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Tamiya Ameirca 1/20 scale Ferrari F2001

Kit: No. 20053
Scale: 1/20

Manufacturer: Tamiya America, 2 Orion, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4200, 800-826-4922, www.tamiyausa.com
Price: $31
Comments: Injection molded, 140 parts (8 vinyl), decals
Pros: Great detail, good fit overall, timely subject, excellent engine
Cons: Body parts need to have seams removed, engine cowl doesn't fit well, wing decals difficult to keep wrinkle-free
Style, performance, exclusivity, passion, and speed are just some of the words the name Ferrari conjures up. In the ultra-competitive world of Formula One racing, Ferrari means as much as Chevy does to NASCAR. During the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, Ferrari was one of the most dominant teams in F1, scoring nine World Championships with seven different drivers. During the '80s and early '90s, the team's performance was uneven at best, with one good year followed by several bad ones. In the late '90s that all began to change. Ferraris have won the last three world titles. The subject of this kit is the car that won the 2001 World Championship, the Ferrari F2001.

Molded flawlessly in red, black, and clear plastic, the kit also includes prelettered Bridgestone tires, metal transfers, and a beautifully printed decal sheet. The 1-page instruction sheet is thorough and easy to follow if you pay attention. The painting instructions also seem to be right on the money. A separate decal placement guide is included.

I always start with the body parts, and on this kit, it is almost mandatory. The multi-piece side pods and the engine air intake must attach to the single-piece main tub seamlessly to resemble the real car. I used filler as I went along to eliminate the seams. The engine cowling also needed body work, as the sides are separate from the top piece. The seams are not a fault in the kit, just a limitation in the molding process; Tamiya could not mold all of these in one part because it would have been impossible to eject it from the mold.

Once the bodywork was done, all of the parts that needed to be red were painted with Tamiya TS-49 Bright Red. This is the color the instructions call for, and it matches the photos well.

The well-done cockpit includes nicely molded seat belts. The steering wheel is also well done, with all of the buttons and switches molded on. It takes eight paint colors to accurately finish the wheel. Decals are included for the seat-belt labels, FIA inspection stickers, and a tiny race track map for the center of the wheel.

The engine is the kit's highlight. Comprising only 13 parts (not including the exhausts), it is a masterful molding job. Careful detail painting is all that is required to bring this V-10 to life. Each exhaust is made up of three pieces, and the joints need a little filler to look good. I took the extra step of applying Alclad chrome to make the pipes stand out.

The rear suspension almost snaps together, although I had a little trouble getting the halfshafts in without breaking something. Tamiya even includes some precolored aluminum sticker material, to be cut from provided templates and used on the rear suspension as the heat shielding for the exhausts.

The front suspension is a fairly simple nine-piece unit that includes posable steering. Decals are provided for all four brake calipers. The wheels are nicely molded BBS units with valve stems and open spokes. After painting the wheels silver, make sure you apply a sealer coat, as the silver can end up on the tires when you mount them on the wheels. I removed my silver fingerprints with Testor's Brush Cleaner; it didn't harm the preprinted lettering on the tires. The multi-piece wings are strong yet easy to assemble.

Tamiya provides all of the white areas for the wings on the decal sheet, but I recommend painting these areas, because it was difficult to keep the decals wrinkle-free. Decal options are Michael Schumacher's #1 car, or Rubens Barrichello's #2 car. They represent the car as it was raced in the 2001 French Grand Prix, meaning there were no tobacco sponsors on the real car or in the kit. The decals went on well, and are accurate. Self-adhesive metal foil transfers are provided for the mirror faces and for detailing the fuel filler areas.

Final assembly went well, as everything mounted to the undertray of the car. Positive locators are included for all of the parts, so there is no guesswork. The only hitch I had was the large gap between the engine cowling and the body; I can't figure out what I did wrong. I display the model with the cowling off.

Building Tamiya's Ferrari was enjoyable and challenging. Modeling experience will be needed to handle the bodywork. I spent 25 hours on mine, about right for a kit of this level. The new Scale Motorsports detailing set, especially the carbon-fiber decals, would add a lot to this kit.

Mark Melchiori

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