Monday, February 17, 2014

My Little MGB Project

(What? You thought I meant a little project on my full-size MGB?)

At some point last year I picked up an old Airfix MGB plastic model cheap off e-Bay while I was perusing MGB automobilia.

It's been at least 30 years since I last built a plastic model, but since I was hunkered down and trying to shake the remnants of last week's cold over Presidents' Day Weekend, I thought it would be fun to try to put it together.

There was obviously only one coffee mug I could use for this project.  Notice the unpainted body.

Some models have the pieces cast in the color of the model, including the black and chrome trim parts. This one has all the pieces cast in either plain grey or clear plastic. This sort of model is more work because you need to paint everything, but it also lets you paint everything whatever color you want. In a burst of creativity, I stuck with the cute yellow and black color scheme on the box.

The first pieces painted and in place: the rear springs (left) and the front suspension (right) including springs and disk brakes have been installed on the bottom.

The radiator, engine, transmission, and driveshaft are now painted, assembled and glued into place. I'm particularly proud of having gotten the fan belt, the fan, and the two wee little SU carburetors painted and glued on correctly.

A lot of model cars are 1:24 scale, but this was only a 1:32 scale model. The smaller the model, the higher the degree of difficulty, and this was tricky. Some of these pieces were really tiny. The four pieces above the penny are the spin-off caps for the wheels.

More tiny pieces: clockwise around the penny from the top: windshield, steering wheel, convertible top, rear tonneau cover, dashboard, front grill, seats -- and then the truly tiny parts -- gearshift, trunk handle, two door handles, two headlights, and two vent windows.

What's that you say? You don't see the trunk handle? I'm not surprised. It's the teeny tiniest of all the parts, about the size of the date on the penny.

Wheels and tires on. Interior ready for the seats.

The gearshift, parking brake, and seats are all in.

The steering wheel now painted and in the dashboard.

And now the dashboard and the whole entire inside the car.

The engine is in. This car's a runner!

The final result:

All-in-all, I'd say a fair review would be, "A driver. Paint's a ten-footer, maybe a twenty-footer."

I have to admit that a thirty-year layoff did not improve my model-making skills, but this was a fun project for a quiet February weekend.

It also confirmed that the world didn't lose a great watchmaker when I went into indexing, instead.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Signs of a long, hard winter

A series of wind-blown snowdrifts greeted me at the door Wednesday morning:

I present to you excerpts recovered from the journal of my expedition to fetch this morning's newspaper:

DAY 1: We set out with a snow shovel and a steely-eyed determination to read today's Oakland Press....

DAY 43: Frostbite claimed Hastings last night.

DAY 44: We ate Hastings.

DAY 45: Expedition chef made a rather festive pudding out of the remnants of Hastings. Morale raised all around.

DAY 49: We ate the chef.

DAY 52: We ate the snow shovel.

DAY 56: We ate the photo of Mrs. Hastings....