Just back from my summer hols during which we spent a couple of weeks in Italy.
As relaxation was definitely on the agenda I thought it reasonable to take along a few modelling bits just in case the opportunity presented itself. Most days were spent playing with the traffic on the Italian autostradas to tick off the usual Tuscan destinations but I managed to grab a couple of spells on our quieter days while the other members of the family were keeping out of the heat and struggling to find something comprehensible to them among the hundreds of Italian language channels on the telly.
I took the precaution of buying up some plastic mineral wagon kits at the recent Expo because these can usually be relied on to keep me gainfully employed - having just enough work involved in thinning the sides and converting them all to top doors to provide some challenge while not being too big to show some visible progress.
Sharp implements were not too much of an issue provided that they were suitably protected and put into the checked luggage. The bigger challenge was polystyrene solvent - as far as I can see this is a complete no-no in either hand baggage or checked luggage so I had to be more creative.
My answer was to try to figure out (before leaving the UK) how Italians might stick plastic kits together, print off a picture along with some suitable words prepared using Google translate. Said picture was then presented at an Italian modelling emporium and surprisingly produced the goods in return for a modest financial outlay.
The above process was rather complicated by the Italian idea of a lunch break. This seems to consist of a variable period of time, usually at least 3 hours between midday and 4PM... plus they have Monday mornings off too. The Italian lunch break was rather a challenge for the whole trip really, not just for modelling emporiums.
Unfortunately after getting hold of the Tamiya stuff I found that I didn't really like it - it is not pure solvent but rather a mix of 88% solvent and 12% resin so it leaves a visible residue behind and doesn't flow into joints using capillary action like normal solvent does. The other big snag I found with it was that the resin had completely gummed up the brush I was using after a fairly short spell of use. In the end I assembled just one body this way before deciding to bring the remainder home unassembled. I'd still quite like to know for future reference whether normal solvent is available in Italy and other European countries.
My 'workbench' and travelling toolkit in its landscape context.
A close up of the one assembled wagon plus the essential fluids required for its construction.
A couple of other items of interest that I came across on my travels...
The shunter was attached to a work train parked at Porta al Prato station in Florence.
The MU was passing under a medieval bridge that we were visiting near to Bagni de Lucca.