A Repeated Pleasure

I rarely go on a repeat visit to a motor car show…because most of the ones I see are one-day affairs. But the major indoor shows do run over a couple of days, and this time called for a the second run into Claremont Showground to the West Australian event. I am glad I did it, as it saved me money and made me friends.

My first day there was a test day for a lens from the Fujifilm company – a top-quality professional thing that promises to be all lenses to all men…I was curious to see if I should get one and never take it off the camera. I enjoyed using it and laid down a solid 300+ images which I’ll share in due course. The second day I took a lens I already use to compare it with the pro version. Again shooting many of the same cars, and taking time to seek out others that I had missed. These days the processing once you get home is fast enough to have it all done in three hours and the results side by side on the screen.

And what do you know – the pro version doesn’t really look any better than the enthusiast glass. Same colours, same sharpness. And the enthusiast version has the advantage of a longer optical range and a stabilising mechanism within it. There might be some difference visible if I was making wall-sized prints but I don’t – and for the things that I do, the one I own is just dandy.

The other good thing that happened is that I met a Lady from california who does custom painting – Katt put a set of hot rod scallops on the front bezel of my new Fujifilm EF-X500 flash. I now own pinstripe, flames, and scallops. If I ever get to the point where I am taking my studio Elinchrom strobe units out to car shows I will get Travis Corich to change them from standard Swiss grey to candy apple or Metalflake. Metalflake holds no terrors for Travis. That’s his work on the ” Tequila Sunrise ” model T bucket and it has proved a winner.

And finally, I hope to see a new Hot Rod Honey and her husband in the studio too – I met them whilst she was touring the clothing and accessory stands at the show. I’m glad I had my iPad along to show off previous results and to brag a bit. If the lady from California comes back to WA I hope to recruit her to the studio too.

Featured Image: Anglia outside.

 

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The Mini-Motor Trade Monthly Report

Well, the last of the boxes have arrived from New South Wales – this year’s quota of new die-cast models for my collection are ready for unboxing and display.

Or, I should say, they are ready for further work. They have already figured in complex plans for photo shoots and now it is time to prepare them for their roles. They will be unboxed and the worst of the anomalies ground off them…by this I mean any mounting posts that the makers have left visible on the bottom of the chassis. They do this even on some quite pricey models and the result can spoil low-level shots if you are not observant.

Then it will be time to consider whether there should be any weathering. While I am quite enamoured of the normal wear and tear look of normal daily drivers, some of these cars are always going to be showpieces or central players in advertising scenarios. That means clean tyres and no road grime on the sides of the body. The license plates might need to be changed and little anomalies polished out, but essentially the models are ready to go.

There is one model scheduled for a big repaint straight away, and I have no idea exactly how to do it yet. It will be a complex pattern with advertising signage and extra accessories glued on. It goes to the back of the queue…

I am starting to collect more trailers and caravans as well, and have started to notice more of them in the smaller scales ass well. They certainly appear to have been a popular subject for the classic die-cast makers of England and France in the 50’s and 60’s. I would add some of them to the collection except that the market seems to regard them as far more valuable than new models. I am not a great fan of being driven to overspend by someone else’s urging.

And then we’ll start on the structure building and the set making for the new shoots. A new building was completed this week, and will show up in the studio shortly. I am getting better at assessing what degree of detailing is necessary for a good appearance on the photographic table and the new foamcore construction methods are speeding the construction no end.

And finally, the new series of Hot Rod Honeys and Hunks shoots started last weekend with a Hollywood starlet and a pesky news reporter at The Goldfisch Studios. The prep shots were all ready to go beforehand and I am happy to say that the talent were perfect in their roles. The only technical hitch occurred  when the studio cameraman inadvertently turned off the RAW recording on the camera and only saved medium fine JPEGs. Fortunately Fujifilm JPEGs are superb and the images are excellent. A dumb mistake…he’d get fired if it wasn’t for nepotism.

 

 

Welcome To The Diecast Collectors

If you read my little note in the Diecast Collector’s Forum and have just tried out this weblog column – welcome. The administrator of the DCF was very kind in letting me put that little piece of advertising for this and my other column – Dr. Stein’s Photographic Establishment. I won’t impose further on him by repeating the advert but if you find some value in what I write, please tell other hobbyists to come here.

As you know I do scale model photography of my diecast collection – you’ve seen some of the results in the past few months. The DCF is a wonderful discovery for me as I thought I was alone in the way I pursue the hobby. It is greatly heartening to discover that people from all over the world also put time and effort into model photography. Of course they all have different tastes as far as the models they collect, but that is what makes the hobby go so well.

In the archives of this column are a number of essays dealing with my first discoveries in the techniques – I collected them under the ” Hot Rod Honeys ” banner – you’ll find a whole series of them scattered over the years. I don’t think the internet ever loses anything so if you want to see what got me going, it is all there somewhere. I am a little frightened to review it all as it is probably riddled with spelling and grammatical errors – plus the photos have been a developing process (…not a pun…) and some of the early efforts look crude now.

Still – it is all fun. I just repainted a Model T delivery van today that you’ll eventually see, and the Model A Ford got an authentic 1930’s Kodak sign tying it to Australia…and eventually tying it to one of my new Australian dioramas.

So please keep reading. If you are a keen photographer the other column is at:

frontierandcolonial.wordpress.com

You’ll find diecasts over there too, but a lot more photographic topics.

The Fine Fins Of 59

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The prize tailfin on American cars has often been thought to have been on the ’58 Cadillac Eldorado – see the picture of Penelope Pinze in the desert – but I disagree.

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I shall leave aside the sheet metal freak that was attached to the rear deck of the Plymouth Roadrunner. It is tall, but definitely a bolt-on item and not in the spirit of the 50’s or 60’s. It may, or may not, have contributed to stability at the rear end of this muscle car, but it was not a part of the original sheet metal design for the sedan body.

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For my money the champion tail fin or stabilizer was sported by the 1960 Plymouth line – all the way from the Belvedere to the Fury there were two magnificent fins cutting the air. The junction of the front of the bonnet and the grille may have had an uncertain style to it but the flanks of the beast were all that could be asked for.

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Here in Australia I see that 1959 brought a sort of peak of style as well, but in a bit more hesitant way. See the rear quarters of this 1959 Chrysler at Gillam Drive. They feature tail fins piled upon tail fins piled upon tail fins – surely a combination that deserves some respect. The angles of the side trim have been carefully set to divide the broad white into two manageable sectors. The black roof is stylish, but on Gillam Drive in summer style comes at a price – the price of comfort. It is the only concession that this driver need make – the rest of the vehicle is superb.

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I hope Tony has some success with his sale – a custom car as nicely presented as this one deserves to be treated well. It would have been the pride and joy of a well-to-do person here in 1959, and not too common on the road. Plenty of power in the engine if the owner  wished to tow a caravan…one thinks of the long winding southwest roads in those days and what it must have been like to be stuck behind an Easter caravan on Caves Road…This is what you might have seen  – minus the Coromal…

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Please note one more period piece in the rear window. Not as common as they once were, but authentic nevertheless…

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The F List – Not as Poisonous As One Might Think

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Bear the title of this post in mind as I explain the contents of my F list. Broadly, it is a document recording a number of things that I never want to do. Some of them are memories of things that I have encountered before – acquaintances, experiences, possessions. Some are founded on mere future speculation  – a future I hope to avoid.

The people I never wish to see again are etched into my memory – there are 11 of them. 11 out of the entire population of the planet is not a bad percentage, and only one of them is an in-law. Only four have occasioned me any financial loss and I appear to have borne it well enough to be staying healthy. The one common factor is that they have all treated me with contempt or disdain at some stage of the game and in each case it has been undeserved.

I understand that I should not bear grudges – my old deer-hunting buddy the Dalai Lama is always on about this. I’m not good enough to let them all go but I am reasonable enough to relinquish them when circumstances change. There were 12 on the list a year ago but one has been removed.

In any case, the nature of the F list is such that it keeps me safe from a lot of further grief – if I never want to see someone again I arrange matters so that it does not happen. It may mean reining in interests or trimming circles of mutual acquaintance, but there are more things to do and more people to see in the world. And any day spent not feeling bad or sad is a good day.

The F list has a number of geographic areas that are no-go zones. Or rather no-want-to-go zones. None of them contain attractions that I burn to see and none of the inhabitants burn to see me. We exist in our separate spheres of influence quite well. I bear the residents of these areas no ill will, but I am wise enough not to present them with an opportunity to harm me.

As far as activities go, there are few that I absolutely abhor, but one does make it into the list at No. 3; visiting public venues at the times of peak activity. This is the consequence of foolishly going to the Gloucester Park trots and the Canning markets on various New Year’s Eves during the 1980’s and being nearly overcome with the crowds.

Two entries in the list deal with moral matters – contact with people who would do me no good at all. As they are classes or groups of individuals I do not list the names – but when I recognise them for what they are, I exercise my right to avoid contact.

Okay, if it all seems to be getting rather gloomy here, let me brighten things up by saying that this is one of the most positive lists I have made. Every one of the entries has a good reason for being there and I can recognise those reasons. They are legitimate for me. Implementing a ban upon the various points has a very positive effect – it shields me from trouble and distress. It does not harm any of the people, groups, or geographical areas specified – they live their lives untouched by me.

And the best bit. The B, or Bucket list is aspirations that are rarely or never attained. From day to day there may be no reward at all in just hoping. Nothing but desire with no fulfillment. The F list, on the other hand, is instantly gratifying – any day that I do not see the detested, visit the abhorrent, or collude with the dangerous is a good day. I win all the time.

Say Mwah! C’est Moi…

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Have you ever met an Amazon? Or a chameleon? I have. Right in my studio.

I proposed to make this year’s mini exhibition for our local Middle Eastern Dance conference on the subject of Amazons. I’ve been doing this for years and we’ve had such diverse themes as Art Deco, Notorious Women, and Hot Rod Honeys. Why not Amazons? The call went out and the more adventurous of the sorority responded.

None more so than Sally. The original advertisement gave people the bare bones of the idea and invited the participants to contrive their own version of an Amazon. Some were armed, some were fierce, but no-one was quite as imaginative as Sally. Because she saw herself as Miss Piggy.

Anyone who remembers the Muppet Show knows Miss Piggy – Kermit the Frog’s lady love. She was said to have been patterned after Sally Kellerman or Loretta Swit. Or they may have been patterned after her…I don’t know. I suspect she will be in the public’s eye and affection long after the two actresses anyway – if only for her dress sense and characteristic temper.

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I am happy to say that when Miss Piggy visited the Little Studio she was in a good mood. She was dressed in her favourite hot coral number with complementary shoes and gloves. I admired her pearls – apparently she knows an oyster who can get them for her wholesale. The heels looked little precarious but Miss Piggy is a skilled karaticist and never faltered – plus I think that anyone she hit with them would be much the worse for wear.

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Well, photographing an international superstar is a glorious experience. And it is a lot easier than you would think. You see, stars like Miss Piggy know how to move – how to pose. They know their best sides and their best features and if you just give them light and space…and a cocktail or eight…they can bring out the whole entertainment experience right before you. All you have to do is press the button and there it is.

Well, you can see how successful it all proved to be. Miss Piggy was able to bring a small amphibian with her as well – I was going to ask how she got him but then I got nervous because she might have told me. And I am not sure I am ready for that sort of revelation. In any event he was a very good little frog and posed very well. I hope she gave him a jar of candied flies and mosquitos later…

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Note the last photo. The gentleman is named Tim and I think he is related to Miss Piggy and to the small frog. He has a patient look in his eyes…It will come in handy for the next photo shoot. He doesn’t know it yet, but the Little Studio has plans for him…

The Plastic Bumper Club – Or The Personal Car Club

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I have recently been going to car shows that referred to themselves as ” Chrome Bumper ” shows. This was to limit the entries to a certain section of the history of automobiles. That was after narrowing it down further by era and time and type and nationality and degree of reworking and…and…and a great many fun things would have been excluded.

The cars that did show were fine – and presumably fitted into slots that the organisers set up. I had a good time. I got some good shots and some new weblog posts for the column. But I couldn’t help think about a different approach.

Of course this is nothing new. You can have a car show for British cars, Italian cars, VW cars, Veteran cars, etc and the very name sets out the criteria. You can ask for classic cars and the question becomes a wider one – and one that I suspect is driven by money and prestige as much as enthusiasm. You can ask for new cars. But I am thinking that you could have a great show asking for Personal Cars.

Cars that have been taken past the factory fit-out to to become something special to their owners. Driving cars, as opposed to show trailer queens. Cars from any nation and any era that have been endeared to their drivers with something extra. It might be a fully chopped, slammed, sectioned, shaved, and pink fuzzy diced ’49 Mercury. It might be a fuzzy diced Nissan S Cargo. It might be a classic Roller or a classic baby Austin with rebuilt everything. All it needs is to show the hand of man – or woman – after it rolls out of the factory and it is a Personal Car. Paint jobs count big-time. Interiors count big time. Full undercar ricer lighting counts big time. No-one gets excluded because of the bumper or rego sticker or country of origin.

Big show. Fun show. Lotsa food trucks. Shannons making a mint on insurance and the tee shirt guys throwing ’em off the racks. Pinhead striping a silver Audi TT with pink flames. The Forged girls on 15″ high heels. All kinds of a good time being had by all.