by: Joel Willstein [ ]
Originally published on:
Background All the existing Formula 1 Grand Prix car designs up to the early 1960's time frame were built around some form of a tube chassis, which every part of the car was bolted to, and then covered with a open wheel cigar shaped fiberglass body shell.
Colin Chapman's 1962 Lotus 25 which was powered by a 1.5 Liter Coventry Climax normally aspirated engine was a monocoque design. The engine was the stressed member that supported the rear suspension and drive train. The whole assembly was then bolted to the the rear cockpit bulkhead. The front cockpit bulkhead supported the front suspension. There was no tube chassis what so ever. The resulting car was almost half the weight of a typical F1 car of the period, while being stiffer then every tube chassis. The result was that it could out brake, out accelerate, and just plain out handle any other F1 car for the 1962 season.
The car was so successful that Jim Clark, his driver won the 1st time out at Spa in 1962, and almost won the Championship as well. The following season Clark in the Lotus 25 won 7 Grand Prix on his way to winning the 1963 F1 World Championship, as well as Lotus winning the F1 Constructor's Championship.
The KitTamiya orignally released the kit in 1998, and for some reason has never re-issued it, although many of their F1 kits have been re-issued several times. Needless to say I purchased my kit via ebay, and only paid $35 plus shipping. Now there's a bargain for sure.
My kit box was already opened, but all the sprue trees were still in their stapled plastic sleeves.
Sprue A: Molded in Green plastic, and contains the parts for the body shell.
Sprue B: The largest of the trees is molded in a Aluminum color, and contains the parts for cockpit, engine, transmission, wheels, and disc brakes. The disc brakes are just flat discs. One needs to remember that back then disc brakes were just single flat discs with no venting of any kind. The plastic sleeve also contained the clear 1 piece windshield, as well as a clear cover for the intake trumpets that was in reality a mesh wire cover to prevent objects from being injested into the engine. And one smaller bag with the 4 poly caps for mounting the wheels to the disc brake assembly.
Sprue C: Is the chromed sprue tree which contains all the parts that should be polished Steel, Steel, or Aluminum for the rest of the suspension, intake Trumpets, etc. BTW, there is absolutely no chromed parts on the actual Lotus 25. The decal sheet is also included within the plastic sleeve.
Sprue D: Is molded in Black which contains most of the parts for the front/rear suspension, and the exhaust headers. And a small plastic sleeve which contains both the front and read Dunlap tires with what looks like the correct tread pattern for the dry track tires used back then. Tamiya has silk screened the "Dunlap Racing" logo in White on each tire, and it really does look quite nice.
Instructions and DecalsThe Instructions are a single long sheet of paper that has been folded into 10 pages which contains the 20 building steps. The last page contains the decal layout, but you're going to have to reseach what number goes for what year and what race, as back then any number was issued for each race, as it was basically up to each event to decide who got what number.
The decal sheet contains the correct white split number circles, and four different sets of numbers for the 1962 & 63 seasons. Honestly after all these years the decals still look like they were printed yesterday, as there is no Yellowing nor curling on my sheet.
ConclusionTo any open wheel race car fan/builder, the Tamiya 1/20 scale Lotus 25 is a must have for your collection as it represents one of the greatest advances in open wheel car design of all time.
The Molding looks perfect with no flash or issues that I could find. The level of detail for a kit of this age is just outstanding, and compares quite well with today's detailed F1 kits.
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