Ok - newbie thing, I guess: Here we have a Buck Rogers Sonic Ray gun, but no fiddly brass knob, and no cut in the fin for a fiddly brass knob. I've nosed around, and I can't find any reference to this thing sans adjustment control - heck, even the instruction manual that comes with the full box explains how the adjustment thingie works.
So what do I have here? Some reproduction? Did I just fish out an old boot?
Holy Mother of Pearl, Blech - that's freaking Incredible! I'm in - the investment was low, the gun is nice, and maybe once I get her open, I can re-poppify it.
Can you mentor me through the process, or are there some reference works I can dig up? Looking at this, I don't have even the slightest idea how to open it. I've got the time, intent and drive - all I need is the knowledge.
Hiya Blechroboter; well, I guess the underlying question is at the moment I know what I have; I'm not sure what I'll end up with if I fiddle with it. Can you point me to any examples of de-rustified steel? I'd hate to monkey with the thing and end up with a piece that looks like it's been sitting off the coast in the middle of a coral reef...
Little brother just showed up today, and for less than ten bucks (spread over the whole haul of 5), he's a cutey - non-op, of course, but I don't intend on shooting any Martians with him, so it's cool. (That's what the phasers are for.)
But there are a couple of issues I'm pondering, and you guys are the experts.
First off, in the fiddly little areas there appears to be a sort of gunky haze looking stuff; in fact, I have no idea if the thing has been given anything like a proper cleaning since Eisenhower. What's the deal on the cleaning and maintenance on one of these buggers?
Secondly, and slightly more bothersome, there are areas of real live rust here. Nothing deforming or corrosive lookin' - nothing over-red or angry, but it has that "Old Metal" look to it that Buck didn't. Again, the question is, do you clean this stuff, try to bring some kind of silver back, or leave it in its old-world charm?
I'm guessing you don't muck with the paint job, so I won't ask.
Yeah - welcome to my world. ~sigh~ If you don't explain enough they look at you blankly, and if you try to explain the big picture, they roll their eyes. Those frightful cads on Hale-Bop forgot to send me my boarding pass, I tell ya...
Ok - no need to answer this until your leisure, but a few questions:
1) Do I flip the gun to show the maker's marks, or not?
2) The mirror is doing no good under the current layout - should I take the remaining mirror area and clear out some of the paper rubble? Maybe move the NRA sign up there, or perhaps pastiche a bunch of the Rogers paper items to clean up the look of the acrylic tri-stand? That Empire state building is doing very little good back there...
3) Should I trash the mini-book cover in the trifold entirely? With the big cover in the background, it feels like overkill, and by coincidence the color scheme on the '34 worlds fair ticket compliments the big cover perfectly.
4) Alternate - center the back cover, trash the box-cover bed and mini-book cover entirely, and remove the membership card? I've got a few vintage Sunday comics coming in I can scan and use as a bed instead of the box cover that will damp down the colors a bunch. That'll un-busy the display pretty nicely.
On a side note, Zazzle has a repro pinback "Sattelite Pioneers" button (and shirt, and keychain, and coffee cup, and god knows what else) if you're interested in either adding to your collection or outing yourself as a Buckomaniac to the general public. There are a couple other Buck-based pieces too - have a look, if you haven't already.
Phil, when you're talking to me, you never have to hold back; I'm yakky as hell, I'm a bent for leather jumper-of-the-gun, and almost impossible to understand in casual (verbal) conversation - I'm all artsy that way. But I'm never sold on "one perfect way," and although I'll defend a point I hold valid, I'm never so married to it that I'll defend it to the death.
In that, the Irish side of my ancestory are probably spinning in their graves...
Now, the question is, what can we do about a retool? There are some great architectural examples at the '34 World's Fair, but that's already represented; do we switch out the ticket for a photo, or maybe attach the photo and a ticket? Besides a zep and a train, what else carries that art deco feel that we could incorporate into the small design space? I'm buying clues by the hogshead - any idears?
And don't mind me - the sad thing is I do this all the time. I actually have a guy at work who translates what I'm blathering about into real english for the bosses consumption. I think a fathom too deep, and once I leave the written word I tend to sound more and more abstract: I can't see the trees for the forest, if you follow me.
Honestly, I do agree it needs to be more cohesive. I like the idea of using art deco tech like the zeppelin, the train, etc. to tie back to the design influence of the weapon. First off, it will help me get a little more 3D -I think there's too much paper going on. Secondly, industrial design is a huge tie to the age. Like the effect of the V2 stabilizer fin and vertical take-off had on spaceship design in the sci-fi films of the late forties and fifties.
Beleive me, your opinions - any opinion - means something; the one thing I've learned from my mental dyslexia is to count on other people to tell me when to "watch out for that tree!"
So, what do you think? where should we go from here? A little brainstorming and blue-skying seems apropos about now to get this thing moving in a clearer direction. - Bob
Thanks for the critique, Doc, but I don't agree that the rise of Nazi Germany didn't play into the American consciousness to any noticeable extent.
Although isolationism was the official government position, it didn't reflect the actual tone of the country. In January 1933, the mass emigrations began from Germany (38,000 people), including Marlene Dietrich, Albert Einstein, Fritz Lang and Peter Lorre. In May of 1933, 100,000 people in New York marched in protest of Nazi Book burnings - the largest protest the city had seen in its history up to that date. Similar protests were made in many major cities in America including Philadelphia, Cleveland and Chicago.The Reichstag fire had happened, Germany rescinded its writ of habeas corpus, the night of long knives and the first concentration camp was up and running. That Swastika flag went from being the symbol of a political party to the symbol of a nation. 1934 was the beginning of forced sterilization of 400,000 "unfit" human beings, the next step towards "The Final Solution." America had pulled its ambassador from the country, and Germany pulled theirs from America. The appearance of the Graf Zeppelin at the world's Fair in 1934 caused a tumult in Chicago.
If the threat of Germany was not there, the menace was, much the same as we see Iran today - or Iraq five years ago. When you count down the "first world nations," as considered in the thirties, you don't have to go too far down the list to hit Germany - this wasn't a backwater tin-pot country, and it was The major player in WWI, which was then less than twenty years old. What was happening in Germany was a very big part of the international landscape, and folks in the thirties still read newspapers, saw newsreels and listened to the news on the radio. In fact, Germany's press was so bad at this time Germany founded an American propaganda network called "Friends of New Germany," renamed in 1936 "The German American Bund."
It was the first shadow of a terribly dark time, and if you want a tie-in, I'll give you the one I see. Then, as now, we need heroes to fight back the darkness - someone to stand up against the bad guys and fight the good fight. A lot of the soldiers who died in 1945 ran around as 9 or 10-year olds fighting imaginary menaces with this gun. Personally, I believe the spirit of this hero - a member of our pantheon of American mythology - fed that burning desire to do the right thing and put the bad guys out of commission that took our boys through the war. I'm not sure what the age range is in here; back on the TOS Star Trek boards, we're getting pretty ancient. But I know for most of us, those Federation guys were our heroes, and they instilled a certain set of values in us in a way our parents or pastors never could. I know I've done some crazy stuff above and beyond the call just because it was "the Federation thing to do." I like to believe it was the same back then. Proto-Trekkies all fired up about their chance to do the right thing the way their heroes would have. And they got their chance, and did Buck proud.
At the same time, I think I can see an alternate solution.
The Graf Zeppelin - an airship the size of an ocean liner - carries the same sort of art deco style that infused the early sci-fi comics, and arguably the bulbous shape was the prototype for the Buck Rogers spaceships. I'm going to dig around to see if I can find a small replica or memento to replace the stamp, along with a few other tech examples of the time, like the streamlined locomotives like the Commodore Vanderbilt that debuted in '34. That might tie the contemporary tech design in a little better to the gun.
And since I have this whole rig up and running, here's another part of the collection - although I'm not entirely sure it is how it's gonna stay yet...
The five Star Trek buttons are original Lincoln Enterprises pieces, back from the first conventions in 1974; the little tricorder is the only surviving piece of my original Exploration kit; the Phaser is an Ed Miarecki, who went on to actually build the props for the Next Gen series, the communicator and the tricorder are MR.
Sorry about the delay - had to wait to collect a few odds and sods to set the piece up. Here's Buck's Final Resting Place:
Thanks to Phil, here's the logic: 1934 was the first year of the Empire State Building, the first incarnation of Donald Duck, the last year of the World Expo, the National Relief Act blue eagle was in it's last year, the Nazis had just come into power in Germany, The Walking Liberty and the Buffalo Head coin were still in circulation and the tootsietoy car was the correct vintage. The one cheat I have is the Buck Rogers Membership Card - that'll probably transfer over to the Sonic Ray Gun, when I lay hands on one.
So, as Joel was fond of saying, "Well; what do you think, sirs?"
(Oh - just noticed this - should I flip the whole thing to show off the imprint? Didn't even think of that when I was futzing around...)
Ohhhh, I know it - there's one on the big E I've been eyeballing; 113 already with six days to go. Yikes. I'll give you three very good reasons, in order of importance.
1) At these prices, I'm trying not to look too far down the addiction. It's so comforting to pretend I can just stop...
2) As Phil can attest to (he's already my sponsor in my Buck 12-step program), I tend to get a little... Focused when I get my teeth into a concept.
Maybe a little bit maniacal.
Out of sight, even temporarily, means out of mind. It helps to spread the financial pain over time. I suspect I'll find the display lacking eventually - but right now, all I have is the 31 and a spineless book, so I can nickel and dime the layout for a bit to take the initial sting away, while I marshal the cash for the next leap.
3) I think you could probably call me "In Transition." I'm coming from a "Prop" perspective from my Trekkie roots, and the 31 was kind of my gateway drug. Kinda propish, metal-ly, iconic... kinda just beautiful design and great lines. I've been looking at pieces today - like the green plastic "Space Patrol Smoke Gun" - with a different set of eyes than I would have a week or two ago: the "cheapness" is gaining charm, if you follow my meaning.