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Tamiya Mustang GT4

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Tamiya Ford Mustang GT4

Like most of the more experienced modelers here, I truly respect the kits offered by Tamiya.  They are so well engineered that they almost fall together with little help from the modeler.  I am especially drawn to their racing car line, both 1/24th and 1/20th F1 kits (I built a number of the 1/12th kits back in the 70’s which I am sadly no longer in possession of today).  So when I saw they were about to release their 1/24th scale kit of the Mustang GT4 I was all ready to jump on it.  That was, until I realized that it was offered without an engine (sadly, as most of their newer kits are) and the livery, as offered, bored me to tears.  I lost interest in the kit right there on the spot.

One day, not too long ago while searching for aftermarket decal sets on SpotModel.com for my Audi R8 GT3 and BMW M6 and M8 GT3 kits, I stumbled upon a decal set for the Tamiya Mustang GT4 that really caught my interest.  It represents the Academy Motorsport GT4 as raced at the British GT Brands Hatch race in 2020. I immediately placed a set of these decals in my cart.  Now I needed to procure the kit, which I did, and then set about researching the actual car on the internet to see what, if any, modifications would be necessary to the base kit.

Instantly it became clear that the Academy version was sporting a set of front and rear wheel opening extended arch flares.  (actually, I saw pictures of the car both with and without the wheel flares, but because they make the car more unique, I wanted to model the vehicle with the flares) I considered scratch building them for a few minutes, but after a search of an old Fujimi kit from 2018 I picked up somewhere, of “Over Fender Set 1” (the only English on the box) I found a very close match for the necessary fender flares.  They were modified accordingly to fit this application and installed.

Next, I opened and hinged the doors, which was relatively easy, but I was stumped as to whether or not to attempt an engine installation which would require the hood to be opened.  My son has 3 3D printing machines (different materials and different uses) so I thought about finding the files so we could print the components for the Voodoo 5.2 V8.  While searching for them, I stumbled across “Iceman Collections” who offer a wide variety of resin engines from 3D mastered pieces.  They offer the Ford Coyote 5.2 GT4 engine in 1/24th scale which is the perfect fit for this car and is a beautiful casting with plenty of detail, so I saved time and just ordered it.  (A little side note here, I am referring to the 5.2 engine here as a Coyote, because Iceman has, but in reality, it is a Voodoo 5.2 engine.  There is basically no outside difference far as the eye can see as the main difference is internal, primarily with the shape of the crankshaft and a higher top end, but for the model I am building, I’ll just refer to it as a Coyote, besides, I like the sound of the name).  I opened the hood and hinged it, which created an issue.  Without the molded on hood the front fenders had a tendency to spread apart more than is acceptable so a remedy for this had to be found.  I found an old firewall from one of my parts boxes and modified it for the installation of the oil canister which is mounted on the right hand side.  I scratch built the chassis side rails and the front cover over the radiator.  I installed a radiator with the overspill tank and an oil radiator up front and plumbed both.

The engine was built up and plumbed without the supplied bell housing and transmission.  I cut free the kit supplied units and mounted them to the resin engine block as they were the proper length to mate up to the driveshaft more correctly.  I needed to modify the bottom of the oil pan to fit snugly into the front suspension from the kit.  Unfortunately, the kit supplied tie-rod was a casualty of the engine install, unless I wanted to “channel” 1960s AMT kits with a hole through the engine block, so an alternate system needed to be constructed. First I ground off the kit locating pins where the kit tie rod connected to the rotor.  I cemented a bit of aluminum tubing to the front of the brake rotor.  Then I formed a new tie rod out of brass rod.  I then cut out a channel where the tie rod could slide in the chassis center and then the front chassis skid plate would cover it and keep it from falling out.  Very simple and easy. 

The body was primed and then lightly sanded.  Then a coat of Tamiya Gloss White was applied around the lower section of the body and up over the hood areas where the white stripes appear. Once dry, these were masked off with a combination of the decal packet supplied and masking tape to protect the white areas where the white decals would be applied later. The base coat on the entire body is a custom mix of Tamiya Gloss White with a touch of Tamiya Gloss Black to create a very light Gray.  Once dry, Tamiya Gloss Black was airbrushed over the nose of the car and then faded into the gray on the back half of the car.  Once sufficiently dry, the top section of the car was masked off and gloss black was sprayed on the lower section, below where the white accent stripe is. The decals were applied as per the instruction sheet that came with them.  I used the kit supplied decals to fill in where needed. I used Tamiya Carbon Fiber decal sheets for the areas that have exposed carbon fiber panels like the dashboard, inside door panels, front, back, lower side diffusers, between the tail lights, and the mirrors cutting the pieces to fit by eye.

Using a miniature router bit in my Dremel, I grinded out the inner material of the front grille and the three lower openings and then cemented in a black mesh screen.  The wheels were painted Tamiya Light Gunmetal and when dry the colored red and green decal markings were applied, touched up with paint.  The tires were mounted and manufacturer identification decals were applied.  I cut the side windows apart and removed the upper location tab.  The black window surrounds were painted flat black on the inside after the kit supplied masking tape was applied.  The back side windows were cemented in and the side windows were secured to the doors with 5-minute epoxy.

The interior was detailed with hoses and wiring as per the pictures I found on the internet.  I created the webbing to the right of the driver seat out of very thin plastic strips painted flat black.  I replaced the decal seat belts with fabric and photoetched ones. The final two extra items were the installation of two front splitter support rods and the addition of the open hood support rod that pivots open and closed.

The final touch was a coat of future floor finish to add a little gloss, but not too much to the paint and to even out the decal finish.  The real car has a little shine, but not excessive.

That’s it.  AL9nZEWAxExuXvbCtKZOXEwU8fXWiMn4oOvHc14pAL9nZEUm7NpYhvZCzexOM4nqG1W19kQCwqV6xAUlAL9nZEX1pn8IVNxy8tzEadaTjjFUgJV1EaXUUraZAL9nZEXtkCRanKwlt3rYfNoNDu35n3LNkC9xaswdAL9nZEWITFo5OAfN_wUlEhQgJ1UGdD6AsTDbKGtnAL9nZEXVhbAa85wq2QS8v7fjWglbVYF32rIt-5m2AL9nZEVlgBp0zE3fSstaMplsyNOM52FcyRkRAkTwAL9nZEXcJMBkgIdnR7xWDqGgrQK2Th1qDlxaZR8Nhere with a couple of older brothersAL9nZEWVXBUlLOaW3-behanpB0h_Wf18emICAyzUAL9nZEU1IE4Zce0tznC8zdsXDL_bIH3TVG3h0U03AL9nZEWVDwDTZs2LGybvOt9RYoaZvnZbkV80uPNyAL9nZEU1FV7lHXKfiyNbDs1erQCDwB6SEZb4I8G4

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2 hours ago, Andrew McD said:

I recently finished a completely box stock version of this model; what you have done simply blows me away!

Thanks, I appreciate the comment as I strive to always reach a new level and do something new that I haven't done before.  Thanks again for seeing what I was attempting to do.

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