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ing Tips & Tools Monthly, Issue #99-save Warthogs
May 16, 2015
May 15, 2014

Save Warthogs (not animal rescue)

I've never been particularly happy with many decisions Obama has made but this one really bites .

President Obama’s Air Force wants to send the venerable A-10 Warthog ground attack plane to the boneyard, claiming it can’t afford the expense of keeping them. But if the cost is measured in human life, the better question is: can we afford not to keep them?

Let’s say you and your buddies are US Marines patrolling through a ravine in a remote area of Afghanistan. You’re ambushed by an entire company of Taliban fighters shooting down on you from a high ridge. It’s nighttime and the weather is bad. You’re out of range of artillery support. You’re pinned down and taking casualties. You can barely see your enemy up behind the rocky ridge. You make radio contact and the Air Force can vector in two aircraft to your area to provide close air support (CAS).

You and your buddies’ survival almost entirely depend upon what sort of aircraft can come to your assistance.

If the Air Force sends in a low and slow-flying A-10 Warthog, it’s your lucky day. Total cloud cover? No problem: the Hog flies almost to the nape of the earth so it can get up close and personal with the enemy. Nighttime? Also no problem: your plane is so maneuverable that you can bob and weave away from tracer rounds.

Your pilots get their Hogs near the ridge. The plane is literally built around a monster 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger multibarrel cannon, which shoots huge depleted uranium bullets at a high speed. Originally designed to kill Soviet tanks rushing into West Germany, the Avenger cannon basically cuts through anything in its path like, well, butter. The Warthog can loiter above the battlespace for hours, returning again and again for more attack runs.

Even the pilot is well cared-for. His seat is surrounded by a reinforced titanium bath that deflects almost all ordnance. It’s not pretty, but the plane can take a ridiculous beating: During the Iraq War, while Capt. Kim Campbell was flying over Baghdad, a jihadi fired a surface to air missile at her, punching a huge hole in her A-10 and knocking out all its hydraulics. Okay, so she switched to its unique “manual reversion” mode, where the stick can physically pull the cables through her own brute force, and she made it home.

But back to our scenario in that ravine: The jihadis are 50 feet up from you, which is too danger-close for you to ask the pilot to drop any bombs. But because the two Warthogs are the angel of your night, it only takes a dozen gun passes each to slice through and pin down the enemy, allowing you and your Marines to slip away from the ambush.

This story isn’t actually fiction. This really happened, in 2008 to Marine Master Sgt. Richard Wells and his five other Marines. They all lived. But they might not have if the Air Force had sent in one of its new, ultra high-tech F-35 Lightning joint strike fighters instead. The USAF wants desperately, and understandably, to solve all the technical problems plaguing the F-35 and believes that scrapping the unglamorous A-10 would free up the money to do it.

The F-35 is an amazing aircraft—when it works—but it flies too fast to simply loiter over the ground while leisurely machine-gunning the enemy. It can drop a bomb on a GPS-marked position, but what if the enemy is only a few yards away from your position?

US Rep. Martha McSally (R), a former Warthog pilot, helped to rally support for the Warthog this week, as the whole Congress gets ready to vote on the overall draft 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. By attaching multiple amendments in her committee, it looks like she’s kept the plane funded for another year. But only just, and only for another year.

Here it is action, notice how low it flies.

It's Shorpy for Detail Ideas

It is the little details that complete a model and tend to make things perfect they are often they are often things you'd never give thought to.

That's where Shorpy comes in. I know it is a big collection of photos but take your time, browse by subject matter and you'll be surprised what you come up with.

Here is one that caught my eye:

San Francisco, 1925. "California State Automobile Association. Setting sign for Golden Gate Park Conservatory." Before there were state or federal highway departments to do the job, it was the auto clubs that put up road signs. 8x10 film negative, originally from the Wyland Stanley collection.

Details that caught my eye multiple oval windows for the rear view, work ran in dress hats, and shoes, not boots, and post sized shovels. What do you notice?

Modeling One Way Arguements

This one-way argument showed up today on the N-Scale Yahoo group posted by Marc DeCapri and it made so much sense, I couldn't resist reposting it here.

When I first saw a bubble packed ready made Woodland Scenics finely detailed building > I scoffed. Why would I pay someone else to build my hobby? ==== Well Dun Me? I don't scoff no more. Why? Laying before me is a single N Scale Platform for a Super Trains. And .. Oops...I am already into it for over 20 hours...I am no where near finished with it, There are at least three more to build... Well it seemed like a good idea at the time... How'd I know it would take so long? I had never made one before....cause it's not from a kit. No one perhaps has ever built such a platform with such detail. AND .... While I had considered that I might spend upwards of 300 hours on the total array - Super Station with adjoining Canopies and track... > My earliest as of Today; estimates that the total diorama will be well over 1,000 hours. ===== I once snickered at people who just continue to amass and collect, seemingly never getting around to building anything. Nor even beginning a simple oval.... Yet here I am so far the other side of that reality...I am in an opposite way ? Perhaps Far Worse. Am I ever going to get my track all laid and in operation? i have become nearly like one of those people who build Doll Houses... Yet I am obsessed for doing the same detail in N Scale. Cause... I am having a very good time attempting to make my own prototype buildings to the intricacy of Woodland Scenic Ready Mades. Yes, so amazed I was at this bubble packed phenomenon...I was personally challenged, perhaps on some far dark recess of my mind. This Side Hobby has taken on a whole other dimension .... and while I have bought upwards of 50 built kits in a box from a guy without a layout for $50...(Yes $One Dollar Each) I have walked myself into my own sense of dis-reality. I now believe it is possible to spend upwards of 500 hours on just one single N Scale building. How does one value such a building for resale? Certainly not at $1 each. Would it fetch anywhere near it's labor value on eBay? Even at $1 an hour? ==== The Truth is I have no justified defense in any of this. i can't justify the time nor the money I have already spent, even at used discounts. If I was to be brought before a Tribunal over my N Scale Logic...I would have to plead at best Nolo Contendre. Nolo contendere - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nolo contendere - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia contendere is a legal term that comes from the Latin for "I do not wish to contend." It is also referred to as a plea of no contest. In criminal trials in certain U.S. jurisdictions, it is a plea where the defendant neither admits nor disputes a charge, serving as a...

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So sorry, defending any of this? One way or the Other? So when friends, associates or even family >Ask me why I model N Scale....and as they say...Play with Trains.... I just answer Nolo Contendre. Which sort of kind of works...cause again they have no idea what I am talking about. And perhaps just think I am crazy to spend so much time on just one building. Mark

I was offered an exquisitely made and finely detailed N Scale Prototype today ... One which most likely has at least $100 in materials and over 500 hours in skillful labor... For $500. I have no defense in not buying it immediately. Yet, I also have no defense if I was to buy it. There is still a strong part of me which wants to do it all by myself....that is unless I can steal it for an under value price.

Getting brick wall colors correct

Bricks take their color from the clay that is used to make them. Until modern day bricks were made locally from material available locally. Therefore they allnded to be approximately the same color. They were a low cost and relatively maintenance free building material. They were heavy and transporting them any distance added to the ir cost. It was only until the modern times that bricks were considered decorative and different colorings could be done.

Your older buildings should all have about the same color bricks.

My typical procedure is to paint all the brickwork a thin coat of grey or black, and let dry overnight. Then come back and drybrush the surface of the bricks with the red/brown color of choice. This is best done with a thin flat brush, with a light touch. It is much better to come back a second time with two light coverings than a heavier one that will hide all the mortar lines. Oh, after that dries overnight, you may want to come back with a super thin light dirty wash applied vertically.

Lord, Keep Me From Over-modeling

It is really possible to get too detailed in building from scratch. Many of us build from the frame up, even in HO and N Scale. Then we cut our own 1x2s for every stinkin' window, we cut the holes, glue them up and even place individual glass panes. No commercial windows. We want them right, and hand made.

By chance I happened to get to the Pennsylvania Museum Commission's historic Pithole (oil boom town) display. It's a BIG display. The cool part is that it's all done in N scale. They had to scratch build, from photos, literally hundreds of buildings to recreate the entire town, building by building, as it was in 1866 or so. I think they chose N because they needed a lot of horses, wagons, and people to populate it.

It looks fantastic. Any modeler would die for quality like this done to historic standards. But when you get really, really, close.... you get a "What tha....?" moment. EVERY WINDOW is drawn on, with shading. Not one pane. Nothing was hand-done like that. No window glass, no individual pieces. And it looked better (even close-up) than anything I had done with individual parts. A humbling moment, for sure.

So the conclusion is that you have to lead into the mind's expectations. You can trick the eye, and the mind, into seeing things that aren't there. Really good model building accomplishes that, and that's why it's so enjoyable to study - it's almost like magic.

One of the first, and hardest lessons in my N Scale scratchbuilding chronicle is not to be obsessive about detail.

Until Next Month

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