Going Back to the Hobby Shop

A quick check on this blog reveals that I haven’t written anything in eleven months.  That is far too long and kind of sad.  After all, this was my flagship blog.   I even transferred it from one platform to another.

The subject of today’s blog is the train shop.  I visited George’s Trains today for the first time in over a year.  And, well, things seem a bit off.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I knew something just wasn’t quite the same.

They’ve moved some products around.  The N scale stuff that I was interested in had moved and there were far fewer pieces around.  The HO scale stuff was still pretty abundant, but there did seem to be a bit less of it.  They still had a huge selection of magazines and books for sale, but it just seemed like there was less.

I also noticed that the prices of stuff had really jumped.  While the engines had always commanded a high price, the rolling stock seemed to be moving in that direction also.  A lot of what I saw was double the price it was five years ago.

I walked around in a bit of dismay.  Is this what the internet has done?  Or is this just the reality of the hobby now?  Are the aging train lovers not being replaced by a new generation?

Maybe I am one of the causes of the problem.  I walked out of the store without buying anything.  I also walked out without really considering buying anything.

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

nanoblocks and books 016

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

skytree 004

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.

skytree 014

Construction

skytree 010

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

skytree 009

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.

skytree 5

This looks awesome–and expensive.

skytree4

I would love to hear your comments or questions.