Usually when I build a car model I start out with the engine, then chassis, and do the body dead last but Tamiya starts in the opposite direction doing the body first, and I can see why as a lot of the assemblies fit it versus the other way around. With that said to start the front air, vent scoops are fitted to the bottom side of the body, along with a pair of side plates towards the rear that forms the inner part of the wheel wells. The instructions call out to put a few window pieces with decals applied to simulate vents, I opted to leave this off till the very end of the body construction after painting and everything.
From there the front and rear bumpers get added, both fitting snuggly into place, except on the front a very small connection point that was kinda hard to get lined up, but with a bit of glue and holding they were even, this was crucial for the vents coming later. Again a couple of decals go onto the glass pieces, fitting them to the model would wait till later. Finally, the rear fenders get added, I put them on now but in hindsight, they should have waited till after the body painting as getting into the complex passage behind the seating was hard to do.
With that done it was time to give the body some paint. I used Tamiya fine surface primer white to prime the entire body to give the zero paints something to bite into well later. If this step was necessary I'm not sure but never having used zero paints I decided it was worth taking the precaution and priming. To start the painting process I began by painting the 'A' pillars gloss black, let that dry solid, and then masked them off so that I wasn't putting masking tape on the good paint.
Once the body was done It was time to work on the detail parts that fit the body. First up Was the pair of the vents that fit on the top towards the front of the car as well as the headlight cover glass pieces. From there I had to build up the headlights, each side headlight bulb enclosure is made up of three parts that then got painted X-32 before adding some black details and a decal to them. I fitted the lenses to those. The actual shroud was assembled from 3 pieces as well, then painted semi-gloss black before adding a pair of metallic decals and then finally fitting the lenses to it. Once those were complete and dried I attached them to the body.
At this point, I went ahead and did things a little out of order but not too far off from the instructions. I rounded up all the remaining body details that were to be painted X-18 and got them all cleaned up and painted, which included the engine shroud, exhaust surrounds, more vents, and the lower grills for the front and rear bumpers. I also went ahead and used the supplied window masks on the windows and painted the front and rear inside semi-gloss black as called for as those would be fitted on next.
Chassis & Suspension
Next up on the build was the suspension and chassis of the car. The overall complexity of this section wasn't too bad but it gave plenty of detail when it was done. I cut numerous parts off the sprues that were to be painted either semi-gloss or gloss black and got those painted up and glued together what I could. the very front section I had to wait to glue on till the suspension was completed as it would lock that piece into place.
Building the suspension for the front and the rear was fairly similar, with an upper and a lower piece that then had various diagonal bracing installed to stiffen it up as the real car has. The front had the addition of the rack and pinion so that the model could turn (neat!) and the rear had drive shafts. Once each was put together I then gave them a coat of XF-16 flat aluminum before adding some enamel washes to help the details pop, not that any of it will be seen later. The instructions then call for you to build the brake assemblies up and attach now, but I left them off till later. With that done it was time to move onto the interior
To start building the interior out I started on the dashboard, with the construction of it having an upper and lower main piece, painted semi-gloss black, to which a couple of accent pieces get attached. Tamiya calls out for those parts to be painted white but on the real car it is an option and thus I chose red, once they were painted they also got attached. The steering wheel was next and while it has great detail it wasn't very pronounced at the scale and thus I chose not to pick out any details with fear of it being too loud and looking wrong, so it's just black.
Next up was the seats, each molded in one piece save for an accent piece that again was painted red while the rest of the seat was painted semi-gloss and gloss black in the center to replicate leather. The main part of the interior was a tub that also received semi-gloss and gloss black where appropriate, however, the upper piece behind the pair of seats was a flat black. The rear window was also attached at this point to the interior tub.
Once the seats, dashboard, and doors to the interior were glued into place it was time to fit everything inside into place on the chassis to be able to fit this to the body shell.
The engine on this model is very minor but it gets the point across when viewing it from above. There is the main engine block piece, the intake manifold, valve cover, and exhaust pipe all of which fit together well. The engine of course received flat aluminum color and then was followed up with XF-56 for the heads. The valve cover and exhaust were painted semi-gloss black before attaching as well, followed up by a couple of decals. With that done the engine was ready to be installed.
To prepare the model for its final details I fit the interior to the chassis bottom and then fit the engine spanning between the interior and the rear suspension. Once those were set I was able to then glue the entire thing to the body shell, a snap-fit basically. I did add a few drops of CA to key parts along the lower aero channels as they didn't want to sit quit right without. With that done I was able to turn to the final piece, the brakes, and wheels.
Building up the wheels themselves was very easy, a center hub fits into the rim before adding the beautifully molded rubber tire. The brakes were equally easy with them being a single piece, although the rotor was painted XF-56, the calipers X-7 Red, and the center portion X-18 semi-gloss. One thing I wish they would do is to separate these out to make it easier to paint them, I hate having to hand paint the red as it never results in as nice of a finish but masking seems more effort than its worth as well. Once the paint dried though I was able to apply Brembo decals to each caliper before using CA glue to fix them into place on the model. The wheels stay on with the help of poly caps, a nice touch from Tamiya as always.