The kit and build verdict
As mentioned in my first look at the 1:43 Koons BMW Art Car kit by JPS from LeMans 2010, it was very hard to find. You can read that here. I have finally completed the build of this “easy to build” kit. Some warnings, some hints and a better solution to the kit I obtained.
Being that the kit was very hard to obtain, I paid waaaay too much in a desperate attempt to get the kit at all. A pair of parts were broken when it arrived. With spare parts nigh on impossible to get, I persevered being very careful not to break one more part…..
That proved to be hard as heck. Upon handling one of the 5 resin wheel inserts, it crumbled in my hands even though I am quite aware of how to handle small 1:43 parts. As also mentioned in the first article, the fully built roll cage needed tweaking to fit correctly. That did not go well. Even though it was placed in a bowl of hot water to soften the resin, the cage promptly broke in two. Attempts to repair that went even worse with more parts of it breaking off as well. While I was initially thrilled that I would not have to construct a cage, saving lots of time, that’s just what went up in a plume of spent resin.
Very brittle resin!
I eventually constructed a new cage from .047 brass, soldering it all together. It came out as close to the cage provided as I could get. Note to other potential builders: use .047 plastic rod and superglue it together if you need to do this procedure as well. It would go much, much faster and with much less hair pulling. I was bald before; my head is Daddy Warbucks-like after that cage.
The resin used in this kit is very dense, very brittle and hard to work with. The upside is that the finished model has the weight-feel of a good old metal diecast.
This kit went together fairly easy after the roll cage problem. After cleaning up the painted body a bit (not the greatest pre-paint ever). And touching up the body’s white and interior’s silver, that is. The window vacform is very thin and needs very careful trimming. Do not over-trim! Trim a little, fit to body. Trim a little more. And so on until they fit correctly. This is a good rule regardless of the kit we’re discussing.
Very transparent decals!
The decals were 90% complete. The inner side of the wing endplates did not have decals supplied. No guage decals were provided. No front hood latches were provided as decals. The BMW logos for front and back of the car were pathetic. No Dunlop tire decals were provided.
The decals were as transparent as any I’ve ever encountered. While they fit pretty well, there was too much carrier around the edges, which needed careful trimming off. Copious amounts of Solvaset decal setting solution was used to get everything to lay down well.
While we’re speaking of Solvaset, which is quite powerful, do NOT follow the instructions on the bottle. The manufacturer states to apply the solution while laying down the decals. This is a recipe for disaster. On any model, soak decals in water and lay them on the model in the correct position. If the decals should take an initial set before you are done positioning, just dip your perfectly clean finger in clean water and apply carefully to the decals. They should loosen up again to reposition.
When happy with the final position, let the decals dry for a little bit to keep them in place. ONLY THEN brush on Solvaset in a dose barely enough to work. Do not overwork the decals at this point as Solvaset sort of melts the decals into place. After the solution dries, you may be able to smooth the decals with a small dose of Solvaset and a soft brush. This technique requires patience and practice. I have been fortunate for this technique work sufficiently enough to never need a second set of decals.
Very hard kit to obtain?
Well….yes and no. Since the original release of the 1:43 Koons BMW Art Car kit, another has come along. Still using the JPS kit as a base, this time the kit is unpainted. Which is a very good thing considering the quality of paintwork I had experienced. The model is available with a different version of the decals via a well known dealer in the UK.
The decals have been totally redrawn and are far more accurate and complete. All the details missing as mentioned above are there. Sadly still missing are decals for the multi-colored mirrors. I carefully hand painted those on my model. I used a 5/0 sable brush and craft paints.
Yes. They are easily obtained in any art or craft store and even many big box retail merchants in the USA. They are acrylic and come in every shade of every color in the rainbow. Which saved me hours of mixing paints hoping to match the many many colors on this model. The paints come in bottles large enough to stock you literally forever. Cost was from 50¢ to $1.99 per bottle. Most models will need some touching up around the decals where they don’t fall quite precisely. The acrylic colors are most often flat (matte), so if you like to overspray your decaled models with clear coat, the flat colors will disappear.
The final verdict on the 1:43 Koons BMW Art Car by JPS
It was well worth building even with some difficulties. Another 1:43 BMW Art Car into the collection, especially this one that I had actually seen race. I just need to add the two aerials to the roof after obtaining a new paint brush full of nylon black bristles. These are thin enough, stiff enough and perfect for this purpose.
When it’s all added up, this is a kit/project worth building. Pretty colorful too. It’s an Art Car after all!