Summer is a great time to be out and about. Even I, as much as I love to sit in the basement and bash plastic, can’t help but hear the call of the outdoors when the weather’s nice. Now, sometimes that means I have to cut the lawn, but most of the time it ends up as some kind of road trip. If I don’t have a lot of time, I’ll just bust out Faust and make a local hobby shop tour around town. I’m lucky; London still has enough shops, and far-enough flung, that it’s a good workout for the car and a fun tour, even if I don’t find anything (which is rare)! Of course, there are longer road trips too, and that’s when I get to enjoy shops I can’t visit every day.
During the mid to late summer, my family went to Michigan, which meant I once again had a chance to hit Richmond’s “Ashbrook’s Hobby Centre”. My brother and I also went and visited our friends in Hamilton, so within the span of 9 days we’d gone from one end of my “plastic corridor” to the other. Adding to the excitement was a toy show in Ancaster, on our way back from Hamilton. Of course, there was plastic (and supplies) to be had at nearly every stop. It thought I’d put it all together here, so we can all enjoy it and think back to the great days that are now getting a little cooler, and a lot shorter!
Unlike my last MI Haul, this ‘hobby shop crawl’ netted not just cars, but a few other interesting things too!
As it always seems to be (and I’m okay with that), I did come away with a lot of cars. My brother got two, and they were all interesting. It’s not just me that loves those gawdawful MPC customs that were the staple of the ‘80s; my brother has also been corrupted and sucked into the dark void of Harry Bradley’s (and his henchmen’s) extreme decal extravaganzas! As if to prove the point, he has always seemed to be a bit jealous of Wild Breed, even though he was kind enough to give it to me as a birthday present. Well, he got his own back with the equally ridiculous “Snake Bite”! It’s basically Wild Breed in red, with different decals. That means it’s ridiculous, and ridiculously awesome!!!
In truth, that’s not quite right; it comes with the hellishly lame stock-for-’79 double-three-spoke wheels. Not much screams “cyber future loser” like those things, which makes Snake Bite’s decals and accoutrements all the more ludicrous. Speaking of ludicrous, the other kit he got was a custom of the Gen 3 Camaro Z-28. I have the original, stock ’82, but this takes it further. So much further. Amazingly, the folks at MPC didn’t even come up with a catchy name for the Camaro. But they did customize it, with pipes, a whale-tail spoiler, headlight covers and a new nose trim, that, to both our eyes, looks better than the stock bumper by far! To cap it off, it has radical sunset-ish stripes and is moulded in “Sparkling Blue”. Of course, that means metallic blue plastic that has a very uneven, swirly distribution of metallic pigment in it.
Not to be left behind by my brother, I managed to snag yet another MPC Monza! It is a doozie, too, playing second fiddle to NOBODY when it comes to extreme mods and ridiculous stripes! These are even Harry Bradley ™ stripes, so you KNOW they’re crazy-good!!! (Well, crazy, at least.) The every-so-appropriately named “Long Shot” Monza is very much a reskin of Street Spider, with some of the Black Max thrown in. So, why’d I buy it? Um… MPC Monza. That’s why. Like there has to be another reason? How about that it’s orange, the decals are good and the windows aren’t melted (or at least not much)? If that’s not enough, then you had better move on. We can’t be friends, I guess.
If that doesn’t get your juices flowing, maybe the sleek new C4 Vette will! When that thing first came out in ’83 it sure set the modelling world on fire. (Note: there is NO official ’83 Vette. They have NOT been in uninterrupted production since ’53. Rant over.) I can’t begin to list all the early C4 Vette kits that were made, but I’m sure someone has. Monogram put out a 1/24 Snap-Tite, among others. However, since they had the mould, they figured maybe they’d get some “little sisters” to buy a kit when big brother dragged them to a hobby shop. Thus was created the “Barbie Silver Vette” model kit. There was a “Silver Vette” toy for Barbie, so it only made sense to kit it, right? In fact, the only things that make this kit “Barbie” are the few decals that clearly say Barbie and the callout for a purple interior. Interestingly, since Barbie is 1/8 (roughly), this thing is really about 1/3 scale, since it’s a kit of a toy. Mind. Blown. Despite odd beginnings, it seems competent enough for a snap fit kit, and it’ll make Vette-Guys neck hairs bristle, so it’s all good!
That wasn’t the only wheeled hardware I came upon south of the border. I also picked up this neat 1/48 scale SS-12 Scaleboard. Even for me, that’s a weird departure. I don’t like big armour (as I’m learning, painfully, on the Takom Rhino), but it was so weird. The only other replica of this little-known nuclear death machine I’ve ever seen was released in the Micro Machines line in the middle-late 1990s. They mis-ID’ed it as a Scud, which is kinda dumb, because they moulded it correctly. The Scud missile is exposed, but the Scaleboard travels in a shell, to keep it protected. (Of course, that also allowed the Soviets to make and test a few missiles, and then threaten the West with a bunch of empty containers… Did I just call someone’s bluff?) Thankfully, the kit’s not immense (but it is large), and I like the “plane scale” of 1/48. It goes with little I have, but at least I have a feel for it. It’s a simple kit, too, without gobs of internal detail Overall, something that most people won’t recognize and that will make show-goers say “Huh… WTF?”: Perfect!
I also managed to snag a new scooter! I have no idea what it is, but I got it in Ancaster from a guy who had some cool stuff. It was a scooter, it was $2, and it came with rims. So, really… can’t turn that away. It’s small, too. I know it’s 1/24, and I could look it up, but I haven’t yet. When I go to build it. I know from building the Gemma that it’ll be a fun little “elbow greaser”.
I also got my hands on some Japanese hardware. The first was one of the many variants of the Hasegawa P1Y1 “Ginga”; in this case, it’s one of the night fighter variants. The Ginga was a high-performance dive bomber and recon plane that was developed to be equivalent in performance to the Zero. That means it’s similar in a lot of ways to the Mosquito and He-219 Uhu. It’s a beautifully streamlined plane, and the kit includes all the stuff you need to make the bomber. I might do that, since the night fighter isn’t very well armed or particularly different to start. Sadly, while the box art is neat, it doesn’t give a clear impression of the shape of the plane, which is very sinuous and looks far more like a race plane than anything else.
Not to be forgotten, I had to pick up the new Revel boxing of ICM’s 1/72 Mercedes-Benz G4 Staff car. This is my third G4! I have, of course, the Marui kit, as well as the 1/35 ICM. I do love a good Hitler Car, and anything with six-wheels gets my attention. It was natural that I’d pick this up at the first opportunity; thankfully there was one in stock in Dundas, Ontario! It’s limited by its size, but that also makes it attractive; I don’t have many 1/72 cars, and it’s in scale to nearly all my planes! I do hate that there aren’t proper Hakenkreuzen on the flags. Since it’s a Revell Germany, and I don’t want to discuss how eliminating history is so hypocritically Nazi-esque, I’ll just leave that alone. I have lots of third party sheets should the need arise.
Below the G4, you’ll see the end of my summer’s work, two interesting, and very different Japanese cars. Both are Aoshimas, and my favourite of the two is the ’72 Skyline. I have to give the Japanese credit; they really knew how to steal American “big car” styling and adjust it appropriately to their little cars. That Skyline is awesome-looking, and looks like a mini-Challenger or something. Being a Japanese car kit, it’s not super detailed and is only a curbsider, but that’s okay. I’ve never seen the kit before, and I wasn’t going to turn it down for that, or a lack of original wheels. Yes, this one doesn’t have original rims with it. It does have some very nice custom rims, though, so I’ll have to build it and enter it as a “custom” in shows, if and when it gets done. No biggie.
The other car, the Corolla, struck me because it is one of those awesomely mundane, easily-lost-in-a-crowded-parking-lot kind of car. I guess it’s a sporty version, but I don’t care. It epitomizes the bland, soullessly-styled mid-80’s Japanese three-box sedan just about as well as any other car I’ve seen. Sure, it has a sunroof, and it’s not ugly. However, paint this thing Champagne or Light Ice Blue and it’ll be right at home choking up the lot at a K-Mart or Zellers in 1988. It also has those SEXY AS HELL coal oil bumpers, and you know from my Civic that THAT is something I love to hate! Add in those dork-monster square wheels (how the ‘80s said “futuristic”) and clearly inappropriate “Twin Cam” decal stripe, and it’s a definite keeper. It’s not a bad kit either, but I have to say it again: SEAT BACKS!!! Gaaah! Why are there no backs to the seats in Japanese car kits? MPC was kicking your butt, Japan. C’MON!!
So, there you have it. Good weather, good company, good food and good sprue. If that’s not what makes a summer worth remembering, then I don’t know what is. Well, maybe when my little nephew saw the stack and went “Oh no, Uncle Adam… MORE MODELS?!”
I think he’s been hanging around his grandmother too much…