Wednesday, January 05, 2011

I weas cleanin' up the house yesterday and found that other box of old models.

The box was on a shelf up in the laundry room. I took it down and opened it up and there they were.

That's a MiG 17, made to look Vietnamese, or maybe Chinese. Vietnam era anyway.

It's missing a few missiles, and some landing gear. I know where the missiles are. No tellin' about the landing gear.

Late model Stug III or IV. A few parts that need work, and the crew. I know where most of it is.

The turret off of something called a Wirblewind. No tellin' where the rest of it is (Basically a Pz IV body), which tells me that there's another box of models around here somewhere.

A muddy little Schwimmwagen, with three wheels missing. I know where they are.

A Kettenkrad, tracked motorcycle. One of the last kits I started. You can see here that I hadn't finished the driver. That green putty is there to smooth out the kinks where I was makin' things up, tradin' parts and pieces. I was doin'' a lot of that in the old days.

Here's a 4 barrel (No tellin' where 3 of them are) 20m AAA off the back of a half track, and I have no idea where the rest of it is. Again, in another box somewhere.

A late model Stug IV, missing a few parts, including the gun. I know where the parts are. Check out the Zimmerit. I applied that myself, with some of that green putty and an X-Acto knife. I don't think I have the patience to do that any more.

Of course, now they make a kit with special applique Zimmerit that sticks on like a decal. And even if you still want to make your own, they sell the tools. There's no need to carve your own little scraper. No need for skill and patience at all.

Having said all that, I look at this and I think it still takes some skill to install that applique. And you know, that shit looks cool as hell.

On this one, I even painted on the decals. I was gettin' good back then, lets say, about 1986.

On the left here, that' a T-62. The one next to it is a T-72 model that I picked up in Singapore, while I was living and working on the USS Peleliu, summer of 1991. I was amazed when I found it in a store. Brought it and a little tube of super glue (the only kind I could find) back to the room and killed some time between classes.

Thing is, I was livin' with a couple of Harrier pilots who had already completed one tour, during the gulf war, and were now doing a second because some other Harriers had broken down and couldn't come out to replace them. They were pissed, and then I showed up in their life. I got back to the room one day and the tank was sitting on my desk and one of the pilots was standing over it. "What the fuck? You know we kill these fuckin' things for a LIVING? and you dare to bring this shit in here? He was joking. It was hilarious.

That T-62 was the first modern Soviet tank model kit I'd seen when I built it. WW2 stuff had been around for ever, but modern stuff, and modern soldier kits were nowhere to be found. So the T-72 was a shock when I found it. Now, searchin' the web, I see that my favorite model company, Tamiya, makes a cool T-55 kit too (my favorite modern Russian tank). Not only that, but look over on the right and check out the add-on kits you can get. Check out this conversion kit for that T-62 model I built. Amazing. SO much cooler than the stuff they had when I was modeling.

Anyway, I'll get the glue out some time and try to put humpty dumpty back together again', but i can't see myself gettin' back into the hobby. Like I said before, I don't have the patience, or the money, or the time. More important shit to do these days.

Goin' down to Florence today to go through "Substitute Training". We'll see what that entails. Cheers.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

What's been goin' on.

Had a busy few weeks, the end of 2010. While I've been getting ready to take my first high school certification exam (this next Saturday), I've also been tryin' to clean up the house, rearrange things and get rid of some stuff that's been cluttering up the house for a long time. I finally hooked up Denise's computer, which has been collecting dust on my floor ever since her house was burglarized earlier in the year and her monitor was stolen. She hasn't been able to do her online banking since then, so it was good the finally get it put together.

In rearranging my desk, moving some stuff to the desk in the bedroom, I started to go through the shelves and dust off some old models that had been damaged in a few moves, and from neglect.

I decided to get some glue, gather the spare parts and try to put humpty dumpty back together again. They all needed repairs. This one needed the tracks fixed, and a few parts glued back on here and there.

Some of these guys needed arms and helmets. You can see that one still needs a hand and an SMG. No tellin' where those go off to in the last few decades. When I find the rest of his parts I'll re-glue him to his spot on that sidewalk. The three dudes on the right belong to a tank that's sittin' in a box somewhere. I need to find it.

Voila! A late model T-34-76, representing the height of my model making skills, circa 1985 or so. It still needs a new antenna, but that'll have to wait. That tarp on the side of the vehicle is made from tissue paper that's been glued and painted. The tow cable is made from wire that's been twisted and painted. I used to get so much joy out of puttin' these things together. In hind sight, I guess I should have been getting the hell out of my room, going out and figuring out how to relate to other people. But that's old history.

By the time I got into grad school I really didn't have the time for this level of modeling, and I guess I lost the interest. Funny thing... In putting this one and a few others back together, the interest has kinda been rekindled. But Jesus, have you seen the price they charge for tank models these days? I can remember when cobbling together ten bucks for one took me a week or two of odd jobs and allowance. A $20 model, like the big towed 88mm gun with a full crew, was completely out of my price range. Today, a kit like this T-34 would probably cost me $45. I just don't have that kind of throw away cash any more, and I probably don't have the patience, or eyesight for it ether. Anyway, I have more important things to do.

Plus, you can go to a sight like this and buy the tank already put together, already painted and set up, for about the same amount of money as the kit. No need to take the time to build up the skills to make your own any more. It comes right out of the box like you spent years in your room learnin' how to build it. Oh well, times change.

While rummaging around the old desk, I found this little piece of history. My Junior College ID from about 1980. God, I'd love to be able to go back there. Since I'm being forced to start all over again, I might as well have my youth, right? Not to mention all that hair.

And I found this one, taken by someone in the guard office at the Colonial Country Club in Ft. Worth, about 1988 or 9. I was basically done with grad school here, chummin' the waters and waiting for the jobs to materialize. Within' year or so of this I was living and teaching on deployed navy ships, traveling the world and thinking that I had it made.

I've been spending a lot more time with mom these days, using my free time to try to help her out when she lets me.

I helped her take one of her cats to the vet about a month ago. Little Angel had been in a fight with another critter in the back yard and had a big gouge taken out of her ass. She didn't like it when I caught her and put here in the carrier, and she's still avoiding me now. But her ass is healing, and mom is happy, and I guess that's what matters.

I accompanied her to the commissary on base a few weeks ago (yea, I can get on the base. No problems). She goes about once a month and fills up two carts with a months worth of stuff. Dad used to go with her, but since he passed she's been goin' by herself, pushin' two friggin' carts around with a bad hip.

I beg her now to let me go with her, and recently she's let me help out. It's fun, makin' me feel like I'm about ten years old again as I follow slowly after her down the isles. But really, it makes me feel really good to help her out. I'll miss the hell out of things like this when the day comes, so I don't want to miss anything now.

A week or so ago, Denise and I drove to Kentucky to spend Christmas with her kids. We left here around noon-thirty on the 23rd. and drove all day, stopping in Jackson TN around midnight and spending the night in a dingy old La Quinta.

Here's our view of Nashville, which we zipped past after eating breakfast at a nice little Denny's on the outskirts of Jackson.

I found a new brand of jerky at a truck stop along the way. Pretty good stuff, but not as good as the stuff the kids make down in Florence.

We rolled into Bowling Green a little after noon, and settled in with Denise's daughter Lynn, her husband Dale, and their daughter Payton. It's always fun to see these folks, and to see Denise turn into a bubbling mass of quivering goo in the face of her precious little granddaughter.

By the time the sun went down it began to snow.

Yep, we had a white Christmas. It was awesome. They couldn't keep me from runnin' out there in my shorts and playin' in it.

Denise and I had a chance to spend Christmas morning with her new granddaughter, little Payton. You can see here that she's already learned to hold the cell phone up to her ear.

I also had a chance to introduce little Payton to the mountain man hat. She loved it.

After enjoying Christmas morning with Payton in Bowling Green, we drove in the snow up to Vine Grove and had another Christmas with Denise's other daughter Chantel, her fella John, and Denise's grandsons.

We also got the chance, later that day, to visit with John's family and enjoy yet another Christmas. Yep, that's three sets of presents. pretty good if you can get it.

And John's family laid out the Christmas dinner. We had a wonderful ham, dressing, and all the other fixin's. It was wonderful.

The next day, Lynn and Dale drove up to Vine Grove and we had yet another ham. I tell ya, I can't get enough of the pig.

After a few days in Vine Grove, during which we all made a fun trip up to Louisville (I'll tell you about that in the next post), Denise and I drove back down to Bowling Green.

After getting there, Denise and I drove over to the local liquor store, to restock the pantry, and picked up dinner at Jimbo's.

That's a double meat, bacon cheeseburger with pickles, jalapenos and all the other fixin's. Delish!

The next morning, this last Thursday morning, we slept in a bit, took a few more pictures of the little girl, and then began the long drive home.

We hit the road at about 11:30AM. Denise drove from Bowling Green to Little Rock, where we had dinner at a Cracker Barrel just west of town off I-30. First time I ever had dinner at a CB. Not bad. I took over the drivin' duties then and took us home. We drove up into the garage at about 2:30 in the morning, and hit the sack soon after that.

It was a wonderful trip. We both look forward to the day when the drive is much shorter. But there's no tellin' when that'll be. Too many unknown variables in my life now, but we'll work it out.

Anyway, Happy New Year to everyone. Let's hope 2011 turns out to be a much better year than 2010 ended up being. Cheers!