While Tamiya has been relatively inactive with new F1 kit releases (Lotus 79 kits excepted), they have been consistently churning out re-issues of older kits, usually with upgrades. The re-issue of the 1974 World Championship winning Texaco McLaren comes in a new McLaren orange box with a simple line drawing of the car, as well as updates such as a photo-etch set, masking template, and seat belts. Other than that, this kit is pretty much unchanged, but IMO there’s not much that needed to be changed.
Over the 30+ years I’ve been building Tamiya F1 cars, I’ve tackled the 1/20 scale 1976 M23 a couple of times, but had never built a 1/12 scale Yardley or Texaco McLaren. The kit is pretty straight forward and easy to build. The biggest complaint about this kit is how the body goes together, leaving a seam at the top of the tub where the upper half meets the lower half. Personally I think a clean build will mitigate the noticeability of the seam, but I can see where some people will find it an annoyance (a friend of mine put his body together before painting to remove the seam, and then built the front suspension into the finished body… here is a photo of the finished suspension (before putting the body together):
And a photo of the finished suspension in place before the upper body is attached:
Decals are made by Cartograph and are first rate… with the exception of the fact that – as usual – tire and tobacco markings are missing. The red is a match for TS49 red. However, I opted not to build the 1974 Texaco car and instead built the 1973 Yardley McLaren driven by Peter Revson to his first Grand Prix win at the British Grand Prix. Revson would score his second – and last – Grand Prix victory in Canada a few races later. Decals for the Yardley conversion are of course Indycals decals.
A modification to the airbox was necessary to do the Yardley car – the 1974 version had a single opening behind the drivers helmet. Using some Milliput, I filled in the center portion to leave two narrow openings – it was a fairly easy conversion, but if that’s not your style there are aftermarket airboxes available for this car.
As usual with Tamiya 1/12 kits, there is lots of wiring and hoses in this kit, but it does lack a throttle cable and could use some more wiring behind the instrument panel. I added some of my own – all of the colored wires in this photo are wires that I added myself:
The engine is the standard Tamiya Cosworth engine – the only added embellishment is the photo etch cover for the engine mounts that goes on the cam covers.
As with most Tamiya kits, you can’t go wrong with this one, whether you do the 1974 Texaco car or the 73 Yardley. For those who wish to do a 1974 Yardley (with the more curved airbox), Tamiya is re-releasing that kit shortly. I would expect similar upgrades to that kit. I will part with a shot of the finished car: