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Tamiya Tyrrell P34

April 2008
Tyrrell P34
Tamiya No. 12036
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: Blue, black, gray
Scale: 1/12
MSRP: $131
Pros: Good parts fit and quality; photoetched parts added; opaque decals; working suspension
Cons: Some instructions unclear; exhaust-pipe assembly difficult
The latest release from Tamiya's big-scale series is a modified reissue. The new version includes an excellent sheet of Cartograf decals and a sheet of photoetched detail parts. The plastic parts are molded in blue, black, and gray, with a tree of chrome and one of clear. Coil springs and several sizes of vinyl tubing are also included.

Considering that the tooling for this kit is almost 30 years old, the mold quality of the parts is good. Some pieces show signs of wear and a little misalignment, but it's minor.

The instructions are clear, but don't offer a lot as far as detail-painting is concerned. There also seem to be a couple of errors, such as painting the fire extinguisher yellow; my reference showed them red.

Tamiya did its usual excellent job on recreating the working suspension and steering - and this time, for all four front wheels. The suspension arms are plastic, and the joints snap together. Some of them require a fairly firm but gentle push to get them together without breaking. Some of the joints are a bit loose, making it a little hard to keep all four wheels lined up properly.

Be sure to pay attention when attaching the photoetched brake disc faces, as the slots should angle back in the direction of rotation.

A little extra detail-painting can really make the engine come to life. More than 50 parts go into making up the assembly. Everything fits together very well. I recommend that you have a good, flat surface to ensure that the multipiece block is straight and square during assembly.

The transaxle is also a multipiece assembly. The rear suspension is much the same as the front, in that the pieces snap together.

The only real "fiddly bit" is the assembly of the exhaust pipes. It seemed best start with just two of the pipes, paying close attention that the ends fit "square" to the collector, and then add the other pipes when the glue on the first two was pretty well set.

I didn't use the photoetched faces for the radiator grilles, because I didn't feel they really added anything to the kit's original parts.

The instructions leave the addition of the oil lines to one of the final steps of the chassis assembly. This makes getting to some of the locations a little difficult; make sure you have a really good pair of tweezers for this job.

The seat belts come in a nicely printed precut self-adhesive material. Along with the photoetched buckles, they build into a good-looking set of belts.

There aren't a lot of body parts to this car, and they are all blue, so painting was a snap. The only real prep necessary was gluing the bottom portion of the rear wing in place, gluing the halves of the cockpit cowling, and filling and sanding the seams smooth. There are photo-etched pieces here to replace the original kit parts for the wing end plates, front splitter, and its support braces.

The decals are thin, yet opaque, so the white stays bright and the yellow stripe doesn't turn green.

This was a very enjoyable kit of one of the most innovative racing cars in Formula One history. I can't really recommend it for the beginning modeler, but with a little time and patience, I don't think it would be a terribly daunting task. Parts quality and fit is typical of Tamiya, so an "out of the box" build makes for a fairly easy job, despite the kit's complexity.


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