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.

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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.

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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 »

Movie Review: Dunkirk

Posted August 7th, 2017 by Devin and filed in Review

My brief review of Dunkirk. In short: amazing. The story, told from four tight points of view, are shown in different time sequences. Over the course of the film, you get two people’s story of their time on the beach over the period of a week, one POV where you spend time on a small boat over the course of a day, and finally, one POV from inside the cockpit of a Spitfire that lasts one hour. The three timelines are cleverly cut together, and while it took me a couple of scene changes to figure out what they were doing, in the end it works brilliantly.

The cinematography and sound are beautiful. Dialogue is sparse and at times the film seems to go on forever without anyone speaking. Gunfire sounds like it’s coming right at you, the drone of marine diesels and aircraft engines that, meshed with Hans Zimmer’s unceasing soundtrack – literally, the music does not stop for an instant — creates an all-encompassing background dirge. One of my minor quibbles with the film is that I’d have liked to have some moments without the music, but seeing as the film isn’t about respite, even for an instant, it’s fitting as-is.

The acting is first rate. Cillian Murphy is as good as ever. Tom Hardy, as always, owns every scene he’s in, even though here most of his work is done behind an oxygen mask in a Spitfire’s cockpit.

This isn’t a typical war film. Continue Reading »

2017 IPMS Nationals Photos

Posted August 1st, 2017 by Devin and filed in Modeling, Photography, Travel

I made the trek to Omaha, Nebraska, last week, to attend the 2017 International Plastic Modelers US National Conference. It was the first time in many years that I didn’t compete, but I did see plenty of fantastic work on the contest tables.  I’ve posted my photos here:

http://njipms.zenfolio.com/p610049940

The 2018 show will be in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Model Completed: Battlestar Galactica

Posted May 7th, 2017 by Devin and filed in Modeling

I’ve added a page for the Moebius Models Battlestar Galactica model that I finished a few months ago. Overall a fun build, and I’m really happy with the result. That’s really the only problem with building commissions for others (as this model was): If it turns out really well, then it’s really hard to turn it over at the end of the project.

As with all of the other Battlestar Galactica series ship builds in my gallery, this model now belongs to a private collector. One of these days I’ll build something Battlestar related and actually hold onto the thing.

Photos and such are HERE.

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Gulliver’s Gate

Posted February 20th, 2017 by Devin and filed in Modeling, Whatever

gulliversI recently realized that, other than updating my biography, I hadn’t made official mention on my website of my new job. As of September 2016, I have been working as a model builder at Gulliver’s Gate, a new edutainment attraction opening in Times Square this year. My daily duties involve 3D CAD design, 3D printing, assembly, and painting of models for the exhibits. To say this is my dream job is an understatement. For an idea of what to expect when we open in April, check out the Gulliver’s Gate website.