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ing Tips & Tools Monthly, Issue #71--Hobby Clubs
November 15, 2012
November 15, 2012

Put Some Real Green Into Christmas

It is very easy to saunter into your local hobby shop and pick up a kit that will provide your significant other with hours of entertainment after Christmas morning but...This year, let's make a statement!

Put some green back into Christmas 'in 2012 by doing some good for the environment as you put together your gifting list.

Scale modeling whether you are talking about RC flying, model railroading, model ship building or military dioramas you’ll find both the most expensive and the cheapest way to execute Eco-Friendly techniques.

Foamies Flying High

Foam flyers have come on the scene over the past few years and many flyers Are building their own to get airborne. Many build them recycling Expanded PolyStyrene foam used as a hamburger tray from the supermarket. Model aircraft made of foam are very durable and nearly unbreakable. Model aircraft made of foam are very durable and nearly unbreakable.

Most Foam planes are built with housing insulation and are relatively cheap. These are lightweight easy to fly and are a lot of fun. Repairs are usually quick and easy and after too many crashes you simply build a new one.

But maybe a pilot from Virgin Airlines can change all of that.

HMS Bounty Down For The Count

There are very few ship modelers who didn't feel a twinge of sorrow when they learned one of sandy's victims was an old friend, perhaps one they had modeled, the HMS Bounty, 90 miles off the coast of Hatteras in the early morning hours of Oct. 30.

There were 16 crew members aboard, 13 were snatched to safety from lifeboats. Of the three washed overboard one was rescued and two perished , the longtime Captain, Robin Walbridge and Claudine Christian, a deckhand.

Surviving members of the crew were interviewed shortly after the mishap. Here is a link to the YouTube version:

Survivors On GMA After Rescue

This replica of the original Bounty has been a favorite of modelers, (I have built be) as she was the subject of the movie, Mutiny on the Bounty which starred Marlon Brando in 1962.

According to the ship's website, the Bounty was an active tall ship sailing the country offering dockside tours in which one can learn about the history and details of sailing vessels from a lost and romanticized time in maritime history.

Since her debut in “Mutiny on the Bounty”, HMS Bounty has appeared in many documentaries and featured films such as the Edinburgh Trader in Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Mans Chest with Johnny Depp.

To get a real taste of what life had been like aboard this tall ship you can read the blog of her most recent summer.

HMS Bounty Blog

Remote Control Adds Movement
To Your Scale Model Creations

Radio or remote control, more commonly referred to as RC has done much to mobilize scale modeling, but nowhere has more realistic movement been kept near secret than in RC sailboating.

Here, for a fraction of the investment you'd make in a life-sized sloop, you can deck out a scale model which will do everything (including sinking) that the actual sail-powered vessel will do.

If you want to build your own there is a wide array of sailboats in all sizes and shapes. At the simple end of the spectrum you will find both scale and non-scale models.

Non-scale boats are designed and built solely for high-speed racing. For the most part, these are extremely light with slim, eggshell hulls sporting deep-fin keels and tall, carbon-fiber masts. They quickly accelerate in the slightest breeze and are ultra-responsive to rudder and sail-trim commands. But in a stiff breeze, or while running downwind, they can be a real handful. If you want the fastest boats, these are for you.

If you're more turned on by scale modeling, there are again many choices, ranging from semi-scale, easily assembled kits to completely scratch-built brigantines, schooners, barks, yawls, ketches and the like. Many of these boats are works of art with teak- or mahogany-planked decks, gleaming brass fittings and varnished bright work. Do their builders/owners care that these boats are slower and maybe not as responsive as their racing cousins? No.

The larger classes have continued to grow in popularity. Like giant-scale RC airplanes, larger RC sailboats tend to sail much like their full-size counterparts; they're smooth and easy to handle. You can hear and almost feel a big sailboat as it makes its way across the pond. These boats are as easy to manage as their smaller sisters, and they turn as readily when maneuvering in close quarters. The big boats are truly majestic in the water, and they can be sailed in much rougher water than smaller boats can handle.

On eBay at any one time you'll likely find 50 to 75 radio controlled sailboats ranging from a $500 weighing in at about 8 pounds. This is a 41-inch stem to stern Laser capable of some 20 knots down to a 1:25 scale trans Atlantic racer kit which requires assembly. Last time I looked, it was selling for $10 and that included the radio control gear.

From any number of outlets, you can find an array of ready-to-sail boats complete with radios and sails. Some of these are expensive; high-tech, super-fast lightweights can go for thousands of dollars. On the other hand, you can find boats for a few hundred bucks.

When I checked eBay they had a listing for a 37-inch (bow to stern) radio controlled model of the USS Constitution featuring 20 polyester sails and a 4-channel transmitter to control rotation of three masts and rudder turns.

Other than buying a turn-key boat with its radio already installed, kits are the quickest way to get a new boat into the water. Kits are available from many manufacturers, including Kyosho, Victor* and George Ribeiro Products*. Many cottage-industry companies produce fast racing hulls and components. Most kits include molded-plastic or carbon-fiber hulls that are reinforced with fiberglass as well as decks and partially built keel fins and spars. These kits can be assembled in a few weekends. When finished, they are very fast and very responsive to rudder input. Some new builders feel they have to reinforce the interior structure of their kit beyond the kit designer's specifications. Please don't; all you'll do is add unnecessary weight. Keep your boat on a strict diet of lightweight components.

Consider this: regardless of what you buy, your new boat will never crash and burn. Old sailboats never die, they just slow down and sail on. Skippers are still sailing boats they built 10 years ago. Upgraded with state-of-the-art sails and faster sail winches, these boats are still threats at regattas.

Get Your Basics Down Pat

The more kits you build, the more you will develop your own technique and style. Each person is different in the way they approach the building of a model and so the following techniques are intended as a guide for the total beginner who has yet to develop techniques of their own. That said, there may be ideas below that prove useful to those who are proficient at model building. It certainly never hurts to learn about how other people approach their modelmaking.

Injection Molded Kits

Always cut the component from the sprue using a craft knife, a pair of clippers or a pair of scissors. Cut close to the component. Never tear or twist them off as it can cause damage to the parts.

If using a knife to cut sprue it is best to make sure that the component is supported while you are cutting, as sometimes the shape of the sprue is such that it holds the component off the surface. NOTE: Cutting straight down onto the surface without support runs the risk of snapping the part before you actually cut through the sprue.

Once a component has been removed from the sprue, the excess plastic can be trimmed off with a scalpel or knife. Clean-up work can then follow with a needle file or abrasive paper.

If you find you have to remove a series of components from the sprue that aren't numbered but need to be assembled in a critical order, get a piece of plain paper and write the number order on it, then place the appropriate components next to the correct number. This is also helpful if you can’t read part numbers on the sprue..

Give Your Modeling A Kick Start

I often find, specially now that I am beyond 70, my motivation to get going needs a good kick start to turn on the flow of my modeling juices. Here are seven steps I turn to:

1. Develop your own plan in outline form so you go through the same steps with each model you begin. Do it on your computer or PDA so changes and updates are easily executed. 2. Don’t model in silence. Provide your modeling area with music, a good source is the Cable TV music channel.

3. Movies, Photographs, Drawings -- What the eye takes in can be a stimulus to your motivation to pick up the knife, the brush or the tweezers. In addition they bring to life the detail you are trying to emulate. Do not get bogged down in research but knowing the history of your subject helps in its recreation. Google Images and model railroading forums are valuable resources I couldn’t be without.

4. Talk to get motivated. I know once I tell my wife about a phase of the layout I am going to build, I feel a sense of commitment to carry it out.

5. Seeing the finished project stimulates my desire. I imagine it finished. Here again, pictures of layouts I am emulating provide an inducement to get to work. Also, of the project will bring in money, it will take precedence.

6. How do you eat an elephant—One bite at a time. You will get more done more quickly by breaking your modeling project into modules. Then take any small step; you’ll want another.

7. Find your niche. You will be much more motivated if what you are modeling is something in which you have a sincere interest.

If you really get bogged down and it has happened to me more than once, take it to God. There is no depression, no "blue funk" or no dreariness or no feeling of melancholy that prayer and reading the Bible can't cure.

God can get you charged up about your next model build. He can show you how to use it to meet new friends and get back in touch with old ones.

Take your Blue Funk and make pink lemonade.

Getting It Straight

I often had problems getting rigging line to remain straight without sagging. I solved it with magnetic attraction (gotta love that strong pull).

I take multiple lengths of line, say a set of shrouds and soak them until they become wet. I lay them on the edge of the steel plate on my desk and hold them in place with a magnet.

Wind the other ends around an uncoiled paper clip and slap against a 1X2 quarter-inch magnet and let the lines hang until they dry. Then I run the lines through beeswax.

Results: stiff lines.

Dust Collecting

I have taken to using an electric sander for the "rough fairing" of the first planking of my latest 1/64 scale frigate and noticed I was making quite a mess with sanding dust. Yuh, I know it was rough before I started.

There must be a better way. I took a bath towel and spread it on the bench under the model. It catches most of the dust. I take it out on the deck and shake it free.

This is a good time for a disclaimer: try not to let you wife catch you employing this technique. I'm not responsible for the outcome.

The Road Ahead

I am looking at a lot of exciting changes this coming summer. It promises to be one of my favorites as I look back over seven decades. This reminds me of the utter foolishness of teen suicide.

My wife and I are moving into our own Condo after a decade of renting (I know, the rent alone would have paid for it). We're excited by the prospect (a garage in snow country is a big deal).

I have launched my new website all about my  experiences with mobility scooters. You can bet it is another SiteBuildIt site Check it out:

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

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