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Everything posted by Schmitz

  1. I heard "if it ain't broke don't fix it" from my Dad starting about age 12. He was a mechanic and that was his frame of mind: cars either worked or were broke, and if they were broke you put them back the way the manufacturer built them. He sent me off to engineering school, where we learned that the people who designed things were constantly innovating and making tradeoffs trying to make things work better, because their competitors were doing the same thing. It's not obvious to me that everyone who didn't win would leave on Saturday morning. Many attendees would have already made trave
  2. 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
  3. 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 th
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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, buildabl
  11. 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 pr
  12. 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 a
  13. 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 an
  14. 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 ar
  15. 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 Albuqu
  16. 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.
  17. Kevin, Yeah, its pretty easy to find pictures of Goodlin in his Israeli days. There is a lot of information about the RCAF squadrons online, but Goodlin doesn't seem to be listed in any of the online registries. The article about him flying Spitfires with the RAF was a small-town newspaper piece that interviewed a few of his surviving family members when he died (2005); a lot of details in that article conflicted with other sources. His relatives would have been pretty old at that point, and the newspaper probably didn't put their star reporter on this, so I'm not sure how much to bel
  18. I've become obsessed with the story of Chalmers "Slick" Goodlin. Before he was an infamous Bell Aircraft test pilot, he was a western PA kid who left for Canada on his 18th birthday to join the RCAF. He would become the youngest pilot in the RCAF and his unit would ship out to England before his next birthday. From what I had read, due to his age he was made a flight instructor, but I recently came across an article on the Internets that suggest he did fly Spitfires in combat missions in England. Of course I'm thinking it would be cool to model one the planes he flew. I'm not much of a W
  19. Very nice build! I rarely see these actually get built. I've bought a couple of these kits at shows recently for very reasonable prices. At one show a friend of mine wanted to see how far he could haggle the price; when he was done he had had his fun and gave me the kit! By the way, Revell offered a Grand Sport kit that looked just like the Accurate Miniatures kit about a year ago - rumor has it those were left over AM kits - Revell doesn't have the molds and won't be able to reissue it. I have dreams to build car #4 as it was raced by the Grady Davis/Gulf Oil team when it was first bu
  20. Bob, I don't know how you would ever enforce such a contract; I can't imagine a chapter taking a vendor to court. The only leverage the contest has is to black-ball a vendor from future contests, and at least here in western PA its getting hard to fill up the vendor tables - (presumably a lot of kits are going direct to ebay). The shows need the vendors as much as they need us, might as well try to work with them. Don
  21. There is no way to stop a buyout; if we try to restrict it inside the show the buyouts will just move to the parking lot. In places where this is a problem, I think it would be fine to ask the vendors and re-sellers to wait until noon before starting the buy-outs. It couldn't hurt to point out to the vendors that the modelers at the show are probably going to pay more for stuff than the re-sellers. Don
  22. Just a reminder to R4 folks - TRICON - the Three Rivers (Pittsburgh PA) show - is next Saturday, March 12th. There are still a few vendor tables available - just contact me if you're interested. Don
  23. James, Just to be clear, when Atlanta did display only, it was only open to registered entrants, right? My concern was that if we offered a lower-priced "display only" registration then then many of the people who regularly come and don't bring models will take that cheaper option. I don't think Atlanta offered such a lower-cost option, did you? For the record, I agree with Mike and the Soup Doctor; start out with a few display-only tables, open it up to just registered attendees, and see how it works. I'd suggest recruiting a few guys who are good modelers and good at holding court (
  24. David, I tend to agree with your suggestion of starting small, but I don't think it is bad to think beyond that, even if its just a handful of us un-officially shooting the breeze on a weekend with neither the NFL or MLB on TV. A friend of mine is a draftsman; he has a saying that "paper is cheaper than steel", meaning its better to find and fix problems on the drawings instead of after the machine is bolted together. I can point to a few attempts to make changes in the Nats that fizzled largely because no one thought about the unintended consequences; having more people thinking and
  25. Rusty, I agree with you in principle, the problem is there are already lots of registrants who aren't entering the contest (40% according to an earlier post). There are also members who enter the contest knowing they have little chance of winning an award just to display their work. If you give members (or are we talking non-IPMS members too?) a way to participate without paying full registration, how many of that 40+% will take the cheaper option? I have on occasion registered, knowing I wasn't taking any models, for the privilege of paying still more to go on a tour or buy a banquet
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