The Honda CB750F

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Just a quick progress report on my hobby of model making. I decided on not starting the Junyo aircraft carrier because I wasn’t sure what colour I should paint it.  Instead I decided to do a Tamiya motorcycle.  I have always enjoyed these builds.  I also appreciate that they supply some of the wiring for the engine.

I got the parts cleaned off and prepped for painting.  I also took a good look at the instructions.  I find it never hurts to look at all of the steps first.  I might save you a headache in the end.

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I am energized by the work I have done so far.  Hopefully, I can continue without becoming discouraged.

 

Musee Du Louvre in Nanoblock

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After quite a hiatus from building nanoblocks, I decided to spend some time on this lovely labour day putting one together.  Having purchased two French landmark kits, previously (see here).  I chose to tackle the Musee Du Louvre kit.

Here’s what’s in the box.

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A quick look at the instructions reveals a basically symmetrical kit, with a few unique pieces.  It seemed straightforward, so I jumped in.

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It was a pretty enjoyable build, despite my hands being unaccustomed to such detail work–it has been a while after all.

Here is what it looked like around step 5.

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The most interesting step featured those unique parts–which I had seen when I built the space shuttle.

Hey, look, those mini figures finally have faces.

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Here is what’s left in the box (and a few brown transparent blocks I hadn’t put into the box (sorry).

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They rank this at a level 3 in difficulty.  I would have to say that it was much easier than that.  I like the unique crystal pyramid, and the faces on the “people”, but nothing else stands out for me.  On the back of the box it is noted that using the nanoblock LED pad, you can light this up.  The pictures of this look spectacular.

The interesting thing not noted in the instructions is that the placement of the pyramid is noted on the baseplate.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this until I built the whole thing and got it backwards.  It is no big deal as it is not seen–but if they went to the effort of doing that, they should have noted it in the instructions.

I give this one a 6.5 out of 10.

 

 

Hello Kitty

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As I reported in my last post, I was given a nanoblock kit that was purchased at Dollarama.  Today was the day I decided to make it.  I undertook this task as I had quite a few free minutes.  It took hardly any time at all.

At 110 pieces, this is among the smallest kits I have built.  A quick perusal of the instructions revealed it to be a rather straightforward build.

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Here’s what comes inside the kit

 

I am not a huge Hello Kitty fan, but I like that there are many different things you can build.  The product should appeal to many people and since there are a large number of Hello Kitty fans, it only makes sense.

It seemed to have turned out well and there were quite a few leftover pieces to go into a future build.

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As usual….nanoblocks rock!

Nanoblocks at the Dollar Store

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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?

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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This looks awesome–and expensive.

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I would love to hear your comments or questions.

A Capsela By Any Other Name

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I sometimes get the feeling like I want to do a project. This could be home renovation, fitness, or something else. Sometimes, I just want to do something with science. I start by looking at scientific type toys. The problem is, at the typical toy store, they toys aren’t really that scientific. The real problem is that the science store closed, and nothing has opened to fill up the gap. If there is something online, and they have free shipping within Canada, please let me know.

When I was a child, there were so many cool science toys. I have already written about them, so I won’t bore you (feel free to read that story here). I still have my old Capsela set–though I cannot find the battery holder and motor probably doesn’t work. I know I am not the only one who thinks this way because it was featured in Make magazine recently. What they didn’t tell people is that they toy has been rereleased in Japan.

The name is iqkey. Here are some images.

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According to Wikipedia, the new and old don’t interconnect–but I am sure we could MacGuyver something, or 3Dprint something. It will only be a matter of time.  This is being done by the Bandai corporation.

The immediate differences that I see are that they plastic float attachments aren’t round, but some form of polygon. The kits also come with remote controls–but what doesn’t these days.  It looks pretty interesting and fun.

I am going to order one of these kits soon and then I will do a review of the old versus the new. At the very least, I am quite excited about this.

Nanoblocks Shinkansen

keitatsu and shinkansen 009I haven’t written about nanoblocks lately, but I haven’t given up on them.  I was fortunate enough to receive a couple of sets from Japan and I thought you would like to see them.

The first is the shinkansen. Since I love trains and Japanese trains in particular, this person thought that this was a natural gift.  I agree one hundred percent.keitatsu and shinkansen 011

The parts came in quite a few separate bags, and rather than spend a lot of time sorting them, I just hoped I wouldn’t lose any pieces while building.  There weren’t any special pieces exactly, but there were some nice translucent brown pieces–there were a couple of leftovers, so I will probably find some use for them someday.keitatsu and shinkansen 019

The train turned out alright, though I don’t think it was brilliant.   The shinkansen is a smooth aerodynamic train, and that really wasn’t represented by these blocks.  It is unfortunate.  Perhaps the next version will include some smooth top pieces.

I enjoyed building it, but I would keitatsu and shinkansen 016have liked a bit better of a resemblance.  Perhaps I am just being too picky.

There were a handful of leftover or spare parts.  And of course, I have to put the decal on the train–I just thought I had better wait on that.  The room needs some dusting before I tackle that project.

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These are the leftover parts. Quite colourful aren’t they?

Hobby Hacks: Hobby Hack Number One

 
While I am waiting for my model helicopter parts to dry, I thought I would share something with you.  I have decided to call this a hobby hack.  These are useful tips that one can use while making models or other hobbies.

I can’t remember exactly where I bought these clips, but I am pretty sure it was a dollar store.  I can’t guarantee it was in Canadabecause it might have been from a 100 yen shop in Japan.  Sorry.

I am pretty sure I bought them to clamp something together, or hold something together while the glue was drying.  The funny thing is that I have never used them for that.  I think the clips are a bit too strong and could harm or scratch something (probably not, but you never know).  Instead I found a cool use for them.

They make a great stand for parts sprues while they are drying.  Let’s call this hobby hack number one.

Car Dreams

It may sound corny, but one of the things I want to in my life is build a Cobra replica car.  Knowing my track record with such projects, I should just work hard, save my money (maybe win the lottery) and just buy the thing.  The project would probably take too long and too much space in the garage…. but I just can’t let go of the idea.

Why the Cobra?  That and the 1967 Mustang are my two favourite cars.  It probably isn’t a coincidence that Carol Shelby had a hand in both of those cars.  They are both beautiful cars.  It also isn’t a coincidence that neither of these cars is suited for Canadian weather.  If I had them (and could afford the insurance) they would both be summer cars.  That would mean having them and my winter car….and people say money isn’t a solution.

I came close to buying the 67 mustang once.  I went to look at it with the hopes of purchasing it, but the owner, despite making the appointment, didn’t stick around to show it to me, or even talk to me.  I guess he didn’t like the cadence of my voice over the phone.  Luckily the car was parked outside his house (not a great option in winter in Canada).  His neighbour talked to me about it, but he didn’t give me the hard sell and I was able to leave with my money in my pocket.  Realistically, it wouldn’t have been a good purchase.  I was in the middle of my studies and within a 16 months would be off to Japan.  I didn’t know that at the time, but it is funny how fate works out.

I have never been close to that car again, but I still think about it.  I have seen them build those cars on various TV shows, and every time I have been a little envious.  I really need my own TV show.  They could let me build my dream car and document my mistakes (and probable injuries) for everyone to see….. I had better start working on my pitch.

In England, there is a car company called Caterham, which allows you to build one of those funky roadsters you see in British TV shows from time to time.  It comes as a kit and you assemble it.  It sounds like a dream, except that I watched those guys from BBC’s Top Gear get fed up and argue constantly about it.  They said that you might get satisfaction out of building it, but everyone else around you would go completely bonkers.  Of course, according to the video you can buy it assembled for an extra 2000 British pounds.  I am not sure what would be best.

Winter seems to have started early this year (there is snow on the ground), so I guess I had better put off the idea until spring…or I could just let it nag away at me all winter.  Such is the life of a dedicated hobbyist.

Rummaging Through The Bookstore

I had a chance to look around the bookstore yesterday and I have a few observations I want to share with all you hobby people out there.  And, whereas I might whine about them gearing up for Christmas on my other blog, this will be a more positive blog.

The Gift of Literacy

I have to admit, shopping at a bookstore is one of my favourite things.  I don’t do it as much as I used to because I generally take advantage of the wonderful library system we have in Ontario.  While I used to love having a whole library of books, I have moved so many times that I really don’t need that huge library any longer.

Oddly enough, I have met so many interesting people in the bookstore over the years.  This includes my university bookstore, Kinokuniya in Japan, and the soon to be closed World’s Largest Bookstore in Toronto.  Just yesterday, I met someone very interesting… but I digress.

I just wanted to say that books and things you can buy at the bookstore make fantastic gifts.

Just for Christmas

I noticed that there are a lot of interesting gift packs for Christmas.  I came across a catapult kit, a boomerang kit (I was sorely tempted….but then I would have to wait until spring…..but I am still tempted.  Besides it’s orange.  I might be able to find it in the snow.  Besides, it might come back to me……) learn guitar kit.  The list is endless.

Add to that, there are so many interesting book sets.  The complete Calvin and Hobbes is now on sale in paperback for those of you who couldn’t justify getting the hardcover version.  I saw so many interesting things that I want to go back today and spend more time looking around.  Maybe I will.  Maybe I will pick up the whole Ender’s Game series just so I can watch the movie and not look like a complete newb.

If you’re shopping, the bookstore is a good place.  Sadly, hobby books for trains, model cars and the like don’t seem to get much shelf space in these stores.  I guess the hobby shops have sewn up that market, but that really isn’t fair.  I would think that it would be easier for the hobby inclined to send anyone wanting to buy them a gift to the bookshop rather than the hobby shop.  For some, the hobby shop is a little intimidating.

Sorry for rambling, but I roamed around the bookstore, and now you’ve roamed around my thought process….. I am off to the bookstore to look around some more.