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294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Although I have still to complete my Ferrari 250 GTO upgrade, a complete lack of discipline on my part sees me starting another project, the UT Ferrari 550 Maranello. It's quite an old model, but as it comes it's a reasonably accurate and detailed representation of the 550 M and is possibly the best of the available fully opening options. That said, it does offer plenty of scope for upgrading. Let's have a look at it as it comes before taking it apart.

This side profile and stance looks pretty good compared to the prototype below.
Wheel Automotive parking light Tire Vehicle Automotive side marker light

Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Hood

The side blinkers are in relief and painted as it comes, but I replaced them with clear items when I first got the model. There are no glasses in the doors.
Automotive parking light Car Tire Wheel Vehicle

Tire Car Wheel Vehicle Automotive lighting

The wheels are quite nice but there are no air valves and the discs lack calipers with the ventilation holes just printed.
Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Automotive tire

The tail lights are nice moulding in clear plastic, but spoiled by the centre portions being painted in white and orange paint. The prancing horse is perhaps a little too tall but I'm leaving that as I'm not repainting the body. The tailpipes are not bad, but I'll add some metal ones instead along with so PE mesh on the inner part of the openings.
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As it comes the engine is well done but lacks refinement such as painted hose clips and is missing a lot of cabling and pipework. The whole engine bay should be black with heat shielding on the fire wall.
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The dog legs are on the large side and too close together, but again I'm keeping those
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The nicely fitting headlight covers lack the black rim and the lights are moulded integrally with the housing and just painted silver. The lower lights either side of the front grill have a prominent tab that will need to be removed. The grill in the bonnet vent is also moulded and will be replaced with PE mesh.
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The interior is well done with an excellent dashboard and all the switches on the console. Dog legs on the doors let it down and there are no carpets.
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There are visible moulding lines on the seats and dashboard.
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On my example it came with the seats crossed over so poor QC at the factory. Although the seats have the seatbelt guides on the shoulders next to the headrests, there are no belts.
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The boot on these cars is very small but it has a luggage area with straps behind the seats. I'm not sure what the grill on the left shoulder is, but its moulded and will be replaced with PE mesh.
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And the boot interior.
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I dont have an image of the underside before I dismantled the model but found this on the internet. Its quite accurate but there's scope for improvement as shown by the prototype image below.
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The floorpan is removed via four screws front and back and two more ahead of the rear wheels. You then have to prise it off with a screwdriver where the tabs are on the body. Here are some images during dismantling.

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The partly dismantled interior with the seats the wrong way round.
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And the dashboard parts.
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This is the underside of the boot interior. After removing two screws you then have to separate the rear edge from the body where it is glued with something that looks like a clear silicone seal.
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Here's where it cam from. Once that's out the rest of the interior can bd removed.
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The floorpan with the exhaust removed. As is usual, the plastic parts are mainly fixed to each other via lugs and holes with the lugs then melted with a heat stick on the back.
Wood Amber Musical instrument Rectangle Gun accessory

At the rear, the axle is held in place by this box structure. Looks like a housing for a pull back mechanism maybe???
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The engine comes in three mouldings, the base, the rocker covers and the plenum chamber.
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I was hoping I could separate the discs from the hubs but they are moulded together and the hub broke off the wheel. I will probably cut the discs off the hubs and replace with PE parts fixed to the uprights.
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Next up will be detailing the engine.


294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Many thanks Pascal, Jazzy and Robbo. I hope I can live up to your expectations and you all enjoy the build. Or should that be rebuild?😁

Some final parts from the interior, hand brake and seat belt fasteners. Both nicely done apart from the moulding pip on the hand brake gaitor but you can't see that when it's in place. The seat belt fasteners push up from the underside so no risk of glue getting where you dont want it when refitting.
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Oh, and I mentioned the engine being in three parts, it's actually four as I forgot that the air filters are a separate piece.
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To start off I scraped away the moulded plug leads and after repainting replaced with 0.5mm cable. PE fastenings were added to the rails and the rocker cover and the central portion painted aluminium.
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And added some extra pipes/cables to the air filter part and painted or added from aluminium tape, the hose clips.
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Hose clips painted on the radiator hoses. UT added quite a lot of detail but did not paint it which is a shame. I suppose that's labour intensive and increases the cost.
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In many prototype mages the plenum chambers look to be grey not aluminium to me and with a textured surface (are they castings?). The prancing horse looks to be the same colour as the chambers, not a separate chrome plated part.
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I had some grey textured paint in a rattle can so I've gone with that. Rather than paint the red lines I used a red permanant marker as I thought it would be easier than using a fine brush. It could be better but I'm happy with it. Terminals and cables added either side plus the two rails which I think are part of the fuel injection system.
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Same story on the base plate, with extra pipe/cables and detail painting. Heat shielding added to the firewall and right side of the brake servo unit from thin duct tape.
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Although due to the nature of the prototype, the bulk of the engine is hidden and only the top areas are modelled, there's still lots of fun to be had detailing up what can be seen. Note the two holes in the air intake columns in this image and compare to the previous one where they have been drilled out. I almost missed this but if you look at prototype images you'll see the openings are quite wide. The hole goes all the way through so I drilled up from the underside which avoids the risk of scuffing the rim with the drill.
Motor vehicle Gas Machine Flooring Electrical wiring

As mentioned earlier the headlights are pretty poor and I've replacedthe two round ones with perspex rod, 3mm for the large and 2mm for the small. After centre popping the moulding I drilled all the way through. Short length of perspex rod were cut and one end rounded slightly and the other filed flat. Both ends were then polished up clear and small discs of aluminum tape added to the inner flat ends. They were then inserted into the holes with the clear rounded end to the outside. I think it makes a big difference. Perspex rod can be sourced quite easily on Ebay starting at 2mm OD up to way beyond anything needed for modelling purposes, starting in 5cm lengths. The outer lights are more tricky to deal with and I've gone with covering them with aluminium tape which is thin enough for the striations on the moulding to show through. Half of the lights have then had a coat of Tamiya clear orange to represent the front indicators.
Wood Engineering Composite material Auto part Font

Here's the engine after reassembly. There's still more to be added but I can do that from above.
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There are also some additional details to go at the back of the bay on the parts of the firewall that are on the car body.
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Passive circuit component Circuit component Hardware programmer Electronic component Electronic engineering

The bonnet underside and engine bay have been sprayed black in preparation to receive the engine.
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Although there's still work to be done on the enging I've made a start on the interior. Mould lines have been sanded of where necessary and all the parts sprayed in Tamiya TS46 light sand. Some areas will be carpeted but I didn't waste time masking up, just sprayed the whole part.
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The hinge detail for the reclining part of the seats was indistinct after sanding so I scribed around the outlines to improve the appearance and give the impression of separate parts. The lumber support handles, seatback release handles and seatbelt guides will be picked out in black.
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I scraped off the luggage belts in the storage area and will replace them with separate parts. Holes for the top mounting of the seat belts drilled in the covers either side. There's a stowage net between the seats on those two uprights and I'll represent this with some diamond pattern PE mesh.
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I've also made a start on making the masking tape templates for the carpeting which is a bloody tedious job. Still we can't be having fun all the time.

116 Posts
Wow I love watching your transformations, that engine bay alone already looks autoart quality. I actually like the result you got with the textured gray and marker. I dont think a paintbrush would have been any easier and probably not left as clean of lines. Either way it looks great and much closer to the real thing! I'm suprised UT even bothered to paint in those wires in, but your result looks MUCH better. This is one of my first favorite cars as a kid when I first saw the Maranello in NFS high stakes on my PS1. Along with the F1 longtail, 911 turbo, Diablo SV, etc. since that game had so many great cars from that era!

2,523 Posts
Nice job! 👍 I like what you're doing on the engine bay, I may use it if I decide to do something similar on mine.

I'm not sure what the grill on the left shoulder is, but its moulded and will be replaced with PE mesh.
I read that the 550 and the Barchetta had a cooling radiator for the rear brakes, and that's the duct which helps cool it.

Here's an image of the grille, if it helps:
Gas Auto part Technology Circle Nickel

294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Many thanks gents.
cwbs, I much appreciate your enlightenment on the grill above the rear wheel arch. I've already added a PE replacement.
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And to the bonnet vent as well.
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I had a good long session today and got quite a bit done. The mods to the engine are now completed apart from one or two bits and pieces to go on the firewall on the body. Quite a few extra cables and piping have been added.
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I've also added the filler tube and cap for the screen wash bottle just below the right hand air filter in this view.
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Here's another view of the modified lights.
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On the left the silencer and tailpipes as they come, albeit after drilling through with a 3mm bit. This makes a big improvement but replacing with metal pipes as on the right, lifts it even further.
Circuit component Rectangle Electronic component Composite material Indoor games and sports

And after stripping the chrome from the silencers and repainting in aluminium with the inner faces done in matt black. Once again the ubiquitous bootlace ferrules have been used to make the tail pipes.
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Here they are after a dry run on the floor pan, which has had the rear of the engine, the differential and the two rails either side of the exhausts painted in aluminium. The exhausts are just dry fit for the photo as there is more detail to be added along with some painting to the rear suspension.
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New PE grills to replace the moulded ones next to the tail pipes.
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Looks good to me.
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I also had a dry run with the engine inserted and the bonnet in place to ensure nothing added fouled the underside.
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I've still to paint the glued area on the bonnet grill.
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But all's well and the bonnet functions without problems.
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They look better in real life.
361 Posts
Awesome job Peter! This will be a great reference as I think about improving my copy of the UT 550. It has good bones but there's really a ton of potential to uplift it as you've done!

Penrys has one where he repainted in a dark blue which could be helpful if you haven't see it already (I think it's on his YouTube and Facebook).

294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Many thanks gents for the kind words.

I also like the powder coated appearance you gave the the intake manifold covers! (y)
Is that what the texture is on the real thing, a powder coating?

Penrys has one where he repainted in a dark blue which could be helpful if you haven't see it already (I think it's on his YouTube and Facebook).
Thanks for the heads up on Penryscars. Yes, I was aware of his YouTube channel and took a few screen shots of the engine from his video. Along with prototype photos they have been very useful, but I've also gone my own way in some areas, the lights being the most notable. I like to see what others have done on any models I'm doing as there are always other ways to skin the cat and sometimes you see things you've missed. A point in case is the two air intakes next to the air filters. I didn't realise that the openings were too narrow until I spotted on Penrys' video that he had widened them.

Another good reference for Ferrari information is this parts supplier. His website has hundreds of diagrams listing parts for pretty much all the road going Ferrari models. Sometimes you can learn something from the diagrams that you cannot find a photo of.

I didnt do much yesterday but did manage to add a few extra details to the engine bay. These couple of bit in the left rear corner.
Automotive lighting Bumper Material property Automotive exterior Motor vehicle

And these cables that on the real thing are routed over the wheel arches in a covered channel. I've added the cover hex fastenings punched out of plasticard. The cabling is over long so that it can be held out of the way when inserting the engine. It will the be trimmed and tucked away behind the lights. To ease removing and refitting the engine I've cut off parts of the base plate either side at the rear. When the engine is in I can then add the battery in the rear right hand corner behind the header tank for the cooling system. And there's room to add a representation of the radiator which may be visible behind the front grill.
Vehicle Hood Automotive lighting Car Trunk


2,523 Posts
Is that what the texture is on the real thing, a powder coating?
I'm almost 100% sure the 550 and even the 575 intake covers were only bare metal, but I read that many 550 owners opt for a powder coating finish (or crackle paint, as they call it) when those parts start to look ugly and dirty.

But yeah, you got that look going on your engine mod, looks really cool! :cool:(y)

294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wow, I'm amazed at the response this one is getting. It seems the 550M is a very popular Ferrari and the UT Models version is well liked as well. I seem to recall reading somewhere about a connection between UT and AutoArt but I don't recall the details.

Work on the engine bay is now completed with the bonnet refitted and the engine installed.
Hood Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive design Automotive exterior

I've gone around the the edges of the light covers with a black paint marker to represent the rim/seal. It's not as well done as @PenrysCars did on his, as it is perhaps a little wide. Still, I'm happy with it.
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The battery is too thin and not as long as it should be, but the firewall is too close to the header tank to make it any larger and be able to get it in.
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This is the headlight cover part. I've added some PE mesh to the vertical panel to give the impression of the radiator behind the front grill. It should be on an angle sloping back towards the engine at the top, but I went for the simple option and added it to the vertical panel between the covers. I left it unpainted so it's more visible.
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Here's a view with the front grill in place.
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These are the lower light lenses as they come. Note the tab on the left one. The other broke when I removed it. Easy enough to cut them off, rub smooth and polish clear again. The problem is that the striations are on the rear face so you lose them.
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However, it's easy to replace them by rolling the lines onto Al foil using a spring on a piece of rod and sticking to the rear of the lenses.
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As I've lost the tabs on the lenses which also held the grill in place, I added some tabs to the grill from styrene rod.
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To fix the lenses I added a drop of CA glue with a cocktail stick to the recess in the grill and dropped them in place. Not too shabby I think.
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To improve the rear lights I drilled out the painted centres and replaced with 3mm OD perspex rod. I cut 5mm lengths then sanded and polished each end of the rod, then added a disc of Al foil to the rear of each.
Textile Flooring Wood Floor Indoor games and sports

After inserting into the holes I fixed them with Tamiya clear gloss on the inside. When dry, the centres of two of the lights were coloured with Tamiya clear Orange.
Material property Circle Glass Fashion accessory Magenta

And back on the car.
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The frame for the front uprights/suspension is in two parts which screw onto the underside of the engine bay. It suited me to have them assembled off the car so I glued them together at the screw columns with CA. The steering rack was not pivoted at the ends, having just a folding hinge moulded integrally with the arms on the uprights. Simple and cheap to make no doubt, but you can only flex something so many times before it snaps, as it had a one end.
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I replaced it with brass tube and rod for the ends pivoting off the arms on the uprights.
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The front wheels were held in place with splined pins but I preferred to use some spare self tapping screws instead.
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Ive replaced the moulded discs cut off the hubs with PE items fixed them to the uprights. The PE calipers had to be modified to allow space for the Ferrari scripts. I'm not happy with them and I've got some better resin cast calipers on order.
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At the rear I had to add an extension to the uprights from plastic tube to mount the discs closer to the wheels.
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The underside is now compete after opening the holes in the rear of the engine, refitting the exhausts with cables to the sensors and refitting the wheels. Oh, I see I've still to paint the bar at the rear of the exhausts black.
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The wheels have been repainted and air valves added from 0.45 nickel silver wire. I damaged a couple of the centre badges and will replace them all round.
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294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The boot and interior carpeting has now been done and the seats, seatbelts and luggage straps added.
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The hand brake needed the mould seam at the top rubbing down before painting anc refitting
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The storage net between the seats was made from PE diamond mesh with the frame at the bottom from styrene strip. I didn't bother with the frames for the sides of the net as they are hidden behind the seats.
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The high level brake light is Al tape coloured with Tamiya clear Red.
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And the luggage straps from vinyl strip sprayed to match the seats. The carpeting was too light for what I wanted so I over sprayed with the Tamiya light sand used on the seats etc.
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