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Schmitz

IPMS/USA Member
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    817
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Schmitz last won the day on August 23 2016

Schmitz had the most liked content!

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About Schmitz

  • Rank
    Styrene Junkie

Profile Information

  • FirstName
    Don
  • LastName
    Schmitz
  • IPMS Number
    35303
  • Local Chapter
    Three Rivers IPMS (Pittsburgh)
  • City
    Gibsonia
  • State
    PA
  • Gender
    Male
  1. Schmitz

    What's That Antenna WIRE?

    If you like the thin elastic thread, it is available on a spool under the brand name "EZ Line" - check a hobby shop or type that into google/ebay/amazon to find an online seller. Don
  2. In the old days, I used Krylon Dull Aluminum - about $3 for a big spray can at WalMart - to paint anything that was supposed to be non-polished aluminum. It went down smooth - even on bare plastic, dried hard, looked like cast aluminum, and and it took washes extremely well. Then Sherwin Williams reformulated the whole paint line - probably took out all the chemicals that gave people in California cancer - and now the Matte Aluminimum that took its place looks just like silver paint (I'm pretty sure the new stuff has the same part-number as the original - 1403). I've weaned myself from the other Krylon paints, but I would really like to find something as cheap and easy to use as the original Dull Aluminum. Any chance its still available under a different name, or someone has old stock? I'm ready to order a case, but I want to be sure I don't get a case of the new stuff... Thanks! Don
  3. The hardware store paint thinner is great for cleaning brushes; whether it works to thin hobby paint (like Testors) is hit or miss; sometimes it will turn the paint to goop. In general its not a good idea to thin a whole bottle of paint at once - even if it doesn't immediately turn to goo it can happen a few days/weeks later. Don
  4. Schmitz

    1966 Ford Mustang Convertible ?

    Monogram tooled a 1:24 scale '65 Convertible and a 65 Shelby fastback back in the 1980s. These two kits are basically the same except for the body, and you can swap the parts around to build a stock fastback or convertible Shelby if you wanted. The convertible kit I remember had Indy-500 Pace Car decals. At some point (15 years ago?) Monogram was bought by Revell, so you may see the same kit in Revell and Monogram boxes. The fastback kit seems to always be in production (it comes in at least 3 versions: GT350, GT350R (with Torque-thrust wheels, front air dam and special rear window), and a GT350H (molded in black plastic and with gold stripe decals). If I remember right, the only difference between a 65 and 66 would be the chrome trim in the side-coves; you could make those with a bit of plastic strip. AMT does have a kit of a 66 Coupe (notchback) - in both 1:25 and (bigger size) 1:16th scale - but you'd have to cut the roof off and find/make a boot to get a convertible out of those kits. All of these kits were re-released recently for the 50th anniversary of the Mustang, so they should be easy to find - probably even at your local hobby shop. I typed "revell mustang convertible kit" and "amt mustang kit" into ebay and got a few hits - mostly for under $20. Good luck... Don
  5. Bill, have you seen this website (with pix): http://www.shipmodels.info/mws_forum/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=156950 The guy who built it sounds like he knows what he's talking about. Then google found this (looks like a painful scheme to mask and paint!) http://www.wikiwand.com/en/World_War_II_US_Navy_dazzle_camouflage_measures_31,_32_and_33:_cruisers Don
  6. The Embassy Suites makes for a really nice venue - the hotel is attached to the contest/vendor rooms, and the room rate includes a really good breakfast bar (omelettes to order) and free-drink happy hour, perfect if you don't want to waste any time traveling between models and food and drink. That probably makes the Embassy a lot more in demand than the overflow locations - I knew a few people making plans to book as soon as the rooms went on sale. Don
  7. John, I'm not sure how to answer you without trying to answer the "meaning of life", and I'm not up for that this early in the morning... A more practical answer is my chapter, which got an infusion of SciFi modelers a few years ago when it was showing definite signs of withering away. I really think that breathed new life into the club. Now our meetings have more people and more models on the show-n-tell table. One of those new guys helped us get our show into a good location and has taken over cooking the burgers at the club picnic. Its nice having younger backs to help set up tables and schlep vendor boxes at the show (our yearly show is still going strong when some of the neighboring clubs have given up). And it turns out the SciFi guys have a lot of the same interests in things like history and sports cars and action-movies (not to mention beer-and-pizza) that fuel a lot of conversations at club meetings. Some of them even build the occasional airplane or armor piece, and now some of our "old-guard" may build a space-ship from a movie or TV show they like. If you look back, the hobby and IPMS has already changed a lot - just so slowly that you probably haven't noticed. At Columbia it seemed that SciFi and Figures and Dioramas were way up in popularity. I can remember when resin and PE were exotic stuff only the "pros" used, and now its everywhere. Modern kits have more parts and (mostly) better fit making a lot of the "plastic surgery techniques" we learned less essential to building a good model. Like everything else, modeling keeps changing but at its core its still the same as when IPMS sent out its first mimeographed newsletter. We used to think of the SciFi guys in our club as "the young guys", but they are getting a little grayer too. I'm wondering who the next new wave of modelers will be the next time we need a kick in the pants. I hope someone is there to pick up the torch, regardless of what they build. Don
  8. Schmitz

    Aircraft

    I just looked through 200 or so aircraft models that took an award (1st, 2nd or 3rd) at the Columbia Nats (you can see the slides starting here: http://svsm.org/gallery/columbia2016-awards/100_G) There were maybe 5 that I'd call "heavily weathered", and most of those were WWII subjects (mostly Japanese), I think there were maybe 2 post WWII planes that I'd call weathered, and none of them were the extreme "dipped in mud" look you see now and then. IPMS judges can usually tell when weathering has been done to hide mistakes, and it rarely fools anyone. Maybe 10% of those 200 winning models had darkened panel lines and shading that seemed a little heavy handed in photographs, but probably looked better in person. I know real aircraft don't have black panel lines, but I see it a little like stage makeup on an actress - it isn't realistic but it helps compensate for lighting. The fact that most of those models had much more subtle panel-lines and shading suggests that judges don't really like the heavy handed shading either. Its hard to say what the judges at a local model show might like or not like, and there is no way IPMS/USA can really control that, but at least at the Nats it doesn't seem like weathering on planes of any era is common or helps in taking an award. Don
  9. Schmitz

    Juniors

    I'm trying hard not to come off as callous and negative. I'm all for members and chapters being family friendly. It would be great if they came up with some sort of outreach program, or worked with scout troops or Big Brothers/Sisters, etc. I don't think a lack of cheap kits is preventing that. There are modelers going into old folks homes with 100s or 1000s of kits in the basement, and their families are selling them for cents on the dollar just to get rid of them. I'm pretty sure if we asked for kit donations at my chapter for a youth program we would average at least 1 decent, buildable kit from every member. Interestingly, the value of those kits would probably be more than my chapter's members send IPMS in dues every year. Look at the business meeting presentation; last year IPMS spent $22,000 more than they brought in. IPMS doesn't have the money to buy make-n-take kits or otherwise subsidize a youth program. IPMS membership today is the result of 10s of millions of kids building models 30 years ago. There is no way IPMS can reach out to 10s of millions of kids. The other ugly truth is that a lot more members would donate a kit than their time. Based on my chapter, most IPMS members are 50+ years old. Many have raised their own kids, they have already been Little League coaches and Scout leaders, and they have taken care of sick parents, and turned around and raised their grand kids because their kids are in two-job families trying to make ends meet. They are not looking to babysit someone else's kids, especially on the 1 day a month they go out with friends. So by all means put together a chapter youth program. Post here how you did it. But don't be surprised if everyone doesn't jump up to help you. Don
  10. Schmitz

    Juniors

    GIL, you're right that the hobby will never be the same, but what is? You said that "hot rods" died in the 70s. As a long time "car guy", that's what we believed would happen in the 70s, but it didn't. Kids figured out how to hot-rod Hondas and VWs and other efficient little cars, and adopted technology like turbos and computers to build cars even faster than the big V8 cars of the 60s. And other kids came along and realized how much fun it was to drive those old V8 cars and now there is a second generation of hot-rodders restoring and modifying those old cars (and they have pushed the prices to insane levels). There are car modelers out there building model Hondas and RX7s, and low-riders and other esoteric subjects, but we see such a small fraction of all the car models at most IPMS shows that its easy to think they're not there. Think about the models at Columbia: 20 years ago would there have been nearly that many figures, sci-fi and space models or dioramas on the tables? Were there as many small-volume kits and detail sets and completely scratchbuilt models back in those "golden days"? The hobby has already changed, and it will keep on changing. Revell may go out of business in the next 10 years, but I'm willing to bet there will still be people building models of something - maybe not B17s and Sherman tanks - but something (although they may be stamping out kits on their desktop 3-D printers and stuffing them into their desktop painting robot). Something else that has changed is the path adults take into the hobby. Its taking young people longer to find good jobs and they are starting families later. That means there aren't as many little kids pulling their parents back into the hobby, but it also means those young people have more time and less money for hobbies - a good fit for modeling. There is an opportunity there. In the future, it may be that parents are the modelers first and their kids pick it up from them. Like hot-rodding, building models is too much fun to just disappear. The hobby will change, but I think there will be room for us old-guys for as long as we're likely to be around. Don
  11. Schmitz

    Juniors

    Anything IPMS can do is spitting in the ocean: we have 4,000 National members, add in chapter members and we maybe get to 50,000 IPMS modelers vs. 25,000,000 American kids age 10-15 (prime modeling age) It will be a lot easier to reach 1-2000 new young-adult (30-something) members than 25M kids, and I think that's where we should put our limited resources. Sure, we can have outreach programs, but we shouldn't kid ourselves into it thinking we're saving the hobby. I'd bet most chapters could get their members to donate 1 kit a year to run a local make-n-take, and by making it a chapter activity we could probably do a better job of teaching the hobby than slapping a snap-kit together in 30 minutes at a contest. But again, we're just out-numbered as far as having any real impact. Don
  12. Schmitz

    2018 Convention

    I've been to Las Vegas a couple times (once with my family on the way to seeing relatives in AZ, and once when work was paying for it) and I'm sure it will work. I'm not much of a gambler, so the casinos didn't really excite me (and the shows and restaurants outside of the casinos were not all that cheap). As you said, one of the great things about places like Vegas and Orlando is that there are lots of venues that can hold a convention, and lots of restaurants and attractions, and that competition keeps the prices down. I'm not sure that truly makes for a good convention as the theme-parks and casinos distract people from the show. I've taken my family to Orlando for a Nats twice, and I spent less time at the show or talking models at the hotel bar just because I was spending time with my wife and kids. I get it that combining a Nats with a family vacation is the only way a lot of people can make it, but I have to say I really liked the Loveland show where the hotel (and a small shopping plaza) was all you could see in all directions. Don
  13. Schmitz

    2018 Convention

    Pete, not sure what happened with the link, it was to a Census Bureau page, I'll try again: https://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/maps/2010popdistribution.html There are some better maps out there, but be careful if you go web surfing, as a few of them seem to be used as bait on spam sites. Take a look at your list of metro-areas and consider that Boston-NewYork-Philadelphia-Arlington-DC is basically one big metro-area, and that is 4 of the top-10 on your list. Chicago is the #3 metro area, and comparable to LA all by itself. More importantly, in between are a few top-25 cities that are better places to actually hold a Nats; LA/SF are handicapped by having nowhere big to draw from except each other (guess we could shoot for a Nats in San Luis Obispo). Don
  14. Schmitz

    2018 Convention

    Pete, If you look at a population density map (try this one: https://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/maps/2010popdistribution.html)you see that while Los Angeles and San Francisco have a lot of people, the north east corner of the US has even more. LA has the 2nd largest population in the US, but 4 of the 5 biggest cities are in a narrow corridor between New York and Chicago. And because LA and SF are so dense, prices for everything are going to be higher. That said, Phoenix is a prime spot for a Nats; you have to look at a map to see its drivable from LA, Las Vegas, Salt Lake and Albuquerque (and if you were a really hard core driver, SF and Denver). And its a Southwest Air hub for those coming from the east - I'm hoping they get one of the next slots. Denver was also a really nice Nats and I'd like to go back there, but it isn't really driving distance from anywhere... Don
  15. Schmitz

    What year Crown Victoria?

    Wikipedia says Ford restyled the car to look like this in 1998, and they didn't change it much after that. I think they didn't start pushing it as a fleet vehicle until mid 2000s, so best guess for this car would be 2005-10.
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