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.

 

 

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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!

2013: A Year in Hobbies

The most popular place in Tokyo to spend New Year’s Eve–in Nanoblocks (fitting isn’t it)
 
 
Despite what people might think, Christmas is not necessarily the greatest time for hobbyists.  Yes, Christmas brings the potential of much wanted presents for the hobbyist.  It might also bring a good boxing day sale (as it did in my case) but that doesn’t mean there really is time to actually do anything.  Christmas is so full of stuff that the real hobby season may not begin until the start of the new year.

I know there are people out there who had planned and executed their Christmas shopping and preparation by September.  Those people probably have had lots of time to play with trains or build model cars.  Based on what people on my favourite train site are saying, there seems to have been lots of time to improve their models and run quite a few trains.

I have not been blessed with too many vacation days–yes, I am that guy.  They guy you see marching off to work like some lemming every morning while you are still in your PJs enjoying that first cup of coffee.  While this may sound like sour grapes (and at times it is) I was still better off than the people around here who didn’t have power until Christmas day.  Even if those people had the day off, they couldn’t have run trains or powered an airbrush.

 

The new year is upon us, and I should take stock of the –in terms of hobbies.  Life has been pretty full, but I’d rather focus on what this blog is supposed to focus on.

  • I have enjoyed blogging and while this blog’s readership has been growing slowly, the blog that I set up to help my students’ English has done remarkably well.  I have even done a good job of preparing and working ahead, so I don’t need to panic the day before a lesson is supposed to be published.
  • I have reconnected with the Nscale.net website and have enjoyed their advice and stories as part of my effort to build my n scale train layout.
  • I have built and painted several models, and can feel good about my improvement in these areas.
  • I have spent time running trains and have reignited my passion in this area.
  • I have come to love Nanoblocks, but hate that they aren’t as readily available as their big brother Lego.  While they are popping up at toy stores, they soon sell out and restocking seems to take months.
  • My passion for reading allowed me to read 44 novels this year.  While this is by no means a record for myself, I think it isn’t too bad since for a quarter of the year I had my head buried in ESL methodology books.
  • I found time to do a few Jigsaw puzzles, but wonder what to do with them after they are built.
  • I have watched far too much YouTube, but I am happy that the few things I have posted have seemed popular.  Though, honestly, I am not sure why unboxing the Statue of Liberty Nanoblock kit is so popular.  Maybe one of you could watch it and let me know.
  • It hasn’t been a stellar year for practicing Japanese, but I still feel good about my ability.
In my next blog, I will look ahead to the coming year and what joy it may bring.   Thanks for reading.

 

 

A Japanese Moment

A Japanese Matsuri, or festival, was held in Toronto today.  Things Japanese took over the Yonge and Dundas Square.  As a fan of things Japanese, and lover of Japanese food (over the top five-star cuisine as well as homey festival food) I decided to partake of the event.

It was pleasant to walk around and hear the sounds of Japanese mixed with the tones of tourists asking questions.  It was nice to smell the wonderful cooking odours of takoyaki, and karage.  It took me back some seventeen years to festivals past. to parts of my life that seem so remote from now, but really aren’t so far removed.

I think of Japanese festivals held down by the edges of rivers, hundreds of stalls (Toronto had maybe a dozen) selling all manner of grilled things, fireworks lighting up the night sky, children panning for goldfish, and people enjoying beer.  Sometimes I feel like I have come so far and other times I feel like I have gone so far.  Strange journey I have undertaken, which has, for this afternoon at least, left me melancholy.

Too Much vs Not Enough

 
 
If I didn’t include the vast amount of “things Japanese” that I am interested in, I would have to say that building things (plastic models, nanoblocks, etc) is my hobby.  I built cars, motorcycles, trucks, military vehicles, planes, ships and even buildings.  I think model kits and the like are just fantastic.
I am wondering, though, what exactly is “enough”.  I have watched some great TV programs (plamo tsukuro–a Japanese model program that you should be able to find on YouTube if they don’t delete it, which is truly fantastic) and been to some shows to see the expert work of some people.  In the show I mentioned they labour for a long time over small details.  They spend vast sums of money on detail parts.  It is truly incredible.  As stated before, I have never completed a model I was truly satisfied with.  I have had one or two really good paint jobs, one or two good ideas, maybe even one or two of my decals has actually gone in the right place….. but never anything approaching expert level.

Is it because I am not enough of a perfectionist?  As already demonstrated, I get bored easily, and quickly change to other hobbies and interests.  I don’t really want to do the same thing for too long a period of time.  I have had a couple of models on my workbench, and I am thinking that I would rather just chuck them out, than complete them (though that won’t happen, they may have to go back in the box for a while).

One of my friends is a perfectionist.  He will spend a lot of time on one model.  He has been working on one warhammer figure for a long time now. (I won’t tell you how long, because in all fairness, I have no idea)  Needless to say, when he gets done, it will be fantastic–show worthy.  When I get done, I am not sure if it is even personal showcase worthy.  Sometimes, I just chalk them up to a “personal experiment.”  Which is probably a euphemism for mistake.

Spending a lot of time and money on a hobby isn’t really bad.  When you figure the dollar value versus the time you spent, there are certainly other interests that cost more.  An hour or two at the pub costs more than a model and paint.  Which one takes more time….well for me, the model will last months.

The question remains.  How far should you take it, and what are you willing to settle for?

Japanese Cargo Trains

 
 
I just wanted to put some shots of some of my other Japanese cargo trains…..in case there were some train fans out their reading this blog.
 
I think these mini tankers are kind of cool.  I don’t know what they are called, but do like them.  The ones on the right are undecorated, but someone put the sticker numbers on them already.  I will have to paint over them and apply some new letters–sounds like a project.
 


An overhead view.

I am interested in Japanese cargo trains for a couple of reasons.  The first is that I seem to have an over exaggerated interest in anything Japanese.  If you’ve been reading this blog, you already know that.  The second is the sheer novelty of it.  These cargo trains are quite different from the ones we have in North America.  The third is that their way of doing things is different.  You don’t need to have a bunch of different cars, just different cargo add- ons.  This is the same rail car as in previous shots, just with different card put on top.  Seems pretty cool to me, but I would love to hear from other N scale railroaders about their opinions.

Most of what I have seen in hobby shops around here are just Japanese bullet trains.  Nobody seems to have cargo trains.  It is too bad, because they are cool.

An Easy Place to Have a Conversation

I don’t spend a lot of time talking to random people in public.  I am friendly, just not that outgoing.  I don’t really want to bother people.  The funny thing is, that usually doesn’t apply to visits to the hobby store.  In the hobby store, or at hobby shows, I find myself drawn into all kinds of conversations–sometimes not even about hobbies.

 
 
If I had to guess, I would say that there is something special about hobby shops.  The atmosphere lends itself to conversations that you might not otherwise have.  This is true of other hobby related shops as well.  I have had some rather interesting conversations at comic books stores…but since everyone has seen episodes of The Big Bang Theory, this is no longer a nerd only shared mystery.  Some people might think that the show is an exaggeration…..how wrong they would be.

The hobby shop, or comic book shop, or some other specialist shop, is an easy place to have a conversation.  Most people have too much knowledge to contain within themselves for too long, so they have to let it out.  Most of the time the advice I have received has been wonderful and amazing.  Some times I took it, and sometimes I didn’t–sometimes that was a smart move, and sometimes I regret not taking it….such is life.

The most interesting of these times for me were in Japan.  Hobby nerd that I am –I wish I could say hobby professional, but until this blog is seen by thousands I day, I can’t really do that….. but I digress.  Hobby nerd that I am, I have been to hobby shops in Japan.  I have been to model shops, train shops, electronic shops.  Yes, I have been to the nerd Mecca of Akihabara.  My Japanese is pretty good, but I always feel better when I can strike up a conversation in a hobby shop.  I come away feeling pretty good about my skills, and I have usually picked up quite a few words to add to my vocabulary.

For those of you who are even less outgoing than myself, but still want to strike up a conversation, I suggest wondering something out loud.  It should work like a charm.