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Hasegawa Sauber Mercedes C9

Hasegawa No. 20304
Molded Colors: gray, clear, black
Scale: 1/24
MSRP: $49.99
Pros: Simple construction, easy quick build
Cons: Tooling showing its age, no brake calipers
The Sauber Mercedes C9 dominated the 1989 World Sports Prototype Championship winning all but one race, and finishing 1st and 2nd at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

I had built this kit back when it was first released in 1989, and in this recent reissue nothing has really changed. 

Parts are molded in silver-gray with wheels and brakes in black. Clear parts are adequately thin yet optically quite good and scratch free.

The decal sheet provides markings for the 1st and 2nd place cars from the first race of the season at the infamous Suzuka Circuit in Japan. Dry transfer type tire markings also are included.

Being a simple curbside, the chassis is a pretty basic assembly. Suspension wise,  all there is to add are the rear lower control arms. On the top side there’s a front radiator, and support structure.

At the rear is the support for the C9’s rear wing along with an air jack, rear body support, turbochargers and exhaust pipes. The exhaust pipes are dimpled at the end, but could benefit from deepening the hole.

Brake discs have decent detail but are generic (the same as used in all of Hasegawa’s Group C kits),
are the same size front and rear, and have no calipers whatsoever.

Assembly is straight forward and part fit is generally good. A couple of the parts have the mounting holes going completely through, so if you’re fussy you may want to fill and smooth the bottom after installing.

There really isn’t much to the interior either, just a separate driver’s seat and shift lever. Like their Porsche 962 kit, Hasegawa molded the second “passenger” seat into the interior tub making painting a bit of a pain.

Over time, the body is where the tooling seems to have suffered the most.

My copy had strange sink-like areas on the roof, top of the right fender by the A-pillar, and by the small NACA ducts just behind the doors on either side. I was able to block sand them enough to smooth out the transition so the indents aren’t as noticeable.

I’ve studied pictures and still am unsure if the nose panel (part D1) should have a slight panel seam, or if it should be blended into the body. The fit of this particular part is pretty poor, so blending is probably the best option even if it isn’t completely correct. The side panels (parts C13 and C14) should also have their seams filled and sanded. 

Another area on the C9 where attention will be needed is the main wing element. Out of the box, there are two ejector-pin marks prominently placed on the top surface.

The decals are very thin but covered well with no bleed-through, and responded well to setting solutions where needed. They have more of a satin sheen to them so a clear gloss coat is needed.

The finished model captures the brutish lines of the C9 quite well.

Tamiya’s kit has more detail with a complete engine and suspension but depicts the Le Mans car that ran with a low-downforce setup to minimize aerodynamic drag for maximum top-end speed.

Most other tracks are much shorter so more downforce was important to reduce lap times.

The sprint setup this Hasegawa kit depicts, has the higher downforce configuration with a double-element wing and larger diffuser.


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