Model Completed: USS Sentinel

Posted July 28th, 2019 by Devin and filed in Modeling

I completed this one late last year. A fun build of a decent kit. More on the USS Sentinel page.

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WonderFest 2019

Posted June 9th, 2019 by Devin and filed in Modeling

Last weekend I attended the annual WonderFest sci-fi model show, in Louisville, KY. For those that have attended JerseyFest here during the fall, this is a somewhat similar show, yet much larger, and the break-down between ships/hardware and figures is about an even split (whereas the JerseyFest show is predominately figures). WonderFest set a record this year, it’s 30th, with over 800 models entered in the contest. The quality of work is amazing, and I was quite stunned to take away a bronze award for my USS Sentinel kit build. This year I also took part in a group build display, with the theme of Star Wars Concept Models. Each of us picked a Joe Johnston concept drawing and built a model based on it. My B-Wing wasn’t finished, but that didn’t stop me from taking it to the show as an in-progress.

The show’s dealer’s room is quite impressive as well, with at least 125 individual dealers, according to the show’s flyers, as well as personalities taking photos and signing autographs. The two conference rooms taken up by the dealers is easily 1.5 or 2 times the size of our usual MosquitoCon.

If anyone’s looking for an excuse to visit Louisville the weekend after Memorial Day, I highly recommend WonderFest. They have the date set for May 30-31st, 2020, with more information on their website: https://wonderfest.com/

I took photos, per my usual of not trying to get everything, just the stuff that really catches my eye, all of which have been posted HERE.

Model Completed: F4F-4 Wildcat F-21

Posted May 5th, 2019 by Devin and filed in Modeling

This one has been done and photographed for some time. As usual, it took me a while to get around to editing said photos and doing the write-up. Tamiya 1/48th scale kit, in the markings of Scott McCuskey’s (no, not McCluskey) mount onboard USS Yorktown (CV-5) at Midway. Yes, I do have a bit of a Yorktown obsession.

Photos and words HERE.

Model Completed: Air Racer “Thunderbird”

Posted September 2nd, 2018 by Devin and filed in Modeling

This is one of those builds that went rather quickly, in two parts. I did almost all of the initial construction several years ago, then chucked it in a box on a shelf. After using a lot of Draw Decals’ amazing markings for the airliners at Gulliver’s Gate, I was inspired to order their decal set for this airplane. While the model itself ins’t a show-stopper, the decals are great, resulting in something that looks good sitting in the display cabinet. It’s nice to have a splash of color every now and then.

Added to the model gallery HERE.

Gulliver’s Gate Work Samples

Posted July 24th, 2018 by Devin and filed in Modeling, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Path Between the Seas

Posted July 8th, 2018 by Devin and filed in History, Review

The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914 by David McCullough
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another great read from David McCullough. This one is a little denser than the other recent titles I’ve finished by him – The Johnstown Flood and The Great Bridge – but that doesn’t detract from the book. Indeed, the scope of the work requires the density. McCullough covers not only the American involvement in the canal, but the initial surveys and the aborted French project, and all of the associated drama. He recounts the engineering and medical advancements brought about by the project, as well as the darker side of the racism prevalent in the lives of the workers, and the dubious circumstances of Panamanian independence at the insistence of the United States.

My only quibble is that I’d like to have an addendum that covers the canal as it is today, after the ceding of ownership back to Panama, and with the new locks and other improvements recently added. Others can cover that, though, as McCullough’s book stands fine on its own as a thorough and compelling chronicle of an astounding project. Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Wonderfest 2018

Posted June 9th, 2018 by Devin and filed in Modeling, Photography, Travel

Wonderfest is a sci-fi and fantasy model show that happens every year, just after Memorial Day, in Louisville, KY. This was my second year in attendance. Once again, the talent on display was amazing and humbling. I’ve posted my photos here:

http://njipms.zenfolio.com/p630515407

I’m already looking forward to next year.

 

Book Review: The Terror

Posted June 9th, 2018 by Devin and filed in Review

The TerrorThe Terror by Dan Simmons
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is an odd book for me: incredibly well written, yet difficult to get through. The prose and imagery are beautiful, the characters compelling. The story takes forever to get going, and I feel that a healthy edit would have improved my experience. That said, the last section of the book mostly made the prelude worthwhile. I can see why others rave about it, but at several points during the reading, it became more of a chore than enjoyment. That being said, I’m looking forward to now watching the AMC series based on the book.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Ship of Ghosts

Posted December 3rd, 2017 by Devin and filed in Review

Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR's Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of Her SurvivorsShip of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR’s Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of Her Survivors by James D. Hornfischer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s odd to say one enjoyed something of such dark subject matter, but it fits here. Hornfischer’s second book, SHIP OF GHOSTS covers mostly the war experience of USS HOUSTON’s crew. With the telling of HOUSTON’s sinking done by 1/4 of the way through, the bulk of the book is devoted to the crew’s experiences in Japanese prisoner of war camps in the Burma region. While the horrors visited on the Allied prisoners by the Japanese military and Korean guards are related, one will have to read other books to fully grasp the atrocities the captives suffered.

It’s interesting to see Hornfischer’s progress as a writer. While I really enjoyed his first book, LAST STAND OF THE TIN CAN SAILORS, I had issues with some of the writing style. This book was more to my liking, while his third book, NEPTUNE’S INFERNO, is damn near perfect. I’m looking forward to reading his most recent title, THE FLEET AT FLOOD TIDE.

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Book Review: “Pacific Crucible” by Ian W. Toll

Posted November 8th, 2017 by Devin and filed in Review

Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 by Ian W. Toll
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall a very enjoyable book. Toll covers ground that I’ve read many times before, but his telling is more compelling and readable that a lot of other titles. One of my favorite parts of the book is a framing method used early on that tells of the purposely long train trip that Admiral Nimitz took across the US, on his way to San Diego and then a flight to Pearl Harbor to assume command of the fleet. The scenes with him and the single orderly that accompanied him are extremely well drawn, even novel-esque.

Keeping with the personal tones and involvements, one of the more compelling parts of Toll’s narrative is the day-to-day life of the US Navy sailor in a steel warship in tropical climes. The heat, exhaustion, cramped quarters, poor diet. Continue Reading »