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About solipsistnation

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  • Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
  • Interests
    Model building; armor tour guiding; whisky; computer games.
  • Occupation
    Systems Administrator
  1. Yeah, and as I understand it, a couple of years ago the city was _supporting_ the Collings Foundation, and now they're not. I dunno. Here's another article: http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2015/08/05/plans-for-museum-to-house-the-ex-littlefield-military-vehicle-collection-stalled/
  2. I have a friend who lived there-- we used to get dinner at the Stow House of Pizza. I mean, I wouldn't go out of my way to get pizza there but it was acceptable. Please post if you see more about it...
  3. So yeah, this isn't good news for the ex-Littlefield vehicles that are moving to Massachusetts... http://stowindependent.com/planning-board-wrestles-with-collings-museum-application-july-29-2015 http://www.collingsfoundation.org/collings-foundation-continues-to-deal-with-stow-town-politics-run-amok-national-historic-jewel-grounded-by-the-town-of-stow/
  4. You can see that he tried really hard to weld the exploded turret back together, but it just wasn't going to happen. In the end he got the documentation on the alloy and so on, found a foundry in San Jose (or somewhere nearby) that could make that alloy to order, and had them manufacture him a new turret to the original specs. So it's as close to original as you can get without actually being original. Same with the wiring-- he had new cloth-wrapped copper wire made. And the tyres, too. Tour guides were told that he called up the company that made the tyres originally and asked if they still had tools and molds kicking around for WW2-era Panther tanks, and they said they didn't. Then he offered them a massive pile of cash if they could find them, and suddenly they did, and could make him a new set of rubber tyres for his wheels. I don't know if that's true or not, but it does sound like how he tended to go about things. As far as I know, the Panzer IV is still in limbo. I expect Auctions America may end up eating some of the expenses for attempting to sell a vehicle after the official auction had ended. The 5 high-value vehicles were set with a really high reserve because Collings didn't _really_ want to sell them, but would if they got a big enough offer. They were things that would draw in a high-bidding crowd but could also be the centerpiece of a major tank collection, so they were set super high in the hopes of dissuading even serious bidders. I don't think they quite expected Microsoft millions to show up, or at least for anyone to be willing to drop quite that much cash on anything. It might be different if there were another Panzer IV anywhere in the US (besides, I think, one rusted-out hulk kicking around somewhere), since then Collings could take the cash and get another one to restore, but I suspect that if there was anything else worth buying around, Paul Allen would already have bought it. I gotta say, it was surreal to hang out with people cheerfully spending hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars at a time. Some stuff when for super cheap (the AMX 13 was a STEAL), but there were some serious piles of cash moving around there.
  5. They did a first pass just to figure out more or less what was in there, and actually they had to remove and somehow dispose of or deactivate most of the guns (even the airsoft stuff and replicas-- none of that showed up in the auction). But I'm SURE some people got some pretty great surprises when they unpacked their crates of random stuff. Unfortunately, they didn't go to much effort to group parts with vehicles, so the vision blocks and periscopes and seats and stuff we took off the PSzH-IV when we were stripping it down to repaint it and turn it into a museum exhibit got sold as a lot separately from the vehicle itself (which was sold as a pair, the cut-open display vehicle and a complete one). Here's that if anyone is interested: It's mostly my reference for when we were going to put it back together after pressure-washing and painting...
  6. I expect it'll show up in Stow, Massachusetts, when Collings finish their building.
  7. Most of the parts were sorted out and sold on the first day of the auction-- mostly in pallet-sized lots. The stuff that's still there (and wasn't bought or donated) is being kept by the family, who, I think, are keeping just a few things-- a couple of motorcycles (a BMW and a Russian copy of it) and a couple of other vehicles. Originally the plan was to have them there and do some restoration work (I think just to keep nonprofit/educational status and thus avoid property taxes on many acres of super valuable land), but I'm not sure what's happening now. Even a year later, though, they're still putting tanks on trucks and sending them out to their new homes a few at a time. The road up there is through residential neighborhoods so it takes a lot of planning and permits to get stuff out of there.
  8. Sometime last year, when we first heard the collection would be split up and sold off, one of the mechanics asked us track dusters and tour guides if we'd like to take a look in the back buildings at the ranch. They were semi-legendary-- they were closed to most volunteers and we had no idea what was in there. We showed up on Sunday when there weren't tours, hopped in the funvee, and headed back about a quarter mile beyond the main garages. There we found an amazing trove of stuff stacked to the ceilings of 3 giant buildings. It was an amazing assortment of stuff, and included vehicles that I thought should have been on display (an M19 GMC, a Churchill Toad, Chaffees and Stuarts and a beautifully-restored Cromwell). Most of the stuff, though, was just heaped up-- like the back of a disorganized closet that just happened to be full of forgotten tank parts instead of shoes and junk. One of the barns had a pretty major rodent problem. Getting the parts out of there and into the hands of people who might use it or clean it up was the right thing to do. I took about 160 pictures, and if it's okay I'll just link to the album here: Some of them are probably mislabeled. Let me know and I'll fix them.
  9. I believe that everything that could be hauled out of the various back buildings and sold is gone. The Collings Foundation kept some parts (stuff appropriate to the vehicles they were keeping and planning to maintain and restore), but the Littlefield family really wanted it gone so they could have their land and buildings back. There were three HUGE barns full of pallets of stuff to the ceiling-- I have photos from the back buildings of everything from multiple M4 motors of various types to crates of radios and intercom parts to tons of practice ammo, to entire track sets in pretty good condition. Oh, and some vehicles that weren't on display just hanging out back there. It was pretty incredible-- I'll post a link to those pictures later today if I get a chance. Collings is keeping 80 or so vehicles that should be on display in Massachusetts when they get their building in Stow built. I believe they're going to get stuff running and drive it around a couple of times a year, too. If there is stuff hanging around, the likelihood of the general public getting at it is pretty low. I know some stuff was bought by resellers, though, so keep an eye out.
  10. I don't, sorry. He may have been around before I got there.
  11. It was pretty amazing. There was stuff there that pretty much didn't exist anywhere else vaguely public. The other tour guides were incredibly knowledgable, and I learned a TON. And I got to give tours to some really interesting people. I also got to herd children, keep an eye on Cub Scouts, climb inside pretty much the best Panther in the world, dig around boxes of random tank parts, and, of course, sweep cobwebs off of tracks. If I learned nothing else, it's that spiders LOVE tracked vehicles...
  12. That's the Jacques Littlefield lesson right there.
  13. "No, your 3-year-old can't climb up on the Hetzer." Thanks. 8)
  14. Hi, my name is Josh and I'm mostly in here as an enthusiast and out of curiosity. I spent the last 3 years of the MVTF (the Jacque Littlefield collection) giving tours and acting as a tour guide, docent and volunteer tank washer. I spent many pleasant weekends giving tours of the collection and talking tanks with visitors to the museum. When it closed last summer, I was there for the auction, but that was the last time I had a chance to climb around on any armor until recently. I build model armor too, and I'm a computer administrator during the day. I'm a big fan of CVR(T)s-- I think they're super cute. :cool: I will probably mostly lurk and learn, but who knows? Thanks! Hello!
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