David Knights' Weblog

November 30, 2020

Way cool lasers

Filed under: Technology — dknights @ 2:29 pm
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Looks like Lasers will be coming to a battlefield sooner rather than later.  Here is why.

Finding the win

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 10:06 am
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I recently completed A-Model’s AS-1 Kennel.  I bought this kit at the Chattanooga Nationals and actually started it sitting in the hotel room at the show.  In retrospect, this might not have been a good idea.

I’ve built an A-Model kit before.  I built their AS-4 Kitchen a number of years ago.  In fact, that model won an award at the IPMS Nats in Norfolk. So, I thought I knew what I was getting into with the AS-1.  What I did not know at the time, and only later learned on Scalemates.com, is that the AS-1 kit isn’t an A-Model kit.  It was the one and only kit of a small manufacturer, the models to which, A-Model acquired.  This meant I wasn’t building an A-Model kit, I was building the one and only kit of a first time manufacturer.

I did not know this.  Thus I failed to look closely at the kit. (BTW, this is a general failing of mine, and I suspect many modelers.  We are so anxious to get started we don’t take our time to closely examine the model.)  If I had, I might have noticed the “poor” panel lines.  They were really bad.  It isn’t anything that couldn’t be fixed if you noticed it an determined to correct it prior to assembly. I did not.

By the time I realized the problems the kit had, I was far into the build.  I was at the priming stage.  I them attempted to correct the worst of the problems at a time way to far into the build.  Also, at this time, I realized that my rescribing skills had atrophied. (Who am I kidding, they suck)  Thus I was left with a model that I knew wasn’t going to be what I wanted.

Listeners to Plastic Model Mojo may note that the progress on the AS-1 stalled for several months.  At this point there was an internal debate in my head about what to do.  I could trash the project.  I couldn’t really go back to the point where I would have rescribed everything before assembly.  So, thanks to encouragement from Scott ” Skippy ” King and Jim “the X-acto ” Bates, I decided to make the best of a bad situation and press on, using the model as a way to learn.

When I build a model, I have two goals. First, I’d like each model I build to be better than the last.  By that standard, the AS-1 failed, rather badly.  Second, on each model I build, I want to try something new. A new technique, a new paint or weathering product, etc.  You get the point.  By that standard, I succeeded.  I used a white undercoat/primer instead of a black one on the theory that, for non-chrome finishes, white is a better base.  I think it worked out.  Also, the AS-1 was my first truly bare metal finish.  While far from perfect, it is now something I have attempted and have a baseline for improving.  Finally, I realize that I suck at scribing and I need to get better.

So, is this the AS-1 a great model? No. Did I do my best job on it? No.  Did I learn new stuff?  Yes. Did I have fun? Yes.  I am going to count that as a win.

November 27, 2020

First foreign Su-57 sale

Filed under: Modeling,Technology — dknights @ 9:26 pm
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Apparently the Algerians have signed a contract to buy 14 Su-57s.  This marks the first foreign sale of these aircraft.  Algeria has a very formidable air force for its size.  I can’t wait to see the camo.

November 25, 2020


Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 12:31 pm

There, I think, an inherent paradox in our hobby.  We want to build many models.  That is why we end up accumulating a “stash”.  However, are hobby also requires patience in order to obtain a good result.  These things can be seen as being in tension with each other.

However, I am not sure that this is the case.  Patience doesn’t have to mean building slowly.  Rather, it can mean building deliberately, with attention to the detail, the fit, and the goal ultimately to be achieved. It means, not building slowly, but building carefully. Thinking about what you are doing both before you do it and as you do it.  This is where the “zen” of modeling comes in.  The ability to push off all the pressures and “troubles” in your life and loses yourself in the build.

All this sounds very philosophical, but I really mean something very simple that has occurred to me of late.  By “rushing” when I build I am actually slowing myself down, as I find that I have to redo things or correct mistakes that shouldn’t or wouldn’t have occurred if I had been more deliberate as I modeled, more patient.

With 2020 coming to an end (Thank God) and I begin planning my 2021 modeling campaign, I have some projects in mind that will have me doing some things model-wise that I’ve never done before.  I’ve resolved as part of “my plan for getting better” that I am going to approach these projects with more patience, more steady deliberation and see if I can make the learning process less painful.

November 23, 2020

Space news

Filed under: Technology — dknights @ 10:20 am
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SpaceX isn’t the only company recovering rockets for reuse. Story here. Rocket Lab out of New Zealand is doing the same, thought differently and on a much smaller rocket.

Speaking of SpaceX, they had another launch over the weekend as well. Space launches are becoming a weekly, if not daily occurrence. This is great news. (post in memory of Mike Nofsinger)

November 22, 2020

A nuclear moon

Filed under: Technology — dknights @ 9:43 am
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Story here.  This makes perfect sense.  You’d never get enough solar power for large scale power generation.  Until we get fusion, a nuclear fission reactor is the only reasonable way to power large scale human development on the Moon and Mars.  (post in memory of Mike Nofsinger)

November 21, 2020

What is your plan for getting better?

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 6:32 am
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Modeling friend Jim Bates has been a boon to my modeling.  He pushes and challenges me, and I do the same to him.  We frequently (daily) talk modeling.  His recent discussion with his modeling friend Tim Nelson, whom I met in Chattanooga at the Nationals, has had a profound effect on me.

Many of us put off doing the projects we want to do until we “get better”  Tim challenged Jim with “so what is your plan to get better?”  It is a great question, and a profound one.  The answer can be, “well I plan to model more.”  That is ok, but it really doesn’t reach the core of the question.  What is you plan for getting better in those areas you want to improve so that you can build what you want to build.

Naturally this entails both risk and failure. The risk of doing things outside your comfort zone, and the inevitable result that you will fail.  This is something that we, as humans, are naturally adverse to.  We are risk adverse.  It is bred into us and is a very useful survival instinct.

However, because it is so deeply ingrained in us, it effects areas where its Darwinian usefulness is not applicable, such as in a hobby, such as modeling.  Thus in order to get better in modeling, we have to fight tens of thousands of years of instinct.

Thus, we have to do more than just “model more. We have to have a plan.  What do you want to build?  What skills do you want to develop.  What can you plan to build that will help you get there?  Are you willing to accept that your initial efforts may be subpar?

We are coming up on the new year.  I am sure every reader will be happy to see 2020 in the rear view mirror.  However, I challenge myself and each of you….what is your plan to get better?  Make a plan.  I am starting to.  More on that in the future.

November 20, 2020

The USN’s new aggressor schemes for the Super Hornet

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 6:02 pm
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I love aggressor schemes.  I always have, particularly the ones the USAF and USN use in their aggressor squadrons.  The USN has just revealed the schemes for the  Super Hornet which is moving into the aggressor role.  Article here.  Scroll all the way through.

Plastic Model Mojo Ep. 25

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 1:18 pm
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Episode 25 is out.  Give it a listen here.

November 19, 2020

Voyager 2

Filed under: Technology — dknights @ 4:39 am
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Is still chugging along. I remember as a kid the photos from Voyager 1 and 2. They are an inspiration for us to keep exploring. (post in memory of Mike Nofsinger)

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