1963 marks 50 years since the great Jim Clark and Lotus won 7 of 10 Formula 1 Grand Prix races leading to both the driver's championship and the constructor's title. Oh, and by the way, Clark took second at the Indianapolis 500 that year also. I had the great opportunity to attend that 500, but I was only 2 years old at the time. My mother reminds me to this day that I could name the drivers as they sped past. I'm sure it was something like, skinny green car with yellow stripe is Clark, to a small child, but I remember the old Super 8 home movies my brother and I would watch quite often. Wish we still had them. At any rate, I have always been fascinated by the skinny green car.
When I was looking for a new project, I wanted to do the old Indy kit, but after doing some research, I was reminded how poor the old molding and decals were. I am an old aircraft modeler, and have complete faith in Tamiya quality, so I looked into the background of their Lotus 25. Formula 1, in the '60's, was quite different from today. It seems that car numbers changed from race to race, and the oritentation of the nose numbers varied from track to track. I suppose to make it easier for spotters to log lap times. An internet image search turned up a vintage color pic of the 1963 British GP starting grid, moments from the start. Drivers are adjusting helmets and goggles and smoke is blasting out the exhausts. What caught my eye was the side number on Clark's car. Where there normally would have been a complete white circle with the number, the upper portion of the circle was missing. Clark's teammate, Treavor Taylor in car #5 had just a white number 5 and no circles. Was this a replacement body piece? The next thing I noticed was that the black number 4 was complete above the truncated circle. The contrast is hard to make out with the black against the dark green, but I am certain it is there. The uniqueness of this detail, and the jauntiness of the angled nose number made this the car for me to model.
Construction was very standard, as far as Tamiya kits go. I built up engine components and airbrushed Alclad Aluminum and varied some shades for various components and the interior body parts. One forum I came across recommended using Krylon Hunter Green for the body. I think it matched the darker green of the vintage photo rather well. It isn't as light as the paint on a couple rebuilt cars that are in museums, but I am satisfied. The paint didn't go down quite as smooth as I had hoped and I found I had to lay down about 4 coats of Future to get the gloss up to a level I could live with. The decals went down ok, in the main, but compound curves required relief cuts and some persuasion to settle. I was quite pleased the yellow was thick enough that they weren't see-through. Weathering was minimal, mostly consisting of trying to recreate the burn markings on the exhausts to match the picture. I built up the areas using thinned brass Testors bottle paint there until I was happy. Much of the rest of the kit was painted in Model Masters paints. I also noticed a difference in the color tonality between the yellow stripes on the body and the wheels in the original picture. I used Krylon Yellow for my wheels and think I got the difference pretty close.
All in all, I am rather pleased to have a really nice car in my collection. Please excuse the little bit of incompletely dried glue under the windscreen in the pictures. I couldn't wait any longer to see how close my car got to the original image. I hope you enjoy this old kit as much as I did!
Photos and text © by Scott Rogers