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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Two Kinds of Hobby Shops

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Years of shopping for hobby stuff has taught me a couple of things. One is that you can find useful hobby stuff in non-hobby stores.  This can be the dollar store, the hardware store or even the grocery store.  The other important thing, which was reconfirmed this weekend, is that there are two kinds of hobby shops.

There’s the one that’s brightly lit, with organized shelves and clear product areas. The store has the latest products, the least amount of dust and staff who use price guns to stalk the aisles and tell you what something costs.  They also have some cute toys for the youngest children and a good chunk of things for display.

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The other is like the one I went to. The lighting in insufficient and the windows, if there are any are covered over with displays, shelves or curtains that don’t get washed all that often.  This leads to lifting the products up to get a better look at them.

There are clear signs of organization, it’s just more general. Military models in that corner, cars in that corner, trains over there behind the wall, N on the left, HO on the right.”  You might find things in the wrong place, but that is part of the fun.  You might even find a bargain.  If you can’t find it, you ask and the person can take you right to it, and maybe tell you a story about how long they have had it for, where they got it, or how they sold twenty one snow January day.

In addition to all this, the store might have a whole bunch of stuff that you can’t find anywhere. The store I went to was no exception.  It was a treasure trove of stuff.  They had:

  • a whole pile of Tyco and AFX track for sale, including risers and lap counters.
  • a multi pack of N scale figures from Woodland Scenics (more than 16 sets bundled together for a bulk sale–the plastic on the outer pack had yellowed from years of indirect sunlight–but it was still for sale.
  • every scale of train from O right on down to Z.
  • Apollo, Gemini, space station and space shuttle rocket kits.
  • monster models and dinosaur kits.
  • educational models
  • cool prints of train artwork
  • a large number of slots car scales and kits (analog and digital)
  • a whole pile of tools for crafting your hobbies, including spray booths and choppers
  • RC car parts (though I didn’t see any RC cars)
  • New and vintage magazines (some real vintage ones)
  • used electronic parts for trains, slot cars, power boats and ….

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I could go on listing all the things I saw, but the truth is that I probably missed a whole lot more. I spent more than an hour there just wandering around trying to buy something.  The only problem is that I really just didn’t want to.  There was nothing I could justify spending money on because I have a whole room full of half complete or unopened things to do.  I am in a bit of funk and I don’t know how to get out of it.  I thought wandering the hobby shop would help, but it only made me more confused.  Starting a new hobby or a new project is fun…but seeing all the other incomplete projects makes me sad. (I did consider a race car set, and I was looking for a large scale 1964-67 Mustang Kit…and some train cars……..

I walked away with my money in my pocket….for now.

Revisiting Puzzle Agony

Though I swore to myself I would not do another jigsaw puzzle, that’s exactly what I did

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What cruel circumstances led to this? Well, it is a combination of forgetful ambition and the words of a parent who seemed eager to do the puzzle.

The forgetful optimism allowed me to forget the agony of the last puzzle and think “Hey! A puzzle would be fun!” The words of my Mom made me think that she would like to do a puzzle together to, in her words, “keep me sharp.”  Well, she took one look at the pieces and said, “There really small.”  I guess that is what I get by buying the puzzle at the Dollar Tree.  I certainly wasn’t expecting perfection, I just hoped it wouldn’t be as bad as the last one.

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In the end, it wasn’t terrible and I finished it rather quickly. Despite not containing trains or train tracks or similar stuff, it was a pretty nice picture.  Now all I have to do is find somebody who wants it.

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.