Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ferrari 641/2 7

Procarstinate [proh-kras-tuh-neyt]
verb, pro-cras-ti-nat-ed, pro-cras-ti-mat-ing
verb (used without object)
1. the reason why the progress of Ferrari F1-90 has been slow.

Only achieved a couple minor items and did not even apply a single piece of decal. Can I finish this before 2013?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Internet, eCommerce and Logistics

I was kind of an Otaku when I was growing up (I probably still am one), I read comic books, watch anime, build plastic models. My dad's office was in a complex attached to a shopping mall with shops and restaurants. Every now and then, we will go there to meet dad for lunch on Saturday. I especially like to go there because there is a Japanese department store, Tokyu 東急, inside that mall. So, when we were waiting to get seated in the restaurant, I would sneak to the book store section and check out the comic books, anime magazines and hobby magazines.

Back then when there was no internet, no eCommerce, selection of goods were only limited to what the stores' purchasing department thought they could sell. If a particular comic book or magazine was not on the shelf or in the rack, you are out of luck. In terms of model kits, shops only carry popular items. I still remember one Christmas, I had my eye on a MIG25 kit from Revell for months, but didn't have money to buy. Right before the holiday when I finally got money from my parents to buy myself a gift, the MIG25 was gone and I was very very disappointed. I read Hobby Japan every now and then. That's where I learned about all these cool resin or vinyl garage kits. But most hobby stores did not want to carry those items.

Fast forward to now. We have eBay, companies have their own webstores, there is Amazon. Then there are shipping companies like FedEx, UPS, DHL, or post office's EMS. Buying things from the opposite side of the globe is so much easier. As long you have a computer and a credit card, you can pretty much buy anything from anywhere. As a result...

Fresh from MFH, 1/43 1972 Lotus 72D Italian Grand Prix version. Reference book from MFH's Joe Honda Pictorial Series, Lotus 72 1970-72.

More leisure reading materials: Model Art's Auto Modeling vol. 27 and Motor Fan illustrated F1 Technology 4.

All freshly delivered from the other side of the world. Don't you think technology is amazing?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Assembly Instructions

For those of us growing up building injection plastic kits from Tamiya, Hasegawa, Bandai or any other established companies, we are spoiled by well written assembly instructions. And we probably took it for granted that model kits should come with very detailed assembly instructions. Even though we often do not follow exactly the step by step procedures, the instruction still can play the role of letting us know which piece is supposed to go to where.

But in the world of 1/43 car kits, that often not the case. In the old days, putting together a good assembly instruction requires a lot of effort. I wrote enough technical instructions so I know a lot of thoughts need to be put in to it. Good instruction needs a lot of pictures: "a picture is worth a thousand words". But then drawing takes a lot of time.

This is one of the older instruction from FDS. It's a very crude simple kit, not a lot of parts, so a simple 1 diagram is enough to do the job.

Here's an instruction sheet from SRC. Clear diagrams, step by step procedure. Not too bad.

This is from an older Tameo. Again, not very complicated, 1 sheet front and back, pretty clear instructions in the drawing.

Nowadays, kits have a lot more detail and have way more parts than before. 1 sheet is not enough anymore. Now Tameo's standard kits' instruction is a booklet printed in full color with photographs and 3D drawings directly from the 3D solid modeling program. The way that kits are designed nowadays has a lot more CAD/CAM involved, thanks to computers and solid modeling applications becoming more and more affordable.

Company size probably also makes a difference in how good the instructions are. The following is from BBR. With very clear instructions, including drill size. (I wish Tameo has drill size in the instructions, saves me time to measure with a caliper)

This is may be the worst instruction sheet that I've seen so far. From Provence Moulage. 1 tiny sheet single side with only a couple of photographs and very crude hand drawn pictures. No description on how the roll cage is put together. 

Nissan Nismo Skyline R33 Le Mans 95

Since last year, I have been building F1 cars. Almost all the 1/43 kit that I have are F1 cars. This one is an exception. After looking at the 1/24 scale one back home in California, I am very tempted to build this. I have this kit for over 10 years. It is a resin kit from Provence Moulage. The resin cast body was made well without much blemish.

First order of the day, modify the mirror. Like all other kit, the rear view mirrors are molded into a glob. So, I hollowed out the mirror housing and later will cut a small piece of polished aluminum as the mirror to add realism. The 2 mirrors are on the penny. The one on the left is what the mirror looks like before. The one on the right is after I hollowed out the housing.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Iceman Returns

Fresh from Italy, brand new Lotus E20 for Kimi Raikkonen's return to F1! The current Lotus F1 is not the same team that Colin Chapman found. Today's Lotus F1 actually originated as Toleman, which became Benetton, and then Renault.

This is not the only Lotus that I bought this month. I also ordered a MFH made Lotus 72D Type B Italian GP version. Still have the Lotus 79 on the shelf...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Skyline GT-R

I saw a KPGC110 when I was very small. At that time I had no idea it's a Skyline GT-R. To my brother, it was just another Datsun, but for some reason, the fast back, its stance caught my eye and I fell in love with Skyline. Fast forward to my high school years, all of a sudden, a box of a big scale 2 door sedan/coupe looking Fujimi kit showed up on display in the window of the hobby store that I used to go to. (Didn't build much models during my high school years, I believe I talked about that in other posts) That's the R32 Skyline GT-R. Later that year, saw the car dominated in Macau GP beating teams with German machines. I knew there is something special about the car and I fell in love with Skyline GT-R once again.

Due to emission standards and marketing reasons (some said technical reason also - the location of the exhaust manifold of the RB26 made it impossible to build left hand drive version for North America), R32 and subsequently the R33 were never imported to USA by Nissan. When I couldn't own one, I can surely build models of the car.

It was probably my first year after college, I had time to build models again. I picked up these 2 kits, both from Tamiya in 1/24 scale. One is a R32 in HKS color, the other is a R33 based GTR-LM, Nissan's entry to Le Mans 24 Hours.

These were built years ago and had been in my room back in California. Since I am back home, might as well take some pictures of it and post them up. Lighting was pretty bad, and I was only using the phone camera to take the pictures, so I apologize for the quality.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Old Friend and Gundam

Met an old friend of mine for lunch today. T and I when to the same high school. And we haven't seen each other since graduation which was almost a quarter of a century ago. While most of our classmates were into pop music, we were the few who were into Japanese comics, anime, Gundam models, airsoft guns... etc.

After eating ramen for lunch at a popular ramen restaurant in San Mateo, T took me to his storage where he is keeping a stockpile of toys. Most of the toys are various Gunpla (Gundam Plastic kits), many perfect grade, master grade from Gundam 0079, Z Gundam, Stardust Memory, to Gundam Seed. He also has collected some rare original SF3D kits which is now known as Ma K, some Imai made Macross kits, Gundam Fix Figuration, Evangelion, Mazinger Z, Getter Robot, Astro Boy...etc. More than enough to open up a store.

I used to be a Gunpla fan, but jump to the darker side of 1/43 cars. Anyway, it's always nice to catch up with an old friend, chatting on life, work and hobbies.

Here's a picture of T in his Gundam storage.