Nanoblocks Big Ben: my thoughts and videos

 
 
Building a new Nanoblocks kit is usually pretty fun.  When you get to build one you had been waiting for, things are just that much better.  Maybe it’s anticipation.  Of course if the theme of the kit appeals to you, it is much better.

This kit wasn’t as challenging as the Space Shuttle kit, but it was quite fun to build.  There were some new design wrinkles from the people at Kawada, or whoever designed this one.  I liked the colour scheme and I liked the nice mix of water, road, building and even a bus–though the representation of the bus seems a little out of scale.

I spent quite a bit of time on this one, mostly because my fingers are not as agile as they should be and those round pieces always seem to give me trouble.  I was enjoying myself, so I didn’t really notice the time.  I had the radio on and my cat was keeping me company.  All in all it was a sunny fall morning and I relished it.

In addition to that, I took a lot of pictures of the build, showing people what it looks like step by step.  And before anyone says anything in the comments section–yes, I made a few mistakes along the way, and my application of the decals was a little poor.

Again, I found this kit quite enjoyable.  I paid more for this kit than I did for some of the other world landmarks series, but I blame that on the place I purchased it.  I probably could have held out longer, hoping for a sale…. but I am tired of missing out on something.  I was a little afraid that if I didn’t strike now, I would lose the chance.  I am still kicking myself over the Maersk Lego Train.

There were quite a few pieces leftover–more than usual.  I wonder if they have been getting a lot of flack from customers about not having enough parts?  I have never been short, but it stands to reason that it might have happened to someone.  I guess I will just file them in the parts box.  I have enough extra parts now to build something….I wonder what I should build.

 
I have included links to two of my YouTube videos here.  One is the step by step build (but it’s stage by stage rather than piece by piece) and the other is a 360 degree view of the finished product.   I hope you enjoy them.

 

What Comes Inside the Big Ben kit from Nanoblocks

I think unboxing videos are cool.  Maybe it is the association with Christmas and unwrapping presents, but I like it.  I don’t have many YouTube videos up, but the most popular one is the unboxing of the Statue of Liberty Nanoblocks kit.  Keeping that in mind, I have made a video to show people what is inside the Big Ben kit.

I will also post my pictures and video of the built kit shortly.  I will be trying to upload a series of pictures to show the stages it was built in.  Please enjoy everyone.
 
 

Never A Bad Idea To Visit a Toy Store

I stopped by the toy store today…it must have been fate because I had had no intention of setting foot in the place.  Fortunately I did, because new Nanoblocks have arrived.  New Nanoblocks have arrived!

There were probably 4 or 5 things that I wanted to buy, but will have to wait.  I managed to pick up two kits and I will build them this weekend.  My plan is to do YouTube videos of opening the box and showing the built up version.  I will put the links up here.  At the same time, I will also write a blog or two about them.

Obviously I am a looking forward to putting them together.

Hobbies Build Relationships

I had one of those epiphanic moments at the hobby shop on the weekend.  I went in to pick up something I had ordered (a couple of roof detail kits form some of my model train buildings) and couldn’t resist spending a few moments looking around the store.  Before you rise up and tell me that I fell for their trap, I should tell you that I walked out with only the kits I ordered.

While I was walking around I came upon a father and his son.  They were busy discussing the future of their model railroad–they were discussing roadbed issues and trestle choices.  What impressed me most was how communicative the two of them were.  Nobody was yelling, nobody was being bossy, nobody was claiming to have all the answers.  Basically, these two people were a great example what a hobby can do.  They were doing something together and loving it.  Though my faith in hobbies never wavered, it was certainly strengthened by that scene. 

Lamenting the Lost

I happened to pass this building today, and felt a little melancholy.  Another hobby business packed up and left.  I don’t know what happened really.  Maybe they moved somewhere else, or maybe the idea just didn’t fly.  A lot of hobby related businesses just don’t succeed and whenever they close, I feel a sling twinge (or pang) of sadness.

While out for a walk I came across this
 
I cannot really say I was part of the solution.  I avoided going into the store because I didn’t really want to start another hobby, and this one seemed really tempting.  Lego and robotics….. Had I gone in, my paycheque might have been a memory.  Despite having some advertising on this sight, I am a long way from having it generate any kind of hobby budget.

We live in a great time for hobbyists, but perhaps not such a great time for people running a large hobby business.  I would guess that running a home hobby business (I imagine somebody making flatcar loads at home, or building train layouts, or designing replica buildings) would be possible.  It would require a great website, a great idea, a spare room or two and probably easy access to a post office.  Running a business with a store location would require the same things, but would also mean renting out a store–and I imagine that it would cost a lot of money.  I am impressed by anyone who does it because it must be hard.  Taking that risk must be pretty scary.

I would hope that Lego had a stake in this enterprise, and therefore nobody lost their shirt trying to run this business.  However, a short portrait in the very local newspaper seems to indicate otherwise.  A brief bit of googling hasn’t brought me any answers.  If you know something about it, please post it here; for my curiosity and others.  I would also appreciate any thoughts on how your local hobby stores are doing.

On a side note, at the bookstore, there still seem to be quite a large number of magazines about hobbies still being published.  Flipping through some of them, I can see that they are making an effort to go digital, but still seem to be publishing.  Feel free to comment on this as well.

To Buy or Not to Buy….

 
Going to a hobby shop can be such a wonderful experience.  You get to see lots of new stuff, talk to people who are interested in some of the same things as you, and get inspired to tackle a hobby project.  Why is it then, that every time I leave a hobby shop I have a moment of doubt about what I purchased?

Sometimes, it isn’t about what I purchased, but rather that I spent any money at all.  It is more than likely that, in the car or in the parking lot or at some point before I entered the store,  I promised myself I would just look and not spend any money.  Funny how that rarely works out.

I think the cause goes back to my childhood.  I went to lots of garage sales and flea markets in my youth.  I would spend a long time trolling the various aisles or digging through piles.  I was the Indiana Jones of the used junk world.  The point is, I rarely came home empty handed.

The rationale goes something like this….I’m here.  I spent the gas money.  I won’t be back this way for a long time.  If I get it now, I’ll have it for later.  The rationalization isn’t nearly as hard as you think it will be when you’re in the parking lot.

I guess the only way to remove temptation is to actually remove temptation.  Then again, who’s kidding who?  If I couldn’t keep the first promise I mentioned, how in the world could I keep that one.

Hockey is Back!

Today, hockey returned to television.  It was only one game in the rookie tournament–hardly NHL quality, but hockey nonetheless.  I have been looking forward to this the whole summer.  I know I shouldn’t wish the tail end of summer away, but I can’t help it.  I am excited to watch hockey again.

I am excited to be overly optimistic about my team’s fortunes.  I am ready to dissect every play and referee call.  I ready to fantasize about unrealistic trades.  I am ready to live and die with every win and loss.

Welcome back hockey, let’s get the season started.

Writing a Successful Blog

 
I can’t really be sure what anyone’s motivation for writing a blog is.  I know what mine is…. or at least I have a reason which seems to resonate with me.  I want to be a writer, and this is practice.  When you think of the way the publishing world has gone digital, maybe this is more than practice.  Maybe this is writing.  There is no editor, so no way to judge whether I am being successful at this or not.

Before I became a blogger, I read quite a few blogs.  The seeming ease at which they created content bolstered me quite a bit.  Since becoming a blogger, I have read a lot more.  Some update their content regularly.  Others, seem to have lost steam and haven’t posted in a year…except those that posted self-chastising blogs about how they have to blog more.  I’ve read blogs that have fewer followers than I, and others that seem to have a legion of followers and readers.

How do you measure a successful blog.  Is it the number of followers?  I can’t be sure of that, since quite a few people told me that signing up to be a follower was a passé way of doing things.  Things in the digital age move quickly.  In a few years things like Instagram and Facebook might no longer be relevant.  Sacrilege?  Does anyone remember MySpace?

Do you measure success in the number of page views?  I must confess that I do.  When I see someone’s blog has ten times the number of page views that I’ve got, I get a little bit jealous.  I spend time on Facebook pestering my friends to check out my blog.  I comment on other blogs, hoping that some of their readership will get curious.

Do you measure success based on the number of comments people make?  This sounds reasonable, but doesn’t register with me.  Not only due to the dearth of comments, but also because of my perspective.  If people really wanted to comment, they could probably start their own blogs.

I keep writing, and I alternate between feelings of success and disenchantment.  I enjoy it, but I do hear that voice, occasionally, that wonders why I am doing this.  When I need to answer this voice, I just point out that if Hemmingway were alive today, he would probably have a blog and if Shakespeare were alive today, he would probably be making clips for YouTube.

To Blog or not to Blog…really too late to ask this question.

When Something Needs Stirring…

 
 
We’ve all said it.  You’ve said, I’ve said it.  Like I said, we’ve all said it. You buy average tools all the time, and you buy quality tools only once.  Or maybe you said, the right tool makes the job easier.  The question is, do you really believe it?

I was doing some painting yesterday.  I noticed the paint needed to stirred up.  So I reached for my official Tamiya paint stirrer.  Yes, that’s right.  I have an official paint stirrer.  I could have used a tooth pick, but I employed the paint stirring tool.

At a 300 yen price tag (actually I bought it for 240 yen…and I won’t tell you where just in case Tamiya takes their recommended sales price overly seriously) I could have bought a box or two of toothpicks.  All I can really say, is that it was definitely worth it.  Two hundred and forty yen is just shy of three Canadian dollars, when tax is figured in.  Of course, I bought it in Japan, so if I include the price of airfare the overall price really skyrockets.

It isn’t so much that it works better than a toothpick, or that I couldn’t have MacGyvered something similar with a coat hanger, but I just feel that much more purposeful.  I feel like I am really working on a project and that the project is not working on me.  It is one less thing to worry about while I concentrate on the real task.

Sometimes you just need to have the right tools.  In my various hobbies, I have spent the money sometimes, and cheaped out sometimes.  Sometimes I have been creative and found very workable things at dollar stores.  Who knows?  All I know for sure is that the money I spent on the paint stirrers was not a waste.