Monday, December 26, 2011

Better a Yule log

Wooden BugChristmas Day isn't a time for hiding away at the workbench, One should steel oneself to spend time sitting beside a roaring log fire with the family and watching the "top quality" entertainment provided for us all by the big television companies.

If you get bored with StictlyComeXFactorOldFilmOverSentimentalDrWho and find yourself with itchy fingers, it's nice if earlier in the day, someone thought to get you a model to put together. Lego is ideal (for all ages - really, I mean you can't solder or glue or anything) but I didn't get any of that. What I got, for fun, was a Quay Imports VW Beetle kit.

You'll have seen these in shops - slot together plywood models that sort of resemble whatever they are supposed to be of. Entertaining to build, much like a 3D jigsaw.

Or at least that's the idea.

The Beetle exposes a number of flaws in the plan. First, the die-cutting machine that produces the parts needs a new blade as the one used on my kit is blunt. Hence, easing out many of the bits is a bit fraught. I used a knife to cut some out of the sheet.

Next, the part fit is in many places, terrible. Tab and slot construction should make this a joy. Instead, I was hacking away to ease many of the Part A's into Part B.

Apparently, you need no glue for assembly, which is probably true for some kits in the range, but here the designer got clever and tries to bend the plywood to produce an appropriately curvy shape. The roof needed glue. And a clamp.

Finally, the instructions. I know these things are done to a price but the back of the photo shows a plan of the bits in the sheet with numbers. In theory you match the numbers up and the model goes together. There are well over 100 of them. I suppose you can treat the model as a puzzle but an exploded plan would be nicer.

On the plus side, the wood smells lovely as you take it out of the packet. And it will add warmth to the room if it ends up on the fire. Maybe I was unlucky and got a duff kit but just in case, next year, instead of an exercise in frustration, can I have a lump of wood and a pocket knife so I can sit and whittle instead ?

Update: After another hour and a bit, I finished the model. If I sand down the tabs a bit then the little wooden car will look OK. I'll still ask for Lego next time though.

Wooden Bug

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