To begin with, I am still alive.
But I have spent 4.5 months as an inpatient at UW Medical Center in Seatle. The original surgery went horribly wrong and nearly killed me on the table. By the grace of God I did come back from that, but had to endure the rest of my time with setbacks, intestinal infections, and sheer bad luck.
I am now home, but due to atrophy of muscles due to the time spent convalescing, I am currently unable to walk. Hopefully the intensive physical therapy will correct that before too long. But it does mean I won't have access to the hobby room (where I build) and certainly not the airbrushing station downstairs. So I will still be AWOL for a while yet.
Hopefully I will be back before long. But I can't guarantee a return date, or really anything about the recovery, given the snakebit nature of the process so far.
But stay tuned - the game is not over yet!
Saturday, December 7, 2019
This is the formal announcement that I’ll be missing in action for a few weeks. I am scheduled to have LVAD cardiac surgery (a left ventricular assistance device, ie heart pump) on Wed 12-11. I’ll actually be admitted on 12-9, so this will likely be my last entry for a while.
Inpatient stay will be a couple of weeks, then home rest for 3 months. The procedure will be done at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.
Postings haven’t been frequent lately due to the gradual deterioration of heart function. But once I’m back my intention is to jump back on the hobby train and see what can be accomplished.
Many thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts for this difficult and complex operation. Keep em coming! And I’ll see you once I’m able.
This is kind of a lame photo to use, but believe me, most of them on the net are pretty gross. Not something you'd want to be surprised by when you thought you were going to a modelling website!
Saturday, November 30, 2019
I have actually finished a model recently, but it is liable to be the last completion prior to the LVAD cardiac surgery. It is by no means a great model, because it was snakebit from just about the first act of construction.
This is the Hasegawa MS-406. I found two Hasegawa kits and a Heller one in the box (I suspect I got this from a fellow IPMS-Seattle member). Over the course of the build, just about every dangly bit broke off. The antenna, the pitot, the tailwheel. One of the pugs got ahold of it during the painting process and swallowed one of those bits. The Hasegawa kit is well engineered and the fit is just fine.
Painting was a little tricky due to the number of colors in the camo. But at least it worked its way through the paint queue without major trauma. A bit of pebbling which required some careful buffing. The canopy masking took some time to remove; not sure if that was due to the number of months it was attached to the model, but that is certainly a possibility.
When I got to the decals, a Berna sheet, the adhesive was either too little or plain nonexistent. When I shot the matte topcoat, it actually blew some of the decals off and they floated to the floor. I was able to replace them with kit decals, which (thankfully) were pretty close in color to the Berna sheet. The markings are from GC 1/17, Escadrille 2 in the Vichy Air Force, based in Paris in 1940.
So, it’s…. finished. Not a great one, but the models get displayed on this blog however they turn out.
This is completed model #515 (13 aircraft, 1 ordnance, 3 vehicles this year), finished in September of 2019.
Sunday, November 10, 2019
I finally got a chance to do a bit of airbrushing this week. It didn’t eliminate the backup in the queue but it did make a dent at least. It being November, it was pretty damn cold out in the garage. My fingers were barely functional by the time I cleaned things up and headed upstairs.
Three colors cycled through the brush today. First came a matte coat on the latest finished model, a Hasegawa MS-406. There were some issues, but not with the paint. The Berna decals did not adhere very well to the model, and one fuselage roundel actually got blown off the side and floated to the floor! I’m in the process of replacing that – not particularly easy, given the many color variations of the French Blue that exists on various decal sheets. I don’t know if I got a bad Berna batch. The matte coat went on without issue.
Next came some Xtracolor X564 (Russian cockpit green). This went onto two recent construction efforts: a MiG-29 and Su-24. No problems there.
Finally, some Xtracolor X141 White onto wheel wells, inside gear doors, landing gear of the Eurofighter and Tornado.
Sunday, November 3, 2019
Still having some issues that are preventing much in the way of model production, but I have gotten some basic construction done. No painting as of yet, but the queue is overflowing and I’m going to have to deal with that sometime soon. No medical appointments until next Friday so I’ll try to get some things painted before then.
The construction to summarize today is pointed directly at two decal sheets I’ve purchased in the last year. First comes a Tornado, which will get one of the retirement specials from the Xtradecal sheet. Next comes a Eurofighter, which will carry the RAF100 special from Model Art.
Major construction is done. Some seam cleanup will be required, but I’ve gotten the canopies masked and attached. So there is no real bar to painting the wheel wells, gear, and doors White. Therefore, it joins the vast – and lengthening - paint queue.
I don’t want to turn this into a medical blog, but here is an update to my situation. The decision has been made to install an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) as a temporary bridge to stabilize the heart cath numbers and get to the next step, a heart transplant (yeesh). This is not the preferred alternative, apparently, because it requires the same sort of sternum entry and rib-spreading, just like a transplant and a multiple bypass. I’m meeting with the surgeon this Friday.
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Last Friday there were echoes of a sound not recently heard here in 72Land. It wasn't the thunder – though that was one spectacular lightning storm – it was the sound of a compressor. Something that hasn’t happened in nearly 5 months. I was able to work a small paint session in.
Of course it didn’t proceed painlessly, since I’m definitely a bit out of practice. It was a sort of greatest hits of painting problems. Insufficient thinning caused a bit of spattering from the airbrush tip. The water trap on the compressor seemed rather wonky as well, and resulted in a bit of water exploding through the airbrush. Thankfully, it *appears* that the splattering and water injection levelled out once the items had a chance to thoroughly cure, so a buff-and-repaint is probably not called for. But I will need to see what I can do to avoid a repeat at the next session.
Only three colors were used. I needed to get some White on the underside of one wing, both wing upper surfaces and the fuselage sides on the Finnish Hurricane in delivery markings. After it cured, I applied a series of circular white masks to the upper wings and fuselage. These will protect that White when I spray the Black (wing underside) and top camo colors.
The next was Dark Admiralty Grey to pick up some cockpit items that were missed in the latest Eurofighter (destined for RAF100 markings) and a newly started construction of a Tornado cockpit. This will eventually end up being the markings of one of the three specially painted Tornado retirement aircraft. I’ve already got the Xtradecal sheet that will support this.
Finally, I got the third and final upper camo color on the Ms-406.
It wasn’t a long session, or even an especially successful one, but it is one step on getting back on the production track. I’ve got 4 doctor appointments in 5 days this week, so it may be the weekend before I can get some other painting done. I certainly have a number of items in the paint queue. Primarily these will be cockpit painting for a MiG-29 and Su-24, along with Blue Angels Yellow wingtips on the A-4 and the lower surface coat of the Macchi Mc-205.
Here’s hoping I can keep the momentum going.
Sunday, September 8, 2019
Y’know, that almost looks like the completed cockpit of a Tornado GR4 to the right of the photo. Could it be that gremlins have snuck into the vast 72Land workshop complex and did some construction?
This is the Revell GR1 (which will have conversion parts from Freightdog to get it to a GR4), a less than new but reliable kit that is my personal go-to for the mud-mover variant. For an F3 I would use the Hasegawa kit. Although there is a surprising amount of parts for a 1:72 cockpit, fit is good and it didn’t take long to get everything together. Now it moves to the long paint queue for a coat of Dark Admiralty Grey and some detail painting.
This represents the first actual construction since early April!
Plus there is a Eurofighter in the box which needs a coat of DAG to the rear of the cockpit.