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ing Tips & Tools Monthly, Issue #72--Winter-Escapades
December 15, 2012
December 15, 2012

WARNING, This Is A Rant!

All it takes is a few good men

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy got me to thinking when on his visit to Newtown this week he said of the shooting of 20 children aged 6-10 and six adults, "evil visited this town today".

That didn't say enough and did nothing to get at the root.

"the only thing needed for evil to prevail is for a few good men to do nothing," attributed to Edmund Burke before the House of Commons in 1770.

That warning, in one form or another has been around for nearly 250 years and no one takes it seriously.

How many school shootings do we have to go through before automatic weapons are outlawed?

 In 2004 A 10-year law prohibiting possession of semi-automatic weapons, expired after Congress failed to extend it. Four attempts to resurrect it never got to the floor for a vote.

When a 20-year-old can walk into an elementary school with a semi-automammtic rifle and two 9mm pistols, a Glock and a Sig Saur giving him a firepower of over 100 rounds per minute.

How in blazes (and that's where we're all headed) can federal and state governments justify packing this kind of heat?

We have racked up seven school shootings in 2012 with the lives of close to 100 children being snuffed.

The tragic school shooting in Connecticut is another vivid reminder that we live in a fallen and sin-cursed world.

Why didn’t God prevent this from happening?

as mere mortals we can not know all of God's reasons. He does love us enough to give us free will. We are not robots. As a result, people make mistakes after turning away from God's perfect will.

Our own choices often produce evil instead of good. Evil is often the consequence of giving men free will.  The consequences of bad choices sometimes affect not only the person who makes the wrong choice but also their family, friends, and sometimes even society.

Take a moment and pray for those in Newtown, CT and take a moment to email your legislative representatives.

Enough is enough.

Full-sized model of Millenium Falcon

Yes, you could ...carefully in the middle of a major league baseball field, but where else would you display a full-sizes model of the Millennium Falcon measuring 34.37 meters (112' 9") in length and 25.61 meters (84-feet) across. That's right,  a full-scale model of this Star Wars ship is underway in Nashville and is expected to be finished in the next 5-7 years under the direction of project leader, Chris Lee.

Someday he might get asked 'where do you see yourself in the next five years.' Not many could answer "on the bridge of the Millennium Falcon, the classic Corellian freighter that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs".

But Chris and his team are well underway. One of the first problems they had to address was the fact that the Star Wars film featuring this ship was a small model for exterior shots and when Hans Solo was aboard, the interior was full size.

The team

Chris Lee – Founder and Project Leader
Leah D’Andrea – Public Relations, Set Detailing, Upholstery
Stinson Lenz – 3D Modeling, Interior/Exterior Set Consolidation
Greg Dietrich – Cockpit Console, Interior, and Quad Gun Construction
Brian Thompson – Main Hold Nav Computer Construction
Roger Lee – General Contracting
Glenn Baumann – Volvo Panels

Of course it won't fly, but I do know my son would have liked to be part of a project like this.

Chris does own an 88-acre parcel of land where they hope to park the full-sized creation. You can keep up with this project on the team's website, where you can learn how to get involved.

Snow Plowing, The Next Lost Art?

Here we sit in New Hampshire could be Vermont, Maine or Massachusetts in an absolute dirth of snow wrecking havoc with the ski industry while "Down Under" it is so deep it almost mires a railroad  snow plow as shown in this video

Watching this video gave rise to the thought I have never seen such activity live in New England in over 50 years. That's not to say it never took place but the incidents took place when I wasn't near a rail line.

But from what I have scene for winter weather the past few years, rail lines are easily cleared by waiting for the sun, or just backing a rail car down the track.

Modeling a railroad winter wonderland today relies more on imagination than actual sighting.

It is actually kind of funny. I had wanted a snow scene with one of my models so I went out and bought a jar of imitation snow. I have used a tablespoon so far, and that looks like overkill. I'd have been better off to ask my wife for a 1/2 cup of baking soda. Even four or five packs of sweetner would have done it.

As far as the weather goes, Things are uncharacteristically balmy in The northeast, where people are walking around in flip-flops and shorts.

It ain't what it used to be.

Christmas and Model Trains

I can't help it, every year when Christmas rolls around, even after seven decades, my thoughts go back to a model train zipping around the base of a Christmas tree, threading itself through a cardboard village, each with its interior lite with a Christmas light.

Shmaltzy huh.

But it was those memories that most likely got me started I'm model railroading as a pre-teen with a Lionel set and later as an adult in a full blown layout in N-Scale.

Today I'd likely make a different start, mostly due to costs.

Have a plan, don't just rush into your local hobby shop and buy your favorite steam engine for your youngest. There are many things to consider.

Trains are important to society and seeing them up close can trigger feelings of wonder in a child's eyes. A simple wooden train and track can keep youngsters busy for hours. Probably more so for boys then girls who often have as much fun with them as boys. Children have differing interests in trains, depending on age. One of the most popular starting points is with ThomasThe Tank Train.

If your hobby is a model railroad,  Thomas and a number of his friends are available in O, HO, and N Scale. You may  to acquire these trains in the scale you model and put them on the layout as a means of stimulating a child's interest in your hobby.

Children will outgrow Thomas almost as quickly as baby shoes and models of trains made popular in movies like the Polar Express or Hogwarts Express of Harry Potter fame may make more sense. These are available in O scale and will require a space commitment

Motivation Gets You Up...

Keeps You Going

I often find, specially now that Age 75 is just a month away, my motivation to get going needs a good kick start to the flow of my modeling juices. It's frustrating, isn't it? You define tasks that you need to accomplish, you gather the resources needed , and set the time and place to get it done. You notice it's not getting done. You wait some more. It still isn't getting done. What you need is:

Motivational Help

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.

Share Your Successes and your problems Be an active participant in Internet forums which focus on your modeling subject. I currently have a dozen of them bookmarked in my favorites and check in with each weekly. They are valuable for a number of reasons:

• Relationships - good forums can be incredible communities with a lot of good personal interaction between members. Some of the people that I have worked with more closely over the years are people I have met in forums.
• Learning/Post Ideas - one of the best parts about participating in a forum is that as you use them you’ll find yourself with a lot of new knowledge and potential post ideas. Forums are full of threads from beginners in topics asking questions. Grab these questions and answer them on your blog. You can also get scoops on stories from forums if you monitor them well.
There are plenty of forums out there on most topics. Go on a forum hunt today and when you find one that has a similar topic to your modeling niche sign up and become an active member. To find them simply search Google for ‘your topic forum’ (try a few of your main keywords).

Don't Rush Your Pass

You see it in full-sizes stock car racing, sports car racing and even common driving, passing another vehicle takes planning to avoid an accident. It is also true in RC racing.

Drive your RC car as if it were a real car and you will actually be much faster. When  you approach a slower car, give some thought to your passing move. You’ll both be slower if you smash right into the car who is trying to pass the car in front of you.

In qualifying, slower cars should yield to faster cars, but that doesn’t mean they have to pull over and stop racing so you can fly by. 

Plan your pass and be patient. When you are exiting a corner is usually a good place to pass because slower drivers often overshoot corners and go wide.

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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