Sunday, January 23, 2011

On building model cars

In my last blog, I briefly discussed how limited time is for the modern father and tried to use that as an excuse for not finding more time to write. Naturally, the very next day, I am writing about yet another hobby that I have taken up. Model car building.

The first model I built was not even my own. I was in Standard 5 (Grade 7) and my best friend had received a model Apache helicopter for his birthday. I would love to say that it was the greatest thing we had ever done but I had an amazing childhood and unfortunately making a model helicopter did not rank high in our Top 100 experiences. The next model was a solo effort many years later. It was a Ford Estcourt RS Cosworth Rally Car. I used that experience to learn how cars worked. Using plastic cement to glue together the suspension made me understand the mechanics of the modern day car, and that incidentally could explain my two left feet when it comes to anything related to automotive repairs.

Destiny has re-united me with this old hobby (really long story involving a mosque, an old train set and a Honda NSX) and I purchased the Tamiya model kit for a Nissan Skyline R34 GTR V-spec or as it is often referred to 'Godzilla'. The GTR got it's nickname from it's complete dominance in the Japanese racing circuit and this was the last GT-R that was supposed to be built. Nissan thankfully went back on their word and the GT-R (sans the skyline badge) was reborn. I have had the pleasure of being driven in one and the experience was mind blowing but I digress.

Rear suspension of Skyline R34 GTR

I intend building this car slowly, patiently, enjoying the experience and hopefully one day including it in the display cabinet in my office where it can park alongside the Escourt that is presently there. Tonight I made the rear suspension and assembled and painted the exhaust. tomorrow I intend to attach the suspension and the exhaust to the chasis. I'll keep you updated on the progress form time to time. On one hand I am hoping for this hobby to instill in me a sense of patience and the appreciation of taking the time to do something slowly and precisely. On the other, I am clinging to my childhood and want a new toy. Methinks, either way I win!


  1. Nice, can't wait to see how this goes. Got me a Porsche GT2 Road version and Morris Mini Cooper 1275 MK1 from Tamiya recently. Please update as I'm thinking about ordering the R34 as well.

    Where do you buy most of your modelling supplies/car kits? This hobby isn't nearly as popular in S.A as overseas and sometimes I find it hard to get decent kits locally.

  2. Thanks. I posted a blog in Feb with pictures of the completed car. ( ). I am currently building a McLaren Honda MP4/4 (Senna's car). I have been posting pics on twitter every now and again. A whole different kind of challenge.

    I am lucky in that there are two good model shops in Westville (500 m from each other). i often find whatever I am looking for in either of these shops. At Hobbytech you can order of the Tamiya catalogue which they keep instore. they are on Jan Hoffmeyer Road I think. Have you finished your cars? I am thnking of making a motorised RC car next. Not as detailed but a different kind of challenge.

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