Tamiya 1/12 RC 166 build

Thanks Joel - the material supplied by Tamiya to represent both the ignition wires and brake , throttle,
and clutch cables as well as the tachometer drive is vinyl tubing . It measures . 040” which scales out to half an inch . While I can’t say for certain, I doubt any of the ignition wires on an F1 car are a half inch in diameter. I will check what came in my ancient Tamiya Lotus kit . Ken Pithouse mentioned this issue in one of his blogs and he was able to stretch the material to yield a smaller diameter. I tried that but I could not get a uniform diameter.

I haven’t picked up my Tamiya 1/12 scale BT44B at my brother’s house since it’s for our buddy build, and our schedules just don’t mesh as of late, so I can’t check the tubing in the kit either. But from what I saw online, the tubing is generic for ignition and brake lines.

I’ve bought all three dia of Tamiya’s black wire cabling but I’m betting none will meet my needs for that build.

I’m thinking that Ken used Wire shrink wrap that when heated is kind of like stretching sprue.


Thanks D . It baffles me how Tamiya’s thinking goes on things like this . Many if not most will agree that their kits are at the top in our hobby . Why can they offer a perfectly scaled final drive chain that you can assemble link by link , wire wheels that are laced up just like the real thing , sprung forks and rear shocks that work and are as delicate as can be and yet supply material for wires and cables that is nearly twice the size it should be . Surely with their resources they can make or have made tubing of the proper diameter , after all I managed to do it in a few minutes at my bench . I don’t know how well I would do if I had to do it for an entire production run of likely thousands of kits - LOL

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Into the next pieces of aftermarket stuff - the clutch.
Like the velocity stacks , this is included in the forks set. It is comprised of a preformed clutch basket and 5 driving plates and 5 driven plates . Only four of each are needed so 1 spare of each . Tamiya have foregone the teeth that would be on the inner circumference of the driven plates but it can’t be seen anyway so no matter.
What you get …

and the stack installed in basket …

Clutch installed on gearbox with pressure plate…

and clutch shield in place …

Some bits to install on chassis then on to building the wheels…
Thanks for looking! RT


I would bet that the oversize tubing is their compromise for molding the pins and ease of assembly.

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that dry side 4 plate clutch and cover looks perfect. Once again you made a not so easy PE build look like a walk in the park that even I could build.

Having all their top of the line kits with full detail, correct scaling, with no short cuts, just isn’t what Tamiya is all about these days.

What they offer is a kit with enough detail so that the average modeler can hopefully complete the build in a reasonable period of time without having to purchase A lot of AM which they might not be able to afford, want to spend the additional funds, or be able to work with PE, Resin, and White Metal.

We are for the most part only a minority of the modeling community that they service. the bottom line is that every kit needs to produce a targeted profit, which some just don’t. A perfect example is their 1/32 scale Mosquito. The kit was a absolute winner in detail and accuracy, but the price and complexity of the kit kept it from reaching it targeted sales goals. Hence, the bomber version was never released. Same for their 1/12 F1 race cars. Ebbro, their now race car division will be releasing a 1/12 scale Camel Lotus 99t of Senna that’s supposed to be the most detailed and accurate kit they’ve molded. For me, the $325 pre-order prices I’ve seen is way more then I’m willing to pay.

For someone with your modeling skills, MFH kits seem to be the direction you’re heading, but the costs these days are about $1,000/kit.



Another brilliant little “kit within a kit” there Richard, and another lovely result!

Cheers, D

Nice work Richard. Interesting point to detail by Tamiya. Is there much photoetch for this kit?


Thanks all for the kind words.
@Joel_W - I almost pulled the trigger on an MFH kit a while back - The 1/12 Tipo 158 Alfa .
There is a guy in the USA that orders them monthly from Japan - All in it would have been in the area of $ 800 . May still do it but for that kind of money the desire has to be strong . We’ll see if I still have the interest after the Lotus 49 build .
@AussieReg - Thanks yet again D. I always value your input !
@cosimodo - Thanks Michael- the base kit includes a small bit of etch - screens for the drum brake air scoops and two pieces for the final drive chain adjusters and a piece for the fuel tank strap .
The aftermarket sets produced by Tamiya use etch for the clutch as shown above and the chain is photo etch as well . I don’t know if any others produce etch for this kit but if they do it would seem redundant.
I’ve completed the rear wheel - pics to follow this evening.

I’ve built up the rear wheel . A few hours of delicate work but all in all a very complete and well thought out , clever system by Tamiya . You are given a jig system with different fixtures for front and rear wheels , spokes , nipples , rims , hubs - even two tiny turned tire air valves .
Here’s what you get…

And the instructions for the rear wheel - front wheel on flip side …

The first half of the rear wheel in the jig with
spokes …

A shot to give an idea of the size of the spokes and nipples …

The second half in the jig …

And the finished product …

I managed to lose two spokes to tweezer launch -fortunately Tamiya gives you 6 spares per wheel
and plenty of spare nipples .
Moving on to the front wheel with it’s big 4LS drum brake . I know they don’t stop as well as discs but they sure are pretty…
Thanks for looking.
Cheers - Richard
Edit - this task is best tackled AFTER the coffee buzz wears off.


Nice looking wheels. Are the hubs plastic? I like the way the spokes hook into the centre hubs. I guess you didn’t have to drill out the holes knowing Tamiya.


The end result is definitely worth the effort, those wire wheels look awesome!

As for Tweezer Launch, I’m looking into starting an international support group for scale modelers suffering from PTLTSD. I’m sure the numbers are out there :sunglasses:

Cheers, D

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I’m just blown away by the detail that Tamiya has designed into this kit, as well as the thought they’ve given to the average builder being able to build those spoked wheels, hence the jigs. Then add in your advanced modeling skills, and a true Museum Quality RC 166 will surely be the end result.

The spokes also caught my eye as that’s the same design that my MGB wheels had. Unfortunately for me, it was another maintenance task I needed to learn as those spokes did loosen up all the time from hitting pot holes and bumps at high speed (Ok so this was my pre track racing/time trail days), and the wheels would go right out of balance. Couldn’t get them balanced till the spokes were all tight, and since they weren’t torqued but rather just wrench tightened, balancing each wheel was always a journey into the unknown.

Knowing your skill level, I have the no doubt that you could successfully build the Alpha type 158 Tipo to a true master piece.

But please whatever you decide, don’t base it on the Tamiya 1/12 scale Lotus Type 49 (A) kit. It’s Tamiya’s 1st venture into that scale, with that much detail. Think about it as their all encompassing learning experience, and back in the late 60’s when the kit was designed, and the molds cut, everything was done by master craftsmen including cutting those molds which still work just as perfectly today as when they were 1st cut. I’d base your decision on your current bike build instead as it’s much closer to a MFH type of kit. Just ask Michael for his opinion on them.



Thanks Joel - I think that the modeling experience will be vastly different between even the latest Tamiya kits and the MFH variety. The MFH kits are more of what used to be called “ craftsman kits “
meaning a lot more hands on cleaning , fitting , polishing, etc . Thanks also for the pics of the Alfetta - looks like it was shot at Monterey/Pebble Beach .
If I still have auto modeling mojo when completing the Lotus I’ll rethink the MFH purchase .

Both wheels done now and tires mounted.

There was much talk in reviews of this kit a while back concerning the cross section of the tires and some felt that Tamiya screwed up as they were too pointed. I had forgotten about that issue and when finally starting this build I felt the same and was very disappointed.
The sidewalls are marked “ Dunlop Racing KR 73 “
so I googled images of these tires and I am happy to report that Tamiya got it right . These tires are shaped for optimum cornering speed .
The kit tire …

and the real thing …
Well done Tamiya .
Thanks for looking in …


The finished wheels look fantastic finished.
I am not so sure about the kit tyres though, they certainly look like photo of the real thing but they don’t look like the tyres that are fitted to the real bikes. There are a lot of photos of the RC166 on the web and they don’t seem to wear tyres with that profile, not even in the shots you have of Hailwood at the start. Just a thought.


Thanks Michael - not sure myself . Perhaps they were only used on certain courses where there existed more turns than straights .

Wow!! Those two wire wheels turned out great. Can’t help with the tire profile as I always thought that they were mostly rounded for easier cornering. With that profile there’s very little tire contact patch meeting the track in a straight line. I’d be very interested in seeing what you find out about them. Can’t see Tamiya making that kind of mistake.


I haven’t seen bike kit that I would try until I saw the detail that’s in this one. Not a bike model building guy but I do have an appreciation for them. Very nice work indeed.

Thanks Joe . I am not much of a motorcycle modeler either - a few starts but not many completions. I am really enjoying this one because it is an excellent kit and the subject bike is one of my all time favorites.
I can highly recommend it. While the base kit builds into a beautiful model by itself, keep in mind some of the things in my blog are Tamiya aftermarket sets designed for this kit and purchased separately.
If you build one please post it !
Cheers - RT