Monday, December 30, 2013

The rest of the grid

People admire winners, they love champions. So, winning teams, cars, and drivers are popular and they have a lot of fans. For obvious reasons, model companies make kits of those cars. For the rest of the grid, not so much.
The rest of the grid is what make races interesting. And sometimes, fight among back marker are much more interesting than the front (it's boring to watch Vettle's Red Bull on pole and run away).
And I found some of the mid field or back marker cars quite good looking too.
I just stumbled upon this site called F1 Rejects, a celebration of the rest of the grid. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Looking back 2013

Found this little guy when I was at home in California. This was my starting point. I believe this was the first 1/43 car that I built. A Nissan Skyline GTR Nismo, a plastic kit from Rosso. (The first white metal 1/43 kit would be the BBR Ferrari F399).

Time really flies. We're less than a week away from 2014. What happened to 2013?

Completed Projects

Although the amount of travel I did was a lot less than in 2012, model building productivity did not improve. This year, I managed to finish only 2 kits:
Ferrari F1-90 (641/2) French GP 1990
Audi Quattro Monte Carlo Rally 1981

The Racing43 Audi kit was the first of many things. It's the first non-F1 model, the first non-Tameo kit completed for a while. Most importantly, the first time I participated in Ws43-san's 皆で作ろう会. It was especially fun to read about other participants' build process and learn from it. 

Kits Purchased

Just like almost everyone's new year's resolution, my self imposed 5 kits purchasing quota failed. The kits I bought this year included the following:
Formula Models
1968 McLaren M7A Belgian GP
1978 Lotus 79
1981 Audi Quattro Monte Carlo Rally
1997 Gulf Racing McLaren F1 GTR Le Mans 24H
1984 Toleman TG183B
1983 Rothmans Porsche 956 Le Mans 24H
1988 March 881 San Marino GP
1989 March CG891 Monaco GP
2006 Renault R26 British GP
2013 Red Bull Racing RB9 German GP

Way more than 5. Sigh...

Planning ahead, I should finish the CG901 first and then figure out what to do next.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Just returned from a 2 weeks trip to London and Amsterdam, and this Friday I'll be heading back to California for Christmas. So, this week is the last week of 2013 that I'll be home in Chicago. I was going to do a bit more on the CG901, but yesterday I got sick and didn't do anything. Kind of recovered today, so after dinner, I soldered the rear wing together. This thing is taking shape!

In 2009, the F1 rules allow the front wings were changed to full car width, which I think makes the car look ugly. Now in 2014, with the lower nose height and narrower front wing, I hope the new cars will look a bit more "balanced".

This could be my last post for the year. I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

2014 Let's Build 43

WS43 san just announced that the topic for 2014 is Mazda. I had fun building the Racing43 and read about other participants' build. (Really impressed by WS43 san's Porsche 911 build in just 1 week!)

As much as I want to participate again in 2014, I have a big problem. I do not have any 1/43 kit of Mazda. (I can count the non F1 kits that I have with just 1 hand). And there aren't a lot of options out there. Once in a while, there will be a 787B available. Other than that, pretty much nothing. And I would like something less common, such as the 1991 Mazda RX7 IMSA GTO. However, I have yet to come across such a kit. (3D printing and scratch build? Not sure I am ready to go down that road)

I'll keep looking and see what I can get in the next couple of months.

That means 1 of the 2014 quota will be a mazda kit (if I can find one).

If anyone knows of any 1/43 Mazda kit for sale, please let me know.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Newey-March/Leyton House Trilogy is about to begin!

Both the 881 and 891 are here! After 901, it'll be the 891 and then 881. (As usual, plan subject to change). Sorry McLaren M7A, you will not get any work done in the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It's complicated

Normal people will try to simplify things. Do shortcuts, make life easier. Modelers are not normal people. For some messed up reason, I decided to "correct" the exhaust pipe and outlet, which no one would pay attention to, and I doubt anyone can see the exhaust outlet in the bottom. Because of that decision, I added a couple more days to the build. I carved the 2 channels to fit the aluminum exhaust pipe.

The cast on "exhaust outlet" is actually too high. I have to grind that off and make a new outlet. One side is opened up, still need to make the flange part, and repeat on the other side.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Trim it down

Worked on the lower half of the car today. As usual, the floor and the diffuser are too thick. I shaved off material to make it slimmer (learning from masters like エヌエフさん). Also, I am going to replace the exhaust pipe with aluminum tubes. You can see the 2 sections in the picture. I have already grinded off the cast on pipe from the base. Still need to cut 2 channels to put the pipes in.

Enough for the evening. To be continued.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

My shrink

Recently some stuff from work has been occupying my thoughts. Not really in the mood of doing anything. When I had my sports car, I usually would use washing, waxing and detailing the car as my therapy. I would be in the zone and not think about anything. Now that I only have a clunker, which I don't even bother to wash, I lost one outlet to keep my mind healthy.

So I spent some time today on the CG901 to get away mentally. I put together the 2 front wing end plates. Not much, but enough to relax a bit.

Just received the Tameo made March 881. These old Tameo kits do not include racing harness! That's not a problem, I am going to use the Z Model ones anyway.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Before Famous - Adrian Newey @ March/Leyton House

Since I started working on the Leyton House CG901, I found and bought the March CG881 and March CG891 from The Bay.

The CG881 was Newey's very first F1 design and the CG891 his second. These 3 cars were his starting point. Who would have thought (besides Patrick Head) that Newey would be one of the most influential figure in F1 design?

All 3 are Tameo normal kits. Pretty simple without a long of parts. Hopefully, they shouldn't take too long to build.

And BTW, with these 2 new purchases, I have exceeded my kit purchasing quota for the year.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Before Famous - Adrian Newey's last car at March/Leyton House CG901

Even though the McLaren is far from finished, I couldn't help but started working on another car.

This past Sunday in India, we saw the 10th Adrian Newey design that won the F1 Constructors' Championship, the Red Bull RB9. But once upon a time, before the Williams FW14B, there was a time when his cars were not that successful.

Before joining Williams, Newey was at March/Leyton House. This is his last car there, the CG901 at French Grand Prix, which is the better B spec version with updated aero.

I got all the holes opened up, removed flashings from casting, trimmed the air box inlet walls down and made it deeper.

This is a pretty simple kit with very few parts, will see how long will it take me to finish.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Inlet trumpets

I have not touched the McLaren for quite some time. It's almost November already, so it probably will not finish this year.

Did a little bit of work today, really just a little bit. Chopped off the cast inlet trumpet, replaced with turned pieces.

Original piece in the vise, getting ready to saw off the inlet funnels. 

Machine turned pieces installed.

Now I need to do the other side of the V8.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Work brought me to North Carolina. North Carolina has an important spot in human history. Kitty Hawk North Carolina is near where the Wright brother flew their first powered flight. So, when I came across this kit, I picked it up. And this Sunday afternoon with nothing going on, I put this thing together.

It's been a while since my last model build that is not a car. Kind of fun.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Porsche By Design

Need to be in Raleigh, NC for a meeting on Monday morning, so I flew in on Sunday. When I was checking out places to visit, I came across North Carolina Museum of Art and they have a special exhibit titled "Porsche By Design". What a perfect way to spend some time on a Sunday afternoon.

Type 64



356 Speedster



804 F1

917 Spyder 16 cylinder prototype



935 "Baby"

Art Sports 962C

Remember Roland Ratzenberger? The other F1 driver killed at Imola in 1994?

911 GT3 RSR Hybrid

959 and Carrera GT

Monday, September 30, 2013

Cantonese Style Roast Pork Belly

Nothing much going on with the McLaren M7A build. But I tried something different - making Cantonese style roast pork belly. Unlike western roast pork, Cantonese style has crispy skin, and is usually served with hoi-sin sauce.

I was talking to a bunch of friends and the subject somehow was on roast pork belly. Then the next day, I went to the local Korean supermarket and saw these beautiful chunks of pork belly, so I just have to try making roast pork belly.

Boiled the pork belly for 10 minutes

Drained and dried it.

Marinated the meat side with a mixture of spices, rice wine, sugar... etc.

Marinated for a couple of hours, and soak the skin side with vinegar for a couple of hours. Rinsed the skin and dried it for a day. Then poked holes on the skin with a fork. Wrapped it in aluminum foil and packed salt over the skin side.

Put it in the oven and start roasting!

Took it out of the oven, scrape off the salt, and start poking holes on the skin with a fork again.

The next part is to crisp the skin. I switch to broil so the top flame of the oven crisped up the skin.

Pretty much done.

Diced it up and put it on the plate, it's done.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

1968 McLaren M7A

Up till now I've been building more or less modern F1 cars. The last kit, the Audi, was a rally car. This time I'm back to doing F1, but a little bit different - a 1968 McLaren M7A. Should be a fun little build.

1981 Audi Quattro Monte Carlo Rally Complete

Fixed the windows, added the window brackets and the hood pins. Finally this is done. Will find time to take some better pictures with the good camera later.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

When postal service can do a better job than premium shipping

I am a big fan of Model Art Magazine's Auto Modeling series. So, when a new issue is released, I'll purchase a copy. I usually have 2 ways to buy. One is from Hobbylink Japan, the other is Amazon Japan. Hobbylink Japan uses International EMS to ship, which is much cheaper. However, a lot of time things got sold out and need to reorder. The other is the Japan arm of the global retail giant Amazon. Good thing about Amazon is the availability of things. But the down side is that for international order, they only ship using DHL which means shipping cost is crazy expensive.

Last week, I all of a sudden remembered that the newest issue of Auto Modeling should be out. Went to Hobbylink's site... bummer sold out and need to wait for them to restock. So I hopped over to Amazon Japan and ordered it. It's very typical Amazon, they have things so integrated that I was able to track the package with almost real time status.

Yesterday, according to DHL, the package was delivered. I was all excited but when I went home from work, I stop by the mail room to pick up the book, the said there wasn't any DHL delivery! Since I just moved, I thought, may be I did not update my shipping address. I checked the order detail, it's all updated. Called DHL, they said the air way bill also has my new address. What happened? Where is my magazine?

Then I looked at the delivery confirmation online, it was signed for by Rivera. The mailroom lady is Korean and there's no one named Rivera there. The only Rivera that I can think of is the girl in the mailroom of my old building a block away. So I ran over and knocked on the door. DHL managed to deliver the package to the wrong building even though the shipping label clearly has a different address on it!

I only had a few DHL shipment every year. It is very unlikely that the DHL driver would remember my name and associated me with the old building. Also, shouldn't a professional delivery person deliver packages according to the address shown on the label?

Despite all the things people say about US Postal Service, they have been doing a darn good job and the price is much more reasonable than these expensive premium shipping that charges people through the nose but provides service not even up to USPS standard.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Return to the workbench

Even though I still have a shit load of boxes to unpack, I returned to the work bench and worked on the Audi. Didn't do much, but it's a start.