Monday, 29 August 2011

More Showa models

While detail work on the Mazda R360 continues I have been hunting for more Showa era models and found this set from Aoshima:

It is basically a Tuna cargo set and will look pretty effective in the back of a Daihatsu Midget. 

It contains:
6 containers for frozen fish (cages where ice is placed along with the fish)
3 large Tuna, frozen, no fins, gills or tails
3 complete large Tuna
6 Bonito, or Skipjack Tuna
3 pipe barriers and 3 metal barriers.

I have also managed to find Japanese figures from Fujimi, in the form of their Bus Driver/Tour Guide and delivery men set.

These will be really useful for the display models, as well as some to convert. 
Now if only I had a Midnight Ghost Tour bus, lol

Friday, 26 August 2011

Another "Trick" Publica update

I found this photo of Yukie Nakama and in the background you can clearly see that the Publica has a white roof, so my suspicions were correct!

As for the car's actual colour it looks like Vauxhall Reed Green, so that's the colour I've ordered for it.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Publica Videos

I found a couple of videos on YouTube showing the same Publica as the version in "Trick".

The one shown in this first video has a "Trick" poster in the background, but this isn't the screen-used car.  Apart from the colour of the bodyshell, the seats in Professor Ueda's car are red fronted.

This is a cute advert for the cute little Publica... 1964 Deluxe but is still pretty much the same as the 61 version.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Publica: Quick update!

I was watching the first of the "Trick" specials last night and for the first time I noticed that Ueda's Publica has a WHITE ROOF!
At first I thought it was the bright sun making the roof lighter, but there was a scene under a motorway fly-over and the roof certainly looked white.
I will need to go back and check the other DVDs more carefully, but it really did look white.

As for the Arii model, in advance of properly starting on it, I have lowered the wheels and fixed them in place, it now has a better look... the underside will need additional work now, but the end results should be worth it.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

More on the Toyota Publica UP10

While looking for pics of Professor Ueda's little Toyota on the net I came across this photo of one in an Australian dealer museum.  Colour-wise it the same as Ueda's and is in really pristine condition.
Where it differs from the vehicle used in "Trick" is that the seats in the screen-used vehicle are a red-brown colour with white piping on the edges.
However this gives a really nice view of the colour of the car... one that isn't going to be too easy to match... but I shall do my best.
As the professor says in "Trick":


Which roughly translates as "Bring it on!"

I'm really looking forward to this model ^_^

Monday, 22 August 2011

More on accessories and figures

I have added a second Japanese police officer... this one is wearing an M1 helmet, as frequently seen in giant monster movies of the 50s and 60s.
Like the first one he's based on a Tamiya US MP, with a Hornet Asian head and a Bronco holster.

This is an older man carrying a parcel.  A Hornet Asian head on a MasterBox civilian body and hat.  Although nominally a WW2 figure he can pass for a Showa era older man pretty easily.

Here are some of the Arii and Aoshima diorama parts.
A typical posting box of the era.  Like British ones it is deep red.

Arii's tobacco shop frontage... pretty basic but it can be turned into 
something more impressive with hard work

The Aoshima Soba noodle stand... I like this little model, and it
would look wonderful in a rural setting.

A Showa era telephone box.  I need to add an actual telephone
into this... should be fun!

Top is Arii's original sheet of paper labels.  You had to cut them out
and glue them into place.  Below are the normal Arii waterslide decals.

And here is an example of the type of figure Arii supplied with their dioramas... pretty rough, and simply not good enough for modern tastes.

Arii 1/32 1960 Mazda R360 kit - part 5

This is just a quick update to show the chrome trim and black framing on the 'cabin' of the little Mazda...

Not much more to do with the bodyshell then I can complete the interior.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Diorama Accessories for 1/32 Japanese Cars

Most modellers in the west, when building dioramas and display bases are pretty-well catered-for in terms of buildings and diorama clutter.  Resin accessory sets from the likes of Verlinden can supply items such as street lights and cobble streets.
Newer companies such as MiniArt produce ruined buildings and scenic bases in plastic for reasonable prices.  You can basically cater for anywhere in the world using accessory sets intended for military models... except Japan.

My intention is to build several Showa era diorama bases for the cars... but what to use?
Luckily Arii comes to the rescue again.  Some time ago they produced a series of models called "Memorial Showa Diorama".  There were basically around three separate, distinct scenes, but Arii simply mixed and matched the parts to produce a lot more.  Among the more memorable items are a telephone box, post box, a small tobacco shop front, a big torii, and traffic lights, all from the 1950s-1960s era.
Here are a couple of these sets:

Lately Arii have combined several of their smaller car kits with the dioramas to produce ready-made scenes, but they have left out such items as the trees and grass flocking.

The dioramas were well-made and really give the feeling of another era.  Luckily I still have a few and bought some more with cars, so I have plenty of parts such as wooden fencing and post boxes, lamps, etc.
Luckily they have omitted the worst parts of the models - the figures.  They were terrible!
Another improvement is the replacement of printed paper markings with proper decals... a major step forward.

For more rural settings we can call on Aoshima, and their Edo and Warring States periods diorama sets.  I only have the Edo set, and, like the Arii sets they are a mix of great structures and awful figures.
In this set we have items such as a lean-to, benches, some gate-posts and a soba noodle stall, plus things like bowls and chopsticks, wooden buckets and even a tree stump.  Also supplied are some fluffy fibre for foliage, some flocking material, thin dowel and thread for fence-posts.  There is also a substantial, if featureless vac-formed base.
The set supplies a lot of goodies for those countryside roads and dirt-roads to some creepy village where mysteries can be uncovered... sorry, too many episodes of "Trick".
This is the set I have:

Anyway, these models are really the only readily available sources for Japanese diorama parts, at least in this scale.

In 1/24 it's a different matter - Fujimi go out of their way to produce all manner of items for modern day Japanese cars, from telephone boxes to traffic lights, from Japanese road signs to pavement barriers.

Once the Mazda has been completed I will work on a display base and the Toyota Publica in tandem.

Arii 1/32 1960 Mazda R360 kit - part 4

I've started on the decals and chrome trim of the car now.  Using Bare Metal Foil for the chrome parts, which I haven't used in a bit, so getting back into it... love this stuff!
The decals are a bit problematic as they are reluctant to come off the backing paper... but I got them off.  The 'M' logo for the bonnet was a pain... if I build another of these I'll sand the logo's base flush with the bonnet and just apply the decal to the flat surface.

I am still a long way from finishing the shell, but the little thing is starting to look like a car.
I made a licence plate up to match an old publicity photo of a real R360... not in this colour scheme but at least I know it matches the car type and era.

Hopefully by the end of the weekend I should have the chrome trim completed, lights painted, rubber seals painted and the other details done.
Then I can fix in the windscreen and, at long last, start painting the interior.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Arii 1/32 1960 Mazda R360 kit - part 3

Well, I sprayed another coat of the Racing White and allowed the paint to dry for a full 24 hours.

Tamiya have supposedly changed the formula of their acrylic spray paint, and it was with some trepidation that I masked the roof off and sprayed it Humbrol Gloss Crimson, which is more maroon than anything else.  It was only when I got back inside and allowed the paint to dry that I noticed IT!
Here in Scotland we have a tiny mosquito-like insect called a Midge... one of the little buggers had landed on the roof at some point, got stuck in the soft paint and died.  After a few choice words I removed the tiny corpse and rubbed the resultant roughness down... and exposed the cream!
I then sprayed the roof maroon again after another 24 hour wait.

Here is the car as it stands now... looks rough, but the Bare Metal Foil and black seals around the windows will hide all of that.

While I wait for the main colours to harden properly I started painting the rest of the model.
Here are the window wipers and the wing mirror - I may cover the mirror in BMF (Bare Metal Foil) or leave it... not sure yet.

Next job is to paint the interior!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Showa era police officer.

Since one of my cars will be a Japanese police car I thought it would be an idea to have a copper or two to go with it.  Arii do a Japanese policeman as part of one of their 1/32 Showa diorama sets but saying he's terrible is being kind.  Truly awful would be a more accurate description.  The figures in these sets leave a lot to be desired.  Like the Aoshima samurai and Edo period figures they are pretty rough and probably very old.

So I thought about how to do it and came up with this combination of parts:
Tamiya:- US MP with service dress and boots
Hornet:- Asian heads set
Masterbox:- peaked cap from US officer.

I used a drill to bore out the figure's neck and glued in the Hornet head, which in turn had a lump of scalp taken off to allow the cap to fit.
I have a second one to make, but he will have a white helmet on rather than the cap.

Here is the first so far:

My primary reference for these are the Godzilla films of the 50s and early 60s.

Arii 1/32 1960 Mazda R360 kit - part 2

Well, today I sprayed the bodyshell in the cream I chose for the scheme.  Tamiya call it Racing White, but it's actually cream!

In the photos it looks more like white, but that's photography for you!  It'll need another coat (it's got some tiny bits of grit in the odd place), but I really like the colour.

Next the chassis/interior will be sprayed and then I can start on the details!  Yay!!!

Arii 1/32 Toyota Publica UP10

 I bought this kit purely because it features in one of my favourite Japanese TV series: "Trick", starring Hiroshi Abe and the beautiful Yukie Nakama.
Abe plays the eccentric Professor Jiro Ueda, a man whose sole mission in life is to debunk paranormal claims - the only problem is that he is also fooled by the tricksters.  To aid him he recruits the young magician Naoko Yamada... reluctantly.  Since she used illusion and slight of hand in her daily profession she knows how to spot a fake.
Together they combat fraudsters, charlatans and dangerous would-be gods... and Ueda claims sole victory for his series of books.

Ueda's eccentricity also extends to his car, a light green 1961 Toyota Publica.  It is in spotless condition, but does have the unfortunate problem of the doors coming off, resulting in Ueda walking around with the driver's door over his shoulder at times.

The Arii kit is one of the ex-LS kits which had a motor, so there are the problems of low ride height. little in the way of suspension detail, metal shafts and slots in the rear wheel arches.  Interior detail is good, with the rear seat seemingly added after the decision was made to make these models rather than unbuilt toys.

Once the Mazda R360 has been completed I will work on this one, finishing it as Ueda's car, complete with the correct number plate. 
This is the model as a shell, and a very poor photo of the car from my TV... impossible to find screen caps of the car on the net.

In this shot Naoko Yamada (Yukie Nakama) is carrying the passenger door... I had forgotten they switched doors in one story.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Arii 1/32 car kits - general review

So far I've bought eight of these kits and they are generally really well made, but a couple of them have issues.

The 1955 Toyopet Crown and the Mazda R360 were both designed as unbuilt toys - well made, but still toys.  Both have shafts connecting the wheels rather than the more detailed suspension of the others I have.  There are slots and clips where a motor (probably a pull-back clockwork type) would have been fitted.  Additional parts and call-outs in the instructions suggest removing or hiding these areas.
The problems arise when the cars ride lower to the ground than they should.

I don't know how old the kits are but in some respects the moulds are showing their age - flash at mould separation seams, foggy transparencies, which in some cases are also scarred and pitted... these are a couple of examples.

On the other hand the details are still sharp and the accuracy is generally very good.  Where there are different versions available the kits are moulded with alternate parts, such as grilles and roof parts.  Where the kits have suspension parts these are tidy and sturdy, allowing the model to sit squarely on its free-wheeling tyres, which are moulded in rubber, unlike Airfix 1/32 cars, the only other vintage models I can compare them with.

And then there is the subject matter - where else can you find classic Japanese cars of the 50s and 60s?  Yes, very niche here in the UK, but they are in some cases unique designs of vehicles never or rarely seen on Britain's streets.

I will also be finishing some of these models as vehicles which featured in Japanese TV and film.  For example, a 1958 DAIHATSU MIDGET which features in "Always Sunset on Third Street" and its sequel... and a 1961 TOYOTA PUBLICA which was used by Hiroshi Abe in the TV series "Trick" as the personal transport of Prof. Jiro Ueda.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Aurora Model Schoolgirls in 1/32

Good quality figures to go with 1/32 cars are pretty few and far between, so I was overjoyed when I saw some Japanese schoolgirl figures in that scale on eBay, as well as a Japanese policewoman, maid and several others.
The figures are sculpted, cast and sold by one man, SOLO (Kiyoshi Tsuda) both through eBay and his own site, Aurora-Model (  Please take a look at his site... he produces beautiful models!

I have so far ordered three of them, all modern Japanese schoolgirls.  They are cleanly cast with minimal parting lines.  The metal used is a good grade and retains a lot of detail.  Here are my figures assembled into their main painting sub-assemblies:

Posing with an Arii 1/32 Bonnet Bus.

Posing with Arii Showa diorama accessories to show size.

I really am taken with these figures... now I just need a modern Japanese car for them to pose near!  I just wish he would produce some Showa era figures to go with Arii's cars and diorama sets.

Mazda R360 dashboard

I looked at photos of the real car's dash and the model isn't too far off.
One thing missing was the grab handle from the passenger side of the car.  On the model this is just a square lump, so I added a new one from my spares box.  I knew those old military models would come in handy one day (^.^)

As you can see I still have a radio and ignition yet to add, as well as steering column controls.

Next I need to add pedals to the interior and then that's the model ready to paint!  The interior scheme you see here is what my model will have... nice (*^.^*)

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Arii 1/32 1960 Mazda R360 kit

My intention was to build the Suzuki Fronte SS first but my recent purchase of the Arii 1/32 MAZDA R360 has sidelined that idea.
This tiny car was just looking up at me with its puppy-dog headlights and begging me to build it, so I gave in.

Here is the blurb from the side of the box (typed up exactly as on the side, grammatical errors included):
"Mazda used to produced 3-wheel trucks, and the first passenger car made by Mazda was the model 'Mazda R360 Coupe.'  This model was mounted with 4-cycle 356cc, air-cooled 2-cylinder, 16hp engine, and the total weight was only 380kg.  For this reason, it could run at high speed.  The later model 'Carol' was produced on the basis of this model.
"In 1960, the model 'Mazda R360' was first introduced, but due to its limited number of seats it was less popular as compared with other models."

Basically the Mazda R360 was one of the first Kei Cars, which were a class of car with an engine size of  360cc or smaller.  Although tiny it actually had four seats, but leg room in the back was at a premium.  The wheelbase was smaller than 6' and it was lucky to reach 60mph.
The styling is beautiful, reminding me of something a child may have drawn in the 50s had you asked them to design a small car of the future.

Looking at photos of the real thing the model is really pretty accurate.  The most obvious error is the ride height.  When this kit was originally sold by the model company LS it has either a pull-back motor or a friction drive; either way built from the box the car looks as though it is carrying a heavy weight.
I added some split styrene tubing to create dummy axles and permanently fixed the wheels to these.  This allows the car to sit at the right height.

Next job will be to fill in the slots in the rear wheel arches where the motor axles were originally meant to reside.

I still have a long way to go, but here is the car mocked up and into it's main sub-assemblies:

And a photo of the real thing... and this is the colour mine will be at the end:

And to show how small this thing is, here is the model with an Aurora-Model 1/32 Japanese schoolgirl for comparison: