Words and Photos courtesy of jpm2002
When Sebastian Vettel announced mid-2014 he would leave Red Bull Racing, for which he dominated the previous four seasons, it came as a bit of a shock. It was written in the stars that one day, quadruple Formula One World Champion Vettel would join the Scuderia Ferrari. The timing of the move took everyone by surprise though, since Ferrari was having a very troubled 2014 season only scoring two podiums, while Red Bull took three wins courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo. By joining Ferrari he would emulate his hero and good friend, fellow legendary German Michael Schumacher.
Looksmart announced they would produce a 1:18 version of the Ferrari SF15-T that won the 2015 Malaysian GP. Mattel (thankfully) lost the Ferrari license a year earlier, so Looksmart pounced on the rights to make the next F1 car. It was their first 1:18 F1 model. Bburago also made a version of the car but that’s not even worth mentioning here. BBR also produced a version of the SF15-T, but after looking a the pictures of both models side by side, I decided that the little few extra details on the BBR aren’t worth the huge price difference compared to the Looksmart. The BBR version also has the wrong tires, which is unforgivable for that €385 price tag.
So to the model now. It comes in a shoes box like packaging with minimal Looksmart branding on it and a Ferrari logo on the top right corner. Inside the model with display case in wrapped in a thin foam protective bag. There are plastic straps around the display case holding it in place.
As mentioned above, there is a display case included with the model. It comes with the model as standard, there is no version without it. Although I like that a lot, I can understand if some people would like to see a version without. Now they pay for something they don’t need and won’t use. I do use it to display is as a set with the half scale mini helmet.
The wooden base underneath the perspex cover and model is covered with black felt. On it is a rather cluttered plaque with all the info on the model and car. The model does present well on the base without the cover in my opinion, but the felt is an enormous dust catcher, so it’s better not to display it like that.
I removed the model from the base to make better up close pictures. It stands well on it’s wheels. The overall dimensions, ride height and stance look pretty good. I’ve heard some people complaining about the front wing height and I agree it should be slightly lower. It’s not as bad as the 1:43 version of the model though and you actually barely notice it on the 1:18.
The front of the model is quite nice. The front wing end plate cut outs are well done. Most of the cascades in the wing are cut out, some are still closed otherwise it would become too flimsy I guess. I really like the aluminum colored slot gap separators on those cascades and the tire sensors in front of the wheels. One bit that is not that good are the decals on the extra winglets. The “Shell V-Power” decals look too big for the part they are placed on. The shape of that distinctive low, long nose looks very good, especially where it transitions onto the bulkhead, just behind the camera ‘ears’.
On top of the bulkhead the many antenna’s are quite refined. Underneath the turning vanes are quite detailed and the little piece connecting the under-tray with the cockpit looks nice. The suspension is nicely done, not too plastic looking. Note the pull rod layout instead of the more conventional push rod. The big brake ducts look good. The wheels are very well done, the shape seems correct and the rims are very nice. I really like the OZ branding and the fact that you can see the Brembo brake calipers. The blue central wheel nut is quite elaborate (it’s red on the other side). It’s a bit of a shame they didn’t add a tire valve like BBR did.
Moving on to the cockpit, the little window is refined. I really like the little antenna on the right mirror. Both the shape and decals on the helmet seem correct and are clear . They did pay attention to the asymmetric design of the helmet with the “SV Vettel” logo on the right side and the Ferrari prancing horse on the left. I did alter the angle of the helmet as I thought it was looking down too much. The steering wheel looks nice with the gear shift paddles and the decal on it is detailed. The figurine is good, the German colored nr.5 of Vettel is very noticeable on the leg. The seat belt buckles are photo etched parts and look very good.
Going towards the rear of the car, we can see the holes in the engine cover. The whole rear assembly, suspension, floor, exhaust exit and brake ducts is very detailed. The carbon effect is very good on the bodywork. I really like all the real cut out slots in the rear wing, the DRS mechanism and the monkey seat.
The model I bought did have a few flaws however. The Italian flag decal on the nose was damaged, but I got a replacement one from Looksmart. I did have to send a lot of emails and wait for a long time, but I did receive them in the end free of cost. Another decal was also damaged, the UPS logo on the left side-pod. Also, the T-camera on the top of the car is not entirely straight.
All in all, the model looks very good and I’m very happy that Looksmart decided to make it. Otherwise it was choosing between the great but too expensive BBR or the crappy toy Bburago. The model is very detailed, is quite refined and just looks the part. The price is still a bit steep, but I think it’s the best price/quality wise.
What camera/lens combo do you use to take such a nice, clear and detailed pictures in macro? I found they are really impressive! The guy behind the camera is probably also very knowledgeable and talented! ;-)