Revell Big Boy Locomotive Model Kit

When I was a child I received a model train kit as a present, but as I was just a kid I never painted it or actually put it fully together. As a teenager I recall finding and when I tried putting it together I discovered that over the years it has lost a number of parts and tossed it out. Last christmas my wife got me a brand new train model kit, the Revell 1/87 Big Boy Locomotive Kit.   Being an adult with a child of my own I only had a few hours here and there, but little by little it came together and after a few months I finally completed the project.

It was a fun project to work on and I am glad that I was finally able to put together a model locomotive.  I took my time on the project, waiting the extra weeks for the correct paint to arrive from the UK, actually reading the instructions before doing steps, and letting each paint coat dry before working on the next. Painting the track was tedious, but the overall effect came out nice in the end.

The Revell Big Boy Locomotive …


Grew a beard over Christmas so now I am all set with a photo in the event that I one day decide to create a programming language.

Card Game / Board game: IPO

The other week while playing around with game mechanics I came up with a little card game.  It is short (around 10 minutes) and uses pieces that many board gamers probably already have.   The mechanic that made it interesting for me was when playing cards on the table sometimes it is face up and everyone knows, but other times it is face down and only you know the value until the end.

Requires: - A standard deck of cards
- Any Dominion set (really just a bunch of sets of matching cards)

Rules: Win by collecting stock in the most valuable companies.

A company is a set of action cards from the Dominon game

The companies value is the total of the playing cards in front of the company.  Black numbers are positive, red are negative.

At the start of the game there are 1 more companies than their are players (so 2 players starts with 3 companies open) and each player gets 5 cards.

On your turn you place a card from your hand, optionally take a stock from any open company and then take anothe…

Dreadnought is almost always the first ship you should build, here's why

The past few weekends I have been playing the board game Eclipse and this past week I wrote a battle simulator, but unlike others I have seen mine tries all possible ship part combinations to give the best combination of ship parts to defeat an enemy.  Using this took I took a look at the best moves for the beginning of the game.

At the start of the game the first battle objective is to kill single ancient (to get more/better hexes, to get more research/actions/builds….) .  It would be great to save up and built perfect ships before doing any battles, but for the majority of games you need to incrementally upgrade, fight the weakest battle first etc.  I took a close look at this situation and concluded that a dreadnought is the ship you want to build at the start of the game.  From higher percentage wins, cheaper cost, easier retreat, faster movement, and significant improvements on percentage of wins with cheap easy upgrades the dreadnought looks to be the first ship any race should …

Solar Panels 1 year in

A year ago this week we had our solar panels turned on, so its fitting to write a follow up answering the question of how well they worked.  The short answer is close to exactly as estimated, it provides the electricity we need in our house and is on track to pay for itself in under five years.

First up the raw numbers for one year of production:

The panels generated*: 5952 MWh
We used:                       5085 MWh

The most one day generation was on June 1st at 33.441 MWh
The least one day generation was on January 21st (Excluding days the power went out ) at 18Wh

Below is a screenshot of our panel generation over the course of the entire year.

As we are generating a significant amount more than we use over the past year we have picked up a few electrical appliances including an AC unit for our main floor and a small electric heater (smaller gas bill yeah!).  I expect next year our production will be more in line with our usage.

During the summer months we generate more electricity …

How to collect valuable toys/comics/stuff cheaply

For those that collect, determining which items will become rare and valuable is desirable information.  Once an item is sold out and it gets pegged as desirable the price can skyrocket very quickly.  In my years of collecting Transformers I have noticed a predictable case of valuable/rarity: The last item in a popular line will typically become valuable.

An item becomes rare when the number that are produce was smaller than number of individuals that desired the item.  That sounds like something that should be simple to figure out, but there is a lot of randomness involved.  Just a few things to mix it up can include:

A so-so toy could become a central figure in the story/cartoon raising the status significantly.A so-so line takes off and the first run items are sought after.An unforeseeable problem at the factory resulting in a toy production run that was significantly cut back.Only one of toy X is included in a box while everything else get two (short packing).Only after most of the…

Abigail Reese Meyer

This past Sunday at 3:22pm Abigail Reese Meyer arrived. Almost two two weeks late she was 9lbs and 4oz. Mom and baby are doing fine.