Comment plus Rainbow Ferrari kitset and others

Perhaps I am mistaken but I seem to recall that John Stanley of Otago challenged all the members down there to build a kit this year. How do I know that, being a Wellington member? Because Otago has a newsletter that is sent to the other branches and I think I read it there.

Now I feel that John was trying to combat the "it's all about diecast" sentiment that has been voiced for the last few years within the Club and particularly in respect of entries for the AGM competitions. So being the type of person I am, I decided to take up the challenge and build a kit, even though I and most, if not all, of the other members here in Wellington are diecast model collectors.

Simple you might think – but as usual things got in the way. I put it off in deference to other "more important" things in my life:

  • writing many articles for the Club magazine;
  • typing up other contributor's items;
  • rebuilding the Club's web site;
  • making a living, and
  • keeping the family happy!

It was November before I realised I only had a short time in which to build this kit, if I was to display it at the AGM.

So there I was running around after the family in The Warehouse when I had a spark of enlightenment! I bought one of their Maisto 1/43rd scale Ferrari kits, took it home and two minutes and 25 seconds later I had built a kit! Pretty neat eh?

BUT – my conscience wouldn't allow me to get off that easy and I decided that it would look better if I actually DID something to the kit. So I stripped it down again, disassembled its individual components, including removing the lights, windows and bumpers, and then spray painted it as a rainbow, blending the colours from red at the front to indigo at the rear. I also detailed the interior and then reassembled the whole thing. I'll take you through the process, including mistakes, in another article but suffice to say it took around 28 hours to finish my 2 minute, 25 second kit!... As always Click on any photo to see a larger version (except the Cobra Photos)

Ferrari Dino - Rainbow #1            Ferrari Dino - Rainbow #2

Again my conscience flared up and said "that's not really in the spirit of the challenge". So one week before Christmas I dug out all my old kit set models, some assembled and some still sealed and boxed, and decided on a course of action.

Unfortunately for me, all of the large kits I had built were built on winter's evenings in 1974 and 1975 when I first moved to Dunedin! They were all Monogram kits and for the last 16 years at least they had languished in shoe boxes in a cupboard in Wellington. Sadly they had all suffered – in fact in most cases instead of a nice model vehicle; I found a vehicle body and numerous parts lying in the bottom of the box! The original "Airfix" type glue had crystallised and all the parts had fallen off the model! BU__ER!!

Now let me say that in 1974 I was a very impatient modeller! I'd be gluing a part at one end of the model and testing the paint job, to see if it was dry, at the other end of the model. I even tried building two models at once but it didn't help – I was still impatient to get them finished. Needless to say they were not perfect, but in my own defence I will say the resulting paint jobs were pretty good for an amateur with a #4 brush (few brush strokes visible) and the overall model actually displayed quite well. However I decided that modelling in 1/24th or 1/25th scale was not my forte and I switched to 1/87th plastic kits that could successfully be built within my im/patience tolerances!

So what was I to do? I took each model and assessed whether it could be reassembled successfully. In one case this would mean gluing broken suspensions, axles and drive shafts together and then reassembling the model and reattaching all the parts that had fallen off (such as door handles). In another case it mean simply reattaching the roof and some motor parts plus the rear door. In a third case it meant gluing wheels back on and virtually rebuilding the entire kit! Sadly in the fourth case I took one look and decided to leave it alone – there were too many parts to reattach and I simply didn't have enough time, nor good enough eyesight, to attach all those tiny parts!

After unsuccessfully trying a variety of glues, including Micro Weld and $2 Shop superglue, I found that Selleys Superglue was the only substance that would hold the parts together again. So of I went and I rebuilt a VW Rolls Rod, a Model A Ford Woody and a "Tijuana Taxi" Hot Rod before leaving for Christmas Day with my father. The 1931 Rolls Royce (originally over 120 parts) was left lying in pieces in the bottom of its shoe box.

Monogram VW-Rolls                   Monogram Tijuana Taxi

After Christmas I was to travel to Christchurch with my immediate family, it being the first Christmas holiday I had taken in 12 years. Usually I work Christmas and let my staff go home for the holidays, but this year my business partner (single and aged 66) decided he'd hold the fort and let me have time with the family. So together with my sunglasses and swim shorts, I packed a kit that I'd had for 10 years and was supposed to build, with my son, one winter except he got too involved with winter sports and the kit got shoved on the backburner and was never started. This kit is a 1/16th scale AMT/ERTL Shelby Cobra.

I really didn't stand a chance. The family had me up gondolas and out at Ferrymead and Orana Park and shopping, shopping, shopping! But still I managed to find an hour or two each evening to work on it and slowly it started to take shape. After 7 nights work, I had painted and assembled the motor, chassis, front and rear suspension units, wheels and part of the body. Then we returned home and it was back to work with my evening taken up with other tasks such as:

  • Building another 7 Maisto Ferraris and flame painting the front of one;
  • Disassembling a Warehouse metal and plastic car transporter and spraying it Ferrari red (to carry the yellow Ferraris I had built);
  • Packing the kits securely so they would not get smashed to pieces by the Airline Baggage Handlers (they all survived both trips!);
  • Searching out my entries for all the other competition classes;
  • Painting paper "bases" for my diorama entries;
  • Packing my clothes for the weekend;
  • Ensuring my bags were not overweight (they were 5 kilos over but I got away with it!).

I did get some more work done, but maturity must be finally settling in now I'm in my Fifties, and I decided not to rush the Cobra job but to leave it be and make it worthy of entering into the next AGM competitions!

By now you are wondering what this has to do with the title. Well here's the crunch!... I went to all this effort, got to the AGM, set out my entries and enthused over the other entries and then asked "Where are all the kit entries"? I was then told that, at the last minute, John had had to withdraw from attending the AGM due to his father's illness. The Otago organisers did advise that his challenge was met by a number of Otago members and completed kits were evidenced at some of the Club meetings throughout the year. "But where are they"? asked I. Apparently the Otago members couldn't be bothered entering the AGM competitions despite having gone to the effort of meeting the challenge during the year. I also noted they apparently couldn't be bothered attending the AGM as only 5 or 6 of the 42 Otago members were there.

So what was the point in all this then – I'm sure John will write and correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't the whole purpose of the challenge to improve the number of kit entries at the AGM competitions? Wasn't a secondary purpose to reduce the impact of having hundreds of diecast entries in the competitions? So Otago members where were your entries and, more importantly, as the hosts of the AGM, where were YOU? I had a great time and the organisers are to be commended on the variety of events and functions they had arranged for those attending the event.

By The Way: I won a couple of classes and took second or third in several more – but more importantly I showed that even with little real effort it is possible to come up with "different" and simple ideas for dioramas. Here's a photo of one diorama called "Ravages of Time" – yes its my 1931 Rolls, still in its shoe box!

Ravages of Time - 1931 Rolls Royce

and here's some of my other entries:

Ferrari - Flamed

Ian Cousins, Wellington


Ian Cousins