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Tamiya Ferrari 312T

April 2008
Ferrari 312T
Tamiya No. 120343
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: Red, silver, black, white, transparent blue
Scale: 1/12
MSRP: $140.00
Pros: Photoetched parts added; good detail; white engine cowl
Cons: Prominent mold lines on tires; no brake lines included
Ferrari and Tamiya are leaders in their respective fields: Ferrari with its rich tradition of building spectacular vehicles, and Tamiya with its industry- leading model kits. When the two get a chance to combine, the results almost have to be good.

The Ferrari 312T was Ferrari's machine to contest the Formula 1 World Championship in 1975.

In 1976, Tamiya introduced the newest kit in its 1/12 scale range: the Ferrari 312T. The 1/12 scale models were introduced several years earlier, and each release in the series set standards for quality and detail. This kit exceeded the standard then, and does not disappoint in today's world.

For this release, Tamiya has added a fret of photoetched parts, and a new decal sheet printed by Cartograf. The etched parts are mainly wing endplates, brake discs, and seat belt hardware.

The parts are molded in blemish-free red, silver, black, white and transparent blue plastic. Some of the mold lines are a little heavier than in the original kit from my collection, but they are still minimal. There is also a sprue of beautifully chrome-plated parts that includes the front and rear wings.

The tires are molded in rubber, and are soft; however, the mold line down the center or the tread area is bigger than I would like to see. With the tires being so soft, I found it difficult to remove the mold lines, so I pretty much left them alone, for fear of ruining the tires.

The detail of the parts is good, and has stood up well. The completed engine is a model in its own right. Not only are the parts well-detailed, they fit perfectly.

Tamiya also includes wire and vinyl tubing that is used to represent various wires and cables on the 1:1 car. There are guides for this in the instructions, but some of the termination points for these could be made clearer. I ended up guessing on a few of them, but the extra detail really makes the model stand out.

Another thing that made these kits so good is Tamiya's engineering of the working steering and suspension systems. They could have taken the easy way out and simplified these assemblies, but just about every part that moves on the real car also moves on the model - correctly! I did have a little trouble with the front end, but it does not seem to detract from the finished model. Curiously, no brake lines are included.

The body is molded in several pieces, much like the 1:1 car. The fit of these pieces is not as precise as we are used to from Tamiya, but in all fairness, the 1:1 race cars were not built to be show cars.

The upper part of the engine cowl (the white part) is molded separately in white plastic, making it a lot easier to paint.

The aforementioned decals are beautifully printed, and include markings for Niki Lauda's and Clay Regazzoni's cars. The white areas are very opaque; I had no bleed-through from the red paint underneath them.

The only things missing from the sheet are the Goodyear logos; it seems the licensing bugaboo has gotten to Tamiya now. The car looks naked without them. Thankfully, the logos are still molded onto the tires. I filled them in with a little flat white acrylic paint.

It's really nice that Tamiya is reissuing these older kits. It's even better that they are seeing fit to add extras, such as photo-etched parts.

This kit is not for the beginning or intermediate modeler; a lot of time and patience is required, but the results are worth it.


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