Tamiya 1/20 Lola T93/00 Ford
|1800 yen from Hobby Link Japan
|Scott Van Aken
|Includes aftermarket Newman-Haas decals
Lola cars has been in existence since the late 1950s, first concentrating on sports racers and later on formula cars. It was Lola with designer Eric Broadley that came up with the GT-40 that was so prominently campaigned by Ford in the late 1960s. Lola has also been a player in Formula One and other formula series in Europe and the United States, doing quite well in Formula 5000 on both continents.
Lola has also been involved building Indy cars, taking their first Indy 500 win in 1966 with Graham Hill As with all racing series, the dominant car changes quite frequently, but aside from Formula One, when Lola cars get involved, they generally are successful. In the early 1990s, it was Lola that had one of the dominant chassis. 1993 was the year that the Lola T93/00 chassis won the CART championship for Newman-Haas Racing with F.1 champions Nigel Mansel and Mario Andretti as their drivers. Nigel Mansel had a superb year in 1993, winning the CART championship and five of the sixteen events. In 1994 his luck was gone and he finished a very disappointing eighth in the season with only two second place finishes as his high point. It was also the last year for Mario Andretti as his performance was even more dismal, finishing fourteenth.
The Lola T93 chassis was also operated by privateers, including perennial favorite car owner and ex-driver Dick Simon. Simon raced Indy cars for decades, yet never finished well. After retiring, he started a team for pay drivers. These were drivers who paid a team for a chance to race in a series. Simon's cars were always competitive mid-field runners with some moments of inspiration from his drivers. After failing to get a car in the 2001 Indy 500, Dick Simon closed his team and he retired. I bring up Dick Simon Racing as this kit features his 1993 car.
I'm not sure who started the deal in Japan where open wheel racers were to be done in 1/20 scale, but Tamiya has certainly made the best of it with Fujimi and Hasegawa both developing kits to this scale. This particular kit was developed in 1994 and released about the same time as the Newman-Haas boxing. That boxing has sold incredibly well and is no longer available, making it somewhat of a collector's Item.
Hobby Link Japan has several of the Dick Simon kits, found in the depths of a warehouse and put up for sale. Some of the kits had damage to the kit decals, so are being sold with some superb aftermarket markings for the Newman-Haas cars, a really good idea.
Molded mostly in black and yellow for Simon's cars, the molding is everything you'd come to expect from Tamiya. Crisp detail and devoid of molding glitches are a trademark of Tamiya cars and this one is no exception. Many of the parts can be simply pressed or clicked into place, making construction quite a bit easier than most. This is not a curbside nor is it truly a snap-tite sort of car as it comes with all the details you'd expect. A full engine and drivers compartment along with detailed suspension and rubber/vinyl tires are all part of the kit. I've always lambasted formula kits for not providing a harness, but Tamiya has this molded into the seat. A decal works just as well for me, but this one can be shaded to bring out details. There are two clear parts in the kit. One is the windscreen and the other duplicates the mesh screening over the turbocharger intake.
Instructions are first rate with many detail drawings in among the 16 construction steps. Markings with the kit are for the #9 Raul Boesel car (those would be the decals to the left), though as mentioned, these are not in the best condition. I'd not plan on using them, especially as HLJ has provided the excellent aftermarket sheet for the two Newman-Haas cars (those would be the markings to the right) as driven by Nigel Mansel and Mario Andretti. It will mean more work painting the yellow areas in white to match the sheet, but well worth the effort. I should point out that the aftermarket sheet includes decals for the high downforce wing suite. The kit provides the low downforce high speed wing suite.
For those wanting a Newman-Haas Indy car from this era and not willing to pay collectors prices for the original boxing, this is a great way to get this car into your collection.
Various places in http://en.wikipedia.org
Thanks to Hobby Link Japan for the preview kit. Get yours at the link.
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