Tameo 1/43 Ferrari 156/85

KIT #: TMK 019
PRICE: $21.00 including shipping from an auction
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Metal kit with rubber tires and p.e. bits


The Ferrari 156/85 was a Formula One car designed by Mauro Forghieri and Harvey Postlethwaite and manufactured by Scuderia Ferrari for use in the 1985 Formula One season. Michele Alboreto drove the car to second place in the 1985 World Drivers' Championship. It was also driven by René Arnoux and Stefan Johansson. Arnoux was to drive for the season but was mysteriously sacked after the opening Brazilian Grand Prix in which he finished a fine 4th. Johansson was hired to drive in his place for the rest of the season.

The exhaust systems were set outside of the vee, opposite to the preceding 126C4. The turbocharger for each bank was located at the outside of the vee. Thus the intake chambers were located inside the vee. The Ferrari Tipo 031/2 V6 Turbo produced around 900 bhp (671 kW; 912 PS) during the 1985 season.

The 156/85 proved to be fast and reliable in the early part of 1985 but as the season wore on, the Ferraris became increasingly fragile in both qualifying and race trim with numerous engine and turbo failures throughout the season. It was this unreliability that ultimately would cost Alboreto, who actually led the points standings for most of the season, the drivers' championship. Alboreto retired from four of the last five races in 1985 and retired but was classified as 13th due to completing 90% of the race in the other (Spa) allowing McLaren's Alain Prost to come from behind and win his first championship.

Alboreto famously drove half a lap of the Brands Hatch circuit on lap 13 of the European Grand Prix with the rear of his car on fire following another turbo failure. He drove the on-fire car into the pits and straight to his Ferrari pit, many observers seeing this as his way of showing that the Ferrari's unreliability had cost him the World Championship which Prost won by finishing 4th at Brands. While Alboreto had unreliability, his team mate Johansson finished 5th twice and 4th once with only two retirements in the last five races. The Constructors Championship had the same story as Alboreto's. Ferrari's (Alboreto's) unreliability had allowed McLaren to overtake them in the points leaving the Maranello outfit as runners up.


 This  kit comes from mid/late 1986 and is in cast metal with rubber tires and photo etch details. Now days, these kits are almost exclusively in resin, but the the early days of 1/43 kits, metal was much more common as the sort of quality one could get from the resin of the time wasn't exactly the best. Of course, things are quite different today and resin is the standard.

One is provided with a flat pan chassis and a complete upper body. Both have seams that will need to be removed and one can use files, hobby knives and sand paper to do this. The metal is pliable where the parts are thin so one has to take a bit of care. There is little in the interior aside from a steering wheel, gear shift and seat.

The front and rear wing are separate items with some additional bits that need to be attached to both of them. Super glue is the adhesive of choice for these kits, but some like to use epoxy as well. The most complex parts of the kit are the suspension pieces. While the rear axle simply slides through the rear suspension assembly (which includes springs), the front has stub axles on the brake assemblies. The kit includes two sets of metal wheels one with an additional step on the inside of the wheel rim.

Photo etch is used for the side radiators, as well as the inside and outside detail on the wheels. Small outer wheel nuts are also photo etch. Two lengths of copper or brass wire are provided as these will have to be used for the steering arm and for part of the wing support. A stick on red tail light is also provided.

Instructions consist of an exploded view on one side with color information provided. The other side of the sheet is a markings placement guide. My decals are as old as the kit and I'm not sure they are still viable. There are places who do alternate decals for these kits and I'm hoping that there are some for this car if the kit markings prove to be useless. The kit is modeled after the cars that ran during the first race of 1985, the Brazilian GP.


Metal car kits differ little from your standard short run resin kit, the main difference being that you have to clean up metal parts as well as straighten some of them that have been bent. One uses files, sanding sticks and regular sand paper to remove the mold seams. Often one runs into issues on the larger bits with steps in the seam and this kit is no exception. There are also a few pits to fill. This will consume about 40% of the time one takes to build the kits. With metal kits, files are a huge plus in terms of help in cleaning up seams.

Car kits are generally types that you paint as you go. It is the nature of the beast. As parts were cleaned up, they were given a coat of grey primer using Tamiya extra fine. This showed up any major glitches. I also did some Internet browsing to see if the colors of various parts of the kit were prototypical. Several things came to light comparing images with the instructions. One is that the side scoops are black and not red. Another is that the wheels are not gold, though the center section is.

When it came to painting the body, I first installed the rear view mirrors then the lower body pieces in the radiator area. These need some work, as do most of the parts prior to painting and installing. The various mounting holes for things like the gear shift, rear wing, mirrors, and front brake bits will need to be drilled out. Anyway, after I primered the various parts, the body got a coat of gloss white from Tamiya and after that was nice and dry, I sprayed on a custom mixed Ferrari red that is designed for 70's and 80's Ferrari racers. This appears to be a lacquer paint  made by Zeropaints that is ready to spray. It is very good paint and covers just great. Typical of lacquers, it dries quite quickly.

Then came the fiddly stuff. I glued all the rear suspension pieces together, trapping the rear axle. Then the wing was installed, but not glued. This took some fussing. Once the floor pan was painted, the rear suspension/wing assembly was glued down. This was followed by the installation of the instrument panel, steering wheel and gear shift. I used the instrument dials from the decal sheet for the panel.

Then I installed the photo etch bits in the wheels and on the body. The body bits had to be slightly trimmed down to fit. I then glued the body to the base section. The front wing was trimmed until it would smoothly fit into the nose. I then removed it and started building up the suspension. This takes a bit of effort and the steering linkage has to be constructed. The kit provides soft wire, but I used Tichy Trains phosphor bronze wire in .020inch side, the same size as the soft wire included in the kit. The bronze wire is quite stiff and easier to use. Then the etched bits were glued into each wheel and the wheel inserted into the tire. The front wing was glued on, as was the rollover section. I did touch up painting where the paint had been scratched away and started applying decals.

The kit decals are usable, but yellowed so I ordered a fresh set from SpotModel in Italy. These took about three months to arrive as they had to be made. They are quite well done and work beautifully. There are a lot of them so it required several days to get them all on. The sheet includes tire decals and has markings not provided on the kit sheet, such as the Eagle logo for the tires. I chose the #27 car of Rene Arnoux. Once all the marking were in place, I did some touch up painting, then glued on the wheels and that was it. I noticed after publishing this that I'd forgotten the Agip decal for the right side and the black ducts that fit atop the rear body. That has since been amended.


I won't kid you and will admit that the kit took longer to build because it was made of cast metal. With the newer resin multimedia kits, there isn't nearly the cleanup required and the parts just fit a whole lot better. However, metal kits are usually less expensive and can be found rather easily with a bit of searching.

Couple of additional notes. One is that the benefit of metal is that if all the wheels do not touch, you can tweak the metal bits to ensure that happens. Down side is that even with primer, sometimes the paint can be worn away if handled too much. I had this issue with the black, which is Tamiya paint and perhaps does not provide the stick of other types. The red was not an issue in this regard nor was the Alclad II used for the roll hoop. Regardless, I am pleased to be able to add this one to my small, but growing collection of grand prix racers. If you are in the need of something a bit different, this one would be a good choice. Best of all, the finished model is under 4 inches in length so will not take up a lot of space.



15 July 2016

Copyright ModelingMadness.com

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page