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Upon Arrival (Remastered LP Version)
Upon Arrival (Remastered LP Version)
Price: $0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical photographs, July 19, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Back in the early '90s I received a tape of Chicago XIV for either my birthday or Christmas. Of course by that time the album was already over ten years old. Was the album one of their best? Judging by where it placed on the billboard when it came out the answer is no. But what did I care, I enjoyed it none the less. Some of the songs on it became instant hits for me. Among those was "Upon Arrival."

What was so great about this song for me? The first time I heard it I didn't get it, there was something there that wanted to be seen but at the time I was listening to the tape straight through just to really see what was there first. Then I flipped it back over and played it again. The songs that really caught me this time I rewound the tape jut to hear what I had just heard. And it was now that I got it. I was suddenly nine again and at the gate watching as my dad boarded the plane for a business trip. And I was nine and waiting for his plane to arrive. It wasn't just nine, it was every age I could remember him having to fly off on a business trip and return. It also wasn't just my personal experience. The song was like looking at a series of paintings or photographs.

Cetera and Lamm wrote what was the second song on the album and as I'm sitting here typing this I'm wondering if either or both were sitting in an airport and finding inspiration for this song. It's pre-9/11, at a time I can remember still being able to go up to the gate and meet folks getting off the plane in most of the airports I visited. Or even being able to go right up to the gate and wish them a safe trip, waving as they leave. And yet even today the pictures it paints are still very much there. A chauffer hired to pick up a VIP, maybe their the corporate VP of some company that has a factory in the area and the company hired a limo service to pick them up and take hem to a hotel. Parents and their daughter waiting for the son they haven't seen in a while. A teenage girl waiting for her boyfriend, perhaps he' been away at college because he's coming to spend summer with her. The lyrics really paint a picture that even today in the post-9/11 environment may be playing out at just about any airport in the country, or for that matter the world.

It's a picture that can be practically felt, especially if you've already experienced it. That feeling of when is the plane going to get here. People waiting, some maybe joking around with each other. Maybe a quite tension in the air as people are wondering if the flight is going to be on time and hoping nothing bad happens to the person or persons their there for. And then the word may get out from someone who has checked the arrival board that the flight has arrived and the tension and excitement slowly build as folks wait for the plane to get to the gate and people to start coming out. The lyrics play out and if you close your eyes you can practically see what is being painted by those lyrics. You can feel the tension and emotions from the music as it builds or slows down to fit with those lyrics and bring that picture to life. There is a point mid song where the plane has touched down and the cymbal and piano seem to slow down almost as if time is coming to a stop and then the next verse has a line about time standing still which makes this slowing down in the instrumental section so fitting at this point. Another point chords on the piano descend and then ascend, almost like a photographer snapping shots of folks stepping off a plane and then finding the person finding who is waiting for them and there is happy reunions or pleasant first meetings.

Over all the song seems to paint a bright picture of waiting for a plane to arrive. There's laughter, cameras going off, introductions for those who didn't know each other, even lovers sharing a kiss at getting back together. But I think what really made it a hit for me was the fact that it has a sad ending. A girl waiting for a love who never shows. And as all are having cheerful reunions, or first meetings, she keeps waiting and watching, perhaps her love is there. But finally no one else leaves the plane and she is left to weep at a lost love. The end is just a poignant reminder that not every flight ends happily for everyone who is waiting for someone.

Cats Meow Yellow Undercover Fabric Moving Mouse Cat Play Cat's Toy As Seen on Tv
Cats Meow Yellow Undercover Fabric Moving Mouse Cat Play Cat's Toy As Seen on Tv
Offered by AdvantageSale
Price: $12.79
36 used & new from $10.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Needs help, January 6, 2014
We got one of these for my cat for Christmas. She was ok with it until she tried reaching up under the skirt and got her paws smacked hard by the ball on the end of the wand. You could then take it out after a couple of days and she'd start getting interested, until once again getting smack by that ball. She wasn't really interested in chasing that red cord/wire thing as, I'm guessing, that's just the "tail of the mouse" in her opinion. It really wasn't the cat's meow as far as she seemed to be concerned. Anyone who has a cat and has seen them playing with a toy while showing absolutely no interest in others knows when their interested and when their not. And she was only marginally interested in it as it came.

Then yesterday I decided I'd try and make it a little more to her liking. I took one of her toy mice (the kind that come in packages of five or more, have leather/suede strips for tails, are two toned in color, and rattle) that I know she loves to play with and some double stick tape and proceeded to tape the end of the mouse's tail to the end of the red cord/wire. I selected that particular type of mouse because it's small and lightweight, I figured it would not put a lot of extra strain on the motor if attached. Setting it down and turning it on got her attention again. She showed more interest in it now because it actually looks more like a real mouse running around. And it doesn't hurt her paws as much. Even as I've been typing this she's played with it a little and has caught the mouse. Which caused the motor to start whirring and her to release her catch.

It's never going to replace me tossing out her toy mice to pounce on or whipping out a laser pointer for her to chase. But with a little help it becomes a little more interesting. If you're going to buy this first try to save yourself some money and check out places where they sell "As Seen on TV" products so you don't pay the extra in shipping and handling. And if you're cat doesn't seem interested in it as it is, try adding something lightweight that they like to chase.

The Civil War Notebook of Daniel Chisholm: A Chronicle of Daily Life in the Union Army 1864**
The Civil War Notebook of Daniel Chisholm: A Chronicle of Daily Life in the Union Army 1864**
by W. Springer Menge
Edition: Paperback
65 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They don't teach this in school, September 29, 2012
What are you likely to learn in school about the American Civil War? Battles? Leading generals? Who the US and CS presidents were? Causes? Events associated with the war? Politics? What life was actually like during the war? What the average citizen or soldier actually thought during the war? For most of us school textbooks are going to cover most of these, and most only lightly. But those last two are something that schools don't really teach. Names like Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, McClellan, Davis, Lee, Jackson, and Longstreet are important for people to learn in school as are events, battles, and even some politics. But how many have heard of Clear, Springer, Carney, Ashford, Beach, or Newlan? The names of common soldiers just aren't important enough to teach and so it seems like it was only the well known generals who fought the war as the numbers of men involved become meaningless. Or worse the numbers become so meaningless that the history of the war takes on more of a fictional quality as only major leaders are focused on.

But for those actually interested in the war there is always the various diaries and letters home that brings home the fact that these numbers were lives, some of which didn't survive the war. The men, and even those women who managed to either enlist pretending to be a man or who served in other positions such as nurses and spies, remind us that this war wasn't something told around the campfire, it was something fought. That men died in. The human side of the war comes to life through the writings of the common soldier.

Corporal Daniel Chisholm served in Co. K. 116th Pennsylvania Infantry from February 1864 to June 1865 along side his brother Alex. Following the war he began to put together a personal notebook compiled of letters he and Alex had written home. But things didn't stop there. Chisholm also managed to transcribe the diary of Co. K 1st Sergeant Samuel Clear into his notebook. And in the he transcribed a part of the diary of Co. K 1st Lt. James Cope which details Cope's time as a prisoner of war. This notebook would remain in the family until his great-great-grandson William Springer Menge decided to share the notebook with the rest of the world (another of Menge's ancestors, his great-great-uncle on his grandmother's side, was Co. K 2nd Lt. Zadoc Springer). Together with co-editor J. August Shimrak, Menge made the public in the late '80s. In addition to the the four individual points of view provided in the book one also finds a roster of the men of Co K, the poems "Sherman's March to the Sea" and "The Veterans Reunion, and three obituaries of men from Co. K. (including Chisholm's).

The 116th saw service in the Army of the Potomac during the last year of the war and this book gives an idea what life was like for Federal soldiers. Not just the fighting but between battles. It is one of those books that every Civil War enthusist who want's to know about more than just the dates a major figures will want to have in their library. Thanks to people like Daniel Chisholm and Mary Chestnut the soldiers and civilians who lived through the era aren't faceless individuals and mere statistics, their people. Reading what the Chisholms and Clear wrote we can begin to get a sense of what life in the Army of the Potomac was like in the last months of the war.

No Title Available

42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little flyer, July 27, 2012
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Syma S107 comes in two models. The S107/S107G which more folks may be familar with. And the S107C camera model. I specifically chose the S107C for a number of reasons. Principle among them was to be able to have another option open for taking photos and video of pets staying at my place of an active duty military sibling. So what can I say about the little heli with a camera?

Durability: I'm going to give the S107C a 4 star rating on this. I've got several dings in my blades which after a months flying I'm sure are having some effect on flight preformance, but that's really about the only real damage it's got. I did have a recent scare that caused me to order parts for the heli, it took a nasty spill and the upper rotor blades didn't really want to spin. The lower blades were working just fine and the upper blades were spinning lazily so there was no lift. Thought I'd broken part of the shaft and the upper blades were no longer properly connected. Everything appeared to be fine so I couldn't understand where the break was. After ordering replacement parts and getting the first of the replacements in (a replacement main shaft) I discovered what the spill had actually done was to cause one of the two motors to come slightly out of it's housing so it was no longer in contact with the gear that turned the upper rotor. Once it was popped back into place it wanted to fly just like before. So aside from that the little heli does come across as fairly durable. But the blades are susceptible to dings and the fact that my first thought following that crash was a break forces me to rate it's durablity at 4. It looks more fragile than it apparently is, or at least mine has been thus.

Educational Value: 3 stars. Let's face facts, it's a toy first and foremost. And not an educational toy at that. The manufacturer suggests it's a toy for ages 14 and up, so basically for teens and adults. That said, is it possible to learn anything from this little heli? The answer is yes. This heli can be used not only to teach how areodynamics cause things to fly but also provide a demonstration. The rotor blades are each an airfoil and the four main rotor blades provide lift. Being able to actually demonstrate how that lift works would be useful as a teaching tool. Another point of educational value is the effects a fan has on the heli in flight, it would help folks to better understand how certain atmospheric conditions can and do affect a real helicopter in flight. Additonally the camera also provides a source of drag that some what slows down the heli. A teacher teaching the effects of drag could easily set up two S107s, a S107 G and a S107C, and demonstrate how the drag created by the camera slows in down a little.

Fun: Well I have had a few dozen flights and I've gotta give it a 5 star rating. Take off, zip around the room, land. Hover in place and stand underneathto use it like a fan. Chase pets around. Take photos or video. Chase myself. I've had a lot of fun with this little unit and hope to have a lot of fun for some time to come. Perhaps the biggest complaint would be having to wait 15 minutes or more to allow the battery to cool down before recharing, but that time can be spent going over video footage and editing the footage.

In flight the S107C is fairly manuverable so you may be tempted to try things like setting up an obstacle course and flying through it. Don't expect to do barrel rolls or loops, those are fairly uncommon manuvers for real wworld helicopters. But things like a figure eight aren't out of reach for this little heli. And best of all you can film youself doing it.

Camera: Yeah, Amazon doesn't have a camera rating, but this is a camera helicopter so I'm adding it. I've got to give the the camrea a 4 star rating. It's a dairly decent quality camera, take good video and pictures. But there are a couple of things that prevent me from giving it five stars. First is I can't seem to get it to hold more than one position. It does swivel as it's supposed to, but it generally wants to return to looking straight ahead. So no look down shots like I was really hoping for unless I try taping it in position. Second is no search light to really illuminate what's there. Just the flashing red and blue LED. If things are a bit dark where you're trying to film you're going to have to try brightening up the footage in some editing program.

The camera does come with a 512MB MicroSD card rather than a built in memory with maybe 50 to 75MB if you're lucky. For a free memory card I'll take 512MB. And it's fairly easy to replace the MircoSD card with something with higher storage capacity.

The camera does record sound, which is both fortunate and unfortunate as the number one sound it detects is the heli itself. But anything loud enough to overcome the sound of the heli is picked up. I do have some yips after one of the dogs decided they were going to bark at it after getting tired of it chasing them. Too scared to try attacking it, butthey thought barking would scare it off. And that comes through on the video somewhat muted by the motor noise but still clear enough to hear.

Overall: Overall I've got to give the S107C 5 stars. For one if you visit the Syma website you'll find it's supposed to be a 50 to 60 minute charge time for a 5 to 6 minute flight time. Well if you read the manual it's actually a 40 to 50 minute charge time for a 5 to 6 flight time. However I'd say I've gotten on average 7 to 8 minutes of flight time per charge. Might loose a minute of flight time when running the camera in video mode, same battery runs both at once. It can be charged either from the remote or the USB cable that is provided.

My biggest headache wasn't when I thought I'd somehow broken the shaft, it was trying to plug the camera in. But once that was done there hasn't been any serious headaches, just a scare. The remote requires 6 AA instead of 4. And I've found that the light on my USB cable goes out when plugged into the heli instead of when charging is done, so I've got tokeep track of time to know when charging is done.

But the flipside is being able to order spare parts and the parts are fairly inexpensive. Also Amazon's price makes this little heli fairly cheap compared to getting it off Syma's website. The costs and apparent longer flight time are what boosts it up to a five star rating for me.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 14, 2013 7:58 PM PDT

Air Hogs R/C Hawk Eye Blue Sky
Air Hogs R/C Hawk Eye Blue Sky
Offered by Bobs_Book_Barn_&_General_Store
Price: $103.22
4 used & new from $99.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a camera. It's a plane. It's a camera plane!, March 10, 2012
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
The Air Hogs R/C Hawk Eye Blue Sky offers users a camera and a plane in one single package. But is it really any good?

Durability: The plane is made of a dense styrofoam which makes it light and a bit more durable than some more expensive R/C planes. This does not mean that you want to go crashing it into the side a building and hope it survives. But for that first time R/C plane pilot this could easily be a good plane to start with. I had a couple hard landings on my first outing with this and it didn't appear to take any damage. It's light weight could prove a bit of a problem if a breeze picks up once the plane is in the air. I actually had to try crashing the plane because I had a breeze come up after I'd gotten it in the air and was watching it fly sideways while the plane was trying to move forward.

Control: Turn the plane on and turn the controller on then let the two sync up before you attempt to launch. Doesn't take very long. Once it get's up it should respond fairly easily to the controls. However you'll have to watch the plane's trim as if it isn't trimmed quite right it will want to fly around in circles. If not trimmed right you should notice it responds quickly if you turn into the direction of the circle while it wants to take a little longer to turn in the opposite direction. But trim doesn't appear to affect the planes ability to climb and dive and the plane responds fairly quickly when you increase or decrease the throttle.

Ease of Use: Take it out of the box, charge it up, put fresh batteries into the controller, and you're ready to go. You'll want a large area, as clear of trees, buildings, and any other obstructions before you try launching. To launch advance the throttle forward at least three-quarters of the way to full and then give it a gentle throw. Pretty much the kind of throw you'd use for a balsa wood glider or a paper airplane to get much distance out of it. The plane doesn't have too many controls actually needed to fly it, just throttle, directional control, and trim knob. It's fairly easy to use. Even the camera is just a push of a shoulder button, which folks used to X-box, Playstation or older model Nintendo systems should be familar with that.

Camera Quality: Hey this is a camera plane so what's the quality like. To be honest, I was plesantly surprised when I checked out the video I had recorded. I'd expected a low quality video camera and was going to be pleased if I could just make out what I was looking at. I had expected a grainy image that was a bit blurry from the movement of the plane. But what I got instead was a very clear picture. Right up until landing, then the image get's blurry as the ground get's closer to the camera itself. On my first time out with it I did take any aerial still photos, just one of me holding it which didn't look bad. Since originally writing this review I've had it out again and had a chance to take still photos in the air. I'm am quite impressed with the quality of these as I expected them to be blurry as it moved through turns. Only one photo was even slightly blurry, and that was just one item in the foreground.

Is This Easy to Learn for a First Timer?: My advice, read the instruction guide before you take it out the first time if you've never flown an R/C before. Now I've flown an R/C helicopter but this was the first R/C plan I've ever flown. Having flown the helicopter and having played with an R/C aircraft teacher at a local hobby shop probably gave me enough experince to fly this. And in my younger years I flew a lot of balsa wood gliders and paper airplanes. But if you read the instructions before you fly it the first time you should be able to pick it up pretty quickly. Again the controls are fairly basic so the beginner doesn't have to worry about much. If the instructions have been read it should only take a few minutes to learn to use the plan. learning to trim may take a bit longer, though a first timer may just be happy to get the plan up at first.

Is this plane for you? It is recommended for folks 12 and up. As such it could be a fair starting point before moving on to more advanced models. I certainly enjoyed it myself.

Sword Velvet Sheath
Sword Velvet Sheath
Offered by Grim Reapers
Price: $25.00
2 used & new from $20.68

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't give this to your kids, November 26, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sword Velvet Sheath (Apparel)
This is a costume prop for adults and should be treated as such. Despite being described as a "Top Quality Children's Item" and being "Made with the Best Quality Material with your child in mind" this is anything but a children's toy. The sword is an all metal blade as described in the product description, which should be the first point on which it says this is not for kids. Then there is the fact that this does come to a nice, sharp point, another something you don't want in the hands of a kid. Mine has various sharp burrs on the pommel and along the blade which could cut someone's finger if they're not careful. The chape, or metal tip, of the scabbard is itself sharp enough to cut someone though thankfully the very end has been somewhat rounded over to try and dull it a little. Pulling the sword out of the scabbard will reveal a sharp edge all around the metal throat that the basket hilt of the sword protects from when in place.

Aside from the metal working on the scabbard, which have a highly hammered appearance to the chape and throat and the second point for a ring for wearing with a sword-belt wanting to slide up and down the scabbard, this doesn't look terrible and should look good as part of a Halloween costume, which is what I got it for. Mine does have a couple gashes in the back of the grip that are only noticeable up close. The hilt ends in a little nut which appears to be what holds the hilt and blade together. It would have been better if this nut had been cosmetically designed not to look like what it clearly is, but that can be overlooked. The sword looks like it should be in a European or American design from the mid-18th century through the mid-19th century so for a military costume from that period it should work as long as the costume is for one of the European or American armies. The scabbard is sheathed in a very nice red velvet that is marred by a rainbow ribbon running down one side. The product description does say this is supposed to be gold braid detailing, it's clearly not as described.

The length in the product detail is incorrect, the blade itself measures twenty-eight inches and the hilt itself another four inches for a total of thirty-two inches. Adding in the scabbard only increases the overall length by two inches, and I'd have to estimate that if the very end of the chape had not been intentionally rounded over to blunt it a little that it would only reach an overall total of 34 1/4". That's still 1 3/4" shy of the described thirty-six inch long sword.

There is work I'm going to have to do to this before I use it next Halloween. Mostly I'm just looking at adding a pair of rings for hanging it from a sword belt. I'll also want to deburr the hilt at the very least. As a costume prop I have to say it's not bad. Thankfully I wasn't looking for anything more than that. But had I been purchasing this for a kid I would have been very disappointed and would have marked it lower than I did. This is much better in the hands of an adult or someone in their mid to late teens. Do not get this for your kids, that is just asking for more trouble than it's worth.

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok for Halloween or a costume party, October 26, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this for Halloween costume is ok for Halloween or a costume party, but if you're looking for it to be a little closer to the actual uniforms then it's not very realistic. The shade of blue depicted in the picture looks a little closer to the shade actually used one the real uniforms, the shade of blue on the actual costume looks more like I should put on a red cape and an S shield on the chest and go as Superman the doorman. It's more of a web color royal blue or an azure blue rather than the dark blue that was actually the regulated color. And that's not the only color problem. The cuffs and colar are a brownish color when they should be blue as well.

The buttons are gold colored with an eagle and shield motif on them. That's nice for the appearance of the costume. But their floppy, I was afraid I'd pop a button when I tried this on. Yeah this is a costume that you may wear just once (maybe twice), or even just once a year. But you really don't want to have one of the buttons pop off on you.

The gold embroidery on the sleeves is worng for several reasons. First this is a Federal, or Union, uniform frock coat. Which means shoulder straps to indicate rank. Second, I've done a little research. The embroidered knot braid does appear in the 1861 regulations for the US Army officer's uniform as a knot of black silk braid placed on an overcoat, not a frock coat. The overcoat would have gone over anything that showed one's rank and had no shoulder straps, hence the need for the knot braid to show rank. Third, the knot is facing the wrist, not the shoulder as it actually should face. I'll have to check if it's actually three braids and a single knot, which is what the picture appears to be. If it is then it's a Major's uniform and would be accurate as a double breasted uniform (the two rows of buttons say double breasted. If it's a double braid and single knot or single braid and single knot, then it's another problem as that would mean Captain or 1st Lt. which should be single breasted.

I ordered the size I thought would fit me based on the size jeans I wear, turns out I should have ordered a size smaller as what I got makes me feel like I'm ten to twelve years old try on one of my dad's suits. At least I can roll up the cuffs and make the color disappear there, which I have to do anyway if I wan't to have hands. Thankfully the pants have an elastic waistband, but I still had to pul them at least halfway up my stomach to pull up the legs.

Finally, wear something warm underneath if you're going to be outside much in some place where it might be cold. It's thin material and won't keep you warm.

The costume is inexpensive compared to some of the others I've seen. For a Halloween costume it's ok at the price it's at. But if you're looking to get this for re-enacting look someplace else.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 2, 2014 9:47 AM PDT

200-Hour Glow Stick - Red
200-Hour Glow Stick - Red
Price: $7.64
2 used & new from $7.64

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your traditional glowstick, October 9, 2010
This review is from: 200-Hour Glow Stick - Red
I own several of these, red, green, blue, and their Halloween orange. If you check their website in the glow family line you'll find they actually offer this in eight colors, the four Imentioned plus purple, pink, sky blue, and multi-color. I feel a little safer walking dogs a night or early morning with these. Generally I now walk with two in tow, one worn around the neck set up to flash and one I have ready to use as a flashlight and whistle. And if needed a second flasher.

The glowstick has five functions to it, led flashlight, led flashlight and glowstick, glowstick, flasher, and emergency whistle. The flashlight's range is probably around twelve to fifteen yards, maybe a little less, so it's not terribly fit to light up anything too far away from you but is perfect for exactly what you'll use it for, lighting up where you're walking and doing some searching for items. The glowrod is good for announcing where you are. It's fairly bright and can light up the area around you. The blue, green, and orange are a bit brighter than the red so they shine a little further away. Combined with the flashlight you can let folks know where you are while you light up where you're walking. The flasher has a variable speed programmed in (I've tested two together and watched them get out of sych and back in as they slowly speed up and speed back down). Walking with these on flash instead of just steady glow should more likely catch a drivers attention. And the whistle is fairly loud, loud enough to let folks know where you are or maybe at least startle someone.

In stores there are two versions, one with a lanyard that goes around the neck and one with a smaller hand strap. Both are worth it. The sticks do come with an advertisment of free replacement batteries.

Dremel 764-04 Pumpkin Carving Rotary Tool includes 10 Templates
Dremel 764-04 Pumpkin Carving Rotary Tool includes 10 Templates
Offered by Sukiyaki Japan
Price: $29.88
12 used & new from $27.43

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's missing something, October 26, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Until a few years ago it used to take me four to six hours (or more) to carve a jack-o-lantern due to the fact that I liked to carve and sculpt intricate designs into the pumpkin. This was done using a combination PimpkinMasters saws and carving tools for the carved areas and an Xacto set for the sculpted areas. Then a few years ago I picked up the PumpkinMasters electric saw, which cut my carving time in half due to the facts that I didn't have to stop every so often to rest my hand and to the speed at which the saw carves.

All in all I'd say this set misses out on five stars due to having only the one bit and a battery pack that could be better designed. If it were impossible to get other bits for it (the instructions do suggest you can use other bits) then the rating would have been even lower.

So as you can imagine, I'm interested in things which make my work faster. Which was why I bought the Dremel 764-04 Pumpkin Carving Kit. I figured that it's rotary tool would do for sculpting what the electric saw had done for carving.

What you get when you get this kit is a two speed, hand-held router, a bit, and ten carving templates. The router fits comfortably in your hand, or at least it does in mine. Four AA batteries placed in a moderately easy to use battery pack mean you don't have to sit near an electrical outlet to operate it.

But I find that this set is missing something, like at least one other bit. The one that comes with it I found when I finally had the chance to try it out recently is pretty much good for only one thing. Tracing a design. I'd call the bit a pencil bit personally because it took me longer to sculpt a relatively small area than it would have if I'd used one of the chiseling tools from the Xacto set. I'm talking taking about twenty-thirty minutes with this vs just three minutes with the other. And all I really did was to peel off the outer layer of the rind, I didn't dare go to the depth I'd have prefered do to how long it took me to get rid of that much. That and the fact that with this pencil bit you've got to stop every few minutes just to wipe away pulp to see how you're progressing.

At the same time if you go too small in detail this bit is actually too large to use as it wants to obliterate the design. As this is probably the smallest bit for this tool that means that sculpting the smallest details would have to be done with something like and Xacto set.

Had a second, more efficent bit been added I'd rate this set higher than I have. As it stands, when I finished carving I did say I'd like to try it again with a different bit. The router shows great promise in my opinion. Even on low it should be able to cut times down for sculpting a pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern. But it can't do that with the pencil bit they provide.

The only other problem I had was the battery pack. As I said, it's moderately easy to use, but it should be easier. It's easy enough to get it out and pop the batteries into the pack. But my problem has come in putting it back into the router. There is a slot and key design which lets you slide it into the router. The problem is there seemd to be two slots and keys, one slightly larger than the other. It's trying to figure out which is the larger so the pack will slide in and lock in place. And even when you do get it right it seems to fight you at first, causing you to take it out and try turning it around twice before it will slide and lock. Had this been designed differently the battery pack would be a breeze to use.

Pumpkin Masters CD Pattern Maker
Pumpkin Masters CD Pattern Maker
2 used & new from $14.84

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful for creating your own designs, October 20, 2008
With many Pumpkin Master's products on the market this one has very little to offer that can't be gotten from many of the other sets the company produces. What sets this set apart is the CD Pattern Maker. Now granted it does provide many of the classic designs you can get in various Pumpkin Masters pattern books so you're already to start carving simply by printing out a pre-made pattern.

But if your looking for your own design, this this set should be of some use to you. Some being the key word which is what causes this set to get such a low rating. You get to work with predesigned images to create a larger image or scene. Images are divided into seven categories: eyes, noses, mouths, miscellaneous, scenes, alphabet, and patterns. Patterns, of course, are the predesigned patterns on the CD but can be "edited" by adding elements from the other categories. Eyes, noses, and mouths each give you ten designs to choose from for making a face. Miscellaneous offers up eyebrow, ears, earings, and other items that may be worn such as a witches hat. Alphabet is pretty straight forward, just letters numbers, and a few punctuation marks in case you wish to write something on the pumpkin. Scenes is actually probably going to be the most useful item for making a design from. It allows you to choose things such as a full moon, a cauldron, ghosts, bats, clouds, hands rising from the grave, etc. for your design.

The biggest problem I find with the set is that you have to use the predesigned images that are on the CD. I have yet to be able to find a way to add in extra images in order to increase the possible patterns.

As for the saws, scrapper, and poker, all work beautifully if you know how to properly use them and don't try forcing things to do what they are not designed to do.

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