Tamiya 1/20 Renault RE-30B

KIT #: 2018
PRICE: 1300 yen when new. I paid $25 for it.
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1983 release


In 1966, the FIA ruled that normally aspirated engines would displace 3.0 liters and turbocharged engines would displace 1.5 liters. Most of the teams were not willing to give up half the engine displacement. While turbos did produce a goodly amount of power for less weight, they suffered from what is known as "turbo lag” on acceleration. This is where one does not get immediate engine response when mashing the throttle. Not a good thing for a racing car.

Renault, however, decided to give it a try in 1977 with their RS-01. No wins were forthcoming, but Renault continued to improve the engine. In 1979 the RE-10 utilized twin turbos and ground effects. Jean-Pierre Jabouille won the French Grand Prix and took four pole positions. In 1980, the RE-20 brought the team 3 wins and the writing was on the wall. So much so that Renault, Ferrari, Toleman, Brabham and Alfa Romeo all entered 1.5 liter turbo cars in 1982.

The RE-30B, introduced in 1982, was a twin-turbo, intercooled 1492cc V-6 producing 560hp. An intercooler is only used on a turbocharged engine and helps cool the intake air for better performance. It is said that for every degree in cooling an increase of 1 horsepower is possible. The RE-30B made it debut at the South African GP with Alain Prost winning. Prost and Arnoux finished 1 & 2 at the French GP and they went on to win at Italy and were on pole 10 out of 16 times during the 1982 season.

Despite being quick and winning four races, the car was not all that reliable and there were many DNFs. The best Renault could do for the season was to finish 3rd in the constructors points.

One of the major issues with F.1 cars of this time was that the driver sat so far forward that in front end crashes, he often broke feet, ankles or lower legs. Later rules moved the driver's compartment back far enough  to reduce that. A push for improved driver safety has let to the considerably larger F.1 cars of today compared to those smaller ones of decades past.


A new kit this is not with a date of 1983 on the box and a price of 1300 yen (today about $12.00). I dare say that Tamiya probably set the standard for Formula One kits and settled on the slightly larger 1/20 scale for these cars. Most other car model companies have followed suit. The kit itself is molded in  yellow, silver and black with nicely done aluminum plated wheels. A white driver figure is included for those who like to include them. Pneumatic rubber tires are also part of the package.

In line with most Tamiya F.1 kits, one starts with the engine and a considerable amount of instruction space is taken with this operation. There is a lot of prepainting of parts needed during assembly to get the proper effect. The instructions are quite helpful in having photos of many of the assemblies in addition to nice drawings. One gets a section of tubing to cut for ignition wires and a ruler is printed in the instructions.

One then moves to the transmission and rear suspension, including the brake assemblies. This will eventually be attached to the rear of the tub. The tub includes the driver's seat and the front suspension pieces. Attached to the tubs are the radiators and intercoolers. Once the somewhat complex intake and exhaust bits are attached to the engine, the intercooler/turbo pieces should just slot right in.

The final sections of the build are in painting and attaching the various body parts and the wings. Tamiya provides guides to painting the helmets for the two drivers provided . One of the last functions is to attach the wheels. The tires have a seam that runs around them. This is normal on fresh tires. Ones that have been run a few laps will have this scuffed off. I have found a bastard file to be useful in removing these seams.

Instructions are well done and all the color information is with Tamiya paints. The decals provide markings for both Prost and Arnoux's cars. The decals look to be in fairly good condition, but being 30 years old, could stand to be replaced. Fortunately, IndyCals can do replacements for you. 


While I am not a big car builder, I do like F.1 cars of a certain vintage and so was glad to be able to locate this one for a fair price. It should build into a very nice model, though I doubt I can do as well as Mark Hiott (see archives). I am also pleased that replacement decals are available for this one.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renault_RE30 and Mark Hiott's build.

May 2017

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