Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wind Farms, Livermore CA

The interesting thing to note here is the shadows. On the left the shadows of the windmills lie almost horizontal, very cool. On the right they are almost vertical.

The coloration is not differing stone or crop, but time of year. Turns out I hit on the junction of two satellite images tiled together.

Oh what fun.

(Click image to see full size)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My first LDD SNOT.

There comes a time in ones life when one has to try something new. Lego Digital Designer (LDD) 2.0 had just come our, and the placement tools were working a lot better than the earlier version. I decided to make a space ship, and to make it a smooth as possible.

To get a smooth build you need to eliminate studs on top. I have since learnt that this technique is called Studs Not On Top (SNOT). There is one brick that helps a lot wiht that in this build. It is a double high 2x4 brick with an array of 2x4 studs on the two largest sides. With a cunning arangement of these built into the core of the ship I ended up with studs pointing to the cokpit, atop a stack of 2x2 cylinders, and studs facing the rear, as well as studs to top and bottom. I even had side facing studs, the red lattice piece just before the engine pods.

LDD has a ray tracing engine built in, and a series of back drops, so after building your virtual model you can rend it. Then you can buy it. Of course you can't buy this one, it's too old and the parts library has changed. Hey ho, that's life.
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A past life.

Used to be I was a modeler. I painted up 1/25th scale model cars. There is a box full at my parent house, and two boxes at mine. The trouble is two fold; firstly I have no decent place to display them, and secondly I elected to use a liquid glue which has failed with time.

This natty looking '34 Ford is actually in pieces, hence the back wheel looking crooked. The radiator has fallen off the engine, and the suspension is hosed. Can't put it in a display case without a lot of re-work.

Here you can see the care I took, and the extent of the damage, the whole suspension for the left wheel has gone, radiator/fan assmebly missing and the body completely come off.

The handles were stick on, but the dash was hand painted, taking a bit of care.

And professionally built it would look like this. I believe there is a disclaimer on AMT boxes saying they use a retouched photograph anyway.

It was nice finding this old car in the box, but I just don't have the energy or passion for a restoration job.

This blue Mustang has a few notes of personal import about it. Firstly, it was the first time I spray painted a body. I'd been doing brushed bodies for the longest time. I actually started with a brush again, but couldn't get it smooth enough, at 15 I'd had no trouble with a good brush job, but at age 20 I wanted it better.
I had actually stripped it a couple of times and restarted, a mistake as you can see the top of the door here started deacaying; the solvent was eating the plastic. That was when I committed to a spray can.

Again, the glue has failed me. Revel liquid glue if I remember, or was it Humbrol. The car is a wreck now, wheels and suspension falling off, mirrors, tail lights all come loose. That and the dodgy door edge as explained before.

I actually had a '93 Mustang as a rental when I first lived in California. It was a rag top, same blue as this one here. It was kinda nice driving a car and having people oohing and ahhing over it. I remember a couple of 12 year olds walking by and saying "cool ride", and there was a girl, my age, driving an '89 Mustang filling gas at the next pump, and she was checking it out. I took that car out for a photo shoot. I used almost two rolls. When I took the film to be developed I remember one of the girls at the camera shop not comprehending taking a whole roll of one car. I'll dig out those photos and scan them for a separte blog entry.
This classic late '60s was only part built. I silvered the door trim myself. I'm not sure I'm happy with the brush work there. This was my last car build to use enamel paint (indeed, I haven't painted cars since). I guess it's silly of me, but while I was painting this we had a 12 week miscarriage. I don't think there was a connection, but you never can tell. Since then I've hardly touched enamels, using them once on a Warhammer 40K dreadnought for some high gloss. Otherwise it's all been acrylics.

One last car. I was first exposed to Holden pick-up in the early 80's when Matchbox released a model of the Holden Ute with a couple of dirt bikes in the back. On arriving in Yankeeland I found that GM had such tucks both in the US and Australia. Here in the US they were called El Caminos. The Chevy Imapala, which is the right size car to base a Holden Ute or El Camino on was just being retired as a muscle car. Sure Impalas still exist today, but they are family mid sized sedans, or fleet cars. In those days they were effectively a Chevy Caprice on steroids.
I took my interest of the El Camino/Holden Ute one step further and extrapolated what they may look like if they carried on past the 1980's. My first idea was to do a retro look with a step side bed. The donor model was a Ford Courier pickup. Later I decided to go fleet side, using a Dodge Ram as a donor. The project got shelved when work got too busy. About a year or two later Chevy release the SSR, a retro car derived pick up. I found Holden still make Utes, a big one called a Crewman and a small one called a Maloo. The Maloo is coming to the US in 2009, not as a Chevy, but as a Pontiac. So in the final years of the Pontiac Buggy company they will have a pick up.

I seldom do any modelling now. The busted up cars above are in the dumpster. Time to move on.
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Friday, May 8, 2009

Ever wish...

... that you'd brought your full camera bag. I've got a split field adapter for my camera, and been looking for the ideal subject to try it on. This would have been it.

The purpose of the split field is that it puts a +2 close up lens over half your lens, and so you can shoot half the field 6" away, and the rest 60' away, or so the theory goes. You can keep the bug and the background too. I'd forgotten I had it, until I previewed this photo in my camera, then realized I was half a mile from my bag.
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Collage. Good or bad idea?

So I was just playing with Picasa, and I hit a button I hadn't hit before; Collage.

So I dragged some pics into the collage, and piddled around for about five minutes, and decided to share. It may be a good way to introduce a set of pictures, but then again maybe not.

These were taken on an hour long stroll around my extended neighbourhood. Peaceful "rivers", rugged "beach", the wonders of a terraformed landscape.

Oh, just click on the above for the 8x10 original.
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Monday, May 4, 2009

Red London

Just cleaning up and I found these two pictures. Very red, very London (the capitol of England, not the author ;-)

I was wondering how would they advertise such an exhibition in San Francisco? Surely not with this bus board.