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Scale Modeling Tips & Tools Monthly, Issue #024.5-- "Make Your Modeling Environmenally Friendly"
December 15, 2008
December 15, 2008

Christmas Rush Error

Sorry, My Finger Slipped

What I meant to Say...

Most of us planning a new scale modeling project seldom think about it's impact on the environment. For instance, model railroading magazines claim to have over 250,000 subscribers.

If only half that number have their own railroad layout, there are plenty of places to think environmentally in your modeling.

For instance, think about the plastic baggies we all use to store small parts, scenic materials, even plastic tools. These baggies take up very little space but they will be with us for centuries.

Geese walk near some of the many thousands of one-use plastic bags left hanging on trees.

We all owe it you ourselves to think about the environmental impact of our actions, even in places we view as insignificant.

For instance educate yourself about the environmental impact of your radio control hobby as well as other activities that share our environmental resources.

There exists today an implicit and often unrealized responsibility to conserve these resources. Failing this, we will continue to face greater scrutiny regarding what we are allowed to do and face negative public misperceptions about these activities.

This is a scale modeler’s extrapolation of “The Tragedy of the Commons” an influential article discussing the commons dilemma; it was written by Garrett Hardin and first published in the journal Science in 1968.

Even with the dramatic decrease in motor fuel costs we have experienced lately, there is a move to depend less on fuel burning engines and this is carrying over to radio control cars and airplanes and their nitro burning engines.

More and more RC pilots are making the switch from gas to electric. In many places in the United States it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a place to fly anything but an electric powered plane.

How does this figure into a tragedy of commons? Hardin’s essay describes a dilemma in which multiple individuals acting independently and in their own interests can ultimately destroy a shared resource.

In Hardin’s thesis we are talking about herders grazing their cows on common ground, each with the desire to put as many cows as possible on this “free” feeding parcel of land, thus damaging the land as a result. It was Hardin’s view that each herder could put as many cows as possible on the land despite the danger to the commons.

Translating this to RC flying is not difficult. As more and more RC flyers take to the air, they need a “common” place to land and as the population grows there are fewer and fewer places to fly gas powered planes from and return to earth.

Why? The “new” neighbors do not want the noise of gas powered model planes flying past their homes.

Even model flying clubs are finding it difficult to schedule regular gas-powered activities unless they have large parcels of land for a runway.

This has often led RC flying clubs to abandon gas powered planes in favor to electrics which will buy them more time in the public acceptance poll.

Checklist for Shopping for Seniors

Got a Senior Citizen on your Christmas list? Either parent or sibling, spouse or distant relative, you can solve plenty of gifting problems by introducing them to a hobby. This gift can pay a big bonus by desensitizing health issues.

It is important to realize, particularly as we age, that there are natural, non-drug and non-surgical cures for almost every illness and disease.

Here is a 10-point checklist to keep in mind when you are shopping for Seniors:

1.Hobbies are dependable prescriptions for physical health.
2. They challenge dexterity.
3. They teach resourcefulness and patience.
4. They are alleged to increase longevity.
5. They keep mental faculties sharp and lively.
6. Hobbies distract from worry and stress.
7. Hobbies reactivate your social life.
8. They expand your personal knowledge base.
9. Hobbies give you a reason to get up in the morning.
10. They allow you to go slow and do things right.

Christmas Help.

Thinking About Christmas...

Free Shipping Can Save The Price of a Gift

For the past few months we have been researching how to bring Scale Modelers Handbook regulars the best value in online hobby purchases.

We have partnered with my favorite site for buying almost anything online This dates back several years as I found it to be a favorite source for books on almost any subject.

Amazon has developed some amazing tools to help shoppers of any ilk and I have pared down their vast library of products for different shops in the virtual modeler's mall. Inside you will find shops devoted to RC Car Racing, Radio Control Boats, Warships and RC Plane and helicopters.

Turn another corner and you'll find Plastic model Airliners and Planes, a shop for plastic ship models, the Plastic Model Car Garage, and a range for plastic military models.

Duck down another corridor and you'll find the Model Paint Brush rack, a Hobby Knife shop, an Airbrush store and the Dremel Rotary Tool Crib.

My primary requirements for entry into the mall was good value for the dollar, I have gotten some good deals); a business concerned about the safety and security of customers; minimal shipping charges (Free Shipping (it works) is easy by combining orders)and effective customer service I have tried myself.

Take a few moments and wonder around the Hobby Mall.

When Using Modeling Forums...

Do you Attach or Embed?

Even scale modelers can get bogged down in minutiae and in a lot of cases, miss the forest for the trees.

For instance, many of us are active participants in Yahoo Groups where we share information on the techniques involved in modeling. Photos can enhance this by a thousand per cent (one photo is worth a 1,000 words) and here is where the small stuff comes in: to attach or to embed?

Either technique will work fine for sending photos in emails.

The important element in photo care is to resize it to less than 1000 pixels in width (the height will take care of itself). This will take advantage of the screen size offered by most email clients.

I prefer to embed the picture(s) in the email as the photo is right there without involving activation of a graphics program to view them. I do usually reduce the file size to keep it within decency bounds.

Two things affect the load time of your photos, the actual cropped photo size (measured in pixels) and the photo’s compressed file size, The amount of memory it uses (measured in kilobytes).

I use a graphic arts program, Corel Paint Shop Pro to manipulate images. There are also several free tools for this purpose like Irfanview, Easy Resize, Resizer or Shrinkpic.

Manipulating image size is a simple, three step process:

Step 1. Save the photo to a location where you can find it.
Step 2. Open in your graphics program and use the cropping tool to resize, Under 1000 pixels for email, under 500 pixels for web page, and save as a .jpg
Step 3. Open the program you use for compressing photos and reduce file size to under 100k. I save the result with an extension .jpg-o for optimized.

Using this process with your photos will make sharing your work much more gratifying.

Until Next Month...

Make It Your Best Effort!

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