The Rock Star Treatment: Shep Paine in A Couple of Hundred Coffee Table-Sized Pages

Shep’s impact on the modeling community (as a whole, not just figures and armor) cannot be overstated enough. A very thoughtful look/review at this ‘coffee table’ book on Shep’s work is a welcome read!

Sprue Pie With Frets

Jim DeRogatis’ book Sheperd Paine: The Life and Work of a Master Modeler and Military Historian is an unusual but fitting look into Shep Paine’s life, work, and impact on the military figure and scale modeling hobbies. Not your typical hobby book: part retrospective album of notable modeling, part biography, and part rock n’ roll mash note (we’ll get to that shortly), it’s a compelling modeling read. And it scarcely covers technique, only to offer insights into how Shep worked and the hobby industry and culture that he helped to found and grow.

The book itself appears at first glance to be a large coffee table volume that would do Cosmo Kramer proud. Don’t let that first look fool you—the content and price ($80 on the street) make it more like a premium fine art book. It features photos of much of Shep’s body of work joined via a book…

View original post 2,067 more words


My friend David is 100% spot-on in his most recent blog. We we push for results that is where the most tension and frustration occur, making it easier to just walk away from the ‘bench and suffer a bit of burnout. The hobby has a natural ebb and flow (in my opinion) and when we try to buck that trend (repeatedly) we wind up causing more trouble for ourselves. #modeling #staypositive

David Knights' Weblog

There, I think, an inherent paradox in our hobby.  We want to build many models.  That is why we end up accumulating a “stash”.  However, are hobby also requires patience in order to obtain a good result.  These things can be seen as being in tension with each other.

However, I am not sure that this is the case.  Patience doesn’t have to mean building slowly.  Rather, it can mean building deliberately, with attention to the detail, the fit, and the goal ultimately to be achieved. It means, not building slowly, but building carefully. Thinking about what you are doing both before you do it and as you do it.  This is where the “zen” of modeling comes in.  The ability to push off all the pressures and “troubles” in your life and loses yourself in the build.

All this sounds very philosophical, but I really mean something very simple…

View original post 117 more words

Class Dojo…AKA, the teacher’s digital snitch

unnamedFor the first two years of our son’s school career, his teachers and TAs have used an app called Class Dojo. It’s a smart little app that allows a picture to be shared with the class (but not saved) and lets you be able to speak to your child’s teacher(s) via a message system. And your child can be awarded points. Green points for positive behavior and red points for the opposite. While we sometimes applaud and gush over the positive green points my wife and I are baffled by the number of negative red points he gets from time to time. How we deal with them has been from sitting and talking about good choices vs. bad choices to punitive actions. Nothing really seems to sink in. As we pay to have our son attend an out of district school we must be even more vigilant on the accumulation of these red points lest he is asked to not return. Needless to say, this year has been a bit difficult to deal with.

This leads me to this question; Have we become too involved with our children and their school time? Do we need to really know the high and low points of our child’s day courtesy of this app? When I was a kid of the 1970s and 1980s we were awarded little stars on our work or given one to bring home if we did something fabulous. And the negative stuff was addressed at the quarterly PTC meetings and in the very rare call to home after school hours from the teacher. But now this app lets us see into our child’s daily activities and ups and downs via digital snippets that say ‘Ready to learn’ or “Working hard’ to ‘Not ready to learn’ or ‘Not following directions’. And my wife and I find ourselves wondering if we are being digitally pushed into micro-managing our son thru his earning of green or red points throughout his day (and week) at school. I love what they app can do…it really gives you a glimpse into their day and you can find where your child excels both behaviorally and with their school work. Class Dojo has been useful no question. Yet what do we make of the constant negativity that comes with each red point? Ideally, if the lesson was learned by our oldest son this would be a truly positive learning example for him and even us. However, his strong will and nature to become bored quickly can lead to red points for easily avoided behavior.

As parents we question ourselves every day…shoot, every hour it seems. We look for tools that help us rise above methods we learned as kids ourselves and will help curb bad behavior. Self-help books, blogs, web forums and social media…that brass ring of sorts always seems to be out of reach (if it exists at all). And when we first were exposed to this app we remarked that this was a splendid tool for both us and our son. But here we are not even two years in and it seems to have influenced is more than we ever imagined. For both good and bad. Guess you can have too much of a good thing, eh?

Not Dead Yet

Pretty spot-on and truthful. Access to the hobby is far different for the younger generations than it was for mine and earlier generations I wonder if this has set in a certain bias with older generations about the current status of the hobby. Thoughts?

Doogs Models

This month’s Sprue Cutters’ Union question pokes the perennial hornets’ nest:

“Is scale modeling a dying hobby?”

Groan. It’s one of the most common – and most tiresome – rants one encounters in this hobby. It seems true, therefore is is true, right?


“Modeling is dying” is a fallacy borne out of a tangle of self-reinforcing cognitive biases. It seems true, so therefore it must be true. But it’s just as off-base as “kids these days…” rants. Scale modeling is alive and well, and I would argue, doing better than it ever has before.

I’m not going to muster a full defense of the hobby here – Jon has already done a brilliant job of that and I’m lazy. Instead, I’m going to aim at a few of the main misconceptions…


My local hobby shop closed. Clearly modeling is dying.

WRONG. The collapse of brick-and-mortar retail is not unique…

View original post 1,312 more words

The land of the free? You could have fooled me…


Freedom. That’s what our founding fathers wanted for themselves and for their children and their children’s children. Freedom for expression of religious beliefs. Freedom to make choices both wide and narrow in scope. Freedom from oppression of a government system that they had no faith in.

And here we are on the cusp of the 2016 election. Ready to exercise the freedom we have to choose whom we want to govern us. But is the choice to choose from the lesser of two evils what freedom really is? Or have we been lured into a false sense of freedom by believing that the choice of every election we have to cast a write-in vote or chose to punch a chit is 100% pure unadulterated freedom?

This election has forced me into evaluating the freedom we are given to make change by casting a vote. We look at the GOP, scrambling to do all it can to bend/manipulate long-standing rules of electoral votes, just to give us a ‘choice’ that THEY want. And the Democratic Party, a machine much like the GOP, has pushed their candidate to the forefront all the while knowing that this ‘choice’ is arguably one of the most flawed candidate they have endorsed in decades. Where is the freedom in this? Being pushed into a corner and told ‘chose left or chose right’ is not freedom. It is oppression. It is a pirating of the base of our most treasured right. And who is to blame? We, the people, are.

We have given up our freedom to exercise a collective voice. We have allowed every single possible person and position a place at the table of freedom. By allowing lobbyists to garner an unheralded level of influence we have lost the ability to allow our voice, thru the electorate, to be clearly heard. As a collective group, we have stifled our own voice, our own character, for the sake of each and every platform to have equal say at the table of government…as long as they have long enough nails to scratch the most influential backs.

We are the constituents. We actually do control what we allow the government to place upon us. Enforcement of this right requires us to not allow special interests any influence on those in government. If you want to try to educate from your perspective? Great, I’m down with that. Want to give our elected officials all of the information about your cause? Outstanding. Yet we let special interests fawn over candidates, cajoling them to cast a vote for their side and then allowing it to get tacked onto a larger, more important bill, and skate thru (or be denied) by Congress with a  nod and a wink. That’s not freedom. That’s irresponsibility. Done by our own hand. It’s as if lawmakers lay the bill right in front of us, give us the pen, and as we bitch, moan and cry ‘Foul, foul!’ they gently tap the signature line and smile that Cheshire Cat smile.

Land of the free, eh? Okay, if that makes you feel better at night, roll with it. That is the freedom of your choice to make. As for me I’m staying up late to shake my head and ponder how we allowed ourselves to tie the noose around freedom’s neck.

The Pike Syndrome…

A friend of mine posted up on Facebook this morning about this affliction and I felt the need to share it with you all.  Many thanks, Steven!


Don’t be deceived!

You’ve heard of the “glass ceiling”, but have you heard of the “glass wall”?

In 1873 a German zoologist by the name of Dr. Karl Mobius conducted a famous experiment. Dr. Mobius put a large pike in a tank. He divided the tank into two Pikesections by inserting a thick pane of glass across the middle. Then, he dropped small, prey fish into the section separated from the pike by the glass. The pike—an aggressive, voracious eater—charged the minnows. It charged over and over, and each time the pike charged at the little fish to eat them, it crashed violently into the pane of glass. Sometimes it was so stunned by the impact that it floated upside down for a few minutes before recovering its senses. Finally, it gave up.

When Dr. Mobius removed the pane of glass, the pike and its prey peacefully shared the tank. The pike had concluded that trying to eat minnows causes headaches. From then on, it would eat only food given by Dr. Mobius.

Other researchers have repeated Mobius’s experiment with the same results. Some have actually allowed the pike to starve to death while minnows swam safely around it (who knows what those minnows might have been thinking).

Reluctant and fearful behavior that is based on assumptions that are no longer true has since come to be known as “The Pike Syndrome.”

Do you start your day with a ‘healthy’ dose of Pike Syndrome? I can think back to days where I just immediately assumed the ‘guppies’ around me were untouchable…and I refused to even just stick my nose in ‘their’ direction. And the funny thing about glass walls is that they are not just restricted to work but to play, friendships and down time. It’s become easier for myself to feel resigned about something instead of feeling that I can make a real change.  Some of it is fear of the unknown…fear of upsetting someone close to me or even just a colleague.  But other stuff I just seem to have relegated myself to ‘starving’ my better being into  thinking that its unapproachable or impossible.

Do you find yourself selling yourself short due to glass walls in your life? Do you even recognize the glass walls that surround you? Look at your obstacles and see are they made of glass or of brick.  Both can be torn down…but the glass one(s) are far more deceptive than you may realize.

Glass walls. Don’t let them hold you back.



The Great Backup Camera Kerfuffle

Great info here for my Jeep friends!


The 2012 and newer Wranglers (that I’m aware of, it could be older) have been using the exact same head units as everything else in Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram’s stables with the exception of the new 8.4″ units that we’re starting to see in the Dart, the RAM line, and other recently redesigned vehicles.

  • The 130 – el cheap-o grande.  This head unit is perfect for the folks that plan to swap out for aftermarket stereo components or if you simply don’t need anything more than just a radio and a CD player.
  • The 430 – An excellent feature filled full color touch screen Nav system.  The interface was designed by Garmin and the mapping software is theirs too.
  • The 730 – Chrysler’s top end system at the time including live traffic, football score updates, and a bunch of other goodies that I personally didn’t need.

In just about every Chrysler vehicle equipped…

View original post 2,088 more words

Babylon never looked so good but it’s awfully short on substance


So, while I had a few moments this past week I picked up the November 2013 issue of ELLE magazine.  I noticed that it had Reese Whitherspoon on the cover and I like her abilities as an actress (she still KILLED it in ‘Cruel Intentions’…oops, bad analogy!).  Anyhow, as I was thumbing thru the magazine trying to track down the article I was astounded at two things; 1, the complete sexification and 2, the unbelievable number of ads in the magazine.  The correlation between the two was scarily fascinating to see.  Objectification, of anything, is like a tax…once its’ foot is in the door you have to work twice as hard to repeal it.  But what I saw was surprising to me.

The line between glamour and sexification of the women (and occasionally men as well) was very blurred.  In a magazine that was clearly written/geared for women the ads were nearly all about boosting your self into looking like/appearing as a sultry, sexy woman.  Furthermore, even the majority of the main pictures of the interviewees and featured people had more in common with making the subject look to be in a sexy scene rather than just focusing on the reason(s) why they were a featured subject.  And it struck me very odd that a reader might be subliminally ‘pushed’ into viewing a person that they are interested in as a sexual object first and a relevant human being second.  Now, I’m no idiot.  Sex sells and has sold for generations well before mine.  But I stopped and thought ‘Okay, if I was reading an interview with Robert Downey Jr. would I want to see him scantily clad and lounging on a loveseat?’ and quickly came to the conclusion of ‘No’.  Nothing against the man physically.  I just want to read the interview.  So, in this vein, when women read an interview or feature of a woman do they see the same thing I do?  Do they see a woman clothed and/or posed in a way that makes little if any sense to the feature at hand?  And, is so, does it bug them that the person featured is objectified/sexified by how they are photographed? 

Listen, I’m no prude.  Back home in Alaska I did not have much chance to be prudish.  There were times where I had to change clothes right where I was or get a shower however I could.  I was raised to not be ashamed of the human body (male or female).  Sure, I had, and still have, hang-ups about my own form.  But I never looked at another person and saw them simply as an attractive (or even unattractive) object only.  I truly believe that everyone is attractive and can be sexy in the eyes of anyone.  But this placement of sexually objectifying someone in the least sexiest of contexts simply baffles me.  We’re a very visual-centric society anymore…quick to glance and even quicker to form instant opinions of who and what we see.  But where does it stop…and can it be stopped at some point?  Perhaps…but what scares me most is do we WANT it to stop or just continue? I am a both loath to think, as a people, a collective, we are perfectly fine with being pushed by the media into seeing sex in everything even if it has no real relevance with the material we are consuming.

I get that society and the media, more often than not, want to portray men as strong, intelligent beings of sophistication.  And women are to be seen as independent, intelligent and who can do anything…as long as they, apparently, do it sexily.  But what about all of the important stuff in between?  Maybe it’s still there…between the newest mascara, low-cut tops, powerful masculinity, tanned muscles and vanity-filled mirrors.  But I’ll be d***ed if I see us, as a society, caring much about ‘the in-between’ anymore.  Truly, Babylon has never looked so good but boy it’s sure short on substance.