The 1989 Formula 1 season has always been one that has interested me. The season-long battle between McLaren drivers Ayrton Senna & Alain Prost reached new levels of bitterness and acrimony, and culminated in the pair’s infamous collision at the penultimate race of the year, the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
Having completed my Silverstone 1991 diorama, I have decided to try and capture this moment in a new diorama. I have already bought and started building the two McLaren cars, but I have starte principally with the Alain Prost driver figure.
Having consulted my trusty Denizen miniatures catalogue, and referred to the wealth of reference images online, I decided to go with the Denizen RD6 figure:
This was the best figure I could find. The figure depicts a driver with his gloves held under one arm, while he undoes his helmet strap. Whilst Prost didn’t remove his gloves until he had walked away from the crash scene, I still felt this was the best figure available.
Having been very pleased with the MSM Creations decals I had used on the Senna & Prost figures in the Silverstone diorama, I bought another set of each to use with this project.
Having sourced the figure and the decals, I started by priming the figure with Halfords white primer, before applying a coat of Tamiya red. I then highlighted the raised areas using a drybrushing technique, and using a mixture of Tamiya flat red and Humbrol flat yellow. The shadow areas were brought-out using a darker shade of red made from mixing a little black. More subtle shadowing was achieved using Tamiya smoke, which I have found works wonderfully as a wash.
The next task was to apply the decals. This was fairly straightforward on the back and arms, but I had to carefully cut the chest decals with a scalpel to apply only the areas which would be visible beneath Prost’s crossed arms.
The figure itself was now nearing completion, so it was time to turn to the helmet. I decided with this figure to try my hand at adding a real, hinged visor so bought some visor-less Denizen helmets to replace the one that came with the figure.
The helmet was primed and sprayed white using Halfords spray cans. The face and eyes were then painted using Tamiya acrylics and a Humbrol wash.
Having painted the helmet, it was now time to add the visor. This I did by cutting a piece of clear plastic from a fruit punnet. I then cut the visor shape and curved the plastic by taping it around a paintbrush and leaving it in a glass of boiling water. This caused the plastic to soften and then set in the new curved shape.
I then drilled two very small holes, and secured the visor to the helmet using some tiny rivets from Tameo Kits. These are only 0.45mm wide, and were incredibly fiddly!
With the helmet and visor applied, a coat of Matt varnish was all that was required to finish the figure. I was very pleased with the way it turned out (particularly the visor). Now to finish Prost’s McLaren Honda MP4/5…