Hawaiian Tropic Porsche 935


1/12 Hawaiian Tropic Porsche 935
by Dale King

In the 1979 Le Mans 24 Hour race, the IMSA class Hawaiian Tropic 935 finished second overall, and first in its class. This was quite an upset. And even more amazingly, the winner was the Group 5 Numero Reserve Porsche 935 K3.

The faster Group 6 cars did not fare well that year.  They proved to be less reliable in the race than the Gr. 5 or IMSA 935s. But thanks to the many privateer Porsche entries, it was another winning year for Porsche at Le Mans, with Porsche taking 1st through 4th overall positions.

The Hawaiian Tropic 935, driven by the unique team of car owner Dick Barbour, Paul Newman, and Rolf Stommelen, became an important piece of Porsche and Le Mans history.

This model is based on the 1/12 Tamiya Porsche 935. Following are just a few of the changes made to reflect this race version.       

Rectangular to Round Headlights


I cut square blocks of Renshape, drilled out the center and then glued them into place.  The spaces
around the block were filled with bondo then the whole thing shaped to match the front curve.

dk935-03 dk935-04

I then machined Lucite cylinders, shaped and polished with the front to match the curve of the front clip. I covered the back of the cylinder with Bare Metal foil and painted the sides flat black.


Here it is installed in the primered body.


I also filled in the louvers on top of the front fenders. I glued a sheet of styrene underneath and then used bondo to fill the holes.

Doggie Dishes (Wheel Covers)


This shows the changes made to the front doggie dishes. The valve stem opening had to be filled in and the rivets were removed so the decals would lay down properly.


I created the decals in Illustrator on my Mac, and then printed them up on a Canon inkjet printer. The rears, which are quite a bit larger and required different artwork, didn’t need the valve stem opening filled. But everything else was the same.

Rear Wing


I changed the rear wing from a single to a double element type. I cut the kit wing into two pieces and then added half round styrene strips to the leading edge of the rear wing and trailing edge of the large front wing. The three ‘hinges’ were made from styrene. I also filled in the seam between the lower and upper portions of the rear deck.


The rear of the interior required the addition of the cover box for the new intercooler for the twin turbo set up. The side ‘hoses’ were carved from Renshape and wrapped with copper wire. They look a bit crude but then the real ones were too plus the fact that they barely show when the model is buttoned up.

Sills/Running Boards

dk935-10 dk935-11
For the running boards I again used Renshape and some styrene. The radiator opening was
narrowed and I built a new interior with Renshape and styrene. The pale blue is filler.

Twin Turbo Setup


Although this picture is from my 935 K3, it’s nearly identical to the one I built for the more standard 935. The entire exhaust/turbo system is scratch built using resin, aluminum and brass. As the model is a curbside, I didn’t bother creating a completely new and different top to the engine.