Month: August 2018

Last days

This afternoon I closed the door on yet another chapter of my life, and the outcome can go either way. I have left my job in Tewkesbury due to personal and health reasons and I am hoping to find something else somewhere else.

It is quite strange to pack your goodies after so much time, hell, I have done it so many times I am an expert! But it’s the funny things that I end up breaking up that make me smile the most: my 2 decker paper tray and my makeshift shelf were all cobbled together from boxes and wood, and helped make my life just that easier. Let’s face it, I can be a messy worker at times so every little bit of shelving or organising space helps. Wherever I have worked I have built these contraptions, often because the companies do not provide decent spaces where you can stash your “stuff”. I also have bought a number of tools to make things easier and these will now join my every expanding toolbox at home. 

It is depressing to think that the knowledge I have gained over these 3 years will never be used again, I can pull the little flush lever in my brain and it can join the knowledge of all the arcane stuff that I have fixed or worked on in my career that lives in the dusty archives of my brain basement. I do however keep some skills handy because sometimes odds and ends of it will be used somewhere else. A good example is my printer repair skills that were last used in 1998. Little did I know that in 2015 I would have to dredge them from the dusty archive of my mind, and when I first started here 3 years ago I was embarrassed to see how much things had evolved since I first started working on printers. Way back then a colour laser was unheard of, and ink jets were rickety machines that often stopped printing randomly. There was no such thing as USB or Wifi, it was serial or parallel only! Things have come a long way since then though, and pricewise they have definitely improved, although that may not be true in South Africa where nothing ever comes down in price.

The one thing I usually miss has to do with the people I worked with. Because I lead a solitary life I very rarely get to know people well except in the case of work colleagues. I spend 8 hours in a day with them (as they do with me), and naturally it can be an up and down affair depending on how much work we have or how much we get moaned at or how much we help each other. The tech field seems to draw slightly “weird” (in a nice way) characters and this time around was no different.  I will miss them the most, and the sad thing is that in so many cases, when you walk out the door for the last time you never see them again.  This will be true from the 1st of September.

Naturally there are those who I will not miss, but I will not discuss them, suffice to say that I have encountered many of these in my careers, and they exist everywhere too.

As I head into the last 3,5 hours I am still bogged down with broken machines, but my pile of stuff is steadily moving towards my backpack as I prepare to sail towards the horizon. Here be dragons? Who knows.

Will I remain in Tewkesbury? It really depends on whether I can find work to pay the rent while I look for permanent work wherever that may be.

As I always say: watch this space!

DRW © 2018 – 2019. Created 31/08/2018


Breaking the Lusitania

Yes it is true, I broke the Lusitania. 

Actually there is a bit more to this title than meets the eye. When the Atlas Editions “Legendary Ocean Liners” collection was originally advertised most of us were very excited, but that excitement declined when we saw the first model come out (RMS Titanic).  It was not what I expected, in fact it was not good at all. I had already decided to not collect the ships because of the outlay on these part works and hassles cancelling it. I was not after most of the ships anyway, just a select few, and it was easier to buy those off ebay once the novelty wore off. 

I did pick up a Titanic for the princely sum of £10 at the local charity shop but really wanted the Lusitania model.

The Titanic model was not great,  which is sad because the Atlas Editions warships were amazing models and I have a few of them. The warships were easy to waterline, you just had to unscrew the lower hull and voila: a waterline warship. The big question was: could you do the same with the passenger ships? short answer is: no! The hull is in one piece so it is going to be a mission to cut off the underwater part of the hull. I had done that before to a Revell QE2 model and that was plastic, this was some sort of alloy and would need a lot of work unless you had the right tools (which I thought I had.)

A quick squizz on youtube found me a video of somebody that had performed surgery on these models, and I watched it and it didn’t seem too complicated but there were snags in doing it. I have a mains powered mini tool and a whole wodge of cutting and grinding disks so it was feasible. It was just a case of getting a ship and actually doing it. With hindsight I should have cut the Titanic first.

A few weeks ago Atlas Editions suddenly stopped trading and a notice appeared on their website “it is no longer possible to place orders for new collections”. The playing field had changed and it was now in the realm of the second hand market. I did not really expend much energy looking for a Lusitania though but eventually found and bought one off ebay.

It is not a nice model, in fact it doesn’t really look too much like the Lusitania. The vents make it look like the Mauretania (incidentally they use the same model for the Mauretania), and I have no idea why there are strips of different colours on her superstructure.

Unscrewing the base was easy, and I tried a cut on the underside of the hull… seemed to work…

Phew, it turned out to be a major job, my cutting disks were just not up to the job and I ended up using a hacksaw to cut my way through the metal. The big snag is that there are at last two known pillars used to screw the base onto, and possibly more that I did not know about. The metal was easy to cut but the angles and sizes made it difficult. Surprisingly enough the paint and plastic fittings held out quite well although I eventually broke the mast and the foredeck crane (did the Lusie have one originally?).  

Here are the 3 sliced up bits

And what it looks like as a waterline model only before I get down to finishing off the waterine.

I am semi happy with what I have achieved, but there is still a lot of metal work involved to get the model down onto the waterline. Watch this space is the operative word from now on.  

The next day.

I repainted the underwater parts and add a new white line and remounted the mast and painted them brown. The ship looks like this now and I like it more than the full hull version. Will I waterline the Titanic? I am considering it, but at least next time around I will know what is waiting for me

As mentioned before, there is a Mauretania in dazzle camouflage,  and it uses the same model for both. Do they really think we wouldn’t notice? Similarly there is a dazzle camouflaged Olympic and I expect that they are using the same Titanic model but may be wrong, I have not seen too many pics of that iteration yet. 

The funny thing is that since there is no longer an Atlas Editions distributor the ships are popping up all over ebay as being available from China. 

** Update 13/10/2018 **

I managed to pick up an Albatros Mauretania and she is amazingly detailed. 

And this is what she looks like with the Atlas Lusitania.

I taped those strange brown lines on the Lusie and at some point may paint them instead. I do however like this waterlined Lusitania, it is quite a nice model if you don’t look too closely at it.  This is what they look like from above:

Out of curiosity, a friend of mine was looking for a France model and I managed to snag him an Atlas Editions one. It looks like this:

Overall it was not too awful and does have its faults. I am looking at those funnels with interest because they may fit the Triang France which does not have winged funnels. 

DRW © 2018 – 2019. Created 26/08/2018, updated 13/10/2018, new image added 16/04/2019


Tewkesbury Classic Vehicle Festival 2018

 [ TCVF2016 ] [ TCVF 2017 ]

The Tewkesbury Classic Vehicle Festival is held around this time of the year pretty much longer than I have lived here. I missed the 2015 event as it was cancelled because of heavy rain, but this year, 2018, is probably the last time I will be attending the event. It is fascinating to walk through because so many of the vehicles are cars from my past, and my parents past too. It did not seem that there were as many vehicles on display this year, and of course the weather was grey and cloudy some of the time. But, it was still packed and cars were still arriving by the time I left just after 12 (and the sun was making token appearances too). 

How to not repeat what I have posted before? duplication will creep in, and many of the cars on show were here in the previous years too, so unlike last time when i posted 4 pages, this time I am going to try to keep it at 1. I am really going to try post the odds and ends that interest me in this post instead of the usual vehicles.

There were 2 speed merchants to see this year, and it’s kind of hard to picture them hurtling along because they will just be blurs in the lens. The first was the Bloodhound SSC,a British supersonic vehicle currently in development. Its goal is to match or exceed 1,000 miles per hour (1,609 km/h), and achieving a new world land speed record. The pencil-shaped car  is designed to reach 1,050 miles per hour (1,690 km/h).

The vehicle was supposed to be tested on the Hakskeen Pan in the Mier area of the Northern Cape, but it appears that the record attempt has been put off till 2019. Maybe one day we will hear that it happened, but this glimpse at the needle nosed speed merchant was a unique one,

Speed merchant number two was a dragster, and its the first one I have ever seen in real life before. Its an impressive beastie but seems almost fragile. I know nothing about these vehicles but the fastest competitors can reach speeds of up to 530 km/h and can cover the 1,000 foot (305 m) run in anything between 3.6 and 4 seconds (on a good day?).  

Fortunately I prefer a more sedate drive and one of the many oldies I saw was a fabric bodied Austin 7 from 1928.

The British weather played havoc with the vehicles and I don’t think there are too many survivors around. The fabric used was called Rexine’, a cloth coated with a mixture of cellulose paint and castor oil and formerly used in the manufacturing of WW1 aircraft wings. I was quite fortunate to see this old lady and hear about the unique body. Truly a rare gem of a vehicle.

Two other oddities that tickled my fancy were a pair of milk floats in the Cotteswold Dairy livery. I cycle past the Dairy every morning and it never occurred to me that they would have operated floats too. 

How many of us used to collect Matchbox cars as children? and how many were thrown away by our mothers? quite a lot of them end up in boxes like this one…

Spot the blue Mini… I almost had to have a dual with a munchkin over the contents of that box, and we both left satisfied and clutching our 50p toys in sweaty hands. Phew, these muchkins can play dirty though. On the subject of Mini’s, yes there were quite a few there, and I have probably seen most of the ones on display, naturally some caught my eye, although the pink one was kind of jarring. It was for sale too, but I had spent my last 50p so was skint.

The other Mini that hurt my eyes was this orange 1970 Mini Clubman Estate (the turquoise one was quite nice too), I will post the new Mini’s in my famous Mini Minor with two flat tyres gallery at some point.

Another interesting find was this Ford Escort that did not come from the factory like this. It is a four seater, 3 sleeper motor caravan based on the Ford Escort 8 cwt deluxe van. 

The odd love of camper vans was also evident from the many VW’s Kombi’s around in various states of quirkiness.  I believe the windows in the roof were for viewing mountains with. 

Next to this old lady was a Beetle Cabriolet from the 1970’s. I was not too keen on the bubble gum colour, but she was a nice vehicle and her own was justifiably proud of her.

And you can always enjoy your travels on 2 wheels if the need takes you, and there were some interesting bikes on display too. The show stopper however was this beaut. It was a seriously large bike, but I have no idea how the rider manages with it.

There were a few other vintage machines, the first one in this trio is a 1914 Triumph Roadster.

although I kind of liked this Lambretta step through scooter in spite of the colour.

Chrome was evident in many of the vehicles though, and that reminds me, have you seen my Figureheads and Hood Ornaments post yet? I started it way back in 2017 and was finally able to complete it in 2018. 

Dream car? besides a Mini? there are a few that really make me ooh and aah, and right at the top of the list is the Morgan and this red example is perfect. Sadly I did not see any 3 wheel Morgans around this year.

There were not too many small commercial truck and van variants around, but there were two that made me smile.

I could probably waffle the whole day about the 400 images that I took, but I wont. Suffice to say I enjoyed this blast from the past. What I did find quite odd though was that there were a number of vehicles that are still in production on show (Golf’s and Mercs and Beemers), and I cannot quite class them as vintage or even classic. But if you look at it rationally, the VW Golf has been in production since 1974, and those 1974 models are now over 40 years old and technically are classics. What I do find hard to think about is that in 50 years time car enthusiasts may be looking at some of the plastic rubbish on our roads and discussing the merits of the internal combustion engine and a pre 2000 VW Golf, or the merits of a three wheel vehicle over a hoverspeeder.

And as usual I shall leave you with some random cars. In no particular order and with no favouritism anywhere. 

 

 

And that was it for the Classic Vehicle Festival of 2018. It was fantastic and special thanks to all those who keep these oldies running and in such a great condition. I probably wont see you next year, but I have many memories to carry me forward of the event that I have seen this year and in 2016 and 2017.

 [ TCVF2016 ] [ TCVF 2017 ]

DRW © 2018 – 2019. Created 19/08/2018