New Nanoblocks

Just in case you were wondering, I haven’t given up on my hobbies.  I am still pursuing them just as they pursue me.

Case in point are the latest additions to my Nanoblocks collection.  While casually browsing through my local Toys R Us (I don’t know how to make that inverted R–probably copyright anyway) I found these two kits on sale.  Since I was gearing up for the Tour de France (Congratulations Chris Froome) it seemed like fate was telling me to buy them.

I am pretty happy with the purchases, but need to figure out where they are going to go once I build them.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, my display space has been co-opted for another use.

I will post pictures when I get them assembled.

Nanoblocks at the Dollar Store

Christmas 2015 008.JPG

Can you believe it? Nanoblocks at the dollar store?

I was rather sceptical myself, I thought that it might be untrue, but here is the photographic evidence. After getting them, I was curious as to how they ended up at the dollar store.  Maybe they were fake?  Maybe the package had a misprint?  I have checked the package out and everything seems legit….if you spot something let me know?

Christmas 2015 010.JPG

That would be pretty cool if I could get a bunch of sets for cheap at the dollar store and build something else. We will have to see.  I checked my Dollarama, but there weren’t any there.  I asked the person who bought them for me, but she said they only had that model and only at that particular Dollarama.

I don’t know what to make of it, but I am curious. I would love to hear your thoughts on this one.

Nanoblocks VS Microblocks: Tokyo SkyTree

I finally finished the Nanoblock version of the Tokyo SkyTree.  In doing so, I thought a comparison between the Microblock version and the Nanoblock version would make a good post.  My only question was how should I organize it.  I also decided to put together a rough video so you could see them both side by side.

The Video

nanoblocks and books 016

This fragile part took a very long time.

What took me so long…..

Well, the basic truth is that it was hard.  There were some fiddly pieces that proved rather frustrating.  The creators (Kawada) indicated that the difficulty level on this build was a 5.  I thought that they were joking….but they weren’t.  A couple of times, I just had to get up and walk away.  I even considered crazy gluing the thing together.

Size and Shape

skytree 004

The Microblock version is much bigger than the Nanoblock version.  The Microblock Skytree is much mroe symmetrical and relies on more standard pieces.  The Nanoblock Skytree is not linearly symmetrical and relies on incorporating a couple of really tough pieces.  These include a round, slightly angled piece that must have originally been used in their Leaning Tower of Pisa model and another piece whose shape I am unable to describe–luckily I am including a photograph.

skytree 014

Construction

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Difficult lower sections

Both had their difficulty when constructing the lower portion of the tower.  The Nanoblock version was a bit more fragile and required more than one sitting to get it done.  At one point, I finally got the base together and decided to leave it for a month, hoping that the pieces would somehow meld together strongly in my absence.  Somehow it worked…or else I might have gone for the crazy glue.

Price

I can’t really comment on this because the Nanoblock version was bought in Japan for about $30 and brought to me whereas the Microblock version was a birthday present.  I suspect that on those terms the Microblock version costs more.  However, considering their availability in Canada, Nanoblocks cost more.  I am not even sure you can get this one in Canada.  I will have to check.

Looks

skytree 009

The blue interior of the Microblock version

The Microblock version has the nice interior blue effect–achieved by stacking a large number of clear blue square tiles together.  The Nanoblock version seems to be somewhat closer to the original–but you can be the judge of that.  I base that on its use of round tube like structures to replicate the original.

Other thoughts

Both look good and are interesting builds.  In Japan, you can buy a base that lights up and will produce a different effect.  Additionally, there is a deluxe version (read expensive) available which seems really cool.

skytree 5

This looks awesome–and expensive.

skytree4

I would love to hear your comments or questions.

Where Did All This Stuff Come From?

While looking through my unbuilt collection of models I came across a few other boxes.  These boxes fell into three categories.  The parts box, the scratch building box and the other box.  What is all this stuff and where the heck did it all come from?
The parts box or the spares box (there are probably just as many names for this as there are modellers–partners of modellers probably call this the box of crap, but that’s another story) came about from the extra parts that are included with models.  Some models have different parts because they can be build different ways (the 2 in 1 or the 3 in one model).   I have a 57 Fairlane that can be built stock/custom/or with optional parts.  Some have parts left on the parts tree from earlier versions of the model kit.  I have drag bars because one of the 66 mustang kits I’ve built had a previous life as a dragster kit.  I couldn’t throw them out, so now their in the parts box.
The scratch building box is collection of stuff that I thought might one day might fit into my models.  Often I think of building unusual train car loads, or wild science fiction ships. This probably came about from searching out the stuff under the title Maschinen Krieger, or watching the great Japanese TV show Plamo Tsukurou–if you haven’t done so, you should check both of them out.  Either way, I suspect all modellers look at stuff destined for the trash or recycle box the same way.
The last box, which I have labelled the other box, in my case is a bunch of models that I have decommissioned.  Maybe they fell from their shelf in cleaning.  Maybe they broke in one of the many moves I made.  Maybe they weren’t as well done as I would have liked and became euthanized.  In the case of one of my top fuel dragsters, I broke some pieces putting it together and became so frustrated that I stopped building it and sent the strong parts to the box.
So what am I going to do with all of this?  Besides the aforementioned flatcar loads, I have the same dream as many modellers do.  I plan (and plan is a good word, as it may never get beyond the planning stage) to build a great diorama.  These parts will look excellent it that.  These parts will make that diorama look amazing…I hope.  This diorama will most likely be some kind of car shop diorama.  The extra car parts (the tires, the engines, the seats, should all fit in perfectly.  So I guess that means I will be holding onto them for a little while longer.
What about you readers?  What do you do with your parts boxes?  I would love to see some examples.

Getting Organized

The first step in getting back to my model hobby is to earnestly get my hobby desk in order.  While that sounds like a good idea, until you have to move about 30 small paint bottles, little by little, you don’t realize that this is a bit of an undertaking.
I have included a before and after shot, just so you can see what I am working with.  It isn’t as brightly lit as I would like…but I shouldn’t complain.  It isn’t like I can’t go buy another lamp.
 

Before
If you are interested in my thoughts on organization, and want to read more, please check out my other blog. https://todaysperfectmoment.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/the-better-organized-me/
It isn’t really about hobbies, but some of the better writing I have done lately is there.
More organized
 

As you can see by the shot, I have made the decision to purchase a spray booth.  From a health perspective, this was a no brainer.  While all of the paints I use say they are “non-toxic” I fear that a phrase like that, translate through lawyers and other legal jargon, really means, “not as toxic as poison, so you can’t sue us, but still not great for your lungs.”  I haven’t used it yet, but hopefully today or tomorrow.




Can You Ever Have Enough Tools?

Okay, if I wasn’t sure before, I am sure now.  I have a very bad habit of buying tools for my hobbies.  I went to the hobby store, planning strongly to resist any purchasing of tools and magazines.  I even took a friend–you know, don’t go swimming without a buddy, hoping that they would help me be the voice of reason, or at least restraint.

No such luck.

I don’t mean to blame my friend.  They would have restrained me if I had asked.  I just didn’t ask and proceeded to the checkout very quickly.  I am my own worst enemy….I guess.

On the bright side, I do think I made a good purchase.  I have a lot of train buildings to assemble and not one of them has a square edge.  What?  That’s right.  I have to assemble about 20 buildings for my train layout, and not one of them has a straight edge.  You see, to facilitate the manufacturing process, the moulds all have “draft” edges, so they will pop out of the machine easily.  Hmmmm?  You’d think with today’s technology there would be another way around this–but what do I know of injection moulding?  In the end, I have to sand the edges until they are 90 degrees.

You might remember a post where I created my own sanding board.  That worked well, but provided no way to evaluate my work.  This tool should do the same thing, and allow me to be a bit more uniform.

My friend, and several people at the shop, said I was making a wise purchase.  They explained that while I didn’t need the tools, the proper tools make things go so much easier.

Any thoughts.

The Latest Hobby Itch: Arduino

 
 
I know I shouldn’t do it, but I’ve got the itch.  I have become obsessed–no, that’s not right.  The word is too strong.  Okay, I’ve become intrigued by Arduino, though I am not sure why.  However, I can explain how it happened.
I was looking for a new project.  Actually first I was working on my decision making processes.  That is why I read a book that differentiated between gain and pain tasks, and how we put off gain tasks in favour ending pain tasks.  The book recommended scheduling time for gain tasks, and not worrying about how long they take, or whether they every get finished or not.  Sounded wonderful to me.  (If I can figure out how to do it, I will put a link to the book in my Amazon store at the side of the page)
So, despite having lots of these tasks, I decided I wanted something new.  Kind of a silly thing, but that is how my mind works.  That is how I started writing this (and three other) blogs.  If nothing else, my typing skills have gotten better.  I thought I would like to do some sort of science/technical project.
In days past, I would have gone to the Efton Science Store.  Alas, that has disappeared, and I had no idea where to look.  So, I consulted my fallback position.  I checked Amazon and searched for “project kits”.  That is where I found Arduino.  Just like a boy, I saw a kit full of interesting parts (all the bells and whistles), and thought, WOW!  I need that.  Though, in truth, I was not overly clear on what it was.
You’ve got to admit, this is cool.
After some YouTube videos, which are a tech nerd’s dream, I am still interested, though perhaps overwhelmed.  It is probably too complicated, but I am as fascinated and overconfident as I am nervous and confused.  I consider this a normal state when thinking about a new hobby.
So, I ask you.  Have you had any experience with Arduino?  Can you tell me anything about it?  I would really like your help.  Also, if you know anybody with experience, could you send them to this blog to help me before I spend all my money and end up with a desk full of electronic bits and pieces.  Please.