Jump to content
Model Cars Magazine Forum

Accurate Miniatures McLaren


Recommended Posts

VERY nice work, and thanks for taking the time to do the write-up, and with great photos to boot!

You got me wanting to try some of these techniques. BTW, I too use the scale shorthand of " 1mm is 1inch"  Close enough for my work!

Would it be much trouble for you to post some links to your sources for the materials you're using?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the compliments.

I have had fun playing with some materials.  One thing I have had fun with is shrink wrap tubing.  It makes great plug wire boots and distributor cap boots.   I found some shrink wrap tubing with a .6 mm inner diameter and a 2:1 shrink ratio.   That means that the minimum inside diameter is .3 mm and the outside diameter goes down to around .5 mm, or 1/2 inch in scale.   You can also stretch the tubing when hot to get it much smaller and thinner.   For motorcycles this stuff is perfect for throttle and brake cables and can be shrunk to the handlebar mounts perfectly.  I usually put a small diameter wire inside so I can bend it and it will stay bent.    A note about shrink wrap.  Most wraps shrink at 200-220 degrees F.   Plastic melts at 300-330 degrees (it will get softer, but not melt at anything lower).   Find a 200 degree heat source and you can shrink the wrap without melting your project.

I have been getting shrink wrap through EC-Buying Technology Co., Ltd in China.   5 meters of .6mm wrap costs 77 cents.  Look on EBay for ".61 mm coax".  There are actually smaller shrink wraps available through medical supply places but it is VERY expensive.

66799267-a8d1-41df-bda6-5818890f3c98_zpsThe wires here were done using shrink wrap.   I like the distributor cap ones.  I never liked the look of a scale distributor where the wires all sprout out of one hole.  The plug boots are two pieces of wrap cut at a 45 degree angle and shrunk over a 90 degree bend in the wire.    If anyone is interested I could do a short tutorial on how I made these in detail.


Miniature coax cable will give me three things.  The outer skin is great for water hoses and radiator hoses.  The braid is great for braided hose, of course, but the inner core wire makes beautiful brake lines and fuel lines (see the fuel lines on the engine pic above).  It is tiny, pretty close to .3 mm (or a scale 1/4 inch).    I usually use a thin wire in the middle of my braided lines so I can bend them as I want and the braid doesn't appear collapsed when it goes around a corner.   I found coax that has an outside diameter at less than one mm and the braid, when removed and stretched gets down around a third of a mm, or 3/8 inch in scale.   I don't have the supplier name right here, I will post it tonight when I get home.   If i remember, 3 meters costs less than 5 dollars.

Hex beads work great.  They are sometimes referred to as "seed beads",   Google "hex seed beads" and you will find them all over.   I got mine from Fusion Beads.  I got 4 sizes, #8, #10, #11, and #15.   The number 15 bead is the smallest and scales out to around 3/4 of an inch.   You can get them in all kinds of colors.  I got them in silver and they look pretty good when painted with Tamiya red and blue clear.   The are sold by weight and for $4.50 you get somewhere around 1300 beads.   I figured it out and a 2 inch braided hose with 4 bead fittings cost about a penny.

I also found a source for wire.  The wire is the same that you get in aftermarket sources.   My source had ten pieces, each ten feet long, in ten different colors for 5 dollars and change.  I ordered three of them so for around $15.00 I got 300 feet of wire in ten colors. 

I will post the link for the coax and plug wire tonight.  It was a U.S. company and their service was great.

Thanks for looking

Edited by JLewis
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the plug wire go to eBay and look for the seller Inventex2012.   It is called 10 X 10 ft 30 AWG wrapping wire.  It is $5.80


the coax came from eBay seller MDFly electronics.  It was called .81 mm coaxial cable.  They are currently out of it but it was $.99 for 3 feet just last week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Time for a do-over.   Trying to replace all the lines and hoses has been frustrating.   The vinyl in the kit is very flexible and when the instructions show gluing one end in step 2 and hooking up the other end in step 10, it is hard to see what lies in the way.   Too often, the kit hoses are bent around stuff that you never would have imagined being in the way.  The other thing is that I am determined to make all of the body panels fit around all of the detail parts and not have to leave stuff off to make the body panels sit down where they are supposed to be.   The instructions actually say to leave certain parts off if you want the body to fit.

So, I had a second incomplete kit and I decided to start over and instead of following the instructions exactly, I would work instead from the ground up so I could add all the detail parts as assemblies so that everything would fit as they should.   First was to attach the bare engine block to the front bulkhead so the belts could go on first.  Then the lower oil lines from the pump to the sump could be added.


The lower oil lines now can tuck in around the belts.


Big deviation from the instructions was to now assemble the engine and bulkhead to the belly pan.   This allows me to add in the oil tanks, overflows, and fuel pump to the pan and plumb the lines from each.  The position  of the oil coolers that are attached to the roll bar can be established so the oil cooler lines can be added in their proper place.   As each additional piece is added, they can be run so they don't interfere with the prior pieces or if necessary, old parts can be moved to make way.   So now I added the oil tank and pump as well as the oil cooler lines and fuel pump.




The lower oil pump lines and return lines can now be put into place as well as the sump lines.


With the lower oil lines in place, I can now move up to the fuel system.   First I cut the material from between the sets of stacks to prepare for some possible throttle linkage.


Next I drilled holes through the manifolds to be able to add throttle linkages.  The jury is still out on how much I am going to try to add here but I wanted to be prepared.


I touched up and cleaned up the manifolds and added them to the engine block.



  The feed and return fuel lines as well the the regulator lines can be run right alongside the intake manifold.   I used both braided and hard lines here as seen in the 1:1 photos.   This is one area that the kit parts are a pain.  The kit lines are so big that they don't want to stay in place and don't like to not interfere with the upper engine cover and the seat back panel.   Hopefully by using more scale sizes and keeping everything nice and neat, I can make everything sit where it is supposed to.


Here is the engine with the lower oil lines in place.  Everything is tucked in close to the engine and bulkhead so hopefully this will aid in making the final fit work.   All the lines shown are added all throughout the kit instructions after exhausts, and rear suspension is added.  Hopefully deviating from the instructions will make everything fit better.


Now with the oil system in place, the engine area is hopefully neat and tidy.   Next comes the exhaust pipes.  These fit so poorly that I drilled and pinned the connections to the engine block.   I'm still not 100% happy with them but i think it is one of those things that only I can see the issue, probably nobody else will see them.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Moving up I can add the plug looms and wires and install the valve covers:


Once the valve covers are in, I can start the top end fuel lines.  First is the pressure and return lines running down the left side of the engine.  These go from the fuel distributor to the fuel pump.


Then the fuel regulator line on the right side of the engine


Now for the fuel injection lines



I built two fuel distributor blocks and routed the lines to them




Last was to build a new magneto top just like the first one I built and install it and run the plug wires to it.  That's it for now.




Thanks for looking.




Edited by JLewis
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It would be easy to make curbside.  You would need to assemble the engine block/transaxle, heads and valve covers as well as the injector stacks since they are so prominent.   You could leave off all the belts. hoses, wires, etc.  The rear suspension builds off the transaxle so you would need to put in the suspension pieces.  It would be interesting to see if you could just glue the axles onto the transaxle and attach the wheels to those.  They are pretty stout so you might find that to be enough.  Anyway, you could leave off 2/3 of the parts if you want to build it closed up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rather a lot of people seem to be under the impression that "Aeroquip" hose is all stainless-braid jacketed. This is actually not the case.

While stainless-braid jacketed hose did become very popular for top-line cars in the 1960s, other types of AN-rated hose were in wide use...and still are.

Black fabric-jacketed hose is one alternative that was used a lot in those days in some applications and still is. For racing applications, the jacket is Nomex, a highly flame and abrasion-resistant aramid fiber introduced in about 1967. There's also a black hose that has a very fine-fabric "rubber" impregnated outer jacket. It's typically seen in fuel-injection lines running from pumps and metering units to nozzles, where abrasion and high temperatures probably won't be encountered.

Frankly, though the stainless-braid seems to be the knee-jerk "racing" hose most often specified for everything, it's not always the BEST hose for the application.

One place it doesn't belong in particular is coolant lines that attach to a radiator. Because the stainless-braid hose in larger diameters is not very flexible, it can lead to metal fatigue fractures and complete failures of coolant tanks it's attached to.

As noted above, most all "restored" cars you'll see today have all stainless-braid, so it's good to look closely at period photos of the cars, as-raced (mentioned above) to get an idea of what is correct for the time period represented by any model.

Another location that you will never see braided stainless hose is when the line is used as a suction, like the hose from the bottom of the dry sump oil tank to the dry sump oil pump on the side of the engine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now is the time to start assembling the rear suspension.  I built up a couple  of shocks to replace the kit ones.   It is really amazing how one part on a sprue, like the beautiful rear half shafts, can be right next to a pair of shocks that look like a third grader made them.   I built the shocks by cutting off the top and bottom of the kit shocks and building a new center section out of tube and styrene.   I wound the strings on an empty drill bit.


B0F359A3-462C-4F33-9499-2793ADD68BD0_zps  I know the colors are different but I have an extra kit to practice with and I didn't like the red ones.

I started building the details for the top of the pontoons.  I got the lines ready and then painted and attached the seat pan and top.   So far, all the lines and hoses are fitting and the bodywork will go on fine.




I couldn't resist doing something different.   When I built this kit probably twenty years ago, I ordered the custom paint to match the McLaren orange.   That was back when you didn't have a computerized store and you actually had to call and order on the hone and write checks.  I remember at the time I ordered the paint and got tired of waiting for it.  I mixed my own paint (which didn't look too bad) and when the custom paint came, i threw it in the paint box.    Well, believe it or not, twenty years later that paint was as good as new and laid down a great paint job.



Not too bad for right out of the airbrush.

Thanks for looking



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

For the color, use Tamiya Camel Yellow lacquer. It's really close. I've got that one in my stash and will be following your build

Are you sure about this color. ?

Seems like all these cars I've seen it look orange to me

I picked up a can of Camel Yellow this week, and its most definitely not orange . I have one of the re-issue Monogram kits on my very short list to do

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Below is a relatively "true" rendition (at least on my monitor) of Tamiya Camel Yellow, shot over white primer. While it tends towards the red end of yellows rather than the blue (I.e. orange vs. green), it is most definitely not McLaren Orange, more like the color of the Ayrton Senna era Camel-sponsored Lotus 99T (after which it's no doubt named).


Edited by Bernard Kron
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I somehow missed your build going on here but I won't be leaving. I really enjoyed reading thru it all and the way you build. I love using found materials in my builds, probably the result of my sewing box raids when young for plug thread.

I have my popcorn now, sitting back to enjoy .. :)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 weeks ago at Petersen....for color ref......



Great work!!!! I built a number of these for AM to use as display and a few went to McLaren HQ. 

NOT an easy build. PS if you ever want one  get them......molds are gone per folks that know. 



Edited by Dave Van
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you sure about this color. ?

Seems like all these cars I've seen it look orange to me

I picked up a can of Camel Yellow this week, and its most definitely not orange . I have one of the re-issue Monogram kits on my very short list to do

Your right. Camel Yellow is for the Lotus T99 F1 car. The orange you need for the McLaren Can-Am or F1 car would be TS-56. Use over white primer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...