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FROM THE October 2009 ISSUE

Tamiya Porsche 956 Le Mans 1984

Porsche 956 Le Mans 1984
Tamiya No. 24314
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: White, gray, clear
Scale: 1/24
MSRP: $41.00
Pros: Parts fit; Cartograf decals; little cleanup needed
Cons: Molded exhaust; interior tub has molded passenger's side seat, but driver's seat is a separate part
Tamiya's latest release of its venerable Porsche 956 is of the Kenwood-sponsored car as it raced in the 1984 Le Mans 24-hour event. It is a modified reissue with new BBS-style rear wheels, and new decals, which are printed by Cartograf.

Kit parts are molded in white, gray and clear. Also included are diecut masks for the windows. Tamiya has a photoetched detail set available, but it was not used for this build.

Assembly starts with the chassis pan/undertray. This is one of the more time- consuming parts of the build, just because it needs to be painted three different colors and some of the areas are a little difficult to mask.

One thing I wish Tamiya had changed is to make the exhaust pipes separate, instead of having them molded into the chassis.

The engine/transaxle and rear suspension is unchanged from previous releases. Approximately 28 pieces go into the assembly, and it is quite detailed right out of the box.
The engine consists of a central block with separate cam covers, front fan assembly, intake manifolds, and plenum. The transaxle is divided into left and right halves. Some small ejector-pin marks in the air jack molded into the left half need attention, but otherwise there is very little cleanup needed, and everything fits perfectly. A little detail- painting of the springs and other suspension components will
really bring things to life.

The interior tub is the other part that I wish Tamiya would have changed: the driver's seat is molded separately, but the passenger's-side seat is molded into the interior tub, making it necessary to mask and paint. A separate part here would make things so much easier.

A separate shifter is really the only other part to the assembly, as the dash mounts to the body shell.

Decals are provided for the seat belts and instrument faces.

The poseable front suspension is a somewhat simplified affair, with the upper A-arms molded into the chassis pan and the lower A-arms molded to a separate panel. The springs, uprights, tie rod, and brake discs are also separate items. Brake disc and caliper detail is minimal, but they really aren't very visible in the completed assembly anyway. Four brake cooling fans are included, but were only used on the front wheels, according to my references. Dunlop and Denloc dry-transfer-type decals are provided for the rubber tires, but they didn't seem quite as opaque as ones I've used in the past.

Tamiya has captured the look of the 956 longtail body perfectly. Only minimal cleanup is necessary before painting. The instructions call for TS-23 light blue, which looks like it might be just a touch too light.
The Cartograf decals worked beautifully. The only one that required extra work was the number decal over the left-front fender. With a little Microsol and some gentle prodding, it laid down nicely.

I think this is the sixth version of this kit I've built, and each one is as enjoyable as the last. I'm somewhat surprised it's taken Tamiya this long to release other decal variations of the 956. At one time, Studio 27 had 15 decal sets for this kit in their lineup. I highly recommend this kit to anyone with an interest in one of the most successful race cars of all time, or someone who just wants a nice, hassle-free model of a cool-looking car.


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