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)

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Apollo Missions - The anniversaries we missed

While many of us are focused on the big 50th anniversary of the first moon landing coming up in July, there are a number of other Apollo 50th anniversaries that we have missed.

2/21/1967 Apollo 1 - This was originally just test mission AS-204 a non-launch test of the command module. With the loss of all three crew in the fire it was renamed Apollo 1, posthumously, at the request of the families. Lost in the fire were Gus Grissom (Mercury Astronaut), Ed White (Gemini Astronaut, first American to walk in space) and Roger B. Chaffee (Apollo Astronaut).

The test missions following Apollo 1 were renumber Apollo 2 - Apollo 6, all were unmanned.

10/11/1968 Apollo 7 - First manned test flight into Earth orbit. First live TV broadcast from an American spacecraft. Wally Schirra (Mercury Astronaut), Donn F. Eisele (Apollo Astronaut),  Walter Cunningham (Apollo Astronaut).

12/21/1968 Apollo 8 - First circumlunar flight of the Command Space Module (CSM). Made ten lunar orbits. Frank Borman (Apollo Astronaut), James Lovell (Gemini Astronaut), and William Anders (Apollo Astronaut).

3/3/1969 Apollo 9 - First manned flight test of the Lunar Module (LM). James McDivitt (Gemini Astronaut), David Scott (Apollo Astronaut), and Rusty Schweickart (Apollo Astronaut).

Without these precursor events the first moon landing doesn't happen. The next important anniversary will be Apollo 10 in May.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Sledgehammer Project; Build, Pt XXIII - Sledgehammer Build

I managed to slip in a little more work on the Sledgehammer itself. Basically just finishing off the platforms for the side of the gun.

Where I left off. The new platforms are finished and I just need to cut the supports from the original platforms to go underneath. Tricky the placement of the supports needs to be reasonably precise so that they fit in the existing holes on the gun carriage.

Should be straight forward. Using one of my 1# steel blocks to line it all up I can use a straight edge to draw the lines across.

My steel square came in handy for this part.

Back to the block to make sure they are lined up correctly.

And a successful finish. They mounted up quite nicely with only a few minor adjustments.

These platforms sit a little higher and a bit further out from the gun carriage now to make room for the extra gizmos that will be added on.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Kickstarter Loot - The World's Most Versatile Painting Handle

I'm not sure I mentioned this one in the blog at the  moment but it is one I jumped in on. Now there are a lot of painting handles out there on the market now and a fair number of them are 3D print files. Since I don't have a 3D printer those don't interest me but this one caught my attention. It is the second Kickstarter for the improved version of the painting handle from Game Envy. It looked intriguing and for $36 dollars wasn't terrible over the top price wise. The big selling point was that it is designed for to accept a standard sized pop bottle cap, by far my favorite mini holder. It arrived yesterday right on time (a rare thing among kickstarters) and it appears to work exactly as advertised.  The handle is still a little small for my large sized hands but is still quite comfortable. And, as advertised, I was able to screw one of my bottle caps right down on to it without a hitch. It even came with five generic black bottle caps. I'm quite excited to sit down at the painting table and give it a try, if I could just find a little time.

Here are all the bits and pieces. Note that the "stability bar" that is mounted on the screw top just pops on and off and can be replaced with the larger one on the right in the picture. Turn it upside down and snap it back on and it can serve as a handle. Plus the whole screw part swivels regardless of which handle you use so you don't have to turn the miniature around, just turn it right on the handle.

Everything together and with one of my many Mountain Dew bottle caps.

And with the larger stability bar snapped into place. It is a tight fit.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

What I did this Weekend

This is not exactly what you want to see underneath your TJ (a 98 Jeep Wrangler, TJ is the model designation) on a Saturday morning.

Putting things in perspective, that's not oil its transmission fluid and its right underneath the radiator. That's a good thing! This is the small puddle not the large puddle farther up the driveway (which I still need to figure out how to clean up). And since its underneath the radiator I know it didn't come from a leak in the transmission case. What you don't see here is that the engine compartment is literally covered in transmission fluid at this point. What happened? One of the two hoses that runs between the transmission and the radiator had a catastrophic failure which sprayed the transmission fluid directly into the radiator fan which was then quickly distributed it all over the engine and even leaking out underneath the hood.

One of the rare times that there is a simple fix, replace the hose and replace the transmission fluid. The serpentine belt was also replaced as the trany fluid doesn't behave well with the belt. And with that thought in mind the whole engine compartment was cleaned as well. 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Acquisitions - Painting War #7 and #8 by Breaking War

These are army painting guides produced by Breaking War out of Spain. I just acquired the #7 for the Dark Ages and #8 for the American Civil War. I find them quite useful as they go through the painting process in general that the writer/painter uses and then there is a whole section of miniatures for that army painted with the various techniques and representing different types of soldiers and officers.

One of the features that I really like is that it shows insignia for all the ranks at least for those armies that use them. For instance no such insignia exist in the Dark Age book (#7) but that writer/painter spends a good amount of text and pictures working on banners which are more appropriate to the period. 

I currently have #1 for WWII Germans, #3 for WII USA and Japan (although I would have preferred these to have been split up, the Marines and Army tend to be lumped together a bit) and just acquired #7 for the Dark Ages and #8 for the ACW. So far all the painters are Spanish (which makes sense since Breaking War is a Spanish company), bit pretty well known names in the industry: Angel Aparicio (ACW), Alberto Mateos (Dark Ages), Claudia Zuminich (Japan & USA) and Ruben Torregrosa (Germany). I'm always able to glean a few new tidbits to add to my painting toolbox. They can be ordered direct from breakingwar.com or from Michigan Toy Soldier here in the US.

Interesting mix here on the cover, Custer in ACW uniform but set in the American West.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Acquisitions - Karlheinz Munch - Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 654

I picked up the Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653 years ago (1997) when it was first published. Now I have finally acquired the companion volume "The Combat History of Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 654", by Karlheinz Much. If you have any interest in the Ferdinand and Jagdpanther and the unit that operated both of them, this is the book for you. Full of pictures, organizations and first hand accounts both these books are well worth the price!

It was a long time coming, this book was published in 2002! And although its new the cover has blunted corners. Almost inevitable with a book this big and heavy.
Abteilung 653 was first equipped with Ferdinands and then Jagdtigers. 

I did acquire first book back in 1997 with the intent of building it up in 15mm for Command Decision at the time and there are a few posts on the Miniature Ordnance Review blog that might have me heading back down that alley. Under the new Flames of War rules Mike has managed to recreate these heavy anti-tank battalions equipped with the Ferdinand. Here are links to the relevant posts:

Modeling the Schwere Heavy Panzerjager Rgt
Battlefronts new Ferdinand
Battlefront Updates the Ferdinand Instructions
Ferdinands at Kursk
Fielding the Schwere Rgt in Flames of War
Mike's Article on the FOW Website.
Download page for the FOW Organizational PDF