Saturday, March 14, 2015

New arrivals

It is well known that the ideal number of model kits on the shelf is n + 1, where n is the current number of kits on the shelf. (It turns out that this is also true of guitars, motorcycles, bicycles, or any other object worth collecting; however model kits have an advantage as they do not take up so much space). That being the case, I have acquired three more resin kits from the French supplier Profil 24.

Two are curbside kits of pre-war racers. The 1926 Renault 40 NM Record was a streamlined land speed record car, maintaining a record 173 km/h average speed over 24 hours. The shape is a lovely Art Deco affair that reminds me of the cars in early Tintin comic books; the skinny wheels and lack of front brakes mean this 9-litre monster was probably a real handful, even with only 130 horsepower. Bodywork from the cowl back was built by Weymann and consisted of fabric (leather, in this case) stretched over a light framework of tubes. Both creaky and leaky, I would imagine; other Weymann bodies of the period used fabric impregnated with airplane dope as a sealant.

The 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B that ran at Le Mans is a lovely, curvaceous Italian affair, with a 2.9 litre, supercharged straight 8 making 220 horsepower in road trim; racing output was probably substantially higher. Technology sure was progressing in leaps and bounds at that time, with almost double the power from three times less displacement in just 12 years. Too bad neither kit includes any engine detail.

I took the attached picture of an 8C 2900A in road trim at the Schlumpf museum in Mulhouse, Alsace; the car dates to that fascinating period, style-wise, when designers were exploring the concept of molding front fenders into the body instead of having them standing clear as in, say, a Model A. The museum, which is vast, has a strong focus on the Bugatti collection amassed by the Schlumpf brothers, as well as a wide range of other interesting stuff, and is a must-see if you are ever in southern Alsace.

The third one is the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus that ran at Monte Carlo in 1981; this one has lots of detail around the lovely little Lotus twincam motor. An obscure little car, although one of the drivers was Jean Todt who went on to fame as race team manager with Ferrari.

So at a quick glance,  n is now approximately 50 kits, including stuff that is started, give or take a few. At my current rate of a few cars per year, this will keep me busy for quite some time.

To compound the problem, soon it'll be time to get the bicycles out again. At last count n = 4½ bikes, one each in steel, aluminum, titanium and carbon fibre; the ½ bike is a second aluminum bike shared with my son. So modeling progress may slow somewhat if the snow ever melts.

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