Words and photos courtesy of Wes Shakirov
It feels like we waited an eternity for this model, and it’s finally here. No idea why it took TSM so long to release it, as they never communicate anything to their fans, but it certainly would have been a better idea to release it prior to AUTOart’s effort, which was quite stellar. TSM’s version is a wholly different proposition, certainly not without its flaws, and having owned the AUTOart, I will now explain why I chose to go for this one instead.
I like TSM models because they make some great stuff. Their subject matter is right up my alley and even though Quality Control must be a strange and alien term to TSM, their models are usually exquisitely detailed for a very fair price. The AUTOart version was like every other supercar they’ve ever released. Same plastic hoses and details, same carbon pattern and generic mesh that seems to look the same on every model. The TSM has a certain authenticity, despite the inaccuracies which I will address shortly, that seems to be absent from the AUTOart version. While I do admit that, overall, the AUTOart is the safer choice, personally for me, the TSM has some features that make it the winner in my book.
Let’s start with the packaging. If you’ve ever opened any TSM model, then you’re quite familiar how special it feels. Everything is wrapped individually, there is a cool plaque to display with your model, and you get the feeling that whoever made this thing gave a crap about it. I love the huge, ostentatious chin spoiler at the front, the more detailed interior, the nicely done headphones with properly coiled cables. These are tiny things, but they elevate the model. The exhaust is crisp and shiny, the badges at the back are slender, as are the rear wing supports. Opening up the engine compartment, you get braided wire hoses and that cool looking distributor. For some reason, my AUTOart F1 LM did not give me this same feeling. In the words of Austin Powers, having said that, I do have some thoughts…
First off, the paint work is not as lustrous and consistent. There are thin areas everywhere you look. It feels as if they skimped on the painting process, leaving out an additional coat or something. Various corners where hinges meet body work have very rough paint that looks like it might have been touched up. These are, of course, tiny niggles, but are there, and must therefore be addressed. That vent on the right side (if you’re facing the model), next to the XP1 logo, is not even supposed to be there. The front wheel offset looks to be too far inboard, in line with the F1 GTR models, not the F1 LM. The conclusion here is that TSM, in order to cut costs, thought we wouldn’t notice and used the same mold for its GTR models and the LM XP1. But we did notice. Bad, TSM, very bad!
The model, however, is quite a lot cheaper than the AUTOart version, but I still like it more. Taking all the flaws into account, it’s still a good effort and I like it more than the plasticky AUTOart. I just wish that one day we’ll see proper metal parts on AUTOart models and good quality control on TSM models. Something tells me neither of those are about to happen, so I leave the decision up to you. Most collectors have already added the AUTOart version to their collection. Some even bought both. But the limited run of the TSM version will ensure that none of them will remain unsold, and may even turn out to be the more desirable version down the line. I’m pretty satisfied with my decision, which is what it’s down to in the end. Personal preference will always prevail over logic, and now I’m looking forward to the F1 GTR replicas coming soon from TSM.