Friday, May 31, 2019

MPC Command HDQRS - Blue SP

Adrift in the sea without a compass or a paddle. That's kinda how I feel right now. I mean, I do have stuff to post but with all the other projects going on it's like what now? Having fooled myself into believing there was a plan to this whole last series of posts, signals got crossed, and then before realizing it my mind went blank (well, okay, one can argue my mind has been blank for years, but leave us not go there LOL)

Soooo, that being said, let's see if I can re-engage and get get back on track. I may just post random toy pics for awhile until I settle into the next subject.

This 'COMMAND HDQRS.' building does fall in line with our previous MPC playset posts but I have no clue as to what playset it was a part of, so for now it's kind of a stand-alone post.  The first pic shows all the buildings I currently have and with today's building have now all been posted. Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina

Saturday, May 25, 2019

TRAIN TIME: A Yank Does Hornby Pt 11 - Planning a Small Clockwork Layout

Welll, it's time to show what I've been up to in regards to all the Hornby postings lately. Even though I can take any clockwork/wind-up train and run it on either of my two 3-rail layouts in The Cave, I wanted to do something else. Actually, the itch to build yet another layout was getting to me again :-)

I went out to the storage shed in the backyard and pulled out a 2' (60.96cm) x 4' (121.92cm) piece of particle board I had scrounged from somewhere and thought it would be make a nice platform for a little wind-up layout. I gave it a quick coat of this light brown paint I've had like forever and started the process of planning.

This was back in March of 2018 and I had just acquired a Hornby MO Goods Set.

One of the cars was missing wheels. Replacement wheels were graciously supplied by Graeme Eldred in Bannister, Scotland!

Graeme BTW operates the Binn's Road website and is an excellent source of info on toy trains - see the sidebar to the right for a link to Graeme's website.

Sooo, I set up the track along with a points (switch/turnout) and fiddled around with it for a few days. On the one hand, I do like drawing out my plans on paper, on the other hand, it's only when you actually see track and accessories sitting on a board IRL that you can get a feel for what a layout is actually going to look like.

I liked the overall look and feel to this small layout but I really wanted to do a little more. One of the reasons I held off on this design was that the crossing would not have fit properly on the straight-a-way and I really wanted to use it. So, plans for this small layout were shelved and I had to come up with something else.  Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina

Friday, May 17, 2019

Marie Kondo and KonMari The Art, Science, and Nerve Wracking Process of Declutterization

'Declutterization': The act of cleaning house and organizing as defined by Opa Fritz - don't look for that word in any KonMari work.

Have you ever heard of KonMari? It's basically the latest trend in house tidying and reorganizing as devised by Marie Kondo, the tidying expert and best selling author of a series of books on the subject. Now, that being said I haven't actually bought any of the books (I mean really, if I buy yet another book, aren't I adding to the clutter???) but have read a bunch of articles about her system. But then, I've been reading articles on house organization for many years. Here's my take on the whole thing: house organization methods are like exercise regimens, and diets - you stick with whatever works for you. Wellll, somewhere along the line I took this whole thing seriously and whether or not it was reading about the KonMari system or something finally "clicked" in my hard-headed noggin, this past couple years has seen a gradual acceptance that I'VE GOT TOO DAMNED MUCH STUFF! ahem, sorry.

But that's it in a nutshell. I've been a collector since childhood. Somewhere in me that old hunter-gatherer gene has been working overtime and with a passion from the earliest age. But when my main interests can't be enjoyed anymore because the hobby space looks like a scene from the TV show 'Hoarders' or when stuff gets tucked away in cabinets and drawers, and on closet shelves where no one even sees them, then something has to be done. In the past most of my misguided reorganization efforts have been hit-&-miss, tackling a single drawer here, a box there, from any room that happened to be in my sights at the moment. That kinda, sorta works but really you don't see any real progress after a while. Yup, that box, or that drawer is a little bit emptier but the rest of the house is still full.

Soooo, what practical advice have I been able to glean from all this? Well, ya gotta have the will to start and keep at it!! Just keep plugging away. Some days will be more successful than others, some times you'll suffer from re-organizing burn-out. Some decisions may even be gut-wrenching: letting go of what once was prized possessions. This past year or so you may have noticed a distinct decline in postings in large part due to me wanting to do other things and partially because if I spend time divesting myself of thing's I have no material for the blog. Another warning: this is not an overnight process for any of us with houses full of stuff. It takes time. Here's a tool I use to kind of keep my spirits up. I use a spreadsheet to keep track of things I've gotten rid of. It has four columns in two categories and is over-&-above what I'm already keeping track of for my on-line sales.

The two categories and column breakdown are:

A) Things I've given away (to friends, the thrift store, whatever)
  -Column 1: Numbers only in this column as it keeps track of the amount ('1' for one item of whatever given away, '4' for four items given away, etc.)
  -Column 2: Item name (clothes, toys, furniture of any sort)

B) Things I've thrown in the garbage (usually old clothes but 30 year old school papers from the kids are targets too)
  -Column 3: Numbers only in this column as it keeps track of the amount ('1' for one item of whatever thrown away or perhaps '4' for four items thrown away)
  -Column 4: Item name (clothes, toys, furniture of any sort)

Using the formulas in the spreadsheet I add up the amounts separately in column's one and three. Sometime's  I'll count a bag full of ratty old clothes as a quantity of '1' even though there may be 6 pieces of clothing in the bag - hmmmm, maybe I should change that. The spreadsheet is not a hard thing do and only takes a couple of minutes to set up and keep updated but I can look at it and show progress (heck, a piece of paper with a hand-written tally will work just as well). I started this at the beginning of the year and so far have tracked over 260 things gotten rid of PLUS about 70 items sold on-line. That's nearly 350 thing's gotten rid this year alone. And now, I can actually see a little progress. My approach so far has been to concentrate on the kitchen and living room with all our cabinets full of chachkies with an occasional foray into the bedroom closet. Admittedly, a lot of the stuff is now sitting out in The Cave waiting for me to photograph and put it on eBay, but sometimes the hardest part is to look at a prized possession and say to yourself  'I don't need this anymore. I don't want this anymore'. Once that happens I have mentally divorced myself from it's possessive hold on me. I can look at it in The Cave as it sits there waiting for me to prep it for sale and think to myself, "Say 'Bye'!" - and it has no meaning to me anymore!

Well, there you have it. Throughout all of this Bettina has had to weigh in on what she still wants to keep so at times there is a sort of tog-of-war going on, but through it all we are on  the track declutterization (a totally made-up word by me BTW). Can anyone out there relate to our struggles? Well, as this whole process continues I'll keep ya posted

Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina

Monday, May 13, 2019

TRAIN TIME: A Yank Does Hornby Pt 10 Brimtoy No. 8 Signal with One Arm

First coming out as a Pre-War toy, this No. 8 Signal with One Arm changed little except for the size of the bases. This version came out in 1949 measuring 9" (22.86cm) H with a 3" (7.62cm) x 3 1/2" (8.89cm) base. Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina

Full range of motion

Friday, May 10, 2019

Putting It All Together: MPC's No. 3004 Missiles To The Moon Playset

Okay, I've been busier than all get-out lately (remind me to do a post on Marie Kondo and the KonMari method of organizing your house, with a follow-up on nervous breakdowns, meds, and exhaustion LOL)

This past series of posts dating from 27 mar has ball been about this playset: MPC's Missiles to The Moon set No. 3004. This appears to have been nearly as popular as the Battle Front playset. Here's a breakdown of set contents combining what is listed on the box cover and what is shown in the directions along with some 'best guesses'. 

Set Contents as Listed on Box Cover:

Two-Stage "Samson" Missile with Launching Pad
Multi-Stage "Colossus" Orbital Missile on Launching Pad
Battery of Four (4) "Defenders" Missile with Separate Launching Pads
Mobile Command-Guided Attack Missile Vehicle
Plus: Missile Base HQ Building
Launching Control Building
Liquid Fuel Building
Command Jeep
Military Truck
Rescue Helicopter
Assorted Misslemen and Astronauts
Weapons, Equipment, and Flags

In addition the box cover art appears to show:

3 Seated Drivers
3 "Astronauts" with Space Gear
9 "Missilemen" with helmets or non-space gear
1 American Flag on stand
1 Space Command Flag on stand
Jeep on cover has no canopy and appears to be MPC's smaller Command Jeep HOWEVER, the instructions clearly show the larger Jeep with Canopy
1 "Defender" Missile is shown not four as listed
2 "Samson" and "Colossus" Missiles in flight as well as the two on the launching pad
No truck is shown on the cover
No helicopter is shown on the cover
NOTE: There is a reason the helicopter shown in the instruction sheet was never posted - I don't own one! The are very hard-to-find and pricey when they do become available...I'm still looking for one!!! 

The instructions only show a sprue of Astronaut gear but no sprue of regular G.I. (or "Missileman" gear)

As usual I totally guessed on the actual amount of figures for the set photo below but really, it's close enough for government work! :-) If you guys no for sure how many were included let us all know please.

It's interesting how once again real life mimics fantasy as there are talks in the works about creating a new Space Command within the U.S. Air Force. Here ya go Air Force, don't waste your time designing a new flag, MPC has already done the work for you - 50 years ago!

U.S. flag and MPC's Space Command flag

Friday, May 3, 2019

MPC Launching Control Building - Blue/Gray SP

Here's the fourth of five buildings that I'm aware of that came with MPC's Space/Missile/Air Force related playsets. Of course there may be more color combinations than what I've shown so far but I think this'll do for now. You may notice in the photos that the door has been taped in place from behind! The doors have a tendency to separate from the hinges and come off so this was an expedient necessity for taking pics. Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina