The radically designed R8 is Audi's entry into the super sports car market. Not to be confused with its prototype Le Mans winning race car brethren of the same name, the R8 is based on the Lamborghini Gallardo platform. Engine options for the R8 include a 4.2 liter FSI V-8 or a 5.2 liter FSI V-10, and feature Audi's trademark quattro all wheel drive system. Power to the wheels is provided by a Lamborghini 6-speed manual transmission, or Audi's 6-speed semi-automatic R-tronic gearbox. Perhaps the most notable and controversial design feature of the R8 is body side-blade. The reason for this design serves no purpose beyond breaking up the body lines of the car to make it appear smaller. The side blade can be finished in body color, Oxygen Silver, or carbon fiber. The roomy interior sports carbon fiber throughout the dashboard, door sills and panels, sporty leather seats, and Audi's concert system with single CD player with MP3 playback capability, AM/FM radio, auxiliary input jack and speed-dependent volume control. In addition to the coupe, a convertible model (R8 Spyder), and the faster R8 GT coupe is available as well.
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Looking for something that was completely out of my ballpark to build, I decided to give this kit the go around. Having never heard of the R8 prior to getting this kit in late 2008, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. All I know is that this car was so radical looking on the box art that I had to have it on my shelf. After spending hours researching the real R8 for preparation of this build up, I've come to the conclusion that I want one. Really bad. So if I ever win an obscene amount of money in the state lottery, look for an Audi R8 to grace my driveway. Anyhoo, back to the model. The model I built is the Revell USA version, though from what I understand the RevellAG kit is exactly the same, other than it is molded in silver. The kit contains 106 parts and is molded in white, with clear and chrome plated parts. A small mesh square is also included to replicate the body scoop inlet screens and heat exchanger screen (I used the optional styrene inserts for my build). The comprehensive decal sheet contains various logos, data markings, dashboard/gauge decals, as well as simulated body vent screens and various license plates for several EU countries.
The first thing I tackled was body preparation for paint. The rear fascia was attached as well as the tail light bezel panel. I wanted to build my R8 to represent a version sold in the North American market so work on those modifications began. The first thing I did was fill the two holes in the rear panel that the license plate bracket mounts to with styrene rod. Afterwords, some glazing putty was applied to smooth out the area.
I also modified the front grill. Work here was pretty straightforward. I extended the front license plate bracket to reach the edges of the grill with parts of the unused rear plate bracket. A few swipes of a sanding stick reshaped the modified bracket ends to match the shape of the grill. The unneeded slats were removed from the grill and that area sanded flush. Here you can see the differences with the top grill being stock from the kit, and the modified version below.
The body was sanded with an 1800 grit polishing kit pad to give the primer coat some tooth to stick to. Three or four coats of Dupli-Color sandable primer were applied and allowed to dry. The body was checked for flaws at this time and any bugaboos fixed. After wet-sanding the primer coats, the body was washed and allowed to dry before painting began. One aspect of the model that I toiled over while doing my research was what color did I want to finish this car in. A few radical choices came and went (Lime Ice Green to Ford Grabber Orange), but in the end I settled for something a bit more traditional (but still custom). I settled on Dupli-Color Maui Blue Metallic, which is a lighter icy blue that is darker in shade from Audi's Jet Blue Metallic. Several coats were applied from the rattle can to the body over the course of three hours, wet sanding in between coats to get rid of any debris that found its way into the wet paint. One last wet coat was applied and left to dry (never sand a final metallic paint coat as it causes the metal flakes to swirl unevenly). Another choice I needed to make was the side blade and engine hatch vent color. After a bit of internal debate, I went with Tamiya Gloss Aluminum, which complimented the blue nicely. The body was masked and a couple of coats of Aluminum were applied with an airbrush (I wanted to control the volume of paint here, a rattle can application would have been a recipe for disaster). The masking tape was removed and the body was washed again and left to dry while I decanted some Plasti-Kote high gloss clear coat into an airbrush jar. Several coats of clear were applied until I was satisfied with the depth of the color. After the clear coat cured completely, I polished it to a mirror shine with an LMG polishing kit.
While all these coats of paint were drying, I worked on the various other subassemblies like the engine, chassis, wheels, and interior. Some of the exterior color was also employed as an accent color for the door panels and dashboard, as well as the engine intake shroud. The rest of the interior is finished in Model Master Black Chrome (as semi-gloss black). The seats were painted black, followed by Tamiya Sky Gray for the cushion inserts (to match the side blade color).
With all of the sub-assemblies finished, it was time for final assembly. Final construction proved to be a serious bugger. A twisted chassis was the major problem, as it practically affected the fit of all the major sub-assemblies (mainly the interior bucket and the engine). After fighting it into position, it was epoxied along the sides and at the front. Excess epoxy was removed and the works clamped. I ended up removing the mounting studs for the wheels, sitting the car on a stack of business cards, and reattaching the wheels with two-part epoxy so all four wheels touch the ground. The engine was also crooked because of the chassis, so I removed the pegs for the engine intake and re-orientating it to the car itself so the engine appears straight. Glass fit was subpar and required clamping to ensure a flush fit. All in all, I give the kit a C+ on final assembly.
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