Williams FW12

Nigel Mansell

Following the now infamous domination of the two previous seasons with Williams’ FW11 and FW11b, Mansell would always have faced a challenge help retain the title, especially as the power of the Honda engine was no longer in the back of the car, being at rivals McLaren instead.

Both Mansell and his colleague Riccardo Patrese described 1988’s FW12 and it’s Judd power unit as ‘Pathetically Slow’ in a straight line, yet Mansell still managed to put the car on the front row at the season opener in Brazil.

The troubles continued for Mansell over the course of the season, suffering seven consecutive retirements at the first seven races; the car, designed by Patrick Head, Frank Dernie and Enrique Scalabroni  was grossly underpowered compared to competitors, and also suffered continuous problems with the dynamic suspension systems that Williams had been using since Italy ’87.

It wasn’t until the ’88 British Grand prix, a race that Mansell had won the previous two seasons, that the desperate team gave Mansell and Patrese the performance they needed by replacing the electronic suspension for a classic, mechanical system, botched together literally overnight.

That alteration paid dividends instantly for Mansell as he claimed his and the teams first podium of the season.

During what was arguably Mansell’s worst season in Formula One, he managed only one additional podium in Spain, another seond place, with a combination of poor reliability, accidents and chicken pox restricting him to just two race finishes all season.

He would leave Williams at the end of the year. having failed to finish 12 of the 16 races.

Building the FW12

My second attempt at a 1/43 kit, and this one appered to be of a pretty old design and production – with oxidation on all parts which meanthe model needed a fair bit of clean up initially.

As with my first attempt at a 1/43rd – the Benetton B191b  – this kit was missing decals and instructions. Fotunately, I managed to source a copy online, whicc made the build much easier to content with.

After the intial clean up, the build progressed smoothly all in all, however, I did notice that the alignment of the parts wasn’t so precise, which you might be able to see from the images. This mean that areas didn’t quite marry as they perhaps should. I may have attempted to fix them if I’d had a little more experience working with the metal kits, but chose to progress rather then interfere too much.

The alignment issue were only really apparent during the final stages, as the front wishbones, didn’t fit correctly to thier pilot holes. I trusted that the parts would have aligned well enough, as with the previosu 1/43 kit, so didn’t test fit before spraying and assembling.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. If I had run a test fit, the finish and alignment issue could’ve been even better. Mounting the wheels was also a little haphazard, as the axels, especially the rears, protuded far to much to offer the correct wheel position and appearance. They were also trimmed down to suit.

Another area that I must try and offer more attentionand time to is the areas that may not be seen, engine bays, the cockpit etc. I often neglect these as I always think they won’t be seen. crabby edges than show up like a sore thumb in the images!

I was pleased with with finish I achieved on cowling  – as I managed to put down a decent clearcoat – something I’ve always struggled with, but i;ve been practising over reacent build and have settled on Tamiya TS13; light coats followed by a couple of heavy coats, being careful not to cause pooling.

That still didn’t stop several decal corners from folding over, which was incredibly annoying as when I intially laid them down, they were flat and appeared to have bonded well. Obviously not.

Little things that would’ve made the end result that much better. Lesson learnt for the next time!