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 12 April 2021

1995 Tyrrell 023 Yamaha (Tamiya, 1:20)

Having gone as far as I can with the Toyota (see further down), I need another ‘meeting model’ to work on during the model club get-togethers. I pulled this one from the stash in the hope it’s a straight forward out-of-box build (fingers crossed!). As per the Toyota, I’ll prepare parts during meetings and leave the more specialised work (painting and assembly) for when I have time at home.

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 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 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 the rear wing.
(above & below) Trying to make the five pieces that make up the engine cover look like one…

1988 Taka-Q Toyota 88C-V (Tamiya, 1:24)

The Toyota 88C-V is a Group C sports prototype entered by Toyota in the 1988 All Japan Sports Prototype Championship. It was designed and built by Dome and utilises a 3.2 litre turbocharged V8 engine.

While the box, instruction booklet and decals have yellowed a little (it is, after all, a 30-year-old kit), I’m hoping the decals will still be ok when it’s time to apply them.

This will be a standard out-of-box build.

The parts in Tamiya kit #24083, Toyota 88C-V: 2 black sprues, 1 yellow parts sprue, 1 yellow body (2 x pieces), 1 sprue of clear parts, a bag of tyres, tyre marking sheet and one big decal sheet.
Most of the parts are now off the sprue and cleaned up. Several pieces that can be painted as one have been glued (eg, some of the engine, uprights etc). For the moment, the only time I work on this model is when attending my local model club meetings. A few more meetings and all the parts should be ready for paint.
Other than the clear pieces (not in photo), all the parts that need to come off the sprue have been cut off and cleaned up. Now I need to find some time to start priming the body and painting the detail. I feel the white decals in this old Tamiya kit are too translucent, so plan to mask and pray the white bits.
First paint done! Grey and a bit of white primer on the floor tray, semi-gloss black on the other parts (using Tamiya’s relatively new Lacquer paint).
Underside of the nose and inside the front wheel wells is the body-colour yellow. Here the yellow has been masked, ready for a big hit of semi-gloss black on the rest of the floor.
Cockpit module and dashboard. I added a red and black wire to the electronics box in the passenger side.
The engine block/bell housing/transaxle/gearbox is basically two halves cemented together. Everything here is hand painted.
Rear suspension, uprights etc attached. Everything fits ok and went together as planned, however the engineering of the kit has a few issues – for example, the bell-cranks that connect the pushrods to the springs are not connected to anything solid…
To ensure the glue can bond into the plastic, paint has to be removed from the mating surfaces. On this model, the engine/gearbox assembly sits up off the floor and is located by these two small pylons.
Engine fitted, but the intercoolers and intake plenum are only test fit before painting. Everything else in this pic is glued in and done. It still needs the exhausts, turbochargers etc, then it’s on to the next stage – wheels and body.
The flip-side shows the curvature of the floor under the nose, air jacks and fixation points, plus the long ground-effect extraction tunnels. The paint is Tamiya Lacquer LP-5 semigloss black. The yellow is Tamiya TS-16 with just a touch of TS-12 (orange) mixed in, shot through the air brush.
The chassis is done! Exhaust and turbocharges are done with various metal-finish colours. It was only while fitting the turbos I realised this kit does not include plumbing to transfer the compressed intake charge from the turbocharger to the bottom of the intercooler, so I made my own out of solder. This is no longer a stock out-of-box build…
Body prep has started, removing mold lines, filling recesses and ensuring everything is ready for primer. I’m using Tamiya’s brush-on grey filler to correct small gaps and sink holes.
Cooler intake is a separate piece on the engine cover. I’ve glued it in place and trying to make it look like an integrated part of the bodywork.
All the body parts are now primed in Tamiya fine white primer. A little cleanup required and then it’s on to the gloss coats, starting with white.
I masked the outer edge of the rims to be able to paint the wheel centres gloss white.
Wheel masks were cut from templates drawn with a circular thingy (they have a name, I just can’t recall it!). The number represents the diameter in millimetres.
After a few experiments with cutting on the line, inside the line and outside the line, appropriate sized masks were carefully trimmed and applied to the outside of the rim, plus the inside to avoid overspray getting in from behind.
To make the Alclad Gloss Aluminum work on the rims, they need to be sprayed gloss black. As they’re on the same sprue, rear wing components got their black applied in the same session.
Polishing the rim edges with Tamiya compound
Then hit with the Alclad metalizer.
Masks removed. All the bits that I wanted white are still white 🙂
Removing the mold line from the tyres using a medium grit emery board gives a nice roaded look.
Wheels and tyres done. Unfortunately, the now 30+ year old Bridgestone/POTENZA decals for the tyre sidewalls broke up while being applied, so no tyre branding on this one 🙁
Wheels fitted to the chassis. This model uses metal wheel nuts that have a small shaft protruding from the back which simply presses into the brake and hub.
No photoshop effect here, simply the sun at the right angle on the Alclad.
Back to the bodywork and it’s a marathon masking job! After laying down the white, the first mask job was to cover all parts that are to remain white before hitting it with yellow. It’s not just the colour scheme that I masked off. The original kit decals are old, a little yellowed and not very opaque compared to what’s found in a modern kit, therefore I also masked off where some of the white-background sponsor logos and race numbers will be placed.
Tamiya TS16 yellow mixed with a dab of TS12 orange put through the airbrush, three to four coats over 20 minutes.
Masking tape off – and no bleed throughs!
Once the masking is removed, the paint build-up around the edges is quite significant. This will require sanding smooth before any decals can be laid down.
Round 2 of masking applied, then hit with gloss black – three coats in one sitting, Tamiya TS14.
With all the masking tape removed, the key lines of the overall livery can be seen. There were a few minor bleed-throughs with the black, so once they are fixed and the masking edges sanded smooth, hopefully it’ll just be decals and clear before the final assembly can commence,
Body parts lightly sanded and washed, ready for decals.
Decal night!
The Taka-Q and race numbers on each side span multiple body panels. I know some modelers pre-cut their decals and apply them one by one. My preferred method is apply the entire decal, then slice where required. Step 1 is to secure the body panels in place (thus the tape) and cut the decal out.
Step 2 – Apply the decal and get it positioned. I use a decal setting solution on the body first (in this case, Microscale’s Miro Set), then roll the moisture out with a cotton tip.
Step 3 – Wait a good 5 minutes or so for the decal to get a bit of a hold, then out with the razor blade, carefully running it through the gap between the body panels to slice the decal. (As a side note, I’m now glad I sprayed the livery on this model rather than use the kit decals. Check out how the yellow and black have bled through the TRD decal…)
Step 4 – Once sliced, the panels can be separated. I then use some decal softener (Micro Sol on this one) on the edges of the cut to make any excess decal film fold around the panel edge.
Bodywork decals done! I like to give them at least 48 hours rest to allow the moisture to fully come out. Then it’s a case of finding a spare day of suitable temperature to throw some clear over it all.

To be continued…