Mclaren MP4-25 – Jenson Button

The History

The V8 MP4-25 was the first machine used by the All England Dream team.

Designed by the combined talents of Paddy Lowe, Neil Oatley, Tim Goss and Doug McKiernan the car made use of the F-Duct, or Switchable Rear Wing – where air was used spoil the flow over the rear wing and create less drag by way of a ‘snorkle’, controlled in the cockpit by the drivers leg.

Fresh from his 2009 Championship win, Jenson Button teamed up with 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton in a line up that put all the other teams on the grid to shame.

It was a move that the majority thought would be the end of Button – he was stepping into the lions den, with the younger, and arguably faster Hamilton ruling the roost, having already seen off both Fernando Alonso and Heikki Kovalainen.

But the domination of Button didn’t happen, and he took a very competitive MP4-25 to Hamilton in a ding dong battle for points throughout the season.

Following on from Hamiltons 3rd place at the curtain raiser in Bahrain, Button took the MP4-25 to his maiden Mclaren victory in Australia, and then again in China, bagging the teams first 1-2 of the season.

Two more first/second place finishes followed in Turkey and Canada as Button and Hamilton enjoyed a brilliant season of racing, utilising the cars novel F-Duct to several impressive performances.

A number of reliability issues meant that the Mclarens early season performance began to tail away towards the latter races of the season, with Hamilton only managing to record 1 more victory for the MP4-25 in Belgium, but the podiums continued to arrive with solid results in Italy, Korea and a 2nd-3rd in Abu Dhabi.

The car eventually carried Mclaren to 2nd in the constructors championship, with Button claiming 7 podiums (2 wins), Hamilton finishing with 9 (3 wins) with 6 fastest laps between them.

The Model

This particular model car was released at the end of 2010 by Revell, and you could buy it as a double or single kit. I was given the double kit ( Hamilton and Button version ) as a present, and built the first car with very modest skills. The second kit I saved, deciding that it would be better to re-build the model once my modelling techniques had improved a bit.

So, 3 years after I had initially built this model, I decided to have another go – this time making it harder for myself, by adding a detail set from Hobby Design.

The kit itself wasn’t too difficult, but like all these projects, building it twice really helped the second version.

Bizarrely, the kit includes a fair amount of engine detail, which ends up being covered by the cowling. You could leave this open I guess, but I’m not so sure it would complete the model – But that all depends on how much work you put in and how wanted to display it.

The photo etch set added some extra realism to the wings and other areas for the car, with thinner parts to replace unrealistic elements on the front wing, the rear wing and rear diffuser as well as the barge boards and some cockpit detail. Removing the moulded parts was tricky and needed a steady, patient hand, but the model looks heaps better for it.

Check out the image of the brakes and wheels also – photoetch discs and 1/24 tyre stencils give this project and really nice finish. I’m starting pay more attention to little touches that create additional realism – even though they can be very fiddly.

front-wheel-brake front-wing cockpit-right

The carbon fibre was supplied with the kit in a very well fitting pre-cut set – but I found that lots of setting solution was needed to get them to conform to the cars curvy shapes. This was the same for all the decals, especially around the main coke bottle cowling.

Painted with Vallejo model air – which polishes up a treat once varnished the use of an airbrush to paint the car made a huge difference in the finish from my first attempt which was done with brushes – although I did manage to make a bit of a boob when I added the wrong decals to the cockpit… for the British Grand Prix in 2010, the cock pit sponsor should have been Silverhomes, not Maximum Adventure.

There is always something isn’t there…

front-view side-view rear-side-view rear_view


  • Hi there, great build!
    I’m a novice modeler, (did some lovely cars as a young kid though) I’ve just got back into it with this Mp4-25. As a rookie, using just brushes and cheap equipment (no airbrush, yet) what is my best bet for the finishing touches? Will a layer of clear coat be my best finish? Or is there something better to brush on that will protect the decals and give a nice final effect?
    Thanks in advance, and I’m really enjoying the cars on here 🙂

    • Hi Tom, thanks for the compliments 🙂 I’m really happy you are enjoying the cars!
      Funnily enough, this car was the one that got me back into modelling after many years, and I started with a brushed finish too.
      In my experience, you can brush any paint and then brush clear over the top to protect decals.
      Obviously, it won’t be as smooth a finish as using an airbrush, but if you use a decent sized brush and keep the paint thin, you can get good results.
      I used Tamiya paints initially, but have found since that Vallejo Model Air paints brush on and leave a smoother finish.
      Clear would paint on just the same over the top of the decals.
      I also used to use car polish to finish off my models when I started, like turtle wax or autoglym.
      Applied over your dry varnish and then carefully buffed to a shine, it helps to hide those brush marks and give a real nice finish 🙂
      Hope that helps buddy. Any more q’s just ask.

      • Thanks for the reply,

        I’ll look out for those Vallejo paints, I could use them on the Button McLaren next as I got the two car kit, shame there are no helmets eh?! I’ve gone for the Tamiya Chrome Silver (XC-11 I think…) for these Mp4-25’s as it seemed more striking than the Revell 90. We shall see! I’ll paint as thinly as possible and see what happens, and I’ll put some pics for inspection on the thread, see if there are any easy improvements to make for Jenson’s car! I’m going to use some Micro-Sol for the first time, and brush on some Tamiya Clear Coat for the first time, and hopefully the results will be decent!
        Any advice for the tires? I seem to remember struggling with tire decals as a kid…your stenciled ones really stand out. I’ll probably go back to some of the Tamiya 1/20’s next, maybe one of the Ferrari’s or the nice Jordan 191 🙂


        • Hey Tom, no worries you are welcome! I’m hope I can help out!

          Sounds good – get some thinner to keep the paint thin – Tamiya X-20A it’s called. Works better than water and will work in the Tamiya clear too to keep that nice and fluid. Just remember not to use too much at once…your paint will go way too thin and be difficult to apply. Add a little at a time and stir…test..repeat 🙂

          For the tyres – I use to used the decal in the kit and then seal them with clear or a satin varnish before I discovered stencils. The decals look good – but don’t ever seem to stick to well to the rubber – the covering them in clear seemed to work – the tyres on the Lotus 102B have been done like this.

          I also sand the running surface of the tyres on some models to give them that ‘driven look’ and to get rind of any moulding lines.

          Here’s a pic of my first MP4-25, built about 3 years ago from the same dual kit you have, which I also used brushes, but no varnish, or even micro sol. I was well pleased with how it turned out, so will be cool to see how your looks too!

          Good luck mate – just shout for help!

          • I’ve been a bit busy, but started making progress on the my first of the two McLarens, Hamilton’s car. Any idea how I can add a photo here?

          • You and me both Tom.

            To add an image, you’ll need a flicker account or similar to host your photos, and then you will be able to place them in your comments with the sharing options.

            You should be able to either add them as a thumbnail link just link to them so we can go and take a look.


    This should link you to a few pics of Hamilton’s car.

    Overall I’m pretty happy with it as it’s the 1st of the 2 cars. I did have some major warping issues between the floor and the rear exhaust covers, rear wheel assembly etc. There was almost a cm of travel, so it was a nightmare fitting the rear wing, I had to cut down the vertical strut in the centre to make it work at all!! (Several rubber band/glue nights didn’t improve it!) Other than that, I’d say the only issues were those Vodafone sidepod decals and the nosecone one, too. I’f I did Jenson’s car now, I don’t think I’d be able to do them any better!

    I’m gonna touch up a few bits of paintwork and clear cover it. On the whole, I’m happy with it, and had a lot of fun with this kit 🙂

    • I tell you what Tom – that looks pretty bloody good! it’s better than the finish I got on my first one with a brush, that for sure.

      In fact, as I haven’t made this car, I’m going to post it on a “readers cars” page and add it to the list! With your permission of course!

      Good skills Tom, cheers!

      • Yeah of course, that’s fine 🙂
        I used some paint thinner for the first time upon your advice, worked a treat on the body finish.
        Now to find some time for JB’s car…

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