Mclaren MP4-27

Lewis Hamilton

The final season of the all British dream team at Mclaren, world champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

The MP4/27 was deemed to be competitive after early season testing, and came out of the season opener in Australia with a double podium finish and race victory.

But even the two world beating talents behind the wheel couldn’t achieve a championship result better than third for the team as reliability and spordic performance inhibited what many hoped would be a championship winning combination.

Designed by Paddy Lowe, Tim Goss and Neil Oatley, the car featured a lower, smoother nose shape for the 2012 season, in contrast to the more common and less aesthetically pleasing ‘playpus’ design that other competitors ran.

This year was also the first that teams had to do away with the blown diffusers that had proved so effective in provious seasons, leading to redevelopment of the exhausts of the cars.

The early championship lead built up by the pair was stifled as the season progressed; the MP4/27 initially looked strong at the season opener in Australia, Malaysia and China, showing strong pace and providing the team with a win and 5 podiums, but that early promise ebbed away as rivals upgraded to build a perfomance advantage.

Combined with Button suffering a mid-season loss of form, Hamilton bearing the brunt of poor reliability with five retirements, and the team being being prone to errors and slow to upgrade and maintain it’s competitiveness, MP4/27 couldn’t regularly match the pace offered by Ferrari or Redbull, particularly in wet conditions.

Still, there were glimpses of what might have been; 7 race wins and 13 podiums throughout the year demonstrated the potential of the car; Button’s astounding weekend at Spa and Hamilton’s dominance in Hungary for Mclaren’s 150th win, the highlights were most certainly there. Unfortunately, the 2012 season demanded just a little too much for ultimate success.

Building the MP4/27

This was the first kit I’ve attempted by Fujimi, and despite reading that there can be issues with thier models, this didn’t appear to be too bad.

I took my time and added some additional detail with a Studio 27 photo etch set, albeit this didn’t add too much complexity.

Building the car was fairly straight forward, and despite a few odd parts, such as the front wing being warped on one side, most of the kit went together well enough. I did have a little trouble with the photo etch monkey seat, they always seem to be fiddly, and the details on the front wing, especially some of the smaller photo etch. The engine could also have had a little more attention, but as you can’t see it once built – the cowling isn’t removable on this kit – I didn’t see the point in elaborating much

The hardest part was that infamous Mclaren chome paint job and decals. I find that chome is never an easy finish to get right, but I opted for the simple Vallejo chome which came out ok in some areas. If I had paid a little more attention to the gloss varnish, then I may have been able to make an even better job.

The decals on the other hand were a boggle, especailly those large Vodafone lozenges that fold down and around the side pods of the car, and for some odd reason the rear wing. Despite copious microsol and even some hair dryer treatment, they still cracked as I tried to get them to conform around the complex shape. A second set was needed to retry for an adquate finish.

I also should have paid a little more attention to the final clear varnish – in hindsight another coat would have given the car a far better finish.

Still for a first attempt at a Fujimi kit, I don’t think it finished to badly. Of course, I’d love to give it another go to see if I could do better.