A note from the Author
Hello fellow model makers! I’m John and, although I’m no expert at all – just a car enthusiast and keen model maker – but I always strive to improve and achieve the best results I can. I’ve built models from being a youngster – competition/sports cars of the 60’s/70’s are my number 1 ‘thing’ – and now I’m fully retired I can put the extra hours into this wonderful hobby.
Name – AOSHIMA 1/24 MG MGB 1968 MODEL KIT
Number – 06126
Scale – 1/24
Price – £31.95
Availability – Buy yours here! at jadlamracingmodels.com
Hello fellow model makers.
I have only built one Aoshima kit before – a 1/24 Brian James racing trailer/transporter! – and I remember it to be a neat, high quality kit. When I got the chance to build this newly-to-be-released rally version of the MGB I was really keen to get started. I hoped it would be at least as good quality as the previous kit – I wasn’t to be disappointed!
So, here we have a 1/24 model of an MGB rally car from the mid 60’s. What a classic! It’s boxed as a ’66 – but I think the best way to think of this is a ‘generic’ works rally MGB from that era. The car I’m basing my model on is car 83, driven the Morley brothers in the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally (finishing first in class, 17th overall). My plan was to build this ‘out of the box’ – without adding any extra detail-up parts – and try to recreate the 1964 car, within the limits of what’s provided in the box. As you will see in the build report, the kit does contain ‘extra’/alternative parts for you to do your own thing – to a certain extent. I’ll mention those in the build notes. This is a ‘kerbside’ kit – ie there is no opening bonnet (or boot) and no engine detail. From the underside the lower part of the engine/gearbox is superbly moulded in the same section as the floorpan – but don’t be put off by this being a kerbside kit – the detail of the interior and all the external body parts is absolutely superb.
All painting is done in my build with Tamiya Lacquer paints. I use a decent quality CA adhesive for all my building (eg Zap-a-Gap medium).
I’ve included quite a bit of painting detail in the review – but I hope it’s not got too wordy. It is designed to help less experienced model builders in how to achieve a good paint finish. I think for a model of this type an airbrush set up (together with appropriate fume management) is essential. There’s a lot of detail work and masking involved.
And just a safety note – I use (and it’s shown in photos) traditional scalpels. As with all blades and sharp tools these should only be used by Adults – be careful.
Ok – time to get started!
What’s in the box?
We have a nicely packaged kit – great box artwork and a couple of photos of a completed model. The instruction booklet is fairly basic compared with some of the other big manufacturers – but it’s perfectly adequate with clear sequential steps, paint suggestions, decal placement etc.
There are 5 mains sprues, 4 small sprues, body shell and chassis, tyres, decal sheet, a few photo etches for the badging and some window masks. Immediately it’s obvious that this is a high quality kit – the plastic is very clean and a quick glance over the parts shows there to be very little (if any) flash or imperfections.
Preparing and painting the body
Although the instructions in this case (and nearly always) start with the chassis/suspension etc, I often like to get the paintwork started straight away. In this way it gives the paint time to harden properly and, bearing in mind that the painting goes through several stages before we get to the final finish, there is then plenty of time between stages without being tempted to rush if it was left until the end.
The first thing to note is that the body shell moulding is almost completely free of any moulding marks. There is absolutely no flash on the edges. So, the first prep stage was quite quick.
I marked the very small areas at the front and rear with marker pen and lightly sanded down the tiny mould ‘ridges’. 2 minutes and it’s done.
Fantastic. Then it was time to give the body shell (and the floor pan/chassis) a pre-paint clean up. I’ve recently been using this Zero brand Key and Clean paste and pad – it does a great job very quickly and removes any grease etc and also keys the plastic with it’s light abrasive property. There are lots of alternatives to this – both proprietary and household. When all done, rinsed and dried, it’s time for the basic red paint.
I used Tamiya LP 7 Pure Red – I considered a few alternatives , but this seemed a pretty good red for this particular car – and of course, being Tamiya LP, it’s a dream to use. I always think with paint that the first criterion should be ‘how confident I am of getting a really good finish?’ rather than going for a more accurate (whatever this actually means when colour matching to a 50 year old car paint) colour in an alternative paint.
So, spray booth and filter all vacuumed out, all cleaned down, airbrush thoroughly clean and tested, paint thinned down and tested. I use the plastic spoon back ‘method’ all the time. I use it to test coverage, paint thickness etc always. I use approx 70% paint : 30% Tamiya Retarder Thinners to get the right consistency for my airbrush. I tend to use the same settings (about 25psi) and either a 0.15 or 0.4mm needle, depending on the coverage needed – a touch more dilution for the smaller needle. This is where the ‘spoon spray testing’ is very valuable. But adjust the mixture to suit your airbrush.
I built up a good even coverage and used sufficient coats to allow me to do fine sanding to get the finish free of imperfections without cutting through. In a later stage I did cut through on a few raised areas/edges, but it was no problem to blow in some more paint with the fine needle.
The body could be now put to one side for thorough drying.
I moved onto the floor pan chassis. Again this was completely ‘clean’ no flash, no dodgy edges – just perfect moulding with very fine, crisp detail. The underside was done in LP3 Flat Black, with the engine/gearbox picked out in LP5 SemiGloss Black using a fine airbrush setting. A very quick job.
3) Suspension, running gear
Again (this is the theme throughout the whole build!) the parts off the sprue were perfectly clean and, I don’t know how they do it, but the parts cut off the sprue very, very cleanly – so there is little trimming or sanding needed to be done. The plastic seems just perfect – not too hard/too soft. Where parts have small detail again it’s very clean and crisp. Fantastic. Some part were assembled and then painted; some painted and then assembled. I used my airbrush throughout, using a very fine, light spray. I could have brush painted, but I always find that using a light airbrush setting preserves fine detail much better. And this Lacquer Paint dries so quickly.
This is where there is a lot of detail in this kit – and where the bulk of the time was put in. The main part of the interior ‘tub’ floor and the side panels were airbrushed with LP60 Nato Grey. When dry, these were masked off to pick out some detail on the door cills and side panels with LP5 Semi Gloss Black. The effect is subtle, but noticeable and worth doing. For masking, my go-to tape is MT Washi tape (IMO better than Tamiya even!) and use a new blade specifically for masking tape cutting – it has to be ‘as-new’ sharp to avoid any drag.
The steering wheel next. The parts are beautifully moulded but, just to add a little bit of extra detail, I drilled out the holes in the steering wheel spokes. Obviously not necessary to do this but I thought it might add a bit. Using masking and airbrushing I painted the rim and spokes – and then added some Molotow Chrome from a marker pen to the central boss. What fab stuff this is! Instant shiny chrome!
This deserves its own section. Absolutely brilliant detail. Beautiful cleanly moulded dash meant it was easy to pick out detail (like the bezels on the instruments, switches, rivets etc). Basically the dash was airbrushed in Flat Black; the chrome edges, rims, switches picked out in Molotow Chrome ( this time I used a sharp wooden cocktail stick to transfer tiny amounts of the chrome paint to the parts on the dash – a bit a time and it worked really well because of the sharpness of the detail on the moulding); then the decals added. Really excellent quality decals – pin sharp, legible detail on the clocks and no wide overlapping edges to deal with. The steering wheel/column assembly was then added. I had previously tested the dash assembly for fit on the tub – but, guess what? – it fitted perfectly.
6) Interior trim
Very straightforward here – seats done in flat black; door panels had their handles, etc fitted straight off the chrome sprue. The rivet details were picked out with the Molotow Chrome ‘cocktail stick method’. I assembled the roll cage (3 parts) and sprayed it in LP67 Gloss Aluminium which seemed to give the period correct look.
Next I had some fun with the seat belts! The kit comes with decal seat belts – one Willens (blue) and one Sabelt (red). One of the few omissions in the instructions – no mention of seatbelts! No worries tough. I didn’t like the idea of using decal belts applied to the seats (in any case , how would I fix them unsupported to the rear bulkhead?). And of course I’m not using any detail-up parts either. So – I had routinely made some photocopies of the decal sheets ( I always do it as a ‘back up’) – so I experimented with some paper cut outs from the photocopies. I made a better quality scanned image of the decals and printed it out on some ‘fibrous’ paper I found. I used the highest quality printer setting and reproduced the seat belts on this thicker, fibrous paper. I cut them out with sharp scalpel, tweaked them a bit, bent them to shape and glued them in. All a bit fiddly but it worked (in my mind) quite well – certainly a lot better than decals and sticking with my ‘no detail up parts’ rule. And at no expense!. I was in two minds whether to use Sabelts on both seats or Willens. In the end, as the kit supplied one of each, I fitted one of each. But of course the choice is down to the builder…..
When I was happy with the belts, the other bits and pieces in the interior were added (handbrake, ashtray etc) and the side panels were glued in.
By this point all the suspension sub-assemblies had been built, the exhaust painted, etc – so it was assembly time. I’ll say it again – every single component was perfectly moulded and everything fitted perfectly in the exact place it was intended. Absolutely no modifications, filing, messing about. Fantastic. The exhaust was fitted first ( it had a bit of burnt metal weathering with Tamiya weathering powder set, although it’s not too obvious on these photos; and I drilled out/enlarged the hole in the end of the exhaust – it looks a bit unrealistic in thick plastic). Then on went the front and rear suspension units. Again, absolutely perfect fit.
The wheels – well, in the box there are 2 sets of wheels – a set of wire wheels and a set of ‘Minilite’ mag alloys – very cool and so 60’s BMC (Mini Cooper S’s and the like). The instructions go with the Minilite style – but it became obvious at this point that there were several other parts in the box that presumably are part of the ‘non-rally’ MGB version – like a soft top, folded soft top, non-spotlight bumper etc. And wire wheels. Anyway , I de-chromed the Minilite wheels (the finish was really good, but the colour and shine were not right) and sprayed them in Gloss Aluminium – this seemed the right finish to me. But I later decided to prepare the wire wheels as well. I kept the ready chromed kit finish and gave them a black wash (just thinners and black paint, very thin) to pick out the spokes. Interestingly, the only photos I have of car 83 on the ’64 Monte has wire wheels! So, who knows? I’ll probably go with the Minilites (I’m old enough to have been a rally enthusiast in the day when Minilites were ‘cutting edge’ rally gear!). But I’ll photograph the car with both sets – just for fun!
And just a word or two on the tyres – they are a absolutely superb – probably the best I have ever come across in a kit. Absolutely no flash/moulding lines/ anything on the tread or side walls – and they are so clean and crisp with the tread and sidewall detailing. For the first time I can remember with model car tyres, there was absolutely nothing to do other than slide them on to the wheels. Fantastic!
So, we now have a built up chassis/floorpan, wheels and interior compartment/tub. Ready to fit. I have been testing fit all along, and at every stage everything fits spot-on.
Back to the bodywork
8) Bodywork final stages.
By this time the main body has been painted, lightly sanded and buffed. The actual finish at this stage was really good – level paint, no imperfections to speak of and what I would call a ‘period correct’ shine. In my mind high gloss finishes don’t look right on classic cars, especially rally cars. However, we have decals to think about – so a final clear coat is going to have to happen. Always a big moment – you get a really good finish and then you know you are going to give it another coat. Always a little unpredictable. However……
Decals applied. Really high quality decals in every way. And lots of them. My version of the car has only a few, but there is lots of scope to add decals anywhere and everywhere. Checking photos of the original car, we only have rally plates, door numbers, number plates and a couple of minor decals. No problem applying decals ( I use MicroSet, but no need for MicroSol here as all the decals are flat onto the bodywork).. Decals were allowed to thoroughly dry and then it was time for Clear Coat LP9. I’ve used it lots of times and never really had a problem. The Clear Coat was thinned down again with Retarder Thinners (about 70% lacquer : 30% Thinners), tested with the fine needle airbrush set up using pre-painted plastic spoon backs from the earlier paint testing and off we went. Spray booth and everything all cleaned out and dust free. On to the stand and all done within 5 minutes and no problems. This LP Clear Coat stays wet long enough for it to level out nicely but then dries really quickly, so the chances of dust settling becomes less of a problem. It all seems good – a bit glossier than I could with, but maybe a final buff will just take the edge of it (seems strange to hope that buffing actually flattens it a bit!). If space permits I often place an ultra-clean plastic box inverted over the model as the paint is drying, just to keep dust off. This has been more important to me when I’ve used slower drying paints/lacquers – but always handy. But be careful – don’t disturb anything!
The roof has to be be prepared and painted and detailed. A bit of a new situation for me, in that the roof, side and rear window are all in one moulded clear plastic part. So there was a bit of head scratching in the masking/painting sequence to end up with the roof white, the rear window seal black, the side window frames metal finish – and of course preserving the clear window glass. The kit comes with window masks, but I didn’t use them – the rear window one was the wrong shape anyway (I think it must go with the extra soft top roof that is in the box). In a nutshell, I masked off the rear window completely, with a slight overlap on the window seal moulding. The side windows/frames were also masked off. Then the roof was carefully Key and Cleaned – this was essential, because the no way would the paint stick to the glossy clear acrylic/plastic roof. Tricky – because there was a risk of damaging the surface of the windows (inside and out). Anyway, it was done and dried off. LP39 Racing White was airbrushed on (in the same way as the main body shell). When thoroughly dry, the roof was masked off and the rear window seal was masked and the previous tape re-cut to expose just the rubber window seal moulding, which was then painted Flat Black, with a very fine and light air brush setting. Masking tape removed – and as I suspected there was bit of paint lift near the edges of the seal – the areas where I couldn’t get to with Key and Clean. But it wasn’t too bad and I could retouch it by hand.
As for the side windows – these are quite complicated/detailed frame mouldings that had to be given a metal effect – somewhere in between shiny chrome (so no Molotow here) and airbrushed paint. So I decided to use my trusty Bare Metal Foil – when it works it’s fab but it can easily look a mess too. I’m relatively happy with the final result. It was a bit fiddly, but it is at least actual metal!
The front screen was more straightforward – another superbly formed piece of clear plastic – but it still involved some masking and painting for the lower rubber seal in Flat Black. This got the Bare Metal Foil Treatment as well. A bit easier than the rear windows.
We now have all the major parts done and ready to fit. It’s essential that the Clear Coat is fully hardened – it’s going to be buffed, BMF applied for the chrome strips down the side, bumpers, lights and all the other bits and pieces glues on too.
So far I’m happy! Very happy.
9) Trimming the bodywork
Moving into the final stages now. The first job here was to do the chrome strips which run down both sides of the car. My options were to mask off the body and apply chrome/silver paint – or to use Bare Metal Foil. I opted for the latter on the basis that if it works well it looks great – and, if any strip doesn’t go to plan then I can redo it. Painting the lines always gives the possibility for paint bleeding etc. So, I’ll just describe briefly how I did this. These chrome strips are straight, so that makes the job much easier. I start by accurately masking each side of the raised body moulding strip. Then, using a new blade, cut a strip of the BMF and lift it gently with forceps and rest it down the body mould – an overlap of a few mm each side is enough (but I make sure that there is enough of an overlap to be able to lift the excess away). If it creases any where I start again. Then gentle pressure with a cotton bud to smooth it down, a bit of smoothing down the edges, and then I use the pointed end of a plastic dental flossing stick to gently tuck the foil tight down the edges of the strip.I find these flossing ‘sticks’ to be really handy – you ave a rounded, flexible point that doesn’t dig in – close to the properties of finger nail in my view. The, it’s rest the new blade on the edge of the strip to be cut, using only the weight of the scalpel handle as I gently guide it don the cutting line. The masking tape edge acts as a ‘second guide’ for the blade. Then it’s lift the excess BMF away very gently, remove the tape and burnish the BMF down with a cotton bud. Job done! It’s relatively easy to correct any errors – but best not to fully burnish until I’m happy with the finish. It sticks down very well and can be a bit of a pain to remove.
10) Final assembly
I next assembled the interior tub to the chassis and checked the fit to the body. All was good – in fact such was the excellent fit of chassis to body that adhesive wasn’t needed at all.
Then it’s on to fitting all the body bits and pieces, all of which have been prepared and tested for fit before the glue comes out. Like for the whole of the build, I use CA adhesive – and for the small body fittings it’s tiny drops of CA transferred with a mounted needle. I try to keep the adhesive well away from the model and constantly check (from previous bad experiences) that I’ve not picked up any glue on my fingers.
I always find the little final parts (wipers especially) to be a fiddle because often the shape/fit isn’t quite right. On this kit they were pretty good though, I must say. I have deliberately not fitted the door mirrors yet – they will go on at some point, but they are supplied in a white plastic and I want to chrome them and give them plenty of time to harden before I start handling them. I can add an updated photo later.
There were a couple of beautifully produced photo etched MG badges – one for the boot lid and one for the front grille to add as well. I confess to having lost the ‘MGB’ logo for the boot – it was incredibly tiny – it pinged off my forceps never to be seen again. There is a decal alternative if I choose to fit it.
A little bit of tweaking here and there (tiny bits of paintwork on corners touched in with a very fine brush) and it’s job done.
And, just to say here, the kit comes with some duplicate/alternative parts which I think must be for the non-rally version of the same car. So we have wire wheels (absolutely beautifully produced), a soft top, seats and a few other bits. I decided to show the finished model with the wire wheels as an alternative to the Minilite alloys – in fact., the ’64 Monte Carlo car did run with wire wheels at least on some of the stages. But. for me I chose to go with the Minilites for the final model presentation.
I’ve kept the roof unglued so that lovely interior detail can be seen easily.
I really do like the finished model!
And just a final note – I mentioned earlier that I had built an Aoshima Brian James Car Trailer and I couldn’t resist trying it out for size and adding a couple of photos!
Here she is:
The verdict on this kit
20 hours – much of which dedicated to painting. I did take my time with detail of the interior.
An airbrush set up (including fume extraction/management) is essential to get the quality of paint finish. Other than that, it’s the usual modelling equipment. I prefer to use traditional Swann Morton scalpels and blades – especially for the Metal Foil and masking tape cutting – but be aware of the safety/handling advice that comes with all sharp blades! Good quality masking tape is always worth it. Tamiya Lacquer Paints are my first choice for all model painting – I now only occasionally use an alternative if there is a specific colour matching issue or a special finish.
Kit specific advice
No words of warning or specific advice here – I found this model to be a dream to build. Anyone with any modelling experience will have no problems at all assembling this kit. Everything fits perfectly and there is virtually no trimming or adjustment of parts. And then it’s all down to paintwork – which of course applies to any model!
What we’ve taken away from this build
I mentioned in the intro that I had previously built only one Aoshima model and that I was hoping that this kit was at least the same high quality. But, wow! This is one of the best quality kits I’ve ever made. I’ve mentioned throughout – all the parts fit perfectly; they come away from the sprue very cleanly; there is no, and I mean no, flash to remove; moulding lines are very fine – on the body they were pretty much non existent; the detailing on the parts is accurate, clean and crisp; the decals are top quality……. I’m clearly very impressed. If this is the standard of current Aoshima models I’m sure I’ll be building some more!
Highly recommended – especially if you are an MGB or Classic Rally fan! And I’m guessing that the other two MGB’s (a ’68 and a ’74) in the Aoshima range will be just the same quality.