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As I’ve discussed previously, my tastes in cinema and media are pretty broad and hard to pin down. I like a lot of different stuff! What can I say. Anyway, I really like animation. It’s one of my favourite art forms.

And as I’ve also mentioned before, I love airplanes and flight.

Broadly, these two interests overlap in the work of Hayao Miyazaki, But in particular, his film Porco Rosso is one of my favourites.

For those of you unfamiliar with the film, it is set in the in the Adriatic Sea, sometime between the first and second world war. The film is chock full of seaplanes inspired by historical designs of that era. This film made me fall in love with those planes. There is something simultaneously elegant and ridiculous about seaplanes. They are sleek, yet bulbous. Practical and whimsical.

That era saw an explosion of innovative aircraft designs. Many had unique and oddball shapes like the twin hulled flying wing, Savoia-Marchetti S.55, which apparently was actually a very capable and airworthy aircraft.

After building a couple of simple stick and tissue model kits, I wanted to make something like the planes in Porco Rosso. So I started searching the internet for a kit. Eventually, this search lead me to http://www.outerzone.co.uk/ where I discovered the world of building from plans rather than kits. I ultimately decided to try this plan of a Curtiss Racer for my first attempt.

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I made a lot of mistakes and had a couple false starts (not unlike this blog!), but I also learned a lot.

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The final result is a little squiggly and uneven, and I’m not sure it will ever fly. Some of that is a result of the hand-drawn quality of the plans, and some of that is due to my lack of experience. Nevertheless, I am pleased with the result. It’s elegant and goofy, just like I wanted!

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Coming up next: I will be returning to my childhood roots when I built a plastic model. Fittingly, it is a model of a fictional plane from Porco Rosso! My friend Will gave it to me after he visited the Studio Ghibli museum in Japan. I can’t wait.

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New Job

I realize that I have not posted in quite a while.

I started a new job last week, and I have been pretty busy. But I have a few drafts that just need some editing, then I will post them later this week, I hope.

I am the new Festival Manager for the Scarborough Worldwide Film Festival. It is a very busy job, and there is a lot of intimidating work to be done. But I am enjoying it! It’s a good group of people to work with and I am glad for the challenging experience. It will be intense, but over relatively quickly, as the whole contract is just about a month and a half long.

Stick and Tissue Battle of Britain, Part I

Here is the completed model airplane from the kit given to me by a kind stranger when I was little. I finally built it a few years ago. As you can see, I still need to give it a propeller and wheels. But a visit to John’s Hobbies will rectify that. You’ll also notice that I have not painted it. I haven’t painted any of my models actually. Maybe I will give it a shot someday. But I also like being able to see the underlying structure clearly.

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