Saturday 7 August 2010

Savoia-Marchetti S.55 - pictures & plans on SEAWINGS

Following on from the superb walk-round sent in by my good friend Fabrizio D'Isanto of the remaining hull section of the Savoia-Marchetti S.55X flying boat, I remembered that I had some more information in my archives, so dug it out today.

Not much, just a few decent pictures and a set of genuine original hand-drawn plans dating from the 1930's but enough to provide a reasonable amount of information for anyone building the only 1/72nd scale plastic kit available from SuperModel - although somewhere in the recesses of my mind I seem to recall that it has been re-released and re-boxed again - by Italeri(?) - anyway, it is the only one and not a bad kit at that, so this information will certainly help.

Which incidentally brings me to a point that is often raised with myself namely the oft asked question, "How do you determine what you are going to up-load onto the SEAWINGS website at any given time?" Well, the above is an example of one way - sitting here quietly working away when an e-mail arrives and it contains a photographic walk-round donated by a correspondent of a complete flying boat, or plans, or contemporary photo's found by someone 'in the loft' - you'd be surprised how often that one occurs - and I get 'all fired up' as the subject matter is quite exciting and I feel I have to share them with all the viewers straight away!

It is made all the more easier for me if the images are already formatted, ready to up-load virtually without doing anything else to them, in other words 'as supplied'. Having them arrive in a 'ready to go' state saves me hours of work. For those that do not operate any form of website, and particularly one that is image heavy like SEAWINGS, the preparation of images is probably the single most time consuming act of them all, other than perhaps having to completely re-write (type) someone else's 10 page article(!)

Size is also an important consideration(!)....images to be viewed have to be worth it, by that I mean it's no good with todays sophisticated monitors and especially ones that are 15", 17" or 19" big, sitting there trying to focus on a tiny image in the middle of the screen. You would cry if I told you what I have had to reject as the scanning is far too small to be of use to myself or the site. It never fails to surprise me that this is the one area where most people fail, even though they are donating with the best will in the world. The days of the 6" x 4" image print are long-gone on a computer monitor.

Today's modern digital cameras are capable of taking a picture that, if printed out full size (as it were) would be around 2 feet square in actual physical size. So, with a multitude of images coming into me, most of my time is spent getting them ready for viewing. Apart from re-sizing them, there's always the removal of the white borders on older black & white prints, removing blemishes and general touching up if they are in poor condition and in general a host of things that can take place before they are ready to go. No one ever sees this bit.

There are a number of computer programmes that I use for all of this and have got quite good at it over the years but the point is, it still has to be done.

That then leaves the layout of the pages and the insertion of images into the articles and the general site building work, finishing in the actual up-loading itself.

Anyway, what comes into me can start me off into checking what else I have to go with it. I try, albeit poorly sometimes - to up-load pictures with plans or manuals figuring that the scale modeler needs all he can get in one go to do justice to his/her model and it would be a bad show on my part to up-load the pictures then 3 months later add the plans just as they have finished it!

For the most part though, the main way that I choose what to up-load next is to consult the 'bible' - I have over the past 10 years built up a spreadsheet which is 1,000's entries long and it is a record of everything that I have collected electronically and where it is located in the pc archive - my flying boat archive - which incidentally, I have been told by the few that have seen it and know a lot more than I do (which is not difficult!) that it is the largest private archive in the UK (!). So, I 'trawl' through this looking at all th entries and simply choose what I fancy! Simple as that!

I try to mix it up a bit, modern and contemporary. different types and the like to give a good selection over a period of time. I also try to up-load items that are relevant, say to new kit releases in particular.

However, I must admit that the fun for me is perusing this huge listing and selecting my favourites; at anyone time I usually have a dozen up-loads that I'm working on and each one of them is exciting for me.

Mind you, I often get requests by e-mail asking if I have anything on a particular flying boat type and I'm always happy to oblige if I have it by up-loading whatever I have. So, please ask if there is anything YOU want to see. If I have it, then I'll share it with you.

So, there you have it; the answer to the question is really me picking what I want with others asking from time-to-time.

Considering the facination I have with the flying boat, I reckon that is one of my life's real pleasures and long may it continue!


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