Friday, July 8, 2016

Hubert's Day at Silicon Valley Ferrari

Hubert was invited to come check out Silicon Valley Ferrari/Maserati, and I tagged along to take some photos
The Rosso-Corsa Carpet - A beautiful Ferrari 458 Italia and Maserati Quattroporte
The 458 was Hubert's favorite
Someday, Hubert dreams of sitting in a Ferrari California, with his California license-plate collar!
 It was getting warm out, so Hubert tried to hide in the shade of the Quattroporte's trident grille
...and gaze back at the 458
Then we headed upstairs to see how the service bays make sure all the cars are taken care of
Everything looks good! 
Thanks to Silicon Valley Ferrari/Maserati for such a great day!

McLaren F1 at the Petersen

On a recent trip to visit my parents, my dad an I took the opportunity to visit the Petersen Automotive Museum. I haven't been there in a few years, and it recently reopened after an extensive remodel for its 20th anniversary. Our first priority was the Vault tour, which took us below the museum to its underground storage facilities. Unfortunately, no photography was permitted, so I can only try and remember seeing the 1903 Cadillac or the 1923 Mercedes, before Mercedes-Benz was born. Other notable cars in vault were a 1967 Toyota 2000 GT, a 1937 Jaguar SS 100, a 1933 Duesenberg SJ,  and a 1959 Scaglietti-designed Corvette, one of three commissioned by race-car drivers Gary Laughlin, Jim Hall and Carroll Shelby (who would later design the AC Cobra). 

After the vault tour we wandered around the other floors - seeing 

The Precious Metals exhibit was what I was really waiting for. I knew that on display was a 1995 McLaren F1, a car that, in spite of the many shows and events I've attended over the years, has eluded me. I think I first became aware of the F1 when I was in high school, playing the 2002 video game "Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2", and more so after Youtube arrived in 2005 and old Top Gear clips started being posted online.

I've been wanting to see this car for at least 10 years, and was thrilled at the prospect. It looks incredibly modern for something build 20 years ago, and yet stands in stark opposition to some of the more recent supercars that have been released. I was especially taken by the size of the tires, which have a nice contrast to the super low-profile rubber I see on things like the P1, LaFerrari, or Aventador. My guess from observation is that the F1 is actually a very comfortable car to drive on the road. I could have spent all day just in this room, at this one podium. 

I will say that my dad and I finished out our afternoon by trying out the full-scale driving simulators, and racing (read: just barely not crashing) around the famous Top Gear test track in an Ariel Atom was also a ton of fun.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Star Wars 1/12 Scale Models

I was never really into models when I was little - they always seemed excessively complicated and I couldn't wrap my head around the gluing and painting, etc. Over the last couple of years, however, I've started collecting 1/12 scale (6") Star Wars figures, which tend to be a nice step up over the 3.5" ones I collected in the 90's through high school. Enter a new interest in model kits.

Recently, there have been releases of several 1/12 scale Star Wars models - mostly notable characters like Darth Vader and stormtroopers, as well as various droids. For my birthday this year, I was given not one, but three models to build: C-3PO, R2-D2, and BB-8. 

The first one I built was C-3PO, mostly because I received him first. When I was first researching these kits, I also discovered that there was a guy in the UK who was making these delicate little electronics that would light up C-3PO's eyes. This seemed like a great way to mix some tech into the model building, so I went ahead and ordered that too. I should mention that these kits are all snap-together, so they typically wouldn't take more than about an hour to build, tops. Adding the electronics to C-3PO turned that into a 6+ hour ordeal, with me having to drill out sections of his body for running the hair-thickness wire down from his head to his foot. In the end though, he came out great, and the eyes really do bring another dimension to the already fantastic sculpt of the model.

R2-D2 and C-3PO

Next up were the R2-D2 and BB-8 kits. They came in a 2-pack, and were much faster to build, having no tiny wires to hook up. I did find a way to make them more complicated too, however. For these two, I decided that the finished models looked much too clean compared to how they're usually seen in the movies, and so I wanted to paint them with a more weathered look. I'm no painter, but I've seen enough examples and tips from my time reading threads on to know about doing washes and weathering. Using mixes of black, red, gold, and silver paint, I think I did a pretty good job of capturing the appearance of a droid that's been rolling around in the dessert or getting caught in the mud on a swampy planet. Again, the painting took much more time than the actual construction, but I think it paid off.

BB-8 giving his "thumbs-up"

One final addition was a tiny blue flame for BB-8, to match his "thumbs-up" scene in The Force Awakens. This was done with a little bit of hot glue and some blue paint.
I had a blast building these kits, and I can't say for sure if I'll do more, but I'm keeping an eye out on what kits are being released.