Sunday, October 25, 2015

Chasing the finish line

Today's USGP surely was exciting to watch. The best part is I don't have to get up early to watch it. Instead, I was at the workbench putting decals on the Lotus 107. May be I can still meet the deadline?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Back to the Future

Today is Oct 21, 2015. In the movie Back to the Future II, Marty McFly travelled from 1985 to this date in the DeLorean.

Talking about time, it is almost end of October. Last week, I realized:

I have to finish the Lotus 107 before end of November! The FW29, since it's been taken so long already, I am going to just focus on the Lotus 107 for now and try to get it done. And I am not going to try add any more detail because of time. Last night, I primed the body, base, front and rear wings, which you can see in the top picture.

Of course it was a movie and time machine does not exist yet. But I was able to time travel through the internet.

Two Tyrrell 023s from eBay: Brazilian GP and San Marino GP. I did not know that in 1995, Tyrrell 023 came in 2 different livery. They ran a dark blue colored car before switching to the white body with blue during the 1995 season. the Brazil one was the dark blue one.
Direct from BBR, two Ferrari's. They were on sale at their web store, but as usual with any order from Italian companies, took them quite some time to process the order and ship them to me. They are new old stock. But the cast quality is fantastic.

Saturday, August 8, 2015


I slowed down buying kits quite a bit nowadays, but the rate is still not zero. Found his BBR Williams FW16. The first 1/43 F1 kit I built was a BBR Ferrari F399. Haven't built another BBR kit since then. I am sure I will get to this one some time. This kit was fairly old, but the quality of metal casting is very good. In my opinion, better than Tameo of that era.

On the reading material front. The latest issue of Model Graphix is quite interesting. The main feature is on layout of model building space. Now I have some ideas to improve my workshop aka living room.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Continue at snail speed

Decal application count = 2. At least I can blame the weather this time. Weather has been nice in Chicago. There aren't many nice days here during the year, so I have to go outside and enjoy it when I can. Fall and winter are just around the corner.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Not much. Just 2 tiny pieces of carbon decal. Progress is progress, no matter how small it is.

Monday, July 13, 2015


Over Christmas last year, I got to know a friend's family friend who moved to France for over 30 years and he has been working as a guide at the Louvre. Since I haven't been taking any real vacation for some time now, I decided to visit him before he retires. So I went to Paris last week. After spending the majority of the week visiting museums, churches and palaces, all of a sudden it dawned on me that I should go look for miniature car stores in Paris. Quick check on Tameo's web site and I found the store Boutique Auto Moto. The store is full of model cars of all different scales. Not a whole lot of kits on display, but whenever I started to ask about this and that, Nicolas from the store will go down to the basement and came up with a kit or two. There must be a lot of treasures hiding in the back.

The best part is when Nicolas pull out this Renaissance kit - 1981 Renault RE30, a kit that can be built into the version that French F1 Champion Alain Prost scored his first Grand Prix win at the French GP in 1981. A model of a French F1 car of a French F1 Champion that won French Grand Prix made by a French company available in French store in France, I must have it! So here it is:

The store in Paris is at 6, rue des Halles, 75001 Paris. Very near the Louvre and Palais Royal.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Le Mans Weekend

Got this delivered to me right before the Le Mans weekend. Wonderful pictures of Group C cars raced in Le Mans between 1982 and 1991.

Nothing much to report on the building side of things. Absolutely ZERO seat time in front of the workbench lately.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Oh well, gravity struck again. Sigh...

This is how it happened. I bought this parts holder painting:

Notice that the alligator clips are snapped onto these 2 horizontal rods. They rely on friction to hold the clips angular orientation. It would have been fine it the pieces are from plastic injection model kits, as they do not weight much. So the torque at the joint would not be greater than the static friction. Unfortunately, for a 1/43 F1 car body which is made of white metal, the weight is too much to handle. After I was done painting, I left the body kind of balanced on to of that alligator clip, about 6" above the metal rod at the base. Then I heard the blunt sound of a block of metal hitting my wooden floor. Mass x Gravity x Length of Moment Arm > Torsional Friction happened. Now I will have to fix that stupid wing, again.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Just do it

Last weekend was Memorial Day long weekend. I thought I was going to spend some quality time at the workbench. Unfortunately, laziness overpowered me and I did absolutely nothing.

Well, I forced myself off the couch and did some masking. Will spray some blue on pretty soon.

And then disaster struck again...

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

About time to get some real work done

I think I am done with test fitting this. Time to wash the parts, prime and throw some paint on. And start to put in all the little details.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Tulips and buffalo in the city

It's that time of the year again! All the tulips along Michigan Avenue are blooming. At the same time I found a buffalo on top of the Red Line Subway entrance on Chicago Avenue. Apparently, that's for promoting tourism in Montana.

And the reason why I was roaming around the city and not at my workbench this weekend? Waiting for paint to dry.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Mystery solved

When I was struggling to find the answer to the color of the Lotus 107 seat, I found this book on eBay with a lot of detail pictures of 107 and 107B.

And the answer to the question is RED!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Tools and productivity

I like cooking, but I hate washing pots, pans, and dishes. Same thing applies to airbrush. While dishes can stay in the sink until I have the motivation to wash them, I must clean the airbrush right the way or risk having the nozzle clogged. And with just a single airbrush, I have to clean it before I can spray with a different color. But the time I am done cleaning, my motivation to spray is usually gone.

Today, the problem is partially solved. I got a second airbrush, an Iwata Neo. It's a relatively cheap airbrush, but it is quite similar to the Iwata Eclipse that I've been using. Some reviewers said that it is not as durable, but the way that I am using them, it probably will last a long time.

Also bought some quick release connector so I can switch between the 2 easily. I immediately started spraying the FW29. If it wasn't because I ran out of semi gloss black paint, I would have finished painting all the black colored parts.

So, at least for today, my productivity improved. Let's see how long this motivation can last.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Latecome becomes the fast finisher?

Taking shape. May be the Lotus will be completed ahead of the Williams. Who knows?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Food coma's impact on productivity

I should have done these yesterday. But after dinner last night, food coma hit and I passed out at 8:30pm. So this evening, all the brake ducts were done, the two exhaust manifolds cleaned up and holes opened up. Next up would be the mirrors, wheels and the rear wing.

The wheels that came with the kit were cast white metal ones. I am going to use a set of turned aluminum wheel from Tameo, which should look better that the cast ones

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Back on track

If it was not because of the accident, this would have happened a couple of weeks ago. I just sprayed white primer over the body, now I am just waiting for it to dry thoroughly, the check to make sure it is good enough to get the real paint.

When you see tulips on Michigan Avenue, you know spring is here in Chicago. In a couple of days, all the tulips should be blooming. This little patch is the only one where they bloomed.

Now, I am going back to work on the Lotus.

Black or Red?

Reference photos are important when building model cars. For the championship winning cars, it is usually not a problem, since there are a lot of photographs around and it is fairly easy to google them. Problems arise when the cars are not the front runners. Such as this Lotus 107.

While the photo and instruction sheet from Tameo indicated that the seat is black in color, the 1/20 Tamiya kit and some photo that I found on the internet shows that it is red.

Is it black? Or is it red?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

With patience, one can grind a steel column down to a needle

The title is the chinese idiom that pretty much means "Where there is a will, there is a way". But this afternoon, I found myself almost like grinding down a steel column into a needle.

Ok, it is a brass rod, not a steel column. And I was trying to make a tiny rectangular block with holes in it, not a needle.

Why? It was because I was not too happy with the shift linkage I made yesterday. That little glob of solder just does not look quite right. So I made up my mind this afternoon to correct that. Scratch build from a brass rod.

Without a drill press and a milling machine, only with a couple of needle files and a pin-vise with a 0.02" drill bit to make the piece was a real test of my patience. But it turned out to look ok. So much with building things out of the box. Now, what else should I make from scratch? May be the steering wheel and the dash... What's wrong with me?

Every F1 race in Asia should be a night race

Watching F1 at 2am is hazardous to health. I was at the workbench to stay awake. 
I just love the look of the F1 cars in the early 90's before the high nose. The front wing is much easier to deal with.

I was going to just build the Lotus out of the box, but a flat gear lever is just wrong. So I built a linkage.

Sanded down the putty. Going to spray another coat of primer tomorrow if I have the motivation.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Kind of a productive day

For the Lotus, both left and right, front and back suspension arms were fitted to the body and the front wing is almost together.

It is still a waiting game for the Williams. Since the 2 front vertical pylons were also broken off, I need to put putty to fill some gaps. Good thing that I will be out of town for a week, the putty should be all cured by the time I come back.

Weather is so nice and warm today, I went out for a walk and found some new sculptures installed in Millenium Park.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

F#%k! It happened again

Honestly, why the hell did aerodynamicist come up with this type of front wing in 2007? After the surfacer dried, I was sanding the nose and the upper front wing element attachment point. And "Oh Crap!" 

Glue it back again. I'll let it sit for a couple of days. I need some time to get over the trauma. May be I should just stick with F1 cars from the 90's or sportscar