Early September Progress

Progress in any hobby is well earned.  I have been working on a few projects lately–multitasking you might call it.  The weather has been good, so I really haven’t wanted to spend much time indoors doing hobby things, but I have managed to make some progress.
a shot of the kit and body parts
Here are some Wheels from Jacques Villeneuve’s ride.  They turned out pretty good.  I have not always had really good luck with tires.  They don’t always fit well, but these were awesome.
This kit is relatively easy to build.   It cries out for some super detailing, but I am not really up to the job.  In addition, this kit is a decal nightmare.  There are so many decals that I will have dishwasher hands by the time I do them all.
I am also working on my train buildings.  Not having made one before, it is a bit slow going.  I am not sure I chose the right colours, but I am satisfied with the first attempt.  I certainly learned the necessity of masking when doing this project.  As you you might be able to see, some areas did not turn out perfectly.  As it is an N scale building, this is quite small.  I probably should have put something beside this so you would have gotten a better idea of the scale.
I still need to do something to highlight the grout a little.  I should probably do something to make the widow frames stand out as well.  Of course it still needs windows, a view block, and general assembly.
looks okay from a distance
You can also see my progress on the 289 Cobra.  I had finished most of this a long time ago, but hit a stumbling block.  I had originally painted the body blue, but had to use oven cleaner to get that paint job off.  I decided on black because it was much more forgiving.  Overall this one has not turned out as good as I hoped, but it is nearing completion.
I am a big fan of the cobra.  It represents, my top five car model dreams.  In no particular order I want to someday build really nice examples of
1966 Mustang Fastback
1957 T-bird
Cobra (289 or 427)
32 Ford Roadster (with complete photo etched parts)
Alain Prost’s McLaren from a championship season.
Of course, I have lots of other model dreams that don’t involve cars.  They involve trains, planes, boats, castles, and a whole host of other things.  I may not get to do them all, but now my optimism is quite high, and I believe I am going to try.
Now you know where things stand.

Telephone Card Collection


For a short time, relatively speaking, I collected Japanese Telephone cards.  Like most of my hobbies, I really shouldn’t use the past tense.  Most everything is just on hiatus (like a TV show that nobody has the guts to cancel)  I am not actively collecting them anymore.  Of course, with the extreme popularity of cell phones in Japan, is highly unlikely that anyone is–no, I take that back.  In Japan,. somewhere, there is probably a dedicated group of telephone otaku who still actively acquire and trade these cards.  If I search the internet, I am bound to find this group.  It is highly unlikely that I will ever do that, but it is still comforting to know they are out there…….somewhere.


Kansai Airport
This collection is probably more a reflection of my Japan obsession than my collecting obsession.  I don’t really have an attachment to the cards, but I have an attachment to the time they represent.  I lived in Japan PI and PC (Pre-Internet, Pre-cell phone)  Actually, that is not completely true, or at best, a small misrepresentation (at worst it is a completely bald faced lie–but let’s try to be optimistic here)  The internet existed when I was in Japan, it just wasn’t user friendly, wasn’t even remotely ubiquitous, and Al Gore hadn’t made any claims to its origins.  Cell phones existed, and while not huge brick like contraptions, were still less common and horrendously more expensive than these days.


cute animals
When one needed to make a telephone call out and about you could either fumble with change, or use a phone card.  Most everybody had one because no one had change.  The sold them everywhere (even in the famous Japanese vending machines, often next to the bank of phones)


Rather than plaster the phone company logo on the cards (as was done in Canada, and probably made the cards less interesting, and ultimately less successful) various images were placed on the cards.



culture old and new
Japanese telephone cards represented a good blend of commercial advertising and local heritage promotion.  Some cards were cool, some interesting, and some very strange.  I got them from students as souvenirs and I bought a bunch of them so my girlfriend could call me from the hospital.  I got some of them because I mentioned I liked them, and people started giving me their used ones.


I remember poking around Hankyu Department store in Umeda, Osaka and coming across people trading these phone cards (so I know they must still exist somewhere).  It was quite a site to see people bargaining over the price of “rare” phone cards.


and who could forget advertising
When I look back at them now, I am reminded of my life in Japan.  I am reminded of those late night calls (that were early morning calls here), those conversations that spanned blocks as well as continents, plans made, people met, experiences shared and of those bright green phones.


Having seen them on my last vacation in Japan, I know they are still there, but there are not nearly as many of them.  Come to think of it, it must have made a lasting impression on me because I even built a model of that telephone booth