By John Jameson
This BBR kit was built to represent the Benetton B193b piloted by Michael Schumacher in the 1993 Grand Prix of South Africa. The Benetton B193b was designed by the great Rory Burns. Rory Burns designed the Tolemans' in the early '80's and moved to Benetton in the mid-80's and was the Benetton designer for a number of years including the back-to-back driver championship years of '94 and '95 for Michael Schumacher.
The South African GP was the first event for 1993. It was apparent from this first event that the Benetton team was to be a major contender for the following years. Michael Schumacher, at the South African Grand Prix, qualified 3rd behind Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. Michael also outqualified his teammate Riccardo Patrese by 4 places and almost 3 seconds. Unfortunately, Schumacher went on to spin out the race, finished 12th, and 33 laps down from the eventual winner Alain Prost. Michael did go on to finish 4th in the drivers championship in '93 behind eventual World Champion Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Damon Hill. Michael did win in '93, driving the B193b at the Grand Prix of Portugal and finished 2nd at San Marino, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, and Belgium.
This kit - BBR kit #MET04 - is a fine white metal and photo etch kit in 1/43rd scale. The kit consists of a white metal body, mirrors, dash, brake ducts, steering wheel and under tray. The kit contains three sheets of photo-etch, two larger PE sheets containing the suspension, wings and odd do dads, and a third smaller sheet containing the belt buckles and wheel nuts. The wheels are turned brass with photo-etch inserts, brass rings for the wheel outer yellow surfaces and rubber tires.
The decals are of the highest quality and consist of the green areas of the livery as well as sponsor decals. The kit also provides a small sheet of red vinyl precut for the seatbelts in two configurations, either individual belts or a full buckled version. The kit does include numbers and drivers names for Schumacher and Patrese allowing the builder to choose whom the kit is modeled after. The kit also includes the 'smoking' decals, in this case Camel.
The kit is typical of BBR kits of this era. Generally nice castings and design, but care must be taken when adding the suspension to ensure an even ride height.
I started the build by attaching the lower bottom nose/body piece to the main monocoque using a low temp solder. This provides a nice strong bond. After the solder had cooled I sanded clean the main body piece. I prefer to use solder on attaching larger pieces of white metal. I find the bond better and the sanding up cleaner. With solder, even before priming, you can't tell the two pieces were ever separate.
I then scribed the panel lines a bit deeper and cleaned and drilled out the mounting holes for the suspension. I also cleaned up a bit of flash around the side pod inlets.
Using the photo-etch provided I assembled the wings, both front and rear using a gel type super glue. The gel-type super glue is not as 'instant' as the conventional super glues and has a brief but valuable period of fiddle time. This is perfect for assembling the wings where a bit of set up and eventual jigging is necessary. I also inserted the wheel centers into the fine turned brass wheels and glued these into place.
All these major parts were then primed using my favorite primer, Dupont veriprime. I find this primer to be superior for metal kits. Metal kits have a tendency to chip their paintwork, using a primer specifically meant for metal such as veriprime seems to minimize, if not eliminate this problem.
Before going too far with any Formula 1/43rd build the suspension should be tested for fit. One of the last steps I perform in building a small kit is attaching the suspension and getting it all to sit right. So you really want to make sure that the suspension is going to fit precisely so you are not fiddling or have to make changes once the car is all painted and decaled. So at this point with the main body primed I temporarily attach the undertray and then proceed to detached the photo-etch suspension arms and dry fitted the suspension assemblies to the primed body. Trimming slightly the arms that were too long to set the suspension arms, front and rear evenly.
I chose Tamiya's TS-47 Chrome Yellow paint to airbrush the body, wings and outer wheel rings of the kit. This is a small spray can from Tamiya and I decant some paint by spraying the paint into a long cup. I then pour what paint I have collected into the airbrush cup. The Tamiya is a lacquer paint and is a joy to use. This TS-47 chrome yellow is the color specified by Tamiya for their 1992 Benetton B192 kit. This kit is the previous year's Benetton car, but the livery remained primarily the same.
After airbrushing several coats of chrome yellow on I let the body and wings dry. I primed the suspension arms and wheels and painted them a semi-gloss black. I also prepared the under tray and interior cockpit items, such as the dash, wheel, and seat. These all required a little clean up and sanding as there was a bit of flash. These items were then also primed and painted a semi-gloss black.
With all the major sub-assemblies primed and painted, I began the task of laying down the green areas of the cars' livery. Using the decals provided and a lot of Micro scale solvent, I was able to lay down the green decals satisfactorily. I then clear coated the body with a two part automotive clear coat. Next I applied the sponsor decals to the body, front and rear wings. I also used some ScaleMotorSports 1/43rd scale carbon fiber decals for the inside of the wing endplates for more detail. I airbrushed another light coat of two part automotive clear to finish the job.
While these assemblies dried, I chose the individual seat belt harness pattern and cut the photo-etch buckles from their sprue. Assembling the seat belts can try your patience and eyes but with perseverance, good-looking seatbelt assemblies can be accomplished. I then spot glued the belts to the seat in the pattern outlined in the instructions. I also inserted and glued the outer brass yellow wheel rings in to the wheels and applied the sponsor decals to the rings. I decaled the dash and gave this a semi-gloss clear coat to protect and preserve the dash decal.
With all of the sub-assemblies complete and painted, I proceeded to the final build steps. I prepared a small amount of 5 min. epoxy, and I glued the seat to the under tray, the steering wheel to the dash and the dash to the body. I then attached the under tray assembly to the body using the screw provided, and a fine bead of epoxy applied to the under perimeter of the body. I let all this set up for a night before proceeding.
I mixed more epoxy applied a bit to each suspension mounting point, and quickly attached all four suspension assemblies. While the epoxy was still setting up I carefully measured the center of the suspension wheel mounting points to the 'road' and adjusted the suspension heights equally to ensure the ride height and the car would sit even and flat, taking into account the wheel center height to ensure a proper ride height. Having set the suspension up I let this dry for a day or two.
While the suspension arms were curing. I fit the rubber tires to the wheels after washing them thoroughly to remove any oils and ensuring the tire decals would adhere properly. I applied the Goodyear tire decals and using a handmade, crudely cut up stencil, I airbrushed a dull coat to the tire logos through the stencil ensuring that no dull coat got on the wheels. I use the crudely cut up stencil to limit the dull coat to the tire decals only. I find that if the dull coat is too comprehensive it will crack when the tire is flexed, by just dull coating the logo only I can tend avoid this problem.
Now with the suspension dried I attached the wheels and then the wings. If I have done the set up correctly the car will sit flat on all four wheels. It's not all that easy, I got this one set up well, but I have done my share of fiddling with the final sit of the car in the past. It teaches you to get the dry fit that much better next time. The final step for this build was attaching the small detail items like the mirrors, antennae, and camera.
This kit is attractive with its high nose and bright yellow and green livery. I was pleased with the final build. The decals were excellent and did not give me any problems. I originally thought I'd have to paint the green part of the livery because I was going to have problems with the large green decal not fitting well. This turned out not to be the case. It did take a bit more fiddling to get the suspension straight than some Tameo kits I have built. There was also a lack of brake disc detail included on Tameo kits. The brakes for this BBR kit were provided as a one piece metal hub assembly, not the layered up photo etch I am more used to. The instructions also did not provide decal placement guides for the Camel sponsor logos, but they were included with the kit. This wasn't a big deal, a little research was necessary for placement of these decals. I think I got most of them right, however, I couldn't find a complete walk around for this particular car in my references.