Friday, 28 December 2012

Insane models!

You know how it is... you suffer from Advanced Modeller's Syndrome: you an't just build a model straight from the box... you have to detail it, add aftermarket parts to enhance it, etc.
For military, ship and aircraft kits this is by and large all part and parcel of those branches, and to some extent car modelling.  How about bikes?  Not motorbikes, but bicycles.

Some time back I bought the Fujimi 1/24 roof rack set for the racing bicycle which comes in the kit, complete with etched metal spokes.  You know where I'm going with this?  Yes... I bought an Aber etched brass detail set for the Tamiya pushbikes.  This not only includes such items as spoked wheel inserts to replace the moulded ones, but also springs for the seat, support braces for the mudguards, a clip for a handlebar bell... a brake lever... it's mad!
Anyway, I tried it out on a cycle, and started to regret it almost as soon as I started.  Sherman tank headlight brush-guards, no problem, 1/72 scale Harrier cockpit interior... fine.  However, this was just silly... so all I used were the wheels, support struts, forks and chain/gearing... plus as this was a domestic Japanese cycle I removed the crossbar and added a front basket from Kotobukiya etched metal mesh.

I apologise for the terrible photo but my camera needs batteries and I can't be bothered to go out and get wet just to get them (had I not been on my Christmas hols from work, I would have bought them on the way into the office).
If you also peer closely enough you will see the Diopark Honda Super Cub light motorcycle... which is very fiddly and way too complex for such a small model.  It makes the Tamiya bicycle seem like a walk in the park... for a start the instructions get parts mixed up, and the wheel inserts don't actually fit properly.  When I build the second one I will tackle it in a different way.

Back to the pushbike and I still need to add brackets for the pump, add a new brake handle (not the silly brass thing) and add lights.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Useful reading

When I was on holiday in Japan during November I went into the model shop near the hotel: Orion Models. It's a traditional local model shop with a mix of new and very old kits... and being Japanese, there's a cafe included in the place.
The reason I mention this shop is because on one of my visits there I picked up a 'mook' (Magazine-bOOK) which is about building dioramas for cars... specifically 1/32 Japanese cars!  Lucky me.

It also has articles on settings for Tomica minicars and Dinky scale cars... so all round very interesting.  There  are step-by-step guides which are useful, even if they are in monochrome.  The book dates from 2008, so one would expect full colour.  Oh well, beggars can't be choosers.
On one page there is an advert for a related book, a special all about car dioramas, Showa Era dioramas at that!  I felt frustrated since here was a book which could provide me with so much inspiration, yet the chance of getting a copy was pretty slim.

Then one day I was looking at Hobby Link Japan's website... and there it was!  I made sure it was under HMRC's tax threshold and ordered it.  It arrived a couple of week's later (in a box, believe it or not) and I pounced on it.  Full colour throughout, good clear photos and masses of inspiration!

While leafing through the book one thing struck me as a little annoying: the figures in the dioramas are painted in a very rough manner.  All of the care and attention paid to the cars and structures, and the realistic groundwork seems to be for nothing when the figures are so sloppy.
I have a military modelling background where diorama figures are painted with same care and attention that the rest of the diorama is treated with, so I just find it odd to see work like this.  I think a majority of the figures are either kitbashed or scratchbuilt, as Japanese civilians in this scale are almost unheard of.  Only Aurora models produce 1/32 figures, and they are of modern Japanese schoolgirls and women.

Anyway, really happy to have these book in my armoury.  2013 will hopefully be the year of my first Showa diorama.

To my readers and visitors please have a very Merry Christmas, wherever you are, and a Happy New Year!

Monday, 10 December 2012

"Seibu Keisatsu" again.

Back in November 2011 I blogged about finding a mystery car from a Japanese TV series called "Seibu Keisatsu", which ran from 1979 to 1984.  In that blog I showed the Aoshima 1/32 scale Machine RS1, basically a souped up Nissan.

Well, I found another one.  This time it's a black Nissan Skyline GT called Patrol Car, but I have seen a similar model identified as Machine X on some other sites.  Were there two different black cars?

This one is moulded in black with a sprue of clear parts, including the bubblegum light so beloved of unmarked police cars the world over.
The kit has a battery box (well concealed) for operating head-lights (not supplied) and space at the rear for a motor (not supplied).  The interior details are good for the scale and aren't compromised by the fitting of toy features.
A strange addition is a small warning triangle, which is included to either allow the car to knock it over, or to steer around.  Very strange, but a nice addition all the same... into the Showa Spares Box.

In all this is a nice model... and now I have the incentive to build the two of them!
Now where can I get some sharp-suited Japanese cops in shades?