Changing Times

Some of you may have noticed, the blog got a new title.  Well, there are a few reasons for this.

As I’m sure many people of noticed, my more recent posts have nothing to do with CGI.  Now, this doesn’t mean I’m not going to do CGI anymore, this just means my hobby focuses are shifting.  One thing that’s great about CGI is that it’s cheap, compared to many other hobbies.  Many hobbies require a constant inflow of currency, money spent to buy materials.  CGI is one of the exceptions.  With free software being what it is these days, you can literally start with no more out of pocket expense than a decent(ish) computer.  Of course, what you will be able to do with said computer depends on how much money you put into it.  However, even a budget laptop can be used to create models, if little else.  I believe I’ve touched on this before, but I was unemployed for quite some time.  While I was struggling to find work with an economic recession and faulty criminal background checks working against me, (common name) CGI was there for me.  With an OK computer and cheap or free software, the sky was the limit.  All it takes to make CGI models and do images, animations, etc. is time and patience, of which I had plenty.

Well, rewind to a year and a month ago (to the day) and you’re at my first day of employment at Walmart.  Say what you want, (though, if you have never worked there, don’t assume you know how it is) they pay better than similar stores in my area and it’s not bad.  Besides, I’m with good standing in the company and hoping to move up soon.  A job means money.  Money to help my parents out, who were very kind, patient and helpful during my long period of unemployment, and money to pour into things like hobbies.  One of my longest passions is Star Wars.  Some people may think I’m more of a Star Trek fan than Star Wars but, truth be told, I like both equally.  I was actually a Star Wars fan before I ever watched Star Trek.  And, of course, probably everyone’s favorite Star Wars thing is the magically powered Jedi and Sith and their weapon, the lightsaber.

Over the past few months, I’ve purchased a number of combat lightsabers from Ultra Sabers.  I have purchased seven stunt sabers, simple aluminum hilts that, when you press the activator button, a LED comes on and the blade lights up.  Now, as I said, these are combat lightsabers.  The blades are made of thick walled polycarbonate and you can actually use them to duel.  My most recent Ultra Saber, the pride and joy of my collection, is their most recent release, the Electrum Wind:

As you can see, the inspiration for this hilt is the one carried by Mace Windu in the prequel trilogy.  This is truly a gorgeous piece of machinery, and it’s my only Ultra Saber with sound.  Of course, I can duel with it, but I prefer to leave it on display because it’s so lovely. I also own a Hasbro Force FX saber that looks like Luke’s from the original film, but that’s strictly a collectible (toy.) Were I to hit anything with it with much force, it would break and I’d be out $150.

Anyway, as people who know Star Wars know, a Jedi builds his or her own lightsaber. So, since I now have an inflow of money to do this, that is my next move in my sabering. I want to build one. Now, this is less daunting than it sounds, thanks to Ultra Sabers and The Custom Saber Shop (TCSS.) Both companies use what is called the Modular Hilt System in most of their stuff, making it easy to buy either a complete hilt body, or parts to put one together. That’s good, since I have no desire to buy a lathe and drill press to fabricate my own. Anyway, I can just buy the parts I need and install the electronics myself. I’ll start small and just build a stunt saber using one of Ultra Sabers’ inexpensive hilt bodies and electronics from TCSS. I plan to order the materials tomorrow, so look forward to that project in the near future. The reason for starting with a stunt is because, while I know how to solder and I’m good with electronics, it has been more than 20 years since I last soldered. Plus, aside from materials, I also have to buy the tools I’ll need that I currently don’t have.

After I do the stunt build, I plan to upgrade some of my existing stunts to sound capable sabers using parts from TCSS. It’s a bit trickier, which is why I’m not starting there. I also plan to make some of my more plain sabers a bit cooler looking and more personalized by drilling holes, adding knobs and other bits, and looking into doing some leather wrapping. But, all of that is for later, and it will be chronicled here. I also have some model kits to build. I still love models. And, of course, there will be CGI projects. I still do that from time to time. I have started a few things here and there, just nothing too noteworthy.

So, that’s what’s going on and what will be going on in the near future. Also, look for the blog to get an overhaul (looks wise) tomorrow.

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