Are things sloooooow around here?

Yep, it’s not your impression, things ARE slow. I haven’t been posting much reviews because I’m not getting many new models. Unfortunately, Brazilian Customs is hammering every single purchase from eBay with a 60% (!!!) importation tax 😤. With that, buying new models from eBay has become prohibitively expensive. That means that now I have to rely on local markets and on my dealer, which in terms of price is not that terrible. However, pickings became very slim.

So yes, the W-143 Garage is really slow nowadays 😥.

EA WRC: best racing game in the last years?

After my HUGE expectations with Forza Motorsport and subsequent disappointment (Turn10 fixed some issues yet I’m totally sick of the game), I’m happy to say I got a new race game. Electronic Arts released EA WRC in November, and I bought it 10 days ago. Even though it looked great when announced, I vowed to never again pre-order a game. With that, I waited to read some real-world reviews before spending money. And since reviews were consistently good, I bought it. To my utter delight, the game truly is really good. Of course it has some issues (there are no perfect games), nonetheless it is challenging and really fun to play.

You can, in a way, build your own car, selecting key components and some aesthetic features..

One of the things I really enjoyed about it is the ability to “create” your own car, be it a Rally1, Rally2 or Rally3 class car. Well, not create create, yet you can choose a few different looks and mechanical components. And these parts (engine, brakes, gearbox, etc) can impact on how the car handles and if it’s less or more reliable. And of course, you can also create your own livery. You can’t actually go bonkers, since you depend on (many) pre-set decals, however you still can get really creative.

All liveries are customizable, yet for the Mini I kept it looking like the real deal.

You can also choose to use a “real” car, like my Mini above. It’s a FWD, that I use for some historical rally events. In the case of the Mini, I mainly used it in regularity races, which are quite fun to do. Nonetheless, you can choose almost any kind of rally car. From a very early Mini to an outrageous Group B monster to the technical marvel of a Rally1.

The Group B cars are REALLY tough to master! Loose focus for a second and you’re into the bushes.

However, not everything is roses. The game is HARD! I have decades of experience with Playstation and XBox racing games, including games like the classic Dirt. Nonetheless, EA WRC is giving me a hard time 😯. The FWD and the modern 4WD cars, like WRC or Rally3 (“Rally Junior”) are precise and steady . On the other hand, RWD Group B cars specially are horrible to control. If I wink wrong, I loose it, and to the bushes we go. I find them absurdly tough to tame. To the point that I have to go really slow or else I put the car in the boondocks. On almost every stage 😣. And since it’s hard to win races driving slowly, you get the picture. However, very probably that happens due to pilot incompetence. Or at least I hope so.

Conversely, Rally Junior cars are a delight to drive – not overly fast but nimble and predictable.

Another big issue is that the game has no instruction manual. So you have to learn by trial and error, and in career mode things get difficult. You have a team to manage (contract engineers, choose what races to participate in) yet no hint on what to do. And there’s no oops-button, with no way of undoing a management decision. So if you choose wrong, you can’t go back and choose better.

Rally1 cars: total beasts, yet tamable animals.

Nonetheless, if you’re interested in rally motorsports and the WRC, it’s a VERY enjoyable game. Not perfect, but in terms of a console racing game it is challenging and very entertaining. While this may be true, it is a demanding game, with a very steep learning curve. Bottom line, as a racing game (and if you do like rallying, of course) in general it’s exponentially better than Forza.

NEVER judge a model by its brand!

I’m pretty sure I said that before once or twice. Or ten times. So let’s take into consideration Technomodel. I have three models from the brand, and very possibly I consider it the best brand I have, based on those three. Recently I reviewed the 1966 White Elephant from them, and I was all praise. Heck, their Breadvan is one of the best five models that I own! And as I also said many times, I’m NOT a Maranello fan. Well, what I’m trying to imply is that I really like Technomodel as a 1:43 model maker. However, they also offer the 1967 version of the White Elephant, and that one comes with the elefantino rampante on the rear winglets.

Technomodel – €100.

Anther brand that also offers the 1967 car is Altaya, a budget brand through and through.

Altaya – less than €20.

Now look at the color of the wheels and winglets on the real car, in 1967:

The real deal on race day. And snubbing Ferrari? Priceless 😁!

Wheels and winglets were dark blue, not black. So yes, Technomodel botched the color of the wheels and winglets 😲. Not that the Altaya version looks great, with that humongous windshield wiper. And with the solid rear air intake. However, they at least got the color right. For just 1/5th of the price 🤔.

Before somebody asks, yes, this is why I got the 1966 car instead of the 1967 one. For €20 I may close an eye (or two) to some shortcomings. But for €100? It better be REALLY good. In other words, do some research BEFORE buying a model, even if its from a high-end brand.

Books – Racing in the dark

“RACING IN THE DARK: When The Bentley Boys Conquered Le Mans” – Peter Grimsdale

I have a confession to make. Until very recently, in my eyes Bentley was just a “cheaper Rolls Royce”. Yeah, they had a lot of victories at Le Mans and won again in 2003, nonetheless for the last 50 or 60 years it was just a luxury brand. Very good cars, no doubt, yet only a luxury brand. However, that view changed a lot after I read Peter Grimsdale’s book. With a fluid and enticing writing, Grimsdale showed me the story of W. O. Bentley, and his saga to make a great car. And he did, with blood, sweat and tears he made what was at the time, probably THE best sports car in the market.

Unfortunately though, financial strife ended his dream, to the point where the once great Bentley Motors became a cheaper Rolls Royce 😣. I truly loved the book – honestly, without a doubt the best car book I read in the last couple of years. A hardback with not too many photos (unfortunately), it is easily available at Amazon. Despite the title, I would say this book would be for all motorsports enthusiasts.

DO NOT buy Forza Motorsport!!!

Though I was over the moon when the game launched, after a couple weeks of FRUSTRATING game play, I advise staying away from the game. The biggest issue is that it’s not stable on my XBox System S – I can’t go through one session of gaming without needing to reboot the game. And every time that happens, the race I just finished is not registered in my career. Therefore, to progress in career mode, you have to do the same race one, two, three, four times (or more) until you get lucky and the game doesn’t crash. This is also happening with the XBox X and the PC versions of the game.

The other problem is graphics. They look really bad. Some stuff look like they came directly from Forza 6. So all that hype that “Forza Motorsport was made from the ground up” is utterly baloney. Sound is just okay, yet many cars sound generically just the same. There’s no in-game damage or tire wear in single player, and the penalty system (for going off track or collisions) doesn’t apply to the AI.

In essence, it feels dated and is full of bugs – looks like it’s a beta version. Adding everything up, DO NOT BUY IT. Perhaps Studio10 will fix it in the future, however for now do not waste money. After this I’ll never again buy a game in pre-order or will buy anything from Studio10 🤬.

Lesson learned 😖.

FINALLY! Forza Motorsport

It’s here!!! Finally! After too many many years, the new Forza game is out. The last one, Forza 7, came out in 2017, and only today a new version of the franchise became available. However, now it’s called Forza Motorsport, and is optimized for the lasted generation of X-Box consoles (Series S & X). I love so much the Forza series that for the first time I bought the premium edition. That entitles me to an early release (the regular game will only come out on October 10) and a bunch of cars and in-game cash to spend on cars.

I barley had time to play it, just the introductory race, so I can’t say yet how good the game is. It does look fantastically pretty though, and looks like race mechanics are better than Forza 7. However, it looks to be quite different from the previous games, since it looks like now you have to “develop” the car. From what I understood, you have to race each car so that you’re able to make upgrades to it. Not sure how that will work out, so let’s see.

What I am sure is that this weekend we’ll have LOTS of virtual racing around here 😋😋😋.

Future diorama

Today I began my most ambitious diorama… Well, ambitious for me, since I’m planing on doing a ton of stuff I’ve never tried before. With that, it probably will take a long time to complete with all the “nouveau techniques” I have in mind. Don’t forget that my modeling skills are level Kindergarten Basic 😋. Since I’m doing things I’ve never done before, I’ll have to experiment a lot before actually doing the work. I’ll try my best to photograph the project as it’s coming along, and if it doesn’t end up in the trash bin, when finished I’ll post something about it. So fingers crossed!