This is the model kit that really got me back into models. I really wanted this kit when I was young, but it was unable to afford the £150 price tag. One day I did see it on sale for about £50 off, but it was still unaffordable.
And now, of course, the kit is discontinued and hard to find, but with some luck on Ebay and I found a mint-in-box in Japan. The price was, somewhat amusingly, not that much different from the original price, except that now I was in a position to actually afford it!The Tamiya 1/12 Caterham 7 is not a plastic model kit. It uses a mix of materials where appropriate – metal, screws, rubber, fabric and plastic. It is as tricky to put together as the end the end result is stunning. This kit is a real work of art.The design of the Caterham 7 is classic. Of course, like many, I was introduced to it through the TV show “The Prisoner”, with the Lotus 7, of which the Caterham 7 is a kit-car version.I like to think of the Caterham 7 itself as just a 1/1 kit, and this 1/12 kit shares, essentially, all the same parts, just that bit smaller. The screws that hold the kit together are tiny, but Tamiya provides a great little jewellers type screwdriver (magnetized) which helps immensely.Yes, you even have to make the seat-belts from some sticky fabric.The engine is a fun and complex part to put together, and I really should have taken photos of it before I added it to the model. I hand-painted (this was a few years before I got my airbrush) the engine with Tamiya gold, silver and black paints.The air intake filters have their own corrugated mesh and metal end-caps which are wonderful details.And yes, you must fit the carpet yourself. I painted the seats with Tamiya gloss black, and even though hand-painted they came out extremely well. The metal bodywork is beautiful and it seems a shame to cover it with the carpet, but it just looks so real when you’re done.And of course, you just need to flip the model over to see the metal work, the tiny screws, and the rest of the engine detail. You can see the ABS plastic framework that the model is built upon here too.The exhaust looks great!I dry-brushed the Tamiya chrome over the black for the transmission at the back. Although you build all the details of the fuel tank, you can barely see it on the finished model – but you know it’s there, and that’s what counts.Even from underneath this is a stunning kit.And from the front you can see all the suspension too.I’ve not added a number plate detail, but perhaps I should!This kit looks great from all angles. There’s nothing to hide because there is accurate detail everywhere.The metal for the wheel-guards is a metallic foil you stick on, but it works, and looks great.The body was spray painted with a can of Tamiya racing green.The engine has a cover, which I left bare metal like in the photos that are on the box. I normally leave it off so I can see the internal detail, and it’s fairly tricky to get over the air intake filters. Oh and did I tell you it even comes with a scale wrench for you to put the bolts on the wheels? I keep it in the boot!
I cannot recommend this kit highly enough. Even if you have no interest in model cars (which generally I don’t), this is a kit that not only rewards you with a fantastic end result, but has a rewarding build process due to the incredible amount of thought and detail that goes into its construction.