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Made in Italy

D869

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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.

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A close up of the one assembled wagon plus the essential fluids required for its construction.

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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.

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The MU was passing under a medieval bridge that we were visiting near to Bagni de Lucca.

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Like the view from your modelling table, Andy! Just a thought but would there be the same problem in taking a tube of polystyrene cement in your checked luggage? I often use it for sticking a side and end together rather than using a liquid solvent as it allows a little more time for adjustment. Used sparingly and applied with a cocktail stick it can make an almost invisible joint.

 

David

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Like the view from your modelling table, Andy! Just a thought but would there be the same problem in taking a tube of polystyrene cement in your checked luggage? I often use it for sticking a side and end together rather than using a liquid solvent as it allows a little more time for adjustment. Used sparingly and applied with a cocktail stick it can make an almost invisible joint.

An interesting idea from the joint making perspective David. I must admit though that I stopped using cement many years ago... shortly after I started using liquid solvent. I did continue with it for joints that needed some element of filling but nowadays I either make my joints more carefully or use Milliput as a filler.

 

From the travel perspective I suspect that the answer (for me at least) would still be no. Unsurprisingly the airlines don't make any explicit statements about polystyrene solvents or other modelling glues etc. What they do say seems a bit contradictory... for example British Airways (which isn't who I flew with) say that 'household' solvents are not allowed to travel but that nail varnish remover is OK.

 

So we can't paint our models but we can paint our nails (should the mood take us).

 

Personally I don't want to risk getting into any sort of trouble or having my bags detained so unless I can figure out something that is definitely OK to carry (which seems highly improbable) then I'd rather take nothing.

 

Regards, Andy

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Hope you didn't eat someones liver with some fava beans along with that Chianti...;)

 

Hope you had a good break Andy - modelling whilst on vacation takes some pluck and you did well to pull that one off - I should have left all my layouts in Spain and suggested to my wife we take our vacations in Barcelona from now on...:D

 

Never had any trouble taking MEK-PAK in my hand luggage myself...just threw it in with the toothpastes and gels in that clear plastic bag they give you at Gatwick...the boxfile layouts themselves seemed to attract more curiosity though...

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Hope you didn't eat someones liver with some fava beans along with that Chianti... ;)

Err... no. I did try that joke on my daughter while we were there though but it fell completely flat. I don't think that the younger generation has seen the film although apparently there has already been a remake.

 

I don't think that I've ever even seen a fava bean though!

 

Never had any trouble taking MEK-PAK in my hand luggage myself...just threw it in with the toothpastes and gels in that clear plastic bag they give you at Gatwick...the boxfile layouts themselves seemed to attract more curiosity though...

Wow, you get a free bag at Gatwick? At BHX they make you pay for them.

 

I did look more closely at the words on my MekPak bottle yesterday and they do seem somewhat less scary than the warnings on the Tamiya stuff - in particular it says 'non-flammable'. It's still a fairly obviously smelly solvent though so I would not be surprised if security people confiscated it if they actually took a close enough look. Maybe your layout is throwing them off the scent ;)

 

It's possible that I might be travelling to the Netherlands on business again soon so if that becomes a regular fixture then I might be looking to get hold of a few essential non hand luggage friendly items there.

 

Regards, Andy

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You probably have seen a Fava bean Andy, it's another name for a broad bean. RMWeb, all human knowledge is here...

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Decant the Butanone in a bottle marked with Nail varnish remover and stick it in the wife's kit bag?

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You probably have seen a Fava bean Andy, it's another name for a broad bean. RMWeb, all human knowledge is here...

Ah yes, indeed. Had some for my tea last night... but with salmon rather than liver. Very nice they were too.

 

Decant the Butanone in a bottle marked with Nail varnish remover and stick it in the wife's kit bag?

Perhaps a little underhand. I think I prefer Pete's idea of just bunging the Mek Pak in my own bag and if they complain then so be it. At least then if it does come under scrutiny then I'm not actually trying to hide anything.

 

I also wondered whether acetone (i.e. actual nail varnish remover) would do the job for assembling models but in the end decided that I was happier using proven products regardless of what might work in theory.

 

I also decided that I wouldn't be too happy presenting a toiletry bag containing a nail varnish remover bottle when travelling without my wife on business trips.

 

Regards, Andy

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