Tamiya is the go-to manufacturer if you want a super realistic looking RC car. It is for this reason why so many homebuilt scale builds start off with a Tamiya car or truck kit. For extreme RC modeler Adrian “Kuhfarben”, Tamiya kits have been the base for the numerous ultra-scale cars that he has created. All of Adrian’s builds are exceptional and there are far too many to properly show in one article. With that said, we decided to showcase one of his standout builds here. This is Adrian “Kuhfarben’s” remarkable Tamiya Ford Focus homebuilt.
ADRIAN’S CUSTOM TAMIYA 2004 FORD FOCUS RS TARMAC SPEC MONTE CARLO RALLY CAR
Every time Adrian builds a new car he finds some way to make it take longer than the last one, but the effort to pull this one off was a bigger step than ever before. The main reason being the custom graphics. The car is based on the Tamiya 2003 Ford Focus RS WRC body set (item #51037), but with the 2004 Monte Carlo livery. Adrian felt the stock 2003 box art scheme was a bit basic and uninspiring…all white paint with a white wing, white mirrors and predominantly blue graphics. The BP livery is much more colorful and eye catching, yet was not easy because no-one makes these stickers
in 1/10-scale. This meant that Adrian had to create them himself.
Adrian tells us that this was a commissioned build, and the person wanted an alternative livery and suggested this BP one amongst others. In the 2004 WRC, the livery varied slightly, but this version with the small mirrors and Puma logos was Adrian’s favorite and it had to be tarmac spec.
CREATING THE GRAPHICS
Creating the graphics was not an easy process. In the past, Adrian has done custom schemes, but always fantasy and never one based on a real car so it never needed to be that exact. The first step was to obtain a set of the correct decals that he could scan and then trace. These are Renaissance Models aftermarket items for a Hasegawa 1/24-scale static kit. He did not want to use the body set’s 2003 sheet for just a couple of Ford and Michelin stickers so every single logo and shape needed redrawing at the larger size. Some logos other people had done so he could get the files for those, but others like the LM Gianetti had to be redone from scratch. For the Cosworth and Team RS font, Adrian found a similar typeface and then modified the letter shapes.
With the car being 1/10-scale and the scanned decals 1/24-scale, you might think it should be a case of simply scaling them up, but there is a couple of problems with this. The first is the RC body isn’t exactly 1/10-scale and isn’t proportionally the same as the real car or the 1/24 model. As the body has to fit a regular 257mm wheelbase, it’s dimensionally different in certain places to allow this. This meant Adrian had to test print and resize most of the graphics, especially those that closely follow the shape of the body.
Specifically shaped stickers like those for the rear wing were done by scanning the wing end plate and sizing the graphic to fit. And to further compound the time it took to make these, he added rounded cut lines to every sticker for a super neat factory look.
PAINTING AND STICKERS
In order to recreate the paint scheme, Adrian decided that he would paint the black and white and use stickers or paint the outside for the colored sections. Right at the start there was the process of working out where the demarcation between black and white should be. Adrian made paper templates of the color stripes so he could mask for the black. After painting, it was backed with silver and then white again.
The next step was to paint the colored stripes on the outside, however Adrian wanted to try vinyl first. The first step was to obtain every shade of green available so he could match them to the BP scheme as closely as possible. It took a lot of trial and error to get the sizing and position right with the RC body having different proportions to the static kit. Each color is an individually cut shape with the silver borders, then cut and applied. The great thing about the vinyl is how vibrant the colors are compared to printed stickers, especially digitally printed ones.
Adrian used vinyl again for the shapes by the headlights and the BP sunflowers. As each “petal” of the sunflower is a separate shape, these all had to be positioned by hand. Where the body curves by the wheel arches, several petals needed to be slightly longer or wider to account for the curvature without leaving gaps. Again a lot of cutting the shape, test fitting, re-cutting and so on.
Once all the shapes were done, Adrian added the stickers. Most of these are printed on clear with the Monte Carlo door numbers, logo plates and Michelin logos on white as this avoids the translucency issues when printing white ink. He had most of the logos printed in several sizes so that he could pick the most appropriate size. There’s plenty of room on the sheet so it’s easier and faster to do this than do test prints on paper. As anyone who’s worked with print media will tell you, you only spot mistakes or omissions when the product has left the machine and is in your hands.
Adrian has built Focuses before so he had some ideas on what he wanted to improve with this one. Like his 2001 car, this got the proper left-hand-drive wipers from the Tamiya F350 parts tree. The headlight buckets are the same Killerbody items as the 2002, again painted semi-gloss black. Similar to the 2002 car, this one has the metal pipework behind the grille. Adrian was able to fabricate the three dimensional ducting behind the grille that channels air into the intercooler. Adrian tells us that he was really pleased with how this turned out. There’s also ducting for the brakes and the radiator which mounts below the hood vents. Fans were added for the radiator as per the real car.
Adrian then made hood and tailgate pins, the exhaust, roof transponders, aerials and the roof camera pod. The cameras have been something he has been wanting to include on his builds for a while though he hadn’t worked out how to make them and he could not find any being sold. Adrian’s solution was to make it by cutting and gluing layers of styrene then sanding it to the correct shape. It’s not perfect nonetheless it looks a lot better than the empty space where it should sit. He then made blanking plates to cover the holes for the standard kit wing mirrors and despite this being a drilled shell, the holes for the body posts and antenna aren’t visible as the stickers cover them…a happy accident!
Beside the livery, there’s a few other differences to the box art. This is tarmac spec so has the OZ Superturismo-type wheels are used rather than the gravel ones. The mirrors are the smaller race type ones that appeared on the car part way through 2004. They look a little odd mounted so far along the door, however that’s how the real car has them due to the seating position being moved back for weight distribution. The mirrors and the wing are just tolerance fit so they don’t have body clips and O-rings visible from the inside.
This 2004 Ford Focus has the usual cockpit set except as the real car has a digital dashboard, Adrian didn’t want to use the analogue clocks from the included sticker sheet. To remedy this he cut up and reassembled the digital sticker from the left-hand-drive set. The standard gear lever was replaced with a fly-off handbrake to modernize the look. Next he managed to replicate the roll cage padding using 8mm rubber tubing from a Tamiya TA-02S Lancia 037 kit.
The driver helmets were quite tricky as François Duval’s is a sparkly silver with blue flame graphics. According to Adrian, the flames aren’t quite right, yet look okay. To achieve the sparkle effect, he used Tamiya X-11 Chrome Silver which was airbrushed on and then clear coated with X-22 Clear. Stephane Prevot’s helmet is non-metallic LP-11 Silver and has Sylvester, the cartoon cat on it in a kind of “hanging on for dear life” pose. Adrian was unable to find this to copy and it’s beyond his skill to draw it so he had to simplify it to just black and white shapes.
Adrian explains that this is by quite a margin the most involved and time consuming build he has ever done, although it was totally worth it to have the only one in the world like this. Most of the time, Adrian’s builds are just better versions of what Tamiya produces, however this 2004 Ford Focus with BP livery is unique and made for one very gratifying build for Adrian.
- Full custom printed 2004 Monte Carlo WRC stickers
- Vinyl cut color sections and BP sunflowers
- Brake vents cut out with mesh fitted
- Styrene ducting for brake vents
- Battery isolator switch
- Electric cutoff and fire extinguisher scuttle switches
- Hood washer jets
- Thin black wheel nuts
- Extended front splitter
- Front splitter rivets
- Hood vents cut out
- Under-hood ducting from vents to radiator
- Radiator and fans
- Grille and front bumper cut out and mesh fitted
- Intercooler painted matte silver
- Intercooler ducting
- Pipes behind grille
- Front light buckets (Killerbody Corvette) painted semi-gloss black
- LEDs painted chrome fitted to light buckets
- Rear lights 3D texture (Wrap-up Next)
- Rear lights reflective backed
- Styrene rear wiper blank plug
- Towing eye arrows
- Jacking points
- Body lines (ABC Hobby 0.5mm tape)
- Ford and O·Z wheel stickers
- Michelin, Ford and O·Z logos on spare wheel
- Vinyl cut Michelin tire logos
- Tire F/R R/L notes
- 3D Ford grille badge
- Rear bumper cut out and mesh fitted
- Rear bumper fog and reversing light lenses made from clear styrene and 3D texture stickers
- Rear bumper base section matte black
- Smaller door mirrors
- Mirror chrome vinyl for door mirrors
- Roof aerials
- Roof transponder domes
- Styrene fabricated roof camera pod
- Styrene exhaust painted matt silver
- Camber adjustment
- Wheels painted TS Clear
- Correct gloss and matte black window trims
- Rear number plate light
- Door handles cut from matt black vinyl
- Door locks
- LHD Windscreen wipers (Ford F-350 Hi-Lift)
- Stealth body mounts
- Interior cockpit set
- Printed co-driver pace notes
- Custom printed driver sponsor logos
- Vinyl cut driver helmet graphics
- Vinyl cut cockpit detailing stickers
- Digital dashboard display
- Steering wheel Sparco logo
- Styrene roll cage with matte black front section
- Roll cage padding with Puma logos
- Tamiya TB EVO.6 Black Edition chassis kit (#84408)
- Brembo brake discs and calipers
- 1mm rear wheel spacers
- Camber adjustment
- Rear toe-in removed
ABOUT THE BUILDER – ADRIAN “KUHFARBEN”
Adrian has been seriously interested in RC since mid 2014. Like many, Adrian had RC cars as a kid and in his case it was a Tamiya Nissan King Cab that he got in 1990. Then other things grabbed his attention and he moved onto other things. Then in 2012 he picked up a Tamiya Blackfoot III, but it wasn’t until he bought a Mountain Rider in July of 2014 that he properly started to get back into it. At the end of 2015 was when he built his very first highly detailed car…the Lancia Delta.
You would thing that a builder of this caliber would have a ridiculous amount of RC cars in his stable. On the contrary, Adrian tells us he has about twenty. The majority of the builds are for other people and for the bodies he makes for himself reuse the a few chassis that he has. Adrian does have a large collection of unbuilt bodies though…just over 100! Aside from the race/rally cars, he owns several King Cabs, a few other trucks and some classic re-re’s like the Sand Scorcher, Avante and Egress.
In his collection he owns some high-end Tamiya chassis, but only for the build experience and to look good in photos. He is only really interested in painting, building and collecting. He has a couple that he drives around and none of his real-world friends are interested in RC so they don’t get much use. All the highly detailed cars he builds are from body sets rather than complete kits. When one is completed the body goes back in the box and the chassis gets used for the next car.
And lastly, Adrian tells us what “Kuhfarben” means. He initially chose the name as a made up tuner name for his Street Racer style Porsche 911 GT2. Adrian wanted a German sounding Rauh-Welt type name and as the car was black and white like a Friesian cow, he picked Kuhfarben. Kuhfarben is a fabricated German compound word for “cow colored”. He then needed a brand name for his builds so he stuck with it. It probably sounds strange to a native German speaker, however Adrian likes it a lot.
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