Monday, December 24, 2012

A MAD and Merry Christmas

A day early, but I don't mind. We're opening presents later today because Kristine has to work tomorrow.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

In Everlasting Memory

On this day in 1980 John Lennon was murdered by a piece of scum whose name is unworthy of mention.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Remember Pearl Harbor

On this day in 1941, a Sunday, the Japanese launched a sneak attack on our sleeping fleet and airfield at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Lousy, stinking, dirty, rotten cruds!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Happy Birthday, Kristine

My baby is 22 today. Where does the time go? I can say this: Every day has been a joy and delight.

Happy Birthday, Uncle Georgie

George Armstrong Custer was born on this day in 1839 in New Rumley, Ohio. In this picture he's leading a charge against superior Confederate forces at Gettysburg. Had the rebs succeeded in this flanking maneuver the battle would have been lost and Lee would have been free to invade Washington, D.C.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy, Happy Birthday, Baby

My lovely granddaughter, Sofia, is two today. What a ball of energy this kid is.  She's with her mother, Stephanie, in these pix.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Look Who's 65 Today

Still rocking after all these years.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Kit of the Day, Bill Crider Edition


     Who wouldn't want a model kit of The Six-Million-Dollar Man fighting a gator? Here's your chance, it's on eBay right now and I believe the price is reasonable. The only thing that has me scratching my head about this model is the briefcase at Lee Major's feet. Is this a tool box so he can tighten up a loose screw, or a secret formula the gator, an agent of a foreign power no doubt, is trying to steal?

     The maker of this oddity is Fun Dimensions, not a well-known name in modeling circles these days. Since it's a snap-together kit (no glue needed) the main challenge would be painting it to look realistic. And I have a feeling not many kids were up to that challenge.

     Bill, here you go.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kit of the Day

Tired of building tanks, planes, cars, and ships? How about a nice crustacean? So went the thinking of Superior Plastics of Chicago, Illinois, back in 1962. No, not really. This is from a line called Superior Science Series Projects. I suppose the idea was to introduce educational projects for the kids, or at least hope their parents would buy them a lobster instead of a Big Daddy Roth weirdmobile. The finished lobster was 15 inches long and cast in red, just like the real thing. No bib. I have to wonder what prompted Superior to take on such an enterprise since creating a mold is a very expensive proposition and the potential buyers of such a kit were almost non-existent. Still, I found two of these rarities on eBay this past week. One was selling for $17.01 and the other for $9.95. And you know, the more I think about it the more attractive this kit becomes. Should I?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day

Thanks to all my brother and sister vets for your service. Have a great day.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Stephanie

On this day in 1989 my first daughter, Stephanie, entered the world. A wonderful day, and the wonders never cease. Love you, kid.

Sunday, September 09, 2012


Friday: Mother-in-law turned 95. Today: Kid sister's birthday. Today: My 23rd wedding anniversary.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Wolf Creek: Bloody Trail

This is the first in a series of ebooks from the Western Fictioneers and if I understand its rather sinuous structure properly, each viewpoint character will be written by a different author. Also, this first edition is written by six scribes, each taking two consecutive chapters. Wolf Creek is a small town struggling to survive in post-Civil War Kansas. There are the understandable resentments among the residents who fought on opposite sides during the Recent Unpleasantness, but mostly folks get along. When a gang of former Confederate raiders invade the town to rob the bank, leaving dead people and animals in their wake, the townies assemble a posse to track them down. Some simmering resentments come to the fore during the manhunt, but by the time it's over the survivors see things in a brighter light. Because this is the first installment in a series there is a lot of exposition and backstory offered. I think it was a good two-and-a-half chapters before there was any action, but when it came it was well handled. I trust future books won't feel the need to recross the expositionary ground because even though the backgrounds of many of the charatcers are interesting, swallowing it in large doses may turn some readers off. My advice is to stick with it because there are a ton of talented people working on the books and I expect the ensuing ones to be humdingers. I know I'll be reading them. One nitpick: The Lamatt pistol, which had a shotgun barrel beneath a revolver barrel, was a 16-gauge, not 18-gauge.

No Moon Tonight

Let the dancing begin. "Reverend" Sun Myung Moon is dead. The Moonie leader is famous for arranging mass marriages among his adherents to people who often were total strangers to each other. Also for love bombing newbies and having his zombielike followers sell peanut brittle and jewelry door-to-door. The world is better off without people like him.

Monday, June 25, 2012

That Day Again

As every schoolboy worth his salt knows, today (June 25) is the anniversary of Custer's Last Stand, which occurred in 1876. Surrounded in mystery, controversy, and emotion, this is perhaps the most discussed and written-about battle in American history. Certainly the most famous in the Plains Wars of the 19th century. I also have my semi-annual dental checkup today.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Kit of the Day, Evan Lewis Style

Over on his blog, Evan Lewis has been touting the life and times of Jean Lafitte. In his honor I present today's kit, a pirate ship based on the movie THE BUCCANEER. Produced by Aurora, this seems like a simple and sturdy model (note the heavy rigging) and one a modeler of modest skills could build. I'm guessing it was an old kit with a new box to take advantage of the movie, yet none of the actors from that film are part of the box art. The opening bid was $24.99 and postage will be $7.95. Not too bad for an old Aurora kit. I'm sure Evan will want this so hold your bids and let him have it. BTW, fans, I think I've set this blog up so anyone can comment. No doubt this will issue in a whole new era of annoying spam, but I'm willing to take the gamble.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Kit of the Day

I have to admit I liked The Beverly Hillbillies, more now then when it first ran. The interplay between Jethro and Granny was always good for a laugh, and Donna Douglas made for some nice eye candy. Uncle Jed was the hub that held all the spokes in place. And how about that great theme song? I was saddened to learn that the singer and banjo player on "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," Earl Scruggs, just passed away.

But what better a subject for a model kit than the old Grapes of Wrath-style truck the Clampetts drove through their ritzy neighborhood? I believe in one show the 1921 truck was tricked out as a mean-ass hot rod, so this kit allows you to build either version. I imagine when you're done with one there will be enough spare parts for half of another vee-hickle.

The kit was issued in 1968 by MPC, a company that also made toy soldiers--the famous ring hand figures, among others. I have built MPC kits and they were often cheap and poorly engineered. That didn't diminish the value of this item on the collector market, however, because one of these kits recently sold for $249 + $13.60 shipping.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kit of the Day

Yes, nothing says speed like a cement mixer, and what better way to show that than to create a combination cement mixer/hot rod?

Actually, I kind of like it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kit of the Day

Comic artist Rube Goldberg created a lot of crazy contraptions on paper that would make the simplest jobs long and complicated via a string of interconnecting gadgets, animals, and tools. These gimmicks seemed like a natural for a model kit, someone must have reasoned, and a series of kits were issued that copied the Goldberg genius. If properly built they would perform the task at hand. In the one I'm showing it's a way to scrub grandpa's back. I've never had one of these kits, or even seen one, but it looks like it would be fun to build one.

It's That Day Again

Beware the Ides of March

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Remember the Alamo

March 6, 1836. After 13 days of siege the Alamo was overrun by the forces of General Santa Anna, general and dictator of Mexico. The heroic stand made by the Alamo's defenders has been the subject of books, movies, TV shows, comic books, and several Marx playsets. It has spawned wonder and controversy. The Alamo today--the little that's left of it--is a major tourist attraction. Some of the most famous men of their day died at the Alamo, notably Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie. Today is indeed a good day to remember the Alamo.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Kit of the Day

Bond, James Bond, fighting it out with Odd Job in a scene from GOLDFINGER. Note how the precise sculpting captures the dynamic action and breathtaking excitement.

Like fudge it does. I can't imagine why the company allowed this cheap-looking, stilted kit to reach the market, but it did. Fortunately, better kits from the Bond movies, including a very nice Odd Job pose, are available.
Airfix is a British firm that produced toy soldiers as well as model kits, and most of their output is very good. My guess is they either rushed this one out or couldn't find anyone skilled enough at figure sculpting to produce a convincing diorama.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kit of the Day

Here's a kit you can enjoy. Place it in the bath tub, run water to the appropriate level, pour some 30 weight oil on the water, and you can reenact the big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Toss in a few parakeets and the fun is endless.
Actually, it looks like a pretty neat kit. It's on eBay right now for a mere 99 cents. Plus $20.50 for shipping.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Linda

Yep, another birthday card to buy, this time for my wife. I suppose she'll want a gift, too. The obligations are endless.

The girl in the photo is Linda Stirling. It's the only picture in my computer of anyone named Linda.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom

My mother is 89 today.

The picture is not contemporary.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Honest Abe

Yep, on this day in 1809 The Great Emancipator was born. In Kentucky. A lot of people think he was born in Illinois because Illinois calls itself The Land of Lincoln. True, he did live and work there and ran for office there, but it wasn't his birthplace. I had the satisfaction of correcting my history teacher in college on that point.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Kit of the Day

Did you know that Fred Flintstone had a sports car? I didn't. But if you're a fan of the show and want to build a model of it, there's a kit available. What I find intriguing is the scale, 1/20th. How did they figure that? Measure the one they found in a cave?

Since no one cares about this feature that's all I'll say about it.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kit of the Day

Planes, ships, cars, armor, figures, monsters, animals, trains and artillery have all been subjects of plastic model kits, but not musical instruments. But for all the budding Gene Krupas out there who can't afford the real thing, there's this scale model of a drum set. I suppose a drummer who wanted it on the shelf in his office might be tempted to own this kit, but I don't think it had a large consumer pool. I don't know anything about the maker, obviously a Japanese company, but I hope they weren't banking on this item for their success.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Roof Speared

This is the branch that speared through the roof of my garage during last week's storms. Worse, water came in and ruined some of my Marx playset boxes, and perhaps some of my collectible paperbacks. I'll be climbing up into the loft this weekend to assess the damage. The roof is being repaired as we speak.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Kit of the Day

The Swamp from M*A*S*H. I bought this a few decades ago and may still have it around. There is also a kit with a truck, Radar, and Hotlips.

I've been staying home during our recent blizzard. It's not really a blizzard, but the Merchants of Doom--i.e., newscasters--would have you think so. Since I don't have to be anywhere I've just relaxed in the warm confides of Chez Cap'n. Oh, I went out to the mail box every day, and shoveled a little snow once, but mostly I've been content to work on my models and prepare OWLHOOT, the Western apa I ramrod. I love retirement.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Kit of the Day

Part of my cultural deprivation is that I've never heard of the New Monkees. Those who have, and want a model car to commemorate that memory, can bid on this item on eBay. Cost is in line with the average model car.

Wikipedia had this to say about them:

The 20th anniversary of The Monkees in 1986 generated enough interest that New Monkees was conceived later that year, and launched the following year. The show was produced by Columbia Pictures Television and distributed by Coca-Cola Telecommunications (both are now Sony Pictures Television). Straybert Productions, headed by Steve Blauner (a former partner of original Monkees producers Robert Rafelson and Bert Schneider), served as the project's producers.

The group's members were Jared Chandler (guitar and vocals), Dino Kovas (drums and vocals), Marty Ross (bass guitar and vocals), and Larry Saltis (lead guitar and vocals). As it had been with the original Monkees, each had to pass a grueling set of auditions. Unlike the previous series, however, musical ability was a key factor in the selection process. Ross, a multi-instrumentalist, had earlier been signed to CBS Records, with his former band The Wigs.

The band released one self-titled album, distributed by Warner Bros. Records. The synth-pop sound of the New Monkees was largely the work of producers Carol Carmichael Parks and Dean Parks, and was similar to that of contemporaries Mr. Mister and Glass Tiger. Other New Monkees producers were Steve Barri and Tony Peluso, Matt Wallace, Joe Curiale, and Mike Slamer, who co-wrote a song for the album with Larry Saltis.

On the show, the band lived in a large mansion with a butler named Manford (Gordon Oas-Heim), and numerous unexplored rooms (much like recent hit series The Young Ones), and this was the main source of their adventures. Instead of a normal kitchen and dining room, the house featured a diner with a waitress named Rita, played by former exercise instructor Bess Motta, of 20 Minute Workout fame. Also present in the mansion was a talking computer called Helen (voiced by Lynnie Godfrey), who used to work for the Defense Department but has found that she preferred rock music over world destruction.

Originally slated for a 22-episode season, the show earned ratings lower than expected, and New Monkees left the air after thirteen episodes. The album also did not catch on, and yielded no hit records. The producers hoped that the TV show would serve as promotion for their record, and vice versa, but this did not occur. A lawsuit was filed by the original Monkees for use of the name. However, the case was settled out of court.

Though a release of the series on DVD had been mentioned as a possibility by Larry Saltis in an interview several years ago, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made no such release to date. The New Monkees album also remains out of print.

Interest in the band has continued on Internet news groups. In 2007, all four New Monkees reunited for a meet-and greet-with fans in Los Angeles, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the band's formation. The gathering featured an acoustic performance; their first since the dissolution of the show, and their first-ever live appearance. This performance was filmed and portions of the show have been released in late 2009 on YouTube. Among those in attendance that night were producers Steve Blauner, Victor Fresco and Matt Fassberg and comedian Tim Powers

Friday, January 13, 2012

Kit of the Day

Polar Lights has been reissuing a lot of older kits, especially Aurora models. Aurora caught a bit of flack from watchdog groups who worried that some of their offerings were harmful to kids, like the Torture Chamber set. I imagine the guillotine also failed the sniff test, though most kids who bought it probably thought it was a hoot. I don't know if the condemned man's head pops off if you drop the blade on him, but it would be a neat touch.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What the Heck?

This is an experiment. My text has gone astray from my old posts, and so has my formatting.

Later...looks like my background was the villain. Now you can read the posts but I've lost all the material in the margins. Ain't computers grand?

Monday, January 09, 2012

Kits of the Day

The Wile. E Coyote hotrod came from MPC. The kit consisted of a car model and the figure of Wile E. you can see behind the cellophane on the box. You'd think the vehicle would say Acme on it but it's labeled a Willys. I doubt it helped him catch the speedy and elusive Road Runner, especially since the Roadrunner had some pretty spiffy wheels of his own.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Kit of the Day

You say you don't want to look like an old swabby by having a ship in a bottle? Here's the solution, Monogram's Car in a Bottle. It looks like the lad on the box is holding a funny car/dragster but I don't know the scale. Obviously it will fit into a 16-ounce Pepsi bottle so it's smaller than the usual model car. I vaguely remember these from way back when. The bottle was a plastic replica of a normal Pepsi bottle with a separate bottom that was snapped in place once the model car was installed. I doubt that they were a successful product, but the one on eBay right now is going for $99.99 plus a tad over $5.00 for shipping. Not that anyone's bidding, but that's the chance you take when you overcharge for something.

By the way, ignoring these Kit of the Day posts will not stop me from presenting more. I WILL BE HEARD!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Happy Birthday Toby, Tiny, Art, and Frank

Toby and Tiny, my daughters' Chihuahuas, and Art Scott, a man as noble as he is eccentric, share a birthday today. I may be wrong, but I think it's also Frank Denton's. Best wishes to all.

The pinup is to help keep all those aging male hearts pumping away.

Monday, January 02, 2012

First Car

This is not the actual car, but a prototype model. A 1961 Thunderbird was the first car I bought. Not a new car, I picked it up in 1969 for $600 when I lived in San Jose, California. It had power everywhere and with the flick of a switch the trunk would open and the convertible top would fold into it. It was large, roomy, powerful, and sucked up gas like a wino with his first swig of the day. I really loved that car, and to this date it remains my all-time favorite. I traded it in for the 1972 Capri I discussed a week or so back, and at the time I thought it was on its last legs. Four years later I was cruising down the freeway and it blew past me going 80. I kick myself to this day for letting it go. My T-Bird was white with an aqua interior. I currently have a bid in for a model of one on eBay and I'm determind to win it, no doubt at a price far beyond its value.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Kit of the Day

Tired of building airplane, armor, or car kits? What better change of pace than Ben Cartwright and his two remaining sons (Adam was a lawyer in San Francisco by then)? Produced by Revell in 1966, this simple kit was a greater challenge for the painter than the kit builder. Each figure came with front and back body halves, hats, boots, and a common base held the trio. I don't know the scale but I'd guess around 1/12 or 1/16. You can get one on eBay now for about $100. Hake's auctions recently realized $186 for the same kit. Frankly, I'd love to have it, but I don't want to spend that much. Maybe someone will rerelease it. Yeah, sure they will.