M & S Hobbies' 1/24 scale 1993 Toyota Eagle MkIII

Images copyright  Michael J. Fuller
Text copyright Michael J. Fuller

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Sebring 1993When Toyota unveiled the MkIII at Laguna Seca in 1991 it obviously was the result of divergent thinking compared to their previous efforts (the MkI and MkII).  Gurney's outfit had taken stock of the competition as well as the pluses and minuses of their own effort to that point when they sat down to write the brief for the MkIII.  And that brief was rather straight forward:  keep the engine happy, keep the driver happy (cool), make the chassis crashworthy and robust yet stiff and light, apply sound aerodynamic thinking (yet leading edge), and make it as simple as you can.  While ultimately that brief reads little different than any other race car brief, that the MkIII was as successful as it was certainly suggests they met or exceeded every point where as lesser cars came up short.
The M & S Hobbies 1/24 scale resin kit depicts the 1993 Toyota Eagle MkIII though with some simple scratch building it can easily be made to resemble either the debut 1991 Laguna Seca car or the 1992 season car.  The kit consists of 50 parts cast in either tan (main body and underfloor, gearbox, rear wings, etc.) or clear resin (headlights and headlight covers) in addition to 4 rubber (black) cast tires as well one sheet of clear vac. formed plastic for the front and side windows.  All these parts allow you to build a curbside version of either the low downforce car (as seen at Daytona and Sebring) or the high-downforce monster as the kit comes with the appropriate items (different rear wings and the addition of front dive planes) to build it up as one or the other. As with previous M & S Hobbies kits, the molding and casting is very competent and the resin parts are high in detail and little in flash. 

A real bonus to the kit has to be the massive photo etch sheet that includes over 20 additional parts such as the rear wing endplates (important for the two very different rear wings you can depict), brake disc details, fuel buckeye, tow hooks, etc. 

Decals allow you to depict the 1993 Daytona 24 winner or the regular sprint-season car.  The printing on the decals is crisp and the colors register perfectly.

The retail price is $120.

Overall this kit will build up into a excellent rendition of the Toyota Eagle MkIII.  The exterior shape is dead on.   My only nit picks are that the underfloor is completely inaccurate in that the very unique front diffuser detail is non existent and the rear tunnels bears no resemblance at all to what the real car actually raced.  Additionally, the front wheel well exit, as modeled, has an abrupt vertical  which then transitions to near horizontal across a corner following the lower line of the front wheel well exit.  This should actually blend forward all the way to the bottom of the car (see photos) with the outer bodywork in this area effectively becoming a simple endplate in shape and approximate thickness.  This detail allowed a place for the air to exit out on the MkIII's unique front diffuser.  This should be relatively easy to amend and would only require some resculpting in this area.  The front diffuser will be challenging to replicate though nothing a average scratch builder can't handle given adequate documentation of the detail.  The rear diffuser/tunnels will take some work as well.  As modeled on the kit, they are depicted as small volume diffusers (as common to the Group C Nissan and Toyotas) with parallel outer tunnel walls eschewing the Tony Southgate-esque bell mouth tunnel entry that was first popularized on the Jaguar GTP and Group C cars and then ultimately adopted by everyone else.  Photos of the MkIII's underfloor show this pretty clearly.  Naturally the vertical turning vane is omitted as well.

To convert the model into the 1991 or 1992 car all you really need to do is to scratch build a turbo inlet scoop.  Though it really depends on what event you are depicting the car because by New Orleans 1992 the MkIII had been modified such that the engine intake scoop was eliminated (intake air for the turbo was simply draw off the left hand side intercooler duct thus getting rid of the large scoop and it's frontal area and rear wing airflow disruption, AAR called this the "flip flop").  So check your references and build a turbo inlet accordingly. 

So having said all of the above, ultimately M&S Hobbies has provided a perfect starting point to make a very accurate Toyota Eagle MkIII.

It is a travesty that it has taken so long for a subject such as the Toyota Eagle MkIII to be depicted in 1/24 scale.  M & S Hobbies should certainly be commended.  The kit they present is really superb and given the price, can't be beaten. 
Go here for more details of the 1/1 scale Toyota Eagle MkIII

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ęCopyright 2008, Michael J. Fuller