Thursday, January 31, 2013

Project Management

May be it is time to start using the project management tools to manage my building projects. So, I put together a work plan in MS Projects. I guess, the earliest I can finish the Ferrari would be 3rd week of February.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Never too late to get new reference material

Even though Tameo's assembly instructions had improved a lot, still there is no substitute for reference photos.
Despite the fact that I am quite far along in the Ferrari 641 build, I got this:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Get back on the horse

It took exactly a week, my apartment is finally back together. Cabinets put back, walls patched and repainted, floor and carpet cleaned.

Just when I had a routine going to build my cars little by little, it was interrupted by the busted pipe. Now I need to get my routine back. So, I started to work on the Audi again. Just some decal work, but it's a start.

Monday, January 21, 2013


With all these noisy machines running and the mess in my apartment, I just needed to get away from the house. So I went to Marty and Mary's store to kill time on Saturday.

As usual, by the time I arrived, the military model gang were already there. Military model is the main business of the shop, and they have a wide variety of military kits, detailing parts, reference materials from every manufacturer. Besides military stuff, they have some really special car stuff. At least in the US, you almost never find any 1/43 scale kits in any store, so it is really rare that they have some Tameo, Provence Moulage, Renaissance and Starter stuff in stock. Moreover, they have Make Up (from Japan), Feeling 43, Profil 24 and a couple of 1/20 BBR resin kits. Since I was the only customer in store who appreciate these things, Mary was digging into the shelves and was showing me all sorts of kits, decals, transkits. Then she pulled out something which the clear plastic packaging has already turned yellow:

This is a 1/87 1996 Porsche GT1 from Le Mans Miniatures. The car that placed 2nd overall and 1st in class during its debut year. Once I saw it, I knew I must have it. I'll need a microscope to put it together.

Although I said I am limiting myself to buy only 5 kits in 2013, this is not in 1/43 scale so it does not count. This is the excuse I gave myself.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Flood on the 25th floor (updated with pictures)

No, it was not like a biblical flood that Lake Michigan's water level went up and the entire Chicago was under water.

Yesterday morning started out just like any other morning when I don't need to travel. I woke up, showered and head downstairs to get my cup of coffee. When I was waiting for the elevator, I heard the sound of water gushing behind the door to the electrical closet in the hallway. I thought, "That's not good."

Later, I found out that it happened again, this is the second time in 2 years that a water pipe broke and flooded the building. This time is 33rd floor. This time around, at least my carpet was not soaked. They found moisture behind the dry wall of my kitchen and bathroom. So, they have to pull the kitchen cabinets, the stove and the refrigerator out, poke holes in the wall, brought in an industrial size dehumidifier and a whole bunch of fans to dry it out.

Now, I don't have a kitchen to cook. My bathroom sink is blocked. And I have big noisy pieces of machines running 24 hours. At least, I do not have to be evacuated to a shelter.

This is going to further slow down my already slow pace of building my model cars. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Little by little

Baby steps. Little by little. Eventually, it will be done.
Last night was putting the radiator to the body. Today, just put the brake calipers on the brakes.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Self torture

I started to think all of us who build 1/43 scale cars have mental issues. We enjoy torturing ourselves.

Why did I say that? I will explain.

Today, Tameo and MFH could be the only companies that produce precision white metal cast parts. But precise is a relative term, they are no where close to mass produced injection molded plastic kits. This is the result of limited resources of most of these companies, and the limited amount of development time in creating these kits. Now, CAD and desktop rapid prototyping is becoming affordable, kits can be more accurate.

This Audi kit is pretty old, and the quality is not that great. There are so many things that are messed up. Even though since day 1 I have been fixing one thing after another, I found myself getting more and more excited about building it. I have been spending more time on it than the Ferrari! So, why am I doing this? My only conclusion is that I simply enjoy torturing myself.

Back to the build. I got most of the stuff fixed and test fitted the major pieces. Looks ok so far. For the body, there is a boss right underneath the hood. Because of that, a dimple was formed. Got the dimple as well as numerous little dings and dents fixed with putty. I also drilled and pinned the rear spoiler for mounting. Then I sprayed a coat of Mr. Surfacer 1200. That's about all for tonight.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Felt like I have been having too much fun playing with the Racing43 kit and have ignored the Ferrari. There is an old Cantonese Chinese saying that "New toilet smells nice for 3 days" to describe people always want to play with their new toys.

May be it is guilt, I switched back to work on the Ferrari tonight. I bought the Z Model harness kit for a while. The instruction sheet is not too clear. I tried to use it on the BAR 006 but failed. Thanks to a recent blog post of エヌエフさん's Lotus E20 build with a big and clear photo of how it is done, I now have a better idea how it is done.

So, I finished the lower 4 belts. I will do the 2 shoulder belts last. Enough work for the day. I was planning to spray a coat of clear on the body. Oh well, it will be a job for tomorrow.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Got bitten by the bug

If you saw the time stamp of my last post, it was quite late last night (or early morning today). January in Chicago is supposed to be cold. It was no exception this morning - below freezing and with gusty wind). On my way to church, I was only thinking about how comfortable the heated apartment is and THE ROLL CAGE.

Yes, when I call it a quit last night, the roll cage still needs 2 more members. I got home around noon, fixed myself some lunch and I started working. Cut 2 pieces of brass rods, bent and solder it to the cage.

So now the roll cage is done. Not a bad start. I may make more parts for this kit as I move along.

Eat my own words

Ok, I was only going to build the Audi out of the box, no fabrication of anything. Unfortunately, when I really look at the parts, I found this:

A broken and all banged up roll cage! Oh well, white metal is basically some sort of really soft alloy with tin and lead. And packaging is usually an after thought for all these little manufacturers. So, this kind of things happened.

I am going to try fabricate the roll cage out of bronze bars. In the old days, it would be an easy job since I have access to my tiny little machine shop at work. But now, I don't have clamps and jigs to hold things. We'll see how well I can get this thing made.

I went down to the art supply store, got some 3/64" brass rods, a bending jig, and got to work. Cut and bent a couple pieces, and solder them together. The result is not bad. It looks better then the cast white metal one that is for sure.

Friday, January 4, 2013

New year's resolution

In a previous post, I mentioned that one of my new year's resolution is to keep my 1/43 kit purchases in 2013 to 5 at most. So, I went on a buying spree before the end of 2013. LOL.

Liking MFH on Facebook is a mistake. As soon as they announced the release of Honda RA300, I preordered it through my dealer.

Same thing with the Red Bull Racing RB8, I have both versions ordered when Tameo announced he is releasing the kits.

When Ws43さん announced that the theme of this year is Racing43, I started looking. When I came across this 1981 Audi Quarttro, I acted right the way. With my ultra slow progress on the Ferrari, I will have to start building this guy right the way to have it completed before November.

The last one was a surprised find. I had a Provence Moulage 1995 Nissan Nismo GT-R LM No.23 which got a DNF. But in 1995, Nissan entered 2 cars to compete. The other car was No. 22, which actually finished 10th overall (5th in GT1). I came across this kit on eBay and I just know I must have it.

Regarding the quota for this year, MFH just announced it'll release a Lotus 79, and I've already preordered it. With that, I guess I can sell my Tameo WCT one. In that case, should that count against my quota?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Laying down carbon fiber (faux)

When I was in college, there were several student projects within the college of engineering. Civil engineering have their concrete canoe (believe it or not, they build a canoe using concrete and competed with other concrete canoes), there's the newly started solar car project which was in the very infant stage of organizing team and raising funds, and the one interested me most was the human powered vehicle project. It's basically a recumbent bicycle made of composite with a Kevlar outside fairing to reduce drag. The project gave me a chance to play with composite materials. We made molds out of sheet foam and lots of Bondo, then made a female tub using fiber glass, and then lay down layers of Kevlar with resin and vacuum bag it until the resin cured. We did all these on the roof of the mechanical engineering department. Carbon fiber and Kevlar were exotic materials back then, only used on supercars or advanced aerospace applications. They're more common nowadays, but it is still quite labor intensive to work with these composites and anything involving resins, messy.

Carbon fiber decals on the other hand, not messy, including the application of decal softener. Back to the model, got the carbon fiber decals on the front wing today. Unfortunately, got an email from the boss, I'd better work on what he needs before tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Baby steps

I'm back working on the Ferrari 641. Didn't do much, but it's a start. I need to get back to the routine.

I had been thinking about how to add texture on the seat. I was looking for faux suede spray, but no luck tracking that down. But then I came across Tamiya Diorama Texture Paint, and thought, light sand may look similar to what I am trying to mimic.

The other thing I did was starting to put decals on the front wing. Nothing to see yet. So, sorry, no picture.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Everyone, let's build!

I have been reading several Japanese master modelers' blogs. One of the Masters, Ws43 san has been organizing an annual online modeling festival called "皆で作ろう", loosely translated to "Everyone, let's build". Past themes include Fiat, Jaguar and Alfa Romeo. This year is a little bit different. This year's theme is Racing43. All the participants will need to complete a kit from the manufacturer Racing43 from Italy.

I am always amazed by the skills of all these master modelers when they fabricate little parts to add details or correct the errors. But for me, as an amateur, I won't be doing those kind of things. I will only build it out of the box. And I hope I will be able to complete before the deadline.

I will be building 1981 Audi Quarttro for Monte Carlo Rally/Swedish Rally. Driven by Mikkola and Hertz as the navigator.

It will be a departure from what I have been building. First of all, it is not going to be an F1 car, second of all, it is not Tameo. I did started working a little bit on the Provence Moulage Nismo GTR LM, that will be set aside until later. Something happened during Christmas. I was able to snatch up the No. 22 to accompany the No. 23 that I have already started. I will build them side by side!

This will be my first Racing 43 kit. The kit is not a complicated kit without much details. So, hopefully it will not take too long to build. But the main obstacle for me is my yet to finish Ferrari 641.