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Tamiya McLaren M23 1974

Tamiya McLaren M23 1974
McLaren M23 1974
Tamiya No. 12045
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: White, black, gray, clear
Scale: 1/12
MSRP: $160.00
Pros: Crisp detail; superb decals
Cons: Painting instructions could use more detail; otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable build
After an incredible 36 years since its last release, the 1/12 scale McLaren M23 is back!  

Technically a modified reissue, the kit now contains a large sheet of photoetched details for radiator and oil cooler screens, brake discs, wing end plates, and assorted body fasteners. Diecut cloth seat belts and a revised decal sheet printed by Cartograf are also new. The body parts are molded in white and everything else is black, metallic gray, chrome or clear.
McLaren interior
Assembly starts with the interior portion of the monocoque chassis. The painting instructions are good but they don’t break things down much further than the individual part being one solid color. The seat is molded in a soft vinyl. I didn’t think it would take to paint well, so I left it as-is and it looks fine. The seat belts are a self-adhesive cloth, but don’t rely on their own adhesive for attaching them to the seat.  
As with all of the Tamiya big-scale kits, the suspension is fully functional, with working steering and coil-over shocks. It’s a fairly complex assembly, but it went together well. I did have a little trouble getting the lower A-arms in place.  

The photoetched brake discs have lightly etched grooves, but I preferred the look of the plain side roughed-up with some sandpaper.  

The upper part of the tub must be given a two-tone paint treatment. Tamiya has supplied a sheet of masking material printed with patterns to tackle the job. 
Cosworth DFV
One of the great things about the early F1 cars is that the engine was almost completely exposed, making it a focal point for most of us. This kit will not disappoint; the Cosworth DFV is packed full of detail, including all of the major hoses and wires.
The transaxle and rear suspension is also a work of art. Like the front suspension, the rear is completely functional with working shocks and half-shafts with working universal joints. It even uses real threaded nuts to attach the wheels.  

The transaxle and rear suspension assembly consists of more than 90 pieces, not including the photoetched parts for the brake discs and oil coolers. I’m still unsure as to the value of the etched grilles for the oil coolers and radiators; the molded parts have excellent detail, and are actually more three-dimensional. Maybe if they weren’t painted black anyway, the real metal look would be more important.

There aren’t a whole lot of body parts left after the main chassis tub. The air box, rear wing and wing support needed only minor filling of seams and sanding smooth before paint. Again, there is a mask provided for the air box but not the cockpit cowling. The upper area where the windshield mounts should be white, so be sure to mask it.  

Decide which version you want to build, as the Hulme and Fittipaldi cars had different mounting for the mirrors.  

The Cartograf decals are superb. The fine black pinstripes have a bit of white on either side, so if the mask strayed off course slightly, it’s not a big deal. They are also opaque enough so that the white doesn’t turn pink when covering the red areas.

Again, some of the sponsor decals have been omitted, so check your aftermarket supplier if you want to fill in the blanks.

If you have even a passing interest in this model, buy it. The tooling is still fresh. I thoroughly enjoyed the build, every step of the way.


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