FDS 1/43 Ferrari Turbo 126C2 - 1982

KIT #: 703
PRICE: $34.95 when new in the early 1990s.
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Mostly cast metal


The Ferrari 126C was a 1.5 liter turbocarged F.1 car that was used from 1981 through 1984. The arrival of Harvey Postlethwaite led to a total overhaul of the car in time for the 1982 season. The turbo engine was further developed and reliability found, while an all-new chassis and bodywork were designed, featuring Ferrari's first genuine full monocoque chassis with honeycomb aluminum panels for the structure, which made it more similar to its British specialist competitors' cars than any of Ferrari's previous F1 cars had been since 1962. Smaller, nimbler and with vastly improved aerodynamics, the 126C2 handled far better than its predecessor, although due to its heavier weight thanks to the turbo-charged engine made it slower around corners than its rivals. Villeneuve and Pironi posted record times in testing with the new car and began the season with several solid results, even though Pironi had a gigantic accident during testing at the Paul Ricard circuit, of which he was lucky to escape alive. The car made its debut at South Africa in January of that year, where both cars retired and at the Long Beach Grand Prix in America 2
+1⁄2 months later, the car was fitted with an unusual configuration of two thin rear wings, each individually as wide as the regulations allowed, but placed side-by-side and staggered fore and aft, making it effectively a single double-wide wing. This was done as a deliberate exploitation of rule loopholes in retaliation for Williams' "water-cooled brakes" exploit at the previous race in Brazil, and to send a political message to the governing body, which was part of the FISA–FOCA wars, which resulted in disqualification for Villeneuve, who finished the race in 3rd. Then came the infamous race at San Marino after which Villeneuve accused Pironi of having disobeyed team orders. The fallout from the race preceded Villeneuve's death in an horrific accident during qualifying at the next round in Belgium, which left Pironi as team leader. Ferrari did not enter a second car for the next three races, before ultimately drafting in Patrick Tambay to replace Villeneuve. He managed three podium finishes, including a win in Germany, en route to a fifth place in the championship despite only having driven half the season. Pironi himself was nearly killed in Germany in a similar accident as Villeneuve's, putting an end to his motor racing career. Again they did not enter a second car for two races, before bringing in Mario Andretti as Pironi's replacement. The American finished on the podium alongside his teammate in Ferrari's home race. Despite the turbulent season, Ferrari won the constructors' championship that year. The 126C2 was further developed during the season, with new wings and bodywork tried, and the engine's power boosted to 650 bhp (485 kW; 659 PS) in qualifying trim and around 600 bhp (447 kW; 608 PS) in races. An improved chassis was designed and developed mid-season that was introduced for the French Grand Prix that changed the rocker arm front suspension to a more streamlined pull-rod, rising rate suspension. A thinner longitudinal gearbox was also designed and developed to replace the transverse gearbox to promote better undisturbed airflow from the underside of the ground-effects chassis's side-pods.

Back in the late 1980s-early 1990s, I bought a lot of 1/43 car kits. Many of them were metal F.1 cars produced by the Italian company FDS. I was often able to find them on sale in local shops as it seems they were not very popular in San Diego, where I lived at the time. This is one of those kits. Retailing at $34.95, I was able to pick it up for $15.00 so it was quite a savings.

FDS kits are all cast metal that include rubber tires and sometimes, a small vacuformed piece for the windscreen. They generally build up well, but do require quite a bit of preparation to remove mold seams and then the wise modeler will do a lot of test fitting. As these kits require either epoxy or super glue, they are not for beginners. This kit in particular as there are a lot of small parts and some of the subassemblies are fairly complex.

You can see this in the exploded view that is provided as a building guide. This sort of instruction sheet is pretty standard with 1/43 car kits. You will notice that there is no color information provided during the build. Unlike earlier kits, this one does include color photos of the completed kit to assist with the build. Nowadays, we have the benefit of the Internet to provide us with images of the real car, something that we didn't have back when I bought this kit. At that time, we had to rely on books to help us out in this regard.

The kit has a decal sheet that is probably going to need some help with a coat of decal film and provides liveries for two drivers. The #27 car of Gilles Villeneuve, and the #28 car of Didier Pironi.


If you can find one of these and feel you have the skills to build an all metal kit, then this would be a good one for you. I can tell you that if all goes well, the end result will be a superb model for your display area.



May 2024 

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