A View from Broadway
A BBB Halloween special
By Ken Burdick
Yes folks, it's true.
There are many mysteries to solve in the great out there. Sasquatch, aliens, and more recently the return of a missing tramp steamer (SS Cotopaxi) found off Cuba, which had gone missing in the Bermuda triangle for some 90 years. *
Who returned it and why? Well, that's what we, the BBB are going to find out. To quote a well-worn phrase, I ain't scared a no ghost. While the Beavers ** are holed up in their mud caves for the winter, the BBB will be out in the field -- at least until someone comes to fetch us.
This steamship has especial significance because of its port of call, South Carolina. The Buzzman (Buzz Wilson) is from South Carolina! The ship disappeared in 1925, Buzz was born somewhat later than that -- coincidence? We think NOT.
An emergency meeting of the BBB was called to discuss this remarkable finding. Since it is a seafaring matter, we convened at the Combat Monster's (Don McKay) new house overlooking the straights between Camano Island and some other place. It kind of put us in the mood to discuss ships and boats. However, a fight broke out when we couldn't decide if it was or was not 100 feet length that made a boat into a ship, and whether that was nautical feet or -- ya know, just plain old feet.
Once we had exhausted ourselves, we got right down to business and decided that the Buzzman should be dispatched to S.C. to investigate the beach and the possible connection to aliens, gumbo and the missing freighter. The Reinman (Jeff Rein) took another tack and proposed to sneak into Area 51 and catch the buggers red-handed; this of course made perfect sense to the BBB and we retired to dinner and plans for upcoming Combat events.
The Buzzman has booked a flight to S.C. and will be leaving shortly, the Reinman will pack his disguise of F2D ships and head for an undisclosed location deep in the proximity of Area 51 by the end of the October, he would leave sooner but he usually goes trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. The Combat Monster is keeping a close eye on the waters near his house in the event yet another ship appears. This has become a problem as many ships go by and he shouts THERE'S ANOTHER ONE! as each ship passes. I can't help but think this may be an ill-fated adventure, what with Buzz eating his way through the South, and the Reinman traipsing through Area 51, but we'll keep you updated as things develop.
Other Creepy stuff
As if the freighter appearing out of the fog wasn't enough, last week I heard a strange sound down in the workshop. I went down the stairs to investigate and there it was -- looking right at me as though it had a mind and could create thought from -- oh, say, balsa dust. Not unlike a ship mysteriously appearing off Cuba, the Sterling box had somehow manifested itself in my shop. I stared at it and it stared right back at me, Matt Kania's eyes seemed to follow me around the small room. Slowly I reached for the box -- I felt glued to the spot as though I had stepped on a tube of Ambroid -- and read the faded print "designed ... for stunt and combat." The room began to spin, there was a deep throbbing in my head and I closed my eyes. When I opened them again, I was no longer holding the carton marked Super Ringmaster, it had somehow moved out of my hands and was now laying on the workbench with this ... thing standing there staring at me. I screamed and tried to escape, but the thing just laughed and cut off my retreat. Before losing consciousness I was able to take this picture of it. >>
They found me sometime later, and I relayed this nightmarish tale, but nowhere was evidence of the tiny figure, only the Box on my workbench with the same words as before, "designed for stunt and combat." It was weeks before I mustered the courage to go back into the shop and open the dreaded box, but as the Bod Busters say, what doesn't kill you, is good thing. So dear readers, with great trepidation, I opened the it ...
I must tell you that I have not attempted to build a Sterling kit since folding a Winder at Carkeek Park in the 70's. But there it was, pallet grade balsa, poor hardware and vague instructions. Not many know this, but both the Super Ringmaster and the Imperial Ringmaster were designated for stunt AND combat! It is not detailed in the instructions, but is shown on the original cartons -- this can only mean one thing. COMBAT GRAFFITI!
Barrie Hobkirk is, or claims to be building the Imperial Ringmaster, and since the appearance of the Super Ringmaster I'll be using it to defeat the larger and clunky airplane known as the Imp, in a clandestine combat match next summer.
Pretty big talk for someone who is trying to build the actual kit. So far I have broken 2 F-something or another as well as the cute little piece that forms the canopy detail on either side of the fuselage. Yes, I broke both of them. This is interesting in that somehow I need to sand the clunky mess into a Ringmaster shape and not destroy the entire fragile, brittle, ancient, stupid -- haunted -- thing.
*Looking around* I don't see no mini-ringmaster so I guess I got away with that one.
I'm looking for a pilot figure and think maybe Norman Bates would fit the bill. I'm open to suggestion on this one. The engine I have selected to pound Barrie with is none other than a Greg Davis remanufactured McCoy .35. It will be running on a 3-ounce uniflow tank and should do the trick.
I'll keep you informed on the progress of both the BBB investigation as well as the demonic Super Ringmaster. A good friend of the BBB who used to say, Anything that starts f'd up, stays f'd up. I'm about to find out.
* EDITOR'S NOTE: For readers who find themselves easily disappointed by hoaxes and fabrications, further research is discouraged.
** BEAVER STATE COMBAT TEAM RESPONDS: What cave? All we see is mud.
This page was upated Oct. 16, 2016