Being paired with double world champion Micheal Schumacher in 1996, many didn’t consider Eddie Irvine‘s chances while driving for the Scuderia, particularly during a time when Schumacher was in his pomp. Yet such a partnership didn’t temper the flamboyant Irishman’s resolve and he started his employment at Ferrari well, outperforming his infamous rival well at his first race in Australia to take his first podium for the team.
Inconsistency and an unreliable car in ’96 didn’t much help his endeavours – It wasn’t until his second season at Ferrari, under the duress of the Italian media calling for his head, that he really began to demonstrate his talents; A more reliable machine to drive in the 310B and having had a season to fit in with the team, meant Irvine was able to achieve a career high of 2nd place at the ‘97 Argentinian Grand Prix and go on to gain 4 further podiums over the season, finishing 7th in the overall standings and helping Ferrari achieve 2nd in the constructors championship.
Modelling the F310b
This was an original version of the classic 1997 Tamiya 1/20 scale offering, but with an original BBR trans kit to create the car that Irvine raced at the 1997 Monaco Grand Prix, complete with wet weather tyres.
I decided to build the kit as a kerbside variation, meaning that the engine cowl would be sealed and free from all the fiddly details under the hood. This approach meant that I could concentrate on the overall finish of the kit, rather than worry about ill-fitting cowling, particularly with the addition of the transkit, which included a brass rear wing assembly.
Apart from having to reverse construct the model to achieve the sealed cowl, I also had to content with some very old decals that were incredibly fragile, particularly the carbon and tobacco sponsor elements that had been supplied with the transkit.
The rear wing decal had to be very carfeully applied as any tiny amount of persuation caused them to crack and disintegrate. The sponsor logos had to be painted in in some cases due to the delicate nature, which was annoying and a shame.
Application of that transkit also warranted a patient (aka frustration) and careful amount of reshaping around the winglets to the side of the car, as the fit of these elements wasn’t ideal, nor did they locate well on the original mouldings. A little artistic license was taken there.
I won’t say this was a too much fun to build, as it did test my patience, but I feel the end result is a pretty decent representation of a very old model.