Lotus 99T

Model
Tamiya Lotus Honda 99T, article number 58068 put on sale in 1987 and available on the market untilĀ 1992
Lexan body
Road Wizard chassis

Analysis of the model to be restored
The purchase includes the chassis and body. It is possible to make an initial assessment of the model based on the pictures on the sales site uploaded by the seller to complete the product description., the wheels, the motor and little else.

Starting from the front going to the rear, analysis of the chassis reveals that:
– the front suspension system composed of steering and wing is present, but the condition of the wing needs to be investigated by analysing it closely,
– the lower FRP counter plate is present,
– the lower frame does not appear to be worn, in fact it does not show any particular scratches,
– the system consisting of two clamps to secure the battery is missing,
– the four wheels with black rims are present. The sponge wheels are neither cracked nor worn and
– double-wing rear wing is present.

Starting from the front going towards the rear, the analysis of the Lexan body reveals that
– the two front flaps (highlighted in the picture) are missing and must be screwed onto the front wing,

– the body has no cuts or scratches and is free of colour,
– the body has been cut correctly; at the front it follows the complex contour given by the wing and suspension arms. It is not possible to determine whether this is an original body from the 1980s or a body from the re-reliased code number 84191. However, the cut at the front was made to install the body on the Road Wizard chassis,
– the driver’s helmet is missing,
– the rear Lexan extractor is missing and
– the side bulkheads of the rear wing are colourless while the two flaps of the rear wing have been coloured yellow. The upper flap of the rear wing is decorated with corrected adhesive

Chassis restoration
First of all, the various parts are disassembled; the nuts and bolts that hold the two lower frames together have been secured with threadlocker, but it is not difficult to remove them. The remaining small parts have not been secured using threadlocker, so disassembling the parts is quick.

The chassis is in very good condition, but it is impossible to determine with certainty whether the model has run on the road or not; let us take a look at the individual main parts:
– the lower frame has no scratches; it has a nicked corner in the rear T-part as if it had been filed, but the cut is not regular (see highlighted part in the picture). As per the instruction manual, the lower and upper frames are joined with glue,

– The motor, axle, rear differential system has the two aluminium plates. The original version is plastic and is prone to frequent breakage. The aluminium L-plate and C-plate are well constructed and are very light, I could not find any indication or advertisement of parts or accessories referring to this metal solution. Despite the lack of information on the subject; the two plates have threaded holes, house the two bearings, allow the motor to be installed by adapting the position to the number of teeth of the pinion… it is possible to assess that they have all the characteristics of an accessory sold on the market in the 1980s. This system uses the original aluminium tube to join the two L and C plates.

– The differential and the satellites are black instead of white. This forced a verification of the solution: the satellites have the metal pin, there are two satellites and the number of teeth is the same as the ‘differential gear mediaum set’ version code number SP-1073. Therefore, I was unable to determine whether Tamiya has put two versions of the differential on the market that differ only in colour, but the version installed is identical in every respect to that contained in the set-1073 except for the colour.

– the rear wing has seen better times, the right side is the one that has suffered several impacts and in fact is deformed in the side end in two places. The wing is twisted downwards and the side wing is so worn that it has changed its shape.

The following parts are required for restoration:
– X10131 defined as ‘press part bag’ which includes the two moulded metal plates for the right and left plastic battery clamps, metal rear support for wing, FRP plate for rear suspension (highlighted in blue in the picture) and lower FRP reinforcement plate. The only parts missing are the two metal plates for attaching the battery clamps highlighted in red in the picture,

– 50331 defined as ‘Lotus Front Chassis Set’ complete with front suspension-alternator system and small parts, the suspension-alternator system is too damaged and therefore needs to be replaced

– the two front flaps highlighted in yellow are missing

We begin the restoration work by reconstructing the two missing front flaps; the list of materials required includes Lexan sheet, scissors and a 2 mm diameter metal drill bit. Picture sequence summarising the construction work on the two flaps:
– Fold one edge of the Lexan sheet with the help of a ruler to obtain a straight fold,
– cut out the sheet of Lexan just folded in such a way as to obtain a strip

– comparing the strip of Lexan thus obtained with the wing, cut out the correct width and length dimensions and
– place the flaps obtained in this way on the wing in the position where they are to be installed, with a 2 mm diameter iron point drill the Lexan sheet in such a way as to allow installation of the nut and bolt

All the material required to assemble the frame has been placed on the work table. The frame and FRP reinforcement plate are already glued together. Picture sequence summarising the chassis assembly phase:
– the motor and rear axle support system is a mix of aluminium and plastic parts. The aluminium parts are a non-original aftermarket accessory, however they are of excellent workmanship. Today (2024) finding part B code 0005311 in plastic is practically impossible,
– to assemble the frame with the rear system,

– assemble the upper battery plate complete with attachment for the single shock absorber and then install the sub-system thus obtained on the chassis,
– prepare the front wing system which includes the steering system and the anti-rear suspension,
– install the motor in the rear sub-assembly,

– electronics includes electronic speed controller, servo motor for steering control and receiver,
– installation of the cables on the chassis with the use of plastic ties to secure the cables on the chassis itself, and
– chassis now complete with installation of the 4 wheels.

Lexan body restoration

The rear wing, the two front wing flaps and the body are to be coloured with the PS19 shade of yellow: Camel yellow. First, the parts are masked so that the black colour can be applied. Since the body is made of transparent Lexan, the darker colours are applied first and then the lighter colours are applied. Picture sequence summarising the colour application phase:

– black for the air intakes of the side bellies (2 on each side), if it is not possible to use the black PS5 colour for Lexan you can use the X1 colour. To apply this colour to Lexan, soak a Q-tip in the colour bottle and then wipe the Q-tip over the bodywork. The abundant colour tends to cover the surfaces. To stabilise this colour, which is not intended for Lexan, it is necessary to coat the black with PS19 yellow,
– X11 chrome silver for the belt buckles and roll bar,
– X3 royal blue for the seat belt buckles

– PS19 camel yellow for body
The rear wing had already been coloured, but comparing it with the body it is clear that it is not Camel yellow. Denatured 90… 99% ethyl alcohol in the version with no added colouring agents and no perfume is perfect for removing the yellow paint from the main wing and lower rear wing. After soaking the parts in the alcohol for eight hours, the yellow paint can be removed mechanically using paper towels and Q-tip sticks for the parts that are not easily accessible. When alcohol dries, removing the varnish becomes more complicated; let the two parts soak in alcohol again for an hour and then repeat the mechanical removal operation with the help of kitchen paper. Repeat the cycle of immersion in alcohol and mechanical removal until the paint layer is completely clean

At this point you only need to apply the colour and then assemble the rear spoiler which is ready to receive the stickers. I ordered the stickers from the well-known Canadian website and when they arrive, the difference between the yellow of the front spoiler stickers and the Camel yellow is obvious. There is only one solution to this difference: first coat the front wing with primer and then the Camel colour.

The driver is the Z part that is still available on the market today (2024) under code 0225031. Sequence of pictures summarising the preparation and colour application phase:
– prepare helmet support consisting of thick cardboard sheet and 30 mm long screw where the assembled helmet is to be installed,
– assemble the helmet of parts Z
– apply primer,
– apply the first coat of yellow colour code X8

– finish the contour of the visor and the under-helmet with black colour; colour code X1,
– apply the colour to the skin, eyes and pupils
– apply stickers

Restored model

Images showing the finished model.

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