Manufacturer: Tamiya, imported by Tamiya America, 2 Orion, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4922, 800-826-4922.
Kit: No. 24211
Comments: Injection molded, 80 parts (4 rubber, 4 polyvinyl), decals, metal transfers, die-cut window masks.
Pros: Clean moldings, good fit, excellent self-stick metal emblems, die-cut window masks fit perfectly.
Cons: "Curbside" (no engine) kit, sinkholes in wheel hubs make placement of logo decals difficult.
Honda's new S2000 is the perfect way to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary. Powered by a two-liter, 250-bhp four-cylinder engine, the sleek two-seat convertible will blast to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. Porsche Boxster and BMW Z3 owners can look forward to a little competition.
Tamiya's kit is typical of its curbside line. The kit features poseable steering and rotating wheels that attach via polyvinyl caps hidden in the brake discs. The chassis is nicely detailed, and the separate exhaust system and front- and rear-suspension assemblies help bring things to life.
The one-piece body is nicely molded and looks accurate when compared to photos of the full-size car in the August 1999 issue of Road & Track. A fine-grit sanding stick removed the mold-separation lines from the front and rear fenders. The front-end grille is a separate piece that installs from the inside, making it easy to paint and install. The instructions include a chart of all of the exterior and interior color combinations. I used unbuffed SnJ Spray Metal to simulate the "Silverstone Metallic" option.
The headlight reflectors are chrome-plated, but the flat-black sections inside will require careful painting. The turn-signal and stoplight lenses are molded in clear plastic. I airbrushed them with Tamiya Clear Red (X-27) and Clear Orange (X-26), and applied Bare-Metal Foil behind them to simulate their reflectors. All of the lenses fit perfectly after careful trimming.
Tamiya provides die-cut masks for the windshield and the convertible top's rear window, but you'll still need to cover the rest of the parts with masking tape before airbrushing the black trim. I installed the windshield and top on the body with white glue. The side windows and top line up nicely after a little adjustment.
Applying the tiny Honda logo decals to the chrome-plated wheels presented a problem. Each wheel had a sink mark in its center, making it impossible to apply the decals correctly. Filling the holes without damaging the surrounding plating would have been difficult, so using my punch-and-die set I made four .120"-diameter "hubcaps" out of white .005" Evergreen styrene sheet, and superglued them in place over the holes. Afterward I applied the decals over the styrene discs.
The kit's metal transfers went on without a hitch. To help you locate them properly, Tamiya has molded tiny locator marks into the body. The marks for the front and rear Honda emblems are faint and can't be seen after the transfers are applied, but the raised, rectangular locators that frame the front-fender "S2000" emblems are too heavy. Sand them off as you prepare the body for paint, and use the instructions' side-view drawings as a guide for applying the transfers.
Despite a couple of small problems, this kit really falls into the "box shaker" category. Everything fit together as it should, and it required only 15 hours or so to finish. The numerous small clear parts and delicate metal emblems might be a little too challenging for a novice, but car builders with intermediate skills will find this good-looking convertible easy to handle.