Grandma & Grandpa's Farm

Friday, June 27, 2008

Whoosh Zoom - Sonic Boom

Whoosh Zoom - The Jets On the Plane Go Sonic Boom

While not a great fan of war, I always have been interested in planes and ships and that includes military vehicles. Perhaps it is a holdover from childhood and loving things that were fast or big? I was facinated by airliners too and would have loved a collection of airliners as a child as well as military jets. I wasn't so interested in propeller aircraft as a child and in fact biplanes and planes with radial engines bothered me.

I had a number of models of jets including fighters and bombers. One of my favouritemodels was of the AVRO Arrow which probably came out at a time when the plane might actually have still been being designed or not long after the plan was scrapped. That was a pretty spectacular plane that might which might be serviceable even to current times it was so far advanced. Design features for it went into the Space Shuttle. Another model that was interesting was of the Hustler Supersonic Bomber. When I got older I had models of the F5 Freedom Fighter in the CF-5 variant the RCAF flew, the F104 Starfighter, and the SR71 Blackbird.

I was fascinated by tanks and military ships, though never really had any models of them. In part it was the evolution of them and the complexity of the systems involved. For tanks it was the "go anywhere" ability that drew me as a child.

Still I feel awkward with being interested in the military hardware while being against war. I believe first most in non violent solutions and feel that too often these are not sought with too much bravado being involved. But at the same time I support the soldiers who are representing our country and defending it. I feel for them and the families and friend they leave behind and recognize the dangers involved. I have even written to lonely servicemen who were feeling lonely for home and the pressures and dangers they were facing.

There are problems with an interest in planes, tanks, and ships. They are hard to go to see as a child unless you live the same place where those planes, tanks, and ships live other than occasional air shows. Making models can be a problem too. Even a few models take up a large amount of room. I would have loved to had bunches of models but there were no places to put them. Now of course I was not a simple typical collector as I would have wanted to play with the models as toys as well.

I wanted the models with the retracting landing gear, rotating turrets, rotating propellers, sliding cockpits, moving treads, and folding wings... of course some on tanks and some on planes and some on ships.

What I did do was read books and dream. Mom and Dad bought me the "Above And Beyond: The Encyclopedia of Aviation and Space Sciences" (image on left - image from Wikipedia) which had lots of space and plane stuff in it. Mine was the first 1968 edition, there was at least one later edition. Later I bought some books on tanks and ships.

Still books with pictures were very pricey.

There is some satisfaction with collecting the lead figures used for "war games". Actually they are pewter and not pure lead - though they are not recommended for young children. It is possible to collect many vehicles in a small volume with a set of utility drawers or a case. But there is not a lot of detail really beyond the three dimensional shape of the figure. Still, not only is it possible to collect the figure, but you can research and paint them and you can do some modification of them and if you are a bit handy you can actually make your own.

Making your own is handy for the rarer ones. "Above and Beyond" can be handy for that. You can carve or mould your plane out of wax or even Plasticine and then create a rubber mould using that. Then you can melt your own pewter on a camp stove on the picnic table or in the workshop and cast your own figure and even trade them with friends because once you have made a mould for your figure you can easily cast others. Since you created the original and the mould I figure nobody can fault you for doing so as long as you didn't use someone else's figure for a master.

Flight simulators and simulator games like tank combat ones brought other directions that one could take with an avid interest in this technology. It could be pricey still, but it was more and more like you were actually able to try out the cockpit or bridge of these craft. I never was so big on games unfortunately so I really didn't have the game machines to run them on. My computers were what were optimal for doing things like writing or simple graphics not high speed high action gaming - and then gaming moved back from computers to dedicated game machines where they started.

The Internet and World Wide Web opened new worlds of opportunity. At first perhaps it might have been a bit of a hunt for information on aircraft, tanks, or ships - but later not only could you find reams of photos, but also specifications, plans, diagrams, and even 3D virtual models.

The 3D virtual models are very interesting and the artists doing them do some very impressive work. I don't know so much about the models though because they are the realm of artists who are creating 2D artwork using the models and what models I have seen are available for sale through various agencies. Even then I wonder how big they are - how much hard drive space they take up. Then there is organizing the collection and figuring out what to collect...

Still I am considering a collection of 3D virtual models... Now the shelf space - I mean hard drive space...

~ Darrell


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