Monday, December 7, 2015

"A Date Which Will Live In Infamy"

Please pardon the following side trip from model railroading :)

Ever since visiting the WWII Battleship USS Alabama in Mobile during our family summer vacation, Brendan has gone Battleship crazy. Any kind of WWII ship crazy would be closer to the truth.

During our trip to the NKPHTS Buffalo Convention by chance we discovered their Naval Museum containing three WWII ships, the Cleveland class cruiser USS Little Rock, Fletcher class destroyer USS The Sullivans and a submarine the USS Croaker. This only fueled the fire.

Piles of books from the library followed, and soon he was telling me and my wife all about Pacific naval battles at all times of the day.

Then he discovered there were models you could buy!

I can remember building a few models as a kid like the HMS Ark Royal, so I knew this phase for Brendan would be fun and a good tool for teaching him more about model building.

When he learned about the events at Pearl Harbor he wanted to honor that by building a model of the fated USS Arizona. I found a kit on eBay for real cheap but then I got too busy to do anything for most of November.

Revell USS Arizona, test fit of major parts before painting, December 7th 2015
Finally with my busy period at work nearly over and my internship for school completed we dug into the kit last week. Knowing that he'll probably lightly "play" with the model I won't put a ton of time and detailing effort into it, plus the tooling is over 50 years old and it really shows trying to put this thing together.

We didn't finish it by Pearl Harbor Day but that's OK, not hurrying to finish a model is a good lesson to learn.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's awesome that a kid nowadays is so interested in US history & military history the way Brendan is. I am a firm believer in and probably the poster boy for how our hobbies as a youngster help shape our adult lives. No internet back when I was a kid but my dad was in the Navy in WWII and the stories he and his friends told fueled my fire, especially his friend Henry who landed at Omaha Beach and lost his leg from the knee down and another friend of his who was a survivor of the Bataan death march and 3 years as a POW in the Philippines. There was also the TV series World At War which my dad and I watched religiously. It led to building a lot of models but most of mine were tanks and other military vehicles and as I got into my teens it led to building some dioramas. Oh, and it also led to me joining the US Army and spending 32 years as a tanker, but I digress...

    By far though the biggest hobby I picked up (and is still with me today) is wargaming. I still have all my games (probably 30+ games) and I still to this day play Advanced Squad Leader ( ASL came out in 1985 and still has modules being published today by a company called Multi Man Publishing which the former baseball legend Curt Schilling is CEO of. There is also a freeware computerized version of ASL called Virtual ASL or VASL which I am using right now to help playtest a new ASL module that will cover Rommel's crossing of the Meuse at Dinant, Belgium in May 1940. The ASL rulebook with all chapters and extensions takes up a couple 4" binders.

    Back in the late 1970's I also had (still have it packed away) a game called War in the Pacific ( War in the Pacific is a huge game with over 3000 counters and the map had to be set up on a 4x8 sheet of plywood with a 2x4 foot extension and a couple smaller tables as well for all the tracks and displays. The game starts with Pearl Harbor and ends with the atomic bomb drops in 1945, with options to start with the Japanese invasion of China in the mid 1930's or to extend the war to cover the invasion of Japan after 1945. My buddy Ed and I played it for over 2 years starting when we were about 14 and we only made it into early 1943. Eventually we got our drivers licenses and discovered girls so the game got put away, but I digress again, LOL. Oh and somewhere in there I started model railroading too...