Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Drop Pod Part 5

It is finished! Over the past few days I've been concentrating on other things, like doing some study for the CCNP SWITCH exam, and recovering after my personal trainer tried his best to make me throw up on Friday. Anyhow, today I did the final assembly and painted some boltgun metal on the doors to indicate some weathering. I ended up not painting the underside of the pod, as it will not be visible anyway. I could at a later point do some more damage or wear painting, but for now I am satisfied how it turned out.

I am no better a photographer than I am a painter, but here are some pictures. First, the final assembled unit. You can see the harnesses and missile launcher, engine assembly and wings. In the background for scale is a Space Marine and a Dreadnought I had previously painted.

Next, a shot with the doors closed. The Imperial Eagle indicates the Sergeant's position, the other doors have the Ultramarine insignia in them. The bottom of the pod underneath the doors is a prime place for doing some heat damage or scarring from re-entry, but it is pristine blue for now.

Below is a closeup of the internal assembly. You can see on the wings I tried some dry-brushing of the metal areas to make the metal look a little duller. You can see the Imperial Eagles on the floor and some detail on the central assembly and missile launcher. The missile launcher rotates by turning the central engine shaft.

So there you have it. In all, I think I spent around twenty hours on the assembly and painting. If I had a steadier hand, I probably could have spent more time perfecting some of the detail. It is not going to win any prizes, but I am happy with it. Any suggestions on what vehicle or character I should do next? Well, maybe after I've finished my CCNP stuff, I will head down to the local Games Workshop outlet and have a browse.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Drop Pod Part 4

I took a break from painting the Drop Pod yesterday, so I did some more today. I dry-brushed the outside doors and wings with a second coat of Ultramarine Blue. Next, I put a black overlay on the door edges to produce the black-and-yellow pattern.

I did a second coat of red on the highlights of the harnesses and on the missile launcher.

Finally, the decals to be attached to the outsides of the doors; four Ultramarine symbols and an Imperial Eagle in gold.

So, it is almost done. Final assembly and some touch-up still to do. I need to re-do some of the yellow, as it is not quite filled in as I would like, and I need to do some highlights and maybe a bit of weathering. I may not do this Friday; maybe on the weekend.

My skills are not particularly good, but I think this is starting to come together OK. Will be good to see what it looks like all together.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Drop Pod Part 3

So I didn't have a lot of tie to work on the Drop Pod today. Have started getting into the CCNP SWITCH material. I did the first outside coat on the doors and then the rough yellow door edges.

Next is the second coat on the outside and adding the black trim to the door edges, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Also, the underside of the pod is still unfinished, and the decals for the doors. Ah well, it keeps me busy.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Drop Pod Part 2

So today I spent cutting up the old carpet to put in the bin for tomorrow and doing laundry. Then I started doing some more painting on the Drop Pod. First I started by working on the wings and boltgun metal parts of the pod doors and the central floor.

The imperial eagles on the floor were quite tricky. I tried to keep the metal colour on the floor so that it would look like a grating (click on the images for larger views).

Next, I finished the wings and metal door parts. Then I did the engine and missile launcher. I did the top of the engine and its blades in silver to make a niche highlight. Next I did the harnesses in boltgun metal with some red highlights (they are a bit out of focus on the image).

Below is a closeup of the missile launcher. The skull and eagle wing in gold, black to indicate exhaust scarring and red missile tips. The red will need another coat to bring up a bright red colour.

Once again, the light began to go, so I called it a day. So far, I spent around six hours yesterday and five hours today. Tomorrow, I will look at doing the door edges, outsides of the door and underside. Then second coats on a couple places, then I should be ready for final assembly.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Drop Pod Part 1

After passing the ROUTE exam on Tuesday and dealing with other things the rest of the week, I decided to relax today and start putting together the Warhammer 40K Drop Pod I bought while I was in Melbourne earlier in the year. I have posted about my nascent painting skills before when I did a Dreadnought and some Space Marines.

This time, I thought I would document the various stages. I just got to starting the painting when the light started to go. For some reason, I prefer painting with natural light around. I have a good halogen lamp, but it isn't the same; I have trouble looking at the fine detail.

So first, I needed to get all the pieces from the plastic frames.

Next, was gluing together the engine parts, central pillar and harnesses. I really don't like the gluing part. The glue fumes are not very pleasant, so I wear a mask, which is a bit uncomfortable in itself.

Next, I applied a black undercoat. I am going for the Ultramarine blue, so I use black instead of white. I use a spray can and apply it fairly quickly. The wind was blowing pretty well this afternoon, so even with my painting shroud (that is a cardboard box) it was a bit uncomfortable. While the undercoat was drying, I began painting the central pillar. Once the undercoat was dry, I began doing some initial assembly. Based on previous experience, I am going to do the fiddly bits of the harnesses before gluing them into the main piece. Below, the doors, body, two wings and engine assembly have been put together. The middle pillar is not glued in yet.

Below I show some detail on the central pillar. It is first coat, so is a little rough. Boltgun metal, highlights in copper and gold, with red for lights and some black for screens and white for the keypad.

Finally, I began painting the main parts of the structure. First coat of Ultramarine blue.

At this point, the light started to go, so I called it a day, and put it away in the laundry so the glue smell didn't pervade the house and went to the gym. I will probably do a little more on it tomorrow. Stay tuned to see how it turns out. I'm still a bit undecided if I'm going to make it look pristine or a bit weathered. I'll see how it turns out.


I haven't updated for a few days, as I have been dealing with a broken water pipe that ruined the carpet in my spare room. Anyway, that is sorted out as far as I can until everything dries out. The weather has not been too helpful. You can see the wet concrete after I pulled up the carpet and underlay in the image below.

On Tuesday, I passed the CCNP ROUTE exam. I didn't do as well as I'd hoped, and I put part of that down to dealing with these other extraneous issues the day before and not being in a great fram of mind. But 848/1000 (pass mark 790) is a pass. Now I just need to pass CCNP SWITCH and TSHOOT exams to obtain my CCNP.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


So I'm tired of going over OSPF LSA types for the fifth time, so it is time for a rambling, long-winded rant.

A long time ago, I came to the conclusion that I was a plumber, and that networking is plumbing. Not because much of what traverses the world's networks is crap, but rather that the network is critical infrastructure in most modern enterprises. And like plumbing, underinvestment in maintenance and upgrades will eventually mean that the poo will hit the rotor blades. The plumber is only appreciated when something breaks.

Of course, in the case of the network engineer, they seem to get the blame for any problem - theirs or not - and only grudging thanks when a problem is resolved. That aside, it seems that many network administrators do not appreciate that plumbing is their primary goal. Making sure the pipes don't get clogged and that lines don't spring leaks. And here I am not just talking about firefighting; springing into action when a problem is reported. Prevention is the key, but prevention requires knowledge. In my opinion, not enough attention is paid to network monitoring, baselining, and knowing where your vulnerabilities lie.

When someone calls up and reports a network problem, how can you assess the nature of the problem, or indeed whether there is a problem without knowing what normal behaviour is? Or for that matter knowing where the problem may lie. It has always been my goal to be aware of a problem before the phone rings to say there is an issue. Some would say that that leads to obsession and paranoia, and I am not in a position to argue. But being able to do so and to pre-emptively address issues is key to making sure the network provides a robust reliable service to the enterprise.

From the organizational perspective, though, the plumbing is not seen as essential to business until the CEO can't take a dump in the executive washroom. Similarly, the network is not seen as a critical business component until it goes away and starts costing the organization money. So what results is an underinvestment in infrastructure in favor of high-profile IT projects. And by high-profile, I don't just mean visible to the executive, the public or relevant to the bottom-line. I mean high profile to the users. The workgroup switches might be five years old with failing fans and power supplies, and unable to provide new features like security or PoE, but the desktop refresh program presents shiny new PCs to each user every 24 months without fail.

The fundamental nature of networking (and server administration to that end) as a backroom service which doesn't interface directly with the client is detrimental to the recognition of the need for infrastructure, and in fact contributes to its own demise. organizationally. In a client-focused organization, when a user has a problem, they have a cheery help desk to call or a friendly client service officer to come on site. In my experience, these cheery client service people are the ones ready to stab the backroom boys in the back. "It is a network problem". "It is a server problem". "Just fill out the survey to say how wonderful the client service is and by the way here is your shiny new laptop".

And as the network and server environments are seen as a hindrance to client support, they are a prime candidate for either outsourcing, or in today's world, being moved into "the cloud". Who needs server admins or storage admins if we can shove it all into the Amazon cloud? But we still need the friendly tech who can drop off your new PC and give the vendor a call when the monitor stops working.

Just as we would like to have a world where we don't need to engage with the nasty world of moving effluent from one place to another, it seems that enterprises don't want to deal with the network infrastructure or infrastructure of any kind. The connection from the desktop to the service should be transparent, and because of that, it becomes invisible. Transparent it should be. But that requires effort and investment. It can't be invisible. Perhaps a little less client-focus and a little more mission-focus should be the thing?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Wake Up!

It has been a few weeks since I last made a post here. Been a bit lazy about it, given that I'm semi-retired and all. So this is just a wake-up post to confirm that I am still alive. The last week or so I have been studying up in preparation for taking the Cisco CCNP ROUTE exam. I am scheduled to take it in Brisbane on Tuesday June 14. To be honest, I am a bit worried about it. I think I know the material, and I've done OK on the practice exam, but as always I am concerned I might not be ready. The EIGRP and BGP stuff is almost second-nature, but I haven't done much with advanced OSPF, though, and that is the biggest chunk of the guide I'm using.

Ah well, I just need to get through this one, take a bit of a break, then get into prep for the SWITCH and TSHOOT exams.