabilized, so it is much more easily controlled r than the standard $40 toy RC helicopter you may be familiar with. But it should be: it'll cost in the neighborhood of $500, when it ships this year. You'll get about 15 minutes of battery-powered fun on a one-hour charge.
If you stop and think about the possibilities, the A.R. Drone from Parrot in France can transform video gaming from the couch to the outdoors, from make believe to reality. Without the buttons, toggles and thumb pads of a controller.
You simply tilt your iPhone to control the copter and touch controls send it up or down.. Simple enough for a child and a lot more active form of gaming.
Possible games range from the single player demo robot type where you fly the plane in front of virtual enemies to multiple pilot pylon racing. There are endless possibilities as long as you keep the aircraft within 150 feet of the iPhone. Otherwise it fails to advance and simply hovers until you get within range or close enough to land it safely.
AAADD: Get To Know The SymptomsI spotted this online the other day and really felt it needs to be shared wwherever possible:
Thank goodness there is a name for this disorder, I feel a whole lot better even though if often plagues me.
Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. - Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. This is how it manifests:
Enjoy Your Scale Modeling ResearchI stumbled across this idea last week when I discovered a fascinating means of finding previously unpublished research photos on almost any subject.
We just started a new Netflix subscription and I found they have an Instant Viewing program that allows me to stream movies to my computer where I can easily watch it without having to store the film on my hard drive.
I was watching “Damn The Defiant”, a 1962 British film which tells the story of a mutiny aboard the fictitious H.M.S. Defiant. The details of shipboard life in the late 18th century.
I realized if I was building a model of the Defiant, this would be a treasure trove for duplicating this detail.
I use a program called "SnagIt" which allows me to capture screen shots of my choosing including as much detail and the size I need.
It works great with a film
Just hit pause where you'd like to capture a scene, click on SnagIt and wrap a box around the area you want pictured, snag it and save to your file.
You can get any details you want, not just what someone else think's you would like.
Your Help and Ideas Needed
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