Kyosho Optima Part 3

 Kyosho Optima Part 3.


Hello fellow RC enthusiasts, I hope you are all well. 

In this post I am going to give my beloved Optima rerelease a new and original bodyshell and paint. My reason's will soon become clear!

I know I have recently completed a reproduction Optima Pro shell and underbody but I wasn't happy with it. That body shell and undertray are now up for sale.

 I also missed looking at my Optima so much I decided to put it back to it's original glory, with some little changes I will share with you as we move on. 
I have owned this car for the last 6 years, so it's time for a little love to be scattered on her and make it desirable once again.

 There will be no huge changes for the untrained eye, but to true Kyosho fans it should be cool and sticking very closely with the original 1985 design and version.

If you have read part 2, or part 1 you will know I painted the body shell above with the wrong type of paint. Yes, it was the right colour but it was meant for a plastic body, not polycarbonate plastics. This meant the paint never properly stuck to the polycarbonate, nor cured fully. This resulted in paint flakes and other random markings. 

With the crappy, flaky paint still in place, some questionable cut outs and shambolic decal placements it was time for a new body shell, decals and CORRECT paint (TAMIYA PS 1).

If you look closely at the picture above (especially to the lower of the left window frame), you can see the TS paint peeling away. There are also many errors with the body trimming, shaping and decals. Therefore, with a new shell I can rectify all those problems (hopefully) and start again. 

The body shell, decals and window masks were not cheap and cost a mighty £44 with delivery. I am not at all happy with that price but it will make me think a lot more carefully about cutting, shaping and painting. The old shell (official/genuine), will be sold as it is surplus to my needs. The new official body shell should arrive before Saturday 18th June 2022, fingers crossed.

I will also be removing the aftermarket shocks and alloy lower arms, replacing them for the  original parts to recreate that authentic and original 1985 look. I will also be rebuilding and removing the oil from the original shock assemblies as they do leak oil. 

The body shell, decals and window masks arrived today, of you would think I would be happy. 

That is what £44 buys you. As I originally stated, I was not happy about the price but wait until you see the decals. It is not the best packaging I have seen.

As you can see in the picture above, the decals are creased but there is nothing I can do. I know this was the last one the supplier had in stock, so I will have to work with them. 

The other decal sheet is also bent , but I think most of the decals should be fine.

The decal above is the worst affected and is the hood/bonnet decal, which will be very prominent when on the car. To be honest, it couldn't have been in the worst place. The creases in the decals are the result of being inside the plastic bag. Kyosho should be ashamed because they are not cheap, neither are they the easiest to fit even when they are perfect. I spoke to a friend today who had the same problem with a Kyosho Beetle decals supplied with the body shell. So, if you ever buy a new body shell and decals from Kyosho, please check them for imperfections or faults before using them!!

I am happy with the body shell to be honest, as it is perfect and ready to work on.

As you can see from the indicator above, a lovely and clear cut line. Nice!!

A view of the front of the body shell, again indicating the nice and clear cut line. I think it is time to remove the excess polycarbonate plastic with a pair of scissors. I will obviously leave the cut line on (just visible) and then sand it by hand with super fine sandpaper. With time slipping along, I cut the excess away (and forgot to take pictures) and started the shaping process with the rotary tool. 

With a new medium sized rotary bit, I removed further material from the body and up to the line. 

I was, more than ever, very careful. However, with the so very prominent cut lines and a lot of practice as of late, it was a joy to shape.

I also used a small cutting disk on the rotary tool to ensure I had straight lines to clear the rear shocks. I also used the cutting disk at the front, to relieve the front shock tower. The cutting disk's are not the easiest to use and normally snap under use. So please wear some eye protection when using any rotary tool.

As you can see, I have also removed the bulk of the excess material from the right hand side, front and rear.

Again, the front left is also relieved of it's excess material!

A different angle of the shaping.

And another angle from the front.  There still is a little cutting, shaping and a lot of sanding left to do, but it is coming together. The cutting and sanding so far has taken approximately 60 minutes, if you are interested. Again I must stress, this was/is an expensive piece of plastic and I will certainly be taking care (as I always do), on this latest project! Time to get out the 1500 grade and remove the remaining cut line! 

After a closer inspection, there was still a little further excess to remove but not too much. It would be quite easy to get carried away here and remove too much. I know this as I have done it before on many occasions. There are also 6 cuts in have to insert with the cutting wheel. I am not keep on using this tool as it is very aggressive and could ruin the desired finish. 

Whilst being ultra careful, I cut the lines with my fingers crossed. The 4 cuts in the front are to pass over the front bumper holder. 

With (I think) all of the plastic removed, I sanded the bodyshell to remove any burrs left over from the rotary tool. 

With the sanding complete (again, I think), it was time to cut the holes for the body posts to fit through.

With the body post holes cut, I gave the bodyshell a test fit and it's looking good at the rear. 

And it's looking good at the front. Saying that, if there are any defects in the bodyshell, they will stand out like a sore thumb when the paint is applied.

You can see the angles and bends I had to cut and shape. When I first built this car many years ago, I thought this was quite a hard bodyshell to cut and shape when the fact is, it is quite simple if you use the correct tools and take your time.

Another picture showing the flowing curves of the bodyshell I had to cut and shape. As you can see, the protective film has come away from the bodyshell in places, but I will mask all that up before I apply any paint. However there is a job to do before any of that can happen and it includes Head & Shoulders shampoo..

Before I used any hair products, I just wanted to show you the new period correct tyres I have fitted and painted. These tyres are reproduction tyres and came from a company call Marwen RC. The original Kyosho part number is OT-30. They were no more expensive than any tyre on the market at this moment and I think they look way cooler. They are also actually thinner tyres both front and rear than the rerelease tyres. The tyres do however fit the rerelease wheels, so happy days.

I have tried to get a cross section of the front tyre to show the width.

The picture above shows the difference in width between the rerelease tyres and the reproduction tyres.

And a side by side picture for reference. Without using a ruler or tape measure, I can see the reproduction tyres are a least 10mm smaller in width and it looks like the it also has a smaller wall size. 

Another angle of the tyres. I can't really express how happy I am with it's original look. Honestly, I am in awe of the change but, I doubt many readers will be as impressed. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I will be biased anyway!

At this point, I applied the window masks and masking tape along the whole outer edge of the shell. As I have said in other posts, using the rotary tool to shape the body nearly always removes some of the outer protective plastic, therefore I mask the whole thing just to be on the safe side. 

In the background of the above picture, you can see why I am painting a new bodyshell. If your look at the yellow arrow, you can see paint peeling away due to me using the wrong type of paint. I used TS instead of PS. The TS paint, never properly cured and started faking off in random places. I also had an issue with the decals as they are massive and I stretched some when trying to applying apply them. 

I applied 3 coats of Tamiya White (PS-1), until I had built up an even coat. I then back it up with Tamiya Bright Silver (PS-41) with even coats until I was satisfied with the outer finish. This is the third time I have used bright silver as a backup for the white paint as it gives a great result and keeps the white bright. I have heard of people doing 6 to 7 coats of just the white paint. I personally believe using 2 different colours is the best method as they bond better. I would normally backup a colour with white and backup white with silver. Mind you, I have see people backup white with black of all colours. I would imagine this method would take the brightness out of the white. But hey, each to their own method!!

After a couple of hours at almost 30 degrees, the paint had cured enough to remove the masking tape and the out protective plastic film. Under closer inspection, there are some defects, however some of these can be removed quite easily and other maybe not. 

As you can see, both a bleed line and an excess spray that got under the masking. The bleed line was most probably caused by not waiting for the white to cure long enough. My bad! 

Not very prominent from this angle but, I know they are there and I want as close to perfect as I can.

A view from the rear of the bodyshell.

And yet more paint bleeds and leaks. DOH! Although these bleeds are expected, they are still a ROYAL pain. The bodyshell also needs a final sand to remove excess I could not see without the paint applied. As they say, a picture paints a thousand words and it also shows up some shoddy body shaping as it did in this case.

Although I knew the bodyshell fitted the car very well, the child in me needed to see how it looked right now! And yes, it's very plain...But I love it. The red arrows are pointing to the original shock assemblies that I have reinstalled for originality.

A picture from the rear of the buggy again indicating the fact I have replaced the aftermarket shock assemblies for the originals!! Looking good!!

A side view of the new and newly painted Optima bodyshell mounted on the buggy!! I have spent a very long time, loads of cash and patience getting the car to this standard. Yet there are still many, many hours ahead of me before the decals can be applied. With this many hours spent already, I cannot and will not let the high standards slip in any area.

I still have to replace the alloy lower arms for the original plastic arms. Other than that, I am very happy indeed with my progress!

As you are aware, I have previously (albeit a poor example) applied a full decal set to the original shell. Yes, it was a long time ago (6 years) but I had completely forgotten how complicated these decals can be to apply. Four of the decals are almost the full length of the bodyshell and are really thin in places and can therefore easily be stretched out of shape. The bodyshell also has a lot of curves the pictures don't reveal, but believe me they are there. The decals have to follow certain body lines otherwise it will look like an amateur job. 

Also (as far as I am aware), what I am writing here, is the only source of information on the actual decaling of a Kyosho Optima available on the web. I know there are hundreds of pictures of the completed car (both painted and decaled), to assume where the decals sit and the fact the decals came with instructions. But, the instructions are very small and all the  pictures on the web have subtle differences. However, having completed another example of this shell (many years ago), I will also use that as a reference, albeit a poor one.

 Using my trusted soapy water in a spray bottle, I got to work. The first decal to be applied was the front hood. I initially thought it was damaged, but when I applied it the crease could be pushed out! Happy days. Decal number 3 is a different story.

As this is one of the longest and most delicate decals, I applied plenty soapy water before applying the decal as this decal can be stretched very easily. With the water on the body I applied the decal carefully. I first got the decal positioned (as best I could) and then started pushing the water out of the big area to get some adhesion. Once the decal was attached, I then worked on the thinner areas of the decal. As you can see I have left the fold over (red arrow) until last. 

Once the bigger areas were stuck down, I concentrated on the thinner decals ensuring they were positioned correctly or as best as possible.

Instead of following the instructions for the order of the decal application, I went onto decal number 7 (above). This was simply because I wanted the other side decals to dry before applying further water to the already wet decals. Again with decal 7, I applied a lot of soapy water before fitting the decal. Again, I worked on the larger area first and then the smaller details.

After a long time and a lot of patience, two of the biggest decals in the set are correctly applied. I will now leave it overnight to completely dry. There are still a lot of decals that are placed on top of these and I will be using more water. So rather than risk upsetting the already applied decals, I will let it dry properly.

After 60 minutes, I have applied a total of 4 decals. That is a long time for only 4. I have in the past detailed a whole car in that time. However, this is a very decal heavy model as the box art is complex. 

To be honest, I completely UNDERESTIMATED how difficult this in particular kit is to detail with the supplied decals. As I said earlier, I have done one of these before and I do remember it being a royal pain. 

There are still some ultra tricky decals yet to apply over the top on these, so I must leave it overnight to dry. 

I have now applied decals 4 and 10 from the sheet. I wasn't looking forward to them but they were not as bad as I expected.

I used a hairdryer to soften the decal and push it into the crevice, ensuring it was all stuck. I have used a hairdryer before and found that too much heat will shrink the decal, so I am being very liberal with the heat. As you can see, the line has some differences in height but these are covered with another decal and will hide the differences.

I doubt you  will be able to tell from the picture, but there are another three decals added to the rear runner boards and one more is left.

This is a better picture that shows the amount of decals needed at the rear. I also managed to join the pinstripe quite seamlessly however, it did take a long time to get just right. 

If you look closely at the two bodyshells above, at the "FOUR WHEEL DRIVE" decal along the side, the bottom bodyshell decal is wrong. This time, on the new shell (top) it is correct. 

The picture above is a better example, showing the decal rising up when it should be straight. The change in angle of the body hides it like an optical illusion but it is there! I did not realise the decal had such a taper on it the first time around, but I certainly did this time.

With so few decals fitted in such a long period of time, I concentrated on to the rear of the bodyshell and the yellow decals. There are 12 decals to apply in this very small area, I know from experience they are very tricky, so I pushed on.

As all these decals are intertwined, the positioning of each is critical for the fit of each and every following label. After fitting the yellow side piece, I used a scalpel to remove the excess decal covering the shock tower opening. You may be able to see some of the extensive body shapes the decal had to be shaped on to. Again I did this with the aid of a little heat from the hairdryer.

With the aid of the hairdryer, I was able to work in the same area and place decals near to recently applied decals without fear of them moving.

As you can see from the above comparison picture, I still have many decals to apply in this area but it now needs time to dry naturally and find it's form around the bodyshell. Before I apply further decals in 24 hours, I will use the hairdryer to once again shape the already applied decals. 

Before I let the bodyshell dry overnight, I had to place it on the buggy to see how it looks and I am happy with the slow, yet effective progress. All the lines are level, equal and more importantly, positioned correctly. Time well spent in my humble opinion, with many further hours on the horizon. Saying that, I think I have applied and positioned the hardest (to fit) decals of the set, so maybe not as many hours as I expect.

After letting the shell dry overnight, I pushed on with the applying the remaining yellow decals.

Again I am using a hairdryer for a little heat. Remember, if you use this method, too much heat will actually shrink the decal and ruin it.

As you can see there are many body shapes the decals have to be moulded around and a little heat helps in the process.

And it's starting to take shape.

There are some unwanted creases in this area that are simply unavoidable. The decals have to change angle on a body shape, therefore creases will happen.

I have at last finished the rear yellow decals after what seemed an eternity. Yes it took a long time and it is still not perfect but, I did manage to join the pinstripe line on the rear decal.

I have now finished decal sheet 1, time to quickly move on to sheet 2 (above). Although I previously stated, most of the difficult decals had been applied, there are 4 difficult decals on sheet 2 that I forgot about! DOH. Those big black ones above...

The first decal I fitted from sheet 2 was the "motor & machine", which is one big decal including the LeMans etc. Although it is a very large decal, it was quite easy to apply as I had the straight line of the above decal to use as a datum point.

I then applied the number "5" decals to the sides and front! Again these were easy to fit as I used the other decals as a reference point to apply the numbers.

With all the decals for tor today applied, I put the old one by it's side for a comparison and it has a better look than the old one in my humble opinion.

Again, I had to see what it looked like on the car and I am very happy with the results. I will now leave the bodyshell to dry overnight and let the decals set into shape.

As you can see, I have fitted one of the roll bar decals. These decals are a lot thinner than the rest I have previously applied. 

In the above picture, I have completed all of the box art decals and I'm very happy with the results.

A little look at the inside of the completed bodyshell. 

And as always, a final test fit for the bigger picture. Looking good in my humble opinion.

With the bodyshell now complete, I can reflect on the process I used and followed. I had massively underestimated how much work and effort goes into cutting, painting and decaling a Kyosho Optima in the box art. The cutting, shaping and painting were completed as with any other polycarbonate shell. However, this kit has many, many decals with some of them almost as long as the buggy itself. There are a stack of body lines to follow and the decals themselves are delicate to say the least. As I have stated many times throughout this post, I have completed this shell before, but I was unprepared for the arduous task ahead. I would imagine I have spent at least 18 hours (over a two week period) working on the bodyshell alone, so it's not a shell for the faint hearted. Therefore, I would not recommend this buggy to anyone who does not have the patience to complete the whole build. Nor would I recommend it as a first RC car kit, simply down to the man hours required to complete the bodyshell. This doesn't mean I am throwing shade at the Optima, on the contrary. I would recommend an Optima for any RC car enthusiast and there is an easier Optima out right now and It's called the "Javelin".

As you can see the Javelin (above) has a rail frame instead of a bodyshell which is assembled with the car. Under the frame the Javelin is identical to the Optima. The Javelin also sports a neat rear wing too! The Javelin kit is a little more expensive than the Optima, but not a lot.

Above is another gorgeous example of the Kyosho Javelin finished in mint green. It is also sporting a set of alloy wheels with the OT-60 Bridgestone tyres. That is the great thing about the Javelin, it can be highly modified with loads of aftermarket pieces all over the internet. Saying that, the Javelin cages are very expensive for what they are, and are sometimes difficult to acquire but they are out there.  

Well my fellow RC enthusiasts, I hope you have enjoyed and maybe learned a tip or two from this post.
 I thank you very kindly for reading.

Until the next time I pull my hear out, take care fellow RC enthusiasts.

2/7/22 2022