Saturday, July 23, 2011

A trip in the wayback machine

It's hard to believe that just 10 years ago, digital cameras were a novelty. It was not very strange to think of dropping off your film at the drug store for one-hour processing, which then still felt pretty new. I remember the funky little Kodak tollbooth-like sheds scattered about town in the vast parking lots of shopping centers where one may find a grocery store, Handy Dan's and Cloth World. Or maybe in the K-Mart parking lot.

These pictures of me and my Memere and Pepere were taken at the long gone Hawaii Kai theme park in Arlington, Texas. It was right next to Six Flags Over Texas, which is still there. If memory serves, Hawaii Kai was originally called Seven Seas and was near the old Arlington Stadium. Anyway, it was a sort of a Hawaiian-themed proto-Sea-World with dolphin shows and luaus. I remember thinking it was really cool, lush and tropical with pretty hula girls putting flowers around everyone's neck. Looking back, it was sort of the '70s equivalent of a Martin Denny record. But to that six year old me, it was awesome.

These photos are interesting because they were originally taken on slide film. My father had a thing for taking pictures on slides. About 12 years ago, my mom found a bunch of slides and I took them in to have prints made. The images you see above are pictures of those prints taken with my iPhone. So I guess by the time they make it to your eyes, it has gone through 4 generations. Not bad, then, I'd say.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Scratch build Pt. 2 - the shuttle

I had originally planned to attach this lotion bottle to the mothership. I like the shape, but it didn't quite work, so I decided to turn it into a shuttlecraft. I played around cutting out various wing shapes using card stock from the freebie fliers I pick up at Amoeba. I settled on this shape, cut it out of sheet styrene and glued it on.

I used two Bic pen tips and two spark plug tips from the auto shop parking lot for the boosters/blasters/whatever they are, some other fiddly bits to make a spaceship looking engine, added another layer of sheet styrene to the wing and etched some panel lines in it.

If you look at the top view of the mothership, I'll have the shuttle attached to the port stern. I haven't decided yet whether I'll make it detachable. Ideally, it would. But I don't know that I'm good enough yet to figure out the technicals on that. We shall see.

First Scratch Build Pt. 1 (the mothership! the mothership!)

Having built 6 models out of the box and completing one kitbash where I used mostly parts from one kit and just added a few things to it, I decided I wanted to try my hand at building something from scratch. Science fiction subjects lend themselves particularly well to scratch building since there is no one thing you have to make it look like. Just dig around, find stuff and start gluing.

I thought this toner cartridge would make an interesting shape for the base of my spaceship.

I cleaned under my bathroom sink and found a bunch of stuff I haven't used in years-- bottles of hair product, Airborne fizzy tablets and a toothpick box. Then I found some useless office supplies with cool shapes like the liquid paper pen and tape eraser. I glued them on with a hot glue gun. This is the underside of the ship.

Then I added some bits from a tank model from which I had pilfered parts for my kitbashed ship along with some stuff I found in the parking lots of the auto shops in my neighborhood. I glued them on with cement.

This is the top side, with PVC nozzles for thrusters and more auto parts on the top. Funny story -- one day I was walking in the parking lot of a nearby tire shop, picking up little bits and pieces. I'm walking along the perimeter when I look up and see the owner giving me the stink eye. I walk over to him and show him what I have in my hand and tell him what I'm up to. He said come back during business hours the next day and he'd give me a bunch of junk. I went back the next day and, true to his word, he gave me several handfuls of great, useable junk. I thanked him and he said "that oughta keep ya busy fer a while."

Your Own Personal Jesus

Can apparently be bought at this shop I passed by on another of my late night rambles. I understand taste is subjective and I'm not religiously impaired. But seriously, who would want crutches dude in their home? He's about 3 feet tall.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fly boy

I took my son and my fair lady to the air show in Chino a few weeks ago. We saw more amazing planes in a few hours than I can name. My mom got him this flight suit and something about putting it on must make a boy feel 3000% more cocky. I was looking at the pictures I took and his face cracked me up.

At the tail of a B-17.

In front of a P-38. The best part is all the pilots kept telling him how cool he looked. I think it went to his head a bit.

I tried to take pictures and video of the planes flying, but my equipment is just not good enough to capture them. And I have to say that while I was most excited by the thought of seeing the Dauntless and Corsairs flying, I came away most impressed by the F-86 Sabre and the MiG 15 flying together. That was truly awesome.

Late night ramble - Atwater Village

I like to walk at night. But this year has been unusually cold and rainy up until just the last few weeks. So it's nice to actually want to go out and walk for two or three hours. My last few rambles have taken me through Atwater Village.

I stopped for a glass of wine at 55 Degrees before heading home. Don't remember the name, but it was a delicious chilled sparkling rosé. Goddam right I'm man enough to drink a pink fizzy wine and feel no shame.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My first kitbash

I've been a science fiction dweeb for about as long as I can remember. So after building a few WWII airplanes, my thoughts began to turn to spaceships. How hard could it be to turn one of these planes into a spaceship? The answer, it turns out, is "not very."

The kit I started out with was this old (I'd guess from the '80s) Revell Germany Arado Blitz. This was a prototype jet bomber which was, as much of the Luftwaffe jet engine program turned out to be, too little, too late. It was an astonishing design. Had it come out a year before, the outcome of WWII may have been different.

Armed with a saw, some glue, some washers, and some patience, I set about transforming the Nazi wannabe death-dealer into a spaceship.

Here she is in her black primer coat. It's like Knight Rider went on a coke bender and mated with Battlestar Galactica.

I wanted to paint it in some bold colors as I was tired of German Grey and Japanese Naval Green. It's a spaceship, so it could be whatever color I wanted. Naturally, I picked something that would stand out against the black vacuum of space.

I really enjoyed the build. And the blue Tamiya paint was excellent. But I made the mistake of using Citadel paint for the garish orange.

It went on like latex and leaked badly under the masking.

So to compensate for the mediocre paint job, I covered her in "Mars dust" which came from the rusty brown pastel in my set of 48 pastels.

Then, using a rock I freed from Point Mugu, I built a stand so that she could always be flying. Up next, a scrappy scratch build. I promise it won't be months...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

So I made some art

a long time ago. I showed it to the GF recently and I'm pretty sure she was totally unimpressed.

At the time, I was really interested in the portrayal of women in fashion magazines. The pretentious fuck inside me would like to tell you I was deconstructing something or another blah blah blah.

But what's funny is now, just a few years later, I really don't give a shit.

Except for maybe this one. I thought it was really clever that I cut out her bikini and gave her eyeball tits. And that bush is actually an eyebrow from another picture. I'm sure there was artistic intent there beyond a boner, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was supposed to mean. I like girls, really.

But you'd probably never guess if you judged me from this. God, I can be a real twat sometimes.

The trees are taller when you were young

And so are the battleships.

SBD Dauntless Divebomber

My most satisfying build to date. This is the Hasagawa 1:48 Dauntless. Came together like a dream and was a joy to paint. I didn't document the build as well as I should have, but I think the finished product speaks for itself.

Stacking rocks at Point Mugu

I went camping with my fair lady and her twin sister at Point Mugu. It's one of the few places in Southern California where you can camp right on the beach. But the strange thing about Point Mugu is the rocks. When the tide is high at night, the sound of the waves crashing on the shore is coupled with the strange, haunting sound of the rocks tumbling over each other as the waves wash in and out. It's a wonderful sound to fall asleep to. And over time, the rocks become smooth and perfect for stacking.

I'd be remiss if I didn't post a shot of my fair lady. I have a difficult time imagining navigating the seas without her.

Herb Alpert...terminally hip

Seriously, is there any band or musician in the top 40 today that's 1/1000 as cool, hip, or talented Herb Alpert? No, there's not. So shut up and enjoy the eternal sunshine.

I can't explain

Sometimes you just need some organ.

Marc Bolan is more wasted than me

This is a very rare performance recorded well before the invention of lip-synching.