Nov 182017

A recent acquisition from ebay was a pretty good B&W glossy showing a Martin Company illustration of the Titan IIIC launch vehicle, circa August, 1964. One of the better Titan IIIC illustrations I’ve seen, showing the innards to good effect.

I have uploaded the full 600-dpi scan to the 2017-11 APR Extras Dropbox available to all $4 and up APR Patreon patrons. It’s in two formats… the raw scan, and a cleaned-up version that looks better. Also included is the press release printed on the back of the glossy. If you are interested, take a look at the APR Patreon and consider signing up.

 Posted by at 10:20 pm
Nov 162017

The top and middle engine loops are basically done and detailed. The bottom engine loop has been resculpted, but needs detailing. Once that’s done I’ll head back to the hull to start working on more details. The shuttlebay will almost certainly be modeled closed as at 1/1400 scale it’s really, really small. However, I’ll probably still work out the basics of it… because I want to get a 1/350 version milled out.

 Posted by at 6:49 pm
Nov 152017

There’s a spaceship on the screen. It is therefore a nerd-priority to determine *everything* about it, starting with “just how big is it?” Of course this exercise could be quickly negated by a simple mention of length on screen or off. But lacking that, we can logic ourselves into a rough estimate.

First up, the internet provides two photos that show canon illustrations of the ship, diagrams that appear on display screen on the bridge of the Orville:

The first shows an inboard profile of the main hull with the engine loops; the second shows a top view of the whole ship with a closer view of the cross-section of the main hull. For scaling purposes, that cross section is what we’re after. however, it must be noted right up front that the cross section, canon and used repeatedly on-screen as it is… is WRONG. it must be an earlier iteration of the designs, since there are some meaningful detail differences. The bridge, for starters, is shown further aft that it actually is. And there are lounge “bumps” fore and aft that do not appear on the final design. So it *may* turn out that the interior arrangement could be equally erroneous. However, at this time this is what we got.

Also note that the full side-view marries the 2D-drafted interior profile with what looks like 3D rendered engine loops… loops that are shown not square side-on. So, that’s also less than entirely helpful. but again… it’s what there is to work with.

OK, so how to use these images to determine scale? “The Orville” clearly hearkens back to TNG-era Trek for much of the styling. But the Orville is not a major capital ship like the Enterprise was, but a smaller vessel… like Treks Voyager. Fortunately Voyager has been well defined. There are a large number of “master systems display” inboard profile diagrams of the Voyager to pick from, including this one:

The Voyager MSD clearly shows the decks. The Orville “MSD” also shows its decks:

It’s by no means certain that the Orville uses the same spacing between decks that Voyager did… but again, it’s the best assumption that can be made at this time. So, the thing to do is to take the decks of the known-quantity-Voyager and scale the decks of the Orville to line up, like this:

Once you’ve scaled the Orville diagrams to match the deck-scale of the Voyager diagram, everything lines up looking like this:

And what this results in is the Orville being *really* close in length to the Voyager… 337 meters  for the Orville, 345 meters for Voyager. I don’t know if this was intentional on the part of the shows producers, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s an in-joke here that the Orville is supposed to be exactly the same length as Voyager.

So for now, and until I see something better, I’m going with a length of 337 meters for Orville. Given the lack of a “secondary hull” the Orville thus seems to have substantially less internal volume than Voyager, so probably a  smaller crew. But interestingly the Orville is *much* faster than Voyager. In the episode “Pria” it is claimed that Orville can fly at 10 light years per hour. If it was suddenly dumped 70,000 light years from home as Voyager was, it could fly home in 7,000 hours… 291 days. “The Orville” could thus copy the “ST:V” model by having the ship tossed to the other side of the galaxy – say, a season finale – and could wrap things up entirely within the next season. When the Orville gets back to Earth, rather than being met with celebrations, it’s met with “where the hell have you been? You’re late.”

Sanity check – a comparisons of the lounges and shuttlecraft between the two ships:

Looks about right.

 Posted by at 11:46 pm
Nov 152017

Leonardo da Vinci Painting Sells for $450.3 Million, Shattering Auction Highs

“Salvator Mundi” was sold at auction in London in 1958 for a whopping £45.

It’s not in great shape. For centuries it was not known to be a da Vinci, and apparently some of the attempts to clean it were less than stellar. Still, someone thought it was worth the better part of half a *billion* dollars.

Some neato features: the face is in “soft focus,” while the hands are clearly in focus. The crystal orb shows a number of internal flaws. But I don’t know about the view *through* the orb; I would think that the hand and cloth behind it would be far more distorted. This might indicate that the artist – presumed to be Leonardo da Vinci, and boy howdy won’t the buyer be annoyed if it turns to to not actually be a da Vinci – didn’t actually have a true crystal ball at the time and was just guessing about how it would distort the image.

 Posted by at 10:10 pm
Nov 142017

I’m a boring man, I admit if. I’d love for someone to (legally) give me a supercar… because I could sell it and pay off my mortgage. The idea of such cars is appealing, but the reality is that you have  *lot* of power packed into a small volume that has relatively low mass, meaning that it accelerates *really* fast. Which sounds cool till you realize that you’re not running on rails and that the world is not set up to allow you to drive unimpeded. So… I prefer simpler, more rational cars. Something with good gas mileage, a good safety rating,  fair amount of cargo space, a ring mount and good grippy tires is really all I need.

Especially after watching this video of supercars (largely Lambos, if i read them correctly) being  driven by fookin morons.


 Posted by at 12:10 pm
Nov 132017

I was corrected on just what qualifies as “too much gun.” The .460 S&W revolver could at least actually be carried and fired without the shooter suffering sudden structural damage. But the two-bore rifle? 12,000 foot-pounds of recoil, even from a 44-pound rifle, just sounds a tad painful.

Even though the 2-bore rifle *looks* like an antique, it appears that it is a modern product that you can buy, made and sold by Stolzer & Sons Gunsmithing. I wonder if the pieces being auctioned off above are actually those shown below…





 Posted by at 4:19 pm