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Tamiya 1/12 Lotus 49 Unboxing


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Tamiya 1/12 Lotus 49 1967 with etch parts Unboxing

Tamiya Catalog Number TA12052

This seemed a bit left field to me for a review but Jim figured it'd be fun and a bit different, so here goes.


The Car

From Wikipedia:

The Lotus 49 was a Formula One racing car designed by Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe for the 1967 F1 season. It was designed around the Cosworth DFV engine that would power most of the Formula One grid through the 1970s and was the first successful Formula One car to feature the engine as a stressed member.[3]

Jim Clark won on the car's debut in 1967, and it would also provide him with the last win of his career in 1968. Graham Hill went on to win that year's title and the car continued winning races until 1970.


I grew up with an F1 and car nut, my dad.  For me its Was Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna (RIP) but for my dads generation it was Graham Chapman cars driven by the likes of Graham Hill, Jim Clark and Mario Andretti that captured the times.

Ive always had a soft spot for cars and their drivers as a result but it was a visit a couple of years ago when I flew my private aircraft into Goodwood for the Festival of Speed and not look after took my son to the Beaulieu Motor Museum that really re-ignited my interest in F1 and specifically the old cars.  I took loads of pictures of the very car on the box top at Beaulieu and I'd recommend a visit there to anyone who has even the slightest interest in cars of the past, present and future.  Overall though I think the classic cars like this one just look much cooler than the current generation and the drivers are also that much more interesting.  So onto the kit.


The Kit

I guess everyone knows that this is a re-release of the old classic Tamiya kit of old.  Im sure a few collectors may be upset that the value of their old unbuilt kits is now much less but for one Im glad they re-released it.  

I have to say I have the Ebbro 1/20 version of the same car (might do a review of that one day) as I thought that'd be the biggest kit I saw of this car, whilst the Ebbro is still great I had to have this one too.  Its just the size and the possibilities I couldn't resist.

So, as its a re-release I must say the number of parts is surprisingly low (Im sure the Ebbro part count is much higher) but the parts bear up pretty well to scrutiny, so lets look at whats in the very large box.

The Contents

In the box you will find 2 chrome plated (not a fan) sprues, 1 metallic grey sprue for the engine, 1 black sprue for the engine and cockpit parts, 2 green sprues plus a separate green nosecone for the main body, 1 white sprue for the driver, a bag of 4 rubber tyres, some hoses and springs plus other fittings as well as the decals and a single clear yellow sprue for the cockpit windshield and a set of decals.  So far so re-release.  

On top of this however there is an etched fret with various grills and fittings, 1 very nice etched/printed/embossed Lotus Badge for the nose (highly visible on the real car so a nice touch here) and some exquisite turned aluminium engine pots which go on top of the engine.  These add some finesse to the kit and I imagine also allow Tamiya to keep the price up at an RRP of £89.99.  Quite a lot of money for not a lot of plastic.  

The sprues have some decent detail on them and the tyres themselves also have the manufacturers name stamped on them as well as some other technical tyre data.  All quite nice.  Ive read somewhere that the gearbox isn't very accurate and could do with some work but I imagine with a kit of this ilk it wont be long before the After Market guys are onto it.

Pictures of the box on opening and the sprues:


Chrome Parts

Im seriously not a fan of these, I'd rather Alclad them to be honest.  The seam cleanup and everything involved in sorting out chromed parts is just too much bother and I think it looks like a toy finish too so its going to be some oven cleaner or other suitable stripper on these before they are assembled.Models-3.jpg






Very Nice Tyre Detail.  Im pretty sure though that the real ones had a thin white line around the edge quite close to the tread.  This could be quite difficult to do as could painting the Firestone Logos.  Maybe the After Market guys will come up with a good fix for this.


The Driver:
Looks a lot like Graham Hill this one so I'd omit him of you're doing any of the other drivers cars.


The etch and aluminium:

This is very nice and the addition of the very nice little Lotus badge as a proper item rather than just a decal is a very nice touch I think.



The Instructions

The instructions are as you can imagine up to the usual excellent standard Tamiya ones and look to be very good.  They include instructions for the Etch and for the pipework so I image these are a completely new affair rather than a reprint with the etch instructions attached later.  They also include callouts for most of the schemes used for the car and for multiple drives so I have to say youre pretty much covered there. 

That said the driver included looks to me very much like Graham Hill so if you want to do any of the other driver cars I would probably omit the driver included here or find a more suitable head anyway.




The Decals

These look to be up to the usual Tamiya Standard and look very good as a result.  The yellow could cause all sorts of issues I suppose but I have already got the Hiroboy Airbrush paints for the classic green/yellow scheme so will probably only use the decals as a guide for these.

Note: This is weird and I don't know if its because of scale colour but Hiroboy do the colours for this car and the 1/20 Ebbro in the same scheme but the paints are different catalogue numbers.  Maybe this is a bit of cheeky marketing but it had me go buy both so go figure...




Summing Up

I for one am really happy that this kit has been re-released in this scale.

If you can get over the small part count given the price, the need to strip the chrome and the fact that the driver seems to only be applicable to one scheme than I think its great.  Of course there are issues with a kit this old, but there are issues with new kits too and I doubt any of them are insurmountable to anyone thats into the hobby enough to be on this site reading this review.

Looking at the schemes I'd go (and will be going) with the Hiroboy matched paint set and cant wait to see it under a coat of paint and gloss.  It'll make quite a centrepiece for any F1 Car collection and the super detailers should be able to come up with a very nice kit indeed, in fact out of the box I think it'll be a head turner if only for sheer size.

Im sure the After Market will have a great time with it too, maybe with some helping hands on the tyre wall detailing and that apparently inaccurate gearbox housing thats so very visible on the back of the car.  This might even be my 1st opportunity to use the lovely RPToolz Punch and Die set that Jim had me all excited about and buying a few weeks back.  Thanks Jim, its very nice indeed.

I bought this kit from Hannants for £89.99 but it should be available from all good model kit suppliers.

Overall recommended.


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  • 5 years later...

Jim Clark was my fav driver of the era and the 49 my fav GP car, so over the years have built two of these kits.  Having built the original back in the day, the gearbox is too large as the car was motorized and the metal gearbox had to fit inside the plastic shell.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

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