by: Bill Horton [ ]
BackgroundStarting with the Lotus 72 about five years ago, Ebbro ventured into the 1/20 Formula One venue formerly dominated by Tamiya. While Tamiya has of late produced only a few, newer cars, Ebbro has gone into the history books and created some wonderful kits of vintage F1 cars. Ebbroís vintage F1 cars are similar to the Tamiya kits of the day but are more detailed. A few years ago they released a kit of the Lotus 49. They announced this 1969 version of the car at that time and I waited over three years for them to release this kit. Was it worth the wait?
This version of the car is the red/white/gold car of 1969 with options for the high wing (which were outlawed) and the subsequent low wing versions. This car was driven by legendary drivers Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt with limited success. Tamiya kitted this car in 1/12 scale over 40 years ago but not in 1/20, so this is the first time this car has been made in this scale.
The KitLetís start with whatís in the box:
- Two sprues of white styrene
- Two sprues of black styrene
- Two sprues of chromed styrene
- One sprue of silver styrene
- One sprue of clear yellow styrene
- Four tires
- Four polycaps
- Two screws
- Two decal sheets
There are over 200 parts in the box, although a dozen are not used for this version. It should be noted that the chrome plating is exceptional; it is extremely bright and smooth and among the best Iíve ever seen. The builder must decide early on whether to build the high wing or low wing version. Also, the car can be painted red and white, or just red which relies on the decals for the white areas. All gold areas are provided by decals. The quality of the moldings is excellent.
The construction of the model is fairly unique. It starts with the monocoque, and unlike other kits you do the inner tub to which the body panels are added later. The monocoque is quite detailed, and has decals for the gauges, steering wheel emblem and seatbelts. I plan on using Tamiya aftermarket PE/fabric belts on my build which are far superior to the decals.
One might think the addition of the body panels would be difficult, creating unfillable seams. But the panels follow the layout of the real car so any panel lines are correct for the car and donít need filling. Careful assembly and cementing will be required.
From here you move on to the front bulkhead and suspension; detail abounds including three master cylinders and exceptional detail on the brakes, which do have the calipers molded to the rotors. Unlike some F1 cars, this one includes detailed foot pedals. From there itís to the front mounted radiator (complete with piping), internal ducting, and the multipart nose, which will require some planning to paint and decal. Based on my experience with the Lotus 72 I plan on painting all three colors including the gold; having paint masks would help but I believe that copying the decal sheet and using that for templates will let me properly mask the colors. Ebbroís decals are quite good but given the broad areas to be covered at least some gaps are to be expected. Multiple compound curves add to the decaling challenge. There will be problems if there is any misalignment so careful assembly will be needed through the entire process. Last, there are holes to drill for two nose pieces if youíre building the low wing version.
The engine is next; the Ford V8 is familiar to anyone whoís build an F1 car of the era but there some nuances here. The engine block is a one piece, slide molded assembly which simplifies assembly. The ignition wires arenít provided but are shown in the instruction sheet; Iíd guess anyone who builds model cars has some of this material on hand. Last, the screens over the injector stacks are on the clear tree. Theyíll require some dry brushing to bring out the detail but Iím guessing theyíll look great when done.
The transmission and rear suspension are pretty typical with a little more detail than Tamiya kits. It is here the builder must decide on the high or low rear wing.
Next is the exhaust, built from individual pipes; the problem here is that all the pieces are chrome plated but are to be painted flat black. I guess another version of the car had chrome plated pipes. The assembly is keyed and it looks like the pipes will align better than the old Tamiya kits. From there, the engine and trans/suspension are mated to the monocoque. Again, time and care will be needed; there are many pipes, suspension arms and linkages that need to mate up and due to the finish and delicacy I can imagine the modeler will be using many improper words at this time. However, the level of detail is terrific and when done should look amazing.
Wheels and wings finish the model. The tires on this model are, I think, the best Iíve ever seen on a model car. The tread pattern is complex and perfect, and the tire striping/lettering is multicolored. The wheel/tire assembly is keyed and will need careful assembly to get them together and onto the complex suspension without breaking anything. The rear wing is HUGE, and itís easy to visualize the hazard of it breaking off during a race and wreaking havoc.
ConclusionThis kit is a very complex build and will challenge builders even at the advanced level due to the number of delicate pieces and painting and decaling challenges. Even out of the box, if done correctly the kit should be a contender at any shows. There truly isnít much detail that can be added to the stock kit. I expect when this is done it will be the crown jewel of my extensive Formula One collection.
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