1/20 scale Tamiya Snap Loc 1993 T93-00 Lola Ford IndyCar by Don Weixl
I picked up this 1/20th scale kit at an estate sale partially built for $10 Canadian. The original price tag on the box was $35.00. Some minor sub assembly painting was done. The instructions say the kit was released in 1993.
I didn’t know what to think about a snap loc kit. Snap kits are for beginners, right? As far as I know this was Tamiya’s only 1/20th scale race car snap loc kit. In fact, I only used glue in 2 places: the windscreen need a bit of canopy glue to fit snugly against the cowling, and some engine piping needed a bit of glue to keep in alignment. Some of the snap connections were more aggressive than others. Some easily pulled apart after “dry fitting” where others were “oops, that isn’t coming apart” type of connection. In fact all pieces can be convinced to come apart, but some required a bit of force, or the use of a small screwdriver, wedged between the connecting parts.
The kit came with a nicely detailed engine although, no wiring was supplied. I call it a semi curb side model. “Curb Side” is a model car term for a car with no engine detail. There are too many missing components in the side pods and the chassis front suspension areas to call it a complete model. When the rear bodywork is snapped into place, the engine is completely hidden. All you can see is the end of the gearbox. If you take off the rear bodywork (which is very difficult to do) to view the engine, you will expose the basically empty side pods. I couldn’t see myself taking the rear bodywork off regularly, so I decided to not scratch build the missing details in the side pod areas. Finding detail photos of the 1993 Lola without bodywork was very difficult, adding to my decision to not upgrade the side pod areas.
With this kit I tried something for the first time: heat soaked bare metal exhaust headers and pipes. I have seen this effect on motorcycle models and was impressed. I later discovered that this car’s exhaust pipes were almost entirely wrapped in heat absorbing material, so in reality you normally wouldn’t see bare metal pipes. I airbrushed the pipes with Humbrol bright aluminium metal coat enamel paint thinned with laquer thinner. After that had dried, I sprayed Tamiya acrylic clear orange randomly on the pipes. Next I sprayed Tamiya acrylic smoke with a drop of blue added on the pipe joints. I was pleased with the results.
The kit’s body parts are moulded in a very high quality white plastic. The front and rear wings as well as the side pods were airbrushed with decanted rattle can Tamiya gloss black. I did not use any primer as I wanted to achieve the glossiest finish possible. My experienced is that primer adds another layer of paint that can add orange peel unless meticulously prepared by fine sanding. In this case, priming was not necessary as the white plastic was perfect. In fact I decided to not paint the white areas of the body as the quality of the white plastic was excellent with no flash, swirls etc.
I read that some builders of this kit did not have much luck with the kit decals. However, I was totally impressed with the kit decals, especially the opaqueness of the white decals when placed over the black painted bodywork. The decals responded well to a little amount of Solvaset decal setting solution. The rear wing decals should be trimmed carefully to avoid complications. I recommend that the top element decal be cut and trimmed, not folded as specified in the instructions. I decided to not clear coat the model as I have experience with clear coats yellowing, which is particularly bad news with white models.
I removed the moulding seam off of the tires by sanding carefully with 240 grit sand paper while the tires were mounted on the rims.
Overall it was an enjoyable and interesting build. Not having to paint the white reduced the stress level a bit. The extensive decals were the trickiest part of the project.
10 additional images. Click to enlarge.