Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Models update

Here is an updated list on the 1/32 car models I have in my stash waiting to be built:

These are all Arii:
1955 Toyopet Crown RS
1956 Mazda T2000
1957 Daihatsu Midget
1958 Subaru 360 (actually a 1960s version)
1958 Daihatsu Midget
1960 Mazda R360 Coupe
1961 Toyota Publica UP10
1961 Datsun Bluebird 1200
1962 Mazda Carol
1963 Honda T-360 Roof Type (green on the box, but all T360s were May Blue)
1964 Prince Gloria Super 6
1966 Hino Contessa 1300
1969 Suzuki Fronte SS
1971 Honda Z GSS
1984 Daihatsu Mira Walk-Through Van (Awful, toy-like model)
Isuzu BXD-30 Bonnet Bus

Aoshima "Seibu Keisetsu" Machine RS1 (actually 1979 Nissan Skyline RS Turbo with custom parts)
Airfix Vauxhall Viva HA
Airfix 1966 VW Beetle
Arii 1950 VW Beetle
CMK VW Type 1 (okay, really 1/35 but close enough)
Airfix Ford Zodiac Mk3 (this is a partial model and will be built using parts from an OCAR slot racer and some scratchbuilding)
Airfix Triumph Herald x2
Scalextric Ford Cortina Mk1 (converted from a Slot car to static model using Airfix Escort parts)
Revell Ford Cortina Mk1 (as above, but will become a "Carry on Cabby" Glam Cab)

I have also managed to get some period figures, but these are few in number at the moment and aren't Japanese (except for the Fujimi workmen and bus crew set, and the less-than-brilliant Aoshima resin bus passenger sets), so will require some creative use of 1/35 heads and the like.

Back home

Well, Friday arrived and it was time to say goodbye to Ryoko and Japan again, but I think I will go back in October.  I have other things to deal with in 2012, but a year without a trip to Japan is now unthinkable.
I arrived back in the UK on Friday night, tired and exhausted... and more than a little sad.  But all holidays have to end, and the good thing is waiting for the next one to arrive ^_^

I had hoped to see more old buildings and cars than I did, but finding that obscure Seibu Keisatsu 1/32 Skyline kit from the late 70s was a nice bonus.  If you are ever in Akihabara look for the shop called "Golden Age Toys" on the main road, over the road from Tam-Tam Hobby.  Other than toys from as far back as the 60s they also have the odd ancient model kit, and heaps of Godzilla and Ultraman figures.
They don't open on Tuesdays, so watch out for that one - caught me out once haha.

So now that I have the time I should complete the Mazda R360 so that this blog actually has something to show as far as completed models go hahahaha

See you soon!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Almost a success

Today I decided to wander around Minami Nagareyama and the surrounding areas here in Nagareyama with my camera.  After failing to spot any old cars in the weeks previous I had given up seeing anything from the 70s let alone the 50s and 60s.  Then, only 5 minutes from my flat I spotted this beast!

Parked next to another imported car (a Jaguar... GO UK hahaha) was this monstrous Dodge.  I have no idea of the model, or even the age, but I would guess maybe early 1950s.  I've certainly never seen anything like it.
(Having done an internet search I can confirm that it's a Dodge Coronet from 1949.  On the bonnet there is a mascot in the shape of a ram's head.  This thing is built like a tank!)

So a success of a sort.  It's NOT Japanese, not even right hand drive, but it IS old, and it IS in Japan, so I suppose it counts as a Showa era car, haha.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Surprise in Akihabara

To console myself after failing to photograph any old cars on the roads I went into Akihabara.  It's a 20 minute ride on the Tsukuba Express from Minami Nagareyama to Akihabara TX station.  Now I would normally go straight to Yodabashi Camera's model kits section but today I decided to take a good wander around the Electric Town, as it's known.
Not for me were the Maid Cafes, the game and manga shops... no, for me it was Tam Tam Hobby and Golden Age Toys.

Tam Tam Hobby is a well-stocked shop on two floors of a modern building, but 1/32 cars are limited to the Arii kits, plus some of the Fujimi and Aoshima accessories.  I bought a 1/12 Fujimi Honda Super Cub from there, not cheap but a nice model.  I also got some modelling materials I can't get at home.

Then I went to my favourite shop in Tokyo: Golden Age Toys.  This is a cramped little shop, old-looking and a bit overcrowded with 2 people in it, lol.
Anyway, apart from typically Japanese action hero figures they also have old model kits... and I found something I have never heard of.  This:
After some research back at the flat I discovered it's a Nissan Skyline from a series called "Seibu Keisatstu", which was on Japanese TV between 1979 and 1984, so it fits in with the Showa era nicely.
From what I can tell it was a police series set in Western Japan and featured guns, explosions and cars... some of them heavily modified.
Apart from a fleet of normal cars they also had three armed Skylines and a custom Super Z.
From the shell retainer in the box Aoshima did quite a few of these models in 1/32 scale:
I have to get that B&W patrol car kit...

One thing about this, and probably the rest of the series, is that they came in two forms: motorised and display, which is what this kit is.  However this means they have omitted the motor and added some extra parts to fill the gaps.  Similar to what Arii have done with the older kits.

Here are some more photos.

Here is a page from the instructions showing the computer console which replaced the passenger seat.  I will have to add some detail to the rear of the driver's seat as, as is common for this scale, it's hollow.  Not a good look.

The bodyshell is nicely detailed and features moulded name badges on the rear.  The clear parts are unmarked and there are cut-outs for the roof-mounted twin machine guns... why police need machine guns is beyond me, lol.

The rather scary looking Western Police Department team.  The guy top left looks like a Yakuza!  Sunglasses were obviously in fashion during the late 70s and early 80s, haha.

It would be nice to find some more of these, but only the static ones.  I found a site about the series, and here is a link to that site showing the same car as this model:
They even had some sort of heavily modified Nissan Safari 4x4, and what appears to be a very small US armoured car.  These guys meant business!

I shall now have to research this series so learn more about how the car was used.  For something like this some background detail would be a LOT of help.

Sunday, 13 November 2011


Today we went to a place called Kamakura, two hours away by train - well, three trains to be exact.  Very very tiring.  However the trip was worth it as Kamakura is an amazing place, home to dozens of temples and the giant bronze Buddha.
As you can see the day was glorious... around 25C.  Very warm.

From the main perspective of the blog, however it was a relative failure.  There just aren't any 50s and 60s Japanese cars running around as far as I can tell, at least not in urban areas... so I have to admit defeat.

However, for diorama settings I managed to snap some nice reference type photos.
This is an old post box... faded and a bit battered, but still in use.  Arii produce this in the Showa diorama sets, and painting one up to look like this should be relatively easy.
The base of the Arii box needs a concrete texture and the shell itself could do with roughing up for cast iron bit it's a good start.

This would also make a nice setting for one of the Arii cars:
Although not 100% unchanged since the Showa era there's enough here to at least get the right look.

And the Honda Super Cub, maybe one of the most famous scooters after the Italian Lambretta.  Tomica do one of these but it's really a toy and needs a LOT of work to bring it up to anything like a good enough standard.

Well, leaving Japan on Friday so I still need to keep my eyes open!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Random stuff...

We went to the Saitama Railway Museum today and saw a lot of trains... obviously, including the type featured towards the end of "Always Sunset on Third Street 2", but lurking in a glass case was this diorama featuring a large station.
I think it was to 1/32 but I can't be sure.  The cars certainly looked like Arii and Gunze Sangyo kits.

I really hope that these aren't the only 50s and 60s cars I get to photograph this year T_T

May 2009 and I DID get to photograph these from the Edo Museum in Tokyo... I actually forgot about these photos:

This is of course a Subaru 360, which, like the Arii kit is a later version of the car.

This is a Datsun pick-up but I don't know the model name/number.

In May 2010 while staying in Ueno for three weeks  I saw this relic from the past, certainly a Showa era building and probably abandoned.  It's just down from the covered Satake Dori shopping centre:

It would be fun to try and build a version of this in 1/32 for a background model.  I can only guess at how long it's been left like that.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Another Day

Going to Tojo-Tei the other day I finally saw some Showa era cars - a yellow Isuzu Bellett, and what looked like a 70s Skyline.  The Isuzu was going in the opposite direction to us so never really got a good look at it, but the Skyline was in the next lane to us for a while.  A lovely deep metallic blue... this thing had clearly been restored.  Really smart-looking, and totally different in concept to Ryoko's 2005 Toyota Raum, which is a large estate car.

Today I went to Sensou-Ji, the huge temple and shopping street in Asakusa.  While walking along I saw people looking back where I had come from and taking photos... I turned and saw this...
My camera was out of my backpack faster than an otaku at an AKB48 signing!  This is Sky Tree, a structure much, much taller than Tokyo Tower.  I couldn't tell you how far away the new tower is from Asakusa, but with the haze it must be quite a bit.

Sensou-Ji was pretty much like it had been the other few times I had been there: loads of tourists, schoolkids and older Japanese people.  The shops running up the entrance to the temple are a bit strange... I couldn't imagine St Paul's Cathedral for example allowing shops lining the entrance to the main doors.
I had a good look and there's all the usual tourist tat: Ultraman masks, PVC kaiju, over-priced key-rings and mobile charms, headbands, plastic swords and more rice cakes than you could eat in a life-time.

Here is a side gate to the temple:

I still have over a week and a half in Japan so I am determined to find that elusive little Subaru 360, Prince Gloria or Daihatsu three-wheeler.

Friday, 4 November 2011

So far unseccessful

Well, finding Showa era buildings and objects in urban Japan isn't quite as easy as I expected.  When I was staying in Tokyo there was an old building near the hotel, but here in Chiba Prefecture I am having no such luck. Never mind, I'll keep hunting.

Not 1/32 scale, I know, but I found this Kyosho 1/43 Mazda Cosmo Sport in the guise of a MAT Car from TV's "ULTRAMAN"... if only I could find a 1/32 Cosmo Sport.  This is a beautiful little sports car... almost like a flattened Mazda R360, lol.

We had one bit of, er, excitement here in Minami Nagareyama last night.... a 3 point quake.  It was the effects from a 4.9 tremor which hit Ibaraki prefecture.  To me, up here on the 5th floor of an apaato building, it felt like being on a ship at sea when it hits slightly rough water.  No dramatic shaking, just a rather unnerving wallowing sensation which set my vertigo off.

More later... Oyasumi ^_^