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About Grastens

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  • Birthday 09/13/1993

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    Radio-controlled vehicles, ice hockey, cycling, and mechanical engineering.

    The Lancia 037, too. You can message me if you happen to like Lancia-related nonsense, spam, and/or tangents...

    You can also message me if you want to share your RC concepts or projects. Most of the time, the only thing I can contribute is a listener, but I still enjoy hearing about new ideas!

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  1. I tried a TA-04 once: It was a very nice car, but the chassis proved a bit vulnerable to the odd stone that made its way into the belts. For some reason, I found it uninspiring, but that has more to do with how I felt about touring cars and less about the TA-04 itself. But then, I did get one well after the TA-04 was discontinued... The fact that it was a TA-04 I tried was sort of serendipitous, since I was more after the Loctite Zexel GT-R that sat on top of the chassis. I probably could have been just as happy had there been a TA-06 or TB-03 under there (maybe even more so with the better parts support). Still, I have to say the car treated me well.
  2. I speculate it had something to do with either the Avante's tendency to oversteer, or to settle its behaviour over jumps, where leaving the springs harder at the front should result in more of a nose-up attitude on takeoff. Softer rear springs could do the same thing. Functionally speaking, then, perhaps the Avante being issued without the option for softer front springs was rooted in performance observations of the day. However, I do not know that for sure, especially given the timeline for hop-up releases.
  3. This one should be good! I wonder what other touring cars might follow...
  4. It has been a while, but in the intervening year or so, I have finally accomplished a cycling milestone: The 100-mile ride, or 'century' - and on my Schwinn, no less! It has since been updated with rebuilt wheels and new tubeless tires. These wheels originally had aluminum nipples, but after several rounded off on me while truing it, I discarded all the spokes and nipples and started over with new ones. Rebuilt with brass nipples this time and double-butted spokes, they are now proving reliable, even with all the railroad crossings I have to contend with on my new routes. A stylish carbon-fibre-finish frame pump and a massive new front light have been the only other updates. Already, I had been riding to work - 20 kilometres each way on county back roads. Despite my work being labour-intensive, I find riding my bike there and back gives me energy. Go figure! It was Peter_B resurrecting his mountain bike that inspired me to resurrect this thread
  5. Howards is right about lubricating the cables - I guess my first instinct as a former shop mechanic was to toss them So long as they are not frayed, kinked, or corroded, perhaps all they need is some adjustment.
  6. Perusing the instructions, already I can tell this driver figure is going to be fascinating: Tamiya, for a cheap and cheerful driver figure that is intended to fill the cockpits of many recreational and/or entry level models, and lacking the seriousness of even those, has gone to lengths to hide screw holes in the hands, arms, and helmet. I have never seen decals used for this purpose that then get painted over. This does reduce expense while increasing customizability, though. It is actually rather clever, despite the fact that it makes painting and assembly unusually complex for such a simple driver figure. Fortunately, Tamiya also seems to have thought this through, with the fully painted and assembled figure attaching to the chassis with double-sided tape. Nonetheless, some time must be taken to figure out what to assemble and what to leave on the sprue before paint. From what I can tell: I will be attaching the helmet halves before painting, while painting the visor and chin guard separately. The shirt of the torso and part of the arms will be painted before assembling the gloves, which will have decals covering the screws before getting painted themselves. The steering wheel, face, and driver mount can be painted separately, after which everything will be assembled. The arms will then be fully painted to cover the screw holes for the driver mount, and then the figure can be affixed to the chassis. It is a bit convoluted in comparison to other driver figures, especially the Wild Willy torso, which did not even bother with a covering for the screw hole in his arm. However, as none of this involves bolting the figure directly to the chassis (which then either means an exposed screw after all that effort, or one that is difficult to access, or even a difficult time removing said driver for any reason), I agree with it. What I don’t agree with? The lack of seat harness decals to go with the figure. I know it made its debut with the T3-01, a vehicle in which a driver is not likely to have one, or at least a visible one. Moulding the torso without belts, then, makes sense. Some decals to represent safety harnesses would be a nice option, though, for the times this guy gets behind the wheel of a buggy. This is less about any perceived aesthetics and more about encouraging safe behaviours in the children who may be building this kit, but then, I am no doubt overthinking this… Though I am not a small child, I do think safety harnesses should at least be part of the conversation. … And besides: an Avante driver who isn’t belted in?! Being Nuts is DANGEROUS! What is neat is the use of pre-cut decals that include the eyes and eyebrows. Four different types are available, so finishing the separately-moulded face (another ingenious step) is as easy as putting on some coats of whatever skin colour you want and then sticking on the eyes and eyebrows. I have some ideas I would like to try for the driver (including seeing if I have any seat harness decals that fit, left from previous sheets), but I do intend to build it up as laid out in the instructions. Now, to get started...
  7. The chassis, however, could use some small touches. The antenna mast flags went on: I was reluctant to apply these, given the potential for messing up a decal that is supposed to stick to itself, but some care and a bit of window cleaner convinced me to go for it. In the end, the flags worked quite well. I also like the minor decals that go on the chassis: And now, united: A bit bright? Let’s try this one: And because this car is so inherently silly, I felt the need to use the otherwise-dormant wide-angle lens on my camera of choice: And thus concludes the bodywork: Next up: fill this space!
  8. Decal time for the: It began with the removal of the overspray film on the shell and wing. The PS-16 is even deeper and more lustrous than I imagined! Once my infatuation passed, I organized my work station: My additional supplies for this task included a bottle of window cleaner and some clean towels, to go along with my new tweezers and X-Acto blade. The X-Acto blade was really there to take care of the first order of business: Having previously left a lot of clear film for the “Intake” decals, I saw fit to remove it before starting. I mean, there really was no purpose to it… With a long layoff between decals on shells, I followed the numbered order laid out by the manual, with few exceptions. Steps were omitted where the decals corresponded to the driver figure, which had not been painted yet. Decal number one? The iconic Avante script: The box photo helped here. I knew to cut away the excess decal between the legs of the A, to help the script conform to the unusual corner on the edge of the side pod. The box photo example had this, too. It still required plenty of effort to position and smooth down, but in the end the first one was a success! The others went well. What interested me was Tamiya’s use of decals to accent the rear bodywork: In theory, it would be easier to paint the black sections of this part of the shell. For a pre-painted body, I suppose it adds expense. I believe this is to simulate a wing stay from the rear of the bodywork, or at least to add visual interest to this area. With the various shapes and curves, though, decals to cover it properly would require careful design. It seems Tamiya has ensured this, and what was anticipated to be a challenge ended up being simple. I should not be surprised, given Tamiya’s past use of decals to represent large coloured sections of bodywork in other kits; I think about the Loctite Zexel GT-R that I built some time ago: It would have been so much easier to paint the front half of that shell a different colour, but Tamiya’s decals made an admirable effort. I would have never thought that I would be encountering such famous decals in a kit like the Comical Avante, yet here we are: After the first decal, everything appeared to be coming easily, even the intake decals: However, my properly-cut window trim decals did not quite make it to the top of the canopy: Perhaps I could have aligned them differently at the lower edges of the canopy, but then they would not line up with the front… A tiny patch of electrical tape stepped in: Though barely noticeable, perhaps I could explain it away as a hinge cover? I actually have no idea how the Avante’s canopy would open, though the presence of the “Eject” decal on the rear (not yet applied in the previous photo) would suggest a front-hinging one. Oh, well… If not for the antenna masts, the electrical tape might be able to handle a rollover better than a decal! I will note that the front canopy decal (with the “UV Protected” decal over it) could be trimmed quite close and it would fit better than it did on my kit. I left just a slight border on it, and it still hung slightly over the edges of the canopy. It is decal 27. I eventually finished up the shell, save for one decal: And maybe the most iconic of them all: the “Being Nuts is Neat!” that makes an Avante just as much as the “Paranoid Perry” and “Yellow 5” decals do. Significance aside, the reason I installed this one last was because the decal sits over the mounting screws that affix the wing to the body. Ordinarily, I would apply the screws over the decal, or else punch holes to access the screws, but as the wing is attached to the body and not the chassis (as is the case for the original Avante), I did not see myself removing the wing with any frequency. Hence, I wished to work with the shell by itself before installing the wing, which necessitated applying the wing decal at the end. I write this because the wing decal is actually numbered 3 in the manual. And with that, the shell is complete!
  9. Indeed they will! The deal with replacing cables is that as they are under constant tension, they do stretch and go out of adjustment with time. I find that a good number of them also corrode over extended storage, though less so when stored indoors. A dedicated bike cable cutter will go a long way for ensuring clean housing and cable cuts. Otherwise, make sure your side cutters are nice and sharp, and if your cutters mash the housings shut, you can open up the ends with a pick or awl. Best of luck!
  10. We had a whole thread on bicycles somewhere deep in this sub-forum, with plenty of mountain bikers and a few mechanics active on there. I am sure from there, someone knows a thing or two about bikes. From what I can gather, though, the bike could use some new cables and housings to start. As below, the cable is the metal wire with the short cylinder on the end, and the housing is the sheath: A bike that has been sitting that long will likely need new cables and housings for both the brakes and the gears. Brake cables are thicker than gear cables. The housings are different for each: gear housings are made up of axial strands of wire, as in the above picture, since the housing is not supposed to compress. Brake housings consist of metal coils, being able to compress: In a pinch, you can use gear housing for both brakes and gears (provided the housing can accommodate the brake cable), but shifting performance will usually suffer if brake housing is used for both. If you see "Universal" housing, it is made of braided wire and is thus suitable for both uses. I would think that full replacement of the cables and housings would be a good place to start, since having these new facilitates adjustments on brakes and gears. Sometimes, braking and shifting problems are even caused by dirty cables and/or housings. From there, adjusting the brakes is usually a matter of getting the cable tension and pads set right (there should be a screw on each brake arm that helps with spring tension - they can be used to adjust the pad's distance to the rim, as I see the 2006 GT Aggressor had V-brakes), and adjusting the gears is about getting the cable tension and the end points set right (there should be two screws on each derailleur - each one determines how far the derailleur will go in one direction). Be sure to lubricate the pivot points on your derailleurs and brakes - I like Tri-Flow PTFE lubricant for this, but in a pinch chain lubricant can get things moving again. WD-40 is really only suited for freeing seized parts; it evaporates quickly after that, leaving not a whole lot of anything to lubricate the part afterwards. Bad shifting after new cables and free-moving parts can sometimes be due to a worn or rusted chain. As it had only been used a few times, the chain is probably not worn, but it could be corroded. Stiff links from said corrosion can inhibit shifting, and a badly-rusted chain is very difficult to restore. If the bike has only been used a few times and the chain is corroded (either stiff, squeaky, or both), a new chain will help. As for the rubber cap on the suspension fork: the caps are usually seals for the suspension system, but are more important for air- or oil-filled suspension forks. It looks like the GT Aggressor had a simple friction coil-spring fork, so the seal may not be a problem except for aesthetics. I remember seeing plenty of friction-damped suspension forks without rubber caps that operated normally. Best of luck! I hope you can get your bike up and running again
  11. And now, the body for the: But first, a delivery of ball bearings and some fresh new X-Acto blades: The body is pre-painted in that lovely PS-16 Metallic Blue, with the holes also pre-drilled for the body posts and the rear wing. Cutting is all that is required: I am out of practice, though, so things got a bit dicey. I removed the light lenses first, as they were the easiest to cut and not involved in my particular build right now: The rear wing in particular has many different angles, perhaps even more so than the original Avante wing. It proved tricky to cut out properly; here it is in progress: Conversely, the shell had only a few cuts that required extra attention. I had talked long ago about removing some extra material where the “Diablo Engineering” decals would go, in order to accentuate the shape of the front, but elected against it with the scissors in hand. I ended up finishing the shell first: I had almost forgotten to remove the transponder stay: Along with a large swatch of PS-16-painted polycarbonate. I really do like the colour. So, now I had to cut decals. By virtue of being an entry-level kit aimed at younger audiences, I was hoping to relent a bit on the cutting, i.e. not too many decals to remove, and not too many aggressive angles to handle. However, I gave it my best effort, with the first one to extract being this tiny little detail: Tamiya really isn’t messing around with this Avante tribute! This decal is featured on the original, too, and is actually a nice touch for an ostensibly canopy-equipped vehicle. I then separated the decals I would either use later or not in the foreseeable future: The helmet decals are in the foreground and will be used; the light lens decals are in the middle ground and will go on if/when lights are installed, and the rest are extras. The exception is the pair of carbon-fibre pattern decals that were to be used for the exhaust pipes, but as before, I saw no need for them. About an hour of trimming got me here with the decals: And with that, it becomes a case of peel-and-stick! Right…
  12. Fabulous! A loving homage to a classic Hot Wheels car could only be this well executed by you. I am quite taken with the result
  13. Thank you! It feels great to be building again. And as predicted, I am set to make progress on the Ferrari 312T3, too On with the: Wheels are typically assembled and mounted as the final steps of the chassis are undertaken, but for this build I elected to leave the wheels for last in the chassis build. I wanted to examine them in more detail, as they are completely new to me. For some reason, I get fixated on the wheels of the cars I am building. The ones on the Comical Avante certainly got my attention early on, with the combination of yellow outer rims and dark inner parts recalling the original Avante’s Cam-Loc wheels, and shod with those large “bubble-block” tires. Only a modestly-spiked tire would have been more suitable, though less practical than this tread pattern, which should wear well over all kinds of running. And with that, I began on the wheels: Much to my surprise, the wheel centres are not black, but dark grey – more like the dampers than the chassis. I think black would have been better, but it shocked me to think that the real colour had never occurred to me in all this time. The wheels also appear to be the same width at all four corners, meaning tires are the only difference. Each wheel inner fastens to an outer with five 2.6 x 8 mm screws. I finished two wheels with a regular screwdriver before my brain kicked in and I switched to a ratcheting driver to finish the other pair. The wheels are quite attractive once finished: Wearing the new bubble-block tires, the fronts are now markedly narrower than the rears: I wondered if this changed the diameter of the front and rear wheels, respective to each other. In the end, there was scarcely an appreciable difference between the fronts and rears. With four 1150 plastic bushings to fill the outside of each hub, the wheels could be mounted and the chassis completed: This, with word that my ball bearings will be arriving tomorrow. The bushings will be quite temporary. The front track is still narrower than the rear, which is not always the case with off-road chassis: And with plenty of leftover goods, too: Not much of this is used for the body, so I have to wonder what is up… With the chassis complete, the body is next. I can see that the holes are pre-drilled, so it should be just a matter of cutting the shell and wing, cutting decals, applying them, and completing the driver. This GF-01 chassis has certainly surprised me with some of its design details. I am glad to have built one, and hope to say the same about running one soon – the driver figure has been washed and left to dry, awaiting paint and finishing…
  14. Finishes up the chassis, starting with hardware to build the side nerf bars: They lend a distinctive visual character to the Comical Buggy series, and allow the Comical Hornet and Grasshopper to retain that part of their aesthetic. To me, it does not look out of place with the Comical Avante, at least from the box-art pictures. Six pieces assembled in the foreground replace the two chassis rails on the sprue in the background, which are a unique feature of the WR-02 chassis. The hardware gets a little complicated for Parts Bag E: With several different types of screws now, many of them anodized in the same finish, things get confusing. Much of the hardware here is not even used in the kit, leading me to believe that the parts bag was the same one as from another kit. Checking the instructions for the body set gives no clarity on the use for the extra hardware... The new chassis rails/nerf bars add some useful protection for the motor, if only some: They also provide a useful place for an on/off switch, obscured by the motor cables in this photo. They are symmetrical to each other, meaning a switch can be mounted on either side. Body posts are up next, using the same type of post for all four corners: They may yet get trimmed down substantially… The antenna tubes are the result of a single one-foot antenna tube getting cut in half, and then put on aerial mounts as part of the three-piece side rails. My receiver had enough antenna to make use of the left-hand (on the right in this photo) aerial tube: I can hardly wait to try out the concept in a rollover! Oh, the memories of scratching up the roof of my Avante... And now, that unique front bumper: It looks good on this chassis: It would be a nice modification for other WR-02 projects, I think. It evokes the Avante, but the shape would not look too out of place on another car. The chassis is now mostly complete.
  15. The piece that mounts the receiver and ESC to the chassis does not screw or click in, but relies on double-sided tape and two pegs with matching holes in the chassis. The pegs allow proper location of the part, while the tape holds it in place: Tamiya provides some excellent double-sided tape in their kits, being quite adhesive yet thin. The piece sticks on near the back of the chassis, ideal for its wheelie-centric performance: The receiver and ESC then mount on either side of the piece using double-sided tape. Tamiya’s tape was good, but not nearly abundant enough for me (I like to maximize surface area), so I used a small piece of my ancient and not nearly as good tape to finish the job. Everything appears secure: The instructions depict the Tamiya TEU-105BK ESC, which is slightly smaller than the TBLE-02S that was supplied in the kit. As such, I needed to ensure that proper clearances were maintained between the cables, chassis parts, and heat sink. Setting up the TBLE-02S was easier than I thought it would be, given that I had been taking the recent generation of “plug-and-play” ESCs for granted. It sure is nice having a button on it that can be pressed by a human finger! I eventually figured out the wiring, too, as suggested by the manual: Why does everything mount like this? I believe that with the limited clearance under the Avante shell, or rather in the interest of allowing the Comical Avante to appear more Avante-like, the electronics are concentrated where the narrow canopy section of the body would be. This would be immediately behind the driver figure, in a space not much wider than that. This would allow for the low side-pods that are a characteristic of the Avante, to be retained for the Comical Avante. And with the proportions of the shell, that canopy section would be tall enough to house an ESC mounted sideways! The wheelie bar was next. Tamiya specifies two options for mounting this: one uses four 10 mm screws, while the other uses a special reinforcing plate, four 8 mm spacers, and four 20 mm screws. I went with the latter, reasoning that I neither wanted nor could control really outrageous wheelies: Two special moulded plastic plates and a third assembly – the new “exhaust pipes” are added to the rear. The plates are put on first, followed by the pipes, depicted below: I have mixed feelings about these on the Comical Avante. To me, the Avante was never an internal-combustion vehicle, unlike the Grasshopper or Frog which were representations of single-seater off-road buggies that raced with automotive engines. Even if it was to be, the carbon-fibre-pattern decals that cover the pipes makes little to no sense for me. That being said, the pipes and plumbing are crisply-moulded, which added to the temptation of detailing them with some type of silver paint. However, I would rather not draw too much attention to them… Interestingly, if you look inside the pipes, the shape of the moulded plastic in there could suggest afterburners – maybe that would be more befitting the styling! The plastic plates are primarily used for mounting the rear body posts, but are rather flimsy on their own. The exhaust pipe piece braces them, attaching to them with a machine screw and a nut on the other end: Down below, two 10 mm self-tapping screws fasten it to the chassis. The instructions called for taillights, but I omitted these as I do not currently have plans to run lights on my Comical Avante. The housings for the LEDs did not appear essential to the chassis, fortunately. And so, the chassis looks like this: Before proceeding to: All kinds of interesting details and steps were covered in the previous parts bag – what awaits this one?
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