Daily archives: May 20, 2007

Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby

Ruby canoe
Originally uploaded by spinneyhead.
Perhaps because the story meant so much to me when I wrote it, perhaps because I felt like challenging myself, the chapters in Ruby Red are each getting an illustration. This is chapter 1 “Ruby”.

After several abortive attempts at drawing a canoe from reference material I went on the web and found one to download. I changed the textures to reflect the matt plastic finish I remember on Coleman canoes and added the name to the prow. Then I rendered it in Bryce. The reflected shoreline is something I couldn’t work out how to do in Bryce, so it’s taken from a picture I took of Bassenthwaite last October, stuck on the layer below the render (which had been set to Multiply), blurred and made 50% opaque.

Not a great piece of digital art, but I’m happy with it.

Skyline Central

Skyline Central
Originally uploaded by spinneyhead.
I haven’t been up Rochdale Road for a while, so the new build apartment blocks there were something of a surprise for me. I had been looking for the Dojo Ecoshop, where I purchased a ladybird tower for the garden. I also stumbled across the “World Famous” Central skate park. Much more Tony Hawk and I may feel the urge to try it for real (and break lots of bones, I know).

Skyline Central has an interesting water feature and this rather funky sphere between the two main towers.

A bundle of reference links

Whilst going through the archives of Spinneyhead, I’ve found a few posts and links that might be of interest to modellers-

The Russian dog anti tank mine.

In the dynamic flow of a battlefield equipment can get lost or captured. A quick trip through captured and repurposed weaponry-
The world of captured planes
Captured Planes
Captured Allied planes (Warning- cheesey beyond belief music, which is a shame because there are some very useful images here.)
A collection of pieces about captured B-17s
Fleet Air Arm planes captured by the Axis
A gallery of tanks captured by the Germans
Modelling a captured Russian KV-2
Israel made good use of captured T54s and T55s and various other vehicles.
Russian tank museum, including many captured tanks.
Captured First World War tanks.
Ships captured by the German Navy.

Test Beds
I’ve just been to the Museum of Science and Industry and checked out the aviation hall. Interesting stuff-
Avro Lancasters were used as flying test beds for jet engines. Video of the tests is online here.
The Avro 707 isn’t quite a flying wing, but I have a soft spot for the delta wing planes such as this and the Vulcan.
A picture of the Hafner Rotachute (more) hiding away in the corner of a painting has given me ideas for another novel way to land assault troops. The Germans used similar devices for spotting from U-Boats.
But the most affecting plane in the whole display is still the tiny Yokosuka OHKA, a suicide jet that was pretty much a desperate last gasp from the Japanese.

Wing and a Prayer
The Me-163 ‘Komet’ was quite an astounding beast. I alluded to a similar plane when the Wasp squadron visited Dreamland (Chapter Three, blink and you miss it). Flight Journal has a long interview with one of the Komet’s chief test pilots.
It also has to be remembered that the Germans weren’t the only ones experimenting with new and unusual aeroplane designs. The Allies’ first jet plane was the Gloster Whittle, a pre-cursor to the Meteor and test bed for jet engines.
The ‘Hiller-copter’ and Landgraf H-2 were early twin bladed helicopter designs.
America experimented with flying wings in designs such as the XP-56 and XB-35, which I’ve mentioned many times before, but there were also experiments with gliders along the same lines.
The Brits also experimented with flying wings, as well as canard and tandem wing designs.
Even the Swedes got in on the act with the Saab 21A.

And also- Engines of the Red Army

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21st century slots

Wired’s GeekDad is getting back into slot car racing, finding the technology’s changed and pondering one piece bespoke tracks. I never had a Scalextric track, but for a while I did possess some Minic Motorway, which was HO/OO scale and designed to integrate with Triang model trailways. I think it was later donated to the late West Cumbria Toy Museum.

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