GENERAL UPDATES AND INFORMATION
Please scroll down for the latest installment.
PREVIOUS CHALKBOARD PAGES IN STORAGE
We’ve been logging the CHALKBOARD page for a few years, now. The file got fairly large, and might have been been slow for some of you to open, so starting now, previous editions have been saved to Disk. In the future, we may have a CHALKBOARD ARCHIVE with all the past entries in chronological order. But for now, we’re putting the past into storage and proceeding toward the future starting with the New Year. Enjoy! J
Thursday, January 04, 2007
NEWEST CREWMEMBER OF THE NAUTILUS
I got word about this a couple days ago. Want to put it on the NEWEST CREWMEMBER page but haven’t been able to download the pictures yet. My buddy Ty Alley (owner of AQUALA Sports Manufacturing Company and manufacturer of the authentic drysuits used for our NEMOSUIT and NAUTILUS DIVER projects) and his wife Ashley have a new daughter: Ava Katherine, who arrived in December. Ty and Ashley are very much a part of the VULCANIA SUBMARINE family: wonderful people and we’re really happy to see them so blessed. Just want to say congratulations and best wishes for a bright future! God Bless the four of you!
Friday, January 19, 2007
CLEARING THE BOARD
With the Holidays behind us, we’ve cleared most of the old entries from the CHALKBOARD and moved our Seasonal Song Parodies and radio broadcast clips to the JIMI HENDRIX tribute page here at VSC. Thanks to all who wrote in to say you enjoyed the tunes. We had a good time with it, too.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
DR. PHIL NUYTTEN: CEO, DIVER, SUBBER, ROCK STAR…
In response to my Christmas parody of Jimi Hendrix’ Red House, Phil sent me a package containing 5 CDs of original music he wrote and recorded.
I mean, look….anybody checking out the subs and diving suits the guy makes can tell he’s amazingly talented. But if you think you’ve got a feel for the guy’s real depth, you should listen to his music. I’ve been checking it out for the past few days.
What comes across is like a “musical portrait” of Phil as you might expect he’d be: environmentally conscious, socio-politically concerned, witty, imaginative, amusing, experienced…and it’s all brought off with a flare for showmanship and a high degree of technical skill. Like everything else he does: just really good all the way around.
I consider myself lucky to have glimpsed a not-often-seen side of a guy most only know from TV, Diving Journals, or the Internet; and all I can say is it only reinforces what I thought all along. He’s cool. J
Rock on, Phil…and thanks for the tunes!
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
HELMETS OF THE DEEP
When it comes to reference text on diving helmets, Leon G. Lyons’ HELMETS OF THE DEEP is “The Bible”. Unfortunately, it’s been out of print for many years, and it’s difficult to get a copy of it anywhere.
Good news: Mr. Lyons is publishing an expanded reprint: and the works of VULCANIA SUBMARINE will be among those included. I am very grateful. Thank you, Leon.
Why are we so honored? For the same reason we’ve been acknowledged by Diving Heritage, The Historical Diving Society, The Musee Du Scaphandres, Jules Verne Societies in Europe and North America, numerous submarine, diving, and Leagues-related websites on the Internet, and many others: our premier status in functional replica 20,000 Leagues underwater technologies.
What is premier status? It means being first to do something and/or first to achieve widespread recognition in a particular genre. Premier status gives one’s work a significance and collectibility that subsequent similar works by other artists do not possess.
For example: when it comes to Cubist painting, it’s Pablo Picasso. Electric Rock Guitar? Jimi Hendrix. And in functional replicas of 20,000 Leagues underwater technologies, it’s li’l ol’ me. Or at least, so say the experts.
Twenty years ago, when I was working alone in my backyard to build the NAUTILUS MINISUB, I never imagined it would take us this far. Vulcania Submarine followed up with the World’s first functional replicas of the diving gear seen in 20,000 Leagues, and we haven’t nearly reached the limit of our potential yet. It just keeps getting better. Looking back at times when I thought of giving up, I’m glad I didn’t. And apparently, so's Leon. Cool! Thank you! J
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
NEWEST CREWMEMBER OF THE NAUTILUS
As I mentioned last month, our good friends Ty and Ashley Alley have a new daughter, Ava Katherine, who was born in December 2006. As you might imagine, with a busness (AQUALA SPORTS MANUFACTURING COMPANY) to run and a new baby in their home, the Alley’s have been pretty busy lately. But we were recently able to get some photos in a format I could download and post here at VSC. So check out the NEWEST CREWMEMBER page for a very special Valentine’s Day addition. She’s a living doll!
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
NEMO III completed for HELMETS OF THE DEEP
Announcing the latest in our “Honest To Goff” series of 20,000 Leagues Diving Helmets: the NEMO III.
Our first Leagues helmet was part of our original NEMOSUIT: designed in 2002 using the reference materials we had available at the time, and completed in 2003.
As described in the JOURNAL OF PROFESSOR ARONNAX here at VSC, our subsequent “Honest To Goff” helmets were so-named because they are based on reference materials engendered by Harper Goff to document the original NEMO and CREW DIVER helmets seen in the movie. The first in the “Honest To Goff” series was our NAUTILUS DIVER, begun in 2003, and finished in 2004. The second was the NEMO II: begun in 2003 and completed in January 2005.
The NEMO III is our third NEMO variant. This project was actually started in 2004, but got sidelined due to priorities. Now, the NEMO III has been completed and will be featured in the forthcoming expanded version of HELMETS OF THE DEEP by Leon G. Lyons.
I’ll do a page on this project in the future when I can. Just giving you a sneak preview of it for now. It’s so new it doesn’t even have any patina on it yet! J But that’s one of the cool things about Leagues helmets: they get better with age.
Friday, March 09, 2007
New NEMO III page here at VSC
Lately I’ve been pulling double duty, doing the photography for Leon’s new book, and putting together another webpage for our newest helmet, the NEMO III. I just posted that page today, and you can get there by clicking the preceding link.
I have some other new pictures sent to me by a friend that I’ll try to get posted as soon as I can.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Unintentional photo morphing…
After checking the page I posted last night, I notice there seems to be a small amount of optical distortion and color variance in some of the pictures. I tend to think that’s characteristic of most photographic images, and is attributable to the camera, I suppose. Hope that doesn’t spoil your enjoyment of the article; best I can do.
Ad Note: After posting the above, I did what I could to correct some of the optical distortion; it’s not so bad now, but the color variances are beyond my control. The gray hoses look green some times. Trust me…they aint! J
NEMO RIFLE page…better late than never
Last night while I was looking through the Website files, I noticed I’d never uploaded the page I did on the functional NEMO RIFLE I built a few years ago. There’s been pictures of it featured on the MISCELLANEOUS IMAGES page for some time, but no page for the actual project itself. Today, I corrected that oversight. Click on the preceding hyperlink to check it out.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
LARRY BROOKS MAGAZINE ARTICLE
Larry’s well known for his longterm standing as a dedicated Leaguer and, in case you’ve never been there, you can access his 20,000 LEAGUES website via the LINKS page here at VSC.
Recently, Larry had a three-issue article on the making of LEAGUES published in Filmfax Magazine: the final issue had cover art showing a painting of Edgar Rice Burrough’s TARZAN:
Larry’s three-part article on LEAGUES is great, and if you weren’t able to catch it on the newsstand, you can order all three issues direct from the publisher. When I did that, the above issue was current, so I paid regular price for it; but the two back issues were only half price.
You can contact Filmfax Magazine by phone at 1 847 866 7155. Or Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Shipping fees are reasonable, and they take all major credit cards. I highly recommend you obtain your copies of this excellent article from a respected LEAGUES historian before the available issues are all gone. I’m glad I did!
HELMETS OF THE DEEP….LIKE, WHEN?
I’ve received several email asking when Leon Lyons’ expanded reprint of HELMETS OF THE DEEP will be coming out, and how to get one. Probably oughta make a general statement about that….
I spoke with Leon over the weekend. Timeframe he mentioned then was “a couple months” to get it all together. From what I understand, he’s taking the time to photograph his extensive helmet collection, and working with people who are into the professional book building business. Just based on the volume of helmets the man has to document, I’d say it’s going to be a while, but I don’t know how long exactly.
I’ll email Leon tonight with some more possible pictures for the VULCANIA SUBMARINE page in HOTD. When I do, I’ll be sure to ask when we might see the book for sale and at what price. And I will post them here.
One thing you can count on: when the book is ready, we’ll be running an advertisement here for it, complete with information on how to go about obtaining it.
HELMETS OF THE DEEP is universally respected, hugely popular, and a lot of people are looking forward to getting a copy of the new revised version. When I mentioned wanting one, Leon spoke of putting me “on the list”. This leads me to think you may want to reserve an issue for yourself. The first edition sold out fast and became an extremely valuable collectible. Odds are the same might happen again. Reserving your copy might be a good idea.
I’ll contact Leon and get the info, and post it here when able.
Meanwhile, Here’s an “artsy” pic, just as an appetizer. J
Friday, March 16, 2007
What are YOU grinning at, DUMMY!!?
DIVING HELMET 101: When you put a deep sea diving rig on a mannequin, the display is called a “Jake”.
When we built the NEMOSUIT, we wanted to make a Jake. Supply here on the island wasn’t good; and believe it or not, the mannequin manufacturers I contacted wouldn’t ship here because it’s an oversize item, even though I was willing to pay for the freight! (Go figure.)
We finally found a mannequin at the local surplus store. Okay, so he was bald and had a big stupid grin on his face. No problem as long as the helmet stays on, right? But later on, when we built the NAUTILUS DIVER and wanted to shoot some displays of the two Jakes (has nothing to do with Jack Nicholson) with the helmets off, it just wouldn’t be right to have Nemo standing around looking like Mr. Clean. So I did some cosmetic Bondo and paint to give our Nemo some hair and a beard. And it wasn’t too bad, if I do say so myself. I took some pictures and posted them here at VSC. Good enough, right? Well, no.
One thing that always bothered me was that our Nemo was standing around looking like he’d just sucked down half a pint of Jack Daniels, when the traditional character is usually much more reserved than that. So, the other day I used some photo magic to wipe that stupid grin off Nemo’s face in pictures here at VSC. And I would have been satisfied with that, except we’ll be putting the Jakes on display in the future and we just can’t have Nemo standing around looking like he was in the midst of celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day. (And BTW: have a good one tomorrow, but stay safe. Don’t drink and drive.)
So I did a little plastic surgery on our Nemo, and although I’m not at all qualified, that dummy didn’t complain one bit. Anyway, here’s a before / after pic of our Captain Nemo mannequin. Might do a little more touch up on him, but at least he’s not leering like a buffoon anymore. I may post a page about the transmormation process. Or not. Not really all that important, but thought you might get a grin out of it. (Ouch!)
HELMETS OF THE DEEP Information Update
As I said before, I’ve received several information requests about HOTD. I asked Leon about it, and here’s his reply, received via email:
Okay, I'm looking forward to having everything ready for the printers by the end of this year, and maybe they need a month or two to print and ship them to me, if all goes according to schedule, and you know how schedules go.
The price for the regular edition is around $350, maybe a little more, depending on the final costs. All books, regular and leather will be numbered and signed. At least 4 to 500 normal books are spoken for at this time.
The leather books will be around $700, maybe a bit more, and like 30 of them have been spoken for already.
They can email me direct, or let you know.
So it looks like it will be hitting the stands about this time next year. Additional contact information for Mr. Lyons will be disclosed here at a later date. Will let you know…
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
HELMETS OF THE DEEP Followup…
I was talking to Leon again today. The book’s coming along fine: everything’s on schedule. The photos for VULCANIA SUBMARINE’s pages have been submitted and received, so that’s all ready to go.
Ty Alley (AQUALA SPORTS MANUFACTURING COMPANY) is coming to the island for an underwater photo shoot with the new NEMOSUIT and NAUTILUS DIVER suits, but that won’t happen until later this year. I’ll be getting some great underwater pictures that I’d like to see in HELMETS OF THE DEEP, but I didn’t know if we could meet Leon’s publishing deadline. He said not to worry. If he gets the pics too late to put on our VULCANIA SUBMARINE page, he’ll put an addendum towards the back of the book, just for us.
If you are thinking about reserving a copy of the new expanded version of HELMETS OF THE DEEP, don’t wait too long. It’s selling out fast. I made my move early and got signed up for one of the leather bound versions. That’s probably the best endorsement I can make. I’d be buying one even if I wasn’t going to be in it.
HELMETS OF THE DEEP ORDER INFORMATION:
We’ve established an email address for Leon Lyons here at VSC. To place an order for one of the forthcoming copies of the HELMETS OF THE DEEP expanded reprint, you can send your request and contact information to the following address. I’ll forward it to Leon, and he’ll contact you.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Announcing: the NEMO IV
The fourth addition to our long-established “Honest To Goff” series of 20,000 LEAGUES Diving Helmets has been under development for quite a while, and we hope to have it finished in the not-too-distant future.
We built a new work station at VULCANIA SUBMARINE for this one. The tooling has been re-done, and we’ve made fundamental changes in the process that separate this project from everything preceding it. We’re not disclosing specifics about the NEMO IV at this time: just letting you know it’s in the wings.
Stand by…. J
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Tom Scherman’s DIVER: Missing In Action?
Bob Rusnak is a veteran diver who is among those who dive the Living Seas Exhibit in Florida. In a recent phone conversation, we discussed Tom Scherman’s NAUTILUS CREW DIVER replica. Apparently, the Manager of the Living Seas Exhibit was uncertain whether or not the helmet used in the display was real or a repro. Bob examined the helmet and verified that it is in fact a real diving helmet, interrupted thread connector and all. Whether or not it is entirely comprised of authentic “hero” components is another story.
We discussed Tom’s Diver at some length, and Bob verified what I’d always believed, based on my examination of photos of the exhibit: there are parts of it which appear authentic; other parts which are clearly not authentic; and without any doubt, it is a static replica and not diveable in the condition in which it was displayed. If I find time, I may do an article on this in the future.
That said, the purpose of this post is to mention something else. According to Bob (who got his information from the Manager of Living Seas) after the completion of recent work at the Exhibit, Tom Scherman’s DIVER display turned up missing, and the Manager of the Exhibit says this wasn’t mentioned to him beforehand, and he doesn’t know where it is.
Was Tom’s DIVER stolen? Is it in some Disney vault, perhaps to be refurbished for a future display or other use? Hopefully, time will tell.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
LEON LYON’S NEW WEBSITE
It’s under construction and only the homepage is there right now, but in the future this’ll be the place to check out the LYON’S MARITIME MUSEUM online.
Of course, we’ll still maintain our page for Leon here at VSC; and as a matter of fact, photographer David Haas told me yesterday he’s sending a CD of wide-angle images for our collection, so that’s something to look forward to.
Those of you interested in getting a copy of Leon’s forthcoming expanded reprint of HELMETS OF THE DEEP can still contact him through the our email link here at VSC; or, you can contact him through the email addy on his own webpage.
LEON’S NEW WEBSITE: http://www.helmetsofthedeep.com/
HOTD Orders through VSC: email@example.com
Thursday, May 31, 2007
NEW NEMO RIFLE
A few years ago I built the World’s first functional (all metal, pneumatic, spear-firing) replica of the underwater rifles seen in 20,000 Leagues. Recently, I realized we needed some non-functional prop rifles, so I’ve been making one. Here’s the functional rifle, and the new non-functional prototype done up in white primer and nearing completion. Just the small details left to do.
When finished, the new rifles will be painted appropriately. We’ll be making a few of them for display with our Nemo and Crew Diver Jakes; for use by the members of our crew who will be diving our 20,000 Leagues Diving Suits for an up-coming photo op; etc. Might do a page on this project in the near future.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
NUYTCO EXOSUITS FOUND IN ATLANTIS!!!
We were watching STARGATE ATLANTIS last night: the good guys were fighting the bad guys in an underwater drilling station on the distant planet that’s home to Atlantis. Came a scene where the heroes had to do an excursion in deep water, and used some rigs found on the station. Lo and behold, what do you think the ancient Atlanteans used for dive gear? Phil Nuytten’s EXOSUIT! How cool is that?!
Obviously chosen for the show due to it’s futuristic looks, this deep-diving rig is a unique combination of show and go. It provides the occupant with all the pressure-hull protection found in Phil’s well-known NEWTSUIT; but is so flexible, one can actually swim in it. Here’s a look at the EXOSUIT in case you haven’t seen one yet.
Image Copyright Nuytco Research Ltd., “All rights reserved.”
For more information about the EXOSUIT and other creations of NUYTCO RESEARCH, please visit Phil’s website via our LINKS page.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
HELMETS OF THE DEEP: STILL TAKING ORDERS FOR NEW BOOK
Been receiving email asking if Leon Lyon’s forthcoming reprint Of HELMETS OF THE DEEP is still available. YES! He’s still taking orders, and this limited edition expanded reprint of the World’s foremost diving helmet reference book is scheduled to be published in the Spring. If you want one, don’t wait. You can send us an email and we’ll forward it to Leon. That’s our only part in it. We don’t get anything for this other than the satisfaction of helping a friend connect with people interested in his book. Send us an E and we’ll pass it along; Leon will contact you directly.
HOTD Orders through VSC: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, July 12, 2007
NAUTILUS MINISUB 1991 PROVING TEST VIDEO ON YOUTUBE
Years ago I made a short (1:17) AVI clip of excerpts from the 1991 NAUTILUS MINISUB Proving Test Videos, set to music. The visual quality of this clip is pretty bad: extremely pixelated. But at least folks got to see the sub in operation. Or, at least they did until the hyperlink here on my website stopped working. That was a problem I was never able to resolve with my server, and I finally had to give up and move on to other things.
Enter, YOUTUBE: that wonderful website where anybody can broadcast their videos to the World. Well, I finally got around to uploading the AVI to the tube. There’s a link to it on our page about TESTING THE NAUTILUS MINISUB for those who might stumble on it that way, but I’ll repost it here to save you the trip:
I just uploaded it a short time ago, and I understand it might take up to six hours to become accessible to the public. I’ll try to post some better stuff when I can. Meanwhile, take a trip back 16 years and check out what was happening in California. J
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
DAVID HAAS PHOTOS ON LEON LYONS’ PAGE
I’ve been meaning to get to this for a couple months now, but hey! I live in Paradise, it’s Summertime, and we’ve got a lot going on; so doing computer work for the Website isn’t high on my list of priorities right now. J But I figured I better make time for friends, so here goes.
The well known photographer and underwater adventurer DAVID HAAS recently provided me with a CD of images he took at Leon Lyon’s Maritime Museum in St. Augustine, Florida. There’s a ton of ‘em on the disk, and I wish I had the time and space to put ‘em all online. But I picked out a few and added them to the LEON LYONS page here at VSC. Check ‘em out.
For more about David Haas photography, check out his website. The URL is above, under his picture. Thanks Dave!
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
SPEAKING OF PHOTOGRAPHS…
…here’s one you’ve never seen before: taken while I was testing the emergency backup air system for our NAUTILUS DIVER suit, and basically just lounging around on the bottom of the pool. J
Friday, August 17, 2007
INVISIBLE WATER EFFECT
Those of you who are interested in the physics by which submarines float or submerge might like this.
The following video is all over the Internet. Some websites say this effect works “because Hydrogen is less dense than the air surrounding it.” Actually, that would have the exact opposite effect of what’s seen.
The gas at work here is Sulfur Hexafluoride: so much more dense than air that, in the following experiment, it mimics water and enables a small tinfoil “boat” to float (and then be submerged) in a seemingly “empty” aquarium. Cool effect! Check it out:
September 11, 2007
LEST WE FORGET…
Pray for those who have fallen, and support those who still stand.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Speaking of Photographs, again…
…here’s another archive pic you haven’t seen yet: a NEMO helmet ocean test.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
There’s still time to order HELMETS OF THE DEEP…
Just thought I’d bring this notice back to the forefront of the CHALKBOARD. Leon is still taking orders for his new expanded reprint of the “bible” of the diving helmet world, HELMETS OF THE DEEP. My understanding is that it’s going to the publishers in January or February of 2008, and will be ready for distribution shortly after. If you want one, don’t wait or you might be left out in the cold. You can contact Leon by email through the following link for information, or to reserve your copy:
Sunday, October 14, 2007
OPERATION UNDERSEA TWO
Well, our “Leaguesfest” is over and (because it was like a small-scale version of Disney’s 1954 Operation Undersea) we decided to call our get-together OPERATION UNDERSEA TWO.
We’ll be posting some articles about OPERATION UNDERSEA TWO here at VSC in the future. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview of what’s been going over the past few days here at Vulcania.
Underwater cameraman using SCUBA takes pictures of Nautilus Diver.
Free-diver drops in to shoot Captain Nemo’s photograph.
The Vulcania crew spent a lot of time searching for the locale to stage OPERATION UNDERSEA TWO. The site selected was perfect. It has large open areas of flat lava rock where the Leagues Divers could walk among beautiful coral formations and other aquatic life without damaging them. And before anyone began diving the Leagues suits, there were two days of snorkeling and SCUBA diving to designate the filming sites. Diagrams were drawn, and instruction was given to familiarize everyone with where the divers could and could not walk. In addition, we had divers serving as underwater guides to make sure the Leagues Divers stayed within the safe areas. Because we made this extra effort to plan everything out, we’re proud to report that not so much as one piece of coral was broken during the filming of OPERATION UNDERSEA TWO.
Anyway, more about this in the future. Now, we’re looking forward to OPERATION UNDERSEA THREE. J
Saturday, October 20, 2007
I’ve spent the last few days editing photographs. Below are a couple images that didn’t make the grade, but I thought I’d post them here on the CHALKBOARD all the same.
Above is a closeup of NEMO that was a little blurry, and part of the helmet was outside the frame. Still, kind of a neat shot in its own right, no?
And here’s an image of the NAUTILUS DIVER in “hazy” conditions that reminds me of problems Richard Fleischer encountered when he first tried to film the underwater sequences for 20,000 LEAGUES: the Disney Divers were kicking up silt that clouded the water. Divemaster Manfred “Fred” Zendar came up with a solution in the form of heavy hemp mats they carpeted the ocean floor with to “keep the dust down”.
In our picture the time of day, the tide, halocline, particulate matter in the water, and the angle of the sun created conditions where a visible “haze layer” was hanging over the seabed like a low fog.
As I said: our best photos will be published later. Meanwhile, we hope you’ll enjoy seeing these for now.
PS: On Monday, October 22, I added a photo collage about OPERATION UNDERSEA TWO at the bottom of the DISNEY DIVERS page here at VSC. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, you might want to check it out, too.
Monday, November 05, 2007
DISNEY DIVERS HONOR ROLL
Today I added a new feature to the top of the DISNEY DIVERS page: the HONOR ROLL. This is an alphabetical list of all Disney Divers known to me at this time. The list will be expanded should further information become available in the future.
So far: NORM BISHOP, F. DONAHUE, AL HANSEN, GILL PARKER, CHARLES REGAN, D. ROCHLEN, BILL STROPAHL, and MANFRED “FRED” ZENDAR.
These people (and others) played a crucial roll in the filming of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and yet were not mentioned in the film’s credits. I think it’s important that they receive recognition. Anyone knowing the names of Disney Divers not credited here is encouraged to contact me.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
DIVING HERITAGE ART PAGE
In 2005, the island nation of Saint Kitts issued a four-stamp set commemorating Jules Verne: among which were depicted Denayrouze and Rouquayrol’s Aerophore, and my first Nemosuit.
Now, those stamps are being featured on page three of the Diving Art section at Iain MacQuarrie’s DIVING HERITAGE Website: accurately described as “the World’s largest virtual diving helmet museum” and a valuable resource to the international helmet diving community. If you’re a philatelist, here’s the link. And while you’re there, check out the rest of DIVING HERITAGE for a wealth of information about diving helmets.
VETERAN’S DAY IS TOMORROW
We’ve joined in with the good folks at Dan Barringer’s VINTAGE SCUBA Website to welcome their friend and fellow diver Guy Hanson back home from Iraq. I’ll take that a step further here to thank Guy and all those who have worn this country’s uniform in harm’s way during times of strife past and present. It’s one of those things that just never gets said enough.
THANK YOU, VETERANS!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
A BIT OF BIONIC INFO…
Received an email from my good friend Tom “Doc” Rowe today, containing some great photos and info about what's been going on in the home of the BIONIC DOLPHIN lately.
For now, it's all still “eyes only” for those of us fortunate enough to be part of Doc’s inner circle, so I can't share any of it on the Internet yet.
But I am
authorized to say, “There's something big about to surface” over there in
California. And I predict that, when it
does, the World is really going to be amazed...again!
Doc says we’ll be doing a VSC article about this in the not-too-distant future. I’ll make an announcement here on the CHALKBOARD when that happens.
Stand by.... J
Sunday, November 25, 2007
MO’ BIONIC INFO…
This just in: the newest BIONIC DOLPHIN (designated BD2NT and nicknamed the BIONIORCA) successfully completed her initial proving tests this weekend in Northern California. She’s yet to receive her finished paint job, and the LS7 Vette motor is still in the future; but right now the boat is running strong on a stroked Chevy 350: kicked out to 383 CID and pumping a whopping 420 HP through the Gen-II Mercruiser Alpha sterndrive to a four-bladed adjustable composite prop. Now, you might think sitting in a compartment with your head about one foot from a mill like that might be a tad rough on the ears. Actually, Doc says you can hear the machine noise, but sound levels inside the cockpit are low enough to enable conversations in a normal voice, without yelling. In fact, Doc’s thinking of installing an MP3 player next. J We’ll be doing an article about it here at VSC in the near future, but meanwhile here’s a sneak preview:
Once again, VULCANIA SUBMARINE salutes the BIONIC DOLPHIN crew in California. I’m just sitting here looking at the pictures, smiling, and shaking my head in total awe. Man, that is one bad-ass submersible boat! Congratulations, Doc! J
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JIMI…
It’s no secret that I’ve always admired the spirit of unique creativity that distinguishes certain individuals from all the rest; and along those lines, when it comes to contemporary music, one of my all time favorites is the late, great, James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix.
Today would have been Jimi’s 65th Birthday, had he not passed away before his time. He’s gone, but his legacy lives on. In a few short years, he completely redefined the electric guitar for generations that followed; and he became widely recognized as the most innovative and influential musician of the 20th Century.
In my shop, we always work to music. Long hours rending raw steel gets to be pretty tough at times, and music helps to ease the pain. While there are many, many artists I listen to, the sounds of Jimi Hendrix are among those most frequently heard around here. And when I put down the tools and get away on my guitar for a while, more often than not I’ll play a few of Jimi’s songs. Everything I have has been built on Rock and Roll. It’s a part of my work, and a major part of my life.
So I just wanted to pay my respects and say thanks for all the good times. Rock In Peace, Jimi.
JAMES MARSHALL HENDRIX
November 27, 1942 -- September 18, 1970
Thursday, November 29, 2007
finally gotten around to updating the VSC Links page. Added some new links to established
categories, included a bit of descriptive info about each site, and so on. Many people I should have listed in the past
are there now. There will be more to
come in the future, too.
As a follow-up, today I added the old Resource Links from the VSDG pages. This is an alphabetical grouping of manufacturers and informative sites on the Internet that I’ve acquired over the years, and it might be of use to Leaguers, subbers, divers, and scale modelers. This list is not accessible through the VSDG site any longer, so I thought I’d put it here on the main VSC website.
I also have a newer resource list I’ve put together in more recent years, and I’ll try to get that info on the Links page when able.
Friday, November 30, 2007
We have fun morphing some of our photo images into Computer Graphic artwork on our NAUTILUS GALLERY page: faux sketches, surreal art, comic book illustrations, etc. Today we added a couple more: a 1960’s-style psychedelic poster that I did a few years ago; and a CG watercolor I did this month. Just for grins. J
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD…..
Things have been slow for me. Got injured on my “real job” a few years ago. Haven’t even been able to climb inside the NAUTILUS MINISUB, let alone work on it. And Operation Undersea Two would never occurred if my friends hadn’t made it happen through their own hard work. So, as this year draws to a close, I want to say “THANK YOU” to those who have helped me get through it. J
Been a long road back, but soon I will be able to finish the projects that have been on hold: NEMO IV, DIVER II, the refit of the NAUTILUS MINISUB, etc. Got lots to do, and I’m really looking forward to getting back into it.
And I will get around to updating the site as promised: still have that page about Operation Undersea Two to do; have to update Doc’s page about the new BIONIC DOLPHIN; and I have some other new ideas for the site, too.
But that’s probably about it for now. We’re busy preparing to celebrate the Holidays. Have a great ’08! J
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
20,000 LEAGUES UNDERWATER RIFLES…
Thought I was done for the year here! J Oh well….
Over the past six or seven months I’ve been receiving the occasional inquiry about my 20,000 Leagues Underwater Rifles. Got several questions recently, and I guess that has to do with Christmas time. This might be a little late, but I thought I should post some info here.
I made my first rifle a few years ago. Like my other projects, it’s all metal and functional. In this case that means capable of firing a spear under pneumatic pressure. It’s not a toy or a display piece: that one is an actual weapon capable of taking game fish or (tipped with a .44 caliber powerhead) dispatching large underwater predators.
The subsequent replicas produced as a photo prop for use by our divers, and as seen in Operation Undersea Two, are not made out of cast resin. They are all metal, too. The main difference is: they can’t be made to fire a spear.
Vulcania Submarine 20,000 Leagues Diver with non-functional replica Underwater Rifle.
I build one-of-a-kind works of functional art metalsculpture. To answer a frequently-asked question: I don’t make or market multiple-unit fiberglass replicas of Disney designs. Never have; never will.
The rifles I have at this time are all earmarked for use by those affiliated with VULCANIA SUBMARINE. So I am sorry, but no: they are not for sale. J
Friday, December 28, 2007
Well, Santa brought us a new PC monitor for Christmas: one of those new, wide screen, flat jobs. First thing I noticed was that some of VSC page background images I’d carefully tailored to fit our old screen were now too small and “tiled”. I made a couple changes, called some friends and had them check it out on various styles of monitors. Seems like no matter what I do, single-image backgrounds will fit on some computers, but not on all of them. Tiling may occur! So be advised: I’m going to do what I can, but don’t be surprised if things look a little different around here in the near future.
Speaking of changes, you may notice I changed the lineup on the Index page: leading off with the VULCANIA SUBMARINE stuff, and all the other stuff afterwards. Here’s why:
They say people surfin’ the ‘Net don’t like to waste time finding out what a website is all about, so you should put the main theme items of your site right up front, where they’ll be encountered first. Otherwise new visitors might just look at the first few pages, and drift off into cyberspace.
This website is here to display the underwater technologies of VULCANIA SUBMARINE, and things related thereto. Basically, the other subs are here to give you an idea of what the homebuilt submarine state-of-the-art is like; and the Disney Leagues and NAUTILUS stuff is here so non-Leaguers will understand why our sub and suits look the way they do. So I rearranged the site in that order.
Also, there’s going to be some new pages at VSC. Not letting all the cats out of their bags yet, but one thing you might expect is an archive of the CHALKBOARD page.
That’s all for now. I probably won’t be posting here again unless something else happens in the next three days that I’ve absolutely got to write about, so for now I’ll say, “I hope you have a Great ‘08!” and I’m outta here! J
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Actually prepared this page on the morning of December 31, because I knew I wasn’t going to be working at the Website on New Years Eve or New Years Day. J
Got the pages pretty much straightened out so the background images fit better into a wider range of monitor screens now. Did a few updates and re-arranged some things. Still have to upload some data to Doc’s BIONIORCA page and a few others, but that’s gonna have to wait while I get some non-computer priorities out of the way first. So, in the meantime, let me just say…..
Thursday, January 10, 2008
BIONIORCA PROVING TEST PAGE
Okay, the newest member of the Bionic Dolphin family of submersibles, the BD2NT, also known as the BIONIORCA, has undergone successful proving tests in Northern California, and I finally got a page posted for that. Doc tells me the lake is wrapped in snow these days, so further tests are on hold until things warm up again this Spring. When it happens, you’ll see it right here at VSC. Like my ol’ buddy Tom “Two Step” Martin used to say, “Film at eleven.” J
Saturday, January 12, 2008
The long awaited expanded reprint of Helmets of the Deep (recognized the World over as the definitive reference text on diving helmets) is almost ready to go to the printer, and will be available from the publisher soon. Pre-orders for the standard version have been brisk, and about 70% of the 100 leather bound volumes are spoken for. I’m posting this as a public service to let you know there’s still time to get your order in.
If you know about HOTD, you know it’s a work of art with proven collectible value: copies that originally went for a few hundred dollars are selling for thousands on eBay. The new expanded reprint includes approximately 500 additional pages covering advancements made in the past twenty years.
There’s still time to contact Leon for information or to place orders via the email address I set up for him. Again, the book is almost ready to be printed, it’s a limited edition, so if you are interested you might want to move quickly on this. Word to the wise.
Send me your contact info, and I will forward it to Leon. Here’s the addy:
Sunday, January 13, 2008
CHRIS CHULAMANIS August 16, 1949 – January 10, 2008
It is with the deepest sorrow that I must report the passing of my friend, Chris Chulamanis.
Everyone who knew him said Chris was a great guy. He served as an elite Army Diver in Viet Nam same time as I was there with the Marines. After the war, he worked on the Johnson Sea Link, piloted multi-engine airplanes, was an avid 20,000 Leagues Fan, built a fine scale model of the Nautilus way back in the early 1980’s, and produced many outstanding projects as the proprietor of his own company, EVA Models in Parker, Colorado. His passing came suddenly to heart failure on January 10, 2008, and leaves a void in many lives that will never be filled.
Chris had many friends in the Scale Model, Disney Nautilus, and 20,000 Leagues communities. His family has asked me to do what I can to let people know.
Please take a moment to celebrate Chris’ life by reviewing his page here at VSC; and visit his EVA Models and Army Divers pages through our links.
Adios for now, my friend. I’m sure we’ll all meet again.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
I’ve been in touch with Gen Suzuki, Vance Bradley, and other members of the 20,000 Leagues and General Submersibles Communities that Chris’ family asked me to contact, and passed their information on as promised. Mission accomplished.
On behalf of Chris and his family let me say “Thank you” to all who helped and expressed their condolences. Your kindness is greatly appreciated.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
AUTHENTIC DISNEY 20,000 LEAGUES DIVING HELMET
Recently, a heretofore unpublicized Leagues helmet came to light. The helmet is damaged and missing some parts. Because of our experience with functional Leagues helmet replicas, Vulcania Submarine was consulted for technical advice. At this point we’re inviting comments from the general public as to whether or not the helmet should be restored. You may voice your opinion and supportive reasoning via the VSC Email: please include the phrase AUTHENTIC HELMET in the Subject box. Thank you.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
UPDATE: AUTHENTIC LEAGUES HELMET
I’ve asked people involved with Vintage Scuba, Diving Helmets, and 20,000 Leagues, whether or not the newly-discovered Leagues helmet should be restored. After receiving varied opinions, I’ve come up with a compromise.
For now, the helmet will be left as-is. Some replacement parts (vintage and repro) have been placed on the helmet for photographic purposes. They are not permanently attached and can be removed by simply lifting them off, so the helmet remains unchanged. Here’s a CG-rendered “pencil drawing” of how it looks with those parts installed:
I’ve been searching through the pictures and footage in my collection, making comparisons to the helmet itself. Several times I thought I might know which one it was, only to notice some small disqualifying detail. The good news is: I do believe I’ve finally identified it.
At this time, the plan is to leave the helmet unrestored, photograph it with and without the replacement parts, and publish the story behind it. Beyond that, no decisions have been made. Some would like to see it in a museum or a private collection; others say it should it be repaired and dived again. We’ll see.
Thanks to everyone who offered their suggestions. J
Friday, February 29, 2008
AUTHENTIC 20,000 LEAGUES DIVING BOOTS
Some diving boots used in the filming of 20,000 Leagues also came to light with the helmet mentioned above. We’ll be doing pages about all this in the future. Meanwhile, here’s a couple pictures showing the two types of boots dived in the Bahamas back in 1954:
Modified high-top boot worn by Disney Stunt Divers portraying Captain Nemo and Crew.
Black standard diving boot worn by Disney Support Divers in MkV “hardhat” apparatus.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
NEMOSUIT HELMET ON DISPLAY
The helmet from my first NEMOSUIT is on display at the History of Diving Museum in Islamorada, Florida. I posted a couple pictures, some text, and a link to a short Youtube video clip on the BUILDING THE NEMOSUIT page.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
AUTHENTIC HELMET AND BOOTS UPDATE
This Saint Patrick’s Day we’ll have ample cause to celebrate. For folks like us (who make functional replica 20,000 Leagues Diving Suits) acquiring a real helmet and boots is way up there on the list of the best things that could have happened. You can only do so much by working from pictures, and there’s nothing like having actual specimens as a reference.
The story of how this came about, and the history of the helmet itself, is pretty amazing. I’ve been doing a lot of research and documentation lately, and will be publishing the facts in the future.
At this time, we’d like to express our gratitude to the good people at Disney Imagineering and The Disney Archives for making it all possible. Thank you! J
Thursday, March 13, 2008
DISNEY DIVING HELMET PAGE
There’s a new page dedicated to the Disney diving helmets in the Virtual Diving Helmet collection of Iain MacQuarrie’s venerable DIVING HERITAGE Website. You can access it by clicking over to our Links page, and scrolling down to the section reserved for Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
As you may know, Bill Stropahl is one of the original Disney Divers who participated in the underwater scenes for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Bill can be seen in Disney’s 2003 Making Of documentary, and on pages here at VSC dealing with the Disney Divers and our replica Leagues rigs.
Disney Diver Bill Stropahl discussing LIFE Magazine article with Paul Brooks in Anaheim, 2003.
(That’s Bill in the Crowntop Crew Diver suit on the cover.)
I’d lost contact with Bill over the past few years, and was concerned because I recently learned he’d suffered a stroke. The good news is: I heard from Bill this morning and, while he did have a stroke in 2005, he is doing well, working hard, and on the road to recovery.
Bill says he’s been a fan of VSC and is following our adventures with the NAUTILUS MINISUB and replica 20,000 Leagues Diving Suits. He mentioned wishing he could dive one of our suits and if there’s any way I can make that happen, I sure will.
We here at VSC know you’ll all want to join with us in wishing Disney Diver Bill Stropahl a speedy and complete return to full health. We’re happy to hear you’re doing well, Bill, and wish you all the best in the future. J
Saturday, May 10, 2008
LEON LYONS’ DIVING HELMET WEBSITE IS UP AND WORKING!
The World knows Leon G. Lyons as author of Helmets of the Deep and one of the most knowledgeable authorities on the subject of diving helmets anywhere. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to get to know Leon as a friend. To his long list of credits and accomplishments I’d like to add that he is not only one of the coolest, but also one of the most honest and reliable people I’ve ever encountered in the diving helmet community.
Today I’m pleased to announce that Leon’s virtual museum Website is online for your enjoyment and education. If you can, by all means make arrangements to visit the Lyons Maritime Museum in St. Augustine, Florida, and see it in person. But if you can’t do that, now you can take the virtual tour right here in cyberspace. J
I’m sure we’ll see additions to the new Website in the future. For now, visitors can browse through Leon’s collection, gain insight into the man and his passion for diving, learn about the upcoming expanded reprint of his landmark reference text Helmets of the Deep, obtain contact information, visit a great Links page with URL’s to some of the best Websites on the subject, and more.
If you are interested in deep sea diving, underwater technologies, vintage SCUBA, and the like: you need to check this out.
Congratulations, Leon! Great Website!
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
MORE FROM BILL STROPAHL
I’ve been kinda busy with “life in general” lately and haven’t had much time for the Website or our LEAGUES projects; but I’m making efforts to correct for that now. Many new pages, pics, and info scheduled for the future.
Really happy to report we’ve been communicating with Disney Diver BILL STROPAHL on a regular basis. He’s doing well, and just wrote me today to say he’s sent us a number of pics from his private collection for our DISNEY DIVERS page. The pics are coming via snail mail, but I’ve read the informational paragraphs already and can tell you we’ll be posting great stuff there in the near future.
As many know, Bill Stropahl is one of the original Disney Divers and the World’s leading authority on the Disney 20,000 Leagues Diving apparatus; we are immensely grateful for the interest he’s shown in our DISNEY DIVERS page and our replica Leagues rigs. We at VSC are proud to provide a venue whereby Bill’s knowledge and experiences can be shared with Leaguers everywhere. I know you’ll all enjoy reading about it. So stand by! Good things are on the horizon! J
Monday, July 07, 2008
Haven’t had time for the Website lately, so I thought I’d better post an update.
Everything that’s been mentioned recently on the CHALKBOARD is still in the works. Leon’s book is still being edited as more additions come in. All I can tell you is it’s going to be HUGE when it’s done. He’s still taking orders, but I’m not sure if any of the special leather bound editions are still available. If you’re interested, contact Leon either through his website email or the one I’ve set up (above) for Helmets of the Deep.
My non-Leagues-related endeavors are taking up so much of my time that work on my projects has been reduced: but I’m still making progress. We have several new Website pages slated for the future, but (sorry) they’ve taken a back seat to work on the submarine, diving helmets and suits, etc. I’ll get it all done when I can, but I’ve always been one who would rather do things than write about them, so building takes precedent over blogging.
Speaking of Underwater Technologies: if you are one of those people who has expressed an interest in our works and gotten onto our “Waiting List” you might want to send us an email to let us know you’re still around, what your current contact info is, and so on. Opportunities exist at this time but are extremely limited. First come, first served.
Meanwhile, the weather here is beautiful, and whenever possible we’re doing the thing we’re famous for: “living the dream” underwater, 20,000 Leagues style. From all of us at VULCANIA SUBMARINE, here’s wishing you a wonderful Summer. J
Reproduction Nautilus Crew Diver Apparatus by Vulcania Submarine, Hawaii
Monday, July 14, 2008
CAN YOU IDENTIFY THIS HELMET?
Here’s a few pics of a mystery hat. Indications are it was used in a movie, but not sure which movie that was.
If you can identify which movie this helmet was used in, howsabout letting us know through the VSC email. Thanks! J
Saturday, August 30, 2008
NEW VSC LINK GRAPHIC
Time sure flies when you’re staying busy and having fun! It’s been a GREAT Summer so far: just too much going on to list it all. But here’s a point I want to make to the general public:
We’ve prepared a new graphic for inclusion on those sites already carring a Link to VSC, because we felt the need to represent our projects a little better than was being done by our main logo. Here’s what we’ve come up with:
So, if you’re one of those Webmasters with whom we share reciprocal links, we’d appreciate it if you’d update our link on your site with this graphic image. Just send me an email and I’ll send you the URL were the image can be downloaded.
AND OF COURSE: If you have a website that we don’t know about and it’s related to the kind of things seen here at VSC; and if you’d like to swap reciprocal links; feel free to contact us through the website email at the bottom of our home-index page and we’ll get that done. Advertising your site at VSC can draw a lot of viewers to your pages. Our server traffic stats are HUGE! J
Okay, I’m outta here! Happy Labor Day! DIVE! DIVE! DIVE! J
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
AUTHENTIC LEAGUES HELMET RESTORATION
Been awfully busy with a lot of things lately, but somehow I still find time to Keep On Leaguin’. J
Okay, getting back to the authentic Leagues helmet we acquired earlier this year……there was some discussion as to whether or not it should be restored or left as-is. I’ll be doing some articles about it, but long-story-short, after talking to Imagineers, Disney Diver Bill Stropahl, Helmetmeister Leon Lyons, plus members of the Leagues and Vintage Scuba communities: I’ve decided to restore it and dive it again.
Here’s a picture of it, taken out in the working area the other day, with the major deformities in the metalwork corrected; and with vintage hoses, spools, and a repro crown sitting on it, but not permanently attached yet.
More to follow here at VSC when there’s time………. J
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Here’s another look at the authentic Leagues helmet restoration project. Coming along. Had to clean up the threads on the breastplate air inlet fitting. Also installed the main air supply fitting in the back. The brail straps are new, as are the square brail nuts. And I’ve got the “faux air filter” spool assembly hard-mounted where it originally stood, with the correct type of brass mounting hardware. (Those are authentic vintage hoses: not new aftermarket reproductions.) The crown is a repro I threw together just to get an idea what the helmet originally looked like. I’m building a better one to take its place.
Actually, it’s almost diveable right now. We’re getting close! Stand by!!! J
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Here’s a peak at the the authentic Disney “Hero” Crew Diver helmet as it looks today, with the metalwork complete. The new crown is finished: all metal, handcrafted in copper, and still much too “pretty” for the rest of the helmet. This crown is based on an authentic Disney helmet in the collection of a friend of mine. At the time this picture was taken, it’s just sitting on the helmet. It will fit into the original Disney dents when I attach it permanently. J But if you look closely at the lower perimeter of the crown ring, you can see the solder traces left over from where the original crown once sat. This crown matches the original and fits right where it should be.
Also new in this photo are the corselet brail straps and exhaust valve cover. The similar parts shown above are from one of my other helmets, but I decided this helmet deserved a complete set of dedicated parts. These are correct for this helmet.
So that pretty much finishes the metalwork. Still wondering if I should straighten out the dings in the gills. Might just leave them as-is.
All that remains is to antique the crown and new brass fittings to match the rest of the helmet, and attach the crown permanently. Once that’s done, we’re ready to dive. J
Sunday, September 28, 2008
All we’re waiting on now is a shipment of chemicals to artificially antique the bright brass parts so they’ll match the darker patina of the originals. Once that’s done, we’re ready to dive. When we do, it will be the first time anyone has dived any of the authentic diving gear from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in the 54 years since filming was completed in 1954. (I plan to wear the authentic boots, too.)
Here’s a pic of the restored Nautilus Crew Diver Helmet, taken in my yard today.
Might still do a little minimal straightening on the gills; or not. (The gill strips on all of the helmets got slightly bent during filming, and I haven’t decided whether or not to straighten these out yet.) Other than that, she’s about good to go.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
RESTORED DISNEY DIVE HELMET PASSES FUNCTIONAL TEST
Since the last update, I finished all the final details and everything checked out functionally. I was confident enough of the helmet that I intended to take it straight to the ocean; but because of “real job” constraints (and weather) we decided to do a pool test today instead. Here’s a couple snapshots of the helmet underwater earlier today: everything works perfectly.
Next, we’ll be organizing an ocean dive in a scenic location where we can get some better pics of the helmet in its intended environment: under the sea. More to follow…..
Saturday, November 1, 2008
RESTORED DISNEY HELMET DIVES AGAIN!!!
Today, we successfully dived and photographed the authentic 20,000 Leagues helmet in the ocean on the East coast of the Island of Hawaii. These dives mark the first time any of the Disney Leagues diving gear has been used underwater in the fifty-four years since the movie made its debut.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
SALUTING CHRIS LARSON, DISNEY IMAGINEER
Today, I published a page about the Restored Authentic Disney Diver Helmet here at VSC. The man who made this all possible is veteran Disney Imagineer Chris Larson.
It is no exaggeration to say that, if not for Chris, the lost Leagues helmet would have been buried under a landfill many years ago. Because of Chris, the helmet was saved for future generations of Leaguers to enjoy. And today, it exists as a tribute to the Disney Divers: continuing their tradition under the sea, where it all began.
We at Vulcania Submarine know we speak for many when we say, “Chris, thank you for keeping 20,000 Leagues alive!”
Friday, November 07, 2008
“PAT REGAN, YOU ROCK!!”
Here’s an interesting write-up we’ve received on the Internet lately. J
November 12, 2008
Not long ago, I didn’t even know what steampunk was. For those of you who still don’t: (according to Webster’s New Millenium Dictionary) it’s “a genre of science fiction set in Victorian times when steam was the main source of machine power.” And apparently there’s a whole lot of people who are into it.
Tonight I Googled Pat Regan Nautilus and Pat Regan Vulcania Submarine to see what people were saying about us. I found out there’s a slew of new pages popping up in cyberspace about the works of Vulcania Submarine; and people into steampunk and movie gadgets really seem to like us.
It may be that recent articles at Boing-Boing and Dethroner by David Pescovitz and Jason Weisberger are having global repercussions: the French are talking about us; so are the Germans; and there’s even a new page about us in Serbia…I think that’s another “first” for Vulcania Submarine. China and Russia we knew about, but Serbia? That’s new.J
Generally, people seem to think my Nautilus Minisub, functional 20,000 Leagues Diving Gear, and restored Disney Diver helmet are an exceptional level of movie-fan gadgetry.
One kind critic said I’ve “taken steampunk to a new dimension.”
Another said, “Pat Regan is 20,000 Leagues of Radness.”
And one chap who described me as “an amazing guy” apparently liked my page showing how people can build their own Nemo rifle for almost no money and a few odds-and-ends. You’re welcome! J
Writing about the VulcaniaSubmarine.Com website: one lady dubbed us “The Encyclopedia Vulcanica”, and a gent said VSC was “one of the best, if not the best” when it comes to 20,000 Leagues websites.
I’m trying to keep all this in perspective. If I let these laurels go to my head, I’ll never be able to get a diving helmet on again. J
Still, it’s nice to know that people out there enjoy seeing my projects.
It seems the restored Disney helmet is what people like the most of late. There’s a lot of Leaguers out there, and they seem to appreciate that we are keeping Leagues alive, if only in our own small way. All I can say is I’m really happy to be doing it.
Thank you, all. It’s very kind of you, the things that are being written about us. I certainly appreciate it, and encourage those who feel like writing to drop us an email through the VSC website addy.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Because of the honorable mention I’ve been getting lately, I decided to surf the net for Steampunk and came up with a group called The Steampunk Forum that seems to be a great place to start trading information if you’re interested in this sort of thing. I’ve started a new section on the VSC Links page for Steampunk, and headed it up with a link to the Steampunk Forum group. Check it out! J
Monday, November 17, 2008
DIVING HERITAGE WEBSITE DISPLAYS OUR AUTHENTIC DISNEY LEAGUES HELMET
Iain McQuarrie’s DIVING HERITAGE has a longstanding and well-deserved reputation as the best website for all things related to commercial diving, hardhat rigs, and the like. Located in Europe and featuring works from all around the World, DH offers the largest online diving helmet museum in existence.
A couple years ago, I was honored when my replica Leagues helmets were included with the works of venerable manufacturers like Morse, Desco, Schrader, Kirby Morgan, Miller Dunn, and others representing the United States of America.
Lately, our two-page article at DH has been increased to three pages: including more information about my replica Leagues helmets, and also about the authentic Disney helmet I recently restored and dived.
Again, I’d like to thank Iain McQuarrie and the good folks at DIVING HERITAGE for honoring Vulcania Submarine in this way.
Here’s a link to the new page. Enjoy! J
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
“A TANKER OF AWESOME SAUCE…”
Zeppelin Overlord Dusza Beben at The Steampunk Forum had this to say about his recent visit to VSC:
I stayed up way too late the other night going through the Vulcania site.
I think a whole tanker of awesome sauce spilled there!
I just thought that was darn clever. Thanks, DB! J
Sunday, November 30, 2008
BILL STROPAHL PAGE
It’s been a long time coming, but I finally got the page honoring Disney Diver BILL STROPAHL published in the 20,000 Leagues Department here at VSC. To the best of my knowledge, Bill is one of two surviving stunt divers who actually worked on the film; Ricou Browning being the other. We’ve done what we could to honor the accomplishments of the Disney Divers in general; and now we’re proud to present this salute to Bill, which contains many personal memories and eyewitness accounts. It’s a story you’ll see nowhere else, and we are honored that Bill has chosen VSC to present it to Leaguers everywhere. Bill and his wife Gale are wonderful people who have taken a keen interest in our Leagues-related projects, and we just want to say “Thanks for everything” and wish them both the very best in the years ahead. Here’s the LINK. Enjoy! J
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND RECENT ADDITIONS
Been working a lot at my “real job” but have also found time to make some additions to the Website. Made improvements and additions related to Bill Stropahl and the other Disney Divers. Received considerable pics-and-info contributions from well-connected long-time Leaguers, and will be updating our pages ASAP. We’re also working on getting Internet movie information websites like IMDb to update their files, crediting people who were Disney Divers, but so far are not so-accredited: Ricou Browning, Leonard Mott, and Ed Stepner, for example.
Special thanks to Bill and Gale Stropahl, and the Brooks Brothers, Larry and Paul. Check the “What’s New” page here at VSC for recent additions, and expect more in the near future.
Meanwhile, it’s Christmas Eve, and those of us at Vulcania Submarine want to wish Leaguers everywhere the Happiest of Holidays. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! J
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
HAPPY NEW YEAR!! J
What a year it’s been for us at VULCANIA SUBMARINE. Started out with the loss of a dear friend. But then we had more good things come our way than I could list here even if I wasn’t pressed for time today. For the most part, we’ve been very fortunate in the past, and the future looks bright.
We have lots of good things planned for the future. For now, we just want to wish our friends a HAPPY NEW YEAR. Hope we’ll all have a fine ’09! J
Saturday, February 07, 2009
VULCANIA SUBMARINE HAS A NEW VIDEO ON YOUTUBE
Actually, this went online a couple weeks ago. I pulled it down to include a picture of Bill Stropahl in the Disney Divers section. Here’s the new URL:
Sunday, February 22, 2009
LATEST PROJECT: BALDY HELMET
For years, I’ve been meaning to build a functional version of the “third variant” Disney Leagues helmet: the relatively unadorned one we call the “Baldy”. Finally decided to push the other projects aside and get into it.
And no: it’s not just a Crowntop minus the crown. The Baldy has its own characteristics. This project started with a fresh design and a new series of templates to support the metal artwork. Getting pretty close to completion, and then I’ll test-dive it in the pool.
As always, “Film at eleven.” J
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
SNEAK PREVIEW: THE BALDY
Here’s how it looks today. Still more to do, but starting to take shape. J
Thursday, March 05, 2009
THE FINISHED BALDY
Ready to dive: possibly this weekend.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
NEW STUDIO FOR VULCANIA SUBMARINE
NAUTILUS MINISUB temporarily stored outdoors.
New studio under construction (September) and nearing completion (tonight).
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2009
LARRY BROOKS 20,000 LEAGUES NEWSPAPER PROP REPLICAS
Larry Brooks (visit his 20,000 Leagues website via our Links page) wrote to tell me he has some replicas of the newspaper prop we see Professor Aronnax reading in the early minutes of Leagues. These should not be confused with similar “clones” that surfaced on eBay not long ago. Larry was a long-time friend of the late Disney Imagineer Tom Scherman, who made the plates for the replica newspaper; and the artwork Larry has comes from the source. Of course, I had to have one. Thanks for thinking of me, Larry! J
This will look great framed on a wall in our new workshop here at Vulcania Submarine; speaking of which, I finished the interior paint today just before noon. All that remains now is to have the electrician install the lights and switches, install the rollup door, and when that’s done, work on our 20,000 Leagues projects can resume. If all goes according to plan, next week.
There’s been a LOT going on over the past months, but I’ve been too busy doing it to be able to write about it here. Hopefully, that will change in the foreseeable future. J
Monday, December 28, 2009
CLOSING THIS VOLUME OF THE CHALKBOARD
2009 is almost over, and the CHALKBOARD Page has gotten pretty large over the past three years: so big that it might take too long to open up on some home computers. So I’m going to put a cap on this page, and start over again for the year 2010 on a new page entitled THE CHALKBOARD VOLUME TWO. You’ll be able to access it via the VSC Index page, or just scroll down and hit the NEXT hyperlink after January 01, 2010.
It looks like I’ll be working straight through New Year’s Eve, so this may be the final installment of the CHALKBOARD for 2009. If so, I’ll see you next time around. Till then, have a good one, and remember:
(C) Copyrights 2006 - 2009 by Pat Regan, “All Rights Reserved.”
Reproduction in any form without written permission is strictly prohibited.