The Banana cake from Japan

One of our sister in Law dropped by and gave us some very nice cakes from Japan. She was always traveling due to the nature of her work and now, although she has settled down, its still amazing how she can get these cute little presents for us.

I wonder if she does not mind smuggling me to Japan too...

This is a Banana cake. Its unlike any other banana cake you see being sold here. Most of the banana cakes I have tasted over the years tends to be oily. Surprisingly, this one does now. Its soft, and the scent is nice. Just from the photo alone, you'd think these are just one of those Japanese Rice crackers but once you feel it in your hands, it feels like a soft pillow.

It takes more than one bite to fully appreciate them but because there is no way to get more of them by the containers, you just have to take small bites and let the cake's sweet fillings fill your taste buds.

This was seconds before I whacked Kaelynn's as she claimed to be very full. I guessed she ate more than just one.

Hotwheels Videoracer Part 2

With a full battery charge, I can now explore the toy further. But bear in mind, this will not be an in-depth review or review of any kind since I have other plans for it which does not involve playing.

The first thing you have to note is, this is a first as far as cameras in toy die-casts cars go. And yes, it IS a toy. So, once you accept these facts, your expectations will be lowered and you hence accept things as they are.

Basically, the Videoracer is just a 512Mb recordable camera with an LCD screen, stuffed into a toy car. In fact, this is nothing new since with the wireless technology, I am sure many have installed a better wireless camera system onto a real 1/10 RC car. But there is a difference; the Videoracer can get stuck under heavy furniture and still record your stupidity.

This is what the screen will show when you plugged it into the USB cable;  the internal battery is being charged. It is not an indication of the battery going flat nor that there is lighting inside the cells.

This was what was shown on the LCD screen when I first tried it out. One thing you must know is that there is no sound when played back from the Videoracer. You need to download it onto the PC to hear the sound, which is mainly just noise as if you're driving a rock solid car with zero suspensions. Or, you can think of riding on a gigantic skateboard.
The car is not asking for you to vote for the dustbin but this is what would be shown when your itchy finger pressed the right button while the current video is being played back. The symbols also eliminates potential problems with customers who are colour blind.

Once you plug the car into the USB port, the Green led will flash to tell you that its being charged.

This is the Splash Screen when you turn the Videoracer on. It is a subtle memory aid to remind you that the car you're holding is a Hotwheels car.

This animated screen is very important. The loop-de-loop icon on the left is to record in 60fps (QVGA) mode while the other on the right is 30fps (VGA). This is because mountains do not move fast enough so you can record stuff in lower fps.

Hotwheels Videoracer part 1

OK, this is the package from the Post Office. And when I picked it up, I was relieved and also disappointed at the same time. Relieved because there was nothing to 'pay' and disappointed because of the condition of the package. Still, now you know why everyone is padding their packages when it comes to shipping.

This is quite a large box and its about 2.5 times of an A3

Edge crush of 23Lbs/in. Right. So for the edge of this box to collapse, it must have been placed under a great weight

Perhaps someone sat on it?

Now, comes the weird part. When I opened it, there was no padding of any kind. No styrofoams, newspapers or even those bubble-wraps. And guess what? The package inside was NOT crushed or even scratched.

And so, this is how the package looks like

Inside the box, you have (from left to right) the car, its protective case, a USB cable, some mounting brackets and a strap. No software CD, which I need to download the 183Mb file from their site and fucks up after 13-18Mb into the download. And I've tried that five times.

Everything is really protected in this box but I really do wish they had included the installation CD.

The Videoracer is almost 3.75 inches long

This is the front of the Videoracer. The big hole is the camera. And the small hole is just a small hole, although I wished it was an Infra-red light source.

This is the rear view of the Videoracer. The plastic part is to protect the USB port but once you opened it, its very hard to close it again.

This is the only side of the Videoracer which is worth mentioning because it has the ON/OFF switch.
Anyway, I am going to stop for now as the toy's internal 3.7lithium battery needs to be charged up for at least 45 minutes before I can get anything out from it. When I first opened it, there was some minute charge in the battery which gave me some precious seconds to have a quick play with it. Not bad.

Aoshima 1/24 Solar Car

Finally, I got this elusive Solar Car. Two years ago, it was on sale in Hobby HQ but I missed the chance. Then, sometime later, there was another being sold in ICW but then, I again, missed the opportunity. It was not so much of the chance to get it but more of, spare cash. And so, yesterday, when Hobby HQ announced that the solar car was still available (from a recent shipment), I jumped at the chance to get it.

And so, the 1/24 Solar car is finally mine. Still, I am not sure why it was called a car when it is clearly a van.

The parts from the box. The reason why it was so expensive was due to the Solar cells which was stuck to a thick fibreglass material but hey, all of a sudden, this model looks very familiar...

Its the same model I got from ICW a month ago, when rayloke came back with some shipment. Its the Subaru Samba K-88

In other words, I got two Subary Sambas now. Oh, heck. But then again, I am sure I can use the extra van for my project. If you look carefully, these two parts are actually very different. The body on the left (Solar Car) turned yellow due to age.

Instruction manuals which tells you what the Solar Car (left) will use and what the Subaru samba (right) will use. This means I now have two TVs and two Radio sets...

Not understanding the language, the dial at the bottom is for the motor and you get two 'free' figures, just as long as you can cut them out carefully.

And the best part is, this. See the Price list? That is obscene and from a shop which is now closing down. I got it for RM50.00, thanks to Mr. Low.
So, while I did have a happy night, but I could not help but wonder about the future of the model kit hobby over here. The shop above is actually closing down, what with news fro a fellow friend that their shutters in Mid-Valley are closed with the staff counting the stocks. This shop, when it first started, did have quite a following but it was the prices which forced my role as a window shopper. In the late 2000, it was doing very badly as most of the toys are really cheap stuff from China. I wanted to help by buying some stuff but although I tried as hard as I can, I still could not buy anything 'worth' my time. Also, no thanks to their staff following me all over the place, as if I was about to steal something.

The parcel

After performing our prayers, it was time to continue with my schedule. The weird thing was that while my Dad was sitting outside to wait for the joss sticks to finish, there was no Postman. And only when I reversed my wife's car, then did the Postman on his bike came and delivered some letters.

Oh well, I thought. No parcel for me, then. This was because I have ordered three items from the Internet and this package would be the last. It was not until after I passed the stack of letters to my Dad did he say that there was a card for me.

A card from the Post Office means, you have to collect the parcel because of some Customs matter. I was right because, on the card, it was ticked as "You need to pay tax" or something of that kind. Now, I am worried because I am broke. And there is a limit of 15 days before it gets sent back/destroyed/eaten. So, the only thing I can do right now is to go there (unfortunately, it say to collect at the Post Office in Dayabumi and not Brickfields or Bangsar), see how much it costs and then maybe borrow some cash from a friend.

The girls decorating the siew yuk from the payers for lunch

Hee hee hee hee hee....
In the end, I managed to get the parcel out without paying anything except for the RM3.00 parking. But walking there was really painful since the gout has not gone from my leg. What more, we had to go around the renovation area but since they saw my limping, I showed me a shortcut.

So, what is the package all about? Watch out for the later post, y'all!

Product #2 - Will it come out?

Bear with me. I just need to vent out because I am very disappointed with the progress and help. Also, I think this is my swansong on the world of modeling & electronics.

OK. I am back on track or rather, sort of. This is my second product. I was scheduling it to be released by September this year but now, it seems to be too optimistic. To be honest, it should have been out in August. I cannot use the excuse of my Mom anymore nor my sudden depression.

To tell you the truth, my business venture is a failure. I was initially so excited when we were doing the first product which is for a Cylon Raider. A lot of delays and missed opportunities happened. And in the end, I am very frustrated that the kit is not selling as well as I thought it would be and I still do not have a fully painted model to show. I was such a fool to believe in all the Sales talk. And I am months behind in my Bills. As predicted, my car would be the first to go. Its alright for the rest of them because they have a job and so, they can take their own sweet time do help me. Or not. It is very frustrating to be given excuses again and again why there were so many delays. I really feel like a dog, waiting at the table, begging for favours. Oh, if only I had an airbrush or even a proper place to cast resins!

And so, I am actually having second thoughts about coming up with the second product. It took me so long as I was literally scraping up enough cash to pay for the prototyping. But let me show you what I have done so far...

This is the 'teaser' video which we have put out quite sometime ago.

I have reworked the circuit by adding in more components. The end result is that the leftmost LED is now very bright. But the additional components now makes the circuit board very dense.

 Although the circuit diagram looks very simple, its the design of the board that is important.

My initial spec was to use normal components which would speed up manufacturing times but now, I have to resort back to using SMD components. Here, you can see the size difference between a normal transistor (Left) and its SMD counterpart (right)

Initial mockup of the board looks promising. Just a little tweak here and there.

This is a what if should the user decides to mount the board on the sloping bottom. Not encouraged.

And this is how the board mounts on the other model
So far, I have checked and made sure the circuit is correct before sending them off to be prototyped. With any luck, it should be ready for me to work on it by next week. But i think, that is as far as I can go with this there are a few problems which is stopping me:

1. No money. For the first product, it wiped out some four figure sum which left me broke. So, for this product, the startup cost would be the same if not, more. Where to get the money? I am not sure. I was planning on the first product being able to help but I was wrong. All it got me was a month's grace on my car's installment.

2. The special surprise is not ready and I have not heard from them yet. The first guy is waiting for his cheque and the second guy, well, I do not want to elaborate. All I need is just to test if the part can reflect light and if it works, I will work out a business deal with you. Its that simple.

3. I hate asking people for help. It took me more than four months and there is still nothing to show. In fact, this is the greatest obstacle I am facing. If you cannot do it or this is not on your priority list, at least tell me earlier. Don't disappoint me every time I come to see you. Yes, I have COME to see you. I need YOUR help. I am BEGGING you. And it is not easy for me to keep on smiling amd listening to your whims and stories while being slapped on the face.

My Wife sums it all up when I talked to her, "Are you really sure you want to do this, again?"

You know, I think I should stop all this and start looking for a job. No more model kits. Even if there is, I will do it for myself. The first product was very difficult to assemble and is labour intensive. I mean, what is the point of telling me that everyone will buy and I am getting famous, etc when at the end of the day, the kits are stockpiling behind me.

What is the frakking point?

A brighter thrust

In the meantime, while waiting for the Circuit boards to be ready, I want to show you how additional components made the White LED brighter. This is because while I was trying to design the circuit to use as little voltage as possible, these White LEDs did not agree with me.

So, with additional components, they got brighter as the White LEDs now get their main power from the batteries direct and not from the chip. But on the down side, this means I have to add 6 more components into the already cramped board.

As a test, the White LED on the left is brighter then the other two on the right.
But to tell you the truth, I have been doing this design for so long, its success did not even make me happy. Maybe its the long developing stage for such a simple circuit, or maybe I am running out of money. So, I don't thing this is going to hit the market

The Ice Age 4 show!

Kaeylnn kept reminding me that on Friday night, at 2030 on some Astro Channel, they would be showing Ice Age 4.

Which is funny because Ice Age 4 just finished its run on the cinemas. And Unker Ho also mentioned that they do not have any copies yet. So, the only show would either be Ice Age 3 or, the 'Making of' which is as usual, a waste of time.

Long ago, when these shows started, they really showed you how it was done. Interviews with the Effects people, the actors plus some sample behind the scenes footage really made me glued to the TV. However, since 2000 or so, it was more of a long commercial. If you do not believe me, go watch one now. The show would have a repeat of the trailers after each 5 minutes commercial followed by a repeat of the same scenes, and if you're lucky, you get to hear about actors saying what fun it was to be working with so and so.

The girls were all ready at their seats and they were at it for hours

Mommy cooked some potatoes (of my favourite kind)

And some roasted chickens
Anyway, how did the show go?

Kaelynn said the TV got it wrong and the show was supposed to be at 1900 instead. Oh well, guess I'll have to see Unker Ho for the real deal.

Cornflakes with MILO-ed Oats

Felt a bit peckish and so I mixed my Milo with some instant oats. Then, I spied the opened bag on Corn Flakes...

That's the problem with the girls.When they spy some unopened bag of crisps or foodstuff, they will come to you to get them opened. Oh yeah, they're very smart now, because if YOU opened the bag instead of them, you get the blame when things went bad.

Just like getting a pet, they will say a lot of sweet things and promises to achieve their goal. And once you cave in, no thanks to your spouse who is giving you that look, they win. Oh, when they win, they win it big.

Just watch that bag of corn flakes for instance. Once its opened, they take delight into eating them. OK, SOME of them before realising what corn flakes are really all about. And yep, you're left with the bag of corn flakes which neither one of them want to touch it anymore...

Yeah, its all your fault too.

A help from a friend

Finally, another friend has offered to help me in painting the Cylon Raider since I do not have one myself. What is even better is that he will come to my place to take it off me. But he will just paint it like that, with no missile bays and accurate paintjob or parts, which I agree with him as these do not take up time. Hopefully, it will be ready in a week or two and I can then close the chapter on this and get on with other projects.

Its not easy doing other stuff when the model lies unfinished in front of you. The finished model means a lot to me but some people do not really understand the reason why. With this model, I can shoot another video to show how it would look like completed. This, I hope, would encourage more sales which can help me from getting my car repossessed and also, fund the second product.

So, some people really do walk the talk and the others, ... just talk and talk.

Kaelynn standing outside the gate with me to see who is this kind friend of mine.

26072012 Trip to HHQ

I had some time to kill and so, HHQ was the place to hang out. Actually, I wanted to just hand around Kristine's school and use the Notebook which I had brought along but on hindsight, it is safer to just hide from the outside World here.

When I came in, there are still some model kits left form the latest shipment which arrived a few days ago.

To other modelers these are restocks but to me, I have never seen most of them before.

For example, a 1/350 accessory set for ships, which has the a harrier jet, Ospreys, Abrams tanks, and even the AAVP-7.

This is how small 1/350 scale is against my index finger

This is the first time I have seen the 'Bushmaster' and for 1/35, it is quite large.I am not sure who the manufacturer was but the box really attracted my attention. Oh, and the Emu is not included in the kit in case you're asking.

Looking inside, I liked what I saw, specially the interior where the seating looked more like it was armoured.

But once the euphoria dies down, I realised the details are not really that crisp and there are some flash

Next are Master Box's Vietnam series.

The pose from these figures are very nice, which is good as normal figures would have very boring poses.

And this is even better. In fact, with them and a Jeep (sold separately) you can create your very own diorama without having to hunt for other suitable figures. The mouth details of the man being shot is quite good.