07 June 2007

Handbuilt Kit

1/43 Tameo Kit Ferrari F1-2000 Australian GP
Michael Schumacher

I purchased this kit at ebay over a year ago. I asked Jojo Nicolas to do this model for me. It took him quite some time before finishing this model. These are the pics that he sent me:

Here is the finished model:

For such a small kit, the details are nice. No plastic parts whatsoever. The kit is made of white metal and photo etched parts. The only non-metal part in this kit are the tyres, which are made of rubber. Jojo did a decent job, but not really extraordinary. Still, I think the model looks ok, but it could have been much much better.

Villeneuve's Championship Car

1/43 Minichamps World Champion edition
Williams FW19 Jacques Villeneuve

Minichamps released this model a few years ago, along with some Rothmans diecast cars. Rothmans threatened to sue Minichamps if they don't pull out this model from the market. Minichamps did not pull this out because it has long been released. However, they did pull out some of the models that they released like the Porsche 956 Le mans 1982 Boxed set.

The Williams FW19 was the car with which the Williams Formula One team used to compete in the 1997 Formula One season. It was driven by Jacques Villeneuve, who was in his second year with the team, and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who moved from Sauber to replace the dropped 1996 champion, Damon Hill.

The car was a logical development of the extremely successful FW18, which had comfortably won both titles in 1996. It was also the last Williams chassis to receive input from designer Adrian Newey, who left the team to join McLaren during the season, and the last to run a works Renault engine before the French marque's temporary withdrawal. However, 1997 was more difficult for Williams, as they faced a tough, season-long challenge from Michael Schumacher and Ferrari. After a controversial collision between Villeneuve and Schumacher in the season finale, the Canadian took the Drivers' Championship, with the team claiming the Constructors' Championship at the previous race. Frentzen, by contrast, had a disappointing year and could win only one race to Villeneuve's seven. The team eventually scored 123 points to win the Constructors' Championship.

05 June 2007

Alonso's R23

Minichamps 1/43 Renault R23 Team Edition
Fernando Alonso

Minichamps released the ordinary version of this car and the team edition. Both cars look identical to each other except for the paint in the camera and the nice packaging of the team edition. I bought this diecast from a seller in the U.S. who regularly converts F1 cars to have tobacco branding. Everything was ok, except for the minor decal lifting on the rear wing that I myself had to fix.
Its nice to look at the R23 with Mild Seven decals, exactly how it raced in Malaysia, where Fernando had his first podium finish and in the Hungaroring, where Fernando Alonso had his first win.

The Renault R23 is a Formula One car that competed in the 2003 Formula One season. The driver lineup were Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso who replaced Jenson Button who left for British American Racing.

The team started at pole at the 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix. Later the team won the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix, the first time Renault had won a Grand Prix since the 1983 Austrian Grand Prix. Renault was innovative during this period producing non-standard designs such as the 111° 10-cylinder engine for the 2003 RS23 which was designed to effectively lower the center of gravity of the engine and thus improve the car's handling. This eventually proved too unreliable and heavy, so Renault returned to a more conventional development route. Eventually the team finished fourth in the construtors championship with 88 points.

08 December 2006

Rare Ferrari

1/43 Hotwheels Ferrari F2003-GA
Michael Schumacher

For some reason Mattel produced this particular diecast in relatively low quantities. Still, I think this diecast was produced in the thousands. Having said all that, I think this diecast is probably the rarest Mattel Hotwheels Michael Schumacher car in 1/43 scale. It is not often seen on ebay and when you do spot one, the prices range from US$40 to around GBP60, way below the standard retail price of only US$20

The Ferrari F2003-GA was designed by Rory Byrne and Ross Brawn for the 2003 F1 season. Its development was based on the previous Ferrari F2002, and featured bulbous sidepods and a lengthened wheelbase to aid aerodynamics. The engine and gearbox were developed versions of the previous model. The car was designated "GA" as a mark of respect to Gianni Agnelli, the recently deceased head of Fiat.

The car was introduced just before mid season in 2003, as the F2002 was seen as good enough to be competitive whilst the F2003-GA was developed further. The car was fast and competitve, but had a tendancy to overuse it's tyres, which led to several late race tyre problems in mid seasons, during the unusually hot European summer. As a result, Williams and McLaren were able to mount a consistent challenge to Ferrari and push Michael Schumacher for the championship.

After Bridgestone engineers discovered Michelin were using tyres which changed construction, causing the French tyre maker to provide remoulded tyres late in the season, Ferrari became competitive again, and were able to hold off bot Williams and McLaren for the constructors' championship, whilst Schumacher snatched his sixth drivers' title, breaking Fangio's record which had stood for 46 years.

The car won seven races, five pole positions, and five fastest laps before being replaced with the F2004 in 2004, a car which was almost identical to its predecessor.

30 November 2006

American Made

1/43 Minichamps March Ford 751 1975
Mark Donahue

A great rendition of Minichamps. Nice details. Probably because this model is one of their newer releases. Old models tend to lack side mirrors or driver details.

Mark Donahue's March 751

Donohue debuted in Formula One on September 19, 1971 with a Penske-sponsored McLaren at the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport Park, finishing on the podium in third place. After being lured out of retirement by his former boss, Penske, Donohue would return to Formula One, entering into the final two races of the 1974 Formula One season. Donohue finished in 12th place at the Canadian Grand Prix and failed to finish at the United States Grand Prix. A full-on assault of the 1975 Formula One season was planned. The 1975 season turned out to be a difficult one for Donohue and Penske. Donohue was able to muster 5th place finishes at the Swedish Grand Prix and British Grand Prix, but the new Penske PC1 chassis proved problematic, as evidenced by three DNF's in the first six races. At the Austrian Grand Prix, Donohue's career, along with Roger Penske's Formula One aspirations, would take a tragic turn.

Midway through the 1975 F1 season, Penske abandoned the troublesome PC1 and started using the March 751. Donohue had recently arrived in Austria for the Austrian Grand Prix following the successful closed-course speed record attempt in Alabama just a few days earlier. During a practice session for the race, Donohue lost control of his March after a tire failed sending him careening into the catch fencing. A track marshal was killed by debris from the accident, but Donohue didn't appear to be injured significantly. However, a resulting headache worsened and after going to the hospital of Graz the next day, Donohue lapsed into a coma from a brain hemorrhage and died.