Following the instructions, the engine/rear frame is next, which is a pretty complex assembly so I skipped that and did something a little less daunting…the front frame. The front frame incorporates the front suspension, front differential and battery tray. A good amount of metal parts are used here, so this should be fun.
The frame itself is a beautifully cast chunk of metal with a nice black finish already applied, so the first item to paint were the springs which got a coat of Tamiya chrome yellow over primer. One of the main reasons I purchased the supplemental decal sheet was for the Ohlins decals for the shocks. These are supposed to be black lettering, which the kit supplied ones are in white. One of those weird Pocher things. I applied some BMF to the inner areas to provide a bit more shine under the springs. The DVD recommends building the shock assembly directly on the frame, which I felt was a good idea to get things lined up correctly. The sway bar had the ends at a less than 90* angle, applying some heat and gently bending the arms out took care of this, otherwise if left as is they will interfere with the rest of the suspension.
The front diff did not need much besides painting, I added some styrene flat stock to a couple of open areas that I thought might show.
The battery tray is where some details can be added. This kit differs from the previous two releases as a metal battery tray has been included. The styrene one is still included on the sprue, although a complaint was that the front of the battery, which is the part that shows, is missing. The metal counterpart takes care of that. The drier is missing from the kit and is a fairly prominent piece, easily constructed using styrene tubes. I have always had trouble with gluing vinyl tubing, so I substituted wire where needed. This allowed me to add a few missing wires more easily, too. Air tubing was added from the shocks to the drier, not accurate but looks better, and busier, in my opinion. The kit supplied battery decals are a little oversized, although by centering them carefully fit much better than I was led to believe from other builds I viewed. Everything is a snug fit, and getting the tray into the frame took a bit of careful maneuvering.
The A arms went in easily. The outside half of the calipers are pre-painted, so I masked and painted the inner caliper sections. I also drilled holes for the brake lines that I wanted to add. All of this is hidden under the trunk liner, although the DVD shows how to have that as a removable piece, so the extra work isn’t in vain. OK, now I’m really hooked on this kit.