Tamiya 1/20 Williams FW24
|PRICE:||2900 yen SRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Williams FW24 was Williams F1 chassis for the 2002 F1 season. It was closely based on the previous year's FW23, and powered by a development of the ultra-powerful BMW engine from 2001. The car was aerodynamically inferior to the Ferrari and to the rival McLaren, but the engine's outright power put in on a par with the competition. However the BMW engine was unreliable, and Williams failed to rival Ferrari and McLaren.
The car proved competitive, but no match for the dominant Ferrari F2002. Ralf Schumacher scored the team's only win of the season in Malaysia. Juan Pablo Montoya set an impressive run of five consecutive pole positions with the car in midseason, and completed the fastest lap of any circuit in formula 1 history during pre-qualifying, pace that he maintained to set pole position at Monza for the Italian Grand Prix (a track that favours engine power) with a lap average of 162.95 mph (262.242 km/h), completing the lap in 1:19.525, breaking the record previously set by former Williams driver Keke Rosberg at the 1985 British Grand Prix at Silverstone who lapped at an average of 160.9 mph (258.9 km/h) in his Honda turbo powered Williams FW10.
Williams finished second in the Constructors' Championship to Ferrari this season, trumping the McLaren team, which had a competitive but unreliable car.
I am not sure who decided that 1/20 should be the scale for Grand Prix cars, but the major players in the game are all producing cars in this scale, with Tamiya and Fujimi leading the pack in this regard. This particular kit was on the 'dead kit' table at the LHS as the previous owner had started it by assembling part of the engine and rear suspension as well as two of the brake assemblies. I personally do not understand why people will just start gluing on something without reading the instructions as the engine/suspension section is not all the same color and pre-painting something like this is nearly mandatory.
Anyway, I picked it up as I enjoyed building one of this line of kits a few years back and thought perhaps another might not be a bad idea. The kit is quite detailed with the brake assemblies alone requiring seven parts per corner. For the engine/suspension piece, just the shock assembly requires five different colors. So this is not a toss together kit.
The BMW V-10 has quite nice detail and each side exhaust is three pieces. The driver's tub is quite Spartan as befits Grand Prix cars and Tamiya has included a plastic driver's harness. Building up the body work and the chassis pan is also rather complex as there are a lot of aerodynamic bits and pieces that need to be properly installed. Tamiya includes a sheet of metallic sticker which is in two colors. The purpose of this is to apply these bits to the suspension and chassis. Tamiya provides templates where needed. There are also supposed to be small screws for attaching the lower pan to the rest of the chassis, but whomever went through this kit and declared it 'complete but started', missed that detail. I'm sure that if Tamiya started using parts diagrams, this would not have happened. Treaded tires of the time are also included in the kit.
Instructions are well done and quite detailed. Color information is all with Tamiya-only paints and the blue on this is TS-29. There are also reverse application decals for the Michelin logos on the tires. These are sticky on one side and one cuts out the logo, applies it to the tire then puts water on it after which the 'backing' is removed. Works quite well. Decals are for either the #5 or #6 car and neither option includes a driver's name. The markings are as worn by the cars at the German GP of 2002. The grey trim between the blue and white is provided but no template to assist in painting so I'd recommend copying the decal sheet to scale and using it to help in this regard.
While some of these cars can be quite complex, especially with all the detail painting, the end result is a superb model of some pretty neat cars. The larger size makes for a more impressive display on your shelves and while early Grand Prix cars are few and far between, there are some early rear engine offerings out there to consider.
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