The entry by the Kyoto-based Dome Motor Company of two Group 6 Zero RL sports coupés in 1979 represented the first Japanese bid for outright victory at Le Mans. For this reason alone the cars are historically interesting, but they were also probably the wildest looking machines ever to race at the Sarthe — even in comparison with the extraordinary twin-boomed Nardi-Giannini in 1955 and the less inspired but effective Briggs Cunningham-entered Cadillac 61 “Le Monstre” in 1950.
Fujimi has recently released a 1/24-scale plastic kit of the Dome Zero RL, from which you can build either of the 1979 entries. Retailing at £10.99, this represents possibly the state of the art for low-to-medium priced kits at the moment.
Cleanly moulded in three colours (white for the bodywork and ancillaries, grey for the chassis assembly and gun metal for the well-detailed Cosworth DFV powerplant) the kit also boasts some fine satin-chrome parts which look extremely realistic when built into the finished car— certainly more so than the usual “shiny chrome” supplied in other kits.
This, along with the excellent decal-sheet supplied, means that the lazy builder can put together a very pleasing miniature version of either the No 6 (Craft/Spice) or No 7 (Trimmer/Evans) car with the minimum of painting and detail work. On the other hand the tail-unit lifts to reveal the engine bay, where there is tremendous scope for anyone interested in super-detailing, including lengths of thin plastic wire supplied to make up the electrical loom and ignition leads.
One point to note is that because the body design is slab-sided (and slab-topped for that matter), decals adhere without the traumas caused by more voluptuous coachwork.
A minor annoyance is that for some reason Fujimi has decided to mould the front wheels in white as part of the bodywork sprue, whereas in fact the cars’ wheels were gun metal in colour and would therefore be more appropriate on the engine sprue (the rear wheels are satin-chromed). This just means some extra unnecessary painting.
All in all, though, this is one of my favourite kits from the last few months, and one which will gladden the heart of any modeller interested in one of the more obscure exercises in recent sports-car racing history. Supplies from the Orient are rather sporadic, so it would be worth asking your model shop to put it on order for you. The distributor in this country is Toyway of Letchworth. IB