Saturday, August 20, 2016

Honda S800

With retirement less than two weeks away, I thought I should warm up with something relatively easy. I was going to tackle the Datsun 510, which is almost finished, but I seem to have misplaced the instruction sheet ... maybe I am getting slower, intellectually, at a faster rate than I had anticipated. Old Age Looms Large...

Anyway I had been looking at the Lancia 037 rallye car (Hasegawa) and the Honda S800 (Tamiya). I decided to tackle the S800, which is one of those iconic little things: 800 cc motorcycle unit making 70 hp at some ridiculous RPM level, lots of aluminum bits, the original Japanese sports car. The size of a Mini of the same vintage, it must have been a real hoot -- the 850 cc Mini, which as we all know was as much fun as a barrel of monkeys, never made much more than 45 hp and probably weighed a few hundred pounds more. The issue for westerners, of course, was actually getting into the car, and managing to push the clutch in without catching our size 9 sneakers on the brake pedal. I am guessing it is a size or two smaller than the Europa which was well suited to Colin Chapman's 5' 6" frame, and which I never managed to drive well when I was in the auto repair business back in paleolithic times.

So some painting got done, and a bit of gluing. The kit is the usual Tamiya quality, which is to say everything fits well, except that some items that need to be black or grey or silver (exhaust, carburetors, front suspension bits) are molded in yellow, while others that need to be yellow (inner fenders) are molded in black. This is not the usual Tamiya approach... so anyway I am once again up against Tamiya's yellow paint (TS-16) and its tendency to pool in cracks and sharp corners, regardless of how much Tamiya primer might reside underneath. (See earlier problems, not yet solved, here, and see the photo below of the inner fenders inserted in the body.) There is a problem here with surface tension and viscosity... it is not good and any advice would be most welcome.

Meanwhile I am planning to not paint the body which is well molded in yellow. The goal is a quick build that takes advantage of the strengths of the kit before moving on to more complex unbuilt stuff, of which I have more than a few examples on the shelf.

Speaking of unbuilt stuff, I figure I have about 2 years' worth of work on the shelf, at a steady 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year. So it's going to be a slog ...  stay tuned!

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