Let's begin by taking a closer look at all the parts included. This is sprue A, which includes several different components from engine, to chassis and also interior!
Seen above, is sprue B that includes most of the engine and chassis pieces. I must say that the V10 is superbly detailed here! I like that...
Sprue C is the last big sprue part and once again houses various different pieces
The body is simply amazing too. So smooth... with just a very little amount of tiny mold lines to take care of. Rims are gorgeous too, so are the seats. Masking for the windows is there too, while the tiny bags contain the poly caps and little magnets for the rear spoiler
These are the last plastic pieces included together with the tires... which are simply amazing! Rear ones are wider and are very realistic too. Clear sprue is spot on, great!
Finally, you also get this photo-etch sheet attached to the bottom side of the box lid. When I received the kit and was checking the contents, I panicked as I thought this sheet was missing! But then, I turned the box upside down and realized it was attached there!
My plans are to build an LFA Nurburgring Edition, a scaled version of one of the only 50 that exist worldwide! To help me with this, I shall be using the Hobby Design HD03-0140 Detail-Up Set. If you want to see what is exactly included in this set, click here
First thing to do was to start preparing the first batch of parts for primer. During the process, I didn't like the standard trio of exhaust pipes where Tamiya simply instructs to paint the tips in black. This will make them look unrealistic, so instead I cut them off, drilled the necessary holes and replaced them with 3 metal tips (as can be seen above)
Next job were the disc brakes where I followed the instructions of the HD photo-etch leaflet (inset). This instructs to cut off the hubs from the standard discs, install the photo-etch pieces and re-install the hubs. This is what I did, as can be followed above
The original hubs were difficult to cut perfectly clean, so instead of re-using them I decided to make new ones from styrene and glue the photo-etch hub faces to these. I have also used 2 different thickness of styrene since the front and rear hubs on the original disc brakes had different thickness. Seen above is the styrene and two finished hubs
With all the parts cleaned and modifications completed, the first batch of pieces were airbrushed with the automotive 2K primer
First colour airbrushed was semi-gloss black to the parts that need to be finished in aluminium. This is not really necessary, however I feel the aluminium finish gets more realistic with a slightly shining black underneath
Next job was to airbrush the aluminium colour to the same parts and begin masking where required so that the next colours could be airbrushed
Next colour to be airbrushed, was semi-gloss black to all the parts that needed to be finished in this colour. Some parts, like the exhaust, will be airbrushed with more colours
Using the semi-gloss black as a base colour, the pieces in the upper part of the picture above were airbrushed with matt clear, while the bottom ones with 2K clear
With the 2K clear drying, I focused my work on the disc brakes where I took the photo-etch pieces, attached them to the rotary tool and sanded off their surface to make them more realistic. For this, I used a different grades of sand papers and a round file
Then, I airbrushed all four brake calipers in red, followed by masking them to airbrush more colours. The middle photo-etch pieces were airbrushed in a custom mixed dark grey while the discs were slightly airbrushed in black to simulate carbon discs
Picture above shows the layers of masking done to several parts to achieve all the required colours. The suspension items above needed to be in 3 different colours
Finally, all the parts that needed to be finished in chrome were airbrushed with Alclad chrome. All of these pieces were previously airbrushed with 2K clear beneath the chrome
All the engine and gearbox pieces were then assembled and here they are before being attached to the exhaust part
All the exhaust pieces were also airbrushed and connected together. I used the picture seen above (inset) as a reference for colours
The disc brakes were also assembled after all colours were airbrushed and decals applied. They are made up of 4 separate pieces, as shown in the photo-etch manual
At this stage all that remained what to assemble all the engine and drivetrain components together and call it done. Here it is, all finished and ready to attach to the chassis
Then the arches and pedals were assembled in preparation for the next required steps
The chassis was also finished in semi-gloss black, aluminium and chrome
Next job was the interior so I started by cleaning the seats from the transkit. They only required minimal cleaning and I also opened all the upper and lower harness holes
I also started preparing parts from the engine bay and chassis for primer. Some of these required attaching photo-etch parts from the HD sheet. These were a perfect fit
With the second batch of parts all cleaned up, next job was to attach them to the sticks and airbrush some primer. As always, primer is the automotive 2K grey primer
Next, several parts were airbrushed with satin black. For some parts, this will be their final colour, however for others it will serve as a base for further colours to be airbrushed
Some other interior parts were airbrushed with Tamiya XF-63, German Grey
It was then time to start adding the details to each part, beginning with the steering. The 4 pictures above show step by step how I got the finished wheel to look as it is
Pieces above were first masked, then airbrushed in gloss black, titanium and 2K clear
The process of applying carbon decals was then initiated! First, by creating a template from masking tape. Above, templates were made for the seats back and dash fascia
Templates were then attached on the carbon decal, cut to size and applied to the part itself. Above, the seats back and central console can be seen readily covered in carbon decal. One of the seats was masked so that 2K clear can be airbrushed over the decal
Both door cards and dashboard fascia were also covered in carbon decal, just like the real interior on a Nurburgring Edition LFA. Then, all remaining panels were masked with tape and liquid so that 2K clear could be airbrushed to the carbon decals applied
The above and below pictures show the carbon fiber decals covered in 2K clear
Finally, all the carbon pieces were masked so that all the panels could be re-airbrushed in their respective colour once again. This was done since during the application of the carbon decals, some light scratches occurred on the panels so a re-spray was needed
After attaching the dial decal, once dry I applied a UV curing gel to make it more realistic
Next step was to assemble all the dash pieces together and attach it to the interior tub
Then I did the same procedure with the door cards, where I first put together all their pieces and then assembled them to the interior tub
Luggage boot area was covered with black flocking, matching with the interior floor
All that remained was to assemble everything together and call the interior done
Next job was to start working on the body. The upper part of the door and the side vent are glued separately from the body creating a panel line. On seeing pictures of the real Lexus LFA I noticed these are not present so I used Mr.Hobby putty to fill these gaps
Then I began test fitting the HD spoilers beginning from the front. This was perfectly molded however the sides were a little short. So I glued extra pieces of resin to the sides, fixed the spoiler in place and then sanded these down to get them in line with the bumper
Putty from inside was also added to get the shape perfectly around the front bumper
Next spoiler was the rear one! This was first cleaned from excess pieces of resin then fitted on top of the original fixed spoiler. This was measured and then drilled accordingly
Image above shows both spoilers attached to the LFA body and it's already looking great!
After airbrushing primer to the original front splitter, I realized that this would make contact with the front spoiler from HD. So I modified both items by cutting pieces off to avoid this
With that sorted, I continued airbrushing the 2K primer to all the pieces including the body
Black was next and here the parts were airbrushed some in satin while others in matt black
These are all the parts that will have to be covered with carbon fiber decal to make the LFA as realistic as possible. I shall be using Hobby Design cf decal to achieve this
All the parts were covered with Hobby Design carbon decal and then airbrushed with 2K clear, achieving the shine seen on the images above and below!
The wheels were airbrushed in a custom combination of chrome and smoke paint followed by several layers of 2K clear
Original Tires were slightly sanded down to remove mold mark and become more realistic
Image before shows the process of attaching the Hobby Design metal air valves while image above shows the finished wheels wrapped around the original Tamiya LFA kit tires
Next job was the body colour and this is what I chose: original Lexus 9K5 Orange
This Orange is an automotive paint that requires hardener. It dries gloss and hard right away. You can skip clear coating, however I still prefer the clear coat for a deeper finish
Some dust fell into the paint while drying and surface also had some orange peel, so I decided to lightly sand the surface with 2000-grit paper in preparation for the clear coat
With all the dirt and orange peel removed, the body was washed well with soapy water
All that remained was to airbrush the final layers using Kapci 2K automotive clear coat
Once the 2K clear was full cured, it was lightly sanded using 2500-grit paper and soapy water to remove all traces of orange peel from the surface
Finally, here's the shine achieved after the polishing stage. Something I'm very happy with!
Next job is to airbrush the last bits and pieces and start the final assembly, so keep watching for more updates on the Lexus LFA.