Formula one

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Review: Protar's McLaren MP 4/2,1/12 scale

by  Mario Covalski


This note has a little delay...about 13 or 14 years, but if you are novice, or simply as it happens to me, that have never seen this kit, you will be reading something new.
Protar manufactured this kit towards the end of the ' 80, and after a few years it was discontinued. They also manufactured a metal complement, the motor, that was sold and today it is still on sale as a separately kit. Surely Protar couldn't afford the royalty costs that the marks' owners imposed to them.
It was the last 1/12 scale Protar's kit of Formula One, I should recognize that I knew very little about this race car, but reading my reference books, especially "McLaren Formula 1" I found out, that in its time was a successful competition machine, helping Alain Prost to obtain the championship. The MP 4/2 was one of the most successful in McLaren's history.


The kit
This is not a model that you can buy around your house, no Sir!. It took me months to get it and had to pay a monthly allowance for it, but it was worthwhile. This confirms my idea that the modelers are crazy but happy!.
This review will help you to know what you'll receive for your money if you decide to buy (when winning a prize) this Protar's to some collector.


If you know the quality of Protar's kits, or have read my revision about Ferrari 126 of April 2000, will know that only the last models are acceptable, at least in my opinion. The Protar's plastic is soft, easy to work, but fragile and problematic when painting for its porosity, the McLaren MP 4/2 is not an exception.


However not only the body (manufactured in just one part) but the chassis are made of more hard plastic and quite well finished, but with a bit rough surface.
The kit has 170 plastic parts, mostly black, four vinyl tires (surprise, very good ) and a bag with accessories, screws, vinyl tubing, etc. A very good quality decal (big size) sheet is provided by the manufacturer, because they are old, I carried out a test and it was satisfactory.
The instruction manual has 39 clear and very illustrated steps with very good photos provided in the back, it's a pity that they are not color ones.

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The chassis of the MP 4/2 was made of compound materials and it looked like the MP 4/6 one, I believe that it will be very interesting to work on it, since contrary to the Tamiya's kit this doesn't have any texture. One could try to give it texture with a firm brush and lacquer thinner, I have sometimes made it with success in small surfaces, and this technique imitates well the carbon fiber surface.
On the chassis there are many details to work, as the rivets of the front end area, they are very visible in the photos, but don't exist in the kit.
The whole front suspension is very complex and quite fragile, to build it will be a challenge, another one will be to find a building way that allows to paint the chassis after joining its two parts, since in its interior many painting parts will be placed ...we'll see.
The motor is made of plastic, although Protar offers a metallic one, I don't recommend it, if it's necessary to modify and detail the best thing it is to work it on plastic, it's more friendly.
There is much detail work to do on the motor, mainly if you have good reference photos, the radiators are very poor and integrate the whole lateral piece, detailing this part will be difficult if we look for realism.

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In the SAE #108 of April 1997 appears a note of Mike Siegman where you can appreciate a magnificent and very well detailed MP 4/2.


What else can I say?, it is a good kit and it is worth each cent spent. I recommend it only for experts for the cost and the difficulty of its construction. A last advice when you work with Protar's bodies, seal the surface with base paint and then sand and polish.
I will be back with other new ...when I find a "new kit" of 10 years or more.

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