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 13 September 2021

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.

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 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?

To be continued…