Current Projects

Projects I’m currently working on appear below. More photos are added as each progresses. Completed projects get moved off this page and into the Build Diaries list.

  • updated 19 January 2022

1989 Ferrari 640 / F1-89 (Tameo, 1:43)

The decision’s been made, this is the next build – Tameo kit # TMK89, Ferrari F1/89 Brazil Grand Prix. It’s a white metal kit with photo etch parts in 1:43 scale. The model will be built as the Nigel Mansell winning car from that race.

This was the first Formula One car to feature a semi-automatic gearbox with electro-hydraulic shift via paddles behind the steering wheel. The F1/89 (also commonly referred to as the 640) features a 3.5 litre normally aspirated V12 engine.

Amazingly, it won on debut. The car was notoriously unreliable in development and testing, so the team was not expecting it to finish, never mind win. The victory was also Mansell’s first in red, winning on his debut drive with the Italian team.

Tameo kit TMK 89, Ferrari F1/89 Brazil Grand Prix 1989. This early season version has the low engine cover with side intakes.
The two main parts in the kit (upper body and lower floor) are held together with a self-tapping screw that’s supplied in the kit. A hole needs to be drilled in the top body to secure and position it on the floor.
The raised blocks on the underside of the model (see previous photo) are not part of the real race car, but will serve a purpose with this build. With the body secured (temporarily) to the floor, I ran the model back and forth on some sandpaper to reduce their height a little.
The model will be built resting on these blocks, so they set the ride height and rake. As such, the wheels will not be bearing the load of the model (being white metal, it’s kinda heavy for its size).
The floor after grinding. Overall, the cast parts are going to require a lot of clean-up.

1979 Oldsmobile, Richard Petty, Daytona 500 Winner (Salvinos JR, 1:25)

This stock car kit has jumped the massive queue of open wheelers that have yet to be built…

Richard Petty won the 1979 Daytona 500 in his familiar STP colours. While I’ve yet to find the correct ‘petty blue’ paint, I’m going to make a start on this when attending the local model club meetings. This will just be the preliminary work of cleaning up parts and assembling whatever can go together without having to paint.

My first Salvinos JR build. Lots of parts on lots of sprues. The chromed sprue is surprisingly heavy. Even though this is an Oldsmobile, the kit includes multiple noses and tails for other models and manufacturers, eg Chev Monte Carlo. Also, the instructions are pretty poor compared to, say, Tamiya. There’s a lot going on in each step, some of the smaller parts are poorly illustrated and there are no colour references.

1995 Tyrrell 023 Yamaha (Tamiya, 1:20)

With the Toyota now complete (see the full Build Diary HERE), I needed another ‘meeting model’ to work on during the model club get-togethers. (EDIT – unfortunately, COVID has largely screwed those plans, so most prep has been done at home.)

I pulled this one from the stash in the hope it’s a straight forward out-of-box build (fingers crossed). There are after market photo-etch detail sets and special carbon decals to enhance this model, but they are now hard to find, and the ones I did find online cost more than the kit in the first place!

As a race car, the Tyrrell 023 was nothing special. There are other race cars far more deserving that Tamiya could have chosen to replicate, but considering Tamiya is a Japanese company, and this car had a Japanese engine (Yamaha V10) that came with a Japanese driver (Ukyo Katayama) I can understand why it was made.

Tamiya 1:20 Grand Prix Collection kit #42 – Tyrrell Yamaha 023. Molded in black (2 x sprues, plus rear wing) and white (1 sprue, plus monocoque) it comes with two decal sheets, a bag of tyres and instructions.

I’ll be building the Mika Salo #4 version as he was clearly the better driver (Salo scored 5 points to place equal 14th in the 1995 Drivers’ Championship. Katayama scored zero points). Gabrielle Tarquini also raced this car, taking over Katayama’s seat for the European Grand Prix (the Japanese driver was still recovering from a spectacular rollover crash at the start of the previous GP in Portugal), however the kit does not include markings for this version.

I typically build up pieces that will be the same colour before applying any paint, such as this bodywork. There’s going to be a fair bit of file-and-fill required to get this ready for primer, and I could not work out why there was this gap between the bodywork and floor (same gap on both sides at the rear of the cowling).
So I placed the floor tray on my glass “setup pad” – check out how badly arched this part is! I’ve not experienced bent parts to this extent in a Tamiya kit before. Going to have to flatten that out somehow before getting much further with this build.
Placing the floor tray in a container of boiling water made if flexible enough to bend and make it flat, however it also made the front ‘tea-tray’ part curl up, which then had to be straightened back out.
Bodywork fits much better now. Fingers crossed it will hold shape for the long term.
Test fitting the chassis and main bodywork parts to the floor pan.
This is the diffuser that will sit under the rear of the floor pan. It has significant pin marks from the manufacturing process.
As this will be partially visible once assembled, I’ve decided to try and remove those circles. I’m not bothering with the two on the left as they wont’ be seen once the part is glued in place. For this build I’m using Tamiya’s Surface Primer Liquid that comes in a small glass bottle and use a paint brush to apply it.
Once dry, use a sanding stick to smoothen it all out and apply more filler if needed. This part is now ready for primer; only then can you tell whether it’s properly level or not.
The same process is used on many other parts. This is the floor which has lots of circular pin dimples. I’ve only filled the ones that will be visible when the model is on display or if the engine cover is off.
There are two tabs on the inside of the engine cover that are designed to clip in to the monocoque when fitting the bodywork. If everything fits properly, there is no need for them and they are not part of the real car.
So off they come! In the background is partially assembled rear wing.
(above & below) Trying to make the five pieces that make up the engine cover look like one…
Injection pin holes on the inner surface of the front wing end plates have been filled with Tamiya Liquid Surface Primer, then wet-sanded smooth.
A little filling on the Plank.
Floor dimples smoothened.
A lot more fill was required on the engine cover. Fingers crossed it’ll be ok once paint goes down…
Drying time! All the parts for this build have been prepped and washed in hot soapy water. Preparation involved cutting off the sprue (where applicable; it’s far easier to spray rims while still on the sprue), mold lines removed, sink holes & joins filled, smoothened etc. Next step, primer.
I’ve gone with a coat of light grey primer first to hide any underlying blotchiness due to the grey filling putty.
Masking the gearbox off before hitting the engine block with Flat Aluminium.
A batch job of semi-gloss black on a whole bunch of parts.
Bulkhead with dash, steering wheel and various buttons/switches. This will be largely unseen once assembled because it sits deep inside the cockpit opening.
Tamiya has made the rear pushrod/rocker/spring assembly one-piece. The bridge connecting the two sides (being held by the tweezers) should not be there.
So out it comes! Hopefully the rockers will attach to the gearbox sturdily enough to support the weight of the model.
After hitting with white primer, body colour (Tamiya TS-26, Pure white) goes down. A decision will need to be made soon – do I mask and spray the blue, or use the kit decals?
Rims and a bunch of suspension arms are done. Some bodywork has to be added to the gearbox before the rear suspension can be hung off it.
The body parts got a light rub-down, then hit with what will hopefully be their final coats of white.
Masked and sprayed – the plank that runs under the floor of the car..
And with mask removed.
Two small pieces of bodywork (one each side) need to fit to the gearbox before all the suspension arms can be attached. Once the parts are glued to the gearbox, I dry-fit the engine/gearbox assembly in the chassis and add the engine cover to ensure they sit at the right angle and spacing. It took a bit of tweaking to get these to line up, but the fit is not perfect.
After market carbon fibre decals cut to size for the main plane of the front wing.
A batch of parts ready for semi-gloss black, some with lots of masking (eg, the monocoque). I use small balls of Blu-Tack on the four mounting points on the back of the barge-board (front of pic) to keep the paint out so the glue will adhere later in the build.
Back of the barge-boards after spraying and Blu-Tack removal.
Flat aluminium on the radiators which had earlier been sprayed semi-gloss back.
I took a few parts along to my local model club meeting to show progress of the build so far. I’ve gone off plan from the kits instructions, glueing the sidepod structures to the monocoque in the hope this makes aligning the decals for the blue colour scheme a little easier. The radiators and ducting are still dry-fit in this pic, as is the engine/gearbox assembly in the floor.
At the time of the build, the decals were over 25 years old. With the light at this angle, I have concerns they’ve gone crispy and cracked.
Tape is used to temporarily hold the bodywork in place so the livery decals can be aligned properly.
After photocopying the decal sheet (just in case I screw the decals up and need refence to create masks for painting the livery), I cut out the blue pieces and got to work with the decal setter and softener…
Getting the decals stretched around the suspension rocker bumps (and airbox intake) without creases proved impossible, though this side has come up not too bad. So far, only one decal has torn.
After a mammoth session, the base livery is done. All the blue here is waterslide decal. There’s still some touch-up to do, plus the sponsor logos before clear coating. Once cleared and polished, final assembly can commence.
Once the main colour scheme decals were dry, it was then on to all the sponsor logos and signage.
The model included the pushrods, bell-cranks and spring/shock assemblies for the rear suspension. However, this car ran what looks like some sort of double-shock arrangement on the rear, which Tamiya did not include in the kit. I decided to replicate this using two short pieces of solder, flattened at each end, then filed and sanded into shape. The notches are to help seat each end on the model.
Thin strips of Bare Metal Foil are painted red, then wrapped around the shock body which has already been brush painted.
These ‘second shocks’ fit atop the gearbox and connect to the bell-cranks. The two black hoses connected to the oil tank were added by me, as are the blue and yellow wires (which are on a road to nowhere, but help the engine area look a bit more busy).
Addition of the intake trumpets and fuel rail complete the engine/gearbox assembly. Exhaust pipes will be added once the engine is fitted to the chassis.
The gold is Bare Metal Foil to replicate the heat shield on the lower rear wishbones that protect them from hot exhaust gases.
I cut up some carbon fibre decal stock for parts of the rear wing, such as the sides, main plane and the two upper elements.
Most of the parts are done and ready to commence final assembly; just need the body cleared first before they can be attached.
First clear is down and decals have not melted 🙂 (it’s always a concern!)
Brakes are done. I’ve just brush painted these as they will be mostly hidden once assembled. Colours are Gun Metal for the carbon fibre discs with flat earth around the perimeter. Central hat and calipers are Titanium Gold. Then there’s a little panel-line wash and the bolt heads picked out with aluminium.

To be continued…