Work on the sniper is slow but continues; somewhere in the middle of all this is a trip to Disneyland, and picture of Orion and Mars taken last night while Helen and I were out way past our bed times watching the Leonid meteor shower. The sniper is coming along, but visible progress is very slow as the techniques used in the finishing and weathering processes need time to cure with layers of clear protecting subsequent layers. But the results and ease of which each layer is applied makes the wait all the more worthwhile.

Charlie decided to surprise me for my birthday by showing up without letting me know she was coming. Thanks to Angel, Nicky, Helen, and Brian who all knew of the plan and helped execute it, I got a nice little surprise Thursday night. My normal schedule had me off the following Friday, however, we had a deployment at work and I was needed, and we were working late. So as with most plans, things never go as planned. I haven’t been to Disneyland in years; so it’s nice to see a few subtle changes here and there.

Last night was also the peak of the Leonid meteor shower, so Helen and I trekked up to Anaheim hills near the Weir Canyon park to gaze at the sky. A very clear night, we saw quite a few meteors. I brought the tripod so that I could take some night photos. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to snag any of the meteors streaking across the sky; but I got some nice pictures of Orion and Mars. We didn’t get home until 2:30 AM.

Following from the last update, these next few steps were over the past several days. With the clear coat cured over night, I apply the panel line wash using tamiya enamels thinned with tamiya enamel thinner. The panels lines are just slopped on and allowed to sit over night. The next day, the panel lines are cleaned up using a paper towel moistened with lighter fluid. The wash has had ample time to dry in the panel lines so wiping the excess only removes the excess leaving finely defined panel lines.

Next up is paint chipping. This is a dry brushing technique using a mixture of enamel silver and gold to get a bronze color using a fine tipped brush for application. The paint chipping is carefully applied over the surface. I did not clear coat the panel lines as this weathering stage doesn’t not affect the panel lines. Excessive paint chips are removed with a quick paper towel wipe. This is a very slow process, but the small details really stand out in the end. The trick is to not go over board, and only apply small amount of paint chipping here and there.

The above step was allowed a full day to dry and cure. This was then followed by a clear coat to protect the panel lines and paint chipping from the next step, the fade. Once the clear coat cures, the parts are treated to the fade technique. This technique uses enamel paints of various colors to create a weathering effect. The parts are dotted up randomly and allowed to dry for a couple of minutes. A rough brush moistened with tamiya enamel thinner is then used to wipe the dots away. This smearing of paint as it is removed creates a subtle tonal effect against the parts giving them a look that they have been beat up with natural weather. The effect will be easier seen after I apply a flat coat, but I need to allow the enamel fade to fully dry an cure before applying the flat coat.

In other news, a group of us went to Disneyland this past weekend as it was my birthday and this year, Disney is giving out free passes to folks on their birthdays. But on Friday night we had a nice dinner with the group at Morton’s.

This was the first time I went to the Santa Ana location. The past few times I’ve been to the Anaheim location and the food was phenomenal. I wasn’t overly impressed with how my steak came out; I think I would have eaten more of it if it was decently prepared. It may have been the Cajun style, or just poor preparation; I’m not entirely sure. I’ve become rather picky when it comes to food that I know I can cook; and of late, I’ve been enjoying wood fire grilled steaks for the amazing level of flavors that the wood gives to good cuts of meat from costco. The only thing I cannot reproduce is the flavor from aging steaks; but that flavor was probably completely masked by the Cajun seasoning. The appetizers were very nice, Oysters Rockefeller is a nice change from all the raw oysters I’ve been eating over the past few weeks. I think I enjoyed my food over at the Anaheim location better. The one saving grace was the desserts, amazing souffle! I wonder what the protocol is for hitting up Morton’s only for their souffle? At the end of the day, it’s the company we keep that makes any gathering; and this was a great night with some of my closest friends.

We wake up bright and early the next morning to hit up Disneyland. This is coincidentally the first weekend of their Christmas season, which means a great deal of the park is decorated for the holidays, including some of the rides. The Nightmare Before Christmas themed Haunted Mansion was a refreshing change from the same old Haunted Mansion. Eddie Murphy did nothing to improve the ride, but Jack Skellington does a wonderful job.

I’m slightly annoyed with the addition of Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow all over the damn Pirates ride – both in ride script and in character. Over the years the ride has scene slight changes to make it more “socially acceptable” what ever the fuck that really means. But yeah, it’s the Disney of today… damn, almost wish we had the Jew hater alive and in charge of things. Oh the days when the meanings of the scenes portrayed rape, sales of slaves, torture, wanton sex, and violence… Well the violence and whole sales are still there, the sex removed. Odd choice really, violence more acceptable than sex eh?

Art’s attempting to prove his namesake… failing miserably… but entertained, we are.

That’s gotta be some damn awful tasting tea…


We spent about an hour and change sitting and waiting for the fireworks show for which we were ultimately thwarted by a bloody tree. But at least the castle was decorated in some nice lighting.

I’ve always wondered if there were rules to the genders that portray the big mascots that walk around the theme parks. I mean, is the person in the Minnie Mouse costume really a girl? Granted the Alice, Snow White, Jasmine, etc are real girls, at least they look the part, but who really knows what lurks under the giant foam heads? Mickey could be portrayed by a guy, but then again, boobs would probably be fairly noticeable. It’s not like Minnie had boobs, or Daisy for that matter; not sure how I feel about that. However, the size of Minnie’s arms suggested that it was probably a guy. Then when leaving, Art when to shake “her” hand and “her” initial hand gesture was to do a fist bump; not sure how automatic such a gesture is for your run of the mill girl hiding under a giant foam head; but it’s the small gestures that give clues. Oh well, just a random thought.

Twas a fun night, but a long ass day. I cannot remember the last time I spent over 15 hours at a theme park. It was fun, but I needed a few days to recover. Charlie flew back home Sunday morning; a short but sweet little trip. As much as I enjoyed the surprise, hopefully the next trip, I’ll have a little hand in planning out things. I wonder now if I’m still legitimately single. Probably.

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