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Fiat 806 1/12 ready for inspection: a true to original replica

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Hello to all,

When I bought and began the construction of the Fiat 806 "Grand Prix" 1927 Italeri kit at 1/12 scale, in july 2016, I was very far from imagining to where this would lead me...

I am not a specialist of vintage cars (even if I made indisputable progress these last times:D) and I didn't know this car, but I loved her design, and the very nice Italeri box-art had aroused in me the desire to build that model.

Opening the box, and looking at the sprues, I have to say my enthusiasm decreased a bit: the kit was far from the actual quality standards of Italeri's production, except the decal sheet and the photoetched part. The reason? I found it out on the net, where I began to make researchs. This kit was in fact a reissue of an old Protar kit, what Italeri had forgotten to precise on the box, announcing on the contrary "a unique model in terms of technology and accuracy" (sic).

The 2nd disconcerting discover was that there were very few documents available on this car, just a few black and white photos, 2 blueprints, both being contradictory, and a few drawings. I had to learn that this race car did not exist yet for a long time, as it had been sent to the foundry by an incomprehensible order of Giovanni Agnelli, the Fiat boss, a few months after her birth, as pity her elder sisters 801 to 805! (despite our researchs on the exact circumstances and precise moment of that order, it is still not very clear, but it was definitely before june 1928, maybe after the dramatic accidental death of P. Bordino april 15th, but maybe before). 

But, among these disconcerting discover, I made a much more positive one: Britmodeller, and a thread dedicated to the Fiat 806: the Gangshow...

I had never up to now taken part to a thread, just reading sometimes, but I was so impressed by what I saw on this one, especially what Little Andi and vontrips could do, through others, that I decided to join the team. It was september 7th, 2016.

At this time, I could not imagine how wrong the Italeri kit was, I thought there were only problems with the poor quality of the moulds, and so, I began my build normally, following the steps, trying to improve it of course, but thinking this build would be probably over in december, allowing me to write an article in Tamiya Model Magazine, as I had done for my Chevy Bel Air Convertible 1957 previously.

But small and small, it became obvious that, if I wanted to get a quite true to original replica, there would be a lot of corrections to do: the grille was made of thick rods (what the box-art could not let imagine, thanks to a nice Photoshop work...), the steering wheel was very far from the real one and unrefined, and so for the wheels, and so for the tyres (Italeri had provided the Mef tyres, probably because they did not find the Protar's moulds!) etc etc.

Of course, I was far from being alone discovering these problems, but small and small, 2 conceptions of model making, though as respectable one as the other one, began to create tensions on the Gangshow thread: some modelers considered that we (mainly Hannes, Roy vd M, CrazyCrank, Sharknose156, vontrips, NickD and me) were in a "purist logic", very "boring", and "hijacking" the initial thread. This led to the creation of a new thread, initiated by Roy:

It is difficult to tell here the enthousiasm and the incredible profusion of ideas, debates and discovers of the first weeks in the new thread. It was sometimes even too much for me, I could not go on my build, especially since the new discovers questioned it! In the research aspect, Roy was particularly motivated and effective.

A book could be written on the amazing saga this thread and my build have become from that moment. 

Later, we found out, bought and read the beautiful Sebastien Faures book: "Fiat en Grand Prix: 1920-1930" (E.T.A.I editor), that would be fascinating and would bring historical and technical precious informations. More, I took contact with the author, that was very interested by our research and partial scratchbuild project, and who helped us a lot, bringing infos and new docs.

Later, Roy would find the moving documentary of the Monza Grand Prix (4/9/1927), the only one to which the 806 took part (Milano G.P) and in that amazing movie, the first frontal view of the car, showing definitely how wrong was the radiator case and the grille on the Italeri kit...

Later, I took advantage of a travel in Florida to visit the great Naples Rev's institute (go and see their internet site...) and could then take contact with Paul Kierstein, responsible in the research section, who would bring us him too very interesting documents, in particular the blueprints of our Drawing 2, dated, showing this version, with a longer tail, that had inspired Protar, and so Italeri, was in fact an evolution (that would never be born) of our car, and not a previous version, as most of us thought.

Later, Roy would discover accidentally, while he had left us to begin working on his Delage project (go and see his thread), the first profile view, pity not in HR, but so important to get the good shapes...

Later, I would go to Torino, to the Fiat Centro Storico (by appointment), and would look to the archives, finding very important infos and docs, and discovering their wrong big scale model (however better than the Italeri’s one) and the museum with the Fiat Mefisto, that should be my next build.

All these months, I spent my time doing and redoing, cutting here and there, "shrinking the shrimp", as joked CC. A real pioneer work, that Hannes was doing too.

Hannes... he has been so important for my build, as CrazyCrank, the other french modeler of the team (see his amazing thread on the Pocher Bugatti T50), as BlackNight, as Harvey, as Sharknose (Sam, hope you'll get back your photos lost due to Photobucket, I look forward to read your Mefisto thread...), as Roy, as Robin Lous, as vontrips (even if the Protar's tyres are a bit too large and too thick imho, they are anyway much much better than the Mef's one!).

A dream team! But Hannes... always pushing me to go further in this quest of truth. We had so many debates (sometimes very lively!).

So, this build is of course mine, but I have to thank here all people without whom I would clearly never have been able to build what is definitely, to this day, the most accurate and realistic replica of the Fiat 806, this legendary and beautiful vintage race car. 

I regret deeply that the editor in chief of TMMI did not understand all that and renounced to my article because I had shared on an internet forum  my photos, techniques and ideas. But a 7 or 8 pages in a magazine would have been anyway just a little summarize of the 187 pages of our thread (without mentioning the Gangshow...), so I don't see the problem. Pity...

If I don't find anyone interested by editing anything on this build (pity, I have many photos and had begun writing the article...), I will just do a personal book, that I will read with pleasure, when I will be too old to practice model making, this fascinating hobby.

And to finish, before the photo gallery, I can't forget (I hope I didn't forget anyone...) to mention my master and friend, Juan Manuel Villalba, who has followed all my build from the beginning to the end, regularly encouraging and so nice, and giving me so good hints. Thanks to him, I have improved a lot my photos (he is not only a great modeler - very famous in the aircraft modelers community - but also a pro photographer). 

I forgot: My model over (in fact, there would be still some corrections later), I have decided to build OOB the kit (thanks again to Roy...) to show the many many differences between the Italeri kit (nice however) and my true to the original replica. This OOB was built in less than 3 weeks, while the PSB (partial scratch build) has needed about 14 months! I don't say that to discourage people of goodwill, but you have to know in what you put your feet... That said, if I rebuilt this PSB today, it would probably take less than 6 months...

I also want to say that:

1) my model is definitely not perfect, there are some wrong details that I couldn't modify without taking too much risks. And we are still missing photos of the engine compartment and cockpit inside

2) Harvey has begun the challenge, go and see his thread: H's 806... on Britmodeller, of course! Hannes is going on too, and when I see what he did with the Mef, a real piece of art (he should publish very soon a "ready for inspection" topic too), I imagine the result...


Well, sorry to have been so... talkative, there was so much to say.

All the best to all and sorry for the ones I forgot to mention, who, at a moment or another, have brought me (us) help, like square, Jnkm13, Propeller etc.




P.S: Thank you anyway to Italeri that gave me the opportunity to build this unique model. Despite the many defects of this kit, it does exist and we have so few vintage cars at this scale...


P.S2: And many thanks and all my loving to my dear Pascale, who had to be so patient during all these months. Being the wife of a passionate model maker is not a gift!! ;)




And now the pics... finally! As you know, OOB means built out of the box, PSB will concern my partial scratchbuilt version...

Adobe Lightroom was used only to get good photos parameters, but not to cheat (no correction done except to make disappear the left bonnet on the profile view).


I begin with the profile view, photo 28 in the thread (Roy's discover, lately and "accidentally", looking for Delage docs!):




My partial scratch version without the left bonnet (erased with Photoshop, many thanks to JM. Villalba who did the job):




And with the left opened bonnet, in TIFF format (VHR):




((N.B: pity, this is the only photo I could put in TIFF format, great but very heavy, because the other ones are more than 25 Mo, and Image Schack, that I use to export my photos, doesn't accept them. ))


Comparison original/ OOB version/ my PSB version: the Italeri kit is too height, giving a massive perception, the tail is too long, and so for the cockpit... and of course, the wheels are wrong in every aspect (tyres, spokes...):






This frontal view (photo 12 in our thread) is a screen capture of the documentary, due to Roy too: comparison with the OOBit just doesn't seems to be the same car...




and with my PSB version: the radiator case had to be completely redimensioned, and the grille too. The thick plastic rods of the kit's grille were removed and replaced by 51 thin steel rods (0,4 mm), that I had to bend a bit because the grille is not flat.

The front and rear axle were wrong, not long enough, I had to modify this too. All these changes had of course many consequences on the build, in particular decreasing the body in height...






The photos in our thread have been numbered according the moment of their discovery. The photo below, numbered 1, was one of the first photos we got. The profile view above bears the number 28 because it was discovered much lately...








As the photo 1 above, the photo below (our photo 2 in the thread) was done when presenting the car, that was not yet painted (and the exhausts were still uncovered). Some rivets are visible on the fairing, that will be totally sanded before the race. This photo 2 is high quality, giving many informations on details. The angle of view is slightly different from the photo 1, and the driver Pietro Bordino is missing.

Comparison photo 2/ OOB:




Comparison photo 2/ PSB:






Other HQ photo taken very certainly the same day, our photo 3, very interesting 3/4 rear view: let's compare it first with the OOB:




and now with the PSB:






The same with our photo 4 (in the thread). With OOB:




and with PSB:






Our photo 9: this photo was very interesting for us, because it was taken the day of the race (after the race in fact) and was HR. It is the only one that shows that there was an asbestos wrapping on the exhausts. Pity, this photo HR is protected by a copyright, I can reproduce here just a LD version (the original was 1,2 Mo, this one is only 369 Ko) but you can however see the wrapping, wet because of the rain:






Our photo 25 in the thread: notice the very low body (the mechanics around the car are however probably not very tall):






Top view: we don't have any top view of the original car



OOB and PSB comparison on top view: 



OOB and PSB in frontal up view:



and in rear view:





And now let's focus on details, beginning with wheels


The wheels have been completely respoked, there must be 72 spokes by wheel (0,4 mm steel rods at 1/12) instead of 36 plastic thick ones in the kit. 




Cockpit, windscreen, exhaust, fairing and fuel cap on the OOB:


and on the PSB:




Fuel cap, louvres, exhaust, brake cable, wheels, digits etc. on the OOB:


and on the PSB:




Engine compartment OOB: notice the very thick ignition wiring and connectors provided in the kit, the unrealistic screws on the radiator case and the body, the thick plastic hinge, the thick brake cables (the kit provides a big spring to represent them) etc.



and PSB: the hinge has been scratchmade, so for the ignition wiring and connectors. The brake cable is a 0,38 mm braided wire from RB motion.




Brake cable and tensioners on the original car (photo 2):


on the OOB:



and on the PSB:




And finally the Sir Lawrence figure (Minichamps 1/12) from which I made my driver Pietro Bordino. I had decided indeed to represent "Il Diavolo Rosso", the Fiat and tifosi golden child in the 20's. This transformation was another challenge...




New photos, done on a black cardboard, giving another perception, with a very nice contrast red car/ dark cardboard:




















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Wow, this is fantastic.  Your model really captures the low slung look of the prototype.  The details and the textures are really lifelike.


The OOB version builds up as a nice looking model - as long as you don't see what it's supposed to be a model of!


You may want to ask a moderator to move this thread to vehicles?  Though hopefully loads of Aircraft modellers will like it and be impressed too!


Cheers Will 

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That's a true work of Art Olivier,beautifully crafted,I would eventually have caught up with it in my rare trip over to the vehicle section one of

the Mod's will move it no doubt.

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Very nice it is too. I do have confess I thought the 'Fiat 806' was a hitherto unknown to me Italian aircraft.

Edited by noelh
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Sorry for that mistake, noelh. But maybe this will give ideas to the aircraft modelers... that I am myself (I usually alternate cars and aircraft but there should be an exception, as my next build should be another vintage car, the Fiat Mefisto). The previous build I have done, before the 806, was the Yak 3, with the great help of Juan Manuel Villalba, my master and friend, from whom I learnt a lot. I could post a "ready for inspection" for this Eduard Yak 3 at 1/48...

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That is a beautiful model Olivier, the more so knowing just a little of what went into it. I would look at your guys research thread occasionally, shake my head & think, "what are these guys up to?", now before me I see the answer & it all comes clear. Bravo to you & the others, a most worthy result. :thumbsup:


Edited by stevehnz
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I had asked Julien, walkaround coordinator, this morning, to do the correction and put my "ready for..." in the vehicle section. It is done now.

Thanks Julien and sorry for that mistake...


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Congratulations Olivier after such hard work, the final result looks very real and accurate. The only small reserve i have, you know it, so i will not repeat it, it is between us only ;)  Looking forward to your next challenges which i am sure will be equally artistic, technical and historically beautiful . Don't use Photobucket !  

Amicalement, Sam.


ps: in case you publish a small document about your build - and i hope you will, even if only for the Britmodeller site -  may i suggest you write on the photo itself if it is the OBB or the 'true', as it can be confusing sometimes to a first viewer and on close ups. i had trouble myself. This means the OBB you made is honoured and looks very well, even if it could use a little weathering to make the edges and contours contrast a little more. 

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Thanks to all for your kind comments !

Sam, it is not a secret that you had a reserve about the driver, that you consider not at the same level as the car build. Even if personally, I don’t regret to have represented P. Bordino, I obviously respect your point of view. As my next build should be the Mef, I hope you will be able to post the photos in your thread again, so that I will be able to read it comfortably.

If it is not possible, could you send them to me by We transfer, please? 

P.S: 1) no risk that I use Photobucket, happily, I changed my host long ago, using PB just at the beginning. Now, I use ImageShack without problem. 

2) I don’t know yet what I will do about the small document, but waiting for that, I will follow your recommendation and add labels on the photos here, on this « ready for inspection » section, for a better and more clear reading experience. 

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Am currently traveling and when back home, i will archive the old thread and post pictures again on Britmodeller in a new and shorter thread.

This will includes updates on my Mefisto. 


Hopefully my car will be finished around the end of year or early January.

i have opened an account with Flikr as suggested by Roy. 


for your Fiat 806, in your place i would do a 5 page PDF summary consisting of pictures mainly and link it to your ready for inspection.


Here is a beautiful car, Ferrari 250 built by a Swiss modeller whom i don t know the name unfortunately.

But i think it is an inspiration in terms of detailing and weathering for all car modellers to see. Truly a museum piece :




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Thanks Sam for the infos and for this wonderful Ferrari model!

I look forward to see your new thread about the Mef!


P.S: I tried to improve the presentation of my "ready for inspection" to get it easier to read. Tell me what you think about it now...

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My Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible 1957 1/25 is now visible in the "ready for inspection" section. It was a bit strange for me to dive back in this build, that seems to me so old, while I finished it in march 2016... In the meantime, I had built the Yak 3 Eduard (in the aircraft section, of course), for which I will maybe do the same, following the welcome that I will get.

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I didn't imagine having more "likes" on the Yak 3 (article published just yesterday) than on the Fiat 806 (article published 7 days ago). The main reason is probably to find in the largest number of aircraft modelers...

Of course, we don't do model making to get "likes" on Brit, but it gives an interesting indication and it gratifies our self esteem, it would be hypocritical to deny it.

I was a bit surprised and to tell you the truth disappointed not to get any comment or "like" from prominent members of our thread. I however admit they had ever many times expressed very kind comments toward my build on our thread "research..."

Maybe they were just too busy these last 7 days...

Anyway, my decision is taken: my next build will be an aircraft. So, I will go on building in alternance a vehicle and an aircraft...


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  • Totally Mad Olivier changed the title to Fiat 806 1/12 ready for inspection: a true to original replica

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