Merit 1/24 1956 Ferrari GP
|Scott Van Aken
The D50 made its race debut toward the end of the 1954 Formula One season in the hands of two-time and reigning World Champion, Italian driver Alberto Ascari. In its very first event Ascari took both pole position in qualifying and fastest race lap, although his car's clutch failed after only ten laps. Following Ascari's death, and in increasing financial trouble, the Lancia family sold their controlling share in the Lancia company, and the assets of Scuderia Lancia were given to Scuderia Ferrari. Ferrari continued to develop the car, although they removed many of Jano's most innovative designs, and the car was rebadged as the "Lancia-Ferrari D50" and later simply the "Ferrari D50". Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1956 World Championship of Drivers with this car modified by Ferrari. During their competition lifespan D50s were entered into 14 World Championship Formula One Grands Prix, winning five.
I remember as a child reading some of my favorite racing magazines and seeing advertisements for these kits. However, it wasn't until just a short time ago, when I got some of these kits from a Facebook sales page that I actually held one of the boxes of these kits. A few years back, Atlantis reissued a double box that included Merit's Alfa Romeo and Talbot Lago. I have to assume that Atlantis has the tooling for the rest of the line, though they have never released anything other than this one boxing, which is no longer listed on their site.
The kit is basic to the max, as you'd expect from a kit of the 50s. Note that the image does not show all the very small parts, but everything is in the box. There are front and rear suspension sections that are trapped between the body halves. Before closing the halves a seat and steering wheel need to be installed. A decal (which is well beyond its 'use by' date) provides instruments.
Plastic wheels/tires are included and these are designed to roll. Clear plastic discs are provided and one is to put decals on them to simulate wire wheels. The wheels are held in place by knock-off hubs and past experience with the Atlantis kits shows this to work very well, though the wheels are a tad wobbly. A nose piece finishes the basic body. Other body parts are a small windscreen, a fuel filler cap, mirrors, and a single exhaust section. This latter piece is incorrect for the 1956 car and there should be four exhaust pipes exiting that area. This can be easily simulate with plastic tubing.
Instructions are typical of the era with basically a large exploded view. In the history and construction write-up is information on the various colors that should be used. There is a decal sheet with numbers, instruments, and the wire wheels. As you can see from the image, these nearly 70 year old decals are probably unusable. Finding replacements is pretty well impossible, but scrounging around various other manufacturer's decals should enable something pretty close to be used.
One won't win awards for these kits as they come from the box. However, there are some aftermarket bits that can be used to spiffy something up, such as resin/p.e. wheels. However one builds it, it can make into a nice model for your shelves. Below is an image of the Talbot Lago I did years back so you can see about what the finished result will look like.
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