7/5/06: It is done. For a project that has taken this long to complete, I must take the best photos and video. Just a bit more patience. Just a bit more.
4/22/06: A bunch of packages arrived this afternoon from various RC vendors and I wasn't able to open them all. Moments ago this evening, I went back to my workshop to look at the rest, and this is what I saw:
What the heck? What is this, 2001: A Space Odyssey or something? That photo, so you know, is not edited...
4/7/06: Today I changed the front shock oil and rear springs to bring the suspension into tune and did some final trimming on the body to account for a slight change in suspension travel. More importantly, though, I ordered the battery...
3/19/06: Nearly two more years have passed in what feels like a few weeks! There have been no more disturbing dreams, no more visions, nothing. The chassis of this truck has sat on its pedestal-like perch practically untouched save for the occasional dusting. I finally laid some paint on a body one mild afternoon last Spring, but that is the only action this project has seen. All has been quiet. Until today.
An inexpensive foray into R/C aircraft got my creative juices flowing again and finally broke through the R/C building equivalent of writer's block I'd been stuck in month after month after month. Today I put nearly four hours into detailing the body with a technique I've never before tried. Custom body mounts were fashioned. Wheel nuts were fastened. Ride height was set. It was the first time I'd been able to see a glimpse of the finished product, other than in my imagination.
Aside from some suspension tuning, I believe the truck is actually done. All that remains is to procure a proper battery, and I'll be able to let 'er rip and show the world (and myself) that all of this "nightmare" and "demon" hub-bub is behind us once & for all. Given the high-powered cells that are available today, and the fact that this truck isn't even running a brushless system, any decent 6-cell pack should do, yes? No. Alright, any decent matched 6-cell pack? Still no. How about 7 cells? Nah, no guessing games.
I'm going to get what I need and put up an update with photos as quickly as possible. It's time to put this project to rest.
7/26/04: A dark gray cloud so thick that I taste it in the air. Blood red bits about my hands and arms. Spiders peeking out from the shadows and scurrying across the floor. A deep cut is made. Debris is cast into a waste bin, which instantly shatters. Darkness has fallen, but there is a flash of light. And another...
3/13/04: Have you evergotten the feeling that you were living in a nightmare and couldn't wake up? Well if you have, my condolences, but I can't empathize with your situation. It seems I've been living in a pretty decent dream, and just woke up to the nightmare of reality.
I went almost six months without a vision or thought of firey eyes, dark robed figures or anything else related to Daemonsbane lore. My R/C motivation went through some dark times since my last update, but things are back on the upswing. Just a couple of days ago I was relaxing on the bed with a mechanical pencil & blank clipboard in hand, brainstorming ideas for some new projects for this year. When I first sat down, possibilities were triwling through my head like a storm. However, the storm quickly receded as I got comfortable, and it wasn't long before I dozed off. I vaguely remember a couple of my ideas seeping through into my sleep, but I don't recall making any progress or coming to any conclusions. What I do clearly remember, however, is a feeling of confusion and complete loss of concentration that grew steadily as images in my mind began flipping back & forth at an increasing pace. There was a sound like the wind passing through a stand of trees. The sound became steadily more and more overwhelming, and I grasped control of myself just long enough to send out the brain signal to wake up. At this exact moment, though, it happened. Out of the sound of the wind came a voice that was whispered yet loud. The words were,
I opened my eyes in shock, expecting to see directly in front of me the person who had uttered these words. My heart raced suddenly and a jolt of adrenaline dispersed through my bloodstream. All was quiet around me, but the voice echoed through my head. It was an all too familiar sound. Yes, it was that voice. So much for letting these things fade away by not paying them any mind. I thought I had gotten off the hook easy, but I guess not.
The time has come to put an end to this once & for all. I must bring this project to fruition, and see what happens. I won't have this huge unknown lingering around any longer.
9/2/03: Life has been somewhat unkind to me of late. Quite a number of unpleasantries have befallen my path and I have found myself fighting one uphill battle after another, working at breakneck speed and never making an inch of progress. Surely I have continued to have visions of the firey eye and the shadowy figure in my dreams from time to time, but with so much else occupying my worries, I still haven't been paying much attention to the demonly intrusions into my thoughts.
In good news, though, I finally have an answer to mystery of the "reddish satin cloth" reference in my last reported 'Bane-inspired dream:
A small sheet of this peculiar fiber plate material arrived by courier while I was away, wrapped in an tattered, anonymous envelope padded with shreds of very old newspaper. It didn't take me long at all to fashion a shock tower out of it with the help of my Dremel scroll saw and a fresh blade.
Now if only that new top deck would arrive...
7/15/03: It's been a long time... I shouldn't have left you... without an up-date to step to... Alright enough of that. A lot of things have gone wrong in the past month. Many things broke, including my car's entire engine, my vacuum cleaner, and my wallet. I got an unfriendly letter from the IRS about something from 2 years ago. I spent a week sleeping almost all day every day recovering from sunstroke after overworking myself at the local track. With all of this and much more going on, my mind has been too preoccupied to pay much attention to the Daemonsbane dreams. They've still been going on, I just haven't really cared.
However, last week things changed. "Bigdano" from the URC Forums and the Weekly Bully column on UltimateRC.com loaned me his car while I searched for new wheels, and when he stopped by, he got a rare and intimate tour of my workshop, including the Daemonsbane throne. That night, I had a surreal dream about racing in a J-SPEC event. Daemonsbane was on the track, and apparently I had a twin who was driving it. He (I?) was incessantly laughing in most evil and raucous fashion. It was pretty annoying, but at the same time quite odd to be seeing myself (?) without looking in a mirror.
At one point in this bizarre dream, I walked back to the hobby shop to get away from my evil alter, and somehow I ended up in my own house. However, the place was uncharacteristically dark and the closets and some of the corner walls were apparently made of organic-shaped aluminum skeletal frames backed with a decaying reddish satin cloth. What the heck that was all about I have no idea!
Back in the real world, though, I got to see a preview of the upper deck design that's about to enter the tooling up phase. Looks good so far.
6/20/03: I've been going through some trying times recently with some individuals on the forums trying their very hardest, putting out their very most concerted efforts to drive me deep into the realm of incurable insanity. I ask them to stop, then I tell them firmly, then I unleash verbal hell. Yet, they still somehow don't seem to get the picture. They push, and push, and push more.
Thanks to these wonderful, caring, understanding, respectful individuals, the demon dreams have returned. However, the situation within them has changed yet again. Now, perhaps due to my own growing rage, I'm beginning to identify with the evil eye, and even empathize with the demon's pain and anger. I think we may even be angry about the same thing(s). When the eye looks at me, I don't feel any hard feelings coming my way. When I look away, the eye disappears and I feel as if I'm looking through it. I've seen the shadowy figure atop the hill again as well, but it's not as far away anymore. The strangest thing? These dreams don't disturb me anymore; in fact, I'm growing rather fond of them. With any luck, I'll have another tonight.
Oh, and as for the project, rev. 2 of the rear shock tower was working out so well that I stopped it 2/3rds of the way through and moved on to rev. 3. With any luck, I may be able to call this one a production prototype. I've also started working on a bumper. No new thoughts on the paint scheme, though.
6/12/03: You may be wondering why I haven't written in about another dream or vision lately. I've been wondering the same thing, myself. Nothing out of the ordinary has occurred since my last entry. It's eerie. I ought to be relieved to have the respite, but no, I'm worried. Terrible things happened the last time I let my guard down. They say optimists can only be disappointed, and pessimists can only be pleasantly surprised, right? We shall see.
Regardless of the break in supernatural activity around here, I've remained hard at work on the project. I made a custom front tiebar from scraps of the original red Nightmare chassis prototype, and I'm considering etching a design into it. I've installed my new red hub carriers front & rear, and the tires have been glued. Piles of debris continue to mount in the workshop as I move on to revision 2 of my rear shock tower design. This item is so unique and promising that I have committed to marketing & selling it when it is complete, so I must get it absolutely right, the very first time. Work on the top deck and front shock tower continue, out of state. I am now considering making a custom front body post strut as well. I keep chugging...
6/5/03: Had another Daemonsbane dream last night. It was new & different yet again. I could still see the firey eye up in the sky, and I could see the R/C driving around on some natural terrain at the base of a range of shadowy hills. Suddenly, everything stopped. I looked up and atop the highest hill there was a tall, cloaked figure, standing silent and immobile, facing the sunset. Then I could see myself looking at the figure, looking a bit suspicious, a bit angry. I took off running up the hill, and then I woke up. I haven't the faintest clue what the significance is this time.
Back on the project front, the rear shocks came in and I got them converted & installed. I've spent some time recently sneaking work into my Mad Jedi project (click), so progress on Daemonsbane's rear shock tower was paused. The last parts order I placed should be arriving soon, including the tires.
6/2/03: Holy mother of God. Just for "kicks" today I threw some used tires on to give the truck a little run around the house. The results left me practically speechless. This may be the quickest-accelerating R/C I've ever had, besting even the dual-BL Valkyrie! This is even with just a guess at gearing (I don't believe anyone has ever run this power combo before, so I have nothing to go on). Even with 8 cells weighing the vehicle down, it's doing wheelstands across the carpet the way the Ultimate Stampede did with a Reedy handwound 10-turn and CG set as high as it would go. With so much torque to spare, I'm wondering what sorts of speeds I can achieve if I can gear up. Fascinating.
6/1/03: Today I got all electronics installed and battoned down in a refreshingly glitch-free configuration. I also built a custom 8-cell hump pack (7x1) to power the beast. I plugged everything together in nonchalant fashion to center the servo and make sure everything was in good working order so far. When I pulled the throttle trigger, though, something most terrifying happened. My body was paralyzed by a rush of adrenalin. I closed my eyes in shock, but then I saw demon's eye, as if it was burning behind my eyelids. In my head I could hear a rumbling, sadistic roar of satisfaction. It took every bit of my willpower to reopen my eyes, but when I did, everything went back normal, save my pulse and rate of breathing.
The feeling was unlike anything I've experienced since the time when, in my younger and much stupider years, I raced a '69 Cougar in my '85 Supra at over 120mph on the interstate, traversing four cities in a matter of minutes through otherwise normal traffic. It was a feeling I had hoped to put behind me for good, especially since I later completely wrecked that same car in a violent frontal impact.
The situation is clearer than ever. This demon is one of wreckless energy and unbridled power. It has no specific form; it simply exists. It seeks tangibility to gain a new foothold in reality and spread its addictive ways freely. Why did it choose me as a medium? It must have sensed my own repressed negative energies, my "bad side" waiting to get out, and known that it could pique my interest with a bit of commonality. Clever.
I could try to turn back, but I mustn't. To run from this demon would be to run from my own. I must bring it out in all of its evil glory and face it. The connection it has to reality goes through me, and I can sever it! It is my duty. It is my destiny. Project: Daemonsbane goes on!
Work on the new rear shock tower has begun and a company I've worked with in the past is experimenting with front shock tower and upper chassis deck designs. It's even time to start considering body paint schemes. I don't think the demon would be happy if I did a plain design, so I will attempt my very first airbrush job for this very special project.
A couple of weeks ago I had narrowed down a choice of tires to just two, but I got stuck at that point. To help break the tie vote in my mind, I opened the issue to the public on the message board. It is now time to make a final decision, and I've just closed the voting. As you can see (click), the choice was difficult for others as well. Imex Claw Dawgs would give better traction than the Panther Cobras, and they'd better fit the profile of the body I've chosen, being small in diameter, but wide. However, Claw Dawgs have an intriguing side tread that makes them look like tires for a mudder or crawler. Daemonsbane is certainly neither. Because of this, and because I've seen a number of project vehicles running Claw Dawgs, I've decided to get the more aggressive, appropriately evil Cobras. The order has been placed.
5/31/03: A lot more progress was made today, as I guess you can see for yourself.
I've counted 16 pieces of debris from this latest round of work. Big thanks to the Atticus & Richard at RPM R/C Products for their help with the gear cover. I'm just anxious to get the matching rear shocks in to really help solidify the look. The motor is in, but the final electronics configuration is still being worked out. It's definitely time to start designing the rear shock tower, though.
5/30/03: I saw the eye in my dream again last night. It wasn't the same dream this time, though. This time, there was no sound, except for the faint laughing of children in the background. I could see the Rustler more clearly -- I actually saw *through* the body, straight down to the chassis. It was complete. I saw some parts on it that I've never seen before, and that I don't think even exist today. To my surprise, though, not everything was red. Certain parts remained plastic, but there was a glistening of gold around the edges. Hopefully next time the dream will give me some part numbers and site addresses?! Bah.
Back in real life, another 36 pieces of the truck were swapped & upgraded today. This feverish pace is making my old efforts on the Ultimate Bandit project look like nothing. Everything is proceding without a hitch so far, though. I just placed the final major parts order, including the motor and body.
5/29/03: The call grows more impatient each day, and as a result, I've been putting far more work into the project. In the past 24 hours alone, I've replaced sixty-five parts. Here's what the chassis looks like right now:
I have to admit, it looks pretty hot. This demon in my head has good taste.
5/20/03: I've started to notice that the tone of the calling voice changes. The more I work on the truck/car/whatever it's going to be, the more relaxed and gracious the voice becomes. When I take a break for a few days, the voice quickly becomes more strained and importuning. Alright. I get the hint.
5/16/03: No dream, but I can hear the scream in broad daylight now; it's just quiet, following me, calling me. Various things around my house are starting to look like that damn firey eye.
5/14/03: I got the Nightmare chassis review online this evening (click). Oh wait, it's actually morningtime, tomorrow already. Whatever. I guess I'll have the dream again soon??
5/12/03: Oh, how perfect. The production Nightmare chassis came today. Somebody's really messing with my mind now.
5/11/03: The nightmare came back, and this was by FAR the strongest one yet. I was driving this big R/C around which was actually my test Rustler with the red Nightmare Chassis and some sort of sleek car body. The eye was everywhere and the whispering on the wind was no whisper -- I'd dare say it was more of a scream with a rising tone, "Set, Me... FREEEE."
5/10/03: I took young Tyranus out for its second test drive today, and the speed controller went up in billowing white smoke. All I did was plug it in. It worked fine at home. What gives? I don't have the funds to just buy another controller at will, so I'm going to have to put this project on ice for awhile until I have the time to do some diagnostics.
5/6/03: It seems like the publicity trick worked. Over three weeks and no nightmares! I haven't done much on the "Daemonsbane" project lately either. I've got my new "evil" project, XXX-Tyranus (click), going strongly now, and I'm really excited about that. Maybe I'll just put the new Rustler away for awhile and try to forget about the whole eye in the sky & voices in the wind madness.
4/13/03: Just to be on the safe side, I'm going to take this thing public. I figure this way, it's less probable that something terrible will happen. They say evil spirits never harm anyone out in the open. (click)
4/12/03: I haven't had the dream again, but I'm hardly relieved. I've had whispers of "set me free" echoing through my head off & on for the past few days. I see the eye, I see the Rustler, I see the car. Whatever this thing is that's calling me wants to be set free, and somehow the Rustler has become the means to this end. I'm still worried about what's been happening and what may happen, but the better I understand the signs, the more confident I am that I can handle it all.
4/9/03: It's just after 4am. I'm shaking as I type this, so forgive me if I make mistakes. The eye was as clear as day and as bright as the fire that burned 1/4 of my block to the ground when I was eight. I've sketched it:
The voice is saying, "Set me free." This time I was driving my test Rustler with a red-anodized production Nightmare chassis. When I got into the loop at the end of the dream, though, something different happened. I started to see my car with huge wheels & tires on it, like as if it was an R/C itself and I wanted to control it. The body had morphed and it wasn't a Volvo anymore. It was something very sinister in appearance, and I could see the reflection of the eye in the sky gleaming off of the hood. I could feel a presense near me. The eye was drawing closer. I awoke drenched in sweat, my heart racing at almost 2 beats/second.
4/8/03: I tested the new chassis today and wow, what an improvement! This baby is good to go! I can't wait to get a fully anodized production unit and do a review.
3/23/03: A bit of fresh air the day after my latest nightmare. It looks like one nightmare is over -- the design revisions of the Nightmare chassis, that is. New parts should be cut out soon with what should be the final changes.
3/22/03: It happened yet again. This time I must have been stirring in my sleep, because my girlfriend had to wake me up. It was clear this time. The shape in the sky was an eye. It was looking at me, staring into my soul. It was angry. I don't know what it was angry about, though. It didn't seem to be angry at me. The sound was more clear and human-like, and I could almost make out what it was saying; it sounded like "Let me be."
3/6/03: My testing of the Nightmare chassis surfaced a design faux pas. One of the unit's most attractive strengths is also its biggest weakness. Some retooling is in order.
3/3/03: I had the dream again. The sound was louder and the break in the foggy sky was larger and brighter. I had more trouble waking up this time, but when I finally did, everything was silent. The sound was entirely inside my head.
2/26/03: Whelp, it's official, today marks the beginning of the relationship between UltimateTraxxas.com and the Nightmare Chassis project (click). Let's see where this goes.