Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Back Porch - For Relaxing

This is the spot where my wife and I enjoy our evenings. It faces to the east so its a very comfortable spot in the evenings. Its a great spot to just enjoy the evening and its big enough to entertain as well.
To the north, is the main seating area under the pergola. We keep most of the furniture covered till we need it. You can just make out the first fountain, built into the seating wall, near the left center. I finally managed to fit a pump into it big enough to run it properly. You can see quite the profusion of roses this year as well.

The arch that leads to the path to the "outback" as well as the second fountain on the left and the "pig pen". The "pig pen" contains the large talavera pottery pigs as well as other talavera pottery animals. The large metal flowers behind the fountain is something new we are trying out this season. You can just make out the smoker to the right of the archway.

The main dining and kitchen area. I have a good sized grill, which sees a lot of use. The table seats 8, and also kept under cover. This area can get quite hot during the day and into the evening. There is an extendable awning that covers almost the entire area to keep it cool.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Weekend Painting

I managed to both prime and actually start painting both some wargaming pieces and parts of my competition entries for ReaperCon. Not a lot of progress at this point but enough to make me happy.

A pair of PzKfw IV Hs that have been sitting around for a while. These will be strictly gaming pieces at this point. That's the Warlord Games version on the left and the Rubicon version on the right. This particularly Rubicon kit is no longer available, its currently being redone to meet their new standards.

The Rubicon version, note the separation of the plastic joint on the turret angle. Accidentally left these in the car. The poor glue joint came apart from the heat and I lost both halves to the commanders hatch.

The Warlord Games Version

Rubincon on the left, Warlord on the right

Warlord with the extra filter mechanism, that could be left off of most of the H's

The Rubicon kit. I really need to pull out the wire and replace the antennas on kits with wire from the shop. Of course that wire has disappeared right now. I'll find it in a month when I have forgotten why I needed it. 

Competition work
Hogan, and the initial primer and skin color. Yes its green, I'm trying an experiment with skin using green paint as the undercoat. Will see how it goes. This diorama idea is coming together, we will see if I can pull it off. I received the POW miniatures from Ebob but they are just to small to match up with these from Stoessi's Heros.

Hogan, Klink and Schultz, all in green face

Sven, from Knuckleduster in 1/48. I might well enter this one as well, so I'm going to paint him for competition.

The Heroine from the "It Came From Outer Space" Diorama. I'm working on two of these and the best will be entered as a single miniature entry and the other will go into the diorama.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Vacation Travelogue - Kaena Point and the North Shore

A day dedicated to hitting the north shore. The area is quite large and we split into a separate vehicles because everyone wanted something a bit different from this trip. My group drove up the center of the island based Wheeler Army airfield, Schofield Barracks and the Dole Plantation. Didn't really have time to stop and apparently there is a small museum at Wheeler that the public can get to. Our goal was to head to Kaena Point State Park and hopefully spot Albatrosses and sea turtles.

Unfortunately it looked like we had missed the Albatrosses by at least a week although we did find nests and broken eggs. The area is absolutely beautiful and quite different from what we had seen so far. We were fortunate to spot one sea turtle at Laniakea Beach as we drove down Highway 83 (Kamehameha Hwy). We managed to get a late lunch at Giovanni's aloha Shrimp truck on the way back on Hwy 83 as well. Had Shrimp Scampi there, wonderful, I would go back in a heartbeat.

A few pictures from the day
The hills above the beach

A bit of beach, very rugged with coral and lava flows preventing surfing in this area

A mass of broken coral washed up from the reef off shore

Lava rock strewn across the beach

An entire family of crabs living in this area. You can just make one out in the center

Tidal pools along the beach

If you look close you can spot the small fish living in this particular pool

This is Keoki (the Hawaiian form of George). They can identify them by the pattern of scales on the head. 

Volunteers will go to a beach to spot turtles that are sunning themselves on shore and cordon them off with a red rope so people don't get to close

Waves along Laniakea beach where Keoki had come ashore

He has three barnacles on his shell just above his left front leg.
No pictures of the Shrimp truck. I was to hungry to think about it!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Vacation Travelogue - Hiking Diamondhead Pt II

Well, I have some of the missing photographs of the Diamondhead hike. I have to comb though the original RAW (NEF for Nikons) pictures to find the ones I wanted to add. I do shoot everything in RAW format so that I have full data when it comes time for some serious editing. What I post here are just the quick conversion to JPG with a little color correction.

From just about as high up as I can get near the top of the observation point. This is Honolulu. If you look carefully towards the center you can make out the Royal Hawaiian Hotel where the luau was.

Here we are looking right down the edge of the volcanic rim. I was waiting for the shot to clear but the flow of people just didn't seem to stop. You can also see one of the secondary observation positions near the center of the picture. 

Just about the full extant of the Diamondhead crater

And out to sea

The top of the observation point.

Inside the observation area. I'm guessing a large pair of spotting binoculars were mounted on that stand. 
Looking out through one of the observation slits

Looking up the spiral stairs, these exit out of the funky tower on the top.

Going down the stairs you can find two more levels for the main observation area.

One of the residents of Diamondhead, a mongoose.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

World War II Project - 101st Airborne Characters - Stoessi's Heroes

It seems quite appropriate that I show off this latest acquisition on the anniversary of D-Day.
I received an email from Stoessi's Heros about a new release that had T/4 George Luz and Lt Welsh packaged together based on a scene from the Band of Brothers miniseries in Caretan France. Since I have a bunch of US Airborne queued up to be painted as the 101st I figured a few characters were in order. So I grabbed this pack and discovered that there are bunch more from Band of Brothers that I missed. I ended up picking up five more characters from the series and another copy of Col Hogan (because I forgot that I had already purchased him). I'm thinking that I might work on one or two of these for a ReaperCon single entry.

So here is what came in the package from Germany (fantastic service by the way, one of the very best companies I have purchased from):

In the first pack are Luz and Frost, in the second is "Buck" Compton

"Wild Bill" Guarnere on the left and "Bull" Randelman

Lt Speirs (and a much better figure than Warlord's) and 1st Sgt Lipton

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Vacation Travelogue - Hiking Diamondhead

Now that we have waved Pearl Harbor good bye its time to get into some real hiking. First up was Diamondhead which was listed as a 1/2 mile moderate hike. I'm going to say they are wrong! Being from Colorado hiking is not a new thing for me but I would push this almost to a difficult hike, if I was rating it from a skiing standpoint this would be a high blue, its not a green for sure. I think 1/2 a mile is incorrect too, definitely longer than that and includes, steep inclines, steep stairs and a tunnel that if you are claustrophobic you may not be able to get through. The tunnel was longer than I thought it would be and while relatively wide its not tall, if you are six foot plus you will be ducking your head through most of it. Not only that but it curves so you can't see the end. It cuts right through the edge of the rim to get to the observation posts on the seaward side. Definitely worth the trip. I'm a bit disappointed but I didn't upload all the pictures that I thought I did, so I may update this post with more photos in the immediate future or make a whole different post.

First look back into the Diamondhead crater, you can just make out the parking lot near the center.

First sight of the Pacific as we get closer to the top

I'm not sure if these are original observation points or not. I'm pretty sure that the one on the left is not, but the center one might be.

 A little out of order, but in about the middle of this photo is where the tunnel that cuts through the rim for the road is located.

Looking back at the crater from the base of the first set of stairs, at the top of the stairs is the tunnel.

This series covers the area from pretty near the top, this one is from the tunnel

From the observation point, a close up of the observation points.

From here you will go up higher to the main observation facility and another set of nasty stairs. I'll have to upload those photos though, apparently they were not in this batch.