Encountered plenty of problems finishing it up but worth all the hassle in the end. The front suspension caused problems right up until the end as I had to perform some surgery on the lower links so that the wheel hubs are roughly straight now and the brake ducts at least do not touch the ground. Area behind driver was shaping up well – until I realised the replacement oil header tank prevented the roll cage struts fitting on the left side of the car. I had to cut one of these off altogether and this meant I decided to fix the airbox permanently. This means that the cockpit is also permanently attached as it fits underneath the airbox. So disappointing after all the work I had done in these areas.
The nose subframe looked fantastic but actually did not fit the replacement nosecone. I realised this too late and had to leave it out and glue the nosecone in place. Another disappointment.
I could not find a sensible way to connect braided lines to the re-sited oil coolers in the sidepods and had to leave them loose (although completely invisible). I think the way to do it would be to cut off the floors of the sidepod extensions which would enable the pipes to be linked to the radiators before replacing and securing the sidepod floors. However I only thought of this far too late.
Finished off the car and at least although effectively curbside, it looks really good I think and at least the work in the cockpit is still partly visible.
I have learnt a lot from this build and I feel more confident about the Tyrrell 007 project now.
I am building the '76 Japan GP M23 using this Transkit and a reissue of the Tamiya Texaco M23. Body parts are excellent and fit the kit easily but beware using acrilyc paints as at least one enamel basecoat seems to be required before any acrylic topcoats adhere to the surface. P/E parts are perfect and look really good as do the turned parts, the replacement winscreen, the decals and the tyres - although they are VERY heavy and will no doubt need to be handled carefully later so as not to overload the suspension. MFH include several sheets of ready-cut dayglo stickers but I have no idea if this idea is workable as I am painting the kit - with the sole exception of using their sticker for the stripe on the top of the airbox which I cannot mask well enough to paint. The instructions are generally OK but are sometimes difficult to follow - particularly in detailed areas like the rear suspension and the steering column. Decal guides are missing although it is a pretty easy subject to research online of course.
The white metal parts however are NOT good. The revisions to the front suspension make sense and the replacement toplinks look OK - but have too small lugs on either side to stick into the holes in the plastic support parts. The lower links supplied are totally incorrect and should be replaced by the original kit parts. The small blanking plates that are supplied to fill the gaps on the side of the car behind the front wheels foul the front suspension sub-assembly. I only found this out too late and had to make adjustments to the whole assembly which is very weak at this stage. Somehow I didnt cause any damage - more by luck than judgement.
The Air intakes for the front wheels fit the upright well but stick 2cm below the body of the car and again obviously will need some major surgery - if they can in fact be used at all. The white metal rear suspension parts need to be treated carefully and a couple of the supports for the re-sited anti-roll bar simply don't fit at all. I did actually manage to complete the gearbox/suspension sub-assembly well enough but am nervous how strong this will be after the (very heavy) tyres are attached. I am also nervous as to how straight the rear wing will be when it is fitted at the end of the project. The airducts to the rear brakes are absent (although this might actually be accurate as all the photos I can find of the M23 at Japan in 1976 do not appear to show these and as it was run in very cold and wet conditions, it is entirely possible that they were removed for this race). I much preferred the kit cam covers to the metal ones supplied and I ignored all the rather clunky WM brake discs as the original Tamiya ones look better and now are enhanced by Tamiya's own P/E sheet. The smaller WM parts are nice (particularly around the cockpit) but the subframe to support the nose of the car looks suspiciously weak. Those ghastly screw heads that are used in the Tamiya kit to secure the nose are at least avoided however and even if I have to glue the nose to the car (and hide my work on the battery), the car will still be better than with Tamiya's screws displayed.
A very fine drill is needed for all the plumbing and wiring and I have broken about 5 drills preparing the parts for this work. (However I am hopefull it will be useful experience for the Lotus 79 MFH kit and the Tyrrell 007 Transkit both of which await after this project.) My only commenbt here is that one must be on ones guard not to overdo this as in 1/12, very small wires appear oversized, even if very fine fusewire is used. Mario Covalski's otherwise excellent Hunt M23 (using a Chevron Transkit) suffers in this respect - in my opinion.
I will report further in due course. Now let's get back to those front air-ducts.....
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