The 1967 Lotus Type 49 is the stuff of legends, scoring a dozen wins in its F1 career, starting in pole position nineteen times and claiming thirteen fastest laps before being retired in 1970. Building on the then revolutionary monocoque construction of the Type 25, married to the light and powerful DFV Ford Cosworth engine, the Type 49 first raced in the Dutch Grand Prix in June 1967. Despite having only driven the new car once and having qualified 8th, Jim Clark famously claimed victory and the fastest lap. On the down side, Graham Hill retired with engine problems - which rather set the pattern for the season, for while Clark recorded multiple wins, Hill was plagued by reliability issues.
See the video of the Dutch Grand Prix HERE
- and also Tiff Needel behind the wheel in a vintage edition of Top Gear
's Lotus 49 arrives in an attractive top-opening box, with all the sprues and accessories bagged separately for protection. The box is certainly full to the brim; the soft tyres had actually been squashed out of shape in my example. Nothing had been damaged, though, and everything was in perfect condition. The kit comprises:
21 x dark green styrene parts
48 31 x black styrene parts (1 not needed)
26 x aluminium styrene parts (7 not used)
26 32 x chromed styrene parts
12 x clear yellow styrene parts
4 x soft plastic tyres
A set of poly caps
3 x metal screws (one is a spare)
A small sheet of metal transfers
Decals the cars driven by Clark and Hill in five races
The kit has been in constant production for around six years now, but there's no sign of any wear and tear. There's no flash in my kit and moulding lines are very light. I only spotted one small sink mark, and the ejector pins seem to have been kept out of harm's way for the most part (there are a couple I'm wary of on the cockpit floor, but they may be too far forward to be visible).
As you might expect, the kit shares a number of parts with Ebbroís
more recent boxing of the Lotus 49B which I reviewed a few months ago HERE
, with an excellent second take by Bill Horton HERE
As you can see in the list above, the kit is moulded in several colours. The dark green is obviously a nod to British Racing Green, and breakdown of the colours roughly correlates with the finish on the full-sized car. So, I guess you could
build an attractive model without painting it. But, honestly, I can't really imagine many modellers buying a kit like this and not painting it and, personally, I'd prefer to have all the parts moulded in a neutral colour to make painting easier.
The chrome plating is superb quality - totally blemish-free in my kit. It's really bright, though, so much so that it immediately made me question whether it's appropriate for the car in racing trim. Looking at photos and the videos above of the real thing in action, the parts look like highly polished metal - not chrome plating. Maybe a restored vehicle would boast some chrome, but I think I'll bite the bullet and strip the plating off the kit parts. The added benefit of doing this will be the chance to remove any moulding lines without worrying about matching the chrome perfectly.
The clear parts are moulded in tinted yellow to depict the yellow tinge to the windscreen on the real car. The tint is subtle - much more subtle than in my Lotus 49B kit. To my eyes, this time the effect is more like what Iíve seen in photos of the real car, but it does raise a concern about how consistent Ebbro
's colour is from one kit to the next (or at least one production run to the next).
I guess the ultimate solution would be for Ebbro
to also include optional standard clear parts for modellers to spray with very diluted clear yellow to suit themselves, but this would obviously raise the cost of what is already quite a pricey kit.
A Few Details
Assembly begins with the cockpit, which is made up of 17 parts. Decals are provided the dashboard instrument faces and the centre of the steering wheel. The original cockpit was spartan, so the kit parts should look perfectly adequate. At first glance it appears that Ebbro
forgot the pedals, but these are included as part of the front bulkhead sub-assembly later.
No seat harnesses are included, and you don't need to worry about sourcing any if you're building the cars in their original configurations, because none were fitted (seat belts have only been retro-fitted to meet current day safety requirements).
Stage 3 sees the body panels fitted to complete the main monocoque unit, before the front bulkhead and suspension are added in the following two stages. There's a choice of two styles of disk brakes and the front wheel can be left steerable (although this isn't indicated in the instructions).
The nicely moulded radiator is attached in Stage 6, before attention switches to the rear of the car and the well detailed engine, transmission and rear suspension. Again there are multiple configurations offered to cater for the changes made to the car throughout the 1967 season, so it will definitely be worth studying the instructions carefully before commencing assembly. Depending which option you go for, there are around 50 parts for the engine and gearbox, plus nearly 20 more for the transmission and suspension. No material is provided for the ignition cables, but the instructions include a clear diagram to help install them. There is still a lot of extra cabling and pipework that can be added.
The exhausts are slide-moulded with hollowed out ends, as are the intake trumpets. The mesh guards for the intakes are represented by clear yellow styrene domes which is a bit of a compromise that wonít really bear close inspection. The only trouble is, replacing them with mesh domes could equally be a compromise in this scale, because shots of the real thing show it was a very fine mesh. I think Iíll probably attach the styrene domes with PVA so that I can replace them if I manage to make more convincing replacements.
The final stage (#13) rounds things off with the wheels and windscreen. As I found with Ebbroís
Lotus 49C, the tyres are absolutely superb, with excellent tread patterns and no moulding lines to worry about. The makerís logos are pre-painted, which not only saves hours of work and eyestrain, but is far neater than most of us could achieve by hand.
There are no less than four different windscreen and rear-view mirror configurations catered for, with different styles of the distinctive double-layer venturi windscreen. I thought there were some moulding blemishes in one of the windscreen parts initially, but these turned out to be dark grease-like material that rubbed off easily. Perhaps it was the remains of some sort of mould-release agent - but, whatever, itís a useful reminder that it always pays to wash any kitís parts in detergent before starting construction.
Instructions & Decals
The assembly guide is printed as a fold-out sheet, which is inevitably more clumsy than a booklet. The diagrams are well drawn, but the designers obviously assume anyone building the kit will be fairly experienced, because there are none of the usual notes indicating if parts should not be glued. The text is bi-lingual Japanese and English (there are a few typos in the English), and a real frustration is that not all of the Japanese captions have been translated, so you can be occasionally left wondering if you're missing something important.
As noted above, construction is broken down into 13 stages and it doesn't appear overly complex - but you will need to read the instructions carefully to ensure you use the correct parts for a given race. From this point of view, the instructions could be designed more clearly, because the layout is quite cluttered and potentially confusing. I'd maybe recommend starting with a clear idea of which configuration you want to build and blanking out the diagrams that aren't needed.
Colour matches for Tamiya paints are keyed to the parts throughout assembly.
The decals are custom-printed by Cartograf, so you can be assured of their quality. The items are thin and glossy, and the registration is pin-sharp. Excess carrier film is almost non-existent except where it's used to group items together. On this note, I would have preferred it if the dashboard instrument faces had been printed individually instead of joined as a cluster. As it is, it might be advisable to separate them with a punch and die for best results.
Donít get me wrong - Iím really impressed by Ebbroís
Lotus 49 (1967). Itís a kit that Iíve sought for some months and I certainly donít regret buying it; Iím really
looking forward to building it. If my review reads as occasionally rather critical, I guess itís reflecting that this is a premium-priced kit.
Itís not really a kit for beginners, despite the relatively small parts-count, particularly if you decide to add wiring and cabling, but experienced modellers should really enjoy it and the resulting model will be a beautiful tribute to one of the all-time motor racing F1 classics.
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