Thursday, January 30, 2014

Good Old Days - My High School Years

I couldn't help but ordered these 1/12 scale classroom desks and chairs set from Hasegawa. Yes, it is the model airplane company and they do make things other than airplanes (or cars). They are intended for 1/12 scale figures.

Although I went to high school in Hong Kong, the classroom desks that I used to use were exactly like these. Since Hong Kong was following the British system, we have 6 years of primary school (elementary Grade 1 through 6). 5 years secondary school (combination of middle school and high school, grades 7 through 11). Then we have to take a public exam, kind of the equivalent of O-Level in UK. Upon passing that, you then can spend 2 years in University Preparation, equivalent to A-Level in UK, 12th and 13th grade.

After spending 6 years in the same school, you pretty much are not afraid of the teachers anymore. It was a different time. Looking back what we thought were crazy back then weren't outrageous at all. And what we considered as serious violations of the code of conduct are child's play in the eyes of kids nowadays.

Back then, in the name of learning English and learn about current affairs, the school kind of forced us to subscribe to an English newspaper. And the news paper gave each student subscriber a deck of vocabulary cards as a gift. We turned the vocabulary cards into a set of mahjong. When a teacher came in to the classroom and question why we were being noisy and what were we doing? We showed the teacher the vocabulary cards and told them that we were brushing up our English vocabulary.

Those were good times.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Baby steps

Made some progress in putting the chassis together in the past couple of days. Finally, I finished reworking the other exhaust outlet. Also put together the rear diffuser.

Almost time to start painting?

A moment of weakness

Not long ago, I learned about the existance of this kit. Just like the 2009 to 2011 Energy Drink that gives you wings team's, due to licensing issue, the kit maker cannot use the real names. But you probably can tell from the box dimension who the maker is.

While I am not really a fan of the 2012 F1 cars with the platypus noses, the fact that an Asian driver managed to drive this car to a 3rd place finish in a Grand Prix is something special. I saw this on the bay, kept on telling myself that I should not even bid on it, at the end I just can't keep myself from clicking on the "place bid" button.

Update (1/21/2014):

He's back in F1! Caterham was not competitive in the past couple of seasons. But with the 2014 rule change, I hope that serves as an equalizer. Can't wait to watch the 2014 season unfold!

Friday, January 17, 2014


Enjoyed a couple of days of above freezing temperature in Tampa, Florida, even though it is for business, not for pleasure.

Now on my way back to the freezer a.k.a Chicago.

Ugh~ Lots of white stuff on the ground welcoming me back.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Picking up the slack

I have been neglecting the CG901. Out of guilt (actually discouraged by the Porsche's decal), I finally did some work on it.

The rims are together sans the valve stems that I just bought:

Front right brake duct installed:

I guess since this is an early Tameo kit, there is no rain light! Went to Marty's store on Saturday, but he only has round ones. When you have lemon, you make lemonade. Cut the round lens down to a rectangle:

Still have to cut the drive shafts to length and more importantly fix the left exhaust pipe before I start to paint.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sidetracked 8 - whew~

I think the liquid decal film solution works, as seen in this piece on the right side of the car.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sidetracked 7 - Oh NOOOOO!

I was going to put the decal on, unfortunately, the decal disintegrated in front of my eyes!

Now I need to figure out what to do. Bummer.

For the remaining decals, I just brushed a coat of Microscale Liquid Decal Film on it. Will see if that can save the rest of the decals.

Attempt to save the disintegrated piece of decal. This is how it looks now. Hopefully with some touch up after it all dried and set, it won't look too bad.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sidetracked 6 - Patience

Primed and sprayed a coat of gloss white. This is the part that I hate. I cannot do anything but just sit and wait for the paint to cure.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The real reason why I am sidetracked

The real reason I halted the CG901 work is that I have been waiting for these guys to arrive.

Shift levers

Tire valves


Template to paint the tires instead of using decal

Now that they all arrived, I can resume, probably after the Porsche is done.

Sidetracked 5 - tow hook

Made the front tow hook. Also cut the front and rear axle to the correct length. Washed all the pieces. Getting late tonight, will start putting a coat of primer on tomorrow.

"Heat Wave" hits Chicago

It was really really cold in Chicago in the past couple of days. Air temperature on Monday was -13°F (-25°C), and windchill was -40°F (-40°C). Chicago river, at least for the part that is connected to Lake Michigan, which normally don't freeze over was frozen.

Today it warmed back up to something closer to normal, 11°F (-12°C). It's amazing that how our bodies adjust. After a couple of sub zero (I am talking in °F, not °C), now single digit temperature actually feels warm. So, it is almost like a heat wave now that we are having temperature in the teens. 

I heard that this weekend we will be in the 30's (above freezing). I guess it is going to feel like it is summer!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sidetracked 4 - My bad

No wonder the Tameo 1/64 scale 64T series can have that much detail while the Le Mans Miniatures Porsche GT1 that I am playing with now is so crude. It is because the Le Mans Miniature is actually 1/87 instead! When I was cleaning my coffee table and was about to throw the kit's packaging material away into trash, I flipped the cardboard over and saw: 1/24, 1/43, ... 1/87? Then I went to Le Mans Miniatures' site and sure enough, they don't do 1/64. Only 1/87.

Why 1/87? It is the very popular HO scale in the model train world.

Here's a link to a site dedicated to 1/87 scale model cars that I found, pretty interesting stuff.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sidetracked 3 - here goes the straight build...

For this little guy, I was going to do a straight build. But then I saw the steering wheel of this kit:

It's a flat piece of photo etched piece. Not really realistic. (Who's going to look at the interior? No body!). But I just counldn't resist.

I made a new steering wheel using a piece of bronze wire. I need to rest my eyes a bit now.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sidetracked 2

Soldered the rear wing together today. This is actually not the smallest thing that I have soldered. When I was an engineer, I have to make prototype electromechanical gadgets. Some of the electronics components were surface mount. I actually had to do it under a microscope. Now, all I have is a pair of 3.0 reading glasses. I guess I'll have to buy a loupe eventually.

Also, as you can see in the photograph, I also engraved the resin body a bit to make the lines a bit deeper. After primer, paint and clear coat, I am sure whether the lines will still show.

Friday, January 3, 2014


I can't help but play with this little guy today. This is just for fun. A 1/64 1996 Porsche 911 GT1 from Le Mans Miniatures. 

*Update - it is actually 1/87, not 1/64

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Happy New Year!

There is no better way to spend part of New Year's Day at the work bench. I managed to spend a couple of hours to get the front right brake and brake duct fitted.

Here I wish everyone good health and prosperous in 2014.

Since I only managed to build 2 kits in 2013, I am going to be conservative and set my goal to build at least 3 kits, including the CG901 that I am currently building. Then 881 and 891 to complete the "Before Famous" theme.