Kit / Model
One of the main joys of model-making is to create something really special. Everyone has a different definition of “special”. For some, it is making a scale replica of a vehicle or aircraft which has played a significant role in an individual’s life – like a Spitfire for the Few, or a model of the first car you owned. For others, it is the major effort that goes into creating something unique, rare or distinctive, with or without the aid of a base model kit.
My personal definition of “special” is to have the great fortune to own something which very few others have. It’s not quite as simple as that, though, as the real fun for me, where modelmaking is concerned, is to take that special item and build it to a special standard – but for this to happen, particularly with 12th scale cars, you have to have a pretty good base kit, and a lot of energy.
There is no doubt that resin and white metal kits require a lot of energy. Moreover, resin and white metal car kits in 12th scale require many times more energy to complete than similar 20th scale ones, due to the complexity and sheer size of the castings. However, it can be done, and thanks to the pioneering efforts of one or two dedicated companies around the world, the supply of large scale F1 model kits is alive and well.
One such company is MG Model Plus, of Firenze, Italy. MG have been making large scale resin kits for many years now, but in the last 5 years or so, their products have taken huge leaps in quality and sheer accuracy, to the extent that their Ferrari models are now fully licensed, and produced from factory drawings. As a result, the complex curves of a 2006 Ferrari 248 F1 can be admired in big scale. Their latest release, however, takes us back to the mid eighties – the time when the turbo was king, and even an F1 driver’s ego was not as big as his mullet! 1985 – the late great Michele Alboreto, and Superswede Stefan Johansson – and the Ferrari 156/85.
What’s in the Box?
With every new release, the standards achieved by MG Model Plus are further heightened. This trend is continued with the 156/85.
On opening the standard MG Red Box (with license sticker on the bottom), you are confronted with a huge assortment of different materials:
31 resin castings
83 white metal castings
4 photo-etched frets with several hundred parts
Turned aluminium wheels
A goodies bag containing springs, wires, tubing, metal foil, micro-screws and lots of other niceties.
A main decal sheet – printed by Cartograf – and 2 sheets of carbon fibre patterned decals
Best of all – a multi-media CD, which contains soft-copy instructions, pics of the real car, and video clips of the 1985 F1 season – a real treasure (even if it is in Italian!)
The monocoque is supplied as a single piece casting, with an insert for the underside, which contains the basic cockpit interior. One of the most notable improvements over the last few years has been the thinning down of all castings, so that the cockpit wall thickness is now to scale – which for the purist, alleviates the need for a large amount of sanding and correcting. Also, the grade of resin used is much smoother than on previous kits, and is virtually free of bubbles and surface imperfections. Even better, the resin does not exude a horrible smell, and cause you to be banished to work in the garage! Unlike previous kits from MG, this is distinctly more inert – although when cutting and sawing, please, please, use a mask, as the resin dust is still nasty stuff!
The undertray is a single piece resin casting, and makes a sturdy base for the rest of the model. The engine and gearbox castings are cleanly detailed, and rely on a number of white metal parts to add a layer of detail onto the basic block – the cylinder heads and intake manifolds are particularly well done, and with the addition of a few pipes and wires, will really come to life.
Suspension is in white metal, and is generally sturdy in construction – however, advice from experience building these kits would be to ensure that the finished model is propped up with suitably sized spacers, as it is very heavy, and if unsupported, will inevitably suffer from a degree of sag over time. This is not uncommon in resin/white metal kits, and is made even more apparent by the thin suspension profiles adopted by F1 racers.
Complementing all the basic parts is a set of photo-etched details, in this case over a total of 4 frets of varying thicknesses and finish. The brass fret takes care of the wing end plates, whilst the other frets form various fine detail parts, plus a host of fasteners, hose clamps etc.
Wheels are in turned aluminium, with a white metal centre, and separate tyre valves, whilst the tyres are in a solid rubber-like material. Whilst these are quite heavy, they will not crack or “deflate” with age, unlike the ones found in mainstream injection kits. With a little careful painting of the centres, these will look perfect.
Decals are by Cartograf, and are in perfect register, with a glossy finish. Previous experience suggests that these will go down very easily onto a gloss finish. Also included are two sheets of carbon fibre pattern decal, one of which has templates for the major surfaces of the car – and in this scale, coverage of all surfaces in bare carbon fibre on the real car is a must. The carbon fibre pattern is certainly useable, although the model will benefit from use of other pattern types, in line with the reference pictures.
The package is capped off by a very useful multimedia CD, which includes the instructions as a high-res pdf, reference pictures, and some very evocative footage of the 1985 F1 season, along with a video montage of the late, great and much-missed Michele Alboreto.
So, overall, another huge leap in the right direction for MG Model Plus. With every new release, the quality and ease of build of these models increases, as a result of direct feedback from the customer. These kits are certainly not cheap, but, if you want to build something really special – whatever your personal definition of “special” may be – and if you want a 12th scale car kit that only 155 other people in the world have – then this may be the one for you.
I’ll be building this kit over the next few months – watch out for a “blog” on the MG Model Plus website www.mgmodelplus.eu and of course a full build review in www.modelersite.com – although to do this comprehensive kit justice may take more than a few evenings and bottles of beer!
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Comments for this showroom
Mario Covalski (marioc)
2007-04-17 - 13:18
Dan as usual a terrific report I'm looking forward to seeing the model finished.