Cheetah Lamborghini

Model
Tamiya LAMBORGHINI CHEETAH article number 58007 released for sale in 1978 and available until 1983
Polystyrene body
Chassis XR311

Analysis of the model to be restored
Starting from the front going towards the rear, the body analysis reveals that

– the two pillars in the centre of the passenger compartment that in reality serve to install the doors are missing,
– the yellow and red side colouring are not the original ones,
– the driver’s – passenger’s rear-view mirror is missing and
– the shovel and pick installed together with the canisters on the rear is missing.
The body is complete with driver, front lights, rear lights, winch, roof.

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

– the rear torsion bars are broken; the chassis is visibly bent towards the rear,
– the mechanical speed controller is not by Tamiya; it is a Kyosho manufacture,
– the left battery or receiver holder has been clumsily bent into an L shape

The chassis is complete with original front bumper, lower transparent bumper guard, motor, rims and the wheels with rims appear to be in good condition.

Chassis Restoration
Picture sequence summarising rubber wheel restoration work:

– Rinse the tyres in warm water with a little degreasing dishwashing soap and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Remove as much dirt as possible and try to avoid increasing the size of the cuts,
– soak the gums completely inside a container containing 99.5 % pure glycerine for 7 days,
– leave the gums lying on a paper towel for 7 days, every day change the paper towel and turn the gums so that the glycerine emulsifies more easily,
– clean residual glycerine daily with a paper towel for 7 days until the gums are completely dry.

Picture sequence showing the disassembled chassis in its main parts:

– rims showing no damage,
– front and rear suspension arms,
– steering and traction system,
– metal parts of the chassis,
– rear gearbox shell,
– black front bumper and
– transparent lower bumper

The parts in the photographs were washed with hot water and degreasing kitchen soap to remove dust, grease and dirt.
Treat small parts consisting of screws, bolts and nuts with a diesel bath for seven days to dissolve oxidation, rust and various dirt.
Picture sequence showing how to repair the battery-receiver plate that has been bent into an L shape:

– image shows what the part looks like brand new,
– dotted line shows where the plate has been bent,
– insert the plate between two wooden boards,
– place the system formed by the plate and wooden planks between the jaws of a vice,
– gently tighten the jaws until the workpiece returns to its original shape and
– lift the two tongues to lock elastic.

Sequence of pictures showing how to restore the front bumper plate, the factory plate is black; in this case the many knocks have removed the colour in some parts of the plate:

– remove the residual colour by soaking the part in 90% pure denatured ethyl alcohol or more; alcohol free of flavours or pink dyes, pure alcohol up to 99% can be found on the market,
– apply fine white primer and
– apply two coats of black matt TS14 black gloss.

Picture sequence showing how to assemble:

– central body of the chassis,
– front assembly comprising steering and suspension, and
– rear assembly comprising gearbox and suspension.

Picture sequence showing how to assemble:

– the rear assembly complete with motor to the central body of the chassis,
– the front assembly to the central body of the chassis,
– installation of the transparent lower bumper that has been polished with polish,
– installation of the front bumper and
– installation of the steering servo, the mechanical speed control servo, the receiver and the batteries for electronics. The mechanical speed control was replaced with spare part number SP-5054.

Body restoration
Dismantle the body; unscrew all the small parts and separate the parts that are glued together. To separate the glued parts, proceed with a mechanical action by levering with a wooden stick; proceed piece by piece then detach all the parts.
There are four defects that were not visible at the time of purchase:

– breakage of the roll bar from the rear body on the passenger side,
– improper machining of the lower body to cut out a centre section,
– breakage of the rear part of the upper body and
– a piece of the side roof curtain is missing.

Start the restoration with the following preliminary operations:

– the lower body is to be replaced with an intact one; repairing the modified part is very complex,
– the small parts must be treated with a seven-day diesel bath to remove all traces of oxide and rust,
– remove the yellow and red paint using a cotton bud soaked in at least 90% pure ethyl alcohol. Apply a circular motion on the paint, exerting some pressure on the paint, after several passes the paint starts to come off. Replace the cotton flock every time it becomes too coloured or breaks,
– when separating the upper and lower body, a part of the upper body has been damaged and is stuck to the lower part, and
– with a box cutter or scalpel apply a mechanical wave action from right to left and vice versa along the white line. This better defines the step by removing any glue residue.

Picture sequence showing how to repair the two cracks in the roll bar and rear bumper of the upper body:

– apply the thick solution of acetone and ABS to the parts to be joined,
– secure the two parts with a wooden or metal clip, – wait 6 hours or until the solution is completely solid and
– treat the two parts with 800, 1,200 and 1,500 grit sandpaper.

Sequence of pictures showing how to repair the roof curtain:

– cut two strips from a 1 mm thick sheet to replicate the missing part, use the intact part of the roof as a template,
– check the correct installation with the tooth on the roof, – position the two parts on the roof,
– apply acetone with a brush to the dotted seam line,
– wait 1 hour for acetone to set,
– very carefully move the new part and apply the less dense solution of acetone and ABS to consolidate the two parts better,
– apply colour XF57 Buff and
– glue the built-up part to the roof using the less dense solution of acetone and ABS.

Sequence of pictures showing how to repair the small damage that was created in the upper body during the activity to separate the lower part from the upper part:

– cut out a piece from a sheet of ABS that replicates the missing part; use the frame itself as a template,
– check that it fits together perfectly, – apply pure acetone to join the body to the repair,
– wait 1 hour,
– apply the less dense solution of acetone and ABS,
– wait 8 hours or until the solution is completely solid,
– use 800, 1,000 and 1,500 grit sandpaper to remove any difference between body and part and
– apply colour TS46 Light Sand to the repaired parts that are this part and the fracture between the roll bar and the body.

Sequence of pictures showing how to apply colour to the lower body and complete the accessories:

– apply the fine light grey primer,
– apply base colour TS46 Light Sand, – mask the passenger compartment,
– apply colour XF63 German grey,
– mask and finish fire extinguisher by applying  X7 red to the body – X11 grey to the nozzle and
– glue the first-aid kit with acetone.

Picture sequence showing how to repair the rear bumper, in separating it from the lower body one of the two supports has broken off

– take measurements from the piece to be rebuilt
– cut a piece from a 2 mm thick sheet that has the measurements of the black line in the photo, – sandpaper the sides until the right shape is obtained,
– apply a drop of the thickest solution of acetone and ABS,
– wait 6 hours or until the solution is completely solid,
– if necessary finish the parts with 1,000 grit sandpaper,
– apply colour TS46 light sand and
– try installation, if everything fits together join the two parts using pure acetone.

Sequence of pictures showing how to construct the two struts in the centre of the cockpit:

– from a 2.5 mm diameter ABS solid tube, cut out two sufficiently long bars; use the chassis as a template for the dimensions,
– machine one of the two ends to reduce the diameter to 2 millimetres for a section of approximately 2 centimetres, – cut out an oval from a 1 mm thick sheet of ABS,
– divide the oval into two equal parts,
– check that the semi-oval fits perfectly into the recess cut in the roof,
– momentarily install the semi-oval and the upright in the body using painter’s tape,
– apply a drop of acetone with a brush between the upright and the semi-oval,
– wait one hour and gently remove the upright with semi-oval,
– join these two parts better by applying the less dense solution of acetone and ABS,
– cut out two rectangles from the 1 mm thick sheet that fit perfectly into the recess in the lower body,
– as done for the semi-oval; join this rectangle to the upright and
– apply colour TS46 light sand.

Sequence of pictures showing how to construct the two missing rear view mirrors:

– For the dimensions of the mirrors use the medicine box in the set as a reference. The mirrors were slightly larger in both base and height, – the mirror consists of a central body in the shape of a truncated pyramid with a rectangular base at the front and a flat base at the rear with a metal arm,
– cut a strip of the right size for two mirrors from a 3 mm thick sheet of ABS,
– divide the strip in half to obtain the two rough mirrors,
– machine the sides with 800 grit sandpaper, rounding the corners,
– glue a piece of rectangular scotch tape to limit the area not to be modified to obtain the truncated cone,
– work the piece with 800 grit sandpaper in the two directions shown in the figure. The two directions are perpendicular to each other, create a sloping surface because at the front the rear view mirror is a truncated pyramid with a rectangular base and a reduced height; work one sloping side at a time,
– perform the same operation on the three missing sides,
– repeat operation for second rear-view mirror,
– work the two semi-machined pieces with the blade of a box cutter to make the sloping sides more defined and leave the small upper base to be left flat as it will serve as a support for the pivot of the mirror arm
– cut two parallelepipeds of the right size, equal to the smallest base of the truncated cone, from a 3 x 3 mm square section ABS bar,
– machine one long side of the parallelepiped, making it curved, – drill a 1 mm diameter hole through the centre of the bar for the long side,
– weld the two parts together by smearing acetone between them,
– using a paper clip, cut out the right and left arms of the rear-view mirrors, taking a cue from the instructions for the correct shape,
– apply primer to the two wing mirrors,
– apply colour TS46 light sand to the front of the mirrors and
– apply colour X11 chrome silver to the rear to replicate the mirror

Sequence of pictures showing how to prepare seats whose supports broke when they were peeled away from the lower body:

– join the seat legs to the seats themselves with acetone,
– wait 6 hours, – apply the light grey primer and
– apply colour XF65 field grey.

Research and then select from other 1:12 scale sets shovel and pick to apply with a drop of acrylic cyan to the rear of the body.
Apply colour XF1 Matt Black for the seat legs, bonnet and body hinges; XF8 Flat Blue for the driver’s overalls; XF57 Buff for the roof and side sun shades.

Restored model
Images showing the finished model.

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