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Caterham Super Seven JPE (Tamiya 1/12)

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Everybody has those kits in their stash 'for later on, when I can do justice to that kit'. I have a couple of them and kept saving them for later. But very recently I lost a modelling friend to that awful 'C'-disease, he basically kept modelling till the last and he could enjoy it a little bit. But passing around 50 isn't what we all want or expect.
But it does make you realise how unexpected life can be and how vulnerable it is.

So, I decided to put projects aside and grab one of the kits that I've been saving for later, since later could already be now. It is in my opinion one of the best kits ever made and the guys at Tamiya went crazy on it. It has a full alluminium body and lots and lots of details. Even straight out of the box, it will make a very handsome model.

My plans are to stick close to the manual, the car in itself is almost as good as it gets and so does the kit. But there is also room for improvement and detailling, which I will be doing. Albeit, I won't go crazy on it; it has to be a fun build as well.



I am taking small steps and where I usually sand every part of the kit, I take this in sections, to give more attention to detail and make it less to be a assembly-line feel to it.
Here I am taking on the frame, most of the ejector pin marks will be hidden after assembly, but some will be visible and some might, and therefore have to be gone.



I initially planned to make a new driveshaft, but after cleaning it up, I think it will look pretty good with just some details.



The fueltank was awful though, it needed a lot of sanding and filler



I painted the frame in a gun-metal color, I think it will look nice when it comes together.



Hard to see, but I clearcoated it also.



The front coilovers where sprayed in chromesilver, then I masked them and painted the screws/rings with molotow chrome markers, When it is fully cured, I will ad a color to make it look anodised.





The first parts installed! This is the steering box (duh)



And the rear spring holders



Together with some more aluminium detail:









This is the result so far, even though with so few parts, it is already starting to look like something.



Very early in the assembly process, some of the body panels have to be assembled. They are factory painted and look pretty good, it might lack a little in luster, but it can be used straight out of the box.
But... So much neon yellow hurts my eye, so I have to respray the body panels, but I want it still to be a JPE, therefore I will keep a couple of those neon yellow details.


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You are absolutely right Erik, this is one of the best kits to come from Tamiya and 1:12 scale allows you to include lots of detail of course. Sorry to hear that you lost a friend to that awful disease, and only 50 years of age too. We have to do what we can do today, not next week or next year.... there might not be a next week or a next year. While I can do something physically, mentally and financially able, then I say do it now.

Have some fun building this Caterham Super Seven and this is what scale model car building is all about. You are off to a good start I can see.

If you get chance to look at my 1:24 scale Hooper & Co diorama, it is in the diorama section of the MCM forums.


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Thank you guys for the kind words!

@Anglia105E; you're right, it has to be fun. But sometimes it can be frustrating and we all know our failures in practicing our hobby, keeping us a little bit from the best kits we have. Saving them for later, because one doesn't want to screw them up. I am not going full-idiocracy on this build, just keeping it fun and it has to be good, but I will accept imperfections. I have to.

@da_ashman; don't worry, Both the cycle wing and the JPE will pop-up again. I knew that Tamiya would sooner or later re-release the Caterham again, they have the molds and Tamiya is known for repopping their big scales every know and then.
@Roncla; Even though I am still doubting on getting one of those too, the price is bothering me, it is just soo much money. And I already have it, but paid like halve for it, which I think was reasonable. I've been hunting one for a long time, since I discovered them just a little bit too late on their initial release, when I wanted one, they were like one month discontinued. Now I have the BDR and JPE, I think I paid 125 for the JPE.


The steps that are being made, are small and timeconsuming, but I guess also part of the fun. Normally, I would've had the body in the paintbooth by now and started painting, but I am taking some extra steps and being a bit more cautious I guess.


Because I also don't like the 5 spoke wheels that comes with the JPE, I designed and printed a Watanabe-like wheel, rather than a Minilite. I am not completely satisfied with the design, so I have to make some adjustments and print a master for casting. The wheel will be a 2-piece; easier for printing/casting, but also for painting.



But most of the time went to prepping the body parts, even though the Tamiya paintjob is not bad at all, there are some mishaps to be dealing with, like seam lines on the plastic parts.



And some paint boo-boo's on some other parts










Today I started working on finalising the prepwork and started to laydown the masking for the paint-design, I also noticed another little plastic defect that I took care off



And this will be the final design for the paintjob, I had different idea's yesterday, but came up with this tonight and I like it. Hopefully I will be able to start laying down some paint tomorrow.


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i never really built a Tamiya kit in large scale (except for a Suzuki motorcycle 20 years ago),and a Caterham is not my cup of tea ,but with some clean building and some more detailing this could easily be one of the greatest kits in this scale

sort of reduces a 1/12 Monogram to a kid's toy..

go easy on the paint..you kinda lucked out ,because the panels are all seperate..which makes it a lot easier..Best of luck with it

but you're a smart guy..you'll figure it out..

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 15-5-2018 at 3:01 AM, da_ashman said:

Hey if you want some Wantanabe wheels, check out Studio Rosso, just started doing some wheels for 1/12 scale. I'll be getting the TE37s for a 1/12 GTR


Thank you about the heads up, I know about them and thinking of ordering a set for my Datsun, but to be honest; why ordering parts if I can design and make them myself? Sure, it is easier and quicker, but I can now make the design how I want them and determine myself the offset and such.

And trust me; making your own is way too much fun! :-D

@heinz74 This is my first big scale Tamiya, so I am on unknown territory haha, but having built big scale before, I am not affraid. Plus, this Tamiya does not compare to the other Big scale Tamiya's as it is completely different in is kind, like a lot of white metal parts, aluminium parts and screwing.

And yes, it is a huge difference from a Monogram in this scale. But each has it's own charme.
About the paint; too late. When you typed your message, it already had it's nice green paint on it. Having separate body panels is both a blessing as a problem. You need to be aware of getting exactly the right amount of paint on the panels, to avoid differences in hue.



I managed to lay down the BRG and it went on pretty nice. I took the Bentley Speed 8 Le Mans BRG, since I love that hue. It is my favourite BRG.

And the best part is to unwrap all that masking tape, to see how it turned out and I love it! It looks even better than I hoped for and I am glad I made the last minute decission not to make the front part of the nosecone yellow, but just striped it.



Something that has been bothering me are the coilovers, they don't look good. In the back are the stock parts and in the front are the stock parts painted and partly chromed.
Even though it doesn't even look too terrible, I don't like it, since it is a very visible piece. I have been on this for over a week and tried several ways to make something nice of it, but it was failure after failure.



But I am on to something now, I will be using different materials to get to my endgoal. I printed a few spring nuts and I ordered some aluminium rods, that I will die cut? with a very fine thread. The Die Cut has been ordered and may take a little while until it gets here, since it is a special order.



But I made a prototype with a regular bolt and normal thread tapped into the nut. I did it rough and quick, hence it is crooked. But the concept worked and if everything works out a little bit, I will have a working coilover on the Caterham.


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Thanks Ashley!


Having not much time laying around, progress is slow. I did order tools and material to work on the coilovers and I worked on sanding some parts.

I also managed to work on the discbrakes, they are detailled, but they lack the proper finish. Personally, I don't like the PE sets that much, as they do not reflect discbrakes enough (to me). I had an idea for a while and tried that, and it worked like a charm, really. I think it captures the look of a discbrake perfectly.






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Well done!  It has that metallic "steel" look.

If you wanted to make it super-realistic you could also dull the areas which are not in contact with the brake pads. Maybe even make them look slightly rusty?  I suck at weathering.

Edited by peteski
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  • 8 months later...

The Caterham was also a bit dormant, except from fiddling around with the front shocks and the design of the wheels, I didn't do a whole lot to it. Most had to do with clearcoating the body-parts. As the sidepanels where needed in order to continue the build.

Yesterday was a very nice, sunshining day and I got inspired to clearcoated this project. Even though I am somewhat confident in my painting skills, I was a bit nervous, as this is a very costly kit. And don't want to screw up the paintjob. But I went, I did and I think I succeeded. But I'll let you be the judge of it:






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Nicely done Erik..... the dark green body panels with the yellow stripes, and the clearcoat went on well.... good job!

I can understand the feeling as you decide to go over the perfect paint finish on an important model like this, with clearcoat, and how you would worry that it might go badly. Now you can stand back and look at your work with some satisfaction I think.


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