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Beemax 1/12 Lotus 99T


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... OR ... as it was recorded in history ... the Camel Lotus / Honda 99T ...

In the later years of the 'Turbo Era' of Formula 1, Lotus was trying to regain some of the dominance it experienced in the 60's and 70's. Partnering with Renault in 1985 and equiped with their awesome tried and tested turbocharged 1.5L V6, they recruited a young man who became arguably, the greatest Formula 1 driver ever to have lived - Ayrton Senna.

Two years later - at the end of the 1986 season - Renault decided to depart from Formula 1, leaving Lotus to find another engine to power their vehicles - Honda was approached, themselves having re-entered Formula 1 a couple of years earlier ... Since Williams had exclusive access to the current Honda V6 turbo whose design was researched (read reverse engineered!) and based largely on the successful Renault design - but better, Lotus had to be prepared to utilise the previous years design. Thus in 1987 Williams were running an engine that had been developed and improved from 1986, while Lotus were using an engine that was a year behind!

Honda's agreement to supply Lotus with race engines also came with another caveat ... The second driver spot on the team had to be offered to a Japanese driver - Satoru Nakajima (who could have easily become a Formula 1 meme - had memes existed in that era) ... While Senna dazzled the world with his driving brilliance, Satoru Nakajima DNF'ed his ride more than 50% of his racing career - quite often in spectacular fashion - and when not destroying the car or an aspect of it ... placing well down the finishing order.

Having no British driver on the team, John Player Special - traditional sponsors of Lotus since 1972 - parted ways with the team leaving them to find another ... Camel Cigarettes jumped at the opportunity to have a team in full brand livery ... and along with Lotus' new 'active suspension' design ... the Camel Lotus/Honda 99T was born.

The car remained as competitive as previous years ... though the team did not gain ground against the larger players in the Constructors Championship and as a result, Ayrton Senna switched teams for the 1988 season feeling that Lotus would not be able to deliver him a World Drivers Championship.

This is a model of the 1987 Monaco Grand Prix winning car in 1/12 scale ... Since modellers like scale / topical accuracy, Tobacco sponsorship needs to be included on this car and some aftermarket decals were acquired.

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As always, it pays to scout ahead through the box and build instructions to try and predict major issues ...

The box is neatly laid out and includes a few gimmicky (cute, but eye-roll inducing) items ...

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I had a quick flick through the instructions ... being eager to get started ...

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I do have a set of micro screwdrivers ... but was wondering where the one suggested in the instructions was hiding ... also, where were all these screws, bolts, piping etc?? ... the answer of course - was in the red toolbox 🙄 ... oh dear!

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Nice to find the engine and gearbox assembly in there also.

There's numbers and stuff all about the instructions ... I quickly found the paint chart, so I know how the numbers work there now.

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Fortunately ... They include Tamiya paint call outs and mix rates!

Then there's this ...

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The camera manages to get a close up ... in reality those bags are about 2 inches or 5cm tall ... and I'm supposed to work out what screw goes where??

I figured they wouldn't leave it up to idiots like me to work it out ... and sure enough ...

There's a parts listing on the instruction book. All I had to do was check the number/shape of items in each bag and use a permanent marker to number the bags.

I'm unpacking some new tools as well as old ones as I go ... and these Bandai nippers are the goods!

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This is the first time I've used Tamiya Extra Thin - quick setting ... good stuff.

The plastic is multi coloured ... as you can see by the open box reveal and some plastic feels more 'malleable' or softer than others.

The 'silver' stuff is much softer than the black. I wish Beemax had used a uniform grey plastic instead - as at this price point, I doubt you'd have anyone young enough to enjoy the multi coloured stuff as a toy ... It will be interesting to compare the Meng McLaren MP4/4 when it arrives.

Buy the way that this is going together there's almost a Zoukei-Mura feel to it - in that, you get the distinct impression that the designer wants you to understand how the actual car fit together.

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... annnnnd then we run into the first instruction dilemma ...

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I'm supposed to use the pin vice to drill a 1mm hole into a marked indentation on the gearbox in order to connect part L5 ... Only there is no indentation.

Working of the instruction suggestion as best I can ... I drill a hole in my best approximation of where it is marked on the instructions.

Following instruction numbers 1 and 2 ... I arrive at #3 (below). The photo is a little out of focus on the instructions, but at the top - looking at the instruction for parts C27, C23, C28 & C24 you can see where it's asking you to cut a shaded area away with a blade ... no such area exists - as if they've done it for you already!

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Having completed assembly at #3 I've decided to pack it up for the rest of the day ...

I've noticed what appears to be a misalignment at the top of one of the cylinder banks where the head will glue in ... maybe some sanding to do on the next entry.

First impressions: I can't be too critical - even if PLATZ are involved with Beemax here, it IS their first 1/12 F1 kit. It is also the only Lotus 99T in town now, in any scale. Beemax however, are NOT new to the game and while there are no glaring ill fitment issues, the parts are slightly 'gappy' with ill defined instructions on where parts are to be placed when no positive male/female connection points are available ... as always the modellers dictum will be applied (though with a more studious application here!) - check thrice, glue once! While working out where, precisely, to glue each part may take some careful research time (often previewing the next stage of assembly to use as reference points) The 'gappy' issue is actually solved via the capillary action of the Tamiya glue ... at least enough that when primer and paint are applied you won't notice anything unusual.

Since my work requires me to be away from home 2 weeks out of every 3 you'll be getting a weeks work of intermittent building here ... followed by 2 weeks of no updates at all ... 

Rog :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Nice start Rog. Thanks for showing us the box contents and what the kit is like. I wonder if some of the plastic might be ABS. Tamiya mixes plastics on some of their kits. 

I've built one Beemax kit (their 1/24 Celica rally car) and can relate to some of your comments about slightly vague parts location.

Looking forward to your next update. 

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Thank you for the ´what´s in the box´ and first impressions, Rog. I have build a Tamiya 1/20 Renault RE20 turbo recently and understand your thoughts about realizing, how these cars work through the build. 
I´ve spent some time watching reviews about the recent F1 kits, as they are also down my alley in general. I decided against the Lotus, because one of the fugly turbo blasters is enough. 
Building and painting F1 cars is demanding, because of their ´inside out´ character and there are plenty of improvements to make, if you like with all the kits.

If you are in the market for a McLaren MP 4/4 you may wait a bit, Beemax / Nunu has announced one for 24, which I guess is superior to the Meng offering, which looks very simplified in places.

For photo reference, there is a book available from MFH called ´JOE HONDA Racing Pictorial Series - Lotus 99T & 100T - FIA Formula 1 World Championship 1987 and 1988´

Cheers Rob

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Rog

Thanks for the thorough kit review and all the detailed photographs. Will be following with great interest. Over the years I've started a few 1/12 and 1/20 F1 kits and failed miserably at all. Would love to actually build one and actually finish it. 👍

 

 

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On 2/9/2024 at 10:56 AM, BlrwestSiR said:

Nice start Rog. Thanks for showing us the box contents and what the kit is like. I wonder if some of the plastic might be ABS. Tamiya mixes plastics on some of their kits. 

I've built one Beemax kit (their 1/24 Celica rally car) and can relate to some of your comments about slightly vague parts location.

Looking forward to your next update. 

I was going to say that the kits feels reminiscent of a Tamiya 1/20 F1 kit (I've built a few of those) ... but it's too early in the build for a direct comparison. When I get my next look at it I will see how well the rest of the engine goes together and if the imprecise parts fit doesn't throw the rest out.

I just hope that the rest of the instructions don't run too far astray of the actual plastic either!

On 2/9/2024 at 5:55 PM, DocRob said:

Thank you for the ´what´s in the box´ and first impressions, Rog. I have build a Tamiya 1/20 Renault RE20 turbo recently and understand your thoughts about realizing, how these cars work through the build. 
I´ve spent some time watching reviews about the recent F1 kits, as they are also down my alley in general. I decided against the Lotus, because one of the fugly turbo blasters is enough. 
Building and painting F1 cars is demanding, because of their ´inside out´ character and there are plenty of improvements to make, if you like with all the kits.

If you are in the market for a McLaren MP 4/4 you may wait a bit, Beemax / Nunu has announced one for 24, which I guess is superior to the Meng offering, which looks very simplified in places.

For photo reference, there is a book available from MFH called ´JOE HONDA Racing Pictorial Series - Lotus 99T & 100T - FIA Formula 1 World Championship 1987 and 1988´

Cheers Rob

Heya Rob ... 

Yes I understand Beemax has a McLaren MP4/4 scheduled ... BUT ... my gut feel here is the opposite conclusion.

The Beemax kit feels just a little unrefined at present - early days yet, I know!

Thanks for the reference title ... I will keep it in mind but will try to source any reference pics I need through Google ... at least initially.

I haven't built any of Meng's 1/35 kits yet - and when it came time to choose a Panther Ausf.D Kit I narrowed it down to 8 kits, by 6 manufacturers, then down to 2 - Takom and Meng ... I chose the Takom kit, mainly because of the link and length track assembly and the full interior detail giving me more display options for only 25% more in price. Reviews of the Meng kit, however were very good and that seems to run true for most of their kits. I ordered the Meng kit the same day I ordered the Lotus - so I had already decided on it before your post ... but only pulled the trigger on it then, because it was reduced in price through a local dealer at 20% off.

The Meng kit will also have a build thread attached so we'll be comparing the two manufacturers as we go along

On 2/9/2024 at 7:28 PM, Peterpools said:

Rog

Thanks for the thorough kit review and all the detailed photographs. Will be following with great interest. Over the years I've started a few 1/12 and 1/20 F1 kits and failed miserably at all. Would love to actually build one and actually finish it. 👍

No problems ... I hope I can do it justice!

*** NOTE: I didn't get to attack the kit any further over the last few days ... I'm helping my GF process her visa ... and I've been trying to work on the 2023 year review for Ern', among other chores ... I fly out to work tomorrow and I should be able to have a solid crack in a couple of weeks when I return! ***

Rog :)

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