The Iconic McLaren MP4/4

McLaren’s Honda powered MP4/4 racer from 1988 is an iconic Formula One car that won 15 of that year’s 16 World Championship races.

The vehicle has been modelled by various manufactures in ready-built and kit form across a wide range of scales.

Personally, I have 1/43 diecast versions, plus Tamiya’s fantastic 1/20 plastic kit. In fact, I have two of those kits – the first is what I believe to be the ‘standard’ issue, which I built many years ago (I think around the mid 1990s?). The second is still unbuilt and in the stash; the rarer version that includes the Marlboro tobacco markings on the box art and in the kit.

Anyway, that’s not the reason for this post…

I built this Tamiya kit I think somewhere in the ’90s. I masked and sprayed the livery with Tamiya rattle cans (ie, not the kit’s red decals). This is in the days before I knew about primer and clear coat! The clear film on the decals has yellowed and the rear tyres have morphed into a greyish colour.

I stumbled across a fantastic video that gives a close up analysis of an MP4/4 (chassis #3), with expert input from the car’s Chief Designer (Steve Nichols), project leader (Matthew Jeffreys) and Chief Mechanic (Neil Trundle).

It’s not just a great resource for anyone building an MP4/4 kit, but a thoroughly interesting view for anyone who’s into F1 or the technical aspect of the sport.

Unbuilt and mint – Tamiya’s “Marlboro” version of the MP4/4
Ayrton Senna’s MP4/4 up the back of my 1/43 World Champions collection, between Nelson Piquet (’87) and Alain Prost (’89)

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