REVIEW: BBR Ferrari F12 tdf •

REVIEW: BBR Ferrari F12 tdf

Words courtesy of Karsten Weiss, photos Arkadius Haiduk


The Ferrari F12 Berlinetta was the car that Jeremy Clarkson went airborne in on Top Gear and that he found so scary that he actually suggested giving it less (!) power. Have the Maranello guys listened? If you take the tdf as their reply, no! In the market for a family car, “tdf” suggests to economically translate into something “turbo-diesel”-ish, but in fact it alludes to the turbo-devilishly fast Maranello-thoroughbreds (legally) put on steroids and optimized to dominate the Tour de France endurance races across France (long before cyclists were illegally doped into the horsepower-league). Chris Harris therefore pleasantly found it to be demanding more of its owner than the money to buy it, which is a lot, given that buyers needed to qualify for this exclusive F12 swan song limited to 799 pieces by already having at least five other Ferraris in their possession to start queuing for one.

Luckily, no such requirement for model collectors because the ten 1:18 and one 1:8 do not make me a die-hard diecast-Ferraristo. Thus for me making a colour-choice usually is a no-brainer for a Ferrari. There is no other brand so much synonymous with a colour – or would you spend much thought on what colour to have on a fire-truck?  See, that’s why all my other Ferraris are red, and yet, although BBR’s first diecast in years will be offered in red, too, I have decided against it this time. Next to Hot Wheel Elite’s F12 Berlinetta red makes the tdf look too tamely ordinary for such an extraordinarily ferocious stallion IMO. If you agree, you will still have to choose between a sinister black with white racing stripes and black rims, the yellow press car with the same silver rims as on the red or this white one with its Italian tricolore stripes.

Most deviations from the Berlinetta in body design are required to enhance the vehicle’s aerodynamics and help the jockey at the reins to handle the edgy stallion. So let our eyes caress its shape following the airflow around its muscular body, cooling both its thoroughbred red-hot heart and its carbon-ceramic brakes while pressing its ferociously pawing wide-tread hoofs into the tarmac and into submission to its master.

BBR’s F12 tdf can credibly take in a deep breath of air through the finely meshed grille at the front end that is proudly bearing the detailed prancing horse to cool the engine and minimize interference with the underbody, to then partially release it along the underbody and partially vent it through the equally finely meshed nostrils in the bonnet. The new front spoiler has the thin Formula 1 wing  to direct any air not taken into the engine bay to the underbody, real tiny louvered air intakes towards the sides to increase floor load and delicate fin-shaped carbon dive planes to manage wheel wake on the sides, all of which seems so fragile that I dare not touch them. Unlike the BBR diecast F430 there are no instructions not to touch some parts, but better safe than sorry.

Most obvious is the carbon-clad “aerobridge” on the sides of the bonnet that channels any air not passing straight across the bonnet, roof and rear end´s raised spoiler lip, seemingly leaving the Italian tricolore racing stripes as if Frecce Tricolori had thundered through, from the creased bonnet’s sides into the crease along the flanks. These being diecast parts, it is remarkable how sharp the creases have been cast; the light and shadow on the white paint nicely underlines the shapes. The carbon-effect plastic side skirt helping to manage the airflow is equally delicate. On top of the rear wheel arches you find classically racy three louvres to extract air from the underbody and increase downforce, and even here the black mesh is not simply recessed to disguise a shortcut, there are real holes in the diecast wheel arches. Brilliant! Not so brilliant is the slight blot of extra paint at one of the louvres over the right wheel arch.

Any air not diverted elsewhere by then leaves the underside through the rear diffuser that, however, is not really active on the model, but nicely “carbonized”, just like the box-like housings for the superb double twin-exhausts or the panel between the tail lights. Like all the other exterior “carbon” elements, the pattern is printed on in a shiny finish that would dispel some of our worries about the upcoming Lamborghini Centenario if that only was to be made by BBR, too. In terms of carbon BBR literally shines where AUTOart recently does not.

The rear lights’ interior is three-dimensional and can be admired through the sharply divided clear and red sections of the tail lights, not least because the red is a light, perhaps a little too light strawberry red. But that might be the white paint lighting it up further. The headlight assembly in its mixture of carbon chassis, lenses, LED daylight running stripes and glass housing are a masterpiece to which the Hot Wheels Elite F12 cannot hold a candle (excuse the pun). You almost expect the lights to flicker into life. Further details, of course, include the petrol filler cap in matte silver and all the Ferrari badges and horses on the model. The horses and Ferrari scripts are delicately photo-etched and I would be careful and avoid dusting off the model with a cloth as it might catch and damage these details. The badges on the fenders and the bonnet are convexly bulging and add great realism to the model. The amber fender dots are there, not much to be said about them, but that they exist.

More interest can be taken in the wheels with vented ceramic brake-discs replicated on all four and a particularly noteworthy set of excellently detailed yellow calipers behind shiny black rims with unbranded fine-treaded tires. Whereas the rear wheels fill the arches well, the front tires seem just a little too small, but pictures of the real car in white leave me with a similar impression. As they are on the real tdf, the front wheels are wider than on the Berlinetta. To counter a consequential tendency to oversteer, on the real car, the rear wheels steer, so that wobbles of the rear wheels that models occasionally have could be excused as being on purpose, but the wheels on mine are absolutely firm. Unfortunately, the front right wheel on my model does not quite touch the ground.

Half of the fun in collecting is, of course, accessing the dream car, without which the collector experiences a sense of exclusion as if we were trespassers pressing our noses against windows of other people’s cars. The rear hatch has a photo-etched Ferrari script and opens on struts to reveal a detailed boot whose partial parcel shelf can be flipped up, so that you see an uncarpeted floor, a production plate at the well towards the cabin, oval lights on both sides and what looks like silvery locks to remove the side panels over the wheels. Between the actual boot and the front seat, where you would expect rear seats in a four-seater you can see a luggage shelf with rails and straps to keep luggage in place. Another attraction visible through the open rear is the carbon of the seat buckets and how the red “leather” upholstery seems to be a separate part, not only painted on.

On the driver’s door only you will find a lock underneath the handle, photo-etched so finely that you would want to insert the old-fashioned key blade that this F12 is one of the last Ferraris to have. Opening the door is truly rewarding, not only for what is inside the cabin. The tread-plate on the threshold is a brilliant replication of a carbon panel with metal rails along an equally shiny “Ferrari” script, definitely too magnificent to tread on. The door panels imitate carbon-fibre as neatly as on the exterior, with the handles´ centres excluded to mimic leather grips. The door bins have a fine mesh to pose as a net. The footwell area does not have carpeting but the replica of aluminum chequer plates with four black dots was screwed onto the floor. The air vents’ tips shine in a silvery metal with partially red bezels and ending in mat black mountings.

The passenger is informed in what car he is, reassured that he has an Airbag in front of him and in the door, just in case the info from the speedo/rev-display on the passenger-side worries him or her, which it well may, because they are only strapped to the bucket seats by a three-point red fabric seat belt with a photo-etched buckle. The red and black upholstery of the seat with the greyish-white centre line and horse on the headrest lends a lot of lustre to the interior. On the seats and elsewhere where leather is replicated you find painted on contrast stitching as a nice detail, even on the back of the carbon/leather steering wheel you find cross stitching. On the wheel´s front, you find all the buttons and the red “manettino”. The giant gear flaps are carbon again and in the centre console, you find the funny arrangement of red buttons. As far as I can see, BBR has not taken ANY shortcuts but have painstakingly and accurately replicated every single difference in the material the inside of this Ferrari has to offer. Wow! That’s what makes a  1:18 model truly great and worth the 360-access. I apologize for failing to see how this interior could have been made better.

Under the bonnet, we find the naturally aspirated V12, perhaps the last in a Ferrari, and cranked up to produce 769 horsepower, which is why you would want to be careful with the spurs, set behind the front axle to make this a mid-engined car and covered in yet more carbon. The engine itself is a joy with the carbon, all the details, including fluid filler caps, stickers, etc., what isn’t, though, are the giant doglegs on which the bonnet opens. It is admittedly difficult to replicate the tiny struts that support the real thing, and yes, the hinges on the real car do resemble doglegs, too, but at the size of these they do stick out like a sore thumb and look out of place with the rest of the model.

Do I recommend the model? Oh, yes, despite its little flaws it has absolutely earned its stripes! Along with Almost Real’s offerings, it is a fine example of what can be done in diecast, even by a manufacturer with not so much experience in diecast models and I shall like to nominate it as a likely contender for our Model of the Year 2018.

Written by

49 Responses to "REVIEW: BBR Ferrari F12 tdf"

  1. DS Team says:

    Fantastic review! We love the passion behind your words. Nice to see the model has more positive attributes than negative ones. Nice to see a fully opening scale model featuring the Ferrari badge. But we still miss Hot Wheels Elite!!!

  2. Karsten says:

    It´s been a pleasure to write this piece, thank you for publishing it! Thanks to Arkadius for letting us use is pictures. Have you noticed how in the picture through the open passenger door a photoetched “Ferrari” script is stuck between the doorsill and the sideskirt? I am wondering where that has come from. It may have come off the treadplate. Be mindful not lose it, perhaps it can be put back into place. It chillingly amplifies my warning about the photoetched scripts and horse badges.

    For my amateur pictures and youtube videos about the real car follow the above link to my website.

    • DS Team says:

      Thank you to the both of your for pieces together an exceptional review! Yes, those decals are so delicate. I had to replace a few off the rear of my HWE cars on multiple occasions :)

  3. George K says:

    Love the review and the model! But an F12 TDF has 769 bhp! 380 is nothing nowadays!

  4. josh says:

    How much is the model going to sell for? in US dollars

  5. Nero says:

    In 2 or 3 Years Bburago will lost the license, then I will pick up one for a reasonable price, +300€ with doglegs its a completely nonsense… Worse than autoart composite..

    • DS Team says:

      I doubt this will ever happen soon. Don’t hold your breath too long!

    • Karsten says:

      #1 I don´t see what the BBurago license has to do with BBR
      #2 As for your hope to get this model cheaper at a later point, try to find a diecast BBR F430 on ebay. I bought mine for 229€ and they now range from 400 -860 € on ebay.

      I pre-ordered my F12 tdf a year ago for 242€. When a model like this arrives, the price goes up, especially when they are almost sold out and the competition has none left, retailers ask a premium. (On ebay now between 500 and 600 €!, My retailer is sold out on the white, the red has gone up to 280€) Only if the market is overflooded with a model and a retailer´s stock is higher than the demand, he will decrease the price. And this is not going to happen with this model IMO.

      • Tomcatters says:

        I agree, I missed pre-ordering one and almost fainted when I saw the prices which it already sells for on Ebay. I had more luck than anything, because one customer cancelled their order at one of my preferred dealers and now I get the white one for 270,- after all.

      • Nero says:

        Still a nonsense price for the model, for me its time to save money, in no so much time other company get the license will be the time to invest on Ferrari models, its completely impossible get the all the models, so its pretty reasonable that new brands will release models by the pass of the time, then enjoy the moment..

        What about the people that dont collect today, but will collect in 5-10-20 years?? I´m pretty confident there will be more options in the future.

        I lost the oportunity to get an Scuderia from HWE and I did not collect in the Kyosho eve, so, just wait..

        People could try to sell models for a big amount of money, but no one is going to spend that crazy amount…

        Collect models is just a hobby..

        So waiting 3-6 year more? Even Bburago got a F12 TDF with doglegs but they only released it on 1:24 scale.

        Dog legs for that amount, no sense nevertheless still being a beautifull model.

  6. mcaf123 says:

    Nice review!
    However, you mentioned “it is a fine example of what can be done in diecast, even by a manufacturer with not so much experience in diecast models” – despite the fact that Minichamps makes this model who obviously has loads of experience in this field!

    • Karsten says:

      Minichamps makes this model for BBR? That´s news to me. Could you please submit references to prove your allegation?

      • mcaf123 says:

        It’s been discussed on various forums and Facebook groups for a while. Plus I spoke to a very large model distributor a couple of weeks ago who confirmed it. He said that Minichamps always had always dreamed of making Ferrari models, but they couldn’t get the license. BBR wanted to get back in the opening model game (their earlier diecast models were made by Kyosho apparently), but they didn’t have the factory for it so they struck a deal with Minichamps to make it in their factory under the BBR brand. Win-win for everyone (except the collector with those stupid dog legs).
        This kind of thing happens with a lot of brands. There aren’t actually that many factories who produce models, or indeed many factories that produce models solely for one brand (just look at Almost Real/Sum’s Models), so this kind of license and tooling sharing happens often.

  7. ZS says:

    Does this model have working suspension like all other BBR diecast models?

  8. Mozzi says:

    Great pictures, altho the review, for me personally was way over the top.
    I’ll be short and some people would want to chastise me as usual, but I have to stay in character.
    First off, this model is officially not yet released and how it was acquired is good question. I am long standing member of the BBR club with VIP status and altho I have preordered it in the first days of 2017, it is going to be available to me at the end of September at best. This also questions greatly the “CHOICE” of color. There are no colors to choose from. somehow this model was leaked out and it happened to be the white one.
    The model is made by Minichamps. These are not “allegations” but simple fact, which BBR themselves are not hiding. The legends of who dreamed of what are pure folklore too. Minichamps made numerous Ferraris for years under the UT brand in 1:18 and under the Minichamps and Paul’s Model Art in 1:43, 1:24, 1:18 and 1:12. Also BBR has been holding a license and relationship with Ferrari from before AutoArt, Minichamps existed or Mattel made 1:18 models. Most diecast companies, including AutoArt for example, do not own their own factories. Unlike Maisto or Minichamps to name a couple of the very few.
    Last, but not least, the model is still available on BBR’s side for preorder in all its colors for anyone willing to pay 245 Euros for it. You can reserve your copy for a down payment of only 45 Euros. There is no need for speculation. The prices are on display on BBR’s website. If you become a member in their buyer program you can earn points that will give you different levels of discount too and also first picks on limited editions.
    Ten, its worth mentioning that the doglegs are actually pretty much what the real car has. There are not that many ways to make real hinges in 1:1 – pivot, dog legs and scissors. That’s it. Most door hinges are pivot based and most hood hinges are doglegs. The dogleg hinges on my Mercedes’ trunk are huge. and then they are covered by plastic caps that make them look even bigger. I can only imagine the reaction if they get faithfully recreated in 1:18.

    • DS Team says:

      No mystery on arrival. It was part of the informational email from Minichamps in regards to new models a few weeks back. Also, it was listed on CK models and sold out very quickly.

      Where are you getting the 245 Euro price? Their site clearly states 299.

    • mcaf123 says:

      CK had just this colour listed on 22nd August for 299EUR. It sold out extremely quickly! I believe BBR are releasing colours slowly but surely, with the less desireable ones such as this white one first, because if they released the red, yellow, etc. then people would just buy them and forget the other colours.

    • Karsten says:

      I am extremely sorry that you don´t like my review and apologize for having written it. I guess, I would better stop writing reviews and leave that to knowledgable VIP experts such as you. When can we expect your first review?

      • Mozzi says:

        See….This kind of attitude from a lot of people like you makes me want to come to places like this one (which I used to love) less and less.
        I did not say I did not like your review and there is no need to get butthurt just because someone points out some obvious things. Both about the inaccurate info, speculation and/or disagreement with your PERSONAL views or style.
        So I will be as short and BLUNT as I can be. Whether you like it or not.
        You “choosing” this color IS BS. This is what you somehow got and you had no choice about it. Period!.
        The models are not sold out and still available on BBR’s site. And their price is 245 Euros. As a VIP member, my price was 179 Euros, which when I paid, got my credit card charged about $225. This is the price of the model that any of you can obtain it for. And I am a firm believer that most on here actually are well aware of it. But playing the speculation game is soooo much fun.
        And yes, in case I have missed to mention it, comparing an F12 TDF to a turbo diesel (usually associated with something like a VW Jetta) is just idiotic.
        On the subject of colors, the common notion on here is plain wrong. The very first model available is in fact the red one. Mine is on its way in Fedex’ hands as we speak. The first shipment of them just touched ground at BBR and only 79 pieces were available to the first preorders. This happened two days ago.
        Last, but not least, I would suggest to the smarta$$ Karsten to check his facts before he gets all high and mighty, because my first review on here has been posted before he found out about this forum. Not to mention that I have made more reviews and shared inside information than the probable number of his age, before this forum was even born.

        • Karsten says:

          Look, with this attitude of yours you would do a lot of people a favour if you DID stay away. You may well have bought the model at the price that your screenshots suggest, but why it had not arrived with you at the time this review was written, remains a mystery that I kindly ask you not to take out on me. To draw the legitimacy of my purchase into doubt and to claim I had no choice of colour is both wrong and you don´t do yourself a favour in portraying your own character online. That is why there is absolutely no point in arguing with you any further and I feel no need to justify my choices of colour or words. I´ll leave it to the common sense judgement of DS´s visitors to form their opinion on both of us.

          • DS Team says:

            Gentlemen, let’s take a step back and level set. I understand that passion sometimes overpowers, but let’s keep the conversion as civil as possible. Let’s agree to disagree.

            Michael, I understand your passion, but your temper at times does get the best of you. And your choice of words are abrasive to most.

  9. Karsten says:

    I have written an email to BBR to draw their attention to your comment and to ask for a statement from them. Let´s see what they say.

  10. Karsten says:

    Now for the facts we can check ourselves:
    Claim #1: “Model costs 245 € on BBR website”; says 299,95€
    Claim #2: “Model yet unavailable, no colour choice and made by Minichamps”; Minichamps distributes the model, yes, and it is sold out on their website, but plenty all in all 6 colours are announced:
    Claim #3: “Minichamps making the model is a fact that BBR won´t hide”; well, let´s wait for their reply. If you´re right, they will readily admit it. If not, they might mind you saying so and sue you….
    Claim #4: “You´re a long standing VIP at the BBR club, and as such the first to get all the models at a huge discount and all the info”; Obviously not!

  11. Ghibli says:

    Thanks for the great review. IMO it is a high quality model, even with the doglegs. Of course a price of an openable diecast BBR is high, but even more reasonable than a resin one in scale 1:18.

  12. Ole Andre says:

    The car cost 245,86 euro and i payed 50 euro in pre order fee. Once the model is avaiable by the end of september, i pay the difference. That means 195,86 euro.
    I have pre oder my car in Daytona Black

  13. Ole Andre says:

    No Karsten. I have already payed 50 euro now and at the end of September i will pay 195.86, in total 245.86. You can check it to be sure so i dont lie to you

    • Karsten says:

      Well, Ole, congratulations then on the bargain.

    • FerrariF12TDF says:

      I preordered the model in Black Daytona on 3/17/2017. Today I made the payment of €210, plus the €54,90 of the preorder deposit, that makes a total of €264,9.
      Fair price for a great quality brand, taking into the account the past die-cast models BBR produced.

  14. Ole Andre says:

    Btw Karsten Thanks for a great reviwe. It was the reason i pre odered that car.
    I have aleady 3 different f12 in resin and have been waiting for a open TDF F12.
    I will sell the other 3 now

  15. Nero says:

    HWE got the license from Kyosho 2009 to 2014, (6 Years), Bburago took it from 2015 to (nobody knows) but 2019 is just 4 years of Bburago.. 2015 2016 2017 & 2018, not so much time for them…

    Just Wait…

    • DS Team says:

      Don’t hold your breath ;)

      • Nero says:

        Way better than pay amounts of money for Doglegs.. Even Minichamps could fight for the license, guess why then??

        A new special series from Minichamps.. and this car in a Minichamps box, or maxichamps even cheaper…

        Enough time to save money for the future…

        • Karsten says:

          …and if only by never adding it to your collection at all. I´ve got nothing to add to the above comments. The argument is going round in circles.

    • mozzi says:

      This is also inaccurate. Mattel got the exclusive Ferrari license in 1997, which went in effect in 1998. Before that there were many different companies that made officially licensed Ferrari models. Mattel started the “exclusive game” when they paid the insane at the time $6 million just to have the exclusive right. Kyosho and everyone else paid Mattel. With teh exception of Exoto, who did not pay anyone (and got sued) and BBR, who fell under completely different licensing rules. Which was also the loophole for the Kyosho to market the F430 and Enzo under the BBR banner, altho their development started way earlier, before their partnership with Mattel fell apart.

  16. Karsten says:

    More news: There is a very limited special edition of this model available now:
    BBR High End Ferrari F12 TDF Giallo Modena 4305 blue carbon 1/18

  17. Jason says:

    Dog leg hinges? really?

Leave a reply