Merit 1/24 GP Vanwall

KIT #:
PRICE: $25.00 'used'
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1956 tooling


Vanwall was a British motor racing team and racing car constructor that was active in Formula One during the 1950s. Founded by Tony Vandervell, the Vanwall name was derived by combining the name of the team owner with that of his Thinwall bearings produced at the Vandervell Products factory at Acton, London. Originally entering modified Ferraris in non-championship races, Vanwall constructed their first cars to race in the 1954 Formula One season. The team achieved their first race win in the 1957 British Grand Prix, with Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks sharing a VW 5, earning the team the distinction of constructing the first British-built car to win a World Championship race. Vanwall won the inaugural Constructors' Championship in Formula One in 1958, in the process allowing Moss and Brooks to finish second and third in the Drivers' Championship standings, each winning three races for Vanwall. Vandervell's failing health meant 1958 would be the last full season; the squad ran cars in a handful of races in the following years, but finished racing in 1961.


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 except the knock-offs 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. As mentioned, these hubs were missing, however, p.e. ones are available as aftermarket so all is not lost. They also might be found in a box of spare bits I got from the seller. A nose piece finishes the basic body. Other body parts are a small windscreen, a fuel filler cap, mirrors, and a single exhaust section.

Instructions are typical of these kits and printed in green type, a feature of Merit kits in that they print the instructions in the color of the national color of the car. In this case, green for the UK. They are 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.


January 2024

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