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Meng Models 1/24 scale Ford GT40 1966 plastic model kit review
BY ERIC WHITE / FineScale

It was all going great until the end, sort of like Ken Miles’ Le Man’s experience. Everything seemed to be fitting together well. There was one thing I noticed early on, but I thought it would work itself out — the chassis pan (Part A6) had a bit of a bend at the back, so it wasn’t quite flat. Ignoring that at the beginning resulted in a disappointing finish.

But I get ahead of myself. Meng’s 1/24 scale Ford GT40 Mk.II represents the cars that won Ford the championship at Le Mans in 1966. There are 113 plastic parts on five sprues, one of which is clear, plus the front and rear sections of the body. In addition, there’s a fret of photo-etched stainless steel (PE) with buckles and adjusters for the seat belts and the large grille that covers most of the car’s rear fascia. The seat belts are pre-cut, self-adhesive black fabric, and the tires come molded in black rubber with decent tread detail. Poly caps retain the wheels and a set of pre-cut masks allow airbrushing the black trim around the clear parts. Decals allow you to decorate the model in any of the top three finishers’ paint schemes.

Choose the scheme early because there are interior color choices that go with the exterior colors, a “Gurney bump” that goes on two of the cars, and the light that illuminated the car numbers are in different spots on all three. Being a fan of the movie Ford vs. Ferrari, I chose to build the Ken Miles and Denis Hulme No. 1 car. This meant painting the interior and frame of the car dark blue instead of black, determining which of the two number lights I had to carve off the body shell, and eliminating the Gurney bump.

The 16-page color instruction booklet breaks assembly down into 21 steps. The back of the book includes color recommendations for AK Interactive or Acrysion colors, followed by three pages showing the finished paint schemes and decal placement. While color suggestions are included in each step, I also checked online sources to sort extra details.

I deviated from the instructions with engine assembly to simplify painting. I assembled the two engine block halves, sump, and front cover, then assembled the transmission halves, bell housing, and rear transmission cover so I wouldn’t have to mask anything. You may want to assemble the “bundle of snakes” exhaust system off of the engine so you can smooth and fill any joints before painting.

I would have preferred the starter wasn’t molded to the side of the engine block because it’s visible from underneath. The pullies and belts are extremely detailed, but that detail means they’re thicker than scale. And after you install the engine, all of that detail is hidden, so a strange choice by Meng. On the other hand, Meng simplified the rear cross member, which has the upper control arms and coil-over shocks molded to it. It makes for easier assembly, but the solid molding is noticeable on the finished model.

The masks for the clear parts worked well. Be warned: The adhesive was a bit stubborn to remove. It took several applications of Goo Gone to do the job. The clear parts were thin and crystal clear, though, and fit their openings perfectly.

As I mentioned earlier, the only real disappointments came at the end. First, the decals. They were printed a bit fuzzy, and the orange panels that go over the front fenders were thin. After applying a clear coat, some of the orange disappeared around the edges, which left a thin white halo in spots. The worst area was around the headlights, but, luckily, the black-edged plastic covers concealed that. Still, the edges weren’t sharp, especially on the stripes. Indycals offers a replacement set (indycals.net/decals/lemans/66gt40-1.html) as well as masks to paint the orange fender blazes. I didn’t use the kit-supplied Goodyear tire decals as period photos indicate the cars used Firestone tires on race day.

The second disappointment came when I installed the engine cover — the final step. I discovered the bent chassis pan was a significant problem: The cover wouldn’t close completely, leaving a gap all around the car. I discovered the problem earlier when the wheels didn’t sit level. I tried weighting the front and rear of the car to coax it into lying flat, but as the model was largely finished at this point, there was only so much I could do without significant disassembly. Learn from my mistake and make sure the chassis pan is flat before you start adding parts to it.

Overall, I had fun with the Meng 1/24 scale Ford GT40 kit. It’s a car I’ve always wanted in my collection, and with the engine cover open, it’s great to see that Ford 427 with its big Holley double-pumper four-barrel and those snaking exhaust headers headed out the back of the car.

It would be fun to open the front hatch (it’s a separate part) and include the spare tire and other details under there. Building a privateer version running the Ford 289 with the quad Weber carburetors would be fun, too. I’ll make sure the chassis is flat and level before I start the next one, though!


Kit:CS-004 // Scale:1/24 // Price:$89
Manufacturer:
Meng Models
Pros:
Nice molding; good details; three options
Cons:
Poorly printed decals; odd choices for simplification; sample had a warped chassis pan
Comments:
Injection-molded plastic; 130 parts (5 photo-etched metal, 8 rubber, 4 fabric); decals; masks

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