Available at HobbyLink Japan: 1/24 Leon Cvstos AMG by Tamiya
SuperGT is well known for producing some of motorsport’s best looking cars and liveries. The GT300 class is a hotbed of both GT3 as well as prototype machines, and right at the pointy end of that class is the Leon Cvstos Mercedes AMG. The AMG sports a black on black color scheme with watch-dial accents across the bodywork, and menacing yellow headlights. Tamiya has celebrated the K2 R&D LEON Racing team’s GT300 class win by replicating the car that took the 2018 championship crown.
A very clean and precise kit awaits you as you lift the lid off the box. The kitset comes molded in black and grey, and has the clear window and headlight sprues, as well as a chrome-plated tree specifically for the grille and lights. The decal sheet appears daunting, and this kit does have an extensive livery to apply, yet it is very cleverly segmented. Some classic wide rubber tires and beautiful center-lock wheels are also included.
Chassis and suspension
The AMG is a factory race car, and is all about aerodynamics. The chassis reflects this with one large flat-bottom undertray that forms the base of the kit. The chassis comes with double wishbone suspension points and the rear has a large diffuser. Compared to any of the 1/24 scale rally cars in the Tamiya lineup this AMG is considerably wider!
Early on in the build process there is a small amount of decal work to be done, and first up is the carbon front lip. I highly recommend getting some decal softener to make the decals conform perfectly to the curves.
The suspension is nicely detailed although once installed, you will lose all sight of it. It is worth taking time to detail the brakes up as they show very nicely through the large wheels.
By this point in the build, you will start to notice a pattern, black on black on black. It is hard to break the black up, although there are a few little bits and pieces that you can throw color at to give the kit some standout detail. The dashboard is a two-tone grey and black finish, the steering wheel is very colorful, and the extinguisher next to the driver is a great way to add detail. The interior of the Mercedes isn’t exactly spacious; once you shoehorn in the large seat, rollcage, and dashboard, there isn’t much room for anything else and this is exactly the same in real life.
The interior of the AMG is bare bones, although in a race car weight is paramount so if it isn’t necessary then it isn’t included. The level of detail included, however, is good, and anyone who wishes to add to the base could make a very nice cockpit setup.
Throughout the build, most of the black isn’t a gloss as you would expect, but a semi-gloss (TS-29) Tamiya rattlecan.
The sleek lines of the car are apparent even before the bodywork goes on. The large redundant space up front is where the 6.3-liter V8 naturally aspirated engine sits, and the rear holds the fuel cell. As this is a curbside kit, no engine is included.
The wheels are as per the rest of the build – black. However, they are painted in gloss black (TS-14) giving the car a nice little bit of contrast. The one thing I really appreciated was that the centre lock nuts are separate and not moulded into the wheels. This makes the detailing of them super easy, and gives a very clean look.
Bridgestone POTENZA tire decals are also included and finish off the wheels perfectly. The locking nuts are to be painted in red and blue. The red are designed for the left side of the car, and the blue for the right.
The modern SuperGT kit, and their older JGTC cousins are vastly different in construction. This kit comes with bumpers that are to be added during construction, as well as ventilation in the front, behind the engine, and also in the rear. The modern bodywork isn’t a simple shell that clicks over top of the chassis like kits of the past. Due to much more complex bodywork on modern cars, Tamiya has had to change the way they produce kits to allow ease of painting, and detailing with so many extra curves, and angles. For this kitset’s body, a little preparation and thought is required in the assembly if you wish to paint it semi-assembled.
The front and rear bumpers come unattached, and I recommend attaching them prior to paint so a cleaner finish can be obtained. The body is first to be painted in TS-14 (gloss black) and then given a coat of TS-79 (semi gloss clear) to give the matte finish. I decided to lay the decals after the gloss coat, and prior to the clear giving the whole body the same matte appearance. I waited 24 hours after the gloss paint was sprayed before laying down the decals, and then allowed 3 days for the decals to dry properly before I added the clear coat. An added bonus of laying the decals prior to clear is that the decals are sealed in and won’t lift after long periods of time.
The decals in the kit have a matte finish to them, but I felt they would be best laid down and then cleared over top, rather than adding them to the top of the clear coat. They were quite time-consuming to work with, the body is very curvy and I strongly recommend a decal softener for the angles. The decals are also laid down in large portions, and have very little edging so they are very precise. Daunting initially, although very much like a large jigsaw puzzle. Patience is key.
After the clear had been applied, I was very happy with the finish. The matte effect from the semi gloss clear was exactly as the car appears in photos.
Finishing the body
Completing the body consists of a number of smaller parts, these make up the lights, vents, and chrome grille. As per the body, a coat of gloss black, followed by semi gloss clear is the order of the day. The fitment of the small details is excellent, and apart from being a little time consuming, I cannot fault the body.
Window masks are included for the glass on the car. I really wish more manufacturers would follow Tamiya on this one. They really are the difference between a good model, and great model.
All that is left now is to add the rear wing, and the car is effectively complete.
The finished kitset
Once the body is applied to the chassis, the kitset really takes on a life of its own. The beautiful curves, aggressive stance, and superb livery have been very well recreated by Tamiya.
It has been a long time since we saw the release of a SuperGT kitset from Tamiya, and this one is an absolute stunner. Build quality is superb, and the decals are very cleverly thought out. If you want a great looking, enjoyable, out of the box build then look no further than the Leon Cvstos AMG.
Get the kit here:
– 1/24 Leon Cvstos AMG