My first rant -or- never do business with activepowersports.com

I never use social media as a platform to blast any person or company, BUT I’m making an exception tonight. I very, very, very rarely get screwed on a deal, and if there is an issue it’s generally resolved by quick communication between myself and the other party. SinceI know a lot of my followers are avid hobbyists- model builders and the like- avoid ever doing transactions with Escondido powersports or activepowersports.com.

Last week I went shopping for a new airbrush. I knew exactly the model I was looking for and my wife found the website activepowersports.com, which listed it for about $30 less. After browsing their site, I found most of their prices to be a good 20% less than most online stores. I went ahead and added a couple of models to my shopping cart and checked out. My total with shipping was around what  I’d pay for just the airbrush through most places.

Immediately after I placed the order- which was last Thursday- I received a confirmation email, and an email saying my order was in progress. The next morning. I received another email saying my order was awaiting shipment. “Awesome!”

Saturday came, and no update. Monday, Tuesday, still no update. Their website claims they ship from 12 warehouses accross the country, but they have no telephone support because it would cost to much money. They do have an email address, so Tuesday night I emailed them and asked politely for a status update. They clearly state that they respond to all emails within 24 hours. I waited 25.

During the time I was waiting, I did some digging and found out I was not the first person to have a problem with this site. It seems that the company doesn’t have a warehouse at all, but waits for the customer to place an order, then orders the product, then ships it to the customer. Some customers have waited many weeks without ever receiving a product. BBB gave them a solid F rating. The wait itself would have been fine, had there been any communication.

Wednesday evening I wrote again and let them know I was very unhappy that I had no correspondence from them. This morning- a week after the order was placed- I sent them screenshots from the reviews online and told them if I didn’t have a shipping update in the next 24 hours I would be next to leave a negative review. After several hours, I finally received an email with tracking info from UPS. I was so excited to finally have my order on it’s way.

But wait….. 

20 minutes later I receive an email from the website, an email from PayPal, and one from UPS all saying my order had been cancelled and refunded. I was so aggravated I quickly sent them a responding email and asked why they cancelled my order with my request when it said it had shipped.

I hope to hear back from them sometime in the next month.

Dannon Marsh
OtherWorld Models
#sweatthesmallstuff

Han and Leia display

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This is a project I was commisoned on a couple months back. Darryl, who’s an admin on several Star Wars related facebook pages, had seen my work and asked about a special build. He wanted a display piece that represented the scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Han and Leia are almost about to lock lips, just before being interrupted by C3PO. This was to be a birthday present for his girlfriend, as it was a scene they reinacted often.

I spent a long time searching the web for suitable looking vinyl models. I even bought a few from Japan but nothing looked too great. In the end, I went with an old AMT Han Solo that I’d had for several years, and a large Leia in Hoth gear action figure I found on eBay. The Leia was a service merchandise exclusive from 1998, and I knew I wouldn’t find anything else in a reasonable scale that had the hairstyle I was looking for.

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Han had to be modified heavily. He was originally sculpted to be in a very defensive pose; his blaster drawn and his left arm extended to the rear as to block an ambush. I had to run his arms under hot water to soften the vinyl and try to bend them to the direction I wanted. This helps, but there’s only so much you can bend something that is sculpted.  To get the final positions, I had to slowly trim off portions of the inside of the armpit until the arms looked correct. The head was also positioned to the right, looking down the leading arm and staring down the end of the blaster. I corrected this by cutting his head off at the top of the neck and re-seating it forward facing, and the shimming the back of the neck with strips of vinyl to “shim” it up from the base. This tilted the head downwards to aim the point of view towards Leia. The gaps in the arms and necks were then filled and sanded, and Han was painted with an airbrush and the details added by hand.

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Also included was a detailed blaster which I painted by hand. I didn’t think it was appropriate for Han to hold it in this scene, and it wouldn’t fit in the holster, so it’s a tiny display piece of it’s own.

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Very little was done to Leia, other than a tiny bit of blush added to her cheeks, which doesn’t really show.

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I started early on experimenting with my display. I had an idea about how I wanted it to be framed out. I used a plank of wood that was originally intended as a square clock face. I cut out sheets of styrene to the height that I wanted- not too much taller than Han, or it would be too cumbersome. I knew early on I would want a grate on the floor and one wall looking like a control panel and the other looking like an entryway.

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I kept putting the display off and working on getting Han right.  Time was getting away from me. It was just a couple of weeks until the deadline- Linda’s birthday- and I still hadn’t figured out exactly how I was going to do the background. Then, my wife had the brilliant idea of using an old motherboard. I found one right away at the goodwill that was perfect.

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I spray painted the entire motherboard silver and then gave it a wash of black to bring out the details. The result looked great and Darryl approved. My wife helped me cut out the sheets of
styrene for the computer panel. I drilled all of the holes and ran around 100 strands of fiber optics, illuminated by five or six LEDs. These are powered by a 9v battery hidden in the base, and  toggle switch that blends in with the background.

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Darryl had told me he wanted the phrases “Darryl,” “Linda,” “I love you,” “I know,” and “always” in Auerbach worked in somehow, but hidden.  This was a challange. I knew I wanted to make it glow in the dark but didn’t know how to incorporate it. Then, it all came together. I typed up the phrases and had my wife cut them out on adhesive vinyl on our cricut. I then made some tiles in styrene and covered them on glow in the dark duct tape, and applied the vinyl letters to them. I sprayed the tiles silver and removed the lettering to reveal the glow in the dark writing underneath.

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The last piece of the puzzle was the doorway. I printed out a photo of the millennium falcon corridor and glued it to a sheet of styrene. Then I designed and cut out the tiles for the door frame and glued them in place. The final step was to glue Han and Leia on, however it would proof ineffective for UPS’ hyperdrive on the journey from Reno NV to Provo UT.

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Oh yeah… And there’s a hidden button. I knew at the start that this build had to have some audio to it. I recorded the audio from that scene into a device build into the computer.  I never told Darryl, so not only did Linda get a surprise on her birthday but so did he.  That was the icing on the birthday cake. 

Dannon Marsh
OtherWorld Models
#sweatthesmallstuff

New 2500 ent. B.

Round one: FIGHT!!

I tend to jump around from one build to the next, as I’m sure many builders do. I have a pretty good sized backlog of commissioned builds and pretty much took the last week off to spend with my family.

I decided to jump back in tonight and rather than start where I left off, I started on a new 1/2500 ent. B. Rather than do it just like the last one, I decided to not only remove the raised saucer lines but to also describe them.  This will allow the panel lines on the decals to settle into the grooves. I gave it a quick white primer and a shot of tamiya white pearl.

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Enterprise D no.2

As soon as I completed my first set of enterprises, I was commissioned to build a second set for a new client.  I really enjoyed working on the first set and now I know a few things I can improve on to make this run even better. 

The only real obstacle I ran into on the D is that it is covered in panel lines. This is because the original decals that came with the model were only markings.  The new kit decals and aftermarket decals provide aztecing and panel lines, so the first order of business is to sand most of the molded on detail off.

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Hard to see from the light, but there are raised panel lines that need to go.

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All the raised lines will need to be sanded smooth.

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Here you can see the circles left by the ejector pins. These will be filled in and sanded smooth.

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Lightly sanding makes the panel lines more visible as the finish is becoming more matte

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The ejector pin marks have been filled in with Bondo. They'll be sanded smooth when dry.

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Looking better already!

The most difficult part is getting the lines that run perpendicular to the phaser strips without sanding down the strips themselves. 

AT-ST nearly complete.

Just need to add the railing and pick out a couple small details.

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AT-ST update

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Current progress on an Empire based ATST from the battle of hoth.  I know there’s a lot of discussion about the length of legs for that studio model, etc. But lets not go there.  I’ve already been there and back.

I’ve added detail to the main guns and added hollow barrels to them.  I added the strips to the “eyes” to hold them I’m a closed position. The barrels on the side cannons have been drilled out. I added guitar strings below the “chin” as hose/ cable details. The rear diamond shapes have been cut out and black styrene placed behind the holes. I also added the extra armour plate to the lower have of either side of the “head” and drilled the rivet holes around the dome shapes.

Still left- I’ve designed the emblem that goes on the top corner of either of the large armour plates, I just need to print them out. Then I need to bend some wire and make the rails that go around the hatch and give it some weathering.

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ISD detail

Just a quick update on the lower hull detail on my imperial star destroyer model.

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Enterprise D complete!

Just a couple small spots to touch up but basically she’s complete!

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Enterprise D almost complete!

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After an extended hiatus, the D is
almost complete. Just a few more dec
als and some touch up.

Hello Readers!

There was a series of things that happened at the same timeframe that really shaped my model building path. I had cousins who were very much into star wars, and even though I liked star wars I didn’t have any toys because I was already collecting batman and He-Man stuff growing up, so my parents wouldnt have been able to afford another collection. Plus, by this time (being born in 1980 and figuring I wasn’t really into action figures until 85) star wars was waining.

Jump ahead to the early 90s. I had a cousin who turned his whole basement into a star wars room. He bought and sold eveything. I loved going to his house and seeing his collection. It was amazing. A slow resurgence in star wars started to brew, as we got our first rumblings of a possible prequel trilogy, new novels were starting to get published, and star wars video games were becoming popular. I was 10 years old and my parent’s friend owned a short lived hobby shop. I loved looking at all the models kits and RC cars and planes, but I had no knowledge of any of it.

My parent’s friend sent me home one day with some model catalogs. One of them was the 1990 AMT catalog, and I was spellbound. It showed photos of the entire star wars, trek, and batman lineups. I would stare at the photos all day. I’d seen lots of car models, but never scifi stuff.

A very short time later I was riding around with my dad. We had stopped off at a yard sale and looking around I found a huge box of loose, partially built models. It was as tall as I was at the time. I belive it cost my father all of $8 for that box, and it road home on my lap in the front of an old Chevy pickup truck.

By now I was also collecting everything star wars, and I just about wore out my copy of “from star wars to Jedi” on vhs, which was a making of the star wars trilogy video. Everyone thought I was crazy when they’d ask what I wanted to be when i grew up and I told them I wanted to work for industrial light and magic and make models for movies.

I tried as I might to buid something decent from that box, but it was frustrating working with half built kits, and I new nothing about kit bashing. Still, it gave me practice and within the next year I was saving all my money and buying all the reissued star wars models. I spent much of my teens in my room building star wars kits.

I had gotten away from it for a few years and got rid of that box (stupid mistake) when i moved out of my parents house. About six years ago after a few years away, I started getting inspired by all the photos I’d seen online of people super-detailing their kits and adding leds and fiber optics, and I feel as excited now as I did back in 1990.

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