Revell Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-25 Lewis Hamilton Review
The F1 season is upon us and Lewis Hamilton is currently sitting in second spot in the drivers championships. That sounded pretty knowledgeable didn't it? However, it means nothing to me, it is just what PlayPennies dad Andy told me.
He reckoned that the best way to celebrate this fact is to give an F1 mad dad (and he seems to think that most are) the chance to make his own miniature version of Hamilton's F1 car. So I gave him this Revell model car kit to review.
Revell has been making model kits for about the last 60 years. One of these kits is the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-25 (#2 Lewis Hamilton). Model Hobbies has it on sale right now, marked down from £20 to £18.
According to the blurb on the website, the kit has a "multi-part eight-cylinder engine, a detailed suspension, a detailed cockpit, a true-to-the-original under-floor with diffuser, realistic front and rear wings, authentic tires, rotating wheels and MP4-25 Grand Prix decals for Great Britain, Canada and Bahrain."
Andy has fond memories of these model kits himself, from when he was a young lad. He recalls sitting watching his poor Dad frustratingly looking at instruction manuals mumbling, “Insert E 25 into Decal point 103?? Which one is E 25?”
It was, he felt, all good practice for that MFI Kitchen flat pack that was ordered a few days ago. "Inevitably though after a few choice words and a several hours later we would have a miniature completed model of a World War 2 Aircraft that my father would proudly show off to my mother. “We’ve finished” he would proclaim with a smug smile. What’s with the ‘we’? My total inclusion in this project was to sit and watch and occasionally hand over part E 25 etc."
This was back in the 1970’s though. A time when there were only three TV channels and the nearest thing to an Xbox360 was a scientific calculator. Yes, a lot has changed since these model kits were at the height of their popularity. So, with all the modern distractions of technological development, do these model kits still have a part to play in a Dad and lads life? According to Andy, the answer is yes.
The Revell model kits are available in five categories/skills. From level 1, where they are easy to make, requiring no glue or paint up to level 5 which contain over 150 parts requiring a very high level of skill.
The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-25 is set at level 3, although Andy felt that even the most unskilled model maker should be able to make this.
The 86 individual pieces that neatly slot together are accompanied by an instruction manual that Andy found easy to use. "Each plastic part is clearly numbered so that even the most useless of kit builders (like me) can build this F1 car. Some of the parts are very small (a fraction of the size of a small fingernail), but with a bit of perseverance and a steady hand they all fit as one so that in the end you have one splendid looking McLaren Mercedes MP4-25 (minus a miniature Lewis Hamilton)."
Use your own metallic paint
The (not quite) finished article is a dull grey mini replica. Andy was a little disappointed. "This is my only minor quibble. The actual car should mostly be a fabulous shiny metallic grey, so although this kit is described as ‘no painting required’ I would take the option of popping down to your local model kit shop and purchasing a small pot of metallic grey paint." He suggests using the images on the front and side of the packaging and a very fine paintbrush to carefully finish off the kit before entering the next stage of completion.
Once the paint has dried you then get to add the 100+ transfers to the car. "This is incredibly tricky as you pretty much have to get this right first time. There is no margin for error." Andy comments. He found that if you place the transfer in just slightly the wrong place it can look shoddy. "If you try to remove it slowly to reapply you run the risk of tearing the transfer. A lot of patience is required here."
So, although a small child of say, aged 8+ (with assistance from Dad) could probably manage the actual kit building, the application of the transfers is a much more testing task that lies ahead.
And finally ...
In all, Andy thought it was a great kit and "a fabulous bit of challenging fun for the F1 fan". Drag your youngster away from the 500 channels that now occupy our televisions. Turn the games console off and set yourself up at the dining table for a few hours and with endurance and diligence Dad and the lad will be the proud owners of a fine miniature replica McLaren Mercedes MP4-25.