Thursday, September 22, 2016

Honda S800: Finally something finished! (sort of)

A determined push got the S800 completed, except for fixing the clear paint that caused the decal to soften too much on the roof. But given the roof is the last thing to go on the car, and given it looks good as a roadster, I think it's fair to call it 'finished'. Time will tell when I get around to fixing the roof...

The S800 is a lovely little car, with quite decent specifications in a slightly shrunken size: it all is scaled to the 800 cc motor which is a thoroughly modern, water-cooled, aluminum twincam unit. The S600 is similar, with two exceptions. Obviously the motor is smaller at 600 cc, but there is a major difference in the rear axle. On the S800, this is a live unit, mounted on coil springs and well located with trailing arms and a Panhard rod, but in the S600 the differential sits well forward of the axle and drives each rear wheel through an enclosed motorcycle chain box that swings up and down on a coil-over system to provide suspension. A lot of space is taken up by this unusual arrangement, and the unsprung weight must have been a huge percentage of the overall weight of the car, but it obviously reflects Honda's motorcycle background and the company felt safe doing this.

The key item in getting this done was the chrome surround on the windscreen. This always petrifies me as I am afraid I'll get paint all over the place, and usually constitutes a mental block that leads to models sitting, unfinished, for months while I get up the nerve to put paint on glass. This time I tried bare metal foil and it worked well, although from close up it is not perfect. After that, all the fiddly little bits (door handles, wipers, etc.) all went on nice and clean.

Overall a nice kit, with typical Tamiya quality of fit, but with the usual Tamiya decal issues. I think in the future the trick will be to scan the decal sheet to the computer so I can print out a fresh one if I screw up, which I did on the roof. Also having to apply the metal transfer on top of the decal on the trunk lid is a big problem because the sticky backing tape wants to pull the decal off. Finally the decision to mold some bits in black is completely inexplicable. Other than that, there were a couple of minor screw-ups that were my fault and that I won't document here :). One or two are visible in the pictures, bonus points if you can spot them.

Main lesson: Bare metal foil can be a very useful tool. Just be sure to use a new blade in your knife as the instructions point out.

What's next? Maybe I'll tackle one or two of the 'almost done' kits just to clear some space on the workbench. Alternatively, there is the Hasegawa Honda N360 sedan which was probably the first Honda car; here the engine is an aircooled twin driving the front wheels. After that, other little tiddlers beckon: S600, 2CV, R4...

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