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FROM THE August 2011 ISSUE

Tamiya McLaren M8A

Tamiya McLaren M8A
McLaren M8A
Tamiya No. 10008
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: White, gray, orange
Scale: 1/18
MSRP: $64.00
Pros: Body is best part of kit; beautiful chrome
Cons: No firewall; rear suspension inaccurate

Tamiya has been on a real kick lately of reissuing kits with updated parts, decals, and photoetch. These have mainly been of kits from recent times, but they pulled a real surprise by rereleasing this kit of the McLaren M8A Can-Am racer. It was released only once, in the early 1970s.

This kit was engineered in the days when almost all Japanese model car kits were meant to be motorized, which creates a compromise in scale accuracy. An example is the oddly shaped Chevy engine and transaxle assemblies. In order to fit the electric motor, these parts had to be designed to let them fit inside. The small-block Chevy valve covers on what is supposed to be a big-block do not help its appearance, either. 

The other major compromise is the suspensions. The front is rather clunky, but luckily it is mostly hidden from view. 

The rear is another story; no attempt was made to match the 1:1 car. The best bet is to glue the engine cover in place, or prepare for major scratchbuilding.

The best part of the kit is the body. It captures the lines of the 1:1 car well. The cars changed from race to race and even during a race weekend, so it may not be 100 percent accurate for a particular event, but the base is there. 

The Cartograf decals give you the option of building Bruce McLaren’s or Denny Hulme’s racer. Tamiya does not have a license to use Goodyear logos, so they are missing from the decal sheet

There are plenty of chrome parts, and they are beautifully done. However, the 1:1 car did not have much chrome on it, so I stripped and painted most of them.

The cockpit is fairly well done; it is as sparse as the 1:1 was. One major omission is the firewall between the cockpit and the engine. It would be fairly easy to scratchbuild from styrene. The addition of a racing harness and some wiring behind the gauges would really bring the cockpit to life. 

I was a little put off by the blue-tinted windscreen when I first saw it, but it does not seem to distract from the finished model.

Despite the inaccuracies, the kit did fit together well, which made it an enjoyable build.


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