David Knights' Weblog

June 30, 2009

Thoughts from a Blitzbau novice

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 4:51 pm
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Having just completed my first Blitz, I thought I’d take a minute and post my thoughts and impressions of the blitzbau concept.

In general, I found the experience to be very rewarding. I think one of the benefits is the ability of the blitz to get a modeler back in the “groove” of modeling, if he or she has been struck with AMS. Going in knowing that you are building a model with certain limitations due to time frees the modeler from worrying about they should stop and fix or that minor issue that might grind them to a halt in a more extended build. In the future, I would not try a “man-style” 24 hr build but would break it up into two 12 hours sessions over two days. One of the advantages of doing that is the ability to have part of the “down time” between sessions work for you by allowing paint or decals to be drying on the model. Also, when you realize that you can finish a model to a standard you find acceptable in 24 hours it will cause you to reflect on why you might be spending some much time on other builds without making progress. In short, I wouldn’t want to build every kit as a blitz, but I recommend doing one if you can.

Now a practical point or two. First, if you hope to complete the build on time, selection of the kit is key, especially if you build as slowly as I do. The Tamiya F4U-1D was a great choice for me as it had great fit so that there were no construction issues to slow me down. When picking a kit you should also carefully select your markings. This was my downfall. If I had selected one of the other sets of markings for this model it would have been completed with time to spare. On the advice of some more experienced blitzers, I examined the instructions in detail well ahead of the build. I planned sequences to get things constructed in such a way that I could build, and especially paint efficiently. This called for building out of the order called for in the instructions. Finally, you gotta have one of these.

Hydra

Hydra

I have four airbrushes and the Hydra (pictured above) allowed me to paint using several different brushes and thus saved me time by not having to stop and clean my airbrush between color changes, etc.

 As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.

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June 29, 2009

Blitzbau

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 10:02 am
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Sorry I missed a day or two of posting.  I’ve been invovled in a Blitzbau (Lightening build) over on the Unofficial Airfix Modelers Forum.  You can see the build here.  I had a great time.

Here is the result.

F4U-1D VMF-312

F4U-1D VMF-312

June 26, 2009

I kinda admire this guy

Filed under: Legal — dknights @ 6:00 am
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The story is here.  Now I am not suggesting we need a bunch of correspondence school lawyers running around, but the ABA stranglehold on the legal profession isn’t healthy.

June 25, 2009

Ummmm.

Filed under: Legal — dknights @ 6:00 am
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Ok, this story temps me.  I could comment on Supreme court justices, or women drivers, or I could make a joke about “breaking news”.  Instead I’ll just note the story without comment.

June 24, 2009

Microsoft is a soulless, evil, malicious, heartless group of bastards!

Filed under: General — dknights @ 11:09 am
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Let me start off by saying that I have always maintained that Steve Jobs is the devil.  Further, Apple computers are overrated, overpriced pieces of equipment that do no more than their PC equivalents do so at twice the price.  They are more status symbol than computer.  They’re like Toyota Priuses but without wheels.

 All that having been said I am now about to utter words that I never thought would pass form my lips.  My next computer may be an Apple. (Not that I am in the market for a new computer.)  Why, you ask?  What has led me to such a condition? 

 The answer is sadly, very simple.  Microsoft has grown so big and so powerful that they have completely lost any thought for their customer and in fact have actively taken steps to make their customer’s life miserable, all in the name of trying to squeeze the last few bucks out of the market.

 Here is my story. Last October, after my sudden job change, I no longer had access to the laptop that my employer supplied.  I found myself in need of a laptop.  I purchased a Compaq Presario with Windows Vista preloaded. (Vista was not my choice.  It came with the computer and I would have had to pay extra to get Windows XP, the operating system that I had used for a number of years and loved.  It was without a doubt the most stable, user friendly and all around best operating system I have ever used.)  The computer has worked well since its purchase and other than some backward incompatibility issues with some older pieces of hardware and older versions of software, I found the horror stories I had heard about Vista to be mostly unfounded.  That is, until last night.

 Windows Vista (and Windows XP) has a feature that will cause the operating software to automatically check for and download updates to the software.  Even though this seems like a good idea, turn this feature off NOW! The geniuses at Microsoft have created an evil little piece of software called Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage.  It is an advantage only for Microsoft.  This piece of code’s only function is to make sure that none of the software on your computer is pirated. (I have no problem with Microsoft trying to ferret out and prevent software piracy.  I only use licensed software and you should too.)  My problem is that without tell you they download and install this piece of crap and then when it decides that it detects non-genuine Microsoft software on your system, it essentially disables it.  That is what happened to me.  Last night, after a hard day’s work and coming home and cutting the yard in 90+ degree heat I sat down to check my email.  I booted up the computer than instead of getting my desktop, I get a dialog box warning me that my version of Windows Vista isn’t genuine and disabling my system other than allowing me to access their website to have their website tell me the same thing and offer me the opportunity to buy genuine Microsoft software.  Needless to say I was pissed!

Then it starts.  I first called Compaq, since I didn’t have a phone number for Microsoft.  Microsoft avoided making such a number easy to find on their harassing website.  As expected, the Compaq guy couldn’t do anything for me, but he was able to give me the first of the toll free numbers I was to dial that night for Microsoft.  You can probably guess the story from here.  I started in India, where the customer service people were nice but clueless and not very good at American english.  I got bounced around from there, getting transferred numerous times.  I was disconnected during transfer on 3 separate occasions.  Luckily I always wrote down the number I was being transferred to.  When I got transferred to a guy in Ireland, I was happy.  I thought, “Finally, this guy will understand me and help me solve the problem.”  Wrong, he was the worst.  Arrogant, unhelpful and refused to transfer me to technical support without trying to charge $59.00 to my credit card first.  Screw that!   During my voluminous time on hold I cruised thru the Microsoft Vista forums, helpfully linked from the Windows Genuine Advantage website.  In doing so I learned that lots of people were experiencing this problem.  Great.  Good job, Microsoft!  Way to screw your actual customers while trying to ferret out the thieves!  I think that is the definition of cutting off your nose to spite your face.  There seemed to be no set solution to the problem, but there were several possible solutions.  While on hold with Mike from Manila (the only person I talked to in the whole 2 ½ hour ordeal who was easily understood, could easily understand me and was polite and attempted to be helpful) I tried one of the suggested solutions from the forum.  I rebooted the computer in safe mode, was able to actually get thru to my desktop, and then rebooted in normal mode.  It solved the problem.

 So thanks to Microsoft, I a loyal Microsoft customer since DOS 2.0,  lost a relaxing evening at home, lost 2 ½ hours of my life and had enormous levels of stress and frustration inflicted on me, all so Microsoft could try and prevent (unsuccessfully) software piracy.  Well, thanks to their behavior, the next time I look at a computer, I’ll be looking at a Mac.

 Rant Off.

China watch

Filed under: General — dknights @ 6:00 am
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If you have been paying attention, more and more things like this have been going on.  I predict more and more civil unrest in China in the coming years.

June 23, 2009

The Weekend

Filed under: Family,General — dknights @ 6:00 am
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Did the weekend thing.  The modelchild has been wanting to go to Holiday World for some time now.  Well, Saturday was the day and we got up and got out early and arrived at the park  just as it opened.  In this we were aided by the fact that Santa Claus, IN is on CDT and thus is an hour behind us.

I did not realize it, but Holdiay World, which started life as Santa Claus Land in August 1946, claims to be the world’s oldest theme park.  The park, which is now Holiday Wold, has a regualr theme park, based on the holdiays throughout the year, and a water park.  The park was clean and neat and the staff were very friendly.  The park offers free unlimited soft drinks and its various food offerings, while not cheap, were not expensive by theme park standards.

Admission to the park for the myself, the modelwife and the modelchild wasn’t cheap at $97.00.  However, even in a very crowded park we were able to ride all the rides we wanted to without too much standing in line.  They had plenty of rides that were age appropriate for the modelchild (age 5+)  The water park was also very nice and given how hot is was, it was a welcome relief.

I have come to three conclusions:

1. I am the only man between 15 and 50 without a visible tattoo.

2. The modelwife is the only woman in the same age range without a ho tag.

3. We were very lucky to avoid getting ill.  See this news story.  We were on the ride in question about 45 minutes before this happened.

All in all, we had a good time and will probably go back again next year.

June 22, 2009

Photos on the net (WTF?)

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 6:00 am
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I have no clue what the vehicle is.  I know it is WWII and I think it is Croatian.  Anyone care to guess?

P.S. It might also be the vehicle from Animal House.

????

????

June 21, 2009

Photos on the net (MiG-21)

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 6:00 am
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Hungarian MiG-21bis

Hungarian MiG-21bis

I am always on the lookout for aircraft with interesting paint schemes.  The internet is a great source for finding these.  I like the MiG-21 and this scheme is really nice.  This is a MiG-21bis I believe.

Here is another view.

Another view MiG-21

Another view MiG-21

June 20, 2009

My website

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 6:00 am
Tags: ,

While most of my modeling related webtime is spent on this blog, I do also maintain a website.  I am in the process of rebuilding the site after my sudden job change last October.  Feel free to pop over from time to time and check it out.  There isn’t much there right now, but there will be in the future.

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