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Tamiya Alpine A110


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I have a soft spot for small sports cars with modest sized engines and this one is a particularly pretty example. It was built by Alpine using mostly Renault mechnicals and after Renault boought the company in 1971, they continued to use it as their factory car winning two Monte Carlo rallies and then the inaugural World Rally Championship in 1973, when the old manufacturer's championship was revamped and relaunched.

The kit. I'm pleased the body shell is pre-coloured because 1. I bought the wrong colour paint, and 2. I'm terrible at gloss. The interior will be painted over in the semi-gloss black that should have been metallic blue. The too shiny chrome will remain too shiny and toy like. I'll maybe experiment with stripping and repainting if this build is fun enough to encourage a repeat.

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Instructions are typical Tamiya, so any problemswill be my own. There's a sheet of decals giving options for two of the cars from the 1971  Monte Carlo rally. There's also some chrome stickers just visible in the pic above that are already giving me side eyes.

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I can almost see the bench these days, so a start looks imminent. Allons-y as The Doctor says.

Andy

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12 minutes ago, Col. said:

Hope there's plenty seat adjustment in the team cars...

Well,if they're as tight as Mclaren F1(we did some for them a couple of years ago),we won't get to see if they'll fit cars.

AFAIK,it's spares,tyres,etc,all the junk that follows F1 teams around the races.

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First stage of the instructions done, and I have most of an engine and gearbox. Doesn't look like much, but there's six different paints on there. No plugs or leads though so I don't know how much of it will be on show later. Having fun, that's the main thing :)

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Andy

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So far thisis being very Tamiya - beautiful engineering which is making it a joy to build. That metallic blue plastic is a sod to paint over though, and shows through in photos where it doesn't to the naked eye. Perhaps I should make the rest of this text and you can come round at look at it later?

Anyhoo, the next two stages were to attach the front suspension mount and then add the rear suspension arms, engine, half shafts and rear brakes in about that order. There's lots of semi-gloss black next to matt black which hides a load of lovely detail, so I did a quick aluminium dry brush to highlight what didn't stand out (never mind accuracy, this is art baby) and swapped the matt black for dark grey plus a Nuln Oil wash. I'm happy with the results, and that's what counts, right?

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Amongst my paints I have titanium silver and flat aluminium but not chrome silver so I used a GW metallic for the brake discs and they seem fine with it. See the blue showing through on the end of the Belt Driven Turny Thing? I'll have another daub before the next instalment.

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More later.

Andy

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15 hours ago, TimJ said:

Nice work on the engine. I'll be watching this as I have on in the stash. 

The next stage after my pictures involves fitting the lower rear suspension frames. Two parts fit together then attach to:

1. the rear chassis rails

2. little stubs on the chassis just in front of the suspension with tiny holes to accept equally tiny pins on the frame

3. a pin on the rear top of the wheel mount (DON'T trim this thinking it's a bit of excess sprue, it's really not) and

4. a dangling pin on the top suspension swing arm. That's on each side at the same time :o 😢 

Uncle Tamiya doesn't allow for sloppy fit and wiggle room - every piece of that rear suspension has to be exactly in place or that last frame will be an absolute devil to fit. Lovely feeling once it finally does though and you know everything is square and true.

You can cover a multitude of sins and sticky finger marks with more semi gloss black afterwards so only you will know :D 

Andy

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  • 2 weeks later...

Fitting the front suspension proved much easier than the rear, despite Uncle Tamiya getting all clever and giving you working steering. There is a wheel mount and brake disc for each side that sandwich a rubber grommit (cheese optional). You then mount the shock absorber through a hole in the chassis and add the bottom suspension mount. Before the glue has set, you wiggle it apart very slightly and with much malice and a little swearing get the wheel/brake thingy into position then press everything back together. The wheel mounts pivot on the pins you didn't glue as you were riving it in, and to keep both wheels pointing the same way a tie bar is mounted across the front.

Lots more SGB is then liberally applied to hide all the sticky finger marked and the discs are painted with chrome silver.

Wheels are a push fit into the rubber tyres, and as I didn't apply a barrier that probably means the whole lot will melt into a sticky mess before it makes the gallery. In the meantime, this is where I'm up to. It's starting to look like a really fun soap box cart. Wonder if I can just run some string round for steering, paint a number on and call it done? No? Suit yourselves 😢 

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Cameras eh, dontcha just hate 'em? That chassis is a deep and lustrous black to the naked eye. Looks like I just sat it next to the paint bottle and hoped there. This is a better pic, you can sit back and go 'Oooh!!' at all the clever engineering :)

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More soon. Something about a deadline...

Andy

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2 hours ago, Gorby said:

Shows you how much I know about cars...I didn't realise it had an engine in the bum end.

(I'm assuming that's more likely than rear wheel steering. :smiling:)

It's an unusual layout; VW Beetles (and their Porsche derivatives), Hillman Imps and certain Tatras[1] are the only others that spring instantly to mind[2]

Andy

[1] It explains more about me than you probably wanted to know that this is still in my dream garage: Tatra 603 - a 60s Czech limo with a V8 in the boot and the best ones had three headlights. What's not to love? :D 

[2] Cue three pages of reminiscences from people who had something I've not thought of/never heard of. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I missed a bit, pictorially speaking. Made a bit of a boo boo as well; there is a part of the instructions where you add the wheels and the inner floor pan. Don't do them in that order or you'll wreck at least one wheel mount getting the pan to site right and you won't have the finger room for an easy repair. 

Also, check you've added ALL the parts in each step otherwise you might find yourself (for example) trying to wiggle a bank of carbs into the side of the engine after you've put the parcel shelf in and covered most of said engine. Still, all good fun and I got there in the end.

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Those seats had to come out again to get the inner side pieces on, and they're really not very positively located which is very un-Tamiya. Got everything together though, and wafted another pot or two of SGB about the place. Added some chrome silver trim and 6(!!) decals to the dashboard and sat back to admire. Also visible here peeping coquettishly out from under the parcel shelf are those carbs. Little tinkers 

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Bit more black, couple of chrome bits and it was time to commit. I've got the bodyshell on so no turning back now. Big problem coming though; I've avoided painting anything that should be blue so far as the Tamiya plastic is the right colour and has a much better finish than I could achieve. Trouble is, there is some chrome trim that is moulded on and needs VEEEERY careful painting. There are also a couple of bits on the chrome sprue that need to be blue. Why Uncle Tamiya, WHY???? 😢 

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I'll do me best but don't be surprised if this is the kit that tips me over the edge and it gets finished in pink with a 2" brush :D

Andy

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