Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Mystery Man Reappears... along with some progress

Welcome back!

I would like to report a lot of things happening, but there hasn’t been that much going on this last week. However, we have made some progress on important stuff:

- Eric and I have been going over what the layout should look like. I was originally shooting for an older look and feel, but dropped that when I saw the company’s TRO:3075 about a year ago. The TRO:3085 looks about the same, so we are going to follow that format (for general looks, anyway).

- After a very long absence, our original layout man has responded to my emails. I cautiously included him in the work at hand, mostly because I do not know why he dropped out and do not know if it will happen again. He’s working on some pieces for layout consumption.

- I sent six black-and-white pieces to Terrance Wong for colorizing. They will cost a total of $78, which is something I can handle, but not just yet. More on that later.

- Geoffrey Butler has completed five re-writes of various Notables sections and polished another writeup that was curiously stilted. He is about to begin working on two more in a few days.

Unfortunately, there have been no updates on:

- Ian Stead, who should be working on the Tomahawk.

- Paul Skowronek, who has three writeups in hand.

- Chris Seymour is probably up for the Nemera commission, but I am not passing it over to him until I have paid off his previous work on the Montgomery II. It will be a few weeks, unfortunately.

- Karl Olson’s work on the San-Ku-Chu, which presumably is quite a ways along.

- Daniel Cherng’s tweaks on the Katana.

- Chris Duke’s progress on the Panzerfaust. I made a few suggestions for changes, but so far no response.

I will be pinging these guys tomorrow – hopefully there will be a response by the time this hits the blog.


I bailed on the game. I had issues at home that required my full attention and so I begged off going with my buddy Bill. He understood. To be honest, it was hot as hell out there (mid-90s), the field was just as clogged with underbrush as before, and this time some kids brought their souped up guns – we’re talking about guns chrono-ing in the mid-400s for pellet speed.

Then those kids began shooting folks at close range, unloading at full auto from fifteen feet away. You can break the skin and draw blood at that range. They nearly did with Bill, who took something like seven shots, four to the face, before they stopped shooting him. He still has the welts. Man, he was pissed. It’s an unregulated field but I have a feeling that will change soon if they want us to continue playing there.

Broken Car!

I mentioned earlier that I was going to have to slow the commission schedule down a bit. Here is why: after 280,000 miles, my Cavalier’s transmission began singing its death song. This is my work car, mind you. It started out about six weeks back as a low whine that gradually grew rougher and louder. I took it in to a mechanic and he concurred. This is one reason why I have been avoiding the long trips to South Seattle lately for the monthly game – I was afraid I would be stranded on I-5.

After some hurried research, I located a replacement transmission at Eastside Auto Wrecking – 2000 Cavalier, automatic, 4 speed, 2.2L engine. There are a number of trannies that were used that year, and I was very lucky they had mine on hand. Only $246. No telling how many miles it has on it, but it can’t be any worse than the one I have now, and is probably much better. [It is. Mine was starting to shed bits of metal and the fluid was an ominous color when the technician took it out. The replacement transmission has clear bright fluid and no leaks – and went in like a charm].

I talked to the mechanic (who has a good rep) and he said he would do the job for $300, plus $50 for seals, etc. I went for the swap because a rebuild would cost over $2000, something I don’t have at the moment.

We were blessed again – my wife got an advance on her paycheck to cover what we did not have in savings. Thank God - no borrowing from the Man at 32% interest. I picked my car up this evening in better condition than I left it, but I am strapped for cash until the end of the month.

As you can see from the image below, it’s basic math:

I could continue to hand out commissions, but I already own folks about $280 as it is for existing pieces and works already in progress. Which leads us to basic math again:

Although it does have a rather nice dieselpunk feel to it, I am sure no one wants to see a cross between the Kalinin K-7 and a battleship in our TRO. So please, be patient while we recover from this temporary setback.

And yes, the swap went smoothly and my little car is in fighting trim again.

Thanks for stopping by.



Paint it Pink said...

That's a great image, the bottom one that is, really retro in a totally futuristic way too.

Doug said...

OMG, you got 240k out of a Cavalier trans? I had a 2003 Cavalier that started slipping its 4-speed auto trans at only 140k... darn... they wanted $1500 to rebuild mine... just about $500, sounds like you swinged a great deal. I did end up trading in the Cavalier in March of 2009, and believe it or not I got $2,500 on the trade in (and the sales man knew about the trans). Now I have a Cobalt.

Doug said...

Once the TRO is done, to celebrate you should put a wing on the back, a scoop on the hood, and some 19 inch (chrome) wheels on that Cav... :).

This could be your car:


Steven Satak said...

280k, actually, and I was told that the first 77k was mostly gained by being towed behind an RV. Which is pretty hard on an AT.

Yes, we are blessed, not lucky. Lucky is when you find a fifty-dollar bill on the side of the road. There are so many factors out of my control which went my way that I really dislike chalking it up to random chance.

Sure, we all hit the lottery sooner or later. But this 'win' was tailored not to what I wanted, but to exactly what I needed - and nothing more.

Doug said...

Sure, that and the fact that you might have changed the trans fluid more often then I did, or I might drive my cars harder then you do. I do plan to have the dealership do all the trans service from now on. And not just change the fluid, the whole darn thing, fluid, filter, and flush the torque converter.

The Ecotec engines are very reliable, so the trans in the compact GM cars is where you need to show the love to the car.

Steven Satak said...

I would like to agree with you, but the sad truth is that I did nothing to my tranny but use the piss out of it for seven years.

I did not find out until two months ago that my year of car and make of transmission does not have a AT dipstick at all.

Just a filler cap. I am told you cannot estimate how much is inside unless you approach it from below. Something the dealerships loved, I am sure.

No, it was just luck up to a point, and a tough engine.

Doug said...

Cool, maybe mine was slightly defective. My 03 Cav didn't have a dipstick either, my 09 Cobalt also does not have a dipstick for the trans. So for both of us, every 50k, change that trans oil and filter :)!