Friday, December 23, 2016

Audi R10 TDi

Prior to completing the Lancia, I decided to tackle the most recent LM car for which I have a model in the stash, the 2006 Audi R10 TDi. I decided to tackle this, rather than the DBR1, not because I am still nervous about resin (although I am), but because it represents one extreme in the Le Mans file: Diesel motor, and the first glimpse of the new generation of aerodynamics. Once that is out of the way, we can get back to classic twin-cam sixes and eights with full racks of Weber carbs.

Mold quality for a Revell DE model is surprisingly poor, with most components having more or less rounded edges where the Tamiya counterpart would have nice crisp edges. This means some assemblies have gaps in them, which could be filled if you were really detail-focused. The oldest LM car for which I have a kit is also from Revell DE (1930 Blower Bentley), so it will be interesting to see if this is a problem there as well.

Paint is Tamiya AS12 Bare Metal Silver, which I am recording here so I won't forget -- I used the last of my stash and will need to find more for the Auto Union, among other things. The kit also asks for matte steel (90%) mixed with flat black (10%) for some body components. Not having an airbrush, I substituted Tamiya TS 42, Light Gun Metal, which seems to reproduce the colors seen in online photos reasonably well. That being said, the color callouts are pretty vague where a part needs different colors.

The level of detail in the engine compartment is rather poor. The turbochargers and exhaust manifolds are well modeled but the connections from the compressor side of the turbocharger to the intercoolers, and from there on to the intake manifold, are missing. The Tamiya 956 detail is still weak but is better than the R10. Next: clean up the paint, add decals, and move to final assembly.

The story behind my getting my hands on the kit bears telling. I came across the Revell kit of the 2009 Audi A4 DTM in a local hobby shop some years ago, and noticed the side of the box mentioned the R10 among other Revell kits available. (I bought the A4, which is still on the shelf, unstarted). Unfortunately, by then the R10 was sold out in local shops, which was a disappointment as few Le Mans cars are being modeled in styrene any more. A handful of specialist resin companies are still producing curbside versions of newer Le Mans cars, but Tamiya and others seem to have moved on.

A while later I was going through Frankfurt on business, with a bit of a layover. My good friend Mr Google identified a couple of stores selling model kits in Frankfurt, and I eventually found the kit of the R10 in the toy section of a large downtown department store, possibly the Galleria Kaufhof. (The hobby store to the east of downtown didn't have it). They only had one R10 kit left, and the box was pretty beaten up, which justified a discount at the cash.

Next step was getting the kit into my carry-on luggage. Those of you who have seen the movie Up In The Air, with George Clooney, will recognize the business traveler who manages to go weeks on the road with only a roll-on bag and a laptop. That was me before retiring ... anyway there was no way I was checking a bag on a European trip with multiple stops, because one screw-up by baggage handlers along the way meant the bag would spend the rest of the trip trying to catch up with me. So needless to say there was no room in my bags for a model kit, especially one in a Revell DE box, which tend to be big. I opened the box and managed to fit all the sprues in my roll-on, jammed in between layers of dirty laundry. The instructions and decal sheet went into my laptop bag. The box itself had to be ditched in a garbage can at the airport. Once I got home, it all went into a large Zip-Loc bag before going on the shelf.

Worth it? Yes, in order to have the Diesel motor and typical aerodynamics of the mid-2000's, even with the vague level of detail. Unlike F1, Le Mans is wonderful in welcoming a wide range of different drivetrains, and recording as many as possible is an ongoing target.

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