Formula one

Superdetailing the Tamiya Ferrari 641 1/12 scale

by Mario Covalski © 2008

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About one year ago, or maybe less, a good friend sent me some photographs of the Ferrari 642 and 641 that Jean Alesi had used sometime. These photographs clearly showed the differences between the 642A and 642B models. At that time I had the idea - still have it - to turn a Tamiya's 641 into a 642A, since they are very similar.

This idea came to my mind after building the Ferrari 412T2 from Museum Collection, because I had some extra "8" numbers left which belonged to J. Alesi in 1991 (the "28" of course). One of these photographs immediately drew my attention; the one where Alesi was testing the 641 at Le Castellet in the European Winter '91 season. This car was basically the 641 used by Mansell in 1990, but bearing the name Alesi on the Marlboro sponsor logo and without number.


Final Decision

Two months ago I was working on the construction of what would be the Ferrari 642A (I will soon write a review on its construction from a Tamiya's 641 and of course build it), when I came across some pictures of the great work by Andy Mathews published in TMMI some years ago.

I decided to change my way of construction and use the Perfect Parts super details kit. You can read the review I wrote on this detail set following this link:


As I already indicated in my November 2000 review on detailing a McLaren MP 4/6 with plastic and wire, I really enjoy working just with plastic very much while I'm really not an expert with photoetched and metal parts on a high quality model like Tamiya's 641.

Summing up, I built a Ferrari 641 model in a relatively short time if we consider the complexity of this model and the fact that I wanted to finish this article as soon as possible. Obviously, my "conversion" project was postponed, but at the end of the article you will notice that I took the artistic liberty (that's the good thing about not participating in contests) to add the number "28" and the name "Alesi" to it.

A second instructions manual

As I meant this article to be useful to anybody who wants to pursue this project, I decided to write it in the form of an instruction manual, following the steps set forth in the Tamiya's instruction manual, but also indicating all modifications to be made in order to insert the "Perfect Parts" metal parts, along with suggestions and advice on my experience with this model on every stage of the construction.
All general recommendations on the use of CA and handling of metal and photoetched parts can be found in the previous articles.


I believe it is important to note that if you want to build such a complex model as this, using a Perfect Parts detail set, you should have some previous experience on construction of a similar straight-from-the-box model. If you have never successfully built a 1/12 complex model, I would not recommend this type of project.
In this article I will take it for granted that you already know all the construction techniques and basic painting jobs; therefore, I will refer to them as washes, dry brush, etc. You can read this review as it is, but for a better understanding it is important to always have the Tamiya's and Perfect Parts' instruction manuals at hand.


Now, let's begin!

Step 1-2-3-4-5

For this first stage of construction, there are no significant changes to be noted, you just have to bear in mind that some parts must be replaced and the motor block must be slightly modified for the addition of the trimming plates of the exhaust fittings.



Tamiya's parts to be replaced

"Perfect Parts" to be added 

R16 x 2

"AF" turned aluminum parts. Add PP #C103 to the aluminum parts. C405 x 4 on every BP3 support.


PP #C103 x 2 must be added to the Tamiya's gear box. I would keep the original color of these brass parts. Sanding with a #1200 sandpaper will do.

My suggestion here is to replace the vinyl tube inserted in parts E41 and E42 with Modeler´s 1,4 mm braided wire. It can be jointly used with hose ends taken from Modeler´s Hose joint set.

If you wish, you can also add the C405 parts on the BP3 metal supports; I personally did not consider it necessary because all parts provided by Tamiya had a perfect golden color.

You can erase the Ferrari logo molded on the rear part of the gear box and glue PP #C106 with CA. After painting the gear box you will have to slightly scratch the surface in order to remove the letter paint.


Carefully cut the cast plastic nuts from the block plates, drill holes with a 0,4 mm for the insertion of copper wire, where some bolts and washers to support the twelve PP #C104 will be inserted.

My advice is to first glue part # C104 with CA (once the engine is painted), then add some wire where 0.9 mm washers and 0.8 mm nuts will be then inserted. Finally make a clean cut of the wire with sharp scissors. This piece of advice goes for all NBW sets (nuts, screws, washers).

All brass parts can be painted with satin clear, which will protect them from rusting.

Instead of painting part # E40  (step 2) with silver, you can just apply aluminum “Bare Metal” on this area.

The block can be detailed with nuts and small washers, thus replacing those cast in plastic.

The rear part of the AC generator R39 is open and must be sealed with a 6 mm plastic circle. You can also drill a 0.5mm hole and insert a wire in order to simulate the electric wiring.

The rear part of the gear box has many details, like wires and tubes that come in and out of it. This is a good opportunity to drill some holes in order to insert these elements, according to the photographic reference.

Paint tips

I would recommend the use of Tamiya paints, especially in the case of the mix that will be used to paint the engine and the gear box. The paint must be thinned down and applied with an airbrush very smoothly (13 lbs). Once the paint is dry, you can apply dry brush with silver in order to highlight borders and all protruding areas. Please note that this must be done very carefully in order not to leave scratches.

Parts # R17 and R19 must be painted with chrome silver. Then you can detail all "rubber belts" with a 000 point brush, a big magnifying glass and matte black acrylic paint.

This special issue is only available in pdf format. This is a technical article of 86 pages. Includes more than 250 high res pictures. > Here


Esta edición especial está sólo disponible en formato pdf. Esta es una nota técnica de 86 páginas. Incluye más de 250 imágenes de alta resolución. > Aquí


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