Friday, July 31, 2009

Website Update and Big News!

Hi Guys,

It's been awhile since my last post, but I have a very good excuse. OK. I have a good excuse. Well, it's an excuse, anyway.

I mentioned back on the 18th in a post entitled "Two for the price of one" that I was going to attend the EAA Airventure show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I just got back last night. Now, I did promise that I'd post from the show with some updates. That didn't happen, obviously... I was not able to work out the logistics of getting my phone linked to this Blog. I am not the most tech savvy guy in the world. Not to say I am some sort of Luddite. I have learned a lot. That said, my 15 year old son, Cooper, can do many more things with a computer and a phone than I can. He rolls his eyes when I ask him how to do this and that, but I pay attention when he shows me. Problem was that he has been in Italy, so I had to try and figure it out on my own. No luck.

I will report on EAA Airventure 2009 starting this weekend. It was a great show. More on this later.

Tonight, I want to update you on changes to the BarracudaCals website. John Heck, my webmaster of ceremonies, was sick with Pneumonia for a number of weeks and wound up in the Hospital for a full week with a collapsed lung. He was released last weekend, and has been home regaining his strength after a tough fight with a tough, yet very teeny, adversary. Tonight, he has spent some time updating and generally cleaning up the site.

Some of the changes:

1) New slogan. OK, its the old slogan from Cooper Details, but John wouldn't let me go with my first choice: "BarracudaCals: Decals That Suck*" then a disclaimer in small type down in the corner that reads: "* down over every detail". I think he thought it was a little too goofy. He's probably right, but it appeals to my strange Canadian sense of humor.

2) 3 New decals sheets. P-47 Thunderbolt Part 3 in 4 major scales. See the website for details. Note that while the 1/72 (includes 1/144 marking as well) and 1/48th sheets cover the same airplanes, the 1/32nd sheet features 1 common and 2 different aircraft. Details and images of all three sheets are now properly formatted. Thanks again to Chapman, who stepped in and helped me get the new sheets loaded to the website while John was ill. These are some great P-47s. The funny thing is, I found images of Schmaltzie from the 57th FG, and thought it was a nice looking airplane. It is a pretty much unknown subject, so I did not think it would be much of a draw. I was wrong. I have gotten a number of compliments on this subject. Its hard to say what makes one scheme a hit and others a miss. In most cases, you have a pretty good idea of what will sell. The rest of the time, it's a mystery, doncha know. Sorry, still on Midwestern time.

3) New resin detail sets coming soon. With the IPMS USA Nationals on the 20th of August in Dayton, Ohio racing up, I am finding myself more and more strapped for time. Not sure how many new sets will be available for sale, but I'll do my best. They will be available for sale on the website starting ASAP in September .

4) Big News! We here at BarracudaCals understand that these are tough times for just about everyone. Even Donald Trump has had to cut back. He now lights his cigars with 50 dollar bills. Microsoft founder Bill Gates has felt the pinch as well. Recently it was divulged that the positions of Sock Drawer Supervisor and Assistant Underwear Wrangler have been consolidated. Talk about having to make tough choices to keep the lights on. Anywaaaaaay...

We have analyzed our shipping costs and have made some changes to make ordering more attractive. We have reduced our shipping prices to all locations, and have added the option of free shipping as follows:
  • Orders from the USA: Free shipping for orders over $30 US dollars *
  • Orders from Canada and Mexico: Free shipping for orders over $35 US dollars *
  • Orders from Overseas: Free shipping for orders over $40 US dollars *

*Please note: Total reflects merchandise only. Shipping and tax do not count towards total cost to get free shipping.

The Shopping Cart will automatically calculate your shipping charges, (once you have added your products to the shopping cart and filled in your name and mailing address) including free shipping as listed above.

BTW, That is Ian Robertson's beautiful P-47D at the top of this post. It features BarracudaCals markings for 1st Lieutenant Frank Oiler's "Eileen" from the 84th FS. Note that this is his Razorback. We are the only decal company to have ever produced the markings for this airplane. These markings are now available in all 3 scales.

It is now 5AM here, and I am up working on this blog, and have been for awhile. I guess I have not adjusted back to left coast time yet. That's enough for now.

Happy modelling! Roy

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New decals as promised.

Hi guys,

The big news is that there are new decals up on the BarracudaCals site and available for sale.

The new sheets are as follows:

BC72003 P-47 Thunderbolts Part 3
BC48003 P-47 Thunderbolts Part 3
BC32003 P-47 Thunderbolts Part 3

If you have not already figured it out, the prefix in the product number denotes the scale. 72003 being 1/72nd scale. 48003 being... say it with me... 1/48th scale. And so on.

A new feature started on the Spitfire sheet in 1/72 is the inclusion of markings in 1/144th scale at no extra cost. 72003 continues this newly established tradition, with markings for two of the Thunderbolts in 1/144th scale. These will go beautifully with the new Razorback and Bubbletop P-47s from Platz. Don't want the 1/144th scale markings? Sell them on Ebay for a million dollars... maybe more. Hey, it could happen.

I'm sorry about the image sizes on the website. My regular webmaster John is still quite ill, and needs all his strength to get better. In the meantime, My good friend Chapman has stepped into the breach and got the sheets up there and ready to sell. The image sizes will be adjusted later, once life returns somewhat to normal.

I love this batch of P-47 sheets, as it features one of my all time favorite P-47s, "Sleepy Jean III" from the 395th Fighter Squadron, 9th Air Force. That bold red nose flash and the spectacular pinup noseart, its a showstopper to my eye. There are two excellent color photos of this aircraft in Freeman's superb book "9th Air Force in Color".

The very popular Razorback scheme we did only in 1/32nd scale previously, Frank Oiler's "Eileen" in OD/NG, has now made it to 1/48th and 1/72nd scales. This aircraft has never been the subject of a decal sheet before in these scales. The Wasp artwork is beautifully drawn and printed, and the artwork on "Sleepy Jean III" "Boise Bee" and "Kansas Tornado" have been rendered as fully shaded, not printed in block colors. The quality of the noseart is very high, even in tiny 1/72nd scale.

The third option is a lesser known, but very colorful P-47 from the 57th FG. "Schmaltzie/ Mercedes" has also never been done in decal form before. The blue fuselage numbers and the 57th's red Fighting Cock badge, with yellow wing and tail bands make this stand out from the crowd.

In 1/32nd scale, "Sleepy Jean the Third" is joined by these much sought after Razorbacks - Howard Curran's"Kansas Tornado" and Duane Beeson's "Boise Bee".

You'd have to be crazy not to buy all three... in multiples. They make great Birthday, Labor Day, Halloween, and Christmas presents for relatives you don't much care for. "Here Uncle Dave... some model airplane decals for you" you'll say. Imagine their confusion when they don't even understand what the heck they are, or what they are for. Hilarity ensues as they try to pretend to be excited about this inappropriate gift. Just look at them and say "I was pretty sure you, more than anyone else I know, would appreciate these. Being that they were so expensive and non-refundable, I was crossing my fingers that you would not ask to return these to exchange them for something else, or some other selfish, jerky, cheapskate maneuver " Gotta love the holidays.

More decals are in the works. As a hint: our first US Navy sheets! New and cool subjects will be featured.

Gotta run.

Happy modelling! Roy

Sunday, July 19, 2009

1/72nd Spitfire HF VII Build - Part 1

Hi Guys.

Time for the first installment of the Spitfire HF VII build in 1/72nd scale.

The subject is MB820, coded ON-E. This aircraft was attached to 124 Squadron, and was flown by Flying Officer Barrit. On September 9th, 1943, Barrit was flying MB820 when he intercepted and shot down an FW-190A at 31,000 feet. How they got an FW-190 to fly at that altitude, I can't imagine. The Wurger had notoriously poor performance at higher altitudes, and was already losing performance at 25,000 feet, the altitude at which the US Daylight bomber formations usually flew.

September 9th was the day of Operation Starkey, the feigned invasion of Europe by the allied forces. It was, in reality, little more than an exercise. The plan was to make the Germans think the invasion, which was inevitable, had started, and that the landing was to be at Pas de Calais. Long story short; The Germans did not buy it, and barely reacted. In the long view, however, the operation did succeed on one important level. It convinced the German High Command that the Invasion, when it did come, would be at Pas de Calais... which of course was not the case. Even days into the Normandy Invasion, the Germans were still waiting for the main thrust of the forces to land at Pas de Calais. In your face, Nazi intelligence dudes!

Operation Starkey markings have always been a bit of a mystery . A number of attempts to represent them in artwork and model form have been made in the past, but until we came out with the Barracudacals Spitfire Mk IX Series Part 1 sheets in all 4 major scales, they have never been accurately represented, due to a lack of good information.

Apparently, we took a break from the slipshod and half baked research we usually do, as was alluded to (not specifically) in a pair of rambling, self congratulatory, online by-invitation-only (huh?) videos from a certain seemingly pantless manufacturer of vastly superior decals. All I can say is that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. People who who live in stone houses, shouldn't throw glass. People who live in concrete and steel houses can pretty much throw what they want, within reason, as long as they don't mind cleaning it up later. But seriously, building yourself up by running down the competition, while certainly not illegal, is just lacking in any kind of class. Our hobby is a very small world, and most of us aftermarket guys are friends, or at least treat each other with respect. Most of the time. Except that Obscureco guy... don't get me started about THAT necktie wearing weasel! :-)

Back to the topic at hand. Starkey markings. The key to unravelling the mystery was found in Chris Shores impressive 2nd Tactical Air Force volumes. That, and the 1.1 million dollar time machine I invented and patented... In volume 2 (IIRC) there is a official Ministry description of the application guidelines for the wing bands carried for this operation. As you will see, the black extends from the tips to a position on the wing where the chord is equal to 5 feet. Then, alternating 18" bands of white, black, white, and black. Ebony and Ivory...Living in perfect harmony. Unfortunately for us modelers, who love colorful and complex schemes, both the upper and lower roundels were to be overpainted when the bands were applied. You can leave yours uncovered, if you like. There is no proof that they were overpainted, but this one is going to be modeled compliant to the painting orders. The above diagram shows the upperwing roundels in place for those who want to show them unpainted-over.

Part 2 will follow shortly, and will deal with building, correcting, and converting the 1/72 Hasegawa Spit IX kit into an HF VII.

Happy modelling. Roy

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Two for the price of one.

I'm back, as promised.

This will just be a short blog... a bloguette, if you will.

The exciting news (for me anyway) is that I will be attending the EAA Airventure 2009 show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin from the 27th through the 30th of this month. My friend Gerald Voigt (of Hawkye Hobbies and Aeospace Modeller Magazine fame) has kindly agreed to let me sleep under his back porch during my stay. He will even allow me to use the hose! What a guy. Seriously, I will be staying with him and his family for the three days I will be there. I will have two full days at the show.

"Why should I care? What's in it for me?" you may be asking yourself. I thought you'd be happy for me. Well, OK, tell you what, if you are going to be that way about it, I'll post daily updates from the show, complete with pictures. Do you feel better now?

If I can make it work from my phone (and I will have to confer with Blogmaster Chapman about this), I should be able to post a few entries during the show. My cell has a 3.2 MP camera, so the images should not be the usual muddy, vague images people show you (Hey, your dog is cute! Oh, that's your wife?) on their phone.

That's it for now. If I start blogging twice a day, you guys will come to expect it. What gives? It's been 2 hours with no new blog from Roys Rants! What a rip!!

I have more news, but that will have to wait until next time.

Until then, happy modelling.


Kidnapped by aliens?

OK, I had no intention of taking this long of a break from Roy's Rants. There are a number of things happening that have kept me otherwise occupied since my last fascinating installment.

There are lots of news and announcements to be made, so I will be blogging much more frequently over the next few weeks. Blogging... sounds like something I used to do after a party in which my consumption of spirits may have been a little... how shall we say... overzealous? Blog. Its whats for breakfast! Blog. Another stupid made up word to add to a dictionary already stuffed with ridiculous words like "jiggy" "fo schizzle" "Twitter" and "Octomom". Blog...

There has been an unforeseen delay in getting the new decal sheets up on the website. John, my webmaster extraordinaire, came down with Pneumonia more than a week and a half ago, and he is pretty sick. It looks unlikely that he will be able to work on the site in the near future. His health is far more important. He is a good friend, and I would ask you all to keep him in your thoughts while he recovers.

I will be looking into other avenues to get the decals up on the site. My knowledge of all things webby is limited to clicking on links and cursing the gods when they do not work properly.

I will be posting again later on today, with some exciting bloggy type news. Hopefully, I will also be able to resolve the issue of uploading the new sheets as well.

Happy modelling. Roy

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Switching Gears

Hi Guys,

The older you get, the faster time seems to pass. Hard to believe that its been 4 days since my last entry. At this moment, my son is on the airplane, and they are probably pulling back from the gate on their way to Italy. He will be gone for over 3 weeks, so the last few days have involved a lot of running around in order to get all the last minute details taken care of.

With all this now behind me, the push to get ready for the IPMS Nationals in Columbus will be the focus of my attention. There is a lot to be done, and as always, probably not enough time to do it all. The US and UK Nationals are like the Christmas season for us cottage industry types. We all run around madly, trying to have a bunch of new product ready for sale at the show. The last few weeks usually involve a bunch of overnight marathon sessions. Pale, haggard, and slightly stupefied. That's how I usually am the first day of the show. And the second...

Along with some new decals, the Columbus show will see the return of Cooper Details. For those of you who have never heard of Cooper Details, here's a quick overview to bring you up to speed.

Cooper Details is a brand I created and launched back in 1989 (20 years ago!). CD is a line of resin aftermarket detail sets for aircraft models. The focus was, still is, and will most likely remain, WWII aircraft, with an emphasis on British and German fighters. That is not to say that other eras and genres do not show up from time to time. CD and Medallion Models were pretty much the first ones to release complete resin cockpit upgrade sets. We both officially launched at the 1990 IPMS USA National Convention.

My first cockpit set was for the Spitfire in 1/72nd scale. It has actually started life as a product in 1988, but was not generally available until the company was officially launched at the show. As with most cottage industries, it started out because I wanted it for myself. My plan was to build a complete collection of production Spitfire variants in 1/72nd. Scratchbuilding a new cockpit each time did not make much sense. Making copies was the natural next step, but back in those day, casting in Urethane resin was still new to the hobby. It took months of experimentation to learn how to get decent copies. I the intervening years, resins have greatly improved, and much information is readily available on casting.

More on the history of Cooper Details in the next episode. I will also be featuring a progress report with images on my 1/72 Hasegawa Spitfire HF VII.

If you wish to be informed of new postings to this blog, please click on the follow button in the right hand column, and add your name to the list. Its quick and painless. Until then...

Happy modelling. Roy