There’s a new player in the 1/20 F1 Plastic Model field. It’s name is Ebbro and it will be a force to be reckoned with!
Ebbro was founded by a former Tamiya engineer who helped develop many of Tamiya’s legendary F1 kits. The Tamiya attention to detail and quality is every bit apparent in this first of many new kits. While some may be put off by the price tag ($60 at my local hobby shop), this kit (and future offerings from Ebbro) are must-haves.
The first offering from Ebbro is the Lotus 72C driven by Jochen Rindt to the 1970 World Championship. Sadly, this is also the car Rindt was reluctantly driving when he was killed at Monza when his brakes failed entering the Parabolica corner. With an insurmountable points lead, Rindt became the first – and only – posthumous world champion.
This car was significant in that it was so revolutionary in it’s design that moved the radiators from the nose of the car to ‘sidepods’ dictated the design of cars throughout the 1970s and to an extent, even through today as the same basic layout is still in use.
It is clear that Ebbro wants to make accurate kits and the kit comes with several ‘double’ parts. Two different cowlings to accommodate the two different style of mirror mounts, two sets of side pods and radiators (visually identical, but one set slightly wider than the other – for use in a future kit), two air boxes (again, one for a future kit), and two sets of front wings (depending on which race version you build).
Perhaps the most significant aspect of this kit is that there is now another company producing a Cosworth engine, which opens up a whole realm of possibilities for future kits of cars from the late 60s through the early 80s. Ebbro joins Tamiya, Fujimi and Hasegawa in the 1/20 scale Cosworth realm.
The Tamiya Cosworth was never the easiest engine to assemble and Mr. Ebbro addressed some of the issues by reducing the number of parts required to put the block together. Likewise the exhaust pipes on the Tamiya could be a nightmare and Ebbro has reduced each bank of pipes to two pieces! (vs seven for Tamiya). These pipes are a dream to work with and shaped correctly.
And the completed engine:
There seems to be a trend in 1/20 F1 kits to make the kit go together as much like the real car as possible, and include detail that was frequently omitted in kits from the 70s and 80s, such as complete plumbing, shift linkages, etc. Ebbro’s kit is very strong in all these areas. In fact, my only detail complaint is the absence of spark plug wires and fuel lines, which are pictured on the box, and I added myself on the images above.
Another revolutionary feature of this kit is that the cowling is molded in clear – just mask off the windshield area and paint the body color! (or use the red cockpit decal included in the kit). There’s no worrying about messing up when you glue the windscreen to the tub, nor is there a seam. When I painted my cockpit I wanted to insure that the red was consistent with the rest of the body that was painted over white primer, but I wanted the red to show through on the inside of the cockpit. I painted the cockpit TS8 Italian red, then applied white primer, then another coat of TS8. This prevented the exterior red from being translucent as well as keeping it consistent with the rest of the car, and the inside is still red. Supposedly the actual car also had a clear cockpit surround that was painted just as in this kit, but I have not been able to confirm this. If so, there’s another example of the kit emulating the real car.
I found no real difficulties with this kit. For the gold I used a mix of decals (my own) and paint (Tamiya Gold) for the front wings. Although I didn’t use them, the kit decals are great – although missing the tobacco markings. Fortunately Indycals has those ‘missing markings’ and they are available for $3.00 a set. The kit decals give you the option to paint or decal the white and the gold, as well as the red cockpit surround. The attention to detail in this kit is everything you would expect from a former Tamiya engineer – Ebbro appears to be primed to take over the mantle of 1/20 F1 model king, especially now that Tamiya hasn’t released anything since they rushed the Lotus 79 into production to head off Hasegawa who also hasn’t released anything since their Lotus 79. It looks like it’s going to be Ebbro and Fujimi producing 1/20 F1 kits for the foreseeable future.