Scale Cars

Maisto 1/18 Porsche Carrera GT Prototype


First off – not my car, not my model. You’d catch me setting my house on fire before you see me invest any serious money in any fabulous German engineering, much less a Porsche. I’ll concede that they’re nice cars – no doubt a symbol of wealth and status and have the performance to back up their name – but if you ever gave me the choice between a Carrera GT or my Hyundai, I’d take the Carrera immediately. It’d be promptly sold, and the money used to buy a ’17 NSX, 3 or 4 GT-R’s (one for me, two or three for my pals), an STi and a GT86, and maybe a warehouse garage to build said cars.


A request from one of my housemates who’s very much a Porsche headgeek and generally much more interested in hyper and super cars than I ever will be (ironically he also owns a Hyundai).


I’ve actually always wanted to do a repaint on a larger scale diecast car – I’ve been too afraid to do it since these models are a bit more expensive and a bit more detailed than the usual 1/24 cars I work with, but since it’s a commission I figured it’d be a good chance to give it a shot.


The original car was gloss black – my house mate had already disassembled most of it when he gave it to me, and even went out of his way to mask the head and taillights for me with standard blue masking tape.


Tub, chassis, and engine all taken apart. Only the body itself is metal, the rest of the components are mostly plastic.


Surprisingly nice suspension setup in here; I didn’t expect it to have independent springs and a working steering column in a $40 model.


Leaving the engine untouched, even though there’s a bit too much chrome in there for my liking. Points given for how incredibly well detailed it is though.

p1200458Stock flat silver wheels, staggered front and rear. I’m not sure if the production car actually had such drastically staggered rims or if it was a stylistic choice for the model, because the difference in size between the fronts and rears is huge.


And of course wrapped in Falken FK43 Azenis Maisto rubber.

p1200459Leaving the front boot alone too – it’s just a plain black plastic tub. The doors are also metal, with the chrome handles so considerately masked by the owner.


Stripped the interior down into as many pieces I could for ease of painting – the seats are particularly cool in that I think they’re made of a hard PVC plastic, meaning they have a little bit of a rubbery bend and given to allow the back of the seat to slot together with the bottom.


It took me the longest time to figure out what this was – at first glance I immediately pegged it for an e-brake – of which it actually is. But after studying the canopy layout I saw that there was simply no area around the center console and center dash for the piece.

It took me a while hunting around and studying online pictures to realize that it’s actually meant to go between the driver’s seat and door – which seems totally impractical and inefficient (doesn’t it make getting into the car so much more difficult if the handbrake is engaged and raised to block entry for the driver?) but maybe the wonders and miracles of German engineering simply escape my tiny mind.


If I recall correctly this car had carbon coated ceramic rotors or something fancy like that – as cool as it would have been to paint the rotors gunmetal or something I opted to take the lazy route and just work the calipers.


Finished in gloss red via some quick hand-painting acrylic work. Easy stuff, though unfortunately we lost the Porsche lettering on the calipers. Wasn’t as cool as having Brembo badged across them anyway, no big loss.


The official commission request sheet. We had discussed the main car body’s color to be white beforehand, the rest is just details.

p1200463I figured for something like a large scale diecast body I shouldn’t take any paint and prep shortcuts the way I usually do (skipping sanding, priming, and just trying to scrape by and expedite the process by laying on thicker coats of paint).

p1200464The entire body was scuffed up, which means unfortunately the Carrera GT and front Porsche badge had to be done away with. They were merely decals applied to the body, not raised badges.


This part of the GT’s design confused me a bit, mostly because I haven’t seen anything like it before. It appears to just be a clear third brake light bar. It seems kind of out of place to have just one clear piece floating behind the seats, and it didn’t look particularly flattering on the model due to the very visible peg holes, so I decided to commit sacrilege and paint it away with the rest of the car.

p1200467Prepped up for painting.


Had to jury rig a box to make it fit the Carrera’s body over and use a toothpick to support the rear hatch since it wouldn’t stay up on its own unlike the hood.



Primed with white Tamiya fine surface primer first, then painted with satin white, followed by a gloss coat added for strength and durability, and finally a matte coat for a clean finish.

p1200473Priming the interior pieces as well, though for some funky reason parts of the door interior reacted weirdly to the primer.

p1200474I find myself enjoying the pace for this build and paint process – mainly because it’s a pre-made model so there’s less to do in the fitment and parts assembly/prep department – I just take the pieces apart and paint them, no other fuss or muss. Makes me wonder if I’ll actually end up enjoying painting diecasts more now.

p1200481Gloss red painted on after primer, then masked the parts that were meant to stay red.


The dash was particularly painstaking to mask, given its fairly unorthodox design.


Ran into a slight problem upon applying the gloss durability coat on top of the white paint – it started cracking and turning into a crackle finish as I sprayed the paint onto the body. I’ve never had this issue before as far as I can remember – granted, I was painting in fairly cold and post-rainy weather, but I brought the pieces indoors almost immediately to allow it to dry and cure, so I’m not sure if that was a big issue here or not.


The clear gloss was crackling as it hit the surface, so I’m assuming that it was simply drying too quickly, which is strange given that I always observed paint drying faster in warm conditions and slower in cold. Yet here I was watching paint crackle and dry to the touch almost instantly in more frigid temperatures.

After some searching online on this issue I didn’t pull anything absolutely conclusive, but the general consensus seems to be that it’s probably the paint itself going bad – a fair accusation given that I was using Krylon Gloss Clear (cheap Wal-Mart stuff) that had been sitting without use for 3 or 4 months.


I decided to toss the offending can and skip the gloss coat altogether – because I’m too cheap to go out and actually buy another can of Tamiya Gloss. The body had to be re-sanded, re-primed, and re-painted though. A pain in the arse and a severe delay to my planned timetable, but as much as I think this Porsche deserves the crackle body finish, I’m pretty sure my client doesn’t.


As I was redoing the body, I discovered a corner of the door sill guard decal was peeling up. I actually previously thought these were impossible to remove cleanly, so I just painted over them and pegged it as an acceptable casualty. Turns out, they came right up and even more – paint didn’t stick to them! I don’t know what material these decals are but the paint that had covered them came right off like a water slide – no residue no signs of bleed, came right off easier than a sticker. A happy surprise, now I get to keep the sill guards a part of the car after painting.


As I was resanding the body I decided to take the masking tape off the lights since they looked like they were peeling anyway – turns out this was a good move to see how well the tape actually worked, because the answer is not too well. There was a fair amount of paint bleed onto the headlight housings around the edges, so I went ahead and cleaned that all up with some paint thinner, clearing the housings again.

p1200514Re-masking would be a pain in the ass though, so I decided to just go ahead and remove the housings, even though they seemed to be pretty well secure within the body. It took a heat knife to cut the thick layers of plastic off the holders, but they came out without breaking and I can just cement them back in later.

p1200515Same procedure for the taillights, which are molded a clear red plastic. They actually sport some metallic foil decal-like details within them, to show detail through the clear casings.


There are two such detail pieces per light, and it didn’t look like I could remove the bottom one cleanly so I decided to just stick with the top one, which seems to be the one that shows more prominently anyway.


Interior nearly done – just needs a little brush detail and a flat coat to finish it off. Black and red is always good, right?


Body also basically done, looks clean.


Strangely enough I wasn’t given this kit with side view mirrors – the mirror housings just have a cross shaped support but no actual mirror lens, so I decided to make one out of pla-plate and stick it on myself. Maybe my housemate took them off before giving me the model, but he made no mention of it.


Putting things together – I appreciate how easily the taillights slot in, but am rather disappointed that on a scale model like this the peg to connect the light to the body is so visible through the housing.


And there she is. Awkward story – my house mate had apparently wanted gloss white, though I recall in our conversation about the car that he said matte.


When I was painting the car I was thinking how odd and unique a flat white paint job would be, but didn’t seek to confirm any further since it made my life easier (much easier to get a uniform matte finish than a non-orange peeled gloss finish). Turns out I had gotten my customer’s request totally wrong, but in the end he loved it anyway so everybody wins.


A peculiar quirk with this model is that it actually isn’t the production Carrera GT – I put prototype in the title because that’s what it is – the initial pre-production concept. Maisto markets the car as the actual Carrera GT, but there are subtle differences in body lines and little things like the fog lights up front that aren’t on the production model. Really threw me off when I was referencing images online for the car.


The paint is a bit thick – no thanks to the extra half-layer on the car that was botched and sanded down – but thankfully it doesn’t impact the doors or hatches opening and closing.


I also may have messed up and reassembled the calipers wrong – apparently the dual calipers are supposed to be on the rear wheels, though I figured that the front wheels would need more braking bite, so I did the logical thing and put them up front. Not a detail that most would notice, but sue me for not being a Porsche mechanic.


The pre-production fog light bezels are actually…empty. I’m not sure if they ever actually came with clear lenses, but like the side view mirrors I mentioned above, I never got anything of the sort with the car from my house mate when he gave me the model, so I can only assume Maisto decided just to keep the bezels blank with peg holes. Odd.


And because the car is white, I figured lining in some of the body with thin black marker wouldn’t do too much harm. It was just in the bumper seam areas to give a little more contrast.


Now, the interior color scheme was nearly a complete byproduct of my own layout – I don’t think any Carrera GT actually has this exact interior color breakup.


I assumed my customer wanted a bright red racy ostentatious interior, and after Googling some images online I found that I liked this one the best. Ironically it’s actually pretty different from the model’s interior layout once you start looking at it closely – because it’s not even a regular Carrera’s interior – it’s of a particularly rare and exotic spin-off of that car, the Gemballa Mirage GT.


I think it worked out pretty well though – at first before I put everything together I honestly thought it looked kind of gaudy. Bright red interiors often have this effect for me.


I wouldn’t mind red highlights normally, but when half the dash is bright red it starts wandering into grossly loud for me. Kind of ironic when I drive a bright red car (though I’ll point out I had the choice of getting my car with a black exterior and red leather interior, and I have yet to come around to thinking so much red inside looks good, so I opted for the inverse).


All the same I actually think it works pretty well with the clean white exterior, and my housemate described it as “orgasmic” when I showed it to him, so score on that front.


Another weird absence with this model to note – no floor pedals! Yet another component that just wasn’t given to me with the model, and I’m left wondering if it was ever a thing to begin with. I don’t recall any open peg holes or slots for a pedal assembly under the dash, so maybe Maisto just never put any in. Or maybe you drive this Porsche with a little cash feeder in the dash instead of the usual gas/brake/clutch. A dollar to get moving, larger bills to speed it up.


No front-engine, front-wheel drive econobox BS here; it’s more than you can afford palPorsche.


Despite being completely unmolested, the bay looks really good stock. I particularly like the little gimmick of having the valve covers poke up and through the rear bonnet, a design feature they changed for the production model.


A really neat feature that I haven’t seen on models before despite being such a small simple thing is the little bonnet strut that flips upwards to hold the bay open. It’s a tiny little thing behind the driver’s side with a sort of rail slot on the underside of the bonnet that it slides into.


As well as they did with the bonnet-propping detail though, ironically they fell a bit short with stuff like the clear engine covers where you can still clearly see the pegs and where they connect to the car body.


Frunk also left bone stock, though there wasn’t much I could do for it in the first place. I’m actually not sure what that molded detail is there; pretty sure it’s not a spare tire or anything.

p1200557The independent suspension is nice, but ironically my house mate broke the steering rack while he was trying to take the car apart, so while the front wheels still turn and move just fine, they no longer turn together and are not connected to the steering wheel.

p1200559p1200558The wheels are all really nice – I’ve always liked the solid five or six-spoke designs – never been one for a lot of the crazy spiderweb mesh wheels that’s all the craze on the scene these days. The tires are a little too meaty for my tastes and have quite a bit of sidewall but I’m assuming the model is staying true to the real car’s specs.

p1200565Apparently most of the GT’s undercarriage consisted of sealed plates below, but there should still be some exhaust and/or driveshaft detail running through the rear center, which obviously isn’t replicated here.


I nearly forgot because it’s such a subtle understated feature on this car – it does come with what appears to be an active aero wing. I’m no expert on this sort of thing since where I come from we stick to the usual park benches stolen from public property and bolted onto our trunks, but I’m assuming on an exotic like this the spoiler probably activates over a certain speed.


The actual change in the wing’s position is incredibly subtle, but I think it adds a much better look to the car’s flat plank look when it’s up.

p1200563Speaking of that look though, I’m actually not a fan. This car is strange in that after I finished painting it up and putting it back together, I found that I only really like how it looks at very particular angles.


Looking at the model from the front and especially top-down makes it look unusually long – maybe because there’s no top to the canopy, but the whole thing looks strangely low, flat, and long in an unflattering way.

p1200561A wider design language would really beef the car out and make it look a lot more presentable, I think – but maybe that’s a quirk of this prototype – the production GT very well could look a lot better in person.

It was a fun project – I was paid peanuts with basically nothing for labor but I guess we can call it the housemate discount – commission work usually costs more.


It looks like painting large scale diecast models isn’t nearly as scary as I thought – I actually cut nearly no corners with the prep on this model just to see how well it could actually turn out versus my usual rushed work schedule, and I think the subtle returns were worth it. I almost always skimp out on primer and light base coats but for something of this size and large surface area it seemed appropriate that I take it slowly to make sure it came out right.





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