By: Noa Brown
For a long time, I wanted to build a model of a classic Formula 1 car. I drew a lot of inspiration from the 1967 film, “Grand Prix.”
Their tubular body shape, exposed engine, and suspension are something to be admired.
Watching footage of the cars whizzing down European city streets and back country roads make a glamorous image.
One of the only kits I could find of a car of this generation was Tamiya’s 1/20 scale Lotus 25.
The Lotus 25 was first introduced in 1962 and was driven by Jim Clark to a championship the following year. One of its great design features was its monocoque chassis.
The parts were molded quite decently with lots of detail and texture engraved into them.
The parts had more flash than what I was used to from Tamiya kits, although it still was not that excessive.
They were molded in color and organized based on the different components of the car.
The engine parts were molded in black and silver and the body panels in green, which I found helpful.
Assembly officially began with the bottom of the body. Being based on a monocoque car, there was never a true chassis frame to put together.
The interior portion of the lower body was a metallic color and the outer part was gloss green.
Tamiya recommended a series of spray paints to use on the parts which really simplified painting.
Once the lower body portion was done, I assembled the front suspension. That was when I discovered the kit came with a functional steering system.
The components were extremely flimsy and caused me a lot of difficulty. When I finished the suspension, I put the brakes together and mounted them on the car.
With the front of the car complete, I could assemble the cockpit. The dashboard was bright red with decals for instruments.
The spaces for the decals were recessed very deeply, making application extremely frustrating.
Using significant amounts of micro-solvent and micro-set helped the decals sink in.
The seat and steering wheel were painted using a mix of red and brown paints to resemble leather.
The engine came together very easily and the seams were very well hidden. Painting again was a relatively simple task mostly using a mix of semi-gloss black and aluminum.
I attempted to lightly weather the engine with grey pastels to make it look like it had been used.
Once complete, the engine slipped into the car like a glove.
Assembling the back suspension, despite no steering wheels, was more complicated than the front.
Each of the parts were tiny little rods which I then had to flex to make sure they fit with the rear axle.
To make matters worse, many came out of the box already broken on the sprue. I nearly broke the assembly many times, but I pulled through.
The final step was to paint and decal the body panels. The paint was gloss green with a Tamiya can.
Applying the decals proved to be another very painful task. The curved surface of the car made it difficult for the decals to conform properly.
When the decals finally did conform and dry, I sprayed the panels with a lacquer clear coat.
The kit overall proved to be quite difficult to assemble due to many small parts.
The decal application also proved to be a challenging experience. However, there was a tradeoff in that painting the model was quite simple from having large surfaces all be a single color.
I would recommend this model to someone more advanced who is better at handling small parts and difficult decal applications.
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