Sunday, December 31, 2017

The scale model haul from Japan

We fly home to Australia in 48 hours time. I’m starting to consolidate my model haul.

We need another suitcase!

Various bits laid out on the floor to work out how big a suitcase we will need.
My wife has also bought some fabric, so I’m sharing half a new suitcase.
I love Japan.

Happy new year to you all, best wishes for 2018!



Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas from Tokyo!

The place we are staying in Tokyo is literally three minutes walk from the Tamiya Plamodel Factory shop. Coincidence? Tonight is Christmas Eve, and I recorded a special video for you  all from outside the Tamiya shop.

Thank you all for your support this year people. It’s been amazing. Have a great festive season, and see you all in 2018!

Video link: Christmas Eve outside the Tamiya Plamodel Factory shop in Tokyo.



Wednesday, December 20, 2017

An amazing model store in Kyoto: Super Kids Land

I randomly found this place the other day. It was freezing cold, and we were looking for an indoor playground for my daughter, saw the sign “Super Kids Land” and went in. Instead, it was a playground for me.

It’s part of an electronics department store chain named Joshin. The range and prices just blew me away, it outshines anything we have in Australia and here it is just a section of a suburban department store!

Video link: The scale model range at Super Kids Land.

Cheers from Japan,


Thursday, December 14, 2017

New video from Japan: Visiting Tamiya Plastic Model Corporation Headquarters

Konichiwa! Hello from Shizuoka, Japan, the plastic model capital of the world! Yesterday I visited the corporate headquarters of Tamiya Plastic Model Corporation, which for me is model nerd nirvana. It did not disappoint. I was the only person in there for two and a half hours, and I loved every moment of it.

Shizuoka is rather a nice city. I expected a sleepy regional city, something like Wollongong or Geelong in Australia. Instead, it is a bustling metropolis, it is massive! It also has incredible views of Mount Fuji - the view from our hotel room is something I could never get tired of. I’m sitting here right now watching bullet trains whizz past with Mount Fuji in the distance. It is slightly off the tourist track: in three days here I have only seen one other Westerner (for me, this is a bonus!).

Me, fanboying it up.

I recorded a video of my visit to Tamiya HQ. This is something I’ve dreamed of since about 1983 (if you have seen my previous video about my ancient 1980s Tamiya catalogue you would already know that I am a long-term Tamiya fanboy). I got to visit the company archive, which I found utterly fascinating. Seeing all those original models which have been featured in every Tamiya catalogue since the 1970s was a real buzz. Plus there are original Shep Paine dioramas, which I did not expect! It is also incredible to see where the company, and indeed the entire hobby, developed from.

I also saw their museum of historical vehicles, a room full of their current products, and visited the Tamiya shop.

Apart from some slightly unimpressive lighting in the archive room (which I get, it is probably a conservation measure) and the fact that there was so much more there I would love to see (there are eight floors of manufacturing, offices, tribute rooms and research departments, how interesting would all that be to see?!?!) I was utterly impressed with my visit. If you’re ever able to visit this part of the world, I totally recommend checking out Tamiya head office.

Two points to note about the video:

  1. Sound quality isn’t the greatest as Japanese offices aren’t the sort of place you can rudely and loudly record video commentary - I’ve done what I can to bump it up, but apologies in advance.
  2. I had to split the video into two 15 minute videos due to upload constraints, and my new iPad thinking that 15 minutes is the maximum limit you can upload to YouTube.

Video link:
A visit To Tamiya Plastic Model Corporation Headquarters In Shizuoka, Japan.



Sunday, December 10, 2017

New video: Scale model science-fiction scratchbuild - Part 3

It's a bit of a quick and dirty video update, but I wanted to make sure I didn't leave without a video for you this week. So here is my update on the progress of "The Seahorse" (previous videos are Part 1 and Part 2).

It's essentially a video version of my last blog post.

Keeping it quick today - I've got packing to do!

Video is embedded below, but in case it doesn't work here is the link:
New video: Progress on my scratch build Sci-Fi 1/35 scale model - Part 3.



Thursday, December 7, 2017

Bloody slow progress on the hull of "The Seahorse"

With all the preparations for my trip to Japan, I've not done a great deal of work on The Seahorse. But the hull is almost complete now. It has been a fiddly process adding various pipes and bolts and bits and pieces to make it look suitably rough and jerry-rigged.

I have to say, I have enjoyed the scratch building of the hull a lot less than I expected. Scratch building the engine module was heaps of fun, I loved putting all those disparate pieces together. But for some reason, the hull exterior has been a bit of an uphill slog...

exterior hull of scratch built sci-fi scale model "The Seahorse"

exterior hull of scratch built sci-fi scale model "The Seahorse"

exterior hull of scratch built sci-fi scale model "The Seahorse"

exterior hull of scratch built sci-fi scale model "The Seahorse"

Partly I think it because the plastic of the bottle I used is a bastard to work with. It is a little "greasy" - plastic does not want to bind to it easily. normal plastic cement does nothing to hold styrene to the bottle surface, so all items have been glued using CA glue, but even then some pieces have come off over time. As you can imagine, this makes me a little nervous - I don't want bits falling off once I have painted and weathered this bad boy...

Also, the curve of the surface has made sticking hull plates on a lot more problematic than I expected. Items running vertically up the hull are fairly okay, but anything that is remotely wide and runs horizontally around the hull is a lot trickier to get right. That has been a bit of a bugger to deal with.

Anyway, after all that I feel it's at the stage of being ready for primer. Once that is on, we will see just how many currently invisible defects are revealed by the paint!

I am also ready to paint the engine module, and start some weathering - now that will be fun compared to the hull.

I also feel pretty confident that scratch building the upper cabin will be more fun, and I'm really looking forward to adding all the various finer details: hanging chains, pipes, ropes, etc will be great fun and hopefully will really bring this to life.

So I might get a chance to prime and move on a little this weekend. But I'm also meant to be packing for Monday's flight to Japan - let's see what gets my priority attention!



Monday, December 4, 2017

Dave's Model Workshop is visiting Japan!

I'm admittedly a bit of a Japanophile. Their food is incredible. Their beer is really, really good. The people are polite and on my last trip back in 2012 I found them to be incredibly friendly and helpful. Plus, Japan has given the world incredible models: I present to you Exhibit A, a life size Gundam model, and Exhibit B, "Girls und Panzer" model tanks. Oh, did I mention I also love how weird Japan is?

Life size Gundam mecha model in Japan
Exhibit A.

Exhibit B.

And so, in a rather exciting piece of news: I'm visiting Japan in a week! This time next week my plane will be touching down in Tokyo!

Dave's Model Workshop scale model pilgrimage to Japan

It's a combined family holiday with my partner and 5 year old daughter, and also a model nerd pilgrimage for me to visit the headquarters of a couple of Japanese model manufacturers in Shizuoka (hello, Tamiya!) and also check out all the amazing hobby shops in Tokyo and Kyoto.

Watch the video to get more of an idea of my itinerary, but if you have any suggestions for model-related places I should visit, or any scale model scene stuff you'd like me to try to report back on, do please let me know in the comments below.

Video is embedded below, but in case it doesn't work, here is the link:
The hobby and scale model scene in Japan - any recommendations?



P.S. I'll be travelling for three weeks, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to upload much in the way of videos or blog posts while I'm roaming. I'll try my best, but if the Workshop gets a bit quiet between now and new years, I promise I'll have heaps to share on my return! Thanks you lot - Dave