Formula one/Book Review

Review – ClearView F1 – Williams FW14B, by Andy Mathews and Sean Kelly

by Dan Parrat © 2005 Modeler Site

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We have a phenomenon in England, which we call the “London Bus Syndrome”. Basically, it describes the situation where you can wait for ages for something (a London Bus) to appear, and then, all of a sudden, 3 of them arrive at once. The growth of the Formula 1 model aftermarket industry in recent years could not be a finer example of this phenomenon. I know this only too well, from personal experience. Having spent the summer of 1998 building the Tamiya 12th scale Williams FW14B, I remember at the time, how difficult it was to get hold of reference material, photoetch details, and resin extras.

I was left with no choice but to attempt to copy the detail shown on the excellent box art, which explains why my particular model has a very detailed left hand side, and a less exceptional right hand side – as the box art is painted from the top left side!

So – moving on to 2005, we have etch aplenty, little nuts and bolt heads, fasteners, even turned injection velocity stacks, and mega-expensive detail sets that a second mortgage would just about secure – but still the issue of where we put all these fancy bits and pieces has not been fully addressed – up till now.

I am sitting here, looking at a real piece of automotive modelling treasure. This new 120-page book by Andy Mathews and Sean Kelly on the life and times of the Fw14, FW14B and FW15C, answers in one fell swoop, all of our modelling prayers.

The book has been created by two individuals, who bring two distinct styles and areas together, to bring us a brief history of the Williams team, a profile of the key personnel and chronology of the 1991 to 1993 seasons, and best of all, a complete, unclothed walk-around of the FW14B. To cap it all, we have a beautifully-photographed profile of Andy’s own model of the FW14B, which a superlative example of auto-art, and does not need me to describe it any further.

The season reviews are presented with a full competition history, and lots of shots of the cars in action. These are useful to confirm the variations in colour scheme, sponsors decals, and close ups of the bodywork, to show where all those little fasteners from the photoetch set really go. The authors have clearly done their homework in this area.

However, the best bit for the frustrated detail-seeker, is the “Technical Photo Review”. This contains just under 100 photographs of all principal details of the FW14B – including the bits we don’t get in the kit, like the brake cylinders and reservoirs under the nosecone. Full detail photos of the engine, suspension, cockpit, are enough to inspire a year’s work on their own, but to see just how far Andy has taken his own build of this car is a revelation of the highest degree. 5000 mainly hand-made metal parts were used to replace the kit parts, of which approximately 40 survived in one form or another. To think I was quite proud of myself when I added a bit of carbon fibre decal to my own effort…!

So, how does one sum up this book?

If you’re building the FW14B – buy it!

If you want to add details you haven’t seen before, buy it!

If you just like to look at one of the finest examples of auto modelling – buy it!

I’m just wishing I’d had this book 7 years ago – I might have been able to complete the other side of my model! I also hope for us all, that this is just the first in a series of many. Please, gentlemen, oblige us….

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