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Uncle Toby

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  1. Derek: The only thing I find more fascinating than the jets themselves are those magic seats. I.recall first reading about the 1st Gen ACES II seats and how, in spite pf having state of the art digital guts available, Goodyear elected ro use more than 250 mechanical gizmoes, every one of which had that to work perfectly within about axaecon. As the Wicked Witch of The West said as she melted, "What a world, what a world." orld.
  2. I was amazed to find out how fun bike builds are. Hope I find more. Same with Tamiya Formula 1 cars.
  3. That looks like the gizmo they use to measure you for a helmet and mask.
  4. Oh, hell, I may as well add this in case anybody cares: Lately, for no real reason, I have thought back to those 4 or 5 ejection seat types I've ridden, some once, one 3 times, the F-4's Mk. 7, 10 times. For each flight, most military, a few civilian jets, my ejection and emergency ground egress training varied from intensive to zero. You would think the Blue Angels might mention how to use the seat in their F/A-18B and D (I rode one each with them). Not one word of emergency info. Not one mention either time. And both BA flights were both long and physically exhausting to boot (They always do that if they know you have previous fighter rides as a civilian. I'll tell that one some day.) So the basic odds of an accident were even a tiny bit bigger. My very first ride, in that ANG F-4C, had me go through a full day of E and E training, folllowed by a test. My first Aces II flight (Tyndall AFB, F-15D) got me a half-day in the seat seat/ cockpit simulator. Then they hung me up from my chute harness for training ion the self llowering rig in case you come down dangling from a broadcast tower or something. My training chute harness was rotten and snaped dumping me about six feet down ratherf gently. But so panicked were the officer and tech sgt in charge of me, it took me a half hour to, first, convince them their media guy was not hurt at all, was not angry, and most of all, was not going to rat out them for something that was no one's fault. I feared my flight was going to be cancelled. I know this is long, but to my surprise, people with an interest in bang seats (it still amazes and fascinates me, these seats, their history and what miracles of technology they are. And how dangerous the early ones were in which, if you got out and to the ground alive, you were most likely crippled not just enough to never again fly, but to never walk again. Let me end with this: Only decades after I stopped playing military beaurocracy as a military aviation journalist did it hit me how the US navy risked a PR disaster by negecting to tell me how to save myself from permanent wheelchair flying or death by not taking 30 seconds to say: "By the way, when I say eject, or you see the light, take one second to put your head against the rest and elbows in your lap." Almost the sole reason the Blues and T-Birds always travel with a two-seater is to fly local media, knowing they will get breathless stories about these goglike aviators, the kind of PR money can't buy. Two of.the three Grumman cat fighters the BA flew from early in the 1950s until they got F-4s at the end of the 60s, there was no two-seat version (the early F9F versions and the F10F Tiger had no two seat version) but the team always had a T-33 or some other nimble jet for the press. So killing a reporter rather than impressing him would be a disaster. Why didn't I raise my hand and ask for egress training? Every time before jet flying I made it my business to do my own research (once even using a Detail and Scale book for F-4D cockpit familiarization.) I never met a cockpit or rocket seat that I had not already memorized, sometimes using my modelling detail references. Okay: If this was abuse of the forum, please tell me. It feels a little wrong and may be really boring. It won't hurt my feelings and is preferable to having people rolling their eyes when they see I've posted another Grampa Simpson ramble. Old I am, but I try to avoid being an old bore, even if the professional writer in me is unable to shut up about this world of flying machines I learned to love as a toddler seeing Daddy's B-47E buzz the house. Thanks again, my peers. For reading and every thing else you do for me, an average modeller at best.
  5. Well, I was too embarassed to add that the owner and pilot did not even offer or mention parachutes. But I was well aware that in that catagory of aircraft (jet, experimental, private) parachutes are required by FAA regs. I should have refused to fly. It was irresponsible. Of him and me.
  6. You reminded me that I started to do a Korean War T-6G FAC using an AM sheet I had with the ageless Monogram kit, which is IMO still excellent even at 50 years on the market. What aborted the thing was AMS. I went to my bookshelf and by the time I got through skimming my T-6 volume I was so befuddled with all the subvariants and mods to the plane by 1950, I gave up. I'm only aware of the one from Bill Koster's fine line of handmade 1/48 kits. These were short run mixed media kits with vac-form airframes. One of the last he did was a Magister. While I still have a couple of these old gems, I never saw his Magister. The old Koster kits go for absurd prices on ebay. Thanks. After I posted that I remembered two memorable things about my one Magister flight. That it was so nimble I was able to shoot down on a four-ship of F-4Ds by barrel rolling completely around the Phantoms, then shooting down theough the top of the canopy when we were inverted at the apex. The other thing is that I had no clue the thing would not have ejection seats. It's a 2-seat military jet. Right. I was not happy at first. But we survived to fly again.
  7. You are both, of course, dead right on every point. I suppose I should have confessed that I've been a PE fiend ever since it's been widely available to us. I haven't built without it in 25 years (except in OOB build reviews for magazines). I'm so addicted to PE that it was only recently that I finally accepted the fact that just because I have a metal part, it's not necessarily going to improve my model, and often detracts from it if the PE set isn't well made. The reason I'm so hellbent on using these Hurricane panels is because they are, as far as I know, utterly unique AM parts. That, and because the kit, which like the fret was free, is utterly charmless in my opinion. Sure, I could, and already have to some extent, go to town detailing the cockpit and engine. In 1/24, even a detailer of quite modest skills like me can make improvements. My scanner is down or I'd show you the fret. I did find it in a Google search. As far as forming the brass to shape, the Hurricane's sheet metal is relatively flat, so that's no big deal. Where it curves, it's mostly in simple, non-compound shapes. Also, years ago I taught myself how to anneal and shap PE parts. It's pretty simple. The PE panels are made with the rivet holes around the edges, not engraved riivets. All of the holes look as though they're waiting for 1/24 scale rivets or szus fasteners, so they would need to be dealt with as well. Another of my modelling eccentrcities is a disdain for plastic. Yup. Any chance I have to throw out plastic parts for another medium, I do it. Yes, I know that's nuts for a plastic modeller of 50-plus years in the hobby. I can't make that notion rational. It just is how I am. If technology ever gives us metal skinned kits, which is science fiction, I'd be the happiest modeller on earth. And just for the record, the separate flap set from Cammett will be a pain to build because each rib is a separate part and each will need to be carefully spaced and at a perfect 90 degree angle when the glue sets. This is quite tedious if you've ever done it. And, do I want to spend boring hours on lowered flaps when, if I'm not mistaken, the Hurricane's flaps were, like the Spitfire's, purely simple, 2-position mechanical surfaces that were kept in the raised and locked position when parked? Failure to do this could get an RAF flyboy chewed out and also fined. (Could any of our Brit cousins confirm this for me?) So, your Mustang with sagging flaps is natural on your model. Like the gear doors (as on the F-86 as well), they were hydraulic and sagged as the pressure bled away when the engine was off. Should I go to all that trouble with the flaps for a detail that is only on there because I have the PE set? A detail that is not accurate?
  8. Oh, got a sort of funny confession to make. Last night, after reading you guys' kind responses, I got this sudden urge to totally rebel against the AMS-stricken rivet counter in me. I was going to do something totally crazy and wrong. What, you ask, was that? Well, I just made an impulse buy in my LHS of an overpriced Tamiya "white box" P-38H, which is nothing more than a marketing gimmick to squeeze more mileage out of the P-38G molds. The two types were externally all hut identical. Hell, Tamiya didn't even change the decal sheets. So in my crazed state of mind, I decided I was going to build my 38H, paint it in a NMF no P-38H ever wore, and mark the model with a Bombshell Decals sheet I've been dying to use for years. The sheet is gorgeous, for a Lightning called San Antonio Rose. Which was a P-38L. Insane, right? I went out for a half hour to get some zip kicker. When I looked down at the kit box with that inappropriate sheet lying on it, I caved. "What were you thinking, you lunatic?" I'll always wonder if the earth would have fallen off its axis had I gone through with it.
  9. (Well, gents, did not know you had a separate place for discussion of, duh, large scale planes. I do not know how to move this plea for 1/24 advice over there. Can someone please help a senile old man?) Okay, now that I've cleared my system of whiny, overlong posts on my existential modelling troubles, I have a purely practical problem. Years ago the big Trumpeter Hurricane Mk. I fell in my lap purely by accident. So it was kismet that soon after the UK firm Cammett sent me a couple of 1/24 PE sets for this kit. The first, flaps, were fairly standard as such items go, though harder to build than, say, Eduard flaps because Cammett's requires every rib to be fitted individually. The second set was not the least bit conventional. It's a set of PE panels for the forward fuselage, with panels for a Mk. I or the slightly longer (6 inches, IIRC) Mk. II. I am an experienced, and I suppose advanced modeller, though certainly not the artist so many of you are. So for years I've been scratching my head over how to use this panel set. The obvious and easiest method would be to anneal each one, form the simple compound curves, and glue them over the plastic. Which begs the question --why bother, since the kit has perfectly good panel representation out of the box. The hard way would be to cut off the forward fiselage, create a frame of bulkheads and stringers, and mount the panels on this, just like on the 1:1 article. That, however, is almost certainly beyond my abilities. I want a big Hurricane, but Trumpeter's, despite a good outline, is awfully lacking in detail for this scale and the high price. So the kit needs lots of work to make it "sing" with detail. I notice there's tons of fine cockpit detail sets for this kit, but as far as I know, not much else as far as detail parts. Any advice for me? I'm determined to use those mdtal panels one way or another.
  10. Thanks so much. I sit here in my tiny Brooklyn apartment (though I remain a Texan at heart, a liberal voter who's still pretty handy with my old 1911 Army Colt I've had since I was 13), and the three walls around my bed are literally stacked with kits, expensive reference books, and AM accessories. I recently threw out the first batch of abandoned half-built kits, along with their AM accessories (just those that could not be used elsewhere). Lord that was painful. Point is, most of us veteran modelers have ridiculous hoards of potential projects within arm's reach. So why do we so often feel we have nothing to do? I hesitate to mention the following for fear of sounding like a pecker-matching blowhard, but it's relevant here: I often mention in posts that I'm a long-time aviation journalist because it establishes a certain bonafides in certain arguments. One of...no, THE best perk of that has been getting to fly in the airplanes I once only fantasized about. It started at the then-named Confederate Air Force. I was a reporter in a nearby city in the Rio Grande Valley and was curator of their model collection for a time, as well as a colors and markings researcher on restorations. So whenever a WW II warbird was going up for a check flight, I'd call dibs. Got a B-29 ride and a very cramped hop in a P-51D with a jump seat, among others. Them I graduated to what became about 20 hours in various ANG and Reserve F-4s. Then Blue Angels No.7, F/A-18D, an F-15D out of Tyndall AFB during William Tell, then another museum gig where we only had flying jets, eight of them, including an F-104D in which I got three flights. And those are just the highlights. Early on, I planned on doing a model of every one of these a/c. I began collecting the kits, markings, reference books, etc. Now, 30 years after first getting that notion, not one has been built. Still have the kits, the most recent I just located last week, but I have no excuse for not immortalizing the single greatest thrills of my life. I've done a few presentation models for those pilots who flew me, but not one model for me. I once used a borrowed civilian Fouga Magister for a photo ship (no ejection seats!), and that's the one I really want to build. Can't find a 1/48 Magister kit. Is there such a kit? But I digress. The whole point of this is that I am retired now (at least, I get SS pension, but writers tend to die at the keyboard). I live alone, and I'm bored, uh, witless. There's nothing in my way. So can somebody tell me why I can't get off my ass and build a presentation model just for me?
  11. About a decade ago I wrote an article about the joys of dry transfers and how to use them for a popular British model magazine (Scale Aircraft Modelling). While researching the piece I consulted with Archer quite a bit and you sent me a number of your sheets. I still have those I did not use. Not long after, a serious health issue took me away from modelling for years. Now I'm back. I love my Archer DTs and want to use them, but I wonder if they're all still good. If the prop tips are any evidence, the answer is no. Is there anything I can do to coax these transfers back to life? I found that the 1/35 Jeep instruments worked a charm, and they were just as old as the prop tips. What's the gentlest way to burnish to avoid crumbling and flaking? And do you have a standard shelf life you recommend? Many thanks for any help. Now, and for your help on the article (I just found a copy of it), and thanks for a fine product (only a masochist likes painting prop tips).
  12. When I began editing and writing for the modelling media, I had been a mainstream print journalist for decades. The rules and ethical standards we follow in print journalism are rigid and were second nature to me. So I was stunned (babe in the woods I was) to find that it was common practice for model magazines to put Major Kit Maker's latest release on the cover not because it was necessarily a great kit, but because a deal had been cut with the advertising side. I hate quid pro quo journalism with a vengeance and editors soon learned to leave out of that kind of fraud. It deceives everyone who buys a kit based on what they believe to be the integrity of a magazine or web site's recommendation, and as consumers we should refuse to tolerate it. Another, stranger but slightly less pernicious practice is how certain magazines manage to scoop the competition by getting their built up review in print just days after the kit hits the street. They build a plastic Potemkin Village, which is to say they leave out all the parts that can't be seen in photos. Back in the late 1980s, I saw a review of Bill Koster's magnificent mixed media 1/48 A-20 Havoc that was reviewed in a major US magazine almost the week the kit dropped. Of course, the major outlets get advace pops, but this was crazy. The kit had a hundred vac-form parts alone, and as many or more EACH in WM, resin and PE. (I'd gave a leg to find a copy of this kit. Mine was thrown out by a crazed ex-girlfriend.) So how did Model Magazine X get those lovely photos of the built-up item? They photographed a painted and decaled shell, that's how. Now, that kind of thing is quite rare. More often, there's an editor like me standing over the write/builder pleading, cajoling, threatening him to get the build done, shot and written so we can beat the competition by a month. If you suspect the article you are reading sings the praises of this or that new model or accessory a bit too flatteringly, beware. Don't buy based on such "objective" reviews. After all, it's our money they're trying to pick from our pockets. Don't surrender it without a fight. Addendum: Just as I posted my edit of this I was reminded of an imporant point in this discussion of relations between industry money and modelling media. That is, most major magazines, if they are promoting products sold by a particular distributor (let's say, just for example, HobbyLink Japan) they will include HLJ's logo prominently on each page. That way, nobody's being fooled. I've even written reviews in such sponsored sections that were critical of certain products being featured by the distributor. It was, IIRC, HobbyLink, a company I always found to be very consumer friendly, unlike others I could name They did not so much as grumble about it to the management. And by not complaining, they come out on the modeller's side. You can't buy that kind of PR.
  13. While I'm giving tips here, I'm not sure this is the right place for it since they aren't building tips. If not, please set me straight. Some years ago, I took my profession -- journalism -- into my modeling hobby. I've written and edited for most of the British model magazines and two US publications, one now defunct. I no longer can afford to work for what these magazines pay freelancers, but if you want to see your work in print on slick pages, breaking in is not as hard as you might think. And who doesn't want to see their name amd latest build in print while getting paid a few bucks in the bargain? And suddenly, that fee check makes you a professional modeller, too. First, check the staff box (aka the masthead) to find out who to send a proposal to. That would be the editor nearest the top in model mags. Some of these magazines will print submission guidelines, but most don't. In fact, the process is quite informal with most model magazines. You can even try submitting your article idea (it's even better to have more than one idea to pitch) by email if you have the editor's address. Give your qualifications. If you've publshed, even in a model blog, that helps. If you've won contest awards, tell him. It is extremely important that you be familiar with the magazine. You don't want to pitch an A-10 Warthog build if the magazine just did one. A web search will insure against that. Editors usually won't go for the umpteenth Fw-190A-8 build. If that's what you have, make sure you've done a unique mod or paint scheme. The point is to make your proposal jump out at a busy editor. Often, editors will want ro see a completed article before saying yes. That's up to you, but personally, I don't let them make me work unless the piece is definitely going to be used. If you have doubts about the quality of your writing, have a fellow modeller go over the article before you submit it. As an editor, I had a couple of peofessional level modellers who were barely literate. One was possibly the best modeller I've ever seen, but English was not his first lamguage and maybe not even his second. I totally rewrote his articles, but had he not had such brilliant hands I would have rejected him. Editors don't have time to make your prose sparkle. Good photos and lots of them are a must. Also, you must submit a separate page of captions for your photos. Editors get really cranky about this. If you're a lousy shooter, like me, you'll have to get a photog from somewhere, maybe your model club. Offer to split the fee with him. Remember, model photography for magazines, with its special lighting, depth of field, and other touches is a specialized business and not just anyone can do it well. Seeing your hard work showcased in magazines is a very satisfying thing, and the printed page has more permanence and status than the web. And if it's what you want, it's easier to achieve than you may think. Feel free to PM me if you have questions.
  14. I don't know why I wasn't notified of any of these replies, so I'm really glad I checked the thread. I can't express my gratitude to you all adequately. After I posted the original, I almost immediately deleted it, thinking it whiny for a guy to whom this hobby has been very generous. I felt ungrateful. When I was a young newspaer reporter, instead of being grateful that I was among the few journalism graduates who actually got to work in the business, I wished I was at the NY Times. Never mind I was at a big city daily and with a fat expense account and with exciting travel all the time. Never mind my job as aviation writer put me in the back seat of, say, an F-15D or a Blie Angels F/A-18 or a WW II warbird (well, okay, I did appreciate the exotic flying). And I would sit at my desk reading the latest slick Brit model magazine and envying the guys who got to work there. Oh, how naive I was. I won't go into the why, but I chose to leave mainstream journalism, vowing never to go back (okay, it was because it was ruining my creative writing, my fiction and plays, and because I had reached my limit being constantly around violent death.) Fast forward to the new century. I wound up in modeling joirnalism simply by asking. Yep. That's all it takes, journalism experience not required and probably not even helpful. Most of what I did was reviews of US products for the Brits. I mean, every kind of kit and AM product, as well as paint and tools (like pricey airbrushes) just rained down on me. Now, stick with me. This has a point and sort of a moral. I also did builds for kit reviews and features. At first. But even in the best of times I am a slow modeler. Building on a deadline is nothing but drudgery to me. I recall how I'd so looked forward to Tamiya's first 1/32 F-16 Block 50. It duly arrived and was all I had hoped. Except I wanted to savor this build. I'd been acquiring AM parts for it for months. But my editor wanted it done NOW. I don't need to yell you the build held no joy, and I never even went back to see the resulting magazine spread. The kit is still sitting, dismantled, in its box. I should go look at it, now that 15 years has passed. Now, here's how I coulda, shoulda known that combining my personal passions with business will always disappoint. When I was a baby journalist, in college and 19 years old, I went to one of those enormous state universities with a correspondingly enormous daily newspaper. I lucked into a job on the music desk. Like just about all us Boomers, our music is everything to us. And at my college paper, I was sitting dead in the middle of the prime demographic for record companies and concert promoters. New records and tockets and back stage passes rained down on us daily. This is what I learned from that: nothing interesting ever happens backstage, only about one in 20 new record releases is worth listening to, and most of your musician idols are either complete swine or just messed up people. My best memory of those days was the night in the hotel bar after a Fleetwood Mac concert, drunk on bourbon and stoned on 'Ludes, I threw up on Stevie Nicks' fine velvet boots. Kenny Loggins, a man whose music I still cannot stand, hid me from the bouncers and turned out to be the nicest, most genuine person I ever met in that business. Where does modeling meet this? Well, after I posted the above, I thought about it some more. It hit me as an epiphany that what you get for free, what comes to you without effort, loses its value to you. These free models were like the free records. They were my favorite things, but acquired in such a way as to be commodities, not objects of desire that lead to pleasure. One example: When I had to shell out 15 scarce dollars for a fine AM decal sheet, I never got tired of pulling it out, looking at it, planning my build with it. But when that same decal company sent me a package containing one of every one of the sheets they produced, I just tossed it aside. I'd better knock off all this verbiage here. I have taken the first step toward taking back the joy of my hobby. That step was leaving full-time modeling journalism and most product reviewing. It took me two years to learn that music was being ruined for me by my proximity to it. I should have been wise enough now that I'm in my 60s to know that model writing was killing my lifelong hobby. If any of you want to try working for the magazines once on a while, I don't want to discourage you. My situation is kinda unique because of my profession. If you want to see your work on slick pages, just know that it pays almost nothing, especially the Brits. Doing a kit review now and then is good for free kits. FineScale pays well and on time, though they have a regular stable of reviewers. They like interesting build features and things like conversions. Just PM me and I'll set you up. The British magazine editors are desperate for good work by literate modelers. Lastly, you guys are...hell, you're great. Every bit of your advice to me above is a keeper. One reply reminded me of the time just before the modeling journalism. I was unemployed and just about starving. I only bought kits on sale amd was not picky about subject. Here in Brooklyn, for example, I found a hobby shop that was closing and had sold everything in the store but a pile of Tamiya 1/12 motorcycle kits and a bunch of Estes rocket stuff, all this for pennies. I snatched up all of it. I would build until I couldn't continue without a certain color of paint. When I got the money for the bottle of paint, I'd continue building. When I found an aircraft kit on sale, I'd buy it, subject be damned. And they were all built OOB. The Squadron catalogue became my wish book. And I loved every minute of it. I want that back. As I said above, I still have tons of kits and all manner of AM accessories. Hell, I have a box containing no fewer than 300 Eduard masking sets in all scales. At least once a week I go to throw it out, but just can't. You all have helped me so much more than you know. And I need to always remind myself that I never need be modeling in a vacuum, that a community of great guys is at my fingertips. If you want to help me more, semd me your wish lists, or whatever you might need for your current build. If I've got it, it's yours. The more of this stuff I can give to good homes, the better off I'll be. And if you read this far, you are a saint. Or insane.
  15. Gentlemen: HiI am an experienced modeling journalist and aviation writer (please bear with me, this is not a contest) and a little over a year ago I hit the burnout wall. The idea of modeling and writing about a/c suddenly became nauseating to me, something I never dreamed of happening. So I quit. A few weeks ago, as fast as it happened, it passed. So I went back to my workbench. To my horror, my most basic skills, honed since childhood, were gone. I think most of you can empathise here. It's the stuff of bad dreams. Making it worse, I can't do magazine or web build features now. That camera doesn't lie. I need advice, fellows. I did go out and buy a simple kit on which to hone my chops (Tamiya's 1/48 Beaufighter, a good kit to do OOB). Trouble is, I'm chronically afflicted with AMS. You can guess the rest. I need advice on retaining my skills. A good part of my livelihood depends on it, especially now. Please help. Tom Bell BTW: The walls of my flat are stacked to the ceiling with review kits, decals. and assorted AM goodies. Some good suggestions would be worth some of this stuff to me. PPS: Forgot the dumbest part: Before I got the Beaufighter, I went down to my Manhattan hobby shop and dropped $250 on a 1/32 Tamiya Mosquito Mk. VI. According to FineScale it has 1000 parts. Well, at least it's fun to paw through the box.
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