Automodelli Hi-Fi 1/43 Lotus 98T

KIT #: 81
PRICE: $25.00 'used'
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Cast metal with rubber tires and vac windscreen.


The Lotus 98T was a Formula One car designed by Gérard Ducarouge and Martin Ogilvie and built by Team Lotus for use in the 1986 Formula One World Championship. Development of the previous year's 97T, the car was raced by Brazilian Ayrton Senna, in his second year with the team, and Scottish newcomer Johnny Dumfries.

The chassis featured a lower monocoque than the 97T as a result of a regulation change stipulating a reduction in fuel capacity to 195 litres. The powertrain consisted of the new Renault EF15B turbocharged V6 engine, driving through a six-speed, manual transmission by Hewland.

The EF15B was to appear in two forms, the standard engine and the "D.P." engine which featured pneumatic valve springs for the first time. At the end of the season Renault introduced the revised EF15C which in addition to the D.P. valve gear also boasted common rail fuel injection and much-revised water cooling through the cylinder head reducing the likelihood of pre-ignition (detonation). Power figures for this period of F1 history are largely speculative as most engine manufactures freely admitted that their testbeds would not have a sufficient power rating to measure the 1.5-litre turbo's output at above 4-bar boost. It is claimed that the Renault EF15B in its pinnacle increment was claimed to produce in excess of 1000 HP at unrestricted boost pressure, thus making it one of the most powerful engines ever used in Formula 1 history. 


I don't think I've built anything by these folks, but it follows a similar pattern to the few FDS and Tameo kits I've done. The majority of the kit is cast metal. This includes the upper body and lower pan. Other smaller parts are the rear suspension that includes the gear box, forward suspension pieces, and the two wings. There is little to the interior other than a seat, instrument panel and steering wheel. Though the front suspension looks fragile, my experience shows that this will be very solid when all is together. The four tires are a sort of softish plastic or hard rubber compound. Thanks the the large full body of the time, there is no engine detail as all that is hidden. A section of screen is provided to simulate the radiators for the side pods. There is a vac windscreen, but it is tiny and would probably not be missed if it was omitted.

As you can see from the parts image, the instructions are pretty basic. It is an exploded view and while all the parts are listed, it is in Italian. The kit provides a large (for 1/43) decal sheet for one of two cars. Either the one driven by Ayrton Senna or Alan Dumfries. This sheet also includesa seat harness. A smaller addendum sheet is provided with the tire logos in white along with smaller car numbers. Not sure if this is because the main sheet ones were printed the wrong size or if at another time during the season these were changed. I'd be surprised if the decals are still viable, so when I build this one, I'll be giving everything a coat of Microscale decal film to be sure they don't fall apart. Both liveries are overall black with the gold JPS markings. Interestingly, this year (1986) was the last of the all black Lotus cars.


I am actually looking forward to building this. I know that much of my time will be spent cleaning up the various castings, but I've always liked the look of the Lotus 98T and it will look nice next to my Ferrari 126C from the same year. If you have never tried one of these kits and you like F.1 cars, I can recommend it.


September 2023

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