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Trumpeter 1/12 scale Ford GT40 MK.II

Subscriber-only early access review
Trumpeter 1/12 scale Ford GT40 MK.II
Kit: No. 05403
Scale: 1/12
Manufacturer: Trumpeter,, from Stevens International, 856-435-1555,
Price: $259.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 310 parts (rubber, vinyl, photoetched-metal, foam), decals
Pros: Great subject in large scale; accurate shapes; foam inserts bolster rubber tires
Cons: Some toylike features; open screw holes mar chassis; fraying cables
Issue Published: January 2010
Trumpeter 1/12 scale Ford GT40 MK.II
Trumpeter 1/12 scale Ford GT40 MK.II
Trumpeter 1/12 scale Ford GT40 MK.II
The 1966 Ford GT40 Mk.II is an icon in the history of American motorsport. That year it became the first "American" car to win overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. (I put "American" in quotes because the GT40 was originally based on the British Lola GT.) In the capable hands of the Shelby-American and Holman-Moody racing teams, the GT40 Mk.II scored a 1-2-3 finish.

When it was announced that Trumpeter was going to produce a 1/12 scale full-detail kit of the Mk.II, it was big news. Months of anticipation and Internet rumors about the kit and its contents were fueled by photos of a test shot of the kit at the 2008 iHobby Expo in Chicago.

Well, the wait is finally over, and the kit is here - and what a mixed bag it is.

There are almost 400 pieces in this multimedia kit. Most of the kit is plastic, but there are tubber, vinyl, metal, and foam parts in the box.

The well-packaged plastic parts are molded in clear, translucent red, and very opaque white plastic. The photoetched-metal parts are nice, but each fret is tightly shrinkwrapped and the plastic is difficult to remove without bending the parts.

One of the nicest parts of the kit is the decal sheet, which is so well printed. I thought at first it was by Cartograf, but I couldn't find any evidence to support that.

What is unusual, though, is that of the 14 parts trees in the kit, five of them are chromed! This is not at all accurate; there is very little chrome on the actual car. I will say that the molding quality of the parts is top-notch.

For some reason, Trumpeter prepainted parts of the kit, such as the wheels and engine block; unfortunately, the colors are inaccurate.

Assembly went smoothly, and the instruction booklet was a good guide.

The only bad part of the instructions was the incomplete painting guide. For instance, the builder is instructed to paint the exhaust system "Blazing." I used Rust-Oleum's Antique Brass Metallic for this.

For the most part, Trumpeter for the shapes of the parts right. The engine block captures the feel of a 427 Ford, but not exactly.

The seats are another story. They have the wrong contours, and they just look clunky to me.

Trumpeter really did a nice job on the body; I think they nailed it. From every angle, it looks right to me. The kit is based on the restored car that now "lives" in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. This was confirmed to me at Road America during the 2009 GT reunion, when I learned that the car has an Optima battery - just as the kit does. I was unhappy with the screws used to join the body and chassis because no allowance is provided to fill the holes.

The extra detail parts that Trumpeter includes in the kit range from well-done to useless. As the photo shows, the photoetched parts are very well done, but the oil and fuel line materials were not. The woven mesh hose material was useless; as soon as it was cut it began fraying.

The metal cable that is supplied to hold the hood pin clips is too stiff, so I did not use it. On the plus side, the turned-aluminum valve stems and hood pins are amazingly well done.

Despite the problems I encountered, this is easily the best car kit that Trumpeter has done.

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