Saturday, 5 October 2013

Mini Me

Firstly I know this is neither Showa nor 1/32 scale, but I had to break with the format at least once.  Now that I have my own car, and being a spare time modeller I had to get a model of my Jazz.

It's Tamiya's 1/24 kit of the Honda Fit, which also recognises the fact that in certain countries (such as here in the UK) it's called a Jazz.

It comes moulded in red, grey, black and clear styrene, with chrome parts and red tinted clear parts.  Parts, as one would expect with Tamiya, are cleanly moulded, without flash and with lots of detail.
I have to confess that I have built very few models in this scale, but from what I can see it looks like a very good kit.

To aid with painting the black surrounds to the windscreen, rear window and side windows Tamiya supply a set of masks to allow the part to be sprayed neatly without much worrying about a neat job.  Masks are supplied for both interior and exterior parts.

You also get a fuzzy flocked sheet of grey material for the carpets... which is a really nice touch.  Nice one Tamiya.

Decals include the usual Honda badges, instruments and showroom plates... but they also give you both FIT and JAZZ decals for the rear door... so no freehand painting for me... hurrah!

The wheels are spot on and the chrome work is flawless... shame my own wheels have kerbing nibbles on them, hahahaha.

I also have a can of Tamiya TS-58 Light Pearl Blue which, while not an exact match, is pretty close for the Ice Blue of my own buggy.

There are a couple of differences between this and my full size Jazz - mine is the mid-range model and has indicator lights built into the mirrors, so I will need to address that wee issue.  The tailgate has a key-hole, as does the front passenger door handle, so I will need to sort those out with some putty and fine sandpaper.

I have already made up a set of number plates to match my car (including the small 'Arnold Clark' text at the bottom), but I still need to make up an Arnold Clark sticker for the back window, a tax disc, and the little Japanese safe driving charm attached to my radio control knob.

I will also incorporate the damage to the passenger side mirror support... making the model as close to my own as possible.

In addition to the Tamiya kit I also found this curious G-Slot body on eBay... in 1/32 scale.  The shell is moulded in dark smoked clear plastic, overpainted with pearly white and black for the window surrounds.

Like the larger model the wheels are lovely replicas of the real thing.

I won't bother with an interior, you can't see anything anyway, but I will make a rudimentary chassis with axles and build this as a purely basic little replica of my car.  The dark windows prevent me from building it as a detailed model, but it will do as a nice little model to sit there and look cute.
Again it will be painted up in TS-58 but this time I WILL have to hand paint the JAZZ name on her rear.

So, apologies for this very self indulgent post, but I felt I had to do it.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Not Showa, but...

I am now the proud owner of a 2004 Honda Jazz (which is the UK version of the Fit).  I am a happy bunny ^_^

She'll get me from A to B during the week, and when I want to she can take me wherever I want to go.  Ah, the freedom of the open road.  A Japanese car for a guy who builds models of Japanese cars... FAB!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013


Just a quick update - my final hurdle to being a car owner has been beaten: I passed my driving test on Monday 19th August.  So now rather than dreaming about buying a car... I CAN buy a car!

Happy days.

And back to model making...

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Takuji Yamada's Diorama Works mook

I ordered a wonderful mook (magazine-style book) from Hobby Link Japan called "Old Days But Good Days" which is basically a series of larger scale dioramas featuring scratchbuilt figures. A majority of the models are set in the Showa era, 1950s and 1960s, although some are 1940s and some are modern, set after the Showa period... well, one of them is.

Here are some photos:

There's so much inspiration in here... I'll never be able to scratchbuild figures like that, but the dioramas themselves are certainly within my skill set... I love this book.

I would also like to thank my former Japanese teacher Yushin Toda for helping me search for Showa era photos on the net... why didn't I think of using a JAPANESE text rather than English?  Baka!  Thanks Yushin, my reference library just increased many, many times.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Experiments with trees

A while back I tried to make trees from wire with foliage added from laser cut paper leaves from Japan... and they didn't look that hot sadly.  However, over the last little while I've seen trees made from something called Sea Foam... and I wondered what Sea Foam was.
Here's a horticultural description from Suttons, the seed people (Site link):

"A delicate-looking plant whose myriad tiny stems start off a soft green and rose and gradually turn a deep russet red as they mature in autumn. A perfect filler, it's also highly prized by model makers as it can be dried and used to simulate shrubs and trees! Height 30-35cm (12-14"). Sometimes known as tumbleweed, Telaxys produces masses of fine stems interwoven to form a foam-like display!"

So, I ordered a pack of Sea Foam trees by Gaugemaster from (over £20... bit steep, I thought, but had to try them.)  They arrived a few days later (this morning to be exact) and I opened the large box with anticipation.  It was jammed full of fragile-looking dried plants that looked like trees just sitting there.
This is a typical example of one of the stems...

The curved appearance of the tree is unfortunately common to this box... and possibly to most boxes from what I've read lately.  I don't know how to deal with this yet, but I'm going to find out.  As you can see from the image below they have masses of fine 'branches', ideally suited to tree making...

So it was time to experiment.  I sprayed a stem with Treseme hair spray, and sprinkled on some Noche summer leaves...

I then gave the tree another spray to fix the leaves...

For a first go I'm more than happy, but there are some issues I need to address before I can start to add these to dioramas.  They are very brittle: I've read that soaking them in water and glycerine will keep them springy without being brittle, so might try that.  The curve... I don't know yet... that's a tricky one.
As they are they work better in small scales as medium to large size trees...

... but for 1/35 and 1/32 I may need to use a thicker section of branch from a dead plant to act as a trunk and add the Sea Foam to that as branches, much as Toho did when they made trees for the Kaiju films of the 1960s.
It's a learning curve.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

How much is that doggy in the window?

1/35 and 1/32 scale dogs are a bit hit and miss.  Arii's old dog is okay, but rather bland.  Tamiya and Riich produce some lovely sheepdogs (German and Collie)... and there are a few other in both plastic and resin, but in most cases the dogs are either just standing, lying or sitting... nothing exciting.  However I found a lovely little dog made by a firm called Doug's Original.  It's part of a double set with a goat.  The beauty of this model is that the dog is actually barking, and in a suitable posture...

He's quite small, so either a spaniel or a little beagle, but certainly a lovely little one-piece resin figure.

Monday, 5 August 2013

More flowers

Just a quick update...

The second set of HO scale flowers arrived from Germany today, so I tried a couple out in 1/32, and they work beautifully.  I can't say what they represent, but they add colour and variety to a rather drab scene... just like real life ^_^

Like the daisies last time they have green moulded stems and separate flowers moulded in (in this case) shades of purple and lilac.  I like them.