Good Company

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

A Little Too Real

Some of you may know that I have a couple of MG cars in my garage.

I am supposed to be working on them, though life keeps intruding on that work.

The other day I ran across a reference to the "Visible V-8" - a model kit from Revell designed, I suppose, to elucidate the mysteries of one form of internal combustion engine to future mechanics and auto hobbyists.

Well, I thought, perhaps there's similar kit for the 4 cylinder engines like those in the MGs - wouldn't that be fun for the grandchildren?

And, lo, there are such kits-

So I bought one. Somewhere on the box, it states "For ages 8 and up" or "8+" - which I certainly am.

Shortly after its arrival, I began to put the thing together. Plastic parts, small screws, big drawings. No problemo, I figured.

After a short while, I began to see this engine assembly was a little too authentic. Too much like real engine work.

First, every dropped tool or part or little tiny screw inevitably rolled to the most difficult place in which to see it and then to retrieve it. "Huh," I said to myself, "just like when working on a real car."

Second, if I viewed the diagrammed instructions one way, that way was almost always the wrong way and required some disassembly to get it back to the right way. Thereupon, the rule of dropped things came into play again - for the very same parts, pieces, and tools that had rolled off in the first go round. Again, this is not uncommon in my hobby car work. So not uncommon that it has a Murphy's Law sort of thing "Whatever tool or part you need for the next step is the one that you just dropped so that it can't be reached without taking some other component of the car off to get to it." And the tech drawings for the MGs - well, they aren't any less confusing than the ones for the kit and, if a part can be put in backwards, that will be the first install of that part.

Third, if I was 8 or 9 years old, I would not have all those great "sailor words" to use in instances such as those described above.

Eventually, I got the thing assembled. And it runs, with pistons and valves and camshaft and spark plugs that light up. Sadly, though, it appears, just as in a real car, I may need to adjust the timing.

And my dog was so upset with my language that he left the room.

So, the kit and process were a little too real.

Might as well work on the real cars.


  1. Anonymous3:29 PM

    Hey that is cool, I remember a friend with one of these model engines a long time ago in high school.

    1. Anonymous11:54 PM

      Me too. My best friend built the visible V8 back in 69 or 70 for a school science project. Pretty cool. I built a CW key and transmitter.