Building the Marsh McKee Can-Am kit

It’s the little details that make this a really satisfying build

Building the 1/43 Marsh McKee Can-Am kit proves that the satisfaction that is the building of a model often eclipses the satisfaction that is had when fully built. The kit builds the angular McKee Mk10 that Charlie Hayes drove to 7th at Road America in 1968. I’ve loved the shape of the car ever since racing slot cars in the 1800s. It was the first “thingie” shape. It’s been on my 1/43 build wish list for quite some time.

marsh mckee can-am kitThis kit builds as easily and quickly as all other Marsh kits. Marsh creator John Simons is now in his 40th year of model creation and you can tell from his model line that he enjoys the build too. He imbues each kit with small details that the builder of the model kit will notice…and appreciate. A perfect example of this are the photoetched “tube frame” bits in the cockpit. This was one of those one-off Can-Am cars that used a tube frame encased in sheet aluminum to form a stiff tub.

Another example of attention to detail are the nubs that form the back of the gauges on the dashboard. Most kits give you a flat dash and a decal, while this kit allows you to realistically wire the gauges and then decal it. On this model the wiring would readily appear underneath the windscreen. The windscreen fits from below and sort of “snaps” into place. Nice.

marsh mckee can-am kitMaybe the best case of wonderful detail is the drilled pedal set (shown here with its mounting base). It’s quite small and can’t be readily seen while buried deep in the footwell of the cockpit. But the kit builder will notice. And that’s the point.

Good use of photoetch and other details

A sheet of photoetched stainless steel provides nice touches to the model. Separate pieces of sheet aluminum tub appear on the lower outer flanks of the body. Etching on the outer pieces duplicates the rivet-joined assembly of the race car. Another piece bends up to form the inner cockpit tub. 

The same kind of tiny detail extends to the rear spoiler or the flat aero wheels that anchor the nicely treaded resin tires.

Marsh makes detailing of vent and radiator grills easy by using photoetched pieces that you simply paint and insert. I used a flat black wash to add some depth to the pieces.

marsh mckee can-am kitThe engine’s injector velocity stacks are not machined in the usual Marsh style, but are cast metal. This correctly gives the dull appearance shown in period photos. I put a drop of black paint into the bottom of the stacks for depth. Marsh provides tiny decals for the bottom side of each stack. They wrap around and overlap. Cut a bit of the length off to make the overlap easier. Do the first stack and you’ll understand. Ten decals are provided for the 8 velocity stacks so you can play a bit.

What’s the right color for this car?

Good question. If you Google the images of the car, you have your choice of several blues. Two color photos of the car as it ran at Road America show it to be a pretty dark blue. Many of the others appear much lighter and lighter still on the restored car. A photo of the model that’s on the internet appears as an in-between blue. Marsh provides color pix of the built model and a color swatch for paint matching as well. 

While I sampled 3 versions of Tamiya rattle can paint, none really cut it. In the end I used Tamiya TS53 which has a bit of red in the deep blue. This gave me the dark blue color you see above. I think it looks quite nice.

Those same photos gave me the impression that the roll bar was white, so flat white paint simulated the powdercoat paint it probably had.

More decal tips

The racing stripe from the front number oval to the radiator vent is a bit long. It extends too far into the vent. This extra decal length is useful if you want to move the oval down to the front-most stripe as the car appears in other races. I like the old-timey type of the car name so i trimmed the extra stripe length off.

The front Goodyear Bluestreak tire decals seemed a bit large, so I sliced the blue ring in one area and overlapped the ring halves. Done.

There is no white decal for the lower part of the front radiator opening. Extra reprint decals are provided for the stripes and number ovals. Use part of the center stripe on the original decal sheet for the needed white area.

I used 1/32 scale Indycals Dzus fastener decals instead of the kit provided Dzus decals. You can see the larger decals more readily.

I also used 1/43 Indycals round Dzus decals to simulate the pop rivets or screws that the windscreen was attached with on the race car. The spacing was almost perfect using one long strip of them on the sides and some more curving up to the front of the windscreen.

Lastly, I added a few sponsor decals from a Microsport #4301 Can-Am sponsor decal sheet, including one on the gearbox.

Conclusion

The built model makes for a nice addition to my early Can-Am model collection alongside the usual McLarens and Lolas. It was easy and quick to build and never skimped on the little things that make model building enjoyable. 

You can obtain the kit or a factory-built example if you desire from Grand Prix Models in the U.K. or Motorsports Miniatures right here in the USA.

More model race car joy can be found here. Lots more racing happiness can be perused here.