Game of the Decade

The Boise State Broncos take on the Washington Huskies this evening at Alberston’s Stadium, Boise. This is the first time former Bronco coaching legend Coach Petersen will be on the visitor’s side of the field in the stadium he helped to build. We’ll be respectful of the legend, but all of Bronco Nation will be rooting for his demise tonight.  GO BRONCOS!

Renoke Model Gets Lights

This weekend I spent some time creating the simple bread board and soldering all the connections and resisters required for the lights on board the Renoke model. It looks pretty sweet. I’m so enamored with them that I’ll probably include lights in most of my builds from now on. Even though they are next to pointless for the original use of these models. Any and all lights can be Photoshopped in after the cover pictures are taken. But for most of the model’s life span, it will be sitting on a shelf for people to look at. With that in mind, people love the shinny.

 

This is the original bread board that I used to get the resisters and LED leads tested. Once I had a working design, I made a more permanent version with solder and stuff.

 

 

Here it is inside the main access point of the model. All the lights run off a simple 9 volt battery. I still need to wire a switch in there to make turning them on and off easier.

 

And here’s what she looks like in the darkness of my garage.

 

 

 

And the engine.

 

Pretty fun. All that I have left to do now is finish detailing the bridge and paint the outside. Then I can get on with my favorite part, weathering.

Outlining K’nat Trap Novella

StarfighterBattleShaded

Work has commenced on the initial outline of K’nat Trap. I use Plume Creator for all my first drafts and below is a screenshot of Plume and the outline. Plume has a spreadsheet view for outlining, but lately I’ve taken to just using the editor’s tree view.

This story is set in the Starstrikers Era or the second trilogy of the Star Saga. It features Tamiya and Kiloe from Starstrikers and is essentially, a smaller strike mission.

I finished a first pass and now I need to go back through and make sure character arcs are there and drop in the tags for plot points. Kiloe is the main character in this one, but Tamiya gets plenty of page time too.

Books I’m Reading and Have Read Lately

Most of the non-fiction I’m reading is focused on fighter pilots for my next novella. Also, they are just plane fun. (pun intended)

Fiction reading is lacking lately. I go through fits and starts when researching for a novel. Mostly I read non-fiction that is related to what I plan on writing. I also read books on writing craft. All the time.

Non-Fiction:
Droidmaker: George Lucas and the Digital Revolution by Michael Rubin – Movie Tech Neepery.
Bogeys and Bandits by Robert Gandt – About a class of Navy fighter pilots.
Boyd The Fighter Pilot Who Changed The Art of War by Robert Coram – The fighter pilot.

Word Painting – The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively by Rebecca McClanahan – Due diligence for a writing weakness of mine.

Fiction:
Man From Earth (Screenplay) – Unique in that the whole drama is just dialog.
The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe (re-read) – Test Pilots!

Renoke Model Update

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It’s been a while since I posted a picture of the Renoke model, so here a few new ones. I’m focusing on the bridge now, adding details and installing fiber optics. I have to wire up the head lights and the instrument panels next. At this point, I have all the parts and pieces I need to complete the model so it’s just a matter of finding the time to do the work. Oh and the engine needs some LEDs too. That should be easy.

I found some resin molded F-4 seats on line and darned if they don’t look totally awesome.

 

Beginning to add details to the bridge cover and the windows.

 

 

Let there be lights! At least a few fiber optic ones.

 

 

Phantom F-4 ejection seat is pretty freaking cool.

 

 

Some weathering, some after market bolts and a few extra pieces of detail.

 

 

After the white/deck tan mix of the base coat. I still need to hit the bottom with this color. But for now, I’ll wait until the bridge area is completed.

John Scalzi Signing

We don’t get best selling Sci-F authors here in the fly over state of Idaho. Ever. So don’t miss your chance to see John Scalzi at the Boise Public Library this Thursday night at 7:00 PM. While you’re there, thank Bruce from Rediscovered Books for arranging the signing with Tor. Oh, and don’t forget to say hi to John and buy one of his books.

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UPDATE:

Thanks John for coming to our fair city and for letting us hear a preview of your next book. Here are my two boys with John. Next time you come to Idaho, bring the family and go on a rafting trip. It really is a pretty state when it’s not on fire.

Alliance Spieron Starfighter

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The primary starfighter of the Alliance in the middle trilogy or Starstrikers Era is the Spieron. It’s fast and sleek and well loved by pilots. I built this model in 1/48 scale out of poster board. But it’s due for a plastic update in 1/32 for the K’nat Trap novella cover. So I expect to be building it this winter.

 

The finalized plastic version will probably look like a mix between these drawings and the cardboard version. I’m excited to build this one in plastic with real mounts and possibly lights. You’ll be hearing more about this model’s progress this winter as I build it and the new Triak fighter.

Votainion Triak Starfighter

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The primary Votainion starfighter in the Starstrikers Era is the Triak. This twin engine, twin canon design is fast and deadly. A direct ancestor of the Twin Tube design from the early war years, the Triak is a war tested tried and true design well loved by those who fly it.

This is the only decent drawing I have of it. I expect to build this in 1/32 scale at some point for the book covers in the middle trilogy of the Star Saga. The final design will no doubt look slightly different.

This old drawing shows the three main lines of Votainion starfighter designs. The KIV line eventually dies and the Triak and Reemer lines carry on into the second trilogy. I’ll have to update this graphic when I finalize on the Triak. The Reemer is final, though I have not built it in plastic 1/32 scale. There are always more ideas for models than time allows me to build. You can see the KIV line dies out after a great run in the first trilogy.

Votainion K’nat Starfighter

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The next novella I’ll write is called K’nat Trap and it takes place between Starstrikers and XiniX. It’s about a Starstriker mission, led by Kiloe, to secure a new Votainion starfighter that has the NexGen stardrive.

There are currently only two drawings of this fighter in the Star Saga vault. They are shown below. These fighters are mentioned briefly in Starstrikers but were not described in any detail.

Tiny ships, like black winged gnats, wound in and around the mother ship picking off escape modules with deadly accuracy. After further reducing the ruins, the gnats returned to the safe belly of the dark beast. Perhaps relieved at having been given the chance to exercise their agility.

It didn’t have a name, other than the annoying but harmless gnat insect reference. At this time, I’m pretty sure the K’nat designation is either an Alliance code word or a Votainion nick name. I still have to figure out the proper lineage of the fighter. It is an evolutionary iteration of the basic Votainion starfighters of the Second Generation or Starstrikers Era.

Looking at these pretty old drawings I did of it you can see the basic shape is not quite correct. I’ll have to do some more drawings and perhaps build a cardboard version to finalize the design. Eventually, I’ll be building a 1/32 scale plastic model for use on the novella’s cover. It will be quite a challenge to paint it black and photograph it well enough to actually be seen.

 

 

Historical Inspiration

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When I first came up with the plot for my novella, Devon’s Blade I was looking for inspiration in developing the secondary character who would eventually become a good friend of the protagonist, Devon Ardel. Women were only recently allowed to be fighter pilots in the West, but I knew my aviation history and I recalled that there was a pretty vicious unit of women pilots in WWII. So I read up on the Night Witches of Russia. Some of these women were barely out of High School and they flew cloth covered bi-planes in bombing missions against Nazis. Later on they were given all metal fighters and proceeded to shoot down many German pilots.

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I took inspiration for both Devon’s leadership and the daring of her friend Katya from both Lydia Litvyak and Katya Budanova. I even took Budanova’s first name for my character. If you’ve never heard about the Night Witches, you should read up on them. They so tormented the Nazi pilots on the Eastern Front that the Reich awarded an Iron Cross to whoever shot down one of the feared women pilots. Both Katya ad Lydia were eventually killed in combat, but not before shooting down 11 or more Germans each. In my book, that makes them bad asses and worthy of using for inspiration in my space opera.

Meklin Natalya Fyodorovna

Meklin Natalya Fyodorovna

Lidya

Lydia Litvyak

Katya

Katya Budanova