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Tamiya Team Lotus Type 72D 1972

Team Lotus Type 72D 1972
Tamiya No. 12046
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: Black, gray, white
Scale: 1/12
MSRP: $162.00
Pros: Excellent decals and tire transfers; good detail
Cons: Tricky assembly, with close fit on many parts; sprue-attachment points on windscreen
The Type 72, unveiled in 1970, evolved into the 72D for the 1972 season and propelled Emerson Fittipaldi to five wins and the drivers’ title.

Tamiya has reissued its 1/12 scale kit of the championship car with a new set of photoetched details, diecut seat belts, and a fresh set of decals printed by Cartograf.  The box is full of parts trees, typical of these big-scale kits.  

Most parts are molded in black; engine bits are mostly gray and chrome.  A driver figure is molded in white.
The kit features steerable front wheels and full working suspension front and rear, a highly detailed Cosworth DFV engine and all the necessary plumbing.

Construction starts with the seat belts and cockpit tub. My experience with past kits is that the adhesive for the seat belts does not hold up to much handling. It may be best to reinforce the bonds with a dab of super glue for insurance.  

I deviated a bit from the instructions here too in that I glued the radiator pods to the tub sides before assembling the tub, as test-fitting showed some filling and sanding would be needed.

The complex front suspension is extremely well reproduced. The entire assembly consists of almost 80 parts. There are some tricky bits to assemble.  

One is the shock absorber where the working spring is inside the shock body. Careful glue application is a must.  

Another is the front subframe. There is really no positive location for the junction of the side panels and front and rear parts to make sure that everything is square and level.  

Having the suspension functional means that a lot of the parts snap together, and some of them are quite a tight fit. Pay close attention to the joints and make sure there is no extra flash, as it will make for an even tougher snap or possible break.  

The Cosworth DFV engine is somewhat of a generic version used in several of Tamiya’s big kits. The only tricky bit here is keeping the assembly of the multipiece engine block square and true. When assembling the intake trumpets, use the lower air scoop panel to keep everything lined up.  

The individual pipes for the exhaust headers are tricky to keep lined up too.  

The transaxle shares most of its parts with other kits too. Be sure to add the small photo-etched spacers to the brake calipers to compensate for the added thickness of the photo-etched faces for the discs.  

The rear suspension is not quite as complicated as the front, but the same precautions apply.  

I skipped the driver figure; he’d cover up the nice seat belts anyway!  

Most of the body panels fit together well. The only thing that needed a little filling and sanding was the underside of the rear wing.

The windscreen is a bit thick, and unfortunately had the attachment points to the sprue right on the glass surface, so polishing is a must to remove them.

The new Cartograf decals are superb.  Also new is a set of dry-transfer-type decals for the tires. I was concerned that the soft, hollow tires wouldn’t be stiff enough to get the transfers to rub on securely, but they worked great.

I’m really glad Tamiya keeps reissuing these great kits that I missed out on previously.  They are challenging, but well worth the effort.

Because of their complexity, I can’t recommend them to everyone, but I certainly encourage anyone with the skills to give them a try.


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