3.093 hobbies, tech

Saturday 03/05/2022

For the first time in weeks, I went out in the morning to the farmers market and got a “chocolate hazelnut swirl” from the baker.

I picked up a package on the way back. It was from House of Hobbies and contained a can of what I hoped would be exactly the right color for the 57 T-Bird kit that has been sitting in my closet for a year.

The paint, perfect. The kit, not so much.

So I opened the kit. The first step was to find all the parts that would need to be painted body color. I’ve learned from experience that this is fundamental. You get all the body parts; you painstakingly sand and fit them so they all fit smoothly and don’t have any mold marks or flashing. (Because once they are painted, you can’t do any sanding or other changes.) When they are perfect, you paint them and set them aside.

Unfortunately this kit, which is from a reputable kit company, AMT, is not very good. One key part, the windshield trim surround, was broken. One piece, the panel that closes the butt end of the car below the trunk lid, was warped and stained and didn’t want to fit. The gap where it met the tail fins would have to be filled with putty. Most important, the chrome ring that makes the taillights look like rocket jets, was simply not there. It was in the plan but not in the parts provided (and I checked carefully, many times).

Missing in action

There were other problems, for example although the kit provided for opening doors and hood, which is cool, it did not provide separate windshield wipers. The wipers were just molded into the hood, which makes it very difficult to make them stand out from the body. How can you have separate door handles and mirrors, but not wipers?

Anyway, I finally convinced myself that this kit can’t be built to my standards. After the MG TC and the Beetle, this was a big letdown. I’m going to give it away.

Bert, who coordinates the Tech Squad, is getting bombarded with help requests from people trying to use the Palo Alto parking permit site. I have not yet managed to get in to it. It claims my account has been registered, but it has never emailed me my account number. Three times I clicked “forgot account number” and three times it cheerfully said an email with that info had been mailed to me. No email has arrived. It’s a massively disfunctional site, just a disgrace.

I had an eBay surprise. I listed another Xerox Alto manual, a really rare one. I set the “buy it now” price to $70. I sent an email to the guy who bought the last two, and posted the listing. To my surprise, it sold in four hours. Not to the user I had emailed.

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