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FROM THE October 2009 ISSUE

Tamiya 1988 Sauber-Mercedes C9

RELATED TOPICS: TAMIYA | 1980S
1988 Sauber-Mercedes C9
Tamiya No. 24310
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: White, red, clear
Scale: 1/24
MSRP: $51.00
Pros: Nice decals and photoetched parts
Cons: Warp in chassis pan caused alignment problem
During the late 1980s, the World Sports-Prototype Championship was a melting pot of some of the biggest auto manufacturers in the world, battling it out on the race track: Porsche, Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda were all competing and enjoying success. Mercedes-Benz was competing as an engine supplier for the Sauber team.

The Sauber C9 made its debut in 1987, with less-than-stellar results. In 1988, Mercedes went into the Group C class full-bore by increasing its support of the Sauber team.

1988 was the last year that that Sauber-Mercedes Group-C cars ran in anything but silver livery; they returned to being the "Silver Arrows" in 1989.

In 1990, Tamiya released a kit of the C9 in 1989's silver trim, and for a short time, it was the kit to build. Several well-known, fully-detailed replicas were built from this kit.

The kit was reissued once, a few years ago, but it is back now in all-new livery. Sponsored by electronics manufacturer AEG, the 1988 car's paint scheme resembled a printed-circuit board in white over a very dark blue.
The plastic parts in the kit are virtually unchanged since the 1990 release, except now the parts that were molded in silver are now white. New parts are provided to reshape the front air intake and for a scoop on the driver's window. A new, nicely-executed set of photoetched parts includes wing endplates, towhooks, grilles, and quite a few other pieces.

The large decal sheet was beautifully printed by Cartograf, and included decals for the #61 and #62 cars.

The body in the kit captures the lines of the C9 well, to my eye. The builder is instructed to remove three small scoops from the roof to help backdate the car to 1988 specs.

I did find that the two new parts for the air intake fit well, but needed some filler to hide the seams.
Tamiya calls out to mix some of its acrylic X1 Black and X3 Royal Blue to match the dark blue of the 1:1 car. I'm sure that this would provide fine results, but I found that Tamiya's TS-55 Dark Blue spray was close enough for me.

The decals may look a little intimidating, but they went on beautifully. There are some differences in the graphics of the #61 and #62 cars that need to be paid close attention, though. A nice touch was the inclusion of extra white decal stripes for touch-up purposes.

The rest of the kit goes together in typical Tamiya fashion.

The engine is a bit simplified, but when it's paint-detailed, it looks very nice. The rest of the engine bay is done well too.

The suspension and subframes go together without a hitch - and again, paint really brings them to life.

The interior is also rather simple, probably because it is hard to see on the finished model. What is there is well done, and the kit now includes seat belt hardware on the photoetch fret, along with red belt material.

The only issue I had with my kit is that there was a slight warp to the chassis pan, and I did not notice it until final assembly; that caused a slight mis-alignment between the body shell and the chassis.

I really enjoyed building the model, and would recommend it to anyone. Now I need to build the silver 1989 car to sit next to it in my display case.

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