Building the Bandai STP turbine Indy car 1/12 scale
by Mark Laird © Modeler Site
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For years I wanted to build the 1/12 Bandai STP Turbine car. It is very unique piece of Indianapolis history, but the price that they were bringing was just more than I was willing to spend. I was lucky enough to find a complete kit on eBay for 200 US dollars. It was a “Buy it Now”, so I purchased it, and waited for it to arrive.
Editor note: Mark is an old Modelersite's reader and supporter. I discovered his amazing Bandai model at FB and he was so kind to share with us. I really want to thanks him for all their support and nice words he said to me.
The old Bandai kit
Upon its arrival, I opened it up and the first thing I noticed was that the instructions were in Japanese. I started going through the instructions and realized that although this is a big 1/12 scale kit, it lacked detail in many areas. It has no brake calipers, no rotors, no gas or brake pedal, the steering shaft went nowhere, very limited detail to the motor, no detail to the fuel pump, the fuel control unit, no fuel manifolds or external oil lines. It is an all-wheel drive car but has no drive shafts, no differential hookups, no u joints, and the only panel that was removable was the engine cover, so lots of detail work to bring this thing up to a decent 1/12 scale model. Lots of research pics to see what needs to be done, yet so few pics to be found for referencing due to it being over 50 years old.
First things first, I decided I wasn’t going to open the bags until I could do the things to the car I wanted to do. I was lucky enough to have some old rotors from a 1/12 scale lotus 49 that had bought as a parts kit.
I scratch built 4 calipers based on the reference pics I could find of the car.
I also wanted to remove the wheels, so I used the spindles from the Ferrari 641/2 that I had bought from Thunder Valley F1. I had to remove the plastic stud that came on the original rims that were used to support the axle, and then I used the drill bit and counter sink from the spindles kit to open the rims center hole to fit the spindles. The spindles did not just fit directly into the rotors so Evergreen tubing was used to fit into the rotors and then the spindles would fit into the tubing. The knock offs that came with the kit were not big enough to hold the nuts from the spindle kit, so I went to the parts bin and found 4 knockoffs from a Lindberg Fiat kit I had. They were drilled out to fit the nuts, and all I had to do was determine the depth the spindle would have to go into the rotor for it all to work properly.
The oil cooler at the back of the car had slits in the backside, but no opening in the front since it would not be seen if made according to the directions. I cut openings in the front and then added radiator photoetch over the opening to give the flow through appearance. The old Modeler hose fittings were used to go between the oil cooler and the transmission.
The cockpit needed much work. There were no gas or brake pedals, so I scratch built the pedals and structure by which the pedals would be mounted. I could find no reference pics of the pedals, so they are of my design.
The steering shaft supplied with the kit was discarded, and Evergreen styrene rod was used, then I added a U joint from the parts bin as the shaft had to turn, go through the chassis and eventually into the back of the rack and pinion unit. The dash uses gauge faces from old decal sheets and white glue poured over top of the gauges several times to get the appearance of glass over the gauges. The seat had the seat belt impressions removed and seat belts added. The connections to the gauges are either small nuts or little metal pieces from the parts bin.
I thought about my options
1. Remove the plumbing from the top of the chassis
2. Display the model without ever being able to put the body on it
3. Increase the thickness of the body to allow it all to fit.
I chose 3. I took .040 Evergreen card stock and ran it through my paper cutter at about 1/4 in. I then glued these on to the bottom portion (tub) and made three rows for about .120 inches.
This was ground down with the Dremel tool, sanded and then sprayed with primer to see any imperfections. Then I glued the top and bottom sections of the body together at the nose, the rear of the body and in front of the engine, as these sections will remain together as panels. This made the fuel inlet holes at the rear oval instead of round. I tried to add some of the card stock into the holes, it didn't look good, so I looked around for something round that might work. I found some round pens in the house. The rear inlet measure .460, and I found a pen that was .440 around. I cut the pen and added the pieces did some sanding and re-primed to see.
Now on to paint. I used Model Master Enamel Florescent red. This paint is a real pain in the butt to use, it doesn't spray well, covers terribly and you can't get a good glossy surface to save your life. The key is to get the coverage without runs or orange peel. I will shoot it at about 20 PSI. After multiple coats over several days, the paint looked very nice.
I had ordered decals from Indycals, both for the body and the tires. I tried to use the original decals until I realized that there was a spelling error on the decal sheet. It says “Oil Treatwent” instead of Oil Treatment. So I cut up all of the decals from Indycals and installed them using Solvaset to set the decals. It looked good, but it still needed to be clear coated to give it the shine it should have. I used Model Master clear gloss acrylic. Not sure what happened as it was sprayed at about 18 PSI, but it was drying before it ever touched the surface of the model. It also kept clogging the airbrush despite being thinned. Needless to say after two separate spraying sessions, the clear coat looked absolutely terrible. It was very rough, and I had to wet sand for days to bring it back to the point it looked good. But it came out OK, and I then put some Maguires 7 polish on and then a coat of wax.
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