Ligier SJ9 Competition Special

Model

Tamiya Ligier F1 Manta Sj9 Competiotion Special, article number 58012 put on sale in 1979 and available on the market until 1989.
Polystyrene and Lexan body
F1CS chassis
This model completely reproduced the body of the 58010- Ligier F1 Manta SJ9. It changes the chassis, wheels, motor and little else.

Analysis of the model to be restored

The purchase includes the original box, which is in fair condition despite the years, there are no tears or cracks in the cardboard; inside there is
– polystyrene body,
– Lexan body,
– complete chassis,
– set of stickers,
– 3 compact catalogues (folded leaflet)
– some spare or unused parts for model construction

Starting from the front going towards the rear, the chassis analysis reveals that:

– the front bumper is intact,
– the steering system is correct with its servo saver,
– electronics and its plate are present and complete,
– side wings are present, but the left one is damaged,
– motor and its gears with rear axle are in order,
– the four wheels are present and
– rear bumper is present, but is deformed.

Starting from the front going towards the rear, analysis of the polystyrene body reveals that

– front wing is intact,
– the driver is present,
– a rear-view mirror is missing,
– the rear part of the body is evidently damaged on the left rear side and
– wing has suffered damage on the same side, a lower fixing plate is missing.

It is evident that the car had an impact at the rear; the two extreme hypotheses are that it was either rear-ended by another model or that a reversing manoeuvre was carried out that failed. All the hypotheses are valid, the damage to the metal wing and the rear polystyrene part remains, damage that in any case also involved the rear bumper; the impact suffered was certainly violent.

Chassis Restoration

The parts that make up the chassis can take two different routes depending on their state of preservation:

– damaged parts are replaced by new or restored parts and
– the parts that are intact undergo the cleaning treatment, which consists of washing all the intact parts with hot water and degreasing kitchen soap; during this phase, help yourself by using a toothbrush to reach the less accessible parts of the zamak casting of the motor holder part and the two steering supports. Run a cycle in the ultrasonic washing machine: metal parts for 25 minutes at 70°C and Teflon or plastic parts for 25 minutes at 40°C. Soak small parts (nuts, bolts, washers and screws) in diesel for a week to remove any residual oxide and rust. Polish the electronics plate, the two servo holder plates and the traction axle with polish or toothpaste

Picture sequence showing the chassis parts before and after restoration:

– left wing is repairable, but there is one intact piece; it is preferable to change it. The plastic of which the side wing and front bumper is made is different from polystyrene; it is stiffer and less workable. Repairing this part does not guarantee a perfect result from a mechanical point of view; even if the part appears intact, it does not offer the same strength.
– let the sponge wheels soak in water for two or three days; water removes dust and makes the sponge more elastic. The front wheels are in the Diplo version, the sponge part is slightly worn, while the rubber part looks new and
– place the rear bumper on a flat surface; this will identify where it has been bent. The bumper in question is evidently crooked, force the bumper back to its original shape with your hands. You can only be satisfied when the bumper resting on a flat surface touches the surface symmetrically in relation to the longitudinal axis.

The frame is bent, when resting on a flat surface not all of the frame is in contact with the surface. The damage is located at the front in the area of the right-hand steering attachment. Place the frame between two wooden planks, clamp the assembly in a vice and tighten the jaws, the pressure involved straightens the frame.
After the operation, remove the frame from the vice and repeat the measuring operation by resting the frame on the flat surface: the frame has been successfully straightened if there are no obvious unevennesses.

Electronics is complete in its parts: steering servo, mechanical speed control servo, mechanical speed control with fuse, receiver, switch and service battery holder.
Clean the various parts to remove the patina of dust, remove the double-sided tape and polish with polish or toothpaste.
Picture sequence showing the electronic parts before and after restoration.

Picture sequence showing chassis assembly:

– assemble the rear transmission system consisting of electric motor, axle, mechanical speed control, gears and wheels,
– install the complete front axle of the steering system and rear transmission system on the chassis,
– assemble the 4 wheels,
– screw the front bumper and side wings to the metal chassis
– assemble the electronics carrier plate with the two servo carrier plates,
– screw the chassis and mechanical speed control to the electronic carrier plate and
– install the rear bumper.

Polystyrene body restoration

Damage to the polystyrene body at the left rear is evident and involves the polystyrene body and rear wing. List of materials required to repair the chassis

– pure acetone,
– acetone and thick ABS solution,
– brush to place acetone and acetone solution and
– wood – metal clips to hold the parts to be repaired in place

The following sequence of pictures shows the procedure for repairing the damage to the left rear:

– disassemble the body parts such as front wing, rear wing, driver…,

– clean the damage above and below the body,
– apply a generous coat of the thick solution,
– reposition the parts so that they resume their initial configuration and
– clamp the body with the wooden clip so that the fracture line fits perfectly. If the two parts do not join correctly, the only solution would be to break the part again and repeat the repair.

One of the two internal black plastic air intakes is missing, the two air intakes are symmetrical; list of materials required to build the air inlet

– pure acetone,
– sheet of ABS 1 millimetre high
– strip 2 millimetres high and 0.4 millimetres thick,
– scissors,
– pencil,
– brush to place acetone and acetone solution and
– wooden – metal clothes pegs to hold the parts to be repaired in place

The following sequence of pictures shows the procedure for constructing the air vent:

– use the available air vent as a sample and mark its outline on the 1 mm thick sheet,
– cut out the shape of the louver base. The air vent seen from the front has a shape similar to a triangle,
– cut the 2 mm high strip so that it is at least as long as the two long sides of the triangle,
– fold the strip so that it replicates the shape of the flat tip of the triangular base,
– apply acetone to fix the strip to the triangular base at the flat tip part; holding it in place, wait 15 minutes for acetone to take effect,
– apply acetone to fix the strip to the triangular base in the part of one of the two long sides; holding it in place, wait 15 minutes for acetone to take effect
– apply acetone to fix the strip to the triangular base in the part of one of the two long sides; holding it in place, wait 15 minutes for acetone to take effect,
– apply acetone to fix the strip to the triangular base in the part of the other long side not yet treated; holding it in place, wait 15 minutes for acetone to take effect and
– cut off the excess parts with scissors or a scalpel.

Once the part is finished, colour both air intakes with XF01 Flat Black

One of the four plates that attach the rear wing to the two side wings is missing, take one of the available plates as a reference; list of materials required to build the wing plate

– pure acetone,
– sheet of ABS 1 millimetre high
– 5 mm diameter cylindrical bar
– scissors,
– iron saw,
– pencil,
– copper wire,
– lighter,
– 400 grit sandpaper and
– brush and acetone solution,

The shape of the plate is unusual and inside it locks the nut that allows the rear wing to be attached to the side wing. To obtain the desired shape, weld the rectangle of the base to a bar with a semi-circular cross-section, The following sequence of images illustrates the procedure for constructing the plate to fix the rear wing:

– use the available plate as a reference,
– cut a rectangle from the ABS sheet with a thickness of 1 mm that has the same dimensions as the base of the plate,
– cut the 5 mm diameter circular section bar to a length equal to the short side of the rectangle,
– machine the portion of the circular cross-section bar with 400 grit sandpaper until a semi-circular cross-section bar is obtained,
– mark the section on the rectangle where the semi-circular cross-section bar is to be welded,

– spread acetone on the rectangle in the part where the semi-circular bar is to be welded,
– place the bar on the rectangular base; holding it in place, wait for the two parts to join,
– work the two wings of the figure obtained with 400 grit paper to give a sloping shape from the semi-circular section,
– heat the copper wire to hollow out the lower base where the nut is to be embedded and
– place a drop of thick solution to partially close the recess obtained, so that the nut is clamped between the plate and the wing.

Once the part is finished, colour with X11 Chrome Silver.

One of the two black plastic wing mirrors is missing, the two wing mirrors are symmetrical; list of materials required to build the wing mirror

– pure acetone,
– sheet of ABS 4 mm high
– 2 millimetre square section bar,
– 400 grit sandpaper,
– hacksaw and
– pencil.

The following sequence of pictures shows the procedure for constructing the mirror shell shape:

– mark the shape of the mirror shell on a 4 mm high ABS strip,
– cut from the 4 mm high ABS strip the rectangle delimiting the marking you have just made,
– cut two strips from the 2 mm square bar, the bars must be as long as the longest side of the rectangle,
– weld the parts (4 mm high rectangle and the two 2 mm square bars) together by applying pure Acetone, thus obtaining a parallelepiped whose dimensions are those of the mirror shell,
– with 400 grit sandpaper, machine the 4 corners of the parallelepiped to replicate the teardrop shape of the mirror shell seen from above, and
– with 400 grit sandpaper, machine the parallelepiped to replicate the semi-circular shape of the mirror shell seen from the side.

List of materials required to build the rear view mirror arm:

– thick ABS and acetone solution,
– square section bar of 2 mm side,
– hacksaw,
– 400 grit sandpaper and
– pencil.

The following sequence of pictures shows the procedure for constructing the rear view mirror arm:

– cut a piece from the 2 millimetre-sided square bar that is as long as the arm,
– with sandpaper, machine the long sides of the bar to make the section 2 x 1 millimetre rectangular,
– with sandpaper, machine the long sides, rounding them off,
– with abrasive paper, machine one of the two short sides to adapt the shape of the arm to that of the shell just constructed, and
– join the parts with thick acetone solution

.

The mirror arm has a thicker section towards the body; list of materials required to build the thicker section:

– pure acetone,
– strip 2 millimetres high and 0.5 millimetres thick,
– scissors,
– brush to place acetone and acetone solution and
– metal clips to hold the parts to be repaired in place

The following sequence of pictures shows the procedure for constructing the mirror arm attachment:

– cut a portion of the strip that is long enough to make a complete circle around the arm,
– bend it with your fingers so that it fits all the way around the base of the arm,
– smear acetone on the arm,
– apply the small strip and
– hold it in place with a metal clothes peg.

After colouring the mirror X1 Black, glue a 1 mm diameter round bar centrally to the base of the arm of both mirrors. This bar serves as a guide for correctly installing the mirrors on the body, which is drilled at the position of the mirrors. The mirror you have just made lacks a reflective surface; from a sheet of aluminium kitchen paper, cut an oval shape replicating that of the mirror with scissors. Using cyanacrylate glue, glue the oval to the mirror.

Test the correct installation of the mirrors and use UV glue to lock them in place.

To finish the body:

– sand the body with 1,000, 1,5000 and 2,000 grit paper,
– apply two coats of fine white primer and two coats of TS10 French Blue paint,
– colour the two black X1 suspension triangles,
– install rear wing, side sockets, wing mirrors, driver and front wing and
– apply the stickers.

Lexan body restoration

The Lexan body is completely missing its rear wing and side supports.
To remove the colour from the Lexan body, the fastest and least environmentally damaging system is to soak the body in 90… 99% denatured ethyl alcohol in the version without added dyes and perfume. Alcohol can be used for several cycles.
The paint is attacked by the alcohol and can be removed with a simple mechanical action using a wooden spatula or paper towels. The friction pulls the paint off the body. Repeat the operation of letting the body soak and the mechanical action until the paint has been completely removed.
Use a wooden toothpick to remove the paint in the corners. The task of removing the paint is quite time-consuming because you have to proceed with several passes and repeat the same operation until the end result is satisfactory. Because of the size of the recipeinte, the front is stripped first and then the rear. The Lexan body will not be coloured at this stage

Restored model

Images showing the finished model.

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