FDS 1/43 Ferrari 312B1 (1971)
KIT #: 36
PRICE: @$13.50 in 1985
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Cast metal with vacuform windscreen


The early 1970s saw the return of success to Ferrari; the unlucky Chris Amon left, while Jacky Ickx returned and was joined by Clay Regazzoni. Under the direction of Mauro Forghieri, Ferrari developed a new Tipo 001 flat-12 engine, colloquially referred to as a "boxer" (although not a real boxer engine), giving a lower center of gravity and a clear airflow beneath the rear wing.

During the car's first season, in 1970, Ickx battled with Lotus's Jochen Rindt and won three Grands Prix, while the Italian Grand Prix was won by Clay Regazzoni, following the death of Rindt in a practice session preceding the race. In the remaining races, Ickx could not close the points gap to Rindt for the drivers title, and Lotus won the Constructors Championship ahead of Ferrari.

The 1971 season started with a win by new signing Mario Andretti. Although being presented in January, the 312 B2 debuted at the third round in Monaco, followed by the Dutch Grand Prix success for Ickx. However the B2 suffered with handling problems: the combination of the innovative rear suspension and the new Firestone tyres gave severe vibrations when driven close to the limit. Forghieri designed and fitted winglets to the front wings of the car for the British Grand Prix that year; however these were not seen again afterwards. Ferrari ultimately came third in the Constructors Championship, as Jackie Stewart and Tyrrell dominated the season.


This particular kit is one of many FDS kits I bought in the mid-1980s. Over the years I have built several and can tell you that they are not difficult to build. Perhaps not as detailed as modern resin multimedia kits of today, but still well worth seeking as they look nice on the shelf.

In line with other FDS kits, it comes in a long, rectangular box. It has a full upper body with a flat underside section. Some of these sorts of kits screw together, but not FDS. One is supplied with a rear wing section, front and rear suspension components, a rear view mirror, exhaust and transmission (the engine is buried under the bodywork), a roll bar assembly, chrome wheels, nice tires (which I think are supposed to be vinyl, but these seem pretty hard), along with inserts. It looks like one will have to stretch a bit of sprue for the roll bar supports and the steering shaft. Usually one gets a section of wire, but not this time.  A vacuformed windscreen completes the kit.

Instructions are an exploded diagram with basic painting information in Italian, French, and English. This is fairly typical of these kits from this time frame. Newer kits usually have a lot of photo etch so their instructions are more complex. I am not sure just which race this is supposed to be for, but the box has 1971 printed on it. There's a photo of the built up model for placement info. The decal sheet combines markings for this and another Ferrari. It has yellowed, but is probably still viable. 


I'm not sure just how popular 1/43 car kits really are. I'm sure that they are a niche group, but there are several plusses to the scale. One is that the kits are generally interesting subjects you cannot (or could not) get in other scales. Secondly, they take up very little shelf space so can be displayed where others won't fit. Finally, they usually take a bit of modeling skill, despite the low parts count. Over the years I've built quite a few and really can recommend them to the enthusiast.



September 2023

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