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.

Advertisements

The Ironic Universe

gunblade2

The universe is heavily into irony. At least that is what I am left to conclude after today’s shopping find.

Let’s step back a bit and get some historical perspective. I like video games, but I am not a huge gamer. I like simpler games. I like games I can complete. I am always looking for games from my childhood, or at least late teens. Things like Galaga, Scramble, Amidar, berzerk….stuff like that. Yes, I know, I can play them on am emulator (though I haven’t found Scramble or Moon Unit–if you know a site, please send me a link).

One game that I loved playing at the arcade (more often than not this tended to be the airport or other equally inconvenient and expensive places to play) was Gunblade. I enjoyed this game probably because I loved how the bullets hit everything when I missed the actual targets. The road got chewed up. The window shattered. Trucks blew up. It was all cool.

gunblade 3The only platform I could find the game for was the Wii. I didn’t have a Wii, but I actually thought about buying one, just for this game (which only lasts about 15 minutes–so I have been told). I finally was given a the system by someone who didn’t need it, and I went to Amazon and purchased the game. I think it cost me around 20 bucks to get this game. I was okay with the price because I never found it in the stores, and I never saw it in a discount bin.

Today, while at the grocery store, I came across a bin of games. Wouldn’t you know it, there it was in a two pack for 20 bucks. Since, I wasn’t really into the other game, it didn’t frustrate me all that much. Of course that was until I saw that the games were 75% off the sticker price. Yes, that’s right. Five bucks!

gunblade4Thank you universe for your irony. I hope you enjoy your laugh.

For my part, I did pick up some other games for a that 5 dollar price, and one for even less. I should be happy for my bargain, but part of me doesn’t enjoy the universe laughing at me.

Hobbies Lead to Tool Lust

Once again I find myself in a hobby conundrum.  The only good thing is that I recognize it, and might be able to escape this one.  However, I am not really sure.

I used to love riding my bicycle.  I rode all over the place.  This might have a lot to do with the fact that I didn’t have a car, but I am pretty sure that isn’t all of it.  I know I loved the feeling of speed and power.  I remember once thinking I could be in the Tour de France.  I was never that good, but every boy has to dream.

I have always owned a bike.  When I had a job as a teenager, I took my bike to work every day.  If I had the choice of bus or cycle, I always chose cycle.  When I lived in Japan I bought a bike on a whim and had to carry it home on a very packed subway and train.  This was the kind of thing I did.  I never second guessed decisions like that. 

Lately, I have been thinking about getting back on my bike before the dust in the garage consumes it completely.  It would certainly help with the fitness part of my diet.  Of course, being dusty, it is going to require a bit of maintenance, and that is where the dilemma comes from.  I could pay someone to do it for me, or I could do it myself.
I know that I would rather do it myself.  Yes, it is a mechanical job, but it doesn’t seem that hard.  So, I did what I always do.  I checked the internet and found lots of good resources and tools.  Do you see where I am going with this?

Regular readers of this blog (if there are any) know that I have tool equipment lust to a terribly high degree.  Sometimes, I love hobby tools more than the hobby itself.  I thought I was strange, but after reading other blogs and internet forums, I know I am not the only one.  Plus, I am one of those guys.  I think tools are cool.  I want them, and I want good ones.

My current lust features two things:  A bike stand for working on the bike, and a dedicated set of tools.  Of course, there are some really flashy ones out there, but I have settled on these two.  The fact that they come in sexy anodized blue is just a coincidence–or is it.  Perhaps, I really don’t need these things, but I scratched the itch, and I am now I am starting to obsess.

I probably have enough tools that I only need a few specialized ones to do any repair that I want.  I also don’t need sexy blue tools.  Plain ones will do.  As for the bike stand, while not necessary, it certainly would be handy.

The next deadly step is to go to a bike shop (rather than the internet) to see what they have.  I might succumb and regret it, but what else can I do.

Lindberg’s 1949 Tudor Coupe 1/32 scale

 
Usually shopping at Dollarama means looking for scratch building supplies or looking for some container that I need to organize my hobby stuff.  Today I came across a model kit for sale.  The price was a reasonable three bucks.  Hard to complain about that.  Of course, I once got a 1/24 Scale Ford Fairlane for $2 from Walmart, but since they don’t have models anymore, that was probably an unannounced clearance sale.

I really don’t need any more models.  I’ve got a shelf  full of unbuilt kits, and dozens of other hobbies to pursue–not to mention umpteen household chores that have been the victim of procrastination.  I guess curiosity got the better of me, and by writing this, hopefully it won’t get the better of you.  You will be armed with knowledge before scouring the Dollarama.

 
So, what came in the box?  Watch the YouTube video if you want to see the unboxing.  It will give you a good idea of what is inside.  Basically, this is a bare bones kit if I have ever seen one. No chrome, no rubber tires, the body comes in three pieces (and those other pieces are the sides, not the hood and truck lid) no engine and no decals of any kind.  The wheels are all plastic and need to be glued together.

Is this a good kit?  Well, for three dollars, I wasn’t expecting a Tamiya masterpiece.  I am pretty satisfied with the contents of the box.  The mould lines look good, and I don’t see any sink holes or injection marks….so I really shouldn’t complain.  With some good painting, and putty to fill up the gaps, this will turn into an acceptable model.  I will post pictures when I can.  I’ve got some bare metal foil to make the bumpers and grill, and I certainly have enough paint.  Mostly, I am probably worried more about what colour to paint it.  Red looks good, but I have never painted a red model that I have been satsified with.

The Dollarama in my neighbourhood had 3 different models:  two convertibles and this one.  If anyone finds different ones, please post here.  If anyone has completed one, feel free to send some pictures.

You Get What You Pay For

 
I would never say no to a bargain.  Who doesn’t love a good deal?  In my hobby life, I have come across some great deals.  Once I got a fantastic Ford Fairlane model kit for two dollars (I bought 3….because there were 3 customizing options).  Twice (and despite the deals, I do find this to be sad) I came upon hobby stores that were having going out of business sales.  My latest find were some puzzles.  While these weren’t $1 puzzles (which were a pretty good deal), they were on sale.  When I opened the box I understood why.

Maybe I should just stop complaining and call this a puzzle review.  Maybe then I could be more objective and less annoyed.  Either way, this puzzle leaves a lot to be desired.



a poor, but effective taping
In terms of packaging, I usually want to use the box top for something.  With car models, and puzzles (when I am not looking at the picture) I need the two box parts for sorting.  As you can see with this puzzle, this is going to require some work before that can happen.  My dollar store puzzles allowed me to use both box parts, why not this one?



I did what I had to do, and taped up the box.  Although this was neither time consuming nor money consuming, it still felt like an extra step that I did not want to take.  Usually unboxing something makes me pretty excited.  Based on my YouTube video of unboxing the Statue of Liberty kit in an earlier post (72 views as of today) it seems pretty cool to most of you out there as well.  This unboxing event left me a little cold.
a lot of my work done for me



Another annoying thing was the amount of already done pieces.  When I was a kid, I enjoyed this.  It meant less work for me.  However, as an adult, I feel a little cheated.  Usually there are only one or two already connected pieces, but there were quite a few more than that in this puzzle.  It isn’t a big deal but…..



The box also contained quite a bit of box dust, or box debris.  I expect a little of this, but certainly not the amount that I got in this one.  Again, if I compare it to my dollar store purchases, those had less.
A lot of debris in the box.

Did I learn a lesson?  I would like to say yes, but only time will tell.  My instinct to purchase train themed things and to look for a good deal usually trumps the voice of caution.  I have gotten better at this, but I would be lying if I said I always took the high road.



If any of you have had similar get what you pay for experiences, please feel free to comment.  Maybe hearing it from you would make it finally sink in.

Too Much, Too Many?

How much is too much?  How many is too many?  Either every hobbyist must answer these questions, or spend a lot of time avoiding answering these questions.  If they don’t ask themselves, then surely someone in their family, or circle of friends, or amongst their co-workers will ask this question.  At first, it will be polite, but that will change…. Given time.

Hobbyists (the part that becomes the collector) start out small.  A few model kits here, a stumble across a sale means a few more, a deal at a yard sale, a trip to a convention…. I used model kits as an example, but it might just as well have been trains, die cast cars, Lego kits, DVD series, tools, doilies, stamps, hockey cards….. really, I should have just left a blank and asked you to fill it in.

You know the kind of hobbyist I mean.  This person has way more stuff than they can ever tackle, and has no desire to part with any of it… at any price.  They’ve got some great stuff, some usual stuff, and hidden away, though not less valuable to them, some very mediocre stuff that they wouldn’t show their hobby friends.

In my case, it isn’t quite that bad.  I don’t have too much of any one thing.  I’ve got more than I need (don’t we all), but I won’t be featured on any hoarding television show.  However, I probably have too many hobbies, and therefore too much hobby stuff as opposed to too much of one thing.
I am pretty good at setting limits, but I am often swept away by new interests.  Something new is more interesting than something I have seen before.  Something different is better than something I already know about.  Of course, this is also limited by cost, but that will be the subject of another blog (the title will also be “How much is too much?” but with different implications)

Recent additions to the collection
So how much/many is too much/many?  It’s a tough question.  As for model kits, more than you can build in your lifetime would seem to be a good place to start….but that doesn’t take into account new things that come onto the market.  The same could be said for trains.  More than you can run in a weekend seems like a good number.  Lego…. when you can build your own house out of Lego, you should probably stop.  Comic books…. when the boxes can’t be stored in the guest room, that should be it.  Tools….if you haven’t even taken them out of the package in a few years, the message should be clear.  The list could go on, and I really want to hear from you people and how much you think is too much for the hobbyist in your life.