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3-Wheeler Photo Update IV – Metalwork Weekend

Very busy weekend: a drive out to Shizuoka on Saturday for the 2017 Shizuoka Hobby Show, then a hike out to Mr. H’s house and workshop on Sunday to see the latest progress on the 3-Wheeler.

Shizuoka is the heartland of Japan’s hobby industry, home to some of the most famous names in toys and scale models in the world.

Saturday was my first visit to the Hobby Show on a public day, when private model-makers and groups come to show their skills and creativity. There was so much to see that the only way to make any sense of it was to steadily work my along the rows of tables and snap photos of anything that caught my eye. If you are on Facebook, my photo albums are here and here. One group, the National Solid Model Federation, was more relevant than most to the work we are doing on the 3-wheeler. Their model process involves carving out a wooden base model then meticulously hand-rolling and shaping thin metal sheet with custom-built tools to attach as a skin. The Lockheed Constellation and F-104 Starfighter were particularly eye-catching, mainly because the smooth aluminium sheet was ideal to show off their voluptuous forms in big scale.


After the Hobby Show, a short drive over to Shizuoka Hobby Square, where Shinichi Iwami, the one-man powerhouse behind Aerobase metal aircraft kits has been holding an exhibition every year to coincide with the Hobby Show.

More recently, Iwami-san has branched into highly complex models of one of my favourite things in the whole world, the Eiffel Tower, in 1/1000 scale and quite huge 1/500 scale, which perfectly suit the Aerobase aesthetic.

After all that tiny-scale precision metalwork on Saturday, a huge contrast to be back in Mr. H’s workshop to see the 3-wheeler. There has been a lot of progress since my last update.

The engine is back in and Mr. H has fabricated new downpipes for the exhaust system.

The exhaust system will be only a few centimetres away from the driver’s back, the other side of an aluminium firewall, so it will need some effective insulation!

After a lot of trial and error…

…the body is also moving along.

Both centre side-panels are now on, although the right-hand panel still needs its air-intake insert, and the cowl and left-hand front and rear side-panels have started taking shape.

All the images are clickable to enlarge. Another Photo Update coming in due course.

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