Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Galileo Restoration Team WON!

UPDATE: HOORAY! The Galileo Restoration team has won the auction, and will be restoring the shuttle prop to its original glory AND will find a way so that all of us fans will have a chance to see it in time for Star Trek's 50th anniverary. This is great news. Congrats, Trekkies. Check out their website:

Will the Galileo Shuttle Fly Again?!

Ever watch an episode of your favorite old TV show, see a vehicle/prop, and wonder to yourself, "I wonder if that thing is still out there, and if so, where is it, and who has it?"

The other day I was watching for the umteenth time the Star Trek episode "The Galileo Seven."  I won't bore you with a synopsis, since most of you know the episode.  But even if you don't remember it, chances are you DO recall the shuttlecraft from the original series of Star Trek.  It was a life-size prop, and was made by the folks at AMT-- that's right, the model company-- who in turn created a tiny plastic model kit of it for sale to all of us.

Though the Galileo shuttlecraft was destroyed in "The Galileo Seven," the full-size prop was reused for any moments when they needed actors to interract with a different shuttle ("Metamorphosis," "Journey to Babylon," etc).  And like everything else in Hollywood, when it wasn't needed anymore, they didn't want it.  Sooner or later, it ended up in Lynn Miller's hands, where it unfortunately sat OUTSIDE in the bitter elements for decades, in Ohio. Yikes.

Well, it's still mostly intact, and is currently being auctioned to whomever might decide to take it on-- it's not only big, but is going to need a LOT of love and money to get it back to where it needs to be.  Today is the last day of the auction, so if you're grotesquely wealthy and industrious, and a big-time Trekkie, this is your golden moment.

There's an organization that's been formed to try to win the auction, restore it, and then make sure that the public will have access to view it-- something that mostly doesn't happen when big-money people finally get their toys ("MY toys, you can't see it, WAAAAHHH!").  I would love to see this thing in person, be able to walk inside of it.  Hopefully they'll be able to acquire it and get it back to ship-shape.

Here's a link to an article for more info, including some amazing (and sad) pics of the shuttle in its current state.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Next Project on the Table

Well, for Father's Day, I utilized a coupon I had for Hobby Lobby and picked up this kit that I'd eyeballed the last time I visited.  It's been about 17 years since I've built an aircraft model, so it will be interesting to see just how my intervening years of experience will result in an improved final ship.

The one other WW2 plane I have is a P51 Mustang, which looks pretty cool even now, but the decals suffer badly from silvering, something I now know how to avoid.  Speaking of silver...

I also recently bought a 1:48 scale Revell B-29 Superfortress that I'll be putting together soon.  This thing is BIG, with a wingspan of almost three feet!  I've already begun harvesting tons of images of the planes so that I can get as accurate as possible (but still have fun).

I've also finally acquired a real airbrush!  All of those years of using cans, and wasting paint, can come to an end.  I'm really glad I have it now as it will come in handy in the near future when I get around to building my 1:350 Refit Enterprise.  Of course, I'll be updating as I go along!

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Little Backtrack Attack...

For anyone who's been along for the ride from back in the old "Fortress of Solitude West Coast" days, please forgive this foray into stale bread.

So a co-worker at that job where I'm wasting my life away was interested in seeing some of my stuff, so I've decided to compile some re-treads, some of them oldies, a few of them goodies, a lot of them head-scratchers.

Much like the old days, on my last crummy job, even now in my current job I find the need to daydream every now and then.  The human brain is NOT intended to do the same lame things over and over again.  Anyways, in my old job, I'd get bored and grab a company memo and start doodling on the back.  These drawings would be the size of a potato chip, and inked with whatever pen was nearby.  The subject matter might not have survived so well.

I've always been a fan of movie music.  My all-time favorite film composer is John Williams (duh).  My second favorite was the late Jerry Goldsmith.  Their styles differed, their looks differed, and I imagined that if they were put together in an ongoing social set-up, you'd see that their approaches to life differed as well.  I gave them personalities that they probably never had, created a rivalry for them that probably was never there, and had them do things that their elderly bodies could probably not do.  In other words, they became cartoons.

The humor in these most likely won't work for most people.  There was a forum that was devoted to (believe it or not) John Williams and his music, and naturally I'd post these cartoons there.  Within that context, they were enjoyed by the forum members.  I've long since abandoned the forum, along with these little doodles that became comics.  As you can tell, the latter ones were more than just memo doodles.


Aside from these doodles, there were also some little things I did that defy sense; they're head-scratchers.  Oddball moments when I was watching TV, and (surprise, surprise) TV stank and was boring, and so I grabbed a sheet of paper and started to draw, without worrying about where it would take me.  Whatever.
A gaphic design project-- parody of an ad.

A danger eliminated by the iPod.

A spoof of the old Fantasia shot.

Until my mid-20s, I didn't think much of my drawing skills.  I didn't have many examples of my work because I'd just give it away... or throw it away.  Once you've created something, usually who gives a crap about it anymore?  Besides, I just thought that anyone could do it, that people were just too lazy to practice.  Now, that might be a bit true, but I thought-- erroneously, I might add-- that hey, maybe I could get some more art training, and then utilize my skills to make a living.  Well, that all turned out to be a waste of time and money, and now I rot in a factory.  A lesson in there, kids.
But at least I have some remnants from some of my classes.  These projects feature crap that I'd never have had the patience to complete UNLESS it was homework, and required to pass the class.  I look at it now and feel bummed, knowing that in the end it would amount to nothing.  It reminds me of that SNL skit, when William Shatner told a group of Trekkies, "You all have turned an old TV show into a collossal waste of time."
The drawings below were from a beginner's drawing class.  We weren't trying to produce works of art; this class was about one thing: define by value, not by line.  The whole object of the class was to break us from the habit of delineating everything, doing everything like a cartoon.  We could only work in varying shades of graphite, and we had to utilize photographs.  We were like slow-motion, grayscale, human copy machines.  What a lousy experience.

But when that borefest was over, the semester arrived when I was finally allowed to mess with paint.  At first, it was really depressing; handling paint is a whole other ball game, especially after spending your life being comfortable with the control of a pencil.  But then I realized that painting was the opposite of the obsessive, high-detail nature of drawing:  you could fudge stuff.  Actually, you were EXPECTED to fudge stuff!
Painting class was one of those magic times, those rare moments when I felt like there was hope yet, that the future might be okay.  I look back and see it all with a glow.  If I'd known how things would end up, and where I'd be today, I would've (as my good friend Loyd once said) told somebody to take me out to a vacant lot somewhere and shoot me in the head.
But aside from the misery of the mediocrity and monotony of these times, I at least have two paintings that I display in my dining room.  One is of composer (who else) John Williams, conducting the main theme from Star Wars (the sheet music is actually an arrangement of the theme).  On a whim, I entered this painting into the Cal Art Expo in 2006, and it ended up being accepted and received some kind of award, whose title I can't remember.  It was a surreal experience, a.) taking the painting to Sacramento and leaving it there, and b.) going to the exhibit and seeing strangers walk up to it and stare at it.  Strange.

I got quite a lot of "mileage" from this painting.  It ended up being used for the Austin Wind Symphony's advertisements for their John Williams concert, and I even saw a photo online of a group of guys attending a music festival in Spain, all wearing t-shirts with this painting on its front.  Talk about surreal.
The other painting, the same size as the Williams portrait (24" by 36"), was of my wife Shannon.  The painting was created at the same time as the Williams one, and again, I have happy memories of sitting in my Springtime garage, listening to my music and knowing that I was on to something.

These days, I don't get the chance to do much painting, or even drawing.  As I chugged along to pursue my art degree, the real world stepped in and I lost my job.  I had to quit school and ended up doing what I do now, which pays the bills.  It's not a happy story, and to tell you the truth, I don't care to talk about it anymore, or I might go outside and stand in the middle of the road, waiting for some reckless pick-up driver to come by.
I can remember clearly, during those positive times, thinking, "This is just too good.  It can't last much longer."  Well, often we doubt ourselves, but that was one time when I could've taken it to the bank.  Life does indeed suck.
These days, I spend pockets of time working on models, as most visitors to my blog know.  They don't take as long to complete as drawings, and don't have to be built in the garage, like my paintings.
This completes my demonstration.  Now back to lousy, exhausting, unfulfilling life as I know it. Y'all take care now.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Pantheon of Plastic: 1950s Batmobile from Johnny Lightning... COMPLETE!

As the above pic illustrates, she's now ready to prowl the streets of Gotham City, with the Caped Crusader at the wheel, and Robin in the back, on a stool before a chemistry set, analyzing the latest threat from the Joker (see the album of pics below).

I'll admit that I was really surprised with how well it all turned out.  I did some customizing to the kit.  As my best friend Loyd told me, the interior provides a LOT of potential for storytelling.  I took this as far as it could go, and the results were, I think, pretty chuckle-worthy.  It's kind of sad that the thing sat out in the hot/cold garage for so long;  it's such a super-cool kit!

The one thing that I DESPISE about car kits is that moment when you have to join the body shell with the chasis.  Almost always, you have to torque this and bend that, and parts pop off, or it just won't fit.  Well, with this kit, the body laid over it all perfectly, with no struggle.  The only pain in the butt part was when it came time to screw the fin on the back; the holes were not big enough, so I had to actually get out the Dremel and bore the holes more!  It was one of those moments when you realize that, if you slip and damage the body or window after all of the work you've done....

Well, that didn't happen, and Batman and Robin have one SWEET RIDE!!! Check out the pics below!
1950s Batmobile from Johnny Lightning!