B.M.W. 320 Group 5
Italeri offers us a reissue of a kit first released in 1977 by ESCI. The B.M.W. 320 ran in a new group 5 class introduced in 1976. Regarded by driving enthusiasts as one of the best cars ever made, the three series was a natural for conversion to racing. Group five rules allowed wider body width which in turn allowed wider tires. This car ran a two-liter turbo charged engine making 300 horsepower. In this boxing you get the number 57 car driven by Markus Hottinger at the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft (DRM) Norisring circuit, Nuremberg in 1978.
Molded in nearly the correct color are 44 parts for the body and chassis. A chrome sprue includes the wheels and grille center. Clear parts represent the glass all in one piece and the tail-lights. Four racing slicks and a nice decal sheet rounds out the package. Construction starts with the engine and the age of the kit shows here as the fidelity of the parts is not up to what you would expect. There is a lack of positive location pins or other engineered methods to assemble the model in several key places. Some good examples include the intercooler box from turbo to the intake and location of the roll cage. Detailing in the castings runs the gambit. The shock assemblies and rear differential are very nice while the front suspension and steering parts are over scale and toy like. The interior includes a roll bar, racing seat with decal harnesses, a shift console and dashboard. Missing are pedals for the drivers position and any kind of fire suppression system. Most of these parts are adequate for the scale except the roll cage which too short for the cabin height. There are a lot of hoses molded into the cabin floor which appear to be air lines for the jacks. Photo references of similar cars confirmed they are accurate. Some careful painting will highlight what's been given to the modeler here since the interiors of these cars were black.
The body is molded largely in one piece needing only a lower rear valance and grill to complete it. That rear valence will require some bodywork to blend it in. The aero package on the rear consisting of a wing and deflector are detailed and fit as they should. All the glass is provided as a single piece and the fit is not good. As it turned out, the sample I was sent suffered some damage in transit and the A-pillars were compressed. Since the kit part didn’t fit and I needed a way to support the damaged pillars, I cut the windshield and rear glass separate from side glass and installed them before completing body work and paint. Also prior to painting, I scribed panel lines to represent where panels came together and to better define door to chassis gaps.
Painting is easy as it is one color. Tamiya TS-10, French Blue was called out and that’s what I used. This is a lacquer paint that dries quickly and levels out well. I decanted a little to airbrush crevices and any other areas the spray can wouldn’t reach. Flat Aluminum from Alclad was used on the wing. One of the highlights of Italeri kits are the decals. They are usually done by Cartograph so I needn’t say more about how they work. I found the rubber compound used for the racing tires was convincing once the flash was knocked down with some sanding. Glue is needed to keep tires on the wheels since the fit is not tight. Remaining details are the grille, mirrors and a single windshield wiper. Do not cement the grille tight against radiator support, that prevents the hood from closing.
After recently building a few racing cars from new or near new molds, this kit was a bit of a letdown. As a curbside model, it looks the part since the body shape and interesting markings are eye catching enough to distract you from what's missing. There are other offerings of this car out there, in particular an offering from Tamiya. Given the amount of work to make this kit accurate, I would choose a better option. If on the other hand, you’re not focused on super detail, it's possible to build this kit without paint and still produce an eye-catching model. I’ll leave that choice up to you. I can say I’m pleased with the end result; it just took more work than I anticipated.
Thank you to MRC for providing the sample kit and to IPMS for letting me share it with you.