As a collector of interesting Le Mans cars, and being a fan of the simple prepainted kits of JPS, I instantly sent off an order when I heard about the release of the works Rondeaus that ran at Le Mans in 1983. The car itself wasn't particularly successful, all three works cars retiring before half distance. It wasn't especially quick either, creating far too much downforce, severely limiting the top speed along the Mulsanne Straight, a real handicap in the pre-chicane days.
For those unfamiliar with JPS kits, they are well cast, prepainted (at least the body shell) simple kits that offer a quick and easy build. There is a wide choice of material available including a good selection of some of the more obscure Le Mans entrants.
The kit itself contains an accurate pre-painted bodyshell, black resin cockpit and dashboard, with details moulded in. In addition there are four turned wheels, rubber tyres, thin metal axles, prepainted wing mirrors, resin wheel inserts, resin steering wheel, four good headlights and a black resin rear wing with end plates already attached. Decals are printed by Virage and show good colour and are in good registry. There are clear vacforms for the windshield, side windows and light covers. The bodyshell is well painted in white with a good even coverage, although the panel lines are somewhat rough. The instructions contain many colour shots of the built car including two interior shots (why can't other manufacturers include interior shots?). The written painting notes are in French, but can be deciphered with a good French dictionary. I am slowly building a French-English repertoire for kit building.
Before starting there is the choice of which car to build, I chose the #24 car of Henri Pescarolo and Thierry Boutsen (I have in mind a mini theme of Pescarolo cars at Le Mans). There is a fair amount of painting to be done, before proceeding. Parts that need priming include, the rear wing, wheel inserts and cockpit and dashboard. I sprayed the rear wing with Halfords Satin black, the endplates where finished with a Humbrol blue enamel (each car has a particular colour for the end plates). The wheel inserts and cockpit were finished in Halfords spray aluminium, and the dashboard satin black. Unfortunately there were no dashboard decals, so I choose to use a variety of enamels to pick out various details (after market decals would be another alternative - e.g. those by Virage).
The rest of the detail painting involved various grills, recesses, vents and intakes, in addition to the widow surrounds. The seatbelts were finished in blue, but no decals were supplied so without any information I left them that way.
The only modification I made to the kit was the use of 1.0mm and 1.5mm orange lights (Meri) for the front and rear indicators, much better than paint or decals.
The decals (with one exception) went on easily, the exception being the red/white/blue S shaped rear sections, which required a lot of solvent and patience. Final touches were the photo-etch wiper and tow-hook.
To answer the most important question first, does it look like the real car. Without hesitation, yes it does (sources - "Le Mans 1923-1992" and "Supersports - The 220MPH Le Mans Cars"). The car captures the lines and feeling of a most distinctive racecar, you can see why it created so much downforce. It was a quick and pretty easy build, and would be recommended to anyone starting out or nervous about painting. Whilst some would call the car ugly, I feel there is a certain beauty in ugliness. I feel a new collecting theme coming on, the most ugly cars to have raced at Le Mans!