Saturday, August 27, 2011

My McLaren MP4/4

Almost 2 months ago, I stumbled upon a model car that upon seeing, knew that I just had to build. I discussed it and the significance of the car (McLaren Honda MP4/4) in a post at the time which included a trailer for the must watch documentary on the life of Ayrton Senna.

My initial blog after purchasing the kit

This blog spoke to the history of the car and to a time when the racing was almost indistinguishable to what we see in a F1 champioship today. It took me a significant amount of time and patience but I finally finished it. Introducing, my Mclaren MP4/4...

My replica kit of the McLaren Honda MP4/4 (by Tamiya)

It would be difficult to get a comparison picture of the actual car because for some inexplicable reason McLaren never found the need to take pictures of their car stationary on a kitchen counter top. the other notable difference is the absence of any Marlboro logos, something which I am extremely pissed off about. I do not want that argument to dominate this post, so in my next post, I will discuss why I believe that the anti smoking lobby have completely lost the plot.

Ayrton Senna racing the real thing
I strongly urge any F1 fan to find the time to build their favourite racing car. The insight you get into how it all works and the sheer engineering brilliance is well worth the effort although I can safely say, never again! Building an F1 car is not the same as any other road car. The intricacy involved in the suspension alone is enough to drive you completely bonkers.

Rear suspension of my McLaren MP4/4

When the rear suspension is complete, there are 3 hooks (only 2 shown above) and the drive shaft (red) that connect to the tyre assembly i.e the rear tyre assembly is not glued but meant to just 'fit'.

To be honest, my left rear tyre assembly did not fit snugly, and a few modifications (utilising the miracle properties of plastic cement) had to be made.

After the final coat of paint was applied.

interior of cockpit

Don't you agree that the car looks incomplete without the Marlboro logo's?

A friend of mine recently posted me a link for my potential next project. The McLaren MP4/6

There are three main reasons I would not take this on:
  • The kit is pre-painted. Where would be the challenge? (P.S. I could not get the official colour (Flourescent Red) anywhere in Durban so I opted to mix my own. I added a few drops of chrome silver to standard red and I somehow ended up with the desired colour)
  • The 1:1 scale will be difficult to store and work with, and finally,
  • It is currently being sold on auction with a price estimate ranging from 35 000 - 45 000 euros
For those of you who may not have caught up as yet, maybe the picture below will make it clearer.

This sculpture was created by artist Jay Burridge and is officially endorsed by  Mclaren. It is comprised of actual parts of the real car that Ayrton Senna drove to championship victory in 1991. For further information on this jaw dropping project click on the link below.

Article giving all the details and background for this project (fascinating read)


  1. Hi I really love the car you built here. It really nice and very good job in painting too. Did your kit come with the red decal or you choose to paint it in red? I have some trouble building these F1 cars with the suspension and the wheels fall off most the time..

    Anyway, great job on this car and i will build one really soon.

    1. Thanks. There was no decal or guiding lines so I just printed a picture of the real car and tried my best. As mentioned I mixed the paint to get it to look more original.

      These F1 cars are the worse (but therefore also the best) with regards to the intricate suspension. My right rear suspension has been exposed to toddler damage and I have not got around to repairing it.

      There is actually a plastic model builders association in Durban but I have not got around to attending a meeting yet. Ironically nobody in the club builds model cars. I am currently building an NSX racecar but after that I saw a lovely kit for the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars