Back to Back Issues Page
ing Tips & Tools Monthly, Issue #92--imagine That
September 15, 2014
Sept. 15, 2014

Listen, I don't talk about politics & religion

A few of you have expressed disdain about articles on politics and religion that have recently appeared in Scale Modelers Handbook, but things have a way of sneaking up on you.

We can get so wrapped up in our individual modeling project that we tend to lose sight of the "big picture".

As an example, your liable to wake up one morning before the end of the year and realize you have lost one of your best modeling research tools, or at least it will no longer be free.

The article below deals with "net neutrality" and it is something you ought to pay attention to. It may be all over before you know it.

How important is the Internet to you?

Your best scale modeling research tool may be on the chopping block.

This month is kind of a D-Day when it comes to Internet speed. Have you noticed a slowdown recently you blamed on your modem or router?

As we go to press, the US Congress is getting ready to debate "Net Neutrality" and is liable to be a threat into the world of scale modeling.

Since its inception, the Internet has been net neutral. In other words speed was just a question of how fast the modem you good buy or what Internet service provider you used.

As the ruling the pending with in Congress stands now, big cable and telecom providers will be able to control the speed at which different websites load. This means the inclusion of the fast lane for "big corporations" that can pay more for speed. The flipside is this will slow down speeds for independent sites that we're apt to use.

As one blogger commented "Net neutrality has been the default state of the internet since its invention—internet service providers load all websites at the same speed. Now, Big Telecom wants to change the rules so they can extract more money from websites by making them pay to be served as customers at faster speeds."

In order to preserve net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission needs to ban Big Telecom from creating these so-called “fast-lanes” which only large companies could afford. Start-ups and independent sites would be left behind and crushed.

Fundamentally, we are in a fight to determine who controls the internet—people or corporations.

Limit Your Modeling Tools

My wife would like this: limit my scale modeling tool box to my imagination and a scalpel and my modeling supplies to just paper, cardboard and white glue.

I would doubt my patience when you look at the output of artist Daniel Agdag whose work was recently featured on CNN.

For example:

He works without blueprints, plans or drawings, which is probably the only way such models could come into existence.

Here are a couple more:

If you want to create detailed and imaginative flying machine sculptures that look like they’re about to take flight, cardboard is hardly the material to use. Unless of course you’re artist Daniel Agdag (previously), who has been toiling away creating a series of new works each more detailed and fascinating than the next.

If you like modeling on the edge...

Looking for that perfect background scene? How about a large rock cliff with a bike path ledge and a couple bikers negotiating the precipice.

Bike paths have always been handy for mobility scooters, but I don't think I'd try this one in Ireland. It is billed as a dangerous bike path, perhaps the most dangerous that there is.

The cliffs of Moher are more than just made up of old sandstone. They are deadly! There is a ledge which is quite narrow and runs a length of about 180 meters.

The path is dangerous even if you’re planning to walk on it but God helps those crazy mountain cyclists who come here to play with death and the dangers here. Oh and that path, at times narrows down to only 4 inches!

Might work for an HO railroad, but how would you lay the track?

Think about dropping 4 miles down a tail gun turret

As scale modelers of WWII warplanes, we seldom are aware of the trauma and heroics involved when something goes drastically wrong aboard that shiny replica.

Imagine it four miles up in a mid-air collision.

I can't even conceptualize how to model a diorama of a scene created by such a mishap.

It made for a great read: "I Fell Four Miles and Lived--Missing In Action" by James Andrew Raley, the tail gunner who took the tail with him. In an excerpt he wrote, "Be Alert. Be prepared for anything. Be flexible to change. Be ready to move out. But how do you prepare for a mid-air disaster? With 150 rounds of live ammo around your neck? At 20,000 feet above the ground?"

It is a short read, but very intense--after all, the crash took place over Greece and behind enemy lines.

Here is what a retired flier thought of the book:

War stories, unlike fairy tales, often start out, "No kidding, this really happened!" Imagine yourself in Jim Raley's true story, falling in the tail of a 17 from 4 miles in the sky. This book is superb in three ways. First, you are there with him tumbling from a mid-air collision, not knowing really what happened, experiencing time dilation, heightened awareness, and imminent mortality, followed immediately by the shock of transitioning from flying to painful, miserable, dirty escape and evasion conditions with injuries. Second, you get a firsthand account of the suffering of the Greeks in their land occupied by the Wehrmacht. Third, you get a real sense of the danger, intrigue, and long odds on escape aided by British Intelligence agents and the Greek underground. This is a first rate, true life war story, well worth any reader's time--and this is the unabridged version. I salute Jim Raley and all the bomber crews of World War II. What guts! Donald Streater, Brigadier General, USAF (retired).

Gives you something to think about the next time you model a B-17.

It pays to be the passenger

There is one modeling skill that I am enjoying developing even at the age of 76 and driverless because of MS - it's a renewed sense of observation.

There are so many modeling subjects and details that slip by while you're concentrating on driving the car. As a passenger, you often miss details that could make a real interesting model.

For instance the other day I spotted a chain fence the size of an anchor chain in the middle of New Hampshire farmland tend. It caught my attention.

But when you take in the whole scene there is so, so much more. Who would expect "imitation" stone columns topped with crowns, all to support A rusty wrought iron gate.

It all surrounds a seven-story high trebuchet (catapult) mounted on four 10-foot in diameter iron wheels, and in the far distance, a mock castle. Whoops, there's a mace ball, must be 15-feet in diameter, laced with iron triangular points.

If that ball mashes something, it stays mashed. Test Now admit it, that's not something you see every day.

We pulled up a side road for a better on our return trip and more details emerged

Admit it, that's not something you see every day, but it would make an interesting diorama, but what is it used for? Why Pumkin Chunkin, what else?

Actually, Steve Seigars, the New Hampshire farmer who built it, has used it to "chunk" about anything. From couches to TVs, stoves to refrigerators, Steve makes it fly.

Steve runs The Yankee Farmer, a nursery and farm stand in rural Greenfield. For years he had tried to figure out how to get people to drive past his business and buy his vegetables. Then one day he watched a PBS special on medieval trebuchets: giant catapults used to knock down castle walls. "I said to myself, 'Jeez, that'd be a fun thing to build. And I bet it would draw a crowd.'"

He had no experience in giant medieval weapon construction. But he was handy, and he was able to infect his family and neighbors with his enthusiasm. They threw themselves into the project with Granite State determination, and a year later their work was complete: Yankee Siege.

Want your own model? Go HERE for a full set of instructions. HERE for instructions.

Looking at myself in the mirror

If you had asked me, I'd never have said, yes, I'm two-faced! that's for those people who are as phony as a three dollar bill.

But when I stop and give it A little thought, there are two different types of lives we lead. There's the life we are so proud of that is so hard to maintain, that's the life of love, kindness and respect for others the second is the life of a curmudgeon, you know, the grouchy, fault finding, judgmental, moaning, malcontent.

The first requires a life of discipline and self-control, the second is disorganization and instability. I'm happiest living the first life but so often find myself slipping in the second.

The Bible extols self-control and discipline; and imprint of God's presence in our lives.

But, in point of fact, self-control is becoming a lost virtue. It is a quality we find so easy to ignore. We so easily toss off self-control as being uncomfortable as if the grace of God covers everything.

We are under God's grace therefore the speedometer easily slips up to 75 80 mph, we quickly we can change lanes, whoops cut him off and Soon were involved in road rage.

I get the most joy out of my life of discipline and self-control. Actually I almost hate it when I'm confused and unstable. Yet it is that second life that's always beckoning always calling.

The very moment I begin coasting, I coast away from restraint and toward chaos. I coast away from discipline and toward disorganization.

As a Christian I find myself pressured by both the old man and a new man. The man I was in the man I am now becoming.

I now see the benefits of a disciplined life were before I thought it just wasn't worth the effort. I know see these patterns and habits as being renewable and redeemable for good. Before I screamed it was just weakness, a crutch for times when I didn't like better motivation.

As summer gives way to fall -- chaos seems to move into a more formal schedule -- it's time to renew my commitment to a life of self-control a life disciplined towards godliness.

Until Next Month

Back to Back Issues Page