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FROM THE August 2010 ISSUE

Tamiya Martini Brabham BT44B 1975

Tamiya Martini Brabham BT44B 1975
Front end
Martini Brabham BT44B 1975
Tamiya No. 12042
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: White, gray, black
Scale: 1/12
MSRP: $130.00
Pros: Minimal mold lines/flash; good engraving, detail, decals
Cons: Ignition wires attach to pins; assembly issues with suspension; sink marks in body

For the last few years, Tamiya has rereleased some of its older kits with updated features, such as photoetched parts and new decals. The latest kit to receive this treatment is the Brabham BT44B from the 1975 Formula One racing season.

Drivers Carlos Reutemann and Carlos Pace wheeled the BT44B to victory lane in 1975. I chose to build my kit as Pace’s Brazilian GP winner.

Tamiya’s big-scale kits have always had a reputation of being highly detailed, and this kit is no exception. Fuel, oil, water, and electrical lines and hoses are represented by various sizes of vinyl tubing. The front and rear suspensions are functional, and feature working coil-over shocks and a functioning rack-and-pinion steering system.

The brand-new sheet of photoetched parts includes wing endplates, brake disc faces, Dzus fasteners, and seat belt hardware.

The new Cartograf decal sheet is nicely done, and includes almost complete sets of markings for the Brazilian and German GPs of 1975. I say “almost” because there are no Goodyear markings; the lettering is still engraved on the tires, though.

The plastic parts are cleanly molded in white, gray/silver, black, and translucent smoke. The chrome-plated parts were very shiny and free of dust particles.

For a 35-year old kit, the mold lines and flash on the parts was minimal. The main body piece did have some serious sink marks and waves in it that should be filled and block-sanded. In the interest of time, I did not do this on my model, and I think it detracts from the finished product.

Prior to painting the body parts white, make sure that you scan the instructions for the locations of the aforementioned Dzus fasteners. The builder will need to remove the moldedin plastic ones for the etched ones to fit properly. The only other bodywork required is cleaning up the seam on the two-piece air box.

Detail and engraving on the parts is top-notch. This is especially true for the engine and transaxle, which is doubly good; these parts are totally out in the open on the 1:1 car and the model.

The only nit that I have to pick is that the ignition wires attach to pins on the cam covers. I recommend removing the pins and drilling holes to accept the wires; this would help them lay in a more-prototypical manner.

It was nice to see that a complaint in my review of Tamiya’s 1/12 Lotus 78 was addressed in this kit: Photoetched spacers are now provided for the builder to shim the brake calipers, which now allows the plastic rotors to turn freely with the PE faces installed.

Assembly was not what one would consider easy.

I had quite a bit of trouble getting some of the suspension pieces to snap into place. This was especially true on the rear radius rods. I broke the upper rods on both sides – one of them so badly that I could not fix it.

The other problem was trying to get the rear wing installed so that it was square. I ended up getting it “close enough,” but not perfect. All of the other parts did seem to fit together just fine, though.

This was a challenging build that left me satisfied, and relieved when it was completed. I would only recommend this kit to a seasoned modeler.


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