Thunderbolt Productions

Subtitle

Welcome to Thunderbolt Productions, celebrating 30 years!


TM

News from the front lines:

 

Dateline: 3-13-2018

NOTE: I'm pending some editing on this site and changing out photos. Please be patient!

I'm just trying to keep up with a long list of projects. I have the model train layout that I'm working on, the Jeep and a bunch of other things. That's of course in addition to my day job and wife's never-ending list of chores to be completed (which of course, trumps anything other than work).

Among the other stuff I'm currently working on, I'm looking forward to finally getting together my long-promised book of artwork. I looked into printing it myself and decided I didn't want to mess with that, so I'll probably go through a print on demand outfit like blurb.com. Any normal publishers probably wouldn't touch it because I'm not known outside of re-enacting and collecting circles. I know there's no money to be had in publishing anyway, so I'm just interested in getting the material out there. More news as it comes. I'm mulling over what to include, a title and what I'll do for a cover. 

 

Come look me up. I can be seen here with my 1944 Willys MB Jeep (any events dated in red are sales or non-military related, ones dated in green are living history related but without the Jeep


June 16-17, 2018- Olympic Air Show, Olympia (WA) airport

July 4- 4th of July display/parade at Borst Park and downtown Centralia, WA

August (date TBD)- Car show, Lucky eagle Casino, Rochester, WA

August (date TBD)- Car show, downtown Centralia, WA

What are folks saying about my products?

Proof that my products really get around. Thanks to Hugo, Chris and Brad for posing for this photo at a Comic Book Convention in New Zealand! These fine chaps all are members of this great group: http://members.webs.com/MembersB/www.ww2reenactors.co.nz

Here's the first ever shot of some of my products being used in the field! This great shot came to me from Cliff McCurley. Taken by Danny Inouye, at an event of Cliff with his buddy Matt Caffrey (to the left), they are both enjoying my reproduction WW2 copies of the "45th Division News." Thanks for the photo, guys!I don't get much feedback, even when I ask for it. Still, I can honestly say I haven't gotten any negative feedback from anything I've ever sent out yet. When you're doing good work, people rarely let you know. You do, however, hear a lot when you're screwing up. To be completely honest, I don't shovel stuff out the front door in mass. My orders come in one at a time so I can focus more. Things don't get screwed up in packing. I do it all, and I check everything before it goes out the door. I can't control what the USPS might do to your package after it leaves my place, but I darn well know it was in good shape when I handed it over to them!

 

 

Here's what I've gotten so far, and will expand on it when i get feedback and have permission to post it. I might cut out only parts that mention to specific order itself or communications not involving the products, but I sure don't add anything to the comments!

  • I got the 2 decks of cards today. This is above and beyond what I expected. Thanks a million!   -Travis Wagner
  • I just wanted to let you know that I got the items I ordered today. They are AWESOME! The newspapers are great, but the Farb Language Guide is absolute GENIUS! Seriously, thank you for putting that all into words and printing that up the way you did. Seriously, I can't wait to tell the guys in my unit about this! Thank you again for your help and your wonderful, wonderful product! -Clifton McCurley

Even if you've already ordered something from me in the past, please, let know if you liked it or not! I can't improve anything if I don't know it needs improving!

"Why don't you friend me on Facebook?"

OH DEAR GOD, if I had a nickel for every time I've heard that...

I think this link says it better than I can: Glove and Boots explains why they hate Facebook

Okay, here's the thing: I hate Facebook, as well as most other social media. Seriously, if I was shown a time machine and told I had to choose to either kill Hitler as a kid, or Mark Zuckerberg before he invented Facebook, I'd really have to stop and mull the choice over. I think both are equally responsible for messing up the planet in their own individual evil ways.

Facebook is a pyramid scheme for an advertising platform. How people can't see that utterly baffles me. Look at how much time people waste there. How many times have you seen someone trolling Facebook stuff, showing you meme photos with a silly grin every few minutes, or posting photos of their dinner that night? That's a downright insane way to spend your time and there's not a chance in hell I'll take part in any of it. Facebook is the literal definition of everyone talking and nobody listening.

I have zero interest in social media. Yeah, I'm online, but 99% is hobby-related stuff. You'll never, EVER see me on Facebook posting photos of what I'm eating. If you ever do, rest assured that someone created the site in my name without any clue from me, or the end of the world is truly coming in a few moments. 

What is Thunderbolt Productions?

Me and my 1944 Willys MB right after the Forest Festival Parade in Shelton, Washington

This is my site for reproduction WW2 US paperwork, products and images. I'm a professionally-trained artist, a graduate of Florida State University and a trade school, with degrees in Communications and Commercial Art. I learned to create things the "Old School" way, BY HAND. But along the way, I decided to get into computers to increase the quality of what I could create.

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time researching the products and art I create. My research, art and consulting work has been in numerous magazines, books, TV shows and movies. My products have appeared in a few WW2 movie and TV projects, and I have appeared on camera on several TV shows over the years, most recently on the History Channel's show, "Mail Call" on a segment on WW2 cartoonist Bill Mauldin.

 

I've been a living historian for over 40 years now, starting in 1975 with the bicentenial. Of course, I was only five at the time! I'm mostly into WW2 US now. I was also an Army officer, rounding out my active duty career with the 2nd Infantry Division and among other things had a hand in the creation of the Army's first "Stryker" Brigade. I reluctantly left active duty in 2001 and the reserves in 2006. I don't have one of those "Support the Troops" magnets on my vehicle. I figure that people who were the troops don' need no steeking magnet!

My images and products are the product of long hours in research and development. I do not take kindly to people using these images without permission, and have a friend who is a copyright lawyer who will seek legal action against ANYONE who tries to use these images for any use at all without permission in writing to do so.

Items currently under production:

NOTE: at this time, all production of reproduction items is suspended, due to other projects which are taking up the majority of my time. Sorry, I'll keep this site updated for when I can offer these items again. This will likely be a while. 

 

PLAYING CARDS:

1943-dated Red Cross playing card deck.

This is the best repro box currently on the market anywhere. Printed on very heavy cardstock just like an original. Comes with a modern deck of cards made by the same company that made them in WW2. I couldn't make the "buy war bonds" card, "spare joker" or the blank card (which was in case you lost one of the face cards), as reproducing these extra cards in the deck would have made each deck around $50 each...

$11.00 Postpaid within the USA  

 

 

 

Aircraft spotter card deck.

This is the only repro of the deck of cards that actually comes with the correct box I know of anywhere. Comes with a complete deck of spotter cards (which has the correct backing, not some cheesy poster image or something like other such decks out there). The boxes are printed on light cardstock, just like the originals. This took over a month of R&D to get just right.

$16.00 Postpaid within the USA

OTHER ITEMS:

Farb Language Guide  

This is actually a joke item (no such language guide actually existed in WW2 or at any other time in history), designed to look at a glance to be just like a language guide for the US Army in WW2. It discusses what a farb is and what phrases are often uttered by them. It's dated 1943 throughout, and has no reproduction markings as it's a gag item. I did put my name in it, but it's in an official way, so you really have to look to see it. I can't drop names other than Jon Gawne's kind endorsement, but you'd really be shocked to know who has bought these from me. I can say that more than one actor from a very well-known mini-series on WW2 has purchased them from me! 

$8.00 Postpaid within the USA (I know the photo says 6, but the price of the copying went up too much to sustain that amount, sorry)

NOTE: the Farb books are TEMPORARILY SOLD OUT AT THIS TIME

Lithographs These were printed up with a company in California during the 50th anniversary of WW2 in the 1990s. Three were done, on acid-free stock, lithographed of my pencil drawings. There are three (photos to come soon), one is a B-17 aircrewman, one a WW1 Infantryman, and one of a Vietnam Marine laying down fire with an M-14. Less than a hundred of these each were printed I think (for all I know, the guy who printed them might till be printing them), but these are all numbered and signed. I'm sure less than 100 of each were signed, and I recently found a stash of them I had long forgotten I had. Once these are gone, that is it, there will never be any more!

$20.00 each, highly limited stock on hand

45th Division News This is an exact reprint of a 1943 edition of the newspaper printed in Naples. It's 4 pages long, carries no repro markings, and was printed on an actual newspaper press, not some copier or personal printer. Bill Mauldin is mentioned several times and includes some of his cartoons. This was carefully reproduced from an original in my substantial collection of Mauldin items.

$2.00 per copy, bulk deals available

SERVICES:

 

 

 

Helmet insignia Painting Services

Looking for that hard-to-paint unit insignia on your group's helmets? Send them here! While I do not paint shells or restore helmets (there are plenty of folks elsewhere to who that already), I am equipped to paint division insignia on pots. I don't use decals or computers to do them. I also don't charge and arm and a leg, either. The above insginia would be about in the $40 range. If you send your unit's helmets for me to do them all, I offer price breaks for bulk orders, as it's almost as easy to do ten of something as it is to do one of it.

Flight jacket Painting Services I have been doing flight jacket painting for some time now for re-enactors and airplane pilots. All prices are quote-based. E-mail me with an idea what you want!

Design Services Print or original art and design work available a quote basis. E-mail me with your wants and I can provide original work. NOTE: I'm not a web designer and can't build your website. There are plenty of people who can do that for you, almost anywhere.

An important note on my design and illustration services...

I recently learned a neat Latin phrase. Ars Gratia Pecuniae. It means, "Art for Money's sake," Why am I posting it here? Well, people routinely expect me to do art and designs for their publications, groups, re-enactment units and events all the time and they never think they should pay me for my time. Most don't really even ask, they declare that they're allowing me the honor of drawing something for them, like I should be thankful for work that doesn't pay anything. They promise it will give me "exposure." Folks, I have been doing this for almost 30 years and have been published more times than I could possibly count in that timeframe. I have all the exposure I could ever need at this point in my life. Ask anyone who does this to pay the bills, they'll ALL tell you that doing work for free for someone only ever leads to just one thing: More requests for free work. You see, when someone knows you did a design for a event for free, well, they expect you to do it for them for free as well (because why should I pay if you did the last gig for free?). In all these years and all the free work I've done for "exposure," do you know how much I've earned in paying jobs resulting from other people seeing that free work? Not one penny. Ever. In art schools, the first class they should teach is how to recognize a cheapskate when they see one and to de-program them into thinking this, "exposure" shtick is anything other than total BS. People value your end product (otherwise, they wouldn't ask you to draw/paint something for them) but never the work is took to create it. Same thing for writers and musicians, as Sci-Fi writer Harlan Ellison says very well here.

The bottom line is this: If I want to do work for you for free, really, I'll let you know. Otherwise, don't ask. I no longer respond to requests of this type.

ORDERING INFO:

"Do you accept Pay Pal?"

I do accept pay pal on a limited basis. But the first time it bites me back, I'll be to the "old school" method of payment. Sadly I cannot accept pay pal for any orders outside the US, as they have to have a tracking number for me to be able to deposit any payment into my bank account, and even for a very small and light item, that can cost as much as $100 just for a couple of booklets (yes, I checked).

 

FOR ALL UK AND EU customers:

All items will require an extra $2.00 US for shipping. Payment is required in US funds only, sorry!

NOTE: I am not shipping items outside the US to nations other than those in the UK and Europe, due to issues I have had with people in other countries recently. And for those EU customers who ask for me to list items as "gifts" in the customs declaration, I have to note that this is a crime and I will not be a party to that. As for the ones who ask/demand for me to pay your import fees, I must make you aware that your own country charges these fees and I must remind you that these fees are your own issue to deal with. Also, as noted above, all payments have to be made via international money order. My apologies to all those who are affected by this.

Thanks,

Lee Bishop

p51@hotmail.com

Favorite Links:

 NOTE: these are links that have personal attachment to me and my work. I will not turn this into yet another links page. There's enough of them out there already. In other words, if you don't see me or have contact with me personally on a routine basis, don't ask for a link here, sorry!

Willys MB # 366014 this is the stats on my original WW2 Jeep

http://www.g503.com/serial-numbers/view.php?record_id=265

THE WW2 Jeep page 

 http://www.g503.com

Hardscrabble Farm THE BEST WW2 US website out there, in my opinion!  

http://www.hardscrabblefarm.com/ww2/ww2_home.htm

 Military Vehicle Preservation Association 

http://www.mvpa.org/mambo/index.php

WarCos photo page Nothing but original WW2 War Correspondent photos and insignia/uniforms  http://photobucket.com/albums/y205/WarCo/

 

Desert Storm Historical Group A small living history group dedicated to the memory of those who fought in America's shortest and most decisive military campaign

http://desertstorm20th.webs.com/

My listing at Yourprops.com My listing of props and crew gear from various movie and TV productions

http://www.yourprops.com/p51-movie-props-wardrobe.html

Battle of Olustee, Florida re-enactment THIS is what I did as a kid! 

http://battleofolustee.org/olustee77.htm

Boilerplate Phenomenal website devoted to history's first robot, in the 19th century!

http://bigredhair.com/boilerplate/index.html

Dale Mabry Army Airfield museum effort

My Railroad Photos

http://www.railroadforums.com/photos/showgallery.php/cat/500/ppuser/4329

 

 

WW2 Re-enactor groups:

Friends of Willie and Joe GREAT living history WW2 group in the Pacific Northwest

 http://www.friendsofwillieandjoe.org/  

 

 

Products I've had a hand in:

 

"SGT Rock and the Lost Battalion" This new"Sergeant Rock" series had six parts and cmae out in the summer of 2009. I had provided some advice on matters like bazooka functions, and stuff like that. I had suggested maybe telling the story through a War Correspondent's eyes. Writer/artist Bill Tucci (a former real-life Army paratrooper and overall great guy) took that idea and changed the entire narrative. He even drew me into the series in two panels as a Correspondent, even naming the character for my Grandfather (who was never in WW2 nor a newspaper man). In the fall of 2009, it was all complied into a hardback book. And for anyone who questions if I had any small role in the series, I am named in the back in the thanks section, along with some pretty well known historians and veterans. I'm really proud to have helped out in a small way, because I think it's a very well done series, and a darned good story, too! It's available at almost any decent comic book store. You can also find it on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Sgt-Rock-Lost-Battalion-HC/dp/1401225330/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1259389558&sr=8-1

"Dinghy Drop" I assisted the author in some research on the ditching of a B-17 in 1944, as I knew the co-pilot of that plane. Their rescue is part of the actions the book is about, and I'm proud to finally have the story in print! They also used some photos from my collection.
http://www.amazon.com/DINGHY-DROP-279-Squadron-1941/dp/1844154823/sr=1-4/qid=1171651024/ref=sr_1_4/102-7834933-4933767?ie=UTF8&s=books 

"Mail Call," episode # 81. I'm in this episode on camera, talking about WW2 cartoonist Bill Mauldin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-n8YMPhwL4

Vendors:

 

The Signal Depot Small but very well-connected vendor of excellent reproduction WW2 ration cans and crates. He's also the co-creator of the now sadly cancelled show, "Mail Call" on the History Channel. He's also a darned nice guy!

http://www.thesignaldepot.com/

 

 

Random stuff I really like:

Glove and Boots on YouTube really, really funny stuff. Much better than most of TV. Watch some of these, and I promise you'll be laughing. https://www.youtube.com/user/gloveandboots

Movie scene with my Dad in it! My Dad is the Civil War re-enactor who literally bumps into Jeff Daniels in the 1986 movie, "Something Wild," a part he was actually asked to play!

 

So far, you are viewer #

Come back soon, I keep it updated!

Remember, "Ordnance" is NEVER spelled with an "i"!