Heller 1/43 Porsche 962 (Kenwood)

KIT: Heller 1/43 Porsche 962 (Kenwood)
KIT #: 80187
PRICE: $5.95 AUD in the early 1990s
DECALS: One option; Kenwood #11 car
REVIEWER: Graham Mison
NOTES: Currently Out of Production

HISTORY

The Porsche 962 was a development of the 956 and is very similar in appearance. It first hit the tracks in late 1984. It won Le Mans 3 times and just about every other Sports Car race and series of the mid '80s and early '90s. Around 150 were produced by Porsche and private companies. Original specifications were a 2.6 ltr flat 6 putting out around 600 BHP with a 5 speed manual gearbox allowing the car to hit speeds of over 370 KPH. With a length of 4.8m, a width of 2m and a height of 1.03m its sleek lines typified Prototype sports car racing from the era. 

THE KIT

 This kit is one of two released by Heller in their Rallye series in 1988, the other being the Danone sponsored #33 car. The In The Box Preview of the Danone kit applies to this boxing as well, with the exception of the decals. The 962 was the first of a number of Le Mans racers that the French company released in this scale, the others being the Mercedes C9, Jaguar XJR9 and the Peugeot 905 as well as a modified re-boxing of this kit which was also a Kenwood sponsored car.

 My intention for this build was to do a quick Out Of The Box so no extra detail was added other than in the decaling and the painting instructions were followed (almost) to the letter. With only 21 parts it took just a week and that was only because I left the main paint to dry for several days, this kit could be done in a weekend if you wanted. 

CONSTRUCTION

 Construction begins with the cockpit tub, which was painted overall Humbrol 33 Matt Black. The side pod grill faces were given a dry brush of silver to bring out the details, and then the passenger seat and the rest of the tub dry brushed with mid Grey. The drivers seat was also given a coat of black and highlighted with the same Grey and then attached to the tub. All these cockpit details will be mostly hidden once the tub is encased by the body but I like to go to the effort. 

COLORS & MARKINGS

 As the vehicle was to be overall blue I next prepared all the parts to be painted in this colour. The chassis, body, rear wing and part numbers 10 and 11, the side pod top rear exits, were prepared. Caution should be exercised when removing the remnants of the sprue gate at the front of the body to ensure that you do not cut into the body itself and the same caution applies to the wide sprue gates on the chassis. In my kit the chassis and the bottom lip of the body needed a small amount of flash and mold seems removed. Once cleaned up these were all given a coat of Humbrol 14 Gloss French Blue and left to dry for several days.

 My attention then moved to the styrene slick tyres. These were given a sanding on their road contact faces to roughen them up in an attempt to portray the look of tyres that have done a few laps. The sidewalls were then painted Humbrol 21 Gloss Black as were the inner and outer rims, with the contact surfaces done in Humbrol 33 Matt Black. Humbrol 27 Grey was then dry brushed on to scuff the racing surface up.

 I then applied the Goodyear decals to the sidewalls and then very lightly dry brushed these with Grey to tone down the gloss paint and the white of the decals. This, I think, gives a reasonable representation of slicks in this scale. The separate outer face of the front wheels were painted Gloss White and the decals applied, the cooling fins on the outer circumference were painted Black and then the details picked out in aluminium. For the larger rear wheels separate outer rims are provided and these were painted Humbrol 11 Aluminium and attached. With that the wheels were pushed onto the stub axles of the chassis. It was then that I discovered a slight warp to the chassis with one tyre not making full contact with a flat surface. A gentle twist was given to the chassis but this only improved the situation a little, I didn't want to apply excessive force and break something, so left it be.

 To complete the first stage of construction I fitted the cockpit tub to the chassis and after painting the lower inner surface of the air ducts for the brakes Matt Black I placed this aside to move onto the body.

 Here I began by painting the inner surface of the cockpit Flat Black as well as the dashboard face and coaming. The steering wheel also gets a coat of this and is best attached at this stage. There is no instrument detail provided, some thing I would attempt on my next Heller 962 as well as opening the drivers' door. The front faces of the headlight area also needs a coat of Black. Whilst that was drying I cemented on the previously painted parts 10 and 11 as well as the rear wing. 

FINAL CONSTRUCTION

 Construction was almost complete now with only 5 parts to go. I tackled the one-piece windshield/side windows next. This has the single wiper molded on it and I thought this would be best painted before attaching it to the body. The Heller clear parts are quite brittle and the windshield in my kit had a small molding flaw on the bottom edge. I built the paint up on the wiper with several applications, this is best done under a very bright light as it is difficult to discern the wiper from the windshield. I used several drops of Super Glue in the center section to attach this to the inside roof, with a little white glue around the base to fill a few gaps, including that flaw. The appearance of the side windows is not that good with an unrealistic step down from the doors to the glass surface.

The external mirrors are next attached with these painted Black with Silver faces. On a 962 these can be adjusted for height on a sort of track attachment, the kit location seems a little high but may be genuine. The glass headlight covers are next and Heller suggests you paint the lights onto the inner surface of these solid parts. I decided to make the lights out of silver decal. I used a hole punch to make 4 circles from solid silver Micro Scale decal sheet, I don't know if a product like this is available now but I still have a number of these in different colours. These were placed onto the body and I test fitted the glass parts and found they needed a little trimming, I also didn't like the look of them as they distorted the view. To reduce this I painted their inner surface Tamiya Smoked Glass, on reflection (pardon the pun) this was too dark but I prefer that to how they were.

That only left the body to be mated to the chassis and this was a reasonable fit. The sit of the model seems a little high with too much ground clearance. Thatís construction over so onto the decaling. The guide for this is not on the instruction sheet but on the box bottom where 5 photos of the finished model are shown. It was whilst studying these images that something struck me, I think the model Heller used for this is possibly not theirs or it was enhanced with extra detail. There is more detail shown under the rear of the model and around the wing supports, which look nothing like the kit parts. The front of the body is also lacking the cutout for the tow hook and the windshield wiper looks like a separate part and is at a different angle to the kits. A mystery for sure.

 The kit subject is the Kremer Racing car #11, sponsored by Kenwood sound systems and driven by Jean-Pierre Jarier, Mike Thackwell and Franz Konrad. Stated by Heller to have competed at Le Mans in 1986

 It must be said that the supplied decals went on well to the gloss paint, I used nothing but luke warm water and light pressure with a tissue. They appear complete and mostly accurate in size and appearance compared to the one image I could find of this car from Le Mans 1985, and yes I said 1985 not the 1986 race as Heller state. This car didn't compete in 1986. Who ever designed the decals got it right as the entrants' sticker above the fuel caps states 1985. The one downer with the decals is the national flags for the drivers, these are out of register and this is a common problem with these kits. Instead of painting the circular fuel caps I again turned to punching these out of decal sheet. The finishing touches were the painting of the side exhausts, a little dirtying up of the side grills and some dry brushing of the limited detail on the underside.  

CONCLUSIONS

I was satisfied with the finished models appearance as built OOTB and think this kit has the potential of a real gem with some added detail. Recommended to modellers of all skill levels. 

REFERENCES

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porsche_962 - Information on the 962.

Graham Mison

April 2008

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