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Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid

Tamiya  No. 24349
Molded Colors: White, black, clear, chrome, rubber tires
Scale: 1/24  
MSRP: $53
Pros: Beautifully molded; complete decal set; clear instructions with paint callouts
Cons: Soft door lines along side pods
Masks and decals make finishing the complex Gazoo livery possible without pulling out your hair. The materials are well planned, but make sure you have a sharp pair of scissors.

Remove the raised detail from the steering wheel with a sharp hobby knife before applying the decals.
For the black parts, I recommend Tamiya lacquer because it will dry thinner than the acrylic paint, giving a smoother look. I also applied Tamiya black panel line accent (No. 87131) on some of the parts.
Recent Le Mans cars are somewhat polarizing to many enthusiasts — they don’t have the simple, smooth lines they once did. But form follows function, and with the Toyota TS050 model from Tamiya, we can see how the new hybrid cars are affecting already complex Le Mans body shapes.

The kit includes 146 plastic parts, Mylar mirror transfers, two sheets of decals with more than 100 different elements, and a comprehensive sheet of masks. A curbside model, the TS050 assembles relatively easily despite the aggressive styling with good cockpit and suspension detail and posable front wheels. The challenge comes with masking and painting the signature Gazoo scheme.

Read through the instructions and familiarize yourself with the parts to develop a plan for painting. The instructions include a helpful five-view plan detailing the exterior decals and paint colors.

When removing the delicate mold lines on the body, be aware of the molded paint guides. Take extra care and check the instructions so you don’t accidentally remove the paint guides. The kit has you start by masking and painting the cockpit area of the body.

However, most of the body needs to be painted before assembly, so I went ahead and painted most of the parts with Tamiya white primer (No. 87044) followed by pure white (TS-26).

While the body dried, I prepped and painted the larger chassis and interior parts Tamiya semi-gloss black (TS-29; X-18).

I used the kit masks and additional Tamiya masking tape on the body. The masks provided are not pre-cut, but they are numbered like decals to help place them on the body. I cut out the masks with Tamiya decal scissors, and they fit perfectly; cut along — not inside or outside — the printed line for best results.

Applying the masks may seem tricky, especially on the compound curves. Fortunately, the material is forgiving and the adhesive isn’t particularly aggressive, so you can adjust them before burnishing the masks down.

I decanted Tamiya gloss (TS-14)  and semi-gloss black from the spray cans and airbrushed the appropriate places on the body. The molded paint guides are extremely helpful. Some of the semi-gloss black areas of the interior were painted at the same time (per the instructions).

Do not spray directly from the can over the masked areas to avoid paint bleeding under the masks. I applied the semi-gloss black in several light coats for full coverage and let it dry for 30 minutes. Then I airbrushed two medium wet coats to bring up the gloss and removed the masks.

Painting as much as possible before building the TS050 allowed previously painted parts to dry a little longer, and there weren’t too many different colors. I finished the suspension parts by hand with chrome silver (X-11) and metallic brown (XF-56). The brakes received titanium gold (X-31), and the rotors are metallic gray (XF-56).

The fine detail on the steering wheel can be brush-painted, but I went with the included decals instead. The kit also provides decals to replace some of the raised dash details, which I used for continuity’s sake. The seat harness is also a decal.

Considering the complex shapes, assembly went extremely well. Some joins didn’t need cement, but I glued them anyway, just to be sure. Mostly, I used Tamiya quick-setting thin cement (No. 87182). Superglue made an appearance only occasionally.

The new Tamiya kits have nicely engineered features, such as larger locator tabs that become hidden after assembly. They provide a good place to hold while painting and fit positively, lowering the risk of damaging the surrounding area with glue. Another welcome feature — and something I haven’t seen before — are the holes that allow you to add glue to the inside of a join after fitting the parts together, featured prominently on the TS050 front winglets.

The instructions call for you to apply some decals during assembly. I’m inclined to hold off until the final stages to slide on exterior decals, but I’m glad I followed the instructions because some of them would be difficult to add after it’s all put together. 

In general, the decals fit well and have a smooth, glossy finish. I used a little Tamiya Mark Fit - Strong (No. 87135) on all the decals to get the edges to wrap and conform to the complex curves. A hair dryer helped the decals settle quicker, but it wasn’t required. If you should need to touch up any of the red decals, Tamiya bright red (TS-49) is an almost exact match.

The kit does not include Le Mans World Endurance Championship badges. Instead, there are three white rectangles where the badges would go. 

The tires have special decals for sidewall details. They work a little differently than the rest of the kit decals, so be sure to read the instructions carefully. You’ll get the best results if the tires are mounted to the rims prior to decal application.

I waited to install the roof section until just before final decaling to minimize my chances of damaging it. I used canopy glue even though the roof practically locks in place.

Due to the complexity of the cockpit sides, the door lines along the side pods aren’t as crisp as on the rest of the kit. When I build another, it’ll be an easy fix to scribe them a bit deeper.

I was impressed at how quickly this kit went together considering all the dips and fulsome rises. The part fit is about as precise as anyone could ask. Masking and painting the gloss black is the most challenging part, but the masks prove manageable. While I used an airbrush, I’m sure talented spray-can users could pull it off. I highly recommend this kit, but spray paint and airbrush experience are a must.


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