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.

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