Monday, February 22, 2010

Germs, Figures and Hydroplanes

It's been a week since I returned to work from the President's Day holiday. For some reason micro-organisms have also chosen to return to work with me and I'm sick, sick, sick. It hasn't kept me from heading off to work every morning, but when I come home I'm just dying. I'm living on a steady diet of Dayquil and Nyquil. Probably not a good thing, but I'm making do. Combine that with deadline week, and it doesn't make for a real productive week.

I've picked a little bit at my AWI figures, but most of the time I've painted was devoted to my Gold Cup project. Last week I carefully razor sawed the openings for the tails and cut them from my super thin sheet plastic and primed them. I decided to work on three boats: Tahoe Miss, Smirnoff, and Such Crust IV. All three boats are pretty and look different than other boats I've already put together.

Tahoe Miss has a squarer, jet fighter look to her tail. Not exactly a beautiful craft in 1965, but very effective, Tahoe Miss was very fast, with Chuck Thompson an effective driver. Unfortunately she was pretty beat up in the race, with a blown supercharger and a hard bounce that broke one of Thompson's ribs. Tahoe Miss finished third.

Smirnoff is an interesting boat. Sponsored by Heublein's, the vodka distiller had a big picture of a properly labeled bottle on the fighter plane tail. In 1964 This did not comport with Washington State Liquor Control Board regulations. The booze bottle was replaced with an image of A-1 Steak Sauce, another Heublein product. Miss Smirnoff finished eighth in the '65 Gold Cup

The last boat I have ready to work on is Such Crust IV. This was an older boat in its final season of racing. Boasting twin Allisons, this Detroit boat was a sled. Qualified by Bill Muncey, one of the best drivers in the business, he was unable to race because of an ailing back. The elephantine Such Crust, finished seventh. This is a much larger boat than Sean's models represent, but it was in the race, so I'll have to do my best.

So it's Smirnoff in the blue and red with the bottle on the tailfin, and Miss Tahoe in the bright red and green. Colors are bit shaky. It's tough to find good photos, and I often have to resort to photos of R/C models. The colors also frequently changed from year to year, and often within a racing season.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mid-Winter Break and Moving Forward

I just wrapped up a four day weekend. It used to be that our mid-winter break was a week long affair, but it pissed of the parents, so it got reduced to the President's Day Monday plus the previous Friday off. I'm not complaining. It was a restful weekend with lots of painting and movie watching.

What movies did I watch? I have Netflix streaming through my blu-ray player, and I was able to watch a lot of stuff. Some was awesome, some was pretty awful and a sort of good way. Let me clarify the last comment. I love movies. Good movies, bad movies-they're all fine with me. In the good department, I was able to watch a "All the King's Men" about the Sandringham company that was a PALS unit raised from the Queen Mother's estate, sent off to serve in Gallipoli and annihilated. Interesting but sad. I also caught a British documentary on Gallipoli that was very informative. Narrated by Jeremy Irons, again I learned a lot I didn't know. Yesterday I watched Omagh on the IRA bombing in that small town in 1996. Great performances. Also caught a great PBS documentary on Herbert Hoover. In the not so great department-Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion.

I'm pretty good at following movies while I'm painting and that's a good thing because I saw so many. I also got a lot done. I wrapped up a total of 16 of the AWI Marylanders. I'm taking extra time with them. They are Perry figures, so I want them to be purty. The detail is very fine, and that takes extra time to work with. I also finished 12 Welsh spearmen. They went pretty fast. Even so I practiced shading an highlighting, so they look pretty nice. Best of all I mounted all my Welsh, my unit of Spanish Civil War militia, and remounted the 71st Highlanders on 40mm square bases (for the fourth or fifth time-my most re-based unit.) I also primed some more 15mm SCW figures, Italians this time, and got three hydroplanes ready to paint.

I'm pretty thrilled to work on the hydros again. This time I have Tahoe Miss, Miss Smirnoff and Such Crust IV planned for painting. All raced in the '65 Gold Cup. Dean commented on my projects, and how I have so many of them. It's true. I'm a project-oriented person. However it's a huge help to me--keeps me focused and keeps me from buying figures I can't use to finish my tasks.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hydroplanes on the Horizon

I'm looking ahead to planning for a project using my existing minis after my Spanish Civil War stuff is done. I don't have much more to do. I've got seven vehicles to paint, two 22 figure units of Italian infantry, and a couple of infantry guns for the Nationalists. It will go fast.

After they are done I'd like focus some of my attention on painting boats for the 1965 Gold Cup. I have a few, but the boats that raced in Seattle that year were:
Miss Smirnoff
Gale's Roostertail
Miss Lapeer
Tahoe Miss
Miss Madison
Miss U.S. V
Notre Dame
Miss Bardahl
Mariner Too
Miss Exide
Savair's Mist
Such Crust

I've already painted four of these boats, so I'd need to finish eight more. They're always fun to do. I'm actually considering a six player game in which those who win in heat 1A have their boats handicapped in 1B. I may also work with Dave to see about the possibility of pre-rating some of the boats in advance in order to create a more authentic handicapping system.

Meanwhile painting proceeds apace. I'm working on the first sixteen figures of the 2nd Maryland. I finished the first eight and I'm pretty pleased. The next eight are all in hunting shirts, so they should go pretty fast.

Friday, February 05, 2010

A Look Ahead to Enfilade

Last weekend we had our first Enfilade get together. It's a good, well-run convention even if I do say so myself. My jobs this year are to manage the registration desk and organize the Best of Show judging. The registration desk usually comes together reasonably well, even if we're still trying to round up the last couple of volunteers in the week before the convention.

We have made a couple of changes for the convention. First, we are trying to make game sign-ups a bit easier. Bruce suggested we allow all pre-registered attendees to sign up for one game on-line. This is a great idea and will take folks out of the crowd trying to register for games. Game hosts can also pre-register for one game on-line. That will include me, so I am hoping that game registration will look a little less like an angry breadline. Those who register at the door will have the opportunity to register for one game at the time of their registration. That seems to me to be a fair way to compensate.

Another change is an emphasis on lining up volunteers for Best of Show. This became somewhat contentious last year, so trying to find volunteers early and schooling them on the guidelines is important. My Enfilade brothers confirmed their interest in sticking with the standards I established way back in 2004, so that pleased me quite a bit.

As for my Enfilade plans--I am going to run my Ile de St. Jean game. There are still a few things I'd like to add. Mostly more wagons to use as barricades. I'm also thinking about a hydroplane racing plan B, just in case the Can-Am cup falls through. I could work on putting together the boats for the '65 Gold Cup and see how that goes. It might be fun, and will give direction to completing yet another project--my hydroplane collection, though I'd like to work on developing a diorama approach for the pits and log boom.