Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pic of the Day: Fort Jefferson, 1898

Standing on the seawall, looking along the ditch and the southeast wall. The east bastion (Bastion C) is in the distance. We're standing on the curve where the seawall turns to face on the south wall, adjacent to Bastion D.

This is one of a trove of photos and technical drawings in the National Park Service Historic Structure Report for Fort Jefferson.

This fort is spectacular. If you go to Key West, you owe it to yourself to take the 90 minute FastCat ride out there, some 70 miles west of the Keys. Once you're there, even though you're miles west of Florida and Cuba, you're still considered to be in the Atlantic Ocean (or maybe the Gulf of Mexico is north?). Climb up on top of the massive walls and all you see is ocean in every direction.

The water's like crystal. Very good snorkeling on the coral reefs that surround the fort.

Project: "The Car" plans in CAD (pt. 5)

This thing's looking more like a car now. I got the peak lines for the rear fenders, part of the rear roof, and what looks like a vent panel just in front of the trunk lid.

Just's taken me something like 20 hours to get this far. And I only have the side, bottom, front and rear views to go!

Then..."The Car."

Close your blinds--it might be out there watching.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Project: "The Car" plans in CAD (pt. 4)

Took about 3 hours from my busy napping schedule to get back on the Lincoln. I made a slight adjustment to the front fender line and placed the rear window opening and a rectangular panel that sits just ahead of the rear trunk lid.

It took several hours' worth of studying all the source pics I grabbed last week to work out just what the Mark III's real shape is. On first glance, it's just a slab-sided brick with a knife-edge fender peak that runs the length of the car. It's not obvious just yet in the drawing, but there's a very subtle "Coke bottle" effect. The front-most point on the front fenders is the widest. The body narrows very slightly just at the rear edge of the doors, then swells just wide enough for the rear wheels before narrowing again at the rear bumper.

So it's a subtle slab-sided brick.

Good thing about CAD is that I can erase lines without messing up the screen.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Project: "The Car" plans in CAD (pt. 3)


Johnny Lightning's Lincoln is reasonably close--well, it's in a ballpark near mine.

Still working on the front end of the Mark III, trying to hash out the shape of the fenders. Had to go looking for more source photos of Lincolns. Ended up at a page comparing the Mark III and its Cadillac competition with lots of usable pics and one hell of a long loading time.

Good thing I'm not on dial-up anymore. That site would have taken days to deal with. Just grabbing the link to paste it here made my computer choke for almost 2 minutes.

So anyway, the Lightning car is somewhere near right for suitably vague definitions of right. Still cheaper than finding a full-scale Mark III to measure.

About the only line I've locked in since the last post is the base of the windshield.

Need more caffeine.

Monday, June 16, 2014

George W. Bush, The Failure

...or the Overwhelming Success, as far as Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda are concerned.

Osama should have commissioned a medal for George Bush, who turned out to be his unwitting point man in the United States.

Were it not for Fratboy and his neoconservative lackeys and the media toads who whipped Iraq from unimportant Middle Eastern backwater to OMG EVIL EVIL EVIL!!!!!111!!!!, Osama's terrorist mission couldn't have succeeded.

Fortunately for him, Fratboy did everything Al Qaeda could ever have wanted. He handed Osama an enormous victory by invading Iraq and toppling Saddam: now Al Qaeda could enter Iraq. Fratboy took their hat and coat, polished their shoes, served them coffee, and paid the tab in cash and blood.

Mission Accomplished.

Edited to add a comment I scribbled elsewhere. Liked it too much to just leave it there:

Time to round the chuckleheads up, load 'em on C-47s wearing whatever they're already wearing when they're nabbed, slap a chute on 'em, and Operation Dope Drop their asses somewhere generally close to somewhere in Iraq. Since Cheney will be there, make it an undisclosed location. He'll like that.

Give General George Dubya a Patton hat, make McCain't his tactical advisor. them like they did the troops: insufficient armor and equipment for the job. Maybe they'll get lucky and find a cache of stuff abandoned by the Iraqis before they ran off.

McCain't and Cheney can grimace at 'em. Dubya can paint 'em something purty.

Hell, we can even call it "D Day"...for "Dumbasses." If they get captured...well, we're not at war in Iraq, so they're not POW's (sorry, McCain't, I know you like the martyr gig), and we don't know diddly cupcake about 'em.

"What? He says he's George Bush? He painted you a flower? I see. You want to trade him for who? Bieber? What's a Bieber?"

Friday, June 13, 2014

Project: "The Car" plans in CAD (pt. 2)

Moving a little faster today. Ordered a scale modeling ruler from Excel (1/24, 1/25, 1/35, 1/48, 1/72).

Still working on the top-view, going front to back. At the current stopping point, I've gotten the front bumper, grille, and hood roughed-in.

Starting to look like a car.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Project: "The Car" plans in CAD (pt. 1)

1977's "The Car" was a low-budget lift of "Jaws" (interesting discussion of that at the link). The acting and dialogue are laughable in places--hammy, campy and over-the-top.

It's one of those so-bad-it's-good flicks that's worth watching with friends, but not so bad that you'll need extensive alcohol support. Bring your sarcasm along.

(article at Wikipedia)

(The Drew Review: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3)

The IMDB page.

A little town in the American Southwest finds itself stalked by a mysterious black car.

First, a pair of teens are run down as they ride their bicycles on a mountain highway.

Then, it's a French horn-playing wiseass who, frankly, had it coming. The Car backs over him, then hits him a few more times for good...measure (heeheehee).

As the bodies rack up, the cops try to confront the bad guy only to get wasted themselves. It's up to newly-minted Sheriff Wade and his remaining men--and the county's wife-beating dynamite expert--to try to trap The Car under tons of rock.

The real star of the movie is The Car itself. It started out as a 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III. George "Batmobile" Barris and his guys modified three of them, mostly by adding sheetmetal bodywork over the existing Lincoln panels.

One of them is the "hero car," the main actor if you will, used for the bulk of filming. The other two were stunt cars. There's some disagreement in the various writeups I've seen online, though. Barris' own website says there were four--one hero and three stunt cars. Another source says three, with a fourth "loosely assembled" on a later-model Thunderbird body for the movie's finale, where The Car is tricked into going over a cliff to its doom.

Either way, only one survived filming. It was parked on the Universal back lot for a few years. Supposedly, it was auctioned off in 1984. The auction picture does look like one of the originals, but there are some differences. The hero/shooting car had chrome trim around the windshield; the two stunt cars had black trim and so does the auction car:

The bumper and grille are wrong, too, but the bodywork does look like one of the real articles.

I've scoured the Internet several times looking for source photos, drawings, trivia, the same sort of thing I was doing a year ago working on my build of Revell's 1/96 Saturn V. With that one, I got close to a gig of photos and videos.

With this one...not so much. a little more than 240 pictures and some videos, a dozen conflicting websites.

Guillermo del Toro got his brother to make him one.

This guy's build is much closer, since he started from a Lincoln Mark III. His Facebook page has a ton of build photos and some behind-the-scenes shots of the Barris build and filming.

Ertl made a 1/18-scale die-cast of The Car about a decade ago. I found one of those on Ebay for close to $200. Way out of my price range. I'm not bringing another car home, either, though there are several up for sale...and even more out of my price range.

Tom Zahorsky at Johnny Lightning built a single 1/64 scale Car in preparation for tooling, but the project got axed. The one in his blog writeup is the only complete one.

From here, it gets even more scarce. A poster named "Tom" scratchbuilt one in 1/87 scale. There's a picture of this tiny wonder at about a fourth of the way down. He mentioned making copies available in 2008, but hasn't been back to that site since 2009.


I took a lot of screen-captures from my copy of the movie, grabbed pictures of Lincoln Mark III's, and dug around online in search of a cheap Lincoln until I finally found this ugly green creature:

This is a '69 Lincoln Mark III from the Johnny Lightning "demolition derby" line. Here it's clamped to a modeler's miter box to give me a good right-angle reference for accurate measuring. Measure twice, draw once, right?

This is me, so you know there was a snag. Johnny Lightning, Hotwheels, Matchbox and the rest sell their cars as 1/64 scale.

I worked on my first CAD attempt for most of Friday night and well into Saturday morning before I realized that nothing was lining up with the real-world specs for the Mark III. Did a little measuring Saturday night and found that the Lincoln is actually closer to 1/72 scale.

Crap, again, and crap.

Scrapped most of the previous night's work--well, 6 freaking lines and a few guidelines--and started mostly over. Since I started with the real-world specs, I kept my basic guides. About all I had to do once I got restarted yesterday afternoon was to move the wheels back a few scale inches.

Here's where it is now, complete with expanded view guides for front, rear, top and bottom. I decided to work on the top view first this time:

So far, it's just the center section of the hood, the grille, and part of the front bumper, but it's a lot more than I had before. Yeah, this is probably the more complicated way to do it, drawing up the complete Lincoln and then drawing The Car over that, but it seems like the best way to get the right results.

No idea when I'll get done, but for now I'm just enjoying the challenge. CAD fort drawings are much easier--lots of straight lines, simple curves, and repeated details. For all its slab-sided, hard-edged looks, even the Lincoln is more complicated than I'd expected, though Barris' Car is going to be much easier. Lots of those straight lines and simple curves.

Bonus cool: Barris is also responsible for the Beverly Hillbillies' Olds truck.