The Tamiya Caterham: recycling a model already built

1/12 scale

by Mario Covalski © 2011 Modeler Site

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If you reach for the first time to my articles related to the Tamiya Caterham in 1/12 scale, perhaps you’ll surprise yourself with the model I show you this time, but let me tell you that I’ve been building these kits since the first release in 1994. I’ve built 14 models to date, some of them were sold to collectors, others are in my showcase and a couple waiting to be recycled.

The article is based on showing the reader how a model can be recycled for its use, converting it in a different project from the original.


Some of the models I built


Why to recycle a Caterham

The Tamiya JPE Caterham #10203 has been discontinued since several years, probably Tamiya will reissue it in the future, but if you want to build one now, you should go for it on eBay where you may purchase one for around US$500, a lot of money indeed.

The kit, in my modest opinion, is the best 1/12 that has been offered, regardless of whether you like the car or not. In my case about every two years, I want to build one of these kits with different customization options coming in general from pictures found on the Internet; and the best and cheaper way at this moment, is to have a look at the showcase and see which of the models already built can be improved, if it didn’t reach the expectations when it was built. This is what I and other modelers call recycling.

In the article wrote for Modeler Site in 2004, I showed two models, one with a high level of customization so much so that I ordered a friend of mine a decal to represent the Caterham motorized with MG motor that had been introduced by that time. The second model was just an excuse to show how to build a JPE.




Although this model was well detailed, I made a few mistakes in painting , a couple but with important consequences in its final aspect.. In general, I try to live with the errors that appear during the construction of a model, I don’t get obsessed to the point of redoing the work that took many hours simply because the result was not so good, I enjoy the building and leave the result to be judged later.

Now well, if I was not fully satisfied with the JPE Caterham for the reasons previously exposed and basically because the color and decals were not appropriate for the model, Why not to reuse it again?

What’s amazing about this kit is that there are a lot of parts joined with tiny bolts, most of the body panels are made out of aluminum, suspensions and other fragile parts are from metal with an ABS chassis, almost indestructible for a static model.


The following pictures were taken during the build on 2004



Here I followed the assembly process but starting from the end to the beginning. Removing the body panels, suspension, engine, etc offered no difficulties. I kept in bags the parts I considered would not need to be repainted such as the engine that only a few details would be redone as I decided how the new model would be.

The following images show the different stages of the procedure.


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