Review: Beemax 1/20 McLaren MP4/2 1984 British GP – Kit Review
To me the GP cars of this period are visually more attractive than their modern counterparts with their massively complex aerodynamics. Also a twin turbo 750hp V6 is technology I can understand, perhaps its an age thing.
Designed by John Barnard as a development of the MP4/1, the MP4/2 was the world championship winning car in 84 in the capable hands of Niki Lauda and his team mate Alain Prost.
I’m very much a “Butterfly” modeller fluttering between different subjects as they take my fancy and I hadn’t heard of Beemax before. I was very presently surprised on opening the attractive, well printed box, which apart from the paints required also had a tool list on the side, I’ve not seen that before.
The approximately 120 parts are supplied in two colours (Black and white) on seven sprues plus one clear srue (bagged separately) and has rubber type tyres. Four bolts are also supplied to attach the wheels with a moulded tool on sprue D to tighten them. A full engine complete with turbos is supplied and the rear cowling is removable to display it.
Two silk screen printed decal sheets are supplied which have perfect register and strong looking colour and allow Lauder’s or Prost’s cars to be built. They include temperature indicators and seat harness.
I do think that for this price etch fittings and a length of ribbon could be supplied for such a prominent detail. Also to complete the car as seen at the British GP you will need to source the vertical black stripes applied instead of the tobacco sponsorship. I imagine these could be made up from Xtra decal sheet XPS1 but it does seem like an odd omission.
A pair of self adhesive mirror faces are also supplied on a separate sheet. It notes in the instructions that only water based top coat should be put over the decals.
First chance I get I will try some Tamiya clear (X22) thinned with Mr Colour Levelling Thinner over one and report back.
The black and white 14 step instructions are in stapled booklet form, are mostly clear and easy to follow though the logo definitions text is tiny as are some of the sub drawings, I had to get a magnifier as well as my glasses to read them. Another age related thing!
Colour call outs are also not the clearest. There are additional references to the etch and carbon decal set Beemax make for this kit which add to their complexity but are useful in avoiding any errors if you intent to go down this route. http://www.hobbycenter.pt/shop/index.php?id_product=618&controller=product&id_lang=1
The colour references are mainly for Mr Colour but the last column has Tamiya references though they aren’t labelled as such. To make up for the lack of colour in the instructions there is an A4 full colour, four view decal placement sheet but only for the body .
The sprues are very cleanly moulded with no flash and only fine mould separation lines. I strongly suspect that slide mould technology has been used as the monocoque has carbon weave texture moulded equally over its entire surface with no loss of definition on the vertical surfaces.
Also the one piece front brake cooling ducts have been moulded hollow as well as the exhaust outlets on the underside of the floor pan.
Areas where alignment and strength is critical like the upper front and rear wishbones, radiator ducting and rear centre wing support have been moulded as pairs.
Other moulding highlights include two part brake discs which allow the open vents to be seen on the circumference, useful if you want to display the model with the wheels off and ejector pin marks that are sensibly placed. Some will inevitably require filling but they are mostly shallow.
There are a couple of issues however. The otherwise beautifully clear screen had what looked like a fine vertical crack just off centre. This could be seen on both sides but not felt with a finger nail. It was removed with Micro Mesh; see photo of post polished part (The scratches are mine!).
The soft vinyl tyres also display some moulding swirls and the inevitable seam round the circumference. It would also have been good if these had their manufacturer’s logos printed on them rather than having to use decals.
There are 43rd scale models available of this subject, as far as I can tell this is the only 20th scale injection moulded offering. The mouldings and decals compare very favourably with the Tamiya F1 kits in my stash which I think is high praise but I feel the instructions could do with being clearer and I do wish the harness was supplied as etch. I would recommend this kit and hope to build it as soon as I get a chance.
16 additional images. Click to enlarge.