Nerf Longshot CS-6 – Custom Edition

July 6, 2011 at 8:53 pm (Informative) (, , , , )

This should be the last post I make for a while on my customised Nerf Guns. (Until I have my Titan up and running at least… finding hobby supplies in Sydney has proved difficult…)

Anyway, here’s another one of those “I’ve always wanted to do that” mods .

I still frequent department stores like Big W, KMart and Target et al to see what their Nerf range has to offer, and once in a while it comes up with some pretty tempting stuff. If you’ve been paying attention, you’d know most of those Department stores are coming up to Sales time for their Toy departments, and the representation for Nerf is the best it’s ever been.

Recons and Barricades for $25

Vulcans for $50

Stampedes for $55

and of course… the venerable Longshot for $45

If you’re reading this post and it’s still current, last I checked (on the weekend) There was still plenty of stock of all of the aforementioned guns.

Funnily enough the Longshot has sat at that price for quite a long time, and I actually picked mine up a few months prior to the sales.

And this is what I ended up doing to it.

I’d always disliked the treatment of the handgrip cum bipod of the Longshot the way it came out of the Hasbro design office. It’s just far too large, and somehow makes the user look like they’re compensating for a lack of something or other… so OFF WITH IT’S err… handgrip

So first, you need to dismantle the gun, if you are planning to mod your gun too, this is the time to do it. There are plenty of guides elsewhere so I won’t cover it here. Unscrew the halves of the bipod and you should be able to easily slide them out. These screws make for good spares!

Next you need to chop off the extraneous plastic used to hold the Bipod arms. I used a cutting wheel on a dremel, but you could easily use a grinding die too depending on what you’re used to. Cut the plastic until it’s flush with the Longshot handgrip and then cut an extra mm recess. You’ll need it to mount a cover to alleviate the big gap the deletion of the bipod brings.

(I realise at this point that pictures may help explain what is being done, but I hadn’t really documented it)

You now need to cover up this hole. The method I used is probably more along the lines of resourceful than what an actual hobbyist would do… as you can see the results sort of reflect. But it makes good use of what you have lying around at least.

What I did was cut out a paper template matching the gap left behind by the deletion of the bipod, then trace that onto a suitable piece of plastic. Thin sheet will be your best bet, the stuff you find on the bottom of reusable shopping bags is what I used, but use your imagination.

After trimming this to shape, I glued it on with hot glue, then sanded it back to make a flat(ish) surface. If I were doing this again, I would use a modeller’s putty or epoxy on the gap to achieve a better surface finish.

The last step is just to paint it whatever colour you like. Here I used Tamiya’s Metallic Grey – XF56 which is a pretty good match for the grey they use elsewhere on the Longshot.

I also used a mix of Metallic Grey and Flat Aluminium (XF11) to pick out the details on the body of the gun. If you’re the type to constantly update your collection of Nerf guns, you’d have noticed how nice the detailing is on some of the newer guns. The Longshot looks positively barren in comparison.

Next up a really simple one.

When I physically picked up the Longshot, the first thing I noticed was that, fully retracted, my hand can’t hold the gun comfortably. But fully extend it, and it starts looking pretty dorky with that huge box section out the back.

Simple solution… add a stop somewhere in between!

The Longshot stock adjustment works via a springloaded nub,  and it’s pretty easy to add another notch of adjustment. You only have to drill one hole as it only operates on one side.

It helps if the gun is still in pieces, but you can do this without pulling apart the whole gun if you don’t want. However, it will help if you take off the stock.

Really you can add as many adjustment holes as you like, just keep them in line between the two original points. If you drill accurately in between the two original spots you won’t have any trouble cutting into any structures behind. But if you do decide to add more, make sure you don’t drill into anything crucial.

So for those holes you’ll need a 6mm drill bit, but you’ll find if you just drill the holes and leave it at that, the stock is prone to sliding out if it’s jiggled. The little nub isn’t seating properly. To fix this, sand around the hole slightly to give it a chamfer. Enlarge the hole if you’re still having trouble, but do this with a round needle file, avoid a larger drill bit. If the hole gets too big the stock will sit very loose…

And that’s it, you now have a Longshot that’s exactly the same as mine… sort of…

Happy Modding!

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Nerf Raider CS-35 Custom Yellow Edition

March 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm (Informative) (, , , , , )

So much for the “not turning this into another Nerf Blog” thing… Because here’s another one right after it… XD

If you remember in my last Recon post, I touched on a customisation I’d wanted to perform on the Raider ever since I set eyes on it.

When we first bought a Raider for our friend as a birthday present that started our current obsession with Nerf, I took issue with the pump handle. It just looked far too out of place. Over the years I started getting accustomed to chopping up Nerf Blasters in the name of customisation and getting them to match what I envisioned for them.

The issue with the Raider was that it was so expensive in Australia, ($50 on sale and at that very rarely). But it was a trip to America that lifted this restriction. Funny story actually, I was staying at New York at the time with my girlfriend so of course I had to visit the ToysRUs there. There I found the Raider for a princely sum of $35+3.50 tax so I jumped straight on that bandwagon. At the register, the cashier was more than happy to provide us with his personal Email on which we could contact him if we ever held any Nerf Parties. After that, I happily carried it to our dinner date, and happily carried it home.

That would have been the end of it had we not stumbled into KMart the next day. There I saw the Raider on the Shelves. For $25… I love America for it’s refund policy. I promptly went and refunded my expensive Raider and planned our next trip out to KMart to replenish the Nerf Stash.

I had also dabbled in the idea of buying one of the N-Force foam melee weapons, but at ToysRUs they weren’t exactly the cheapest things. I was tossing up the idea of the Battle Axe, or the Long Sword. And at KMart I found the Marauder Long Sword for $17+1.70 tax.

Needless to say I snapped at the chance. I also picked myself up a Raider, and once again, happily went home.

Fast forward to my return home, I had a relatively large piece of furniture we collected in Japan, and a similary sized sword. With all that cardboard from the Raider Box, a natural combination was hatched.

I give you, the Nerf Chair Sword. (You’d need XRay eyes to see it, but the Sword is pretty much strapped to the chair by way of lots of packing tape and Cardboard Raider Box)

Fast forward even more to present day, I now had a relatively cheap Raider that I could customise to my hearts delight. I quickly lopped off the pump handle to form a shotgun hand grip.

I tore it apart to gut the insides in preparation for spray painting, I’d point out to you that it may be easier in fact just to leave the internals in place and mask over them for spray painting, because the internal mechanisms are a little fiddly and don’t take well to being taken apart and put together alot.

The Raider is one of those guns where if you don’t put it together while standing on your belly, rubbing your leg, and patting your tongue while sticking out your forehead, it won’t work properly.

If you remember the details of my Recon post, I used Tamiya spray paints to coat the stock in yellow. This time I decided to try some from my local hardware store. It came in a bigger tin and was half the price. Thinking that this would be far more economical.

Unfortunately, you need to take more care when using cheaper paints. The main problem was that alot of the surface detail was lost. The Raider lettering ended up slightly less defined by virtue of the paint not conforming that well to the edges. The digital camo patterning on the body of the gun that came out so well on the Recon stock was lost out a little for the same reason.

All in All, I may have to investigate some better alternatives between this quality and value balance. Watch this Space.

One more thing to watch out for is to try not to spray paint on a very humid day. The paint ends up atomising far too much and going everywhere.

As you see it here, it’s 99% complete. I’m still tossing up whether or not to hack up another raider stock to sit over the butt as it looks a little weird there. But I don’t have anything that I’m willing to butcher as yet, and I’m discouraged by the idea of wasing the rest of the stock just for the clip on piece.

I still need to sort out a way to finish off the pump handle, but that may just end up being a flat piece of plastic stuck on to cover up the hole.

Anyway, less talk more pics!

Once again, a little brush painting goes a long way. The only part I masked off was the grip handle (the pump handle was removed for spray painting), and the button to release the clip. Everything else ended up being yellow and had to be repainted.

The Raider CS-35 lettering was done with a Gundam Marker, but any fine point permanent marker will be sufficient. Just take your time.

So that’s the end result! A Nerf Raider matched to the rest of your yellow N Strike Arsenal.

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Nerf Recon CS-6 Custom Yellow Edition

February 13, 2011 at 12:34 am (Informative) (, , , , , )

At the risk of turning this into another Nerf Blog, I will come straight out and say that this isn’t the intention, it’s just another part of my life that I like sharing with you all once in a while.

My Recon is close to my heart as it’s the first serious blaster I’ve owned. I think it was my second blaster after my Nitefinder. I’ve never liked the look of the stock that came with the Recon and ever since I saw the one that came with the Raider, I knew they belonged together (in my mind at least).  Thus began the long mission of finding a Raider Stock sold off as parts.

There were a few promising leads on eBay, but they were few and far between, and often the buyers were shooting for the moon when it came to an asking price. So that, I thought, was that. Fast forward half a year and my girlfriend was heading away for a secondment courtesy of her company, and I was lucky enough to be in between jobs, waiting for the new one to begin, so I took an early exit from the preceding job and joined her on a holiday.

As luck would have it, she would be heading off to the land where all Toys are born, the United States.  I could finally obtain a cheap Raider Stock complete with a Raider. Why would I spend extra for a Raider when I only wanted the stock? Well I had my own plans for customising the Raider, but that’s another story for another day.

So it came to pass that I brought home a Raider (and a Marauder Long Sword, also thanks to KMart Times Square) to add to my now sizeable collection, rivalled only by Benny.

Since I came home to a new job, it was obvious that I wouldn’t have much time for my personal hobbies. So I slowly collected the materials (really just the spray paints) until it came to a dreary day in February, when I finally got off my butt. About 4 weeks from when I came home with the Raider.

I have a bad habit of rushing jobs when I’m keen, but I eventually settled down and paced myself, and all in all, I’m happy with what ended up being one days work which mostly entailed alot of waiting time for paint to dry. Sure if you look closely it’s not that nice a job, but in the end it’s still a Toy, not an art piece.

Now I’ll let the pictures do the talking, the finished job.

You’ll also notice a few small flourishes I added a long time ago just with the use of a silver marker. It’s amazing what a little detailing can do.

Anyway if you like what you see, here’s what you need to do to have one of your own.

Send a cheque for $50AUD to… I’m just kidding…

It’s pretty straight forward the steps you need to take, be familiar with spray painting, masking off, and a little brush painting will be called upon too.

A few helpful hints, the paint I used was Tamiya Spray number 16, which gives quite a nice color match with the Nerf Yellow, but is abit expensive (about $10AUD for a can, and this was barely enough for the job), and remember it’s just the stock. I will experiment in future with different shades of Tamiya Yellows or even the spray paints at Bunnings.

If you’re not patient enough to surface prep, remember 2 things.
a) you will need to be careful with the painted gun as the paint can chip/flake easier.
b) be patient enough to slowly build up the colour layer by layer. You cannot get proper coverage in one go. All you will end up with is the paint welling in all the crevices, a stock that’s still blue and no more spray paint.
Make one pass or two, then let it dry, and repeat the process until you build up opacity.

Lastly the grey on the butt of the Raider stock is a very good match with Tamiya Metallic Grey, XF56. If mixed well it will blend in seamlessly.

If you aren’t satisfied with the coat of spray paint, a little brush painting goes a long way. Remember, I achieved these results with little more than a few hours of work.

And that’s pretty much it! One properly colour matched Nerf Recon CS6, and one stockless Raider which kinda makes it look like a shotgun… hmmm… *wiink*

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Repent, petroleum, for the end is near!

July 21, 2010 at 11:04 pm (Informative) (, , )

I realise that last post of mine was very doom and gloom. So here I offer you the other side of the coin.

As technology has shown, a definitive alternative is still a far way off. The world has invested so heavily in Petroleum that it is difficult to be weaned off it. This, as with everything that is difficult, cannot be forced and will take concentration, imagination and time.

So if you asked me right now what I thought were the most realistic alternatives are, indulge me a little.

1) The Diesel – this one isn’t new at all. In fact, this is something Australia is very far behind because of some distinct anachronisms. The main being the conception that diesels are exclusively the domain of trucks. But think about this, Trucks are primarily designed to haul cargo from one destination to another, day after day. Why is it that the connection to person cargo is so difficult to make? The days of the clattery, smelly, oily diesels are well and truly gone. Diesels can add sporting ability and emissions cleanliness, to the continuing advancement of their cause. Drive a BMW 123D or 330D and you’ll know what I mean. And then flick to the fuel consumption figures for icing on the cupcake.

2) Auto-stop start technology – No, this is not the “stare at the traffic lights while your engine is off, hoping not to hold up the queue while you start your car again”. This is the specific technology of automatic stop start. Where once the ECU senses that the car has come to a halt, switches off the engine and awaits the next throttle on command. This works because as outlined in previous posts, the most fuel efficient a car can run while it’s sitting in stop start traffic, is when it isn’t. This does not translate to turning your car off at the lights because, for a car that was not designed with this feature in mind, leads to much greater stress, wear, and tear; and this in turn culminates in the car being even less efficient in the long term due to its declining condition. There is no greater sign of the times than the venerable BMW M3 having this feature on the options list. The only thing that comes as more of a shock is when you’re behind the wheel when you first figure this out.

3) Buy a car appropriate for your needs – This is something that everyone needs to figure out themself. Practical experience is the best tell of what is “appropriate”.
For me, this was highlighted in a recent stint that I had in a base model, petrol Mini Cooper. Every so often while driving I would flick to the average fuel consumption read out. If the roads were clearer I flick to the instantaneous consumption read out. It’s at first difficult to figure out what use the instantaneous read out serves, but you quickly learn to read, and by doing so this assists you in adjusting your driving style accordingly.
The greatest realisation was, that for my spirited driving style, and living in the geography that I do, the Mini is unsuitable for me. Firstly, it’s quite hilly around where I live, and climbing hills was not the little Mini’s forte. And this was just with me on board. You can only imagine how much it would struggle with a passenger  (it can’t fit more than 2 adults) and some luggage.
Just how inappropriate the Mini was for me was elucidated when I went back to work the next day. I compared the average readout of my base model Cooper, with that of a Cooper S. Now I know for a fact that the driver of the Cooper S drives cars like they stole it, so it was interesting to compare. Aside from driver difference, there is also the fact that the Cooper S has more power, so naturally, consumes more petrol in doing so. As you can guess by my tone, it turned out that the Cooper S had a lower average readout (only slightly). But rationally you would expect the car that innately consumes more fuel, being driven at least as hard, to consume more. Not so simple.
So aside from this anecdotal advice, here are a few guidelines.
The closer you live to the inner city, the smaller the engine your car should have.
The more highway driving you do, the bigger an engine your car can have – it will be able to run efficiently.
Although society is ever-plowing towards excess, the earth cannot take anymore of it.

4) Drive… Less. The definitive way to consuming less petrol. Cars are not a necessity, they are a convenience. And until we learn to work around this fact, cars can do nothing but keep on polluting the world.

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The False Prophet come in auto form, the Hybrid

May 12, 2010 at 12:10 am (Informative) (, , )

The way Hybrid cars have taken over the greater automotive scene is highly reminiscent of the way Apple has taken over the world of consumer appliances. Buyers are taken in by the slick sheen, apparent user friendliness, and all the enticing promises given out in their advertising.

And much like Apple, the goodness that Hybrid cars purport is highly misleading. For the informed, they are merely another option to an endless supply of choices out there on the showroom floor.

They are not the answer.

My gripes over Apple I leave for another post. What I will get to today is the Hybrid car.

It is often said that the Hybrid car is the saviour from our bleak future, otherwise doomed by global warming. Along with the heated (hohoho) debates over global warming, there are great questions hanging over the head of hybrid cars.

It is a well known fact that car companies, when publishing catalogues and brochures – and other public relation flotsam  – they embellish on the technical statistics.
Acceleration times, Top speeds, cornering abilities, and lap times on the Nurburgring compared to some other German manufacturers, to name a few features are often slightly improved to increase appeal.

In our world of ever increasing environmental awareness, two new statistics are garnering much more attention than ever. Fuel Consumption (litres consumed per 100km travelled), and Carbon Emissions (average grams emitted per kilometre travelled). So with the above in mind, do you really believe the manufacturers paint the complete picture when it comes to these figures?

To be plain, auto makers are not strictly lying when it comes to publishing figures in relation to their newest models. These figures are the results of tests conducted in clinical conditions, so they may well be real, but are not in reality attainable. In practical conditions these figures are a long way away.

Toyota/Honda may suggest that their newest hybrid does Xl/100km and emits no more than XXXg/km of carbon in urban driving, but the same is true of any other car. There are the figures presented, achieved through clinical testing, men/women in lab coats and safety glasses et al. and then there is Frank doing the school run in heavy city traffic. You cannot achieve these figures unless you replicate the exact conditions apparent in testing.

A small point to illustrate, the fuel consumption stickers on the cars that I work with with a 3 litre inline six present about 9l/100km in extra urban (or highway) cycle and 11l/100km in urban (or city) cycle. But when you jump onboard, and start driving (and subsequently sitting in traffic), the car’s own onboard readout displays nearly 14l/100km and no matter how much attention you pay to your accelerator pedal this figure will stay largely the same.

It is often easier to work in extremes, so I present you a case. You fully load a Prius with 4 adult passengers, and a full boot of luggage driving around in an urban environment with traffic, you will find fuel consumption will be nothing short of fishy.

One thing that really works against the hybrid’s favour is also the same thing fully electric cars still haven’t made it to mainstream (for different reasons of course).

The batteries.

You may sing the praises of the hybrid upon the high mountain tops, but you can’t hide it under the carpet. Production of the batteries in the first place is highly energy intensive. Then you have the problem of disposing them after their use by date (so far this has been found to be about half a decade). And for the earlier models – hybrids have been around for the greater part of a decade after all – they may have well gone through half a dozen batteries already.
Aside from how much this will hurt your pocket, saying that this is a small price for benefit fuel economy is nothing but short sighted.
It’s reducing one problem for sure but creating an entirely different one.

Decrying the modern petroleum car in this stop start world is missing the point entirely. It’s like using a Bulldozer to thread a needle and saying that it’s too inarticulate and industrial – but what you need to do sort of falls into the range of movement, so you persist anyway.

There is nothing you can do for the petrol automobile if you place upon it the chore of stop/start commuting. The problem is our mode of usage and in the end, our dependancy.

Cars don’t poison the world. People poison the world.

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Thread Revival

March 15, 2010 at 9:38 pm (Informative, Personal) ()

At the behest of my lovely other half, I’ve been convinced to start blogging again.

I had originally intended this to be a therapy/ranty blog (as you plainly saw) but I guess it can take a different tack now.

Although it may not seem like it, much has changed since you last read about me.

I’ve spent a wonderful (just) 9months with my new partner in life.
Worked just over 6months in a new job at a dealership of one of the more famous German Car Makers (most importantly with driving privileges!)
Developed a newfound love of plastic hobbies, both gun and model car related.
And perhaps one of the most important of all, put together a scrapbook of the things I’ve held onto as measure to combat this forgetful and fragmented mind of mine.

But still, life, is never complete. Or at least I thought I was? It’s funny how you need an outside influence in life to make the pertinent observation that perhaps you’ve become too complacent…

I have a set of uprated sway bars for my car that were purchased late last year that still haven’t been installed, and the spoiler I purchased round the same time is still awaiting the final coats before it can too.
Add to that one model car (among a whole pile that haven’t even been opened) that I haven’t completed and you get the picture that there is alot of unfinished business to be taken care of…

So here’s to the posts ahead, hopefully updated frequently enough with new and exciting blahblahblah “But wait! There’s More!” said with the flash of a toothy grin.

Stay tuned next week for a short story I’ve been cobbling together…

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A star is remembered best when it dies brightly; and Asian Parents (again)

July 21, 2009 at 9:59 pm (Informative, Personal) (, , , , , )

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated, and if you’re a regular follower, I apologise. If you know me well enough you can probably guess why I’ve had less to rant about.

Either way let’s get stuck into this post. There are two topics that I have a fondness for, that is asian movie stars, and parents, and recently, an interesting link between the two has surfaced.

When you are famous, you need to die young, or at least move out of the spotlight quietly to save your dignity. Bruce Lee is a great example of this. Aside from the tragic circumstances surrounding his death, passing away at the height of his fame means he doesn’t succumb to the human condition of feeling that longing for the spotlight. Humility is a sometimes is a good word to use when describing such situations. On the opposite side we have Elvis, stories of him being obese in later years dying on the seat of a toilet, and more recently Michael Jackson, the less said about his tortured later life the better. Do I need to mention Tom Cruise? Cassius Clay is also a frail shadow of his former self. I guess we shouldn’t judge them for it. As humans we are all victim to showing bouts of pride. But in his case especially, “keep your words soft and sweet, for one day you may have to eat them.” I’m not blaming the stars for their fame, but they’re there to illustrate a point. Remember them for the reason they were famous, as no one can hold on to that forever. Growing old I guess sometimes cannot be graceful.

Most of you would know that I am a huge Jackie Chan fan, or at least you did, because I was. I’m not so sure anymore. Recently I read a blog post from http://www.LoveHKFilm.com and as it is in tune with popular asian movie star culture, snippets of Jackie Chans slippery slope into some embarassing twilight years surface from time to time. There was one such incident including his comments on China and Communism, and now what inspired me to write this post. While rehearsing for a new movie he has a part in, he has been coaching Jaden Smith, son of some… famous actor… I think his name is Will? In writing his own blog post about the experience, well, let the words speak for themselves.

“If I couldn’t get my own son to train in martial arts, how could anybody else succeed?”
Oh Great one… how can we ever be worthy of thee…

“He put my son to shame! I provided my son with the best martial artists in the world, and he could not be persuaded to try it.”
Giving someone things doesn’t guarantee they’ll use it, nor does it guarantee they need it…

Seriously after reading that stuff I’m dumbfounded. Here is the seminal, hero, good guy icon of the 80’s and 90’s… Teaching Lecture 1 on How to Hurt your Children…
Actually on second thought it’s textbook Asian parenting. Your child is always wrong, what they want for themselves is always wrong, and what you want for them is always right, for the best. You may remember from my previous posts that as a typical asian child we all live under the weight of expectation. But this is something I cannot bear having grown up innately Aussie. As a result my relationship with them is quite strained. For that I am sad, but there is not much I can do, when people like Jackie Chan, so great that he is cannot be encouraging. How can one expect the average asian parent to be anymore empathetic?

Here’s a confusing one… he turns it around by saying this…
“When a person is not interested in a subject, no matter how hard you push them, they will not pick it up. Even if they do, it will be with disinterest and lack of passion.”
Really?
Do you actually believe that Jackie?
You wouldn’t be ashamed of your son if you did…

Now excuse me while I go re-watch a Drunken Master…

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A View on Perspective…

June 16, 2009 at 10:54 pm (Informative) (, , , )

Through my 20 years on this earth, I have figured out that there are two things this world has a very weak grasp on; Opinion and Expectation. More specifically, confusing opinion with fact, and the assumption that expectation leads to ability. A person who is victim to these two frames of mind will certainly lead a long life of infuriation and disappointment. Remember that all the things I say in this blog, are usually opinion. Especially when it is prefaced by “I think”. You’d think this is obvious wouldn’t you? But you’d be surprised how many times I have to explain myself to other people that think I’m “wrong”. “Wrong”? What… my opinion? You’re kidding right… see… the one thing I am definitely entitled to as a human, is my opinion (same as everyone else). And that is shaped by my character, the things I identify with. To say that they are not right is… complete ignorance.

If perhaps you say that I don’t agree with the norm however, I can almost agree. But think about this… do you identify with things just because they are the norm? If you do, don’t you want a little more depth on your life? No? People can tell you what you want? You won’t ever figure it out for yourself? That’s fine, just don’t force your complacency on me.

Opinion and Expectation are more alike than you think. Growing up in Asian culture means you are very aware of the expectations placed upon you. “I hope one day you will become a dentist, or a lawyer (at best both)” Translation? If you don’t grow up to be one of these two things I will be deeply disappointed in you. Surely you can place expectations upon people and what they do, but whether or not they end up acting upon your expectations is entirely up to them. Not up to you. What about what I want? The funny thing about life experience is that it is not common to all of us. Yes we may live through the same situations, but what we take from them can differ greatly. Through our own personal traits, you take from those individual experiences things that speak to you personally, those sentiments may be shared by some people but I can guarantee you not everyone will see it the same way.

I give you a simple illustration, in recent surveys the Hyundai i30 has been judged as Australias Best Car. Looking at the criteria, sure I would agree with the verdict, but I don’t have to like it. I personally believe that any car weighing under 1100kilos is for the smart, rear wheel drive is only for the good looking, a manual transmission is only for the brave, and who the hell needs a roof anyway? What are you scared of sunlight? Oh no… it’s 25 degrees outside and sunny… better wind up the windows and turn the air-con on…
See, the beauty of what I have just said is that you don’t have to agree with it. And nor do I claim these things to be fact.

I clearly:
a) have written these things to offend
b) am being facetious
c) am a Car Enthusiast, and because of this I look for different things in a car, simplicity. And a little hardship does not bother me. Some people see their cars as white goods and I am well aware of this.That is up to you, but don’t come back to me and tell me your car is better than mine because I can come up with as many reasons as to why it isn’t.

At the same time I may not appreciate tennis as much certain friends, will not spend as much on my bicycle, may not spend as much on my computer, but do spend every waking moment dreaming about what next I can do to my car (not my wardrobe). Do not be so quick to claim your opinion as fact because sure enough as you think it is valid, the sentiment may not be shared. Are you so vain as to think that you are the authority? How can you claim to have the right to judge? You are entitled to your opinion that’s for sure, but it is by no means the final word on the situation.

Because I’ll definitely have something to say on the matter…

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The Myth of the “Girls Car”

June 11, 2009 at 9:50 pm (Informative) (, , )

The term is often bandied about in front of me as I own one of these questionable cars. There are a few cars that this tag is leveled upon, but let me get something straight, through their development, none of these cars so labeled were ever developed to be female oriented. The image that was made of them was largely manufactured by the public receiving them and always as a result of being largely misunderstood.

First I address the super-compact car. The Mini, the Fiat 500, the Renault Twingo, the Suzuki Swi….. err… Twin. In any country that suffers with congestion on an epidemic scale, small cars are the solution. Japan has their Kei Cars that are barely bigger than a mail box, and Europe treads down the same automotive evolutionary path. The traffic problem there is very real, it’s like Epping Rd. at peak hour at ALL times of day. The one defining difference is that the Europeans crave style and cannot live with something as utilitarian looking as the Japanese offerings – if you don’t know what I mean let me show you a Fiat 500,

Fiat 500

Compare this to a Daihatsu Move

Daihatsu Move

Differences in styling notwithstanding, these cars are one in the same in their intent. Both will fit 2 adults and 2 children, while sipping petrol like a sensible Japanese person sips sake, or like an Italian sips his/her latte. They are not intended in any way shape or form exlusively for females. They address the problem of congestion, and packaging, and anything else you read into it is… misread. Their basic principles are of economy and practicality, but these characteristics are feminine right? Only for those egotistically inclined. So now I move on to cars that were made specifically FOR females.

Throughout history there have been two of such notable cars. There was the Dodge La Femme, and the Volvo “Your Concept Car”, and if these cars prove anything, it is that sexism is not dead. If you are a feminist in any sort of way, be warned, the following images may be deeply disturbing.

Dodge La Femme

Article One, the Dodge La Femme. The story goes that in the 1950’s, as car ownership was commonplace in America, car makers needed special models to entice fickle new buyers, and what better market is there than women? Thus it came equipped with a makeup compact, matching purse and umbrella and all the places to hold them Oh and the cigarette igniter was replaced by a tube of lipstick. Lastly you could have it in any colour you’d like so long as it was pink and white – with requisite period chrome trimmings.  With a car aimed at a market of eager young females, it flopped. Production ran for 2 years and the concept has never been revisited since. I am no chauvinist so I am not surprised.
So what about that Volvo I talked about? This one was much less patronising (kind of).

Volvo YCC

Volvo, in 2004 asked a team of females to design a car that would best suit their needs, so it was not a car designed by men for women as was in the case of the Dodge(y) La Femme, but a car designed by women, for women. The car itself as a production model has not seen the light of day, but a few of the technologies it employed are beginning to see implementation. On the mechanical side, It was one of the first cars to showcase self – parking self – driving (stopping at least) technology, features the infamous run – flat tyres and guess what guys? an Automatic Gearbox with a sequential “manual” shift (no… that doesn’t count I’m afraid).
On the inside, it was designed with fully customizable interior in soft colouring and even a ponytail notch in the headrest… yes you read that right… for your ponytail. One of the more notable features is that it has a hatchback with a fully flat rear floor. Shopping bags anyone?
Strangely enough, this car designed by women is not so much perfect for women but seems perfect for the consumer in general, as this sector of the market only view the car as an appliance, ultimately it is only a practical proposition. The Volvo doesn’t even have a conventional bonnet, as opening the bonnet was not determined to be of the owners interest. So with this, at its most elemental, we can conclude that a girls car is, an automatic (as in automatic everything not JUST transmission), hatchback, never mind how it looks…
What is the conclusion here? That men are only allowed to like cars as cars and women must like an appliance?

Pull your head out… if you are an enthusiast, all these things go out the window as these such impracticalities colour the experience of the car. The car you own is a form of self expression for enthusiasts. Not a form of self extension.

Don’t even get me started on “Gay Cars”.

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