Photo by Bob Downie
Photo by Bob Downie
Product: Lexus began production of the new LFA supercar at the end of 2010, with first deliveries in February 2011. Tamiya began production of its 1:24 scale LFA shortly after Lexus. Tamiya made the wise decision to pattern its kit very closely to the construction of the real car, and didn’t simplify engine or chassis components that would not be seen on the finished model. You can build a rolling "drivetrain" chassis of the engine, torque-tube, rear trans-axle, front and rear suspensions and rolling stock. Engine and chassis components are finely designed and engraved, and assemble with typical Tamiya precision.
The kit includes only a right-hand-drive cockpit. Offering a North American-style cockpit too would require a separate interior tub and a second instrument panel. The interior design and parts breakdown make it easy to fully detail.
Tamiya does include a nice fret of brightly-plated photo-etched metal; mostly fine mesh screens for the various grilles and inlets on the body. There are also small squares on the fret intended for use with the provided neodymium magnets to hold the engine hood prop rod and rear spoilers (raised or lowered) in place. Also included is a sheet of window masks, a small sheet of metal transfer emblems, and decals.
Assembly: The body is a complicated piece, with separate upper scoops and lower sills. The sink marks in the roof, rear spoilers, and front and rear fascia are easily remedied, as are the mold lines on the front and rear fenders. Besides these, the body is cleanly cast, smooth and glossy.
Assembly was nearly painless; the precision fit of most of the parts helps. I did run into a couple of snags along the way. I wanted to paint the exhaust before assembly, and in turn, put too much of it together. The kit has the exhaust assembled in stages — I realized too late — to fit it through the rear suspension cradle; I had to disassemble the parts to get the exhaust to thread through the cradle. The front and rear chassis plates were slightly tricky to attach to the finished chassis, and the magnets that fit into round recesses at the back of the body must sit flush with the surrounding surface. You may need to deepen the recesses slightly.
Marketing: Tamiya has done a fantastic job replicating the Lexus LFA and creating a kit that is enjoyable to build. Its parts are very precise and true to the supercar’s shapes.
Summer is the season for hot rods and supercars. Consider a "Beating the Summertime Heat" event and run specials on your selection of fast-car models, such as Tamiya’s LFA, Mercedes Benz SLR722 (No. 24317) and Aston Martin DBS (No. 24361). But don’t limit it to just plastic models. Include a selection of die-cast cars and slot cars too.
Do you have local car clubs or auto rallies? Get in touch with organizers and see if you can trade promotions with them. Maybe you can set up a sales tent at the meets, or at the very least get promotional flyers given to attendees. At the same time, promote the car meets in your store. Offer discounts to customers who come to your store with a flyer on the following weekend — valid for one visit.
No matter the product, remember to think about cross-merchandising products in your displays, like glue and paint for models; and silicone tires and replacement braids for slot cars.
Product: Lexus LFA
Stock No.: 24319
Availability: Check with your favorite model distributor
Crisp, precise parts
Some filline required on body