Thursday, December 24, 2015

Skylines: 1989 R34 rolling chassis

A few hours concentrated effort got the second Skyline to the point of a rolling chassis. Most of the interior is painted and just needs assembly. I had previously finished painting the body at the same time as the 1972 which is one of my cleaner efforts.

So nothing to report beyond the fact that it is the usual Tamiya kit: goes together well, looks good. The 1972, however, looks better partly because there are lots more interesting engine bits like carbs, distributor, etc. As well the 1972 seemed to have lots more detail; for example the intake manifold and turbochargers on the 1989 do not connect to the intercooler which is a bit disappointing. Also most of the underhood bits are black so not a lot of contrast.

In any case, as a gentle start to the modeling season, it is far better than the disastrous attempt at painting the BRE Datsuns!

There probably won't be much time for any further news until I get back from the holidays, say mid-January. Happy holidays to you all out there on the InterWeb.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

BRE Datsuns: One step forward, two back (and I haven't even started yet!)

OK, so first time back at the bench since late spring, and looking around for a suitable project to get going again, I settled on the BRE Datsun 510 and 240 Z from Revell. These were successfully campaigned by Pete Brock, with John Morton at the wheel, in the Trans Am sub-2.5 litre class way back when. The colour schemes being identical, I thought I'd get the bodies prepped and painted before tackling the bits I like best, namely the engine and chassis. That way the paint can harden before I need to handle it for final assembly.

The 240 Z kit involved some poor fits, such as the rear panel and nose to the body; there will be some putty here. The 510 fits are better but both kits involve a fair amount of scarf, flash and mold lines to be dealt with, possibly reflecting the age of the molds. Additionally the 510 body mold is very thin and flexible, and I can imagine it being easy to fracture it. All went well, however, including the Tamiya primer, until I got to the basecoat of Tamiya white which immediately pooled and ran in little puddles everywhere. I suspect the contents of the can, which is old, had separated and I didn't shake it enough, so the spray was mainly solvent.

So for the record: there is lots out there on stripping Tamiya paints, most of it contradictory. Tamiya thinner lists n-propanol and butyl alcohol as the contents; alternatively you can get rubbing alcohol, a.k.a. iso-propanol (not quite the same as n-propanol, granted) at 99% concentration at your local pharmacy. Soak the parts in a tray. Cover the tray to minimize evaporative losses; I used a large freezer bag for this. If the paint is fresh as it was in my case, an hour should do; you'll need to put on rubber gloves and scrub with a toothbrush to get it all off. Wash it all in soap and warm water, and either save the remaining iso-propanol for future use, or pour it down the drain with lots of warm water and soap.

As the next couple of days involve the usual family dinners, and as I will be away for another 10 days, that puts an end to any modeling until well into January. Oh well.

Moral of the story: always buy new paint cans! Or use an airbrush, which is an added level of complexity I am not prepared to get into at this stage.

All the best of the season to any readers out there.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Hobby shops

In earlier blog posts I've mentioned Wheel & Wings in Toronto, and Magic Box Hobbies in Vancouver. Today I stopped by Udisco, the biggest hobby shop in Montreal and a wholesaler for the region. Located here in a rabbit's warren of warehouse-like little passageways off the Decarie expressway, it covers RC airplanes and model trains as well as plastic kits. The old fellow who is usually at the counter wasn't there; he hadn't been looking well the last few times I had been in. I asked the young fellow at the counter and found out that he was the son, that the old fellow had passed away after a couple of years of serious illness, and that the funeral was yesterday. So very raw obviously, and I offered the family my condolences as I left.

The father had been in the location for 50 years and loved the business. Hopefully the family will figure out what to do with the business; it's all pretty antiquated in terms of customer service or ordering things, and a few of the "employees" are real characters and probably generally unemployable elsewhere. I wonder whether it has been turning a profit or just paying the rent and keeping Dad out of trouble ... If you're in the area, drop by, offer your condolences and buy something just to encourage them. The company is a wholesaler but is open to the public.

So what did I buy? I was looking for two items in particular. I grabbed the last copy of Revell's BRE Datsun 240Z, to go with the BRE Datsun 510 I bought last year and haven't started yet. The two are a pair. The 'B' in BRE stands for Pete Brock who campaigned these successfully in a range of SCCA club races way back when. Brock is also venerated, make that worshipped, as the guy who penned the Cobra Daytona Coupe for Shelby ... still one of the half dozen or so sexiest cars on the planet. How he wound up running a boxy 510 in the SCCA system, after coming up with that curvaceous beast, is a mystery.

I picked up a copy of Revell's car carrier trailer which fits US cars and will make room in the shelving along with the Mitsubishi car carrier I described previously. I've got a Freightliner truck, started but incomplete, to haul it.

I also bought AMT's '51 Chevy, which has a stovebolt 6 with a 12 port head, instead of the usual V8. I've built enough small blocks, it's time to build other stuff. This will serve as a donor for a chopped and channeled resin body from Jimmy Flintstone that has been sitting on the shelf for some time now.

Finally I took a chance on a set of 4 wheels and tires meant for RC planes. The objective is to replicate big flotation tires as used in Iceland, to fit under the Jimmy Flintstone resin kit of the '55 Chevy Suburban. At 1.75" diameter, they work out to 42" at scale, which is about right; however the width, at just under 3/4", is only 18" at scale, a bit narrow. We'll see how it works out. I've already got the '57 Cameo donor kit and can probably scrounge a 4X4 system from the parts bin; now I just need to get going.

And there is the problem: getting going. The weather in Eastern Canada has been very warm this fall; we've beaten record after record and there is no snow on the ground. So the hibernation instinct that drives us all indoors to the workbench has not kicked in yet.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Fujimi Porsche 917K

Whenever I am in Vancouver, I try to drop in on Magic Box Hobbies (Arbutus and 37th, here). While most of the stuff is RC or military, there is always an oddball selection of Japanese 1/24 kits, sometimes neat out of production items.

Most recently they had a copy of the Fujimi kit of the 917K, in the 1971 Martini Rossi livery as run at Sebring (Car #3, driven by Elford and Larousse to the win). On opening the kit, which was taped shut but not shrink-wrapped, it turned out to have the optional extra photoetched detail sheet including disc brakes, windshield wipers, lots of little bolts, window surrounds, etc. So clearly it came from a close-out somewhere. I bought it because for some time I have had the more detailed version of the engine for this car, made in resin by Historic Racing Miniatures, and I was just waiting for the kit to surface.

So I now have two 917Ks, the other being one of the super-detailed multi-media from Model Factory Hiro. Now I just need to find time to actually build something ... the career, which admittedly permits me to fly to Vancouver to buy obscure kits, is becoming tedious, and close friends are showing a disturbing propensity for getting sick. So maybe it's time to stop accumulating money and start enjoying life. To be continued ... meanwhile the rough
count is 9.4% WIP (12 kits), 41.1% complete (53) and 48.8% not started (63). For the keeners out there who have added this up and come to 99.3%, there is one unopened kit not included in the total: the Mecom Lola T70 in the original shrink wrap with original price tag of $1.83, marked down from $2.00. It's a definite have your cake and eat it moment: do I open it and build it (or at least gawp at it), or save the wrapping ... decisions, decisions.

So: as the Game of Thrones fanboys would say, Winter Is Coming, so maybe I'll get some building in soon. Stay tuned.