Lexus LFA By Richard Stewart
As I’m never going to be able to afford the real one at £340,000 each I thought it would be nice just to own the 1/24 scale version at around £40.00.
Tamiya really do make a nice kit for your money with nice crisp lines and etch where you need it. It’s almost a shame to start taking bits off sprues but with the Tamiya competition nearing it was out with the hobby knife and off we go.
The first step as always was to wash all the components to remove any oils or release agents. I then mostly concentrated on the body as if this did not go right it would be the end game for the rest of it!
After very fine sanding with some 4000 grit the shell went into my purpose built spray booth I mentioned in last month edition with a couple of coats of Tamiya surface primer added, Once all was fully dry I rubbed this down with 4000 grit again till it was nice and smooth, then it was back in the spray booth for the top coat which I used Zero paints. This was the first time I have used this product and I was very impressed with the coverage and overall look. This is from a person whose only colour application has been matt or semi matt and mostly brushed on, this was a real pleasure to do. After an hour’s drying time a couple of coats of Halfords’s lacquer were applied for the top shine.
With this complete the rest of the kit did not need to be consigned to my spares box and so onward went the build! Forgot to take those important pictures at this stage oops!
The engine assembly
This is a very nice kit on its own with the V10 engine connected via a drive tube to the sequential transmission in the rear. Very detailed scavenge pumps are at the bottom of the engine, which is almost a shame to cover up with the lower covers.
As all major castings are aluminium I decided to use different shades as I did not want to make it look as though it was machined out of one hunk of metal!
On completion of this it was on with the aluminium suspension components (using the same paint philosophy) and brake assemblies. The main ‘tub’ was next which was a straightforward assembly using the reference photos I took when I was lucky enough to get close to the only one in the UK at present! The only thing I added to the passenger compartment was seatbelt and anchor points.
The car is 65% carbon fibre, so it was out with the carbon fibre decal sheets! To be truthful I did have some trouble with this with lots of compound curves a few ‘let’s start again’ episodes, but looking back not too bad (in my view) a first attempt. If I had not read Paul’s excellent article first I think it may have been curtains for the model. (Thanks Paul)
Now was the mating of the chassis to the body! A little bit on the tight side with the rear radiators causing a bit of ‘sweaty brow’ but all eventually went together. The wheels I kept in the original chrome finish that came with the kit although on the real thing it is more of titanium silver than chrome, but I think it looks more the part. It was at this stage I noticed a slight twist in the chassis which raised the front near side wheel by about 1mm. This did not bother me too much as I would attach the car firmly to a base which would straighten this out
Next was the bonnet which I used the carbon fibre weave on the underneath and then fitted the metal etch grills. I also replicated the items found on the real car by applying the weave for the engine longitudinal support frame and the bonnet stay.
Taking a leaf out of my 1/48 TSR 2 build I mounted the car on a base and used mirrors to reflect the underside of the vehicle. The only problem was the vehicle is so low it still does not show enough off. This was confirmed when I took it to the Lexus Head office near Gatwick, all the ‘techies’ were forever cranking their heads trying to look underneath.
My next move is to mount the car on 4, 10mm square pillars which will ensure a full display of the vehicles assets. I have fitted all the under shields even though I had spent ages on the engine/ transmission and decal weaving. To use a sentence from one of Tony’s articles ‘Because I know it’s there’!