McLaren Honda MP4/5 – Suzuka 1989

The first update here in a long while… lots of things going on outside model making means there hasn’t been an enormous amount of progress to report on. 

Having finished the Alain Prost figure back at the end of March, I started work on building Prost’s car, the McLaren Honda MP4/5. The successor to the all-conquering MP4/4, the car wasn’t quite as successful as its predecessor, but still carried Alain Prost & Ayrton Senna into a solo duel for the 1989 World Championship. 

Prost & Senna pose alongside the new McLaren Honda MP4/5, prior to the start of the 1989 season

The kit comes from Tameo, and is based on the car as raced at the British Grand Prix. 

Painted body, decals starting to be applied

This is a fairly old example of a kit from Tameo, so there is no photo-etched suspension in this kit, instead being cast from white metal. 

The bodywork wasn’t the cleanest cast, and took a good amount of sanding with a light finishing paper to get an acceptable finish. 

The body, with full decals and panel lines highlighted.

At the same time, I started to work on the diorama base. Having used a completely plastic base on my last project, I decided to try and source a solid wood base for this new diorama. 

I was able to order a custom sized oak base from www.displayplinths.co.uk. To accompany this, I was also able to order a custom acrylic case to match from www.acrylicdisplaycases.co.uk

The oak display base being varnished

Once the slightly fiddly white metal suspension parts were dealt with, the rest of the kit came together nicely, and enabled me to start work on Senna’s sister car. 

Prost’s car nearing completion, Senna’s car just out of the paint shop…
Decaling of the second car now underway…
The Having looked at reference photos from the race, I noticed that the stark white “Goodyear” logos on the tyres were much more subtle on the tyres of the cars after they’d been raced for 46 laps. I dulled these down using the airbrush, and this gave the effect I was looking for. 

I added some seatbelts from Tameo, and minus the onboard camera (which I haven’t painted yet), the car was finished. 

Reference photo of the incident itself
Prost’s car and figure installed on the diorama base, with Nigel Mansell’s Ferrari standing-in for Senna’s McLaren
Prost’s car and figure installed on the diorama base, with Nigel Mansell’s Ferrari standing-in for Senna’s McLaren
Now to build an identical sister car for Ayrton Senna…

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