A Jap Jag!

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A visit to any good toy or model shop will provide ample evidence of the recent boom in the market for l/24-scale racing car kits.

European offerings in this scale are virtually non-existent, with the French Heller and Italian Protar ranges holding the fort almost alone and the Americans seemingly limited to producing models of “funny cars” and hot rods (with the occasional NASCAR stocker or IMSA machine), so it has been left to the enterprising Japanese to produce models which are more familiar to the British enthusiast.

Tamiya has been the market leader in this scale for some time, because of the general high standard of its products at reasonable prices. Recently however it has been challenged by a new range of kits from the relatively unknown Hasegawa concern. The latter’s TWR Jaguar XJS (Spa 24 Hours winner) was particularly fine.

Continuing on the Walkinshaw theme, Hasegawa has come up with another highly topical addition to the catalogue- the Jaguar XJR-8LM, retailing at £7.99.

In the interests of economy, the kit is moulded in a single colour (white) but is supplied with transfers and parts to allow you to build any one of the three “tomcats” entered in last year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

Although construction is simplicity itself, extensive painting is required to achieve a realistic result, and the comprehensive transfer-sheet takes a Considerable amount of time and patience to apply – not to mention copious amounts of “microsol” and the use of a hairdryer to make the decals conform to the body contours.

The bodyshell is a single-piece moulding (the engine cover is not removable so there is no engine detail), so what you get is in fact a “rolling chassis.”

Detail is generally excellent throughout, with the sole exception of the rendition of the fuel-fillers, which is a hit crude, and the finished model captures the feel and line of the full-size car well. I particularly liked the fact that Hasegawa has supplied decals for the fascia of the onboard computer and even the “dymag” stickers on the wheels! In fact the only things which appear to be missing are the electrical cut-off on the scuttle and the roof whip aerial – both easily fabricated from a piece of fusewire if you wish.

Some quick building tips: spray the entire chassis and cabin matt black to represent the carbon-fibre and Kevlar composite; wheels should be painted semi-matt black, not steel as the painting instructions say; and I would suggest you apply the decals and spray the whole shell in clear varnish before attaching the windows and headlight fairings and fixing it to the completed chassis. IB