Friday, December 26, 2014

Hey Studio27, where are my stuff?

Preordered the 1/43 AMG Mercedes W05 back in November, paid for my order a couple weeks ago, still haven't received the shipping confirmation nor tracking number yet. And they'll be shut down for the year starting tomorrow. I guess I won't see anything before 2015.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Attention Deficit Disorder

It happened again, I thought I am not going to start the Lotus 107 before I am done with the Williams FW29. I just cannot resist getting my hands on the playing with the Lotus. Attention Deficit Disorder?

I cleaned off flashings from the castings and with the low temperature solder on hand, filled up some voids on the body and under tray instead of using putty. Overall, the castings are decent and do not need a lot of cleaning and fixing, which is good. Tyres are the old style blank rubber ones without markings printed found in the recent Tameo releases. Since I have the Goodyear template, I'll just paint the markings on using the template instead of the decal.

By the way, I did not forget about the FW29. I did a little bit of work on the front and rear suspension and brake.

This is the last weekend of the year that I can spend on the workbench. Thank you everyone who follow this blog in 2014. I know you all have better things to do than reading my crap. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Let's build Lotus

I had a lot of fun participating in Ws43-san's "Let' building Racing 43". I was going to participate in the "Let's build Mazda", but unfortunately, a lot of shit happened early this year and I was not able to participate. Now that things got settled down a bit, I can participate in the latest "Let's build Lotus".

Instead of the well known Lotus machines with Gold Leaf, JPS or Camel livery, I opt to build the 107, which was raced by Mika Häkkinen back in 1992, 2 years before the original team founded by Colin Chapman went belly up.

With the FW29 still on going and my slower than glacial build speed, I am not really sure whether I will be able to finish before the deadline which is the end of November in 2015.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Aerodynamists are enemies of modelers

To be honest, I do not like the F1 front wings of this era. It is a pain in the butt to get the upper wing element look right.

Counting down to the end of 2014, I practically will only have 1 more weekend at the workbench. Still have a whole bunch of things to test fit before spraying on the surfacer.

Last weekend, I went home for Thanksgiving. And one of the Thanksgiving tradition of mine is to go to the San Francisco Auto Show to look at cars. There is nothing really special about the road cars, as the San Francisco show is not really major ones like New York, Detroit or LA. But they always have a section where they show some race cars. Here's Jimmy Vasser's 2006 PKV Racing Champ Car.

Another interesting car is this "up-side-down" Camero that is built to look like the car is flipped up-side-down

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Rediscover my "Childhood Dream"

No 1/43 work this past weekend. It was Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. and I went back home in California to spend the weekend with family.

Whenever I go back home, I usually spend some time digging through my boxes of stuff. This is what I re-discover this time: my treasured old copy of Dou-mu (loosely translate to a child's dream) from the author of Akira, Otomo Katsuhiro. 

Just like building models and watching TV, my parents considered reading comic books a waste of time. So me and my brother had to figure out ways to smuggle comic books back home and read them in secret. Once in a while we got busted and the comic books would end up heading to the landfill or incinerator on a garbage truck. This is one of the few survivors.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Result of Abu Dhabi GP: Alex Wurz won

Alex Wurz retired from F1 several years ago. What am I talking about? I was debating whether the FW29 should be built into the Wurz version (that placed 3rd in Canada) or the Rosberg version. And I have decided if Rosberg won this year's driver's championship, I'll build the car into the Rosberg version. If not, the Wurz version. As a result of the race earlier, Alex Wurz won.

This weekend, I added the fin to the back of the car.

Further adjusted the front wing.

Kind of put together the rear wing.

 Found the lower support just a tad narrower that the wing. So I put epoxy putty on, will work on it when the putty is cured.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Chill is here

Winter is here in the Midwest, even though according to the calendar we are still a month away from winter. Last week temperature dropped to below freezing. And it is snowing in Chicago today. Since the clock is changed from daylight savings time back to standard time, and the fact that day is getting shorter and shorter, it is getting dark at 4:30pm in the afternoon. Lack of daylight is lowering my already low motivation to spend time at the workbench. It could be the beginning of a long cold winter.

This is what I did this Sunday evening. The center part of the front wing being lower that the bottom of the end-plates, I have to make a fixture to get it to sit level. The upper front wing element is a pain to fit. Took me a while to "negotiate" with them to get them settle in. That's it for this week.

Next weekend is the last F1 race of the season, driver's championship is still not decided. I cannot wait to see Hamilton and Rosberg duking it out.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Losing more weight

Attached the front wing pylons to the nose along with some putty.

The front wing end plates were a bit too thick. In the picture the right end (left side in the picture) was untouched, and the left end plate got shaven down a bit.

Done with trimming the front wing. Added those canards to the end plate.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Losing Weight

Spent last night and a little part of this morning shaving metals off from the turning vanes castings. As usual, right out of the castings, the vanes were too thick and need to trim down a bit. If I still have the motivation, I will test fit the front wing.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mirror, mirror

Not sure how I did it, but I managed to hurt my right upper back 2 weeks ago. It hurts when I tried to move my right arm. So, I tried not to do anything until today when the pain is gone. So, this is all I managed to do - one mirror.

Couldn't help but did some more work after dinner. Another mirror and then cut 2 pieces of thin aluminum as mirror.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Detail-up and Supplier

In the early days of my model building life, building a model kit out of the box without any modification was pretty much all I could do. Modifying model kits was a subject unknown to me back then, until one day a classmate brought a copy of "How to Build Gundam 2" to school. On the cover was a 1/60 RX78 Gundam modified to full open. That book was an eye-opener for the young me - there are ways to build models other than just following the instructions!

Knowing is one thing, being able to do (or being able to afford doing) it is a different story. Saving up enough money to buy a model kit was difficult enough. The memory of that one time I went to the hobby store hoping to buy that Heavy Metal L-Gaim with Land Booster kit from Bandai, but ended up going home empty handed because I was a dollar short is still vivid.

Back then, the lack of skills, lack of money, lack of tools and lack of supplies, meant that I have no other option but to build things out of the box.

Since I can only hand make very simple items, I rely heavily on off-the-shelf detail-up parts. But getting those parts have been a challenge. I used to be able to get some of the Z-Model parts through a Japan based online store, but they are gears more towards injection molded items and larger scale items rather than 1/43 scale. Most of the Z-Model parts that I want are usually listed as either "backordered" or "Discontinued". Luckily, I found a new supplier - Model Garage ROMU! Their website do not have the capability to handle overseas orders, but I can place order through email and they can process payment through PayPal. On top of that, shipment is fast. I will certainly do more business with them.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Front Turning Vane

I cannot believe the amount of work that I did this weekend. A very productive weekend indeed. Yesterday was the bargeboards, aka main turning vanes. This morning I did the front turning vanes. Still need to work on a number of front and rear suspension pieces, front wing support and the brakes. I guess it will take me a couple more weekends to complete the test fit.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


I do not know where the motivation came from. I did way more this rainy Saturday morning than what I did in the past month. The barge board supports were attached to the base, bargeboards cleaned. 

Found out that the right bargeboard needed some adjustment to fit. Since it is made of white metal, it was pretty easy to bend.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Foolish Old Man Removes the Mountain

Here's the wikipedia page for the old Chinese myth about The Foolish Old Man Removes the Mountains. It is a story about being persistent. Chipping away a mountain little by little and eventually succeeded removing it.

This FW29 project is kind of like that. I am doing things little by little. Someday, someday I will get it done.

This week, drilled the body for mounting the rear suspension arms, cleaned up the tail structure (the piece with 2 wings sticking out). As usual with cast metal kit, the wings are a little bit on the thick side and required some shaving.

Thats' all for this week.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Recent Acquisitions

Again, not much to report on the progress of the Williams FW29. Only managed to clean a couple of white metal pieces.

Somehow, Amazon's algorithm has gotten smart enough to know that I am interested in 1/43 model cars and suggested to me the book titled "In The Beginning: The Early Days of 1/43 Modeling" by Wayne E. Moyer. I think it would be an interesting book to read. I will have a report once I finished reading it.

Originally, I was planning to participate again in WS43-san's "Everyone Let's Build" project this year. The subject is Mazda. When asked about which car is the most well known Mazda race car? The answer has to be the 787B that won Le Mans in 1991. So, I hunt down 2 787B kits, one from Provence Moulage and the other from Starter. And I bought reference materials. Then life threw me a big curve ball and I have to drop the plan. Now that things have settled down, it is already October and at my building speed, there is absolutely no way that I can complete building anything before the deadline. I hope I will be able to join the project again next year.

Anyway, one of those reference materials that I bought was a book on Japanese Group C cars. Back then, other than Mazda, Nissan and Toyota were also competing in FIA Group C. There is a special article on Toyota's effort and it is from there that I learned about Toyota 94C-V. The car competed in Le Mans in 1994, almost winning 1st place overall,  ended up finishing 2nd overall and took 1st place in LMP1 class. So when I came across a kit from Starter on eBay, I just could not resist the urge to buy.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fast and slow

Progress is progress, no matter how small it is. This weekend, only managed to do the front upper suspension arms and adjusted the fin I made last week. This Williams FW29 is the slow thing the title is referring to.

So, what is the fast thing? Across the street from the work site in Wisconsin, they have weekly classic car show throughout the summer. Even though the show officially ended 2 weeks ago, classic car owners still gathered before the weather gets really cold (that means October for Wisconsin). 

Saw this nice Dodge Challenger and when I was leaving with my colleague, a nice owner of a Pontiac GTO "The Judge" offer to give us a ride around the block, of course we did not refuse and hopped in. The orange GTO "The Judge" is one sweet ride.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Please take a look at the above picture. View from the right side of the car, there is this little fin next to the cockpit.

Hey! Where the hell is the fin?

From all the reference pictures, there should be a fin! (Photo credit: F1 Modeling Vol. 33)

Oh well, that means I have to fabricate one myself and attach it to the body.

That's all for this week.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Something old, something new

Finally I got the Tameo TG183b, now sitting side by side with the SRC one.

Comparing to the SRC, the newer Tameo kit has more detail and has photo-etched and turned metal parts, as well as an instruction booklet printed in color.

Not much progress with the FW29 since I was out of town. I went to attend a friend's wedding in Austin, TX.

Worked on a couple of pieces of photo-etched parts, that's about it.

Monday is Moon Festival and I am ready (to eat moon cake).