Tuesday, March 31, 2015

HMS Victory continued...

Hello folks. Remember my modeling project. Still working on it.  I ran into a bit of a road block with the French and the instructions.  I couldn't figure out what they were asking me to do as the translation had me make a "buckle" or a "bow" and well, I find out that it's a loop.  To be honest, I'm still not sure if I did this step correctly.  I guess I'll find out, but I couldn't be held up here forever, so I moved on after making these loops.  You can see them in these 2 pictures.  It's tricky because you have to get the loop through the holes and anyway, we'll see if all this effort on the loop was correct or not.  This is what I understood from the directions, so, voila.

After these set of pictures, there's the before and after of the life boat.  The first one is still on the tree and the second one is off the tree and assembled, fully painted.  It did take several coats - 4 or 5 coats to get it to look like that.  Painting on plastic is interesting.  Sometimes, one swipe and you're done.  I guess it matters what color you are painting on what color!  You can clearly see the boat on the left still on the tree.  It has one coat of paint but you can see through that paint.
Painting white on brown takes a bit.  I also think it matters how well the paint is mixed because there can be settling.  I tried to mix it as best I could but I felt like I had a dilute solution of paint at times.  The most important thing I feel is the end.  I'm not even close to getting to assemble the giant parts of the ship.  Several small steps in the making, but it's inching along.

Next step in the process is intricate painting on the side of the Victory.  This one took me a few days to get done.  It's as good as I can get it.  I know it's not perfect and it never will be, but it's OK.  I just wanted it done the best that I can.

This is still step 3 and I'm still on the first page of the instruction book.  There are 8 steps on the first page.  At the end of this post you'll see cannons.  That's step 8 but anyway, back to this.  Painting!

Left is the outside of the ship.  Before it was done.

Left bottom is the inside or flip side of the picture on the left (the big part) and the right bottom is the flip side of the left picture that is flat painted green.

Flat painting is not a big deal at all.  All the intricate painting below and the painting of the smaller parts is more difficult.  You can see in the pictures below.  Lots of detailed painting.

I don't know if I have pictures of the 2 little parts on the left fully finished but the picture on the right is the process it took to finish one side.  It's difficult to paint the yellow and the black but it's all done.  Next picture, bottom left is the close up of the one on the right.

Here on the right is the finished product.  I'm adding 2 more of the close up on the fine details of painting this part of the HMS Victory.

I know you can see the errors more clearly when you look at a close up but it is what it is.  This was particularly time consuming and I tried to get as close as I could to the original.  I used the smallest brushes I had.  Even doing the little swirls on the right side of the picture on the left was tricky.

The next picture is another close up on the center part of the finished side.  How long did it all take?  I think a week.  I don't recall.  I took a break after all that.

The bottom right here is a random picture of anchors.  I don't have the before on these, but it was not difficult.  I pre-painted them.  Assembly for these was
very easy.  I did have to add another coat of paint for the anchors after assembly, but it wasn't a big deal.

Last step for this post.  The infamous step 8 on page 1.  I'm working on cannons.  It's been quite a work in progress.  I thought I would be done with it 2 months ago.  I guess not.  There are about 600 pieces that make up all the cannons and that's more than a quarter of the parts assembly so I should not have been ambitious to think I could assemble them overnight.  There are 3 sizes of cannons to be assembled.  Here are the pictures of the parts and the assembly required.

First step:  Put the cannons together.  See the picture on the right?  It's a picture of part of the cannon tree.  Top tree has a left and a right.  You can see 8 cannon parts.  Each part is half the cannon.  That would make 4 cannons.

Next picture has several assembled cannons.  They are not the same size as the ones on the tree on the right, but it gives you an idea of the assembly and what the finished cannons look like.

Next step is what I'm working on right now.  I should have pre-painted the next step but I assembled a few of the cannon carriages as you can see below.  I'm glad I didn't get far because post-painting would have been a pain as I'm beginning to realize on the 4 assembled cannon carriages.

As you can see on the left is the assembled cannons but one of them has a coat of paint.  Only one of them with one coat, so far.  Also, when you look at the picture on the left, see the bottom carriage, it has a cannon on it.  That is ONE finished cannon.  Several more to go.  I think total of 120 cannons need to be made and 6 pieces to make one cannon.  Yes, I have my work cut out for me.

Last 2 pictures below are parts of the cannon carriage still on the tree.  The one on the left is before painting and the one on the right is after painting so I don't have to paint after assembly.  There's a lot more cannons to assemble but that's what I'm stuck on right now.  The tricky thing with assembly is that the parts don't stand on their own and there's no good way to clamp them.  As weird as it may sound, I'm having to hold the 4 sides after gluing and trust me, it's a look trickier than it looks.

Anyway folks, that is all for this post.  Working with photos on blogger is a royal pain. :-(  I'm managing.  So, if you felt the pictures were out of whack and the script was all over the place, it's just myself having trouble with blogger.

Best always and until next time,

Friday, March 20, 2015

Two memories - cookie dough ice cream and a bookstore!

Dear friends,

I know it's been a long, long, long time since I've blogged, so I'll just dive right in.  Have you ever felt like the world was collapsing around you?  As though things weren't perfect but it wasn't in your control.  You had no choice.  You were stuck.  My stories may not seem like much, but it's the circumstances that make the tale.  It's the emotional weight it carries for me, I suppose, that matters.  So, here's we go.
First story:  I love cookie dough ice-cream, and so does my cousin and so do my nieces.  The funny thing is this.  My cousin, likes the ice-cream, but she will leave the cookie dough out.  Don't ask.  She just does.  The rest of us save the cookie dough to the end and eat all the cookie dough together.  Again, don't ask!  I think one of my nieces (niece A) had a whole bunch of cookie dough left, and I guess just didn't feel like eating it.  I asked for it and she decided to not share with me.  She gave it all to my other niece (niece B) who would not split the extra cookie dough with me.  My parents (their grandparents) thought it only fair that niece B get the whole bunch of extra cookie dough.  After all, she was younger than me, and she was a child.  Something about children getting away with anything!  I can't remember the details.  Have you heard about how it's not about what people do for you but how they make you feel?  Well,  I felt insignificant.  Very obviously the nieces were far more important that me.  I was a nobody there and this was my parent's home.  I should have as much clout as anyone else but Niece B being the youngest in the family had cookie dough seniority.  So, she got to have all the extra dough.  We could have shared it.  But no.
My parents would say, "why are you fighting with the kids?"  It's not that.  It's just the principle of it.  In my family, there's a lot of child spoiling.  So, there was niece B eating her glorious extra cookie dough because grampa/grandma could not dream of us sharing it equally.  After a while, no matter how old you are, you start feeling like your parents who had always preferred you, don't think of you as that important anymore.  You cannot compete with the grandkids for their love.  It's worse if you are the youngest and have always gotten your way and suddenly you are the one it's done to.  Again, that's another story.
I was done with my cookie dough and sat with my cousin who was also eating her ice-cream, while I watched niece B eat all those extra pieces gleefully.  I don't know why, but I felt pushed under the rug.  There I was older and had to grow up, but it just wasn't fair.  Just then, things changed.  My cousin who was sitting next to me, had several pieces of her cookie dough and watching the exchange, called to me quietly, and gave me her ice-cream bowl with just the cookie dough.  Now I had an extra bowl of cookie dough also.
Retribution?  No.  Just recognition and love where it was due!  That made me feel special.  I was above the precious and preferred little ones.  My cousin would stick up for me.  In days when I feel like no one sticks up for me, I think back at that.  The truth is this.  I'm old now.  I will not have anyone stick up for me compared to the others.  Everyone will prefer their own child or grandchild or sister or kid (any kid) over me.  The cookie dough story may not seem like much to all of you, but to me, even today it means the world to me.  There was someone out there who was paying attention and caring about me and making me feel as though I'm an equal part of a family that had maybe started to overlook me.
Story 2 happened almost 15 years ago.  I was out with my then husband (my ex) and his nephew.  The details of this story are more fuzzy than the cookie dough story.  I remember we were in a book store.  Landmark.  It's sad that the store went out of business but that's a different time, different story.  My story again.  We were browsing books at Landmark and I cannot recall but I got into some sort of an argument with my ex.  All I know is that he made me feel so low, like I didn't exist or at least didn't deserve to.  It was the thing he did any chance he got for no reason whatsoever and I fell victim to it every time.  So, I tried to hide my tears and get back home in time while keeping my head up high, pretending like nothing happened.  If you've ever had to do that, you know how hard it is.  I think the difficult part of being yelled at by your husband for some irrational reason is being in front of someone in his family whom you value.  You wonder if that person will look at you differently.  It's embarrassing, not to mention hurtful.  I tried to avoid eye contact with my nephew because I didn't want to see the look of disdain or disappointment.  My ex had just made such a scene and made me look like a horrible person.  How was I supposed to face my nephew again?
We browsed the store some more, and I tried to just browse on my own.  I didn't want my nephew to suffer being with the worst person in the world.  My ex, I could care less.  Anyway, this went on for a bit.  Finally, it was time to go.  We left the store, got to the car.  I still avoided eye contact with my nephew, and I continued to look dazed and distant.  I just wanted to be alone and by myself.  I was still processing my thoughts.  Besides who would want to be with me?  Absentmindedly, I opened the back seat of the car to where I normally sit.  I would have sat down but my eyes brought me back to reality.  In that spot was a gift.  Yes, a beautiful wrapped gift with a ribbon on it and all.  I looked at my nephew who sat at the back with me.  This was the first time since the mess back at Landmark that we made eye contact and he smiled.  I asked, "What is this?"  He just smiled.  "Open it!"  It was a CD of this group that he wanted me to listen to.  He had told me about them earlier.
I have received gifts in my life before but no gift has meant as much to me as the gift that day that uplifted me and told me that I too belonged in this world and I too was worth it, and one person's attempt at tainting my character would not work.
I think the moral of this story is not about getting gifts but it's about being singled out and elevated and being told, while you are in the midst of a situation where you are oppressed and have no control, that you are a beautiful human being worthy of attention and love.  It's also the silent recognition of the situation.  It the unspoken words that are transmitted at frequencies that only you can hear.  "I know what you are going through."
I have a lot of fond memories of great times with family and friends.  A lot.  I am truly blessed.  We all have our crazy moments within our own families.  However, when someone stands up against the injustice done to you, whether it's as simple as the amount of cookie dough you got or making you human again when you've been put down for no reason, it makes them your angel.
I really think if you have ONE such memory, you are gifted.  For those of you close to me who are reading this, please know that my 2 memories do not diminish all the wonderful gifts you all have maybe given me through the years.  It's just that these 2 were like the salmon swimming upstream.

Best always,