Here's the next review, people. This one's for the Porsche 956L (1983 Le Mans Winner)
The predominantly blue and white paint is applied extremely well without any unpainted or unevenly painted areas including the underside of the engine cover, which is painted black. Although many of the sponsor logos as well as the red and gold trim are tampo-painted, many of them are applied with decal stickers. In addition, the decals don't read "Rothmans" but rather "Racing" but this is as accurate as it can legally be following the recent ban on tobacco advertising extending to diecast models. However, judging by the fact that you can read "Rothmans" in the decals on the sidepods and on the rear wing from a certain angle in the light, it looks like Minichamps used decals intentionally so that it would be easier for collectors who wish to replace the decals with more accurate ones.
Although the model looks on the long side, this 956 is the long tail version so its scale and proportions are dead right. The fit and finish are generally good but it could be a bit better in some places - the lettering on the sidepods doesn't match perfectly because the engine cover sits slightly shy of the bodywork. The model weights in at around 700 grams.
The towing ring at the front of the model is a plastic ring rather than painted on or even worse, simulated by a sticker. Although the intakes leading to the brake cooling ducts aren't perforated, they are very deep giving the impression of hollowness. The headlights are very well simulated with separate plastic pieces and chrome finish on the rims of them and the indicators and side repeaters are simulated with separate plastic pieces also. Although the mounting stubs are visible, it looks realistic of the 1:1 car as they resemble the bulbs which can easily be seen through the lamp housing. The two little vents beneath the windshield are genuine perforations and the handles/aerials surrounding the cockpit as well as the fuel filler caps are little plastic pieces instead of being simulated by cheaper, less realistic-looking methods i.e. stickers or painting.
The three holes in each side window are genuine holes and the air intakes in the doors leading to the radiators are well simulated with some nice detailing on the radiator housing. The vents on the engine cover are genuine openings and the rear wing has the correct inverted wing shaped along with very good minute detailing on the central pylons. The tiny taillights are simulated with separate plastic pieces like at the front.
The beetle-wing doors open (not very far but accurate) to show the rather cramped interior. The detail is extremely good with the console having the correct moulding and paint application simulating the buttons and knobs. The dials are nicely rendered to with extremely small but legible writing. The Momo steering wheel is well defined to as are the pedals and gearstick, which has the gear linkage made from separate plastic. The door sills within the sidepods have tiny mouldings to simulate the bolts. The driver's seat has a separately made safety harness reading "Sabelt" on the shoulder straps and silver coloured buckles. The 'passenger' seat is (correctly) devoid of a headrest and the safety harness and both seats are textured. The serial number of the 1:1 is included between the two seats (956003). Even by Minichamps' standards, the interior detail is exceptional.
WHEELS & BRAKES
Correctly, only the front wheels have the 'hubcaps' and there is a small space of both of them leading to the tyre inflation pins. Some brake detail can be seen on the front wheels but most of it is hidden by the caps. The rear wheels show much more detail. The spokes are nicely done with the tyre inflation pins clearly shown. There are brake discs and correctly painted gold calipers but because the discs are fixed in position, they do not rotate with the wheels. However the slick racing tyres are correctly branded.
ENGINE & UNDERCARRIAGE DETAIL
When the engine cover is removed a great amount of detail is shown. The famous boxer-6 engine is nicely replicated and even has spark plug wires. The intercoolers and turbochargers can easily be seen either side of the engine and they too are nicely detailed. Slightly ahead of the engine you can see the fuel tank as well as the hoses leading to it from the filler caps. The high levels of detail continue throughout the engine bay with fine detail on the gearbox and the carbon fibre chassis. There is a rather extensive use of hoses and wires as well with the accurate use of red and blue paint on certain parts on the wires. The rear towing ring can be seen in the engine bay but not very easily. The engine bay looks almost as if the 1:1 was made eighteen times smaller.
The undercarriage detail is excellent too with the aluminium panel beneath the cockpit being simulated by metal-coloured plastic. The enormous Venturi tunnels are nicely simulated with the rear wishbones showing through. The rear towing ring can be seen more easily from beneath as well. A close look at the front wheels shows coiled metal used to simulate the brake cooling ducts.
As Minichamps is the only 1/18 manufacturer of the Porsche 956 and therefore this particular version, there is no competition.
As with most of Minichamps' models, you won't find this model at your average shop or supermarket - you're likely only to find it at model specialists or Porsche dealers. While the model is not rare (for now), it is by no means easy to find.
This is one of Minichamps' best models. The exceptional detail does justice to one of the most successful racing cars of all time and it is definitely worth adding to your collection if you collect racing car models and worth considering even if you don't.
Total Score - 47/50
Review added DX Model Review Database - 12/22/04
© 2004 www.DiecastXchange.com All rights reserved