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.

 

Hobby Store Questions

Today, I had time to ponder a question. What do you want your hobby store to be?

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Do you want to find it in your shopping mall, in a dark corner of a subway concourse, in a suburban strip mall, or tucked away in an industrial section of town. I can find hobby shops in all of these places in the metropolitan Toronto area.  Prices seem to be cheaper in the industrial area, but less convenient to get to, and somewhat dark.

Do you want it to cover the full diversity of hobbies, or do you want it specialized? I prefer the specialized stores, even though they tend to be somewhat overwhelming in nature.  I think I just prefer the directness of the advice rather than the some general knowledge.

What made me ponder this question. Today I went to a hobby store that I hadn’t been to in many years.  They have moved shop from a bigger location or they shrunk from two stores to one.  I am not sure and I don’t want to speculate.  They have a lot of stuff crammed into the one store and it got me thinking.

They had trains (HO and N) model kits (gundam, cars, military) RC (boats, planes, and cars in multiple scales). and rocket kits.  Of course they had paint, glue, tools, fuel, spare parts, balsa wood, and even a few jigsaw puzzles.  Really, a lot of stuff…just nothing I was looking for today except some paint.

It was still fun to wander around the aisles and ponder what I could do next…if I didn’t have so many projects and hobbies to do next.

 

A Question of Paint

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So, I am going to build the Tamiya 1700 Junyo waterline aircraft carrier.  It’s a nice little kit and I am pretty excited about it.

One small, slightly worrying snag, though.  The kit art makes it seem like the ship is green.  When I consulted people online, they also claimed that it was green.  However, the instructions clearly call for the hull to be grey–I even checked the Japanese instructions and they agree that it should be grey.

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What should I do?

 

When Something Needs Stirring…

 
 
We’ve all said it.  You’ve said, I’ve said it.  Like I said, we’ve all said it. You buy average tools all the time, and you buy quality tools only once.  Or maybe you said, the right tool makes the job easier.  The question is, do you really believe it?

I was doing some painting yesterday.  I noticed the paint needed to stirred up.  So I reached for my official Tamiya paint stirrer.  Yes, that’s right.  I have an official paint stirrer.  I could have used a tooth pick, but I employed the paint stirring tool.

At a 300 yen price tag (actually I bought it for 240 yen…and I won’t tell you where just in case Tamiya takes their recommended sales price overly seriously) I could have bought a box or two of toothpicks.  All I can really say, is that it was definitely worth it.  Two hundred and forty yen is just shy of three Canadian dollars, when tax is figured in.  Of course, I bought it in Japan, so if I include the price of airfare the overall price really skyrockets.

It isn’t so much that it works better than a toothpick, or that I couldn’t have MacGyvered something similar with a coat hanger, but I just feel that much more purposeful.  I feel like I am really working on a project and that the project is not working on me.  It is one less thing to worry about while I concentrate on the real task.

Sometimes you just need to have the right tools.  In my various hobbies, I have spent the money sometimes, and cheaped out sometimes.  Sometimes I have been creative and found very workable things at dollar stores.  Who knows?  All I know for sure is that the money I spent on the paint stirrers was not a waste.

Japan and Things Japanese



 a collection of great Japanese magazines
I don’t want people to think I have an unhealthy obsession with Japan.  However, after looking at my posts, I am forced to conclude that obsession is a pretty good word to describe the relationship between Japanand myself.

Before anyone starts jumping to conclusions, my obsession does not get anywhere near either cosplay or AKB48.  My obsession seems to take other forms…many other forms.



A fantastic (but sadly gone) magazine
Anyone who has been reading this blog had probably already concluded that Japanand things Japanese have a strong place in my life.  A lot of my hobbies and hobby equipment come from Japan.  This includes Tamiya and Fujimi model kits.  It also includes Japanese language learning materials.  On top of that, I love some Japanese sports like Sumo, or the Hanshin Tigers Baseball team.  Don’t forget some of my trains and die-cast miniature cars.



This passion which borders on obsession has always been a big part of my life, and did not end with living there for several years.  It has survived at least five return visits and the whole plethora of experiences that go with them.  Though I don’t live there, I keep several reminders of my time in Japan.



A list of the Sumo rankings
These reminders almost represent an inadvertent collection, but, in fact, aren’t.  They represent a very conscious decision to keep these mementos around.  Some are classy, some are a little tacky, and some are just cardboard boxes that once had candy in them.  It is a collection whose only purpose is to make me smile at some fleeting memories.

I am sure I will continue to amass things from Japan(including the wonderful, wacky and weird) I only hope I can show some restraint.



delicious caramels

A Need for Speed

Okay, I admit it.  I love car racing.  There I said it.  I have come clean.  I know what you’re going to say.  I have heard it all before.  I know all the jokes about going around in circles.  Say whatever you want, it won’t affect me.  I know what I like, and I am comfortable with that.  I told you people at the beginning that I loved cars, so really, this shouldn’t come as a shock to you.

one of my “to do list” models
Generally speaking I prefer either touring cars or open wheel racing.  So, yes that means I sometimes have to get up very early on a Sunday and watch the races from Europe.  It also means I must scour the internet looking for races that are rarely broadcast on TV channels I get.  A cable channel devoted entirely to fast cars sounds wonderful, but why did they have to put it in the top tier TV package.  How I long for the day when I can choose the 15 channels that I watch and pay about $1 for each of them.  Quake in fear cable companies, that day is coming

What spurred this blog topic was my local paper.  Every week they have a car section and the reporters get to drive a whole bunch of cars that I never will. This week one of the reporters went to a racing school that is located a reasonable distance from my house.  In between fits of jealousy and rage, the fire, the desire, the urge (perhaps it would be too cliché to say the drive) for this hobby was reignited (maybe if I had an editor he or she would want me to use puns like, it got my engine started…. perhaps it’s good for all of us that I do not have an editor)

I love the look of these cars
I guess there is a speed demon lurking in most of us.  I love car chases in movies, and I love the roar of the engines.  I have fantasized about racing Porsche 911 down an empty highway, foot to the floor.  These thoughts haven’t surfaced for a while (I guess that is what life on a commuter bus does for you) but this newspaper article did it.

So, I did what anyone who had an internet connection would do,  I googled it.  Then of course reality set in.  They have long and short courses.  They have a cool track, great facilities and Van Diemen Formula cars, and a cool program.  The pictures are fantastic and the lust for speed is boiling in my blood.  Everything is perfect, except that to go to this racing academy I would have to give up eating for the next two years.  I grant that it would be worth it, but somehow…… after two years without sustenance, my body would be too emaciated, and I probably wouldn’t have the ability to turn the wheels.
vintage and cool

Reality is cruel.  It gives passions, dangles them in front of you, and then watches as you vainly jump for them–it is like playing monkey in the middle with two taller older brothers.

I could write a letter to the editor, hoping to wipe that smug smile off the reporters face, but what good would that do.  It isn’t his or her fault exactly (I was too angry to check if it was a man or woman), but my frustration level makes me want to lash out.  I probably won’t feel better until I get my own dose of speed.

Just in case somebody wants to know.  Currently, my favourite kind of racing is The British Touring Cars, followed by Endurance Racing (most notably the 24 Hours of LeMan) and then the Australian V8 SuperCars.