Ferrari 312T2 "1976 Monaco GP Winner"
I would like to thank Dragon Models USA for submitting this item to IPMS for review and IPMS for allowing me to review it.
The Ferrari 312T was designed by Mauro Forghieri for the 1975 Gran Prix season. Over the next six years the 312T series won 27 races, four constructors' and three drivers' championships The car was powered by a flat-12 cylinder engine which produced approximately 510bhp. The "T" in "312T" stood for transverse. This was the mounting configuration of the gearbox which improved the car's handling characteristics over its predecessors.
The 312T was used for the first three races of the '76 season. It was replaced by a modified version, the 312T2. This was basically the same car, but conformed to new regulations banning the tall air boxes. In their place, NACA shaped air intakes were added to each side of the cockpit. Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni were Ferrari's drivers in 1976 with Lauda being Ferrari's number one driver. Out of the first nine races that year he won five, finished second twice, took one third place, and had one DNF. In the tenth race of the season at Nürburgring, Germany, he nearly died in a firey crash. He missed winning the 1976 Gran Prix Championship by one point.
Hasegawa has recently issued the 312T2 that won the 1976 Constructor's Championship by 9 points over McLaren-Ford. The subject of this build and review is the 312T2 in which Niki Lauda won the Monoco Gran Prix on May 30, 1976.
The kit comes in an 13-3/4"X7-7/8"X3" cellophane wrapped box. The box top has a high gloss finish with a color photograph of the finished model along side a unique cellophane window displaying the contents. Inside, I found 11 cellophane bagged sprues; 4 gray, 2 red, 2 black, 1 white, 1 clear, and 1 chrome plated. The moldings are sharp with no flashing. In fact, the mold parting lines are almost non-existent. Ejector pin marks are hidden or not a problem. In all, there are approximately 185 parts in this kit.
The decals are from Cartograf. They are crisp and have excellent color and opaqueness. The decal sheets contain decals to model either Niki Lauda's number 1 car or Clay Regazzoni's number 2 car. There is a set of Goodyear decals printed in reverse image for the racing slicks.
The tires are typical wide racing tires. They are made of very soft rubber with a thin mold line around the circumference of the tire.
The instructions are printed on a single folded sheet of paper with 10 panels. The construction sequence contains 20 steps along with painting and decaling instructions. The first construction panel depicts the sprues' layout with the part numbers indicated. The part numbers are identified in the instructions as well as on the sprues. The assembly steps are depicted in the exploded view format and are very clear and well marked. Five views of the car are used for painting and decaling instructions. The paint call-outs refer to GSI Creous Aqueous Hobby Color, Mr. Color and color name.
Construction begins with the engine and proceeds to the transmission and the double wishbone rear suspension, Steps 1 through 8. Some suspension components are rather spindly and care must be taken not the break them. The detail on the engine, transmission and suspension parts is quite nice and the fit is very good. The ends of the exhaust pipes are hollowed out enough to give the appearance they are tubes - a nice touch. Once painted, this assembly is good enough to be a stand alone model of the Fiat flat-12 engine.
Steps 9 through 12 build the aluminum monocoque chassis or tub, "cockpit", and front double wishbone suspension. As with the rear suspension, care must be taken with the delicate parts. The front wheels will not steer since there is no linkage to the steering wheel. They are, however, connected to each other and can be moved as if done by a steering wheel. The seatbelts are rather thick but fit nicely in place. The fine detail and good fit continues with this major assembly.
The last steps, 17 through 20, assemble the body panels and NACA shaped air intakes and duct work. The front and rear wings are assembled and attached. Also the side mirrors, windshield and wheels are attached.
The entire construction process presented no problems in either understanding or fit.
Painting and Decaling
During every step of the instructions paint callouts are provided. Several of the steps have decal placements. This is necessary since the outer shell covers much of the beautiful underneath structure. The paint scheme is red and white, but the pattern is somewhat complex. To help the modeler, Hasegawa has provided red and white decals for application to the more difficult areas of the panels. Larger areas are simply left to be painted red or white.
It's always difficult to match paint color to decal color. To solve this problem, I decided to use only the white body decals. I painted each body panel Model Master Italian Red (4631). After a couple days of drying, I masked off the white areas and painted them Model Master White (4696). Using this process eliminated the task of matching the red decals with the correct shade of red paint.
The Cartograf decals are super. Just a minute in the water loosens them and they slide off the backing paper very easily. They hold their shape in the curved surfaces with no wrinkles. Even the thin white pin stripping decals are applied with no problems.
The Goodyear decals for the tires are something new for me. The decals are printed in reverse image and have their adhesive on the on the outside. At first, I thought they were dry transfers, but they are not. By following the application instructions provided, the decals go on the tires with no problem.
Like Ferrari had a winner in 1976, so has Hasegawa produced a winner with this model. The parts are molded extremely well with plenty of detail. The instructions are well written and clearly presented. The model goes together very easily. The decals are great. The finished model is quite striking and will set well on any shelf. Needless to say, this is a model that all but the beginner will enjoy building and should do well at.
For the modeler who likes to add a little after-market touch, there are several photo-etched products available as well as a set of aluminum wheels.
I would like to thank Dragon Models USA and Hasegawa for providing this kit and IPMS/USA for allowing me to review it.