Ten of the best

A personal view from Rodney Rawlings

by Rodney Rawlings


This list of ten fine kits is not meant to be the ten best kits of all time but merely ten of my favorite models.

I will begin with the Le Phoenix Ferrari 275 GTS Kit K035. I'm a fan of these slightly larger than 43rd scale, white metal kits. I love their weight
and although they are not always as easy to build as at first you might think, they usually turn out to be first class when completed.
Le Phoenix have superbly reproduced the shape and impression of this, one of the beautiful, understated designs of Pinin Farina which were penned for Ferrari in the 60s. With a lot of photo etch to embellish it,
it's good looks are obvious. You cannot deny that this is an excellent model by any standards.

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Next, Klaxon/Gamma's fantastic Alfa Romeo 2500S coupe 1936. Kit
KLK17. For not a lot of money they have come up with the goods. Often a cars flair and beauty are not successfully captured by the model maker. Not so in this case. It is a real cracker. Beautiful lines and fine detail abound. I never tire of looking at this model. I'm only sorry that when in my cabinet, I am unable to see it in it's entirety. What do you think?

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What can I say about my next choice. BBR in my opinion have never produced a poor model. Their kits are a builders dream. I could have selected almost any of my BBR collection for this spot but chose the Ferrari 250GT "BREADVAN", because of it's quirky design. Different from the usual Ferrari. A van, whatever next? The thing about BBR is their lovely flat acetate windows. Superb when they go right, an absolute pain in the **** when they don't. (see the article on this website to see how it would be done! Vac forms: How to fit them).

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Paddock Miniatures are to my knowledge a comparatively recent name to the model car kit scene, though I'm sure not so, the modellers themselves.
Overtones of AMR are there somewhere. Am I right? Kit 009. Anyhow, my choice of their Aston Martin DBR1 is an obvious one. Just look at it! This subject has been modelled before, but never as good as this! It is a gem. Easy to build. Exceedingly well thought out at the planning stage and fully detailed. I have their C Type and Ferrari TR61 and am really impressed. I look forward to their next one.

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If fine detail is what you are seeking, look no farther than my next choice. Southern Cross is an Australian firm who market fine kits. So far they have only produced a few but I wait with anticipation for their future offerings. The Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage featured here has again been the choice subject of several makers. The Southern Cross offering is totally superb. I am sorry to keep using that word, superb, but it is the right word. Everything about the kit is just right.

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The casting is clean and almost flash free, all the little tiny bits which make the model are excellent. 

I have nothing but admiration for the man who can plan the photo etch work necessary to form the accurate chassis. The instructions are first class but it is still possible,without care,to fold
the chassis inside out. I did! It could not, I think, be bettered.
Kit K001 

There is little that hasn't been said in praise of Marsh Model's kits. They are always builder friendly. Again, I could have chosen any of my collection for this list, but chose the Cobra Daytona simply because, apart from the fact that it's great, I've seen them race in anger at the Goodwood Revival. What a spectacle! The Daytona has got to be one of THE great cars of all time. To see them and Carol Shelby, was a real treat. This kit was very easy to assemble and looks the business.

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This one's a bit different the Simca Gordini from Le Mans in 1939. CCC make lovely little models of mainly French subjects. They are refreshingly different in a collection. They aren't red for a start. I've got a lot of Ferraris. I'm not ashamed of that, I like them.
Anyway CCC kits are astonishingly easy to assemble, just the job when you're feeling lazy. I chose this one mainly because of the accurate wirewheels. Most kits which include wirewheels have wheels of a standard type. The wheels on this model are not.

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They look like the wheels you would expect to find on a pre second world war car. Good for you CCC. Kit F103.

Back to those big white metal kits for the next one. AMR Kit09. The same comments which I made for my first choice apply here. This 1958 Ferrari 250GT is chassis No.0853, I think it's very subtle and extremely elegant. No amount of money could pries this little beauty from my grasp. Well, it would take a lot, anyway.

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Tameo are famous for their range of first class F1 kits. This one is from their WCT series of older cars. I chose Jim Clark's Lotus 25 in which he won the 1963 Italian Grand Prix. For the money it is a bargain. Super in every way. It has to be one of the prettiest grand prix cars ever and this is an outstandingly pretty interpretation of it. Not easy to assemble but satisfyingly attractive. Just observe and judge for yourself. WCT63 .

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Last but not least is the Meri Bam kit MB023, Ferrari 512BB. It is an outstanding kit of the agressive looking BB. The wealth of engine and rear chassis detailing is evident in the accompanying photograph. It is white metal and has the feel of a quality model. Attractive in it's red and gold livery, it looks great on the shelf. 

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Again it's a pity that when placed in the cabinet it is not possible to see that lovely detail through the rear window. I'm not sure if it is still available. If it is and you are a Ferrari collector it's worth the effort of building.

Summing up

I hope that you have sensed the enthusiasm which I have for this hobby. We are so lucky that there is such a vast choice of subjects to collect.
There is a multitude of different kit makers out there. Each with a different approach to their chosen subject. Most of them produce excellent kits. There are not very many that are poor although there are a few. Ask your retailer for his opinion, they are usually happy to give an honest assessment of a particular kit. I have found a lot of very nice people over the years and made some good friends in the process.
Beware! This is an infectious hobby but you will enjoy it I promise.