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)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Opportunity Lost

“My battery is low and it’s getting dark”, our last communication with the Mars Rover Opportunity in June of 2018. What an incrediable feat. A device designed, built and tested in just 36 months with a mission parameter to exceed 90 days. 15 years certainly exceeds that parameter.

Fare well old friend.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Sledgehammer Project; Preparation Pt XX - Acquisitions

Finding a good model for the ammo carrier has been a real chore. I finally resorted to a GW product that I found last week the Taurox. Apparently there is not a lot of love for this kit out there, and with the funky tracks it has I can see why. However, I won't be building it straight from the box (which I didn't get anyway). I'll be converting this to a half track version using a resin detail kit off of eBay. I have seen a few of these finished off and I think it looks fabulous with even a decent paint job on it. My worry at this stage is will it end up being to big and over shadowing the Sledgehammer? Won't know until I build it at this point.

I also picked up some additional plastic for the Sledgehammer build. I think the diamond plate that I purchased may be to big though, I'll take it back and see if I can find a smaller pattern.

The half track conversion that I'm going to use does not use any of the tracks the kit comes with. That's a good thing because those track components are down right ugly. However, that means I will have plenty of track pieces to use as extra armor.

Diamond plate pattern, hexagonal rod, round rod and some rectangular pieces. The hex and round rod are destined to become nut and bolt detail. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Acquisitions: Ticket to Ride New York - Taxi Style

I saw this in Target over the weekend and for $20 I figured it was probably well worth picking up. It is a small game, tiny map and except for the New York theme it plays pretty much exactly like the original Ticket to Ride game. The destinations are New York tourist attractions and the "trains" are taxi cars. The board is very small and the longest route is four "taxis" long. The board doesn't have a scoring edge like the regular Ticket to Ride games, instead it comes with a scoring pad and a pencil. It should be a real fast game and I think its probably an excellent way to introduce people to the Ticket to Ride family, a gaming gateway drug!

Here is what you get:

I only have half the mapboard unfolded here.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Sledgehammer Project; Preparation Pt XIX - Beginning the Detail

I pulled out some of the parts that I have been accumulating and fixing them into the appropriate place. Work was done on the crawlers and the gun supports. These were white metal and brass components that I spent some time cleaning up and gluing into place. This involved removing some of the rivet detail to ensure that the new parts would lay flat. It really wasn't much work at this point. These are foundation pieces that will provide attachment points for the parts that I will have to fabricate. I need to pick up some styrene rods, both circular and hexagonal, for the next part of the detail. I think I have enough of plastic of other sizes to build the other components. 

So half an hour of work or there abouts resulting in these pictures.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Sledgehammer Project; Preparation Pt XVIII - BFG Sub Component Assembly

Trying to move forward from the rather disastrous UE build I pulled out the Sledgehammer BFG itself and resolved to at least get the sub assemblies together so I could start planning how the extra detail parts are going to be added.

I took a bunch of assembly shots figuring that it might help others that are working on this little beauty at some point. First thing to remember is that I did a lot of filing and filling before this. Since some of the filling required is for gaps and injection marks that are very visible I would really recommend going through the filing/filling exercise before you begin any of the assembly.

Starting with the gun carriage, this is pretty straight forward.

glued up and ready to go.

I have opted to go with the tracks from Victoria Miniatures, rather than the kit supplied wheels. Again these are pretty straight forward and are conveniently labeled left and right on the back side.

Some cleanup is required. The mold line goes right down the middle of the tracks.

And of course on the bottom you will have to deal with the resin blocks.

Ran into some issues with the left tread.  Look at the bottom enter and you can see a whole link looks like its missing. This casting is probably bad enough that I could get a replacement, but I'm not going to bother with that, especially since I have had the tracks for at least 4 months now. Remember to check your resin parts right away in case this happens to you.

From the bottom, its evident that this is definitely a  miscast, the mold was filled enough or may have slipped slightly during the casting process.

The ladder attached quite nicely, although I did have to shorten the locater pins on the ladder a bit.

The tracks all ready the extra detailing that will come later.

Back to the carriage the wheel/track axel. This is a single piece and because the pins for the wheels and/or tracks are so evenly spaced its easy to put on backwards. The center axle mounts into the tabs underneath the carriage, the other axle goes to the front of the carriage.

Like this (looking from the bottom where the tabs are located)

This is how it looks from the top

In theory, all of this should just slip together now. Remember when you need to glue the tracks in place you will have to use super glue. The tracks are resin the gun carriage is, essentially, polystyrene (which means you should be using plastic model glue, not super glue for most of the construction).

Whew, it all fits together quite nicely. Note that I have not glued the tracks on at this point.

So directly above the axles is this stupid little gear, it drops into place and then that large plate is glue over it. It spins very nicely. In the context of the model its completely useless, so don't worry about getting glue on it, no one will ever know. In real life its part of the gun elevation system.

Here I'm starting on the barrel assembly

The hydraulics to the recoil. Note that the end cap needs a fair amount of filing and filling and its very visible on top of the gun.

Getting it together, its a very large gun

Putting together the breech block. the first piece is already glued in place to the barrel. The breech block needs to be attached to the door and since I'm going to have the door open, I'll need to fill in that very large hole in it.

The front side of the breech block. I may scrape off the molded on handle, its very soft looking.

I think these would be counterweights and what others have called "the Fin" for lack of a better term (and I'm sure there is one) I'll go with that. You will note that the curve on the Fin is smooth if this was a real artillery piece this would be geared, its part of the gun elevation system and would engage with the small gear from a couple of steps ago. I'll be modifing this piece to have a geared edge so that it at least looks right, although you may not be able to see it when the build is done.

Getting ready to do a little gluing. At this point just the counterweights since I need to work on the Fin.

These are the cable reels with cable molded on. 

And the reels glued in place.

The components for the crane

You can glue this piece but I didn't. I wanted a little bit of swing to it since the diorama will feature the gun being loaded.

All glued up.

The upper piece for the shell carrier is glued to the the ring. I have not glued the base plate on yet, I'm not sure what position I will need to have it in so I can make it swivel appropriately.

Mounting up the gun. Again, this has not been glued into place yet as it will be receiving a bit of extra detail.

Test fitting the platforms. Again no glue, my intent is to use the supports underneath the three planks and replace it with a metal walkway on both sides.

A first look at the whole thing

Adding a few of the crew

This is what I have left to deal with. I won't be using the two plates in the lower right side of the picture.

Still a long way to go at this point.