Ford GT40 Mk.II ’66, Part 1
Ford GT40 Mk.II ‘66
Developed by the Ford Motor Company and Carroll Shelby to end the dominance of Ferrari in the preeminent 24 Hours of LeMans, the Ford GT40 Mk.II become an iconic American built race car. After failing to finish the race in 1965, the Ford GTs finished 1-2-3 in 1966 in a humiliating loss for Ferrari. As three GT40s took the lead in the final laps. Ford executives ordered race leading Ken Miles in the No. 1 car to slow down and let the other two GT40s catch up, for a photo of all three cars crossing the finish line together. When everyone thought Miles had won, the race officials announced that the No. 2 car driven by Bruce McLaren was the winner. Though the two cars crossed the finish line at the same time, the No. 2 car had driven a longer distance as it started about 20 meters behind the No. 1 car. The victory was Ford's first win in the Le Mans 24 Hour race, making Ford the first American manufacturer to win at Le Mans. This also ended Ferrari's five-year-long dominance of this race.
Meng’s GT40 Kit
This MENG RS-002 Ford GT40 Mk.II ’66 is a large 1/12 scale model kit officially licensed by Ford Motor Company. The kit includes complete suspension system, power system, cab interiors, front trunk interiors, openable doors, front trunk cover and engine hood, as well as movable wheels and suspension system. The steering wheel is linked to the front wheels. The kit includes parts in plastic, metal, rubber, and photoetch with screw fasteners and snap-fit parts that do not require gluing.
The kit comes in a large 24 1/2 x 16 1/2 x 4 1/2 thin cardboard box packed full of parts. I counted 27 plastic bags of parts, plus instruction booklet and decal sheet. There are 24 sprues molded in white, gray, black, clear, and chrome plating. In general, the engine and transmission parts are molded in gray plastic, the interior body panels in black, and the exterior body panels in white plastic. Piping for the exhaust system is also molded in white plastic as they will be painted a metallic color. At first glance the parts do not appear to have any flash and have very minor mold seams. The chassis tub and body parts are molded in white plastic and are separately bagged.
The body parts have very sharp detail and no flash. One of the sprues is molded in soft gray rubber for various hoses. Another rubber sprue molded in black contains additional hoses, tubing, and the seats. The seats are nicely molded with folds in the leather and perforations for the rivet vents in the back of the seat. Meng includes a plastic insert for the back of the seat with raised rivets that fit into the seat perforations. The plastic rivets have a recess that can be filled with a dark wash to create a very realistic looking vent.
There are five tires molded in a soft rubber with excellent tread detail although there are no molded sidewall markings. Lettering and blue lines for the tire sidewalls are provided on a decal sheet. The center seam on the tires is barely visible.
The chrome sprue has very fine detail, and a nice thin chrome plating that doesn’t obscure the detail. The chrome plating has a nice soft patina that is not overly shiny.
The kit also includes several small bags of screws, metal springs, and vinyl tubing. There is a small photoetch fret with several grills and the seat harness hardware. A small self-adhering fabric patch provides the seatbelts and straps for the spare tire.
The larger 8 x 12 decal sheet provides markings for two of the 1966 LeMans race GT40s:
- 1st place Number 2 car in black driven by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon
- 2nd place Number 1 car in Gulf Oil livery driven by Ken Miles and Denny Hulme
A smaller decal sheet provides tire sidewall graphics plus the dashboard instrument faces. There is also a pre-cut set of masks for the glazed windows.
Instructions are provided on a 7 x 10 stapled color booklet with 61 pages and 50 assembly steps. Background on the GT 40 is provided in English, Chinese, English, Japanese, and Russian. Small illustrations of the sprues and the individual parts are provided for help locating the correct parts. Two paint and marking options are provided, one for the second place Ken Miles car and one for the first place McLaren car. Paint colors are listed in Meng AK and Acrysion.
The assembly diagrams are very clear 3-D computer views with detail color coding of the parts installed in each step. The assembly steps include typical symbols for ‘No Cement’, ‘Same for Both Sides’, ‘Make N sets’, etc, which are explained as they are used in the assembly steps. Some of the assembly steps also include a numerical order for assembly to facilitate construction. Pay close attention to the instruction steps and diagrams and refer to subsequent steps to clarify part installation.
Comparison to Trumpeter Ford GT 40
Another option for the Ford GT 40 in 1/12 scale is the Trumpeter version that was released in 2008. I’ll note some of the differences between the two kits as I assemble the Meng GT40.
Trumpeter only includes marking for the No. 2 black 1966 LeMans winner, whereas the Meng kit also includes markings for the No. 1 car from 1966 driven by Ken Miles and Denny Hulme.
The Trumpeter kit has many more chrome parts than the Meng kit, some of which should not be chrome in the actual GT40. Trumpeter has four large sprues of chrome parts and Meng has only one medium size sprue The Trumpeter chrome is thicker and too shiny in my opinion for a race car. The Trumpeter chrome also has more significant mold seams which are always difficult to clean up on chrome parts. The Trumpeter kit is molded in white plastic and chrome plated plastic, with some of the parts pre-painted in metallic colors.
Both kits have nicely molded bodies with good detail. The Meng body detail is slightly crisper and has fewer molded-on parts. The underside of the body on the Trumpeter kit has better depth and bolt detail than the Meng kit. Both of the bodies have very slight mold seems. The seams on the Trumpeter body are at the top crease line of the fenders and would be easier to clean up then the Meng seams, which are lower down on the sides of the vehicle.
The rear deck of the Trumpeter body is about 10 mm longer than the Meng, and the Trumpeter body is about 5 mm wider also. Meng says the kit is 347mm (13.66 inches) long and 90mm tall at 1/12 scale, which converts to 164 inches long and 42.5 inches tall at full size. The actual GT40 specifications are a length of 160 inches and a height of 40.5 inches. I’ll compare both kits to the actual GT40 dimensions as assembly proceeds.
Meng’s engine has considerably more parts to make up the engine block and transmission then does the Trumpeter kit. Trumpeter’s kit has combined and pre-painted portions of the engine block and transmission. The Trumpeter champagne gold painting is nicely done, but there are mold seems that need to be cleaned up and the parts repainted anyway. Chromed parts are provided for the sides of the engine block. Seems strange that portions of the engine block are pre-painted a champagne gold color, yet the side panels of the block are chrome plated. The Meng parts have crisper detail and fit together better with minimal seams between the parts.
Wheel and Tire Comparison
Meng provides four rubber tires plus one spare. Five wheels are provided in gray plastic. The blue line and sidewall labels for the tires are provided in waterslide decals. The Trumpeter kit provides four wheels and tires but no spare. The Trumpeter wheels have deeper relief and sharper detail than the Meng wheels. The Trumpeter tires have nicely molded sidewall lettering, and the Goodyear labels are provided in rub off decals. The tread surface on the Trumpeter tire is flat where is the main tire is slightly rounded.
Part One Summary
Subsequent review parts will look at assembling the GT40 and continue comparing the Meng and Trumpeter versions. So far, I’m more impressed with the Meng kit. It has better detail, fewer molded-on parts and includes markings for the blue & orange #1 GT40 of Miles & Hulme that I want to build.
I appreciate Meng Models releasing this great kit and providing a review sample to IPMS.
I have found both Trumpeter and Meng 1/12th scale kits to be woefully inaccurate. Particularly in the chasis construction and layout. Both kits provide pedal assembly and battery locations that are half the distance to the seats than in the real car. The center chassis hump for the coolant and oil lines is not square to the chassis in the real cars; but both kits have it going parallel to the centerline. Then there is the whole snap-fit or screw construction that completely destroys the illusion of scale reality. To me, the Trumpeter kit is a far better deal than the Meng in terms of price and quality. Each of them has particular aspects that are better than the other. But with a $400 price tag for the Meng kit; it's not worth it to me. Tamiya 1/12th scale kits far surpass either Trumpeter and Meng kit's quality/accuracy for half the price. That being said, the exterior shell for both kits fit well and present a good likeness of the GT40.