Tamiya 1/12 Lotus 49 B
KIT #: 12053
PRICE: $12000 yen SRP (I paid $60 shipped)
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2015 reissue


The Lotus 49 was a Formula One racing car designed by Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe for the 1967 F1 season. It was designed around the Cosworth DFV engine that would power most of the Formula One grid through the 1970s. It used its drivetrain as a stressed member, being not the first F1 car to do so, but the first to apply the technique so well that all other teams copied it.

Jim Clark won on the car's debut, in 1967, and it would also provide him with the last win of his career, in 1968. Graham Hill went on to win that year's title and the car continued winning races until 1970.

Lotus was the first team to use aerofoil wings, which appeared partway through 1968. Originally these wings were bolted directly to the suspension and were supported by slender struts. The wings were mounted several feet above the chassis of the car for effective use in clean air, however after several breakages which led to dangerous accidents, the high wings were banned and Lotus was forced to mount the wings directly to the bodywork.


This kit is basically a reissue of one produced several decades ago, but has been upgraded with a number of items including a photo etch fret for screens, seat harness hardware, and brake discs, a set of masks to help with painting, and some sticky cloth seat belts to attach to the driver figure after he is inserted into the seat. There are also a set of aluminum intake trumpets.

Back in the dark ages, I built the earlier Lotus 49 and a Matra by Tamiya in this scale and they were a ton of fun to build, with great detail and fairly easy assembly. Now it would take longer as back then I didn't care about mold seams. Now I'd have to clean up all the suspension pieces and repaint them, which would take some time.

Despite the size of the kit, it doesn't really have all that many parts. Certainly not as many as a Dragon armor kitk and the parts included are a fair size. You are provided with hoses for the coolant, springs for the suspension, and rubber tires. Even ignition wiring is provided.

One can basically break this kit into several assemblies. You have the engine which will take most of the parts and painting, the suspension, the interior with driver, and the rest of the body. This is the sort of project that you will need to paint as you are going along and touch up whatever you have goofed. Thankfully, Tamiya does provided masks to go over the gold areas once they are painted.

Instructions are superbly done with Tamiya-only paint references. All the colors you need are in their paint line with no mixing required. There are two cars that can be done. One is the #10 box art car with the single rear wing and reinforcement tape (decals) around it. The other is the #1 car that has an additional front wing with the rear wing being smooth on the surface. I have not been able to find photos of the #1 car with two wings on the net. I did find images of the #10 car with no wings from early in the season. I did notice that there are several sponsor decals missing from the sheet. The biggest one of which is the logo for Gold Leaf, the cigarette brand that sponsored Lotus for many years. Fortunately, Indycals makes replacement decals that will take care of that lapse. The kit decals are very nicely done and if you don't mind the omissions, will work just great. 


If you have any interest in these sorts of cars, this is a great kit. A bit pricey at retail, but they can be found for less. They make into superb models as well that anyone would be pleased to display.


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