Well, Mario has asked me to write an introduction for the new MG model, so where do I start?
First of all, who am I? My name is Alessandro Goracci, and I work as a designer at the MG factory. My previous experience was related to designing and modelling aircraft kits for Italian and German firms.
My relationship with MG and with my boss, Gabriele Pantosti, dates back to the autumn of 2001. At that time I was drawing up the instructions of the Ferrari F2001 and Gabriele talked a little to me about his next dream, a big 1/12th kit of one of the best race cars ever, and among the best sporting Ferraris too, the 330 P4, the car that won the 1967 Prototype Championship against the Ford colossus.
The Ferrari 330 P4 is a very complex car, and of consequence it is a very complex model too. No surprise that no-one has tried to do an open replica of this car yet. We knew from the beginning that this project would require a lot of time and effort.
We decided from the beginning to open all but the doors, because this would cause too much weakness in the main chassis. After all, we had already planned to produce the spyder version, the famous # 23 Daytona winner…
At the same time, I got to know Mr. Dan Parratt and the notorious Mario Covalski of Modeler Site and I asked them what they thought about MG kits and what they would like to see to improve the quality of the product.
I know that there are some people (or maybe a lot of people, I don't know) that don't like MG models at all. In a certain way, I agree with those people. The world of the special kits is very expensive and I don't like the four-parts-in-a-box-and-do-it-yourself philosophy that was considered right till a few years ago. This maybe comes from my previous experience as an aircraft kit designer: that world is far farther on than that of special model cars.
So, what we could do? Like an old saying by Albert Einstein, things should be simple, but not simpler!
- an easier assembly process
- more sub-assemblies
- more fitting together of the parts
- more use of micro-screws
- far more details
- more PE details
- extensive use of different thickness for PE parts
- turned aluminum wheels
- extensive use of CAM prototyping
- 3D and stereolithography prototyping
- clear instructions
These personal ideas combined with the ideas from Dan and Mario - and of all Modeler Site people, I think - told us a lot of what we needed to know, and the result was the Ferrari F2002, the most expensive MG project… till the coming of the P4!
By the way, from the current year our products are Officially Licensed by Ferrari. This is a very expensive moment for us: we have to reconsider all the packaging, print ID labels, maintain a high quality standard and pay the royalties, of course!
Did you like the F2002? The best compliment you can pay us is to agree that the P4 is an even bigger step in the right direction…
After all this preface, what we can say about the P4? What I was saying before, it is not an easy task to model the P4, but it's not impossible!
Don't worry, I'm joking!
In the box you'll find...
Four different thickness of PE sheets: steel 0.1mm, Britannia metal 0.2mm & 0.3mm, brass 0.5mm, about half a kilogram of White Metal parts, four rubber tyres plus a spare tyre all with two-parts turned aluminum wheels, WM centre rim (and PE balance weights!), accessories, wiring, tubing, ribbons and last but not least a lot of resin that fills up the box. This time, the only pins you will find are those for the chrome rivets to be attached after the car is totally painted (25 pins, more or less, are you happy Dan?).
Believe me or not, the general fit of parts is good. The fit of the main chassis to the upper body works well, but this car is not like a modern F1 with the engine supporting the gearbox and all the rear suspension.
In the P4 we have a tubular sub-frame, so you should assemble this part almost entirely, test fit it and its alignment with the main chassis, then fit the painted engine through the suspension elements. This is the most difficult part of the building process.
Of course, there are a lot of parts to test fit. The kit is not Tamiya like… but I think that given the materials from which it is made, it is a reasonable way of modelling.
Take care to test fit the hinge positions for the rear cowl: this is not openable but only removable.
What else can I say? For those that are interested, you can easily modify the front suspension to obtain steering wheels.
I'm always not completely satisfied about a new release, but how Gabriele quoted always to me, in prototyping and modelling, sooner or later you should say stop! I suspect that sometimes he would like to fix an iron ball to my foot…
Now, it's up to you.
I think that one month or another I will find on the latest issue of Modeler Site a fantastic Ferrari 330 P4 that I would like to put on my shelf.
During August, I will begin the work on the 1/12th Ferrari 126 CK, the car drove by Gilles Villeneuve in the winning Monaco GP 1980. I think you will find this project very interesting, don't you?
What will the future hold for us if Gabriele doesn't fire me? I think some other 1/12th Ferrari F1 Championship cars, but let me be vague, for the moment…
I would like to talk about a personal dream that I have. A decent, openable 1/12th replica of one of the best and beautiful F1 ever: the Lotus 79.
But this is another story…
Pardon my poor English!
Bye and happy modelling to everybody!
PS - if you have any suggestions, complaints, insults (…) I'm just behind the e-mail!
Footnote from Dan Parratt
The last year or two have been very interesting times for the big scale car builder. Whilst we would all love to have seen Tamiya dig deep into their pockets and produce something - anything - in 12th scale, I get a little tired of those that say there's nothing new around for the 12th scale builder.
Since my first involvement with Alessandro in 2001, I have seen a steady output of higher and higher quality kits from MG, all in big scale, and all of Maranello machinery which deserves to be kitted and built. What's more, MG do this on a fraction of the budget of the big boys, and with each release, they have taken in feedback from real modellers, to improve the package further with every release.
Having lived through the development of the 330P4, and seen the initial prototyping and final built model, I know how much sheer dedication and effort has gone into the production of this model, and I think that on opening this box, you will be able to feel it in the parts, the presentation, and the fact that such a complex kit can exist, and more importantly, can actually be built, using these methods of production.
The news of MG's official licensing from Ferrari is good for us all, as it will allow an even greater accuracy, and dispel forever the belief that resin based kits are some kind of poor relation to mainstream plastic. Agreed MG kits occupy the higher end of the affordability spectrum, but, and I speak from experience, if you buy one 12th kit per year, be a bit different, and buy one of theirs. Yes it will be a challenge, but isn't that what modelling is all about? And the 330P4 is as good a way as any to start.
Watch out for the in-depth review soon.
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