Just a foreword before your read. It is very rare we get this sort of insight from a manufacturer’s perspective on developing models. It is quite rare and uncommon. And to be honest we’re not sure why. It seems manufacturers, in general, are somewhat guarded, shy if you choose. A level of reservation that we hope will someday move away from.
This article was borrowed with permission from CMC Models Enthusiasts, we hope you enjoy the read. And please have a level of consideration for CMC and the team here at DiecastSociety.com. Constructive criticism is fair, but please be respectful in your thoughts and comments. Happy Collecting!
Thank you CMC Enthusiasts and collectors, for your patience. The CMC Ferrari 275, which has been in development since 2018, is finally ready.
The model has been on a bumpy development journey for over three years. One of the most time-consuming part was the repeated revision of the body lines, which was done by 4 engineers consecutively to reach a conclusive configuration in 2021. In addition to this, we dealt with some details over and over again, and we sought to use the best materials, and sound processes to replicate these details in a safe and reliable manner. We hope to present an intricately-crafted and exquisitely made scale auto to you and live up to your expectations. Let’s recall some of our endeavours and share them with you.
Body lines, as the most important part of a replica, must capture the charm of the real car. Elegant curves are undoubtedly the biggest challenge for the designer and technical processing. It is true that the design was based on digital scanning. However, the lines of the prototype generated by 3D printing subsequently were never perfect. In our case, we felt that the lines were not soft and graceful enough, especially in the rear-end of the car, and their biggest defect consisted in a lack of signature voluptuousness. The modification of the rear-end of the car went through the hands of 3 or 4 engineers.
You may ask, “Isn’t the scan data accurate? ”
Yes, the accuracy of a digital scanning should be 80% or above, but the ascending curves of the windbreaker of the car were hard to trace precisely from the photos and scans. It requires an experienced designer to study multiple photos from different angles and consult many sources of information to integrate his impressions into a reasonable approximation. This is followed by repeated modifications until a best approximation is achieved. The process of achieving this can be difficult to communicate effectively. In addition to the photos and digital scanning, we also collected other information, and it was not until 2021 that we finalized the shape after repeated modifications and assessments.
After the body lines and configuration were determined, there were still many hurdles to overcome for the implementation of the blueprints in technical processing and production. When it was impossible to cast the curves of the front and the back parts of the car in one piece because of technical restrictions, for instance, we applied the method of “splicing”. This involves splicing the body with two castings that are joined in secure and perfect alignment. Screws were used in the process so as to ensure durability; screw heads were grinded and polished until they levelled off with the body surface. Then, seams were filled with paddings, which were polished to become a part of one smooth body surface with other parts. This was followed by the hand-painting process to finish the complete circle. The “splicing” process is a “laborious and costly approach”. But for the sake of seeking authenticity, we are willing to do whatever it takes to approximate it. CMC has acquired a set of relatively mature “splicing” experiences.
The ridges on the left and right front sand-fenders are one of the characteristic features of this car. In order to replicate these ridges, we modified the design and tooling three times. After looking at the first 3D prototype, we found that the ridges were not apparent enough. The follow-up processes of polishing, sanding, and painting were likely to eliminate whatever traces these ridges still had. This is why after the tooling was completed in 2021, two more revisions were made on the mould.
The door handles of this car are of a distinctive shape. We chose to incorporate their unique shape into our replication rather than treat these locks as if they were of a common lot.
We demand authenticity. The door handles of the car feature a broad and hunch-backed head and a receding end curving towards the door. Processing this shape is not easy, for it is unique and streamlined three-dimensionally. Initially, we considered using plastic parts because plastics can easily be moulded to meet the delicate requirements, and it is not difficult to mount plastic handles on the door, either. But we gave up the idea because plastic parts were cheap and brittle. Next, we dismissed the use of alloy. Although alloy parts could be cast fully shaped at one go, and assembly was simple and easy, they were bulky, not delicate and beautiful to look at. Then, we experimented with a corrosion sheet, which was metal, but too flat to be three-dimensional.
Finally, we decided to use stainless steel and have it pressed and shaped into the door handles we desired.
How to install the handle of stainless steel to the door? And how to secure the installation? We didn’t dare to use glue bonding. What we did was to weld a column-shaped assembly tack to the back of the handle’s head, and the tack went through a hole in the door to have its end firmly secured on the inner side of the door. In this way, no matter how hard one pulled, the door handle would not come off.
The street-car version does not have wired-spokes wheels but alloy-cast wheels. Three sets of tooling have been made for this type of wheel so far. The wheels from the first set of moulds were used on the prototype models for the 2021 CIIE. A question was immediately raised about the design of these wheels by both German and American colleagues. But since the design was based on the digital scanning of a vintage car, how could there be a problem? Moreover, the model was already set for trial production in 2021. Therefore, things were stressful for us all. We made haste to gather a lot of additional information about the car, review the photos from all angles, and discover that the outer rim of the wheel had to be enlarged and the center at the core cover should be raised. After revising the blueprint, we had a second set of moulds made. However, the improvement still fell short. Although the production line was waiting for this new model to be launched, and although time was ticking away, we still took time to modify the design and had a third set of moulds made. This time, the 3D-printed samples were satisfactory to everyone.
Attached are photos from left to right: the wheels coming out of the first and second set of moulds, and the last one is the wheel from the third set of moulds.) We tracked down the cause of our errors. While the wheel design grew out of a digital scanning and hard-copy data, these sources of information were still insufficient and might mislead people. Only careful, conscientious observation and multiple references can ensure the maximum restoration of the truth.
All racing versions are equipped with spoked wheels. Each racing car has 5 wheels (including a spare one in the trunk.). Wheels are each composed of a rim, a hub, sixty nipples, one valve core, sixty spokes, a tire, and a hub cover decorated with the Ferrari prancing horse, totalling 126 single parts for each wheel and 630 parts for a single model.
When you open the hood, the first thing you see are two rows of carburetors outlets. Their bell-mouth openings, which neatly face in one direction, are also one of the characteristic features of this car. We envisioned that the carburetors of a new car should be all shiny, delicate and lovely, so great efforts were made to present them in such away. At first, we used stainless steel tubes, but when the tube was stretched to expand its opening, the edge burst. To avoid edge-bursting, we switched to brass tube, red copper tube, and finally 304 seamless rust-resistant steel tube. In expanding a 3.2mm-diameter steel tube, we found its bell-mouth opening was not very impressive, and it looked even smaller after the tube was made to bend its head down. We went on to enlarge the diameter to 3.6 mm, 3.8 mm, and even 4.0 mm. Finally, we settled for 3.8 mm. To prevent bursting during reaming, we introduced heat treatment to increase the ductility of the material. The seamless steel tube had a thin wall. After its opening was expanded to the maximum, the edge was as sharp as that of a knife. To prevent it from cutting fingers, we found a new technology that helped blunt edges while enhancing metallic sheen. To ensure that once installed, the carburetor outlets wouldn’t fall off due to the impact of transportation that could be rough, we went back to review the outlet base and modify its mould again. Finally, our replica got equipped with a set of intricate, shiny, rust-free, safe and secure carburetor outlets. Designer’s label on the side of the car.
Beneath the louvres of each side, the car body is decorated with a modest plague. Small as it is, we were not going to neglect it in our replication. We first opted for plastic parts, the advantages of which were easy to install and low cost. The disadvantage was that it would not look sophisticated. Next, we tried stainless steel corrosion sheet, which was thin, but too thin to stand out three-dimensionally. Finally, we settled for stainless steel labels. The letters on it were cut by laser, using a fine engraving approach to ensure font clarity. Once polished, the plague shined with its original sheen of stainless steel. Finally, to ensure that the plague be securely mounted, we welded an assembly tack to the back of the label, which went through the body shell to get secured inside. Only by so doing, was the job accomplished to our satisfaction. Looking back at the history of CMC, more and more sheet metal parts have been incorporated into the manufacturing of our recent models, a trend that is going against the reduction of production costs. We attached a sample of the “ Designer’s Label which we took from production for you. For the lower skirt on both sides of the body, we have finished the tooling for using plastic parts at first, which was easy and inexpensive. After the mould was completed, we were not satisfied with the test fitting ourselves. Although the plastic parts after plating were also shiny, the brightness of plastic electroplating and stainless steel looked different. Stainless steel, after being polished, presented natural original colour, but the plastic electroplating showed unreal brightness. After consideration, we still decided to give up the plastic parts and choose polished workpiece after stainless steel punching and forming. Although material prices and processing costs rose, our ideal effect was achieved. These are the endeavours we made in the development of this model. In the face of challenges, we always adhere to the following principle: Opt for superior materials, high-standard technology, and safe and reliable processes in production. We do our best to perfect each car model.
We know that regretfully this model is somehow imperfect and leaves room for improvement. For example, the alignment of window framings constitutes quite a problem for us! Back in the early development, the stainless-steel framings adopted were relatively wide and thick, not delicate enough to look at. Later, after a few modifications of the design, they became fine and beautiful, but the narrow and thin metal strips are easily deformed and difficult to install. It has been challenging to find ways to mount them and stay aligned properly. This is only one example of how CMC has endeavoured to better itself. In fact, we are always in the process of striving for perfection.
CMC exposes, in this article, the difficulties it has faced, which is commendable. He also exposes, how talented he is and a wonderful manufacturer. Not everyone knows how to be humble. Yet, here, there would be something to it.
I know I’m going to get the wrath of the CMC worshippers (I myself was a customer for many years until I gave up, faced with the huge problem of paint rash on most of my CMC models, without the brand deigning to provide any mea cula or solution). Let’s get back to this Ferrari. Frankly, the rear wing line remains confusing. The gaskets around the windows, especially around the rear window, are awful, so thick they spoil, in my eyes, all the precision work. The empty space around the engine hood is also surprising on a model that claims to be high-end. The interior is scary. The steering wheel rim is crude, the harnesses are anachronistic. The engine parts also look cruder than what CMC has done in the past. For a model sold at 600 €, the disappointment is strong. But it’s the tendency, at CMC, since the Ferrari 250 GTO, which was also a failure.
Sorry for not being enthusiastic, but this is my personal point of view and I know it is shared on many forums. I’m sure that this model will be a commercial success and will make the fortune of speculators, in a few years, when they will sell their models with a big capital gain, with or without paint rash…
I’m not a big CMC collector or a diecast speculator but I did buy two of their Ferrari 250 Testa Rossas and their Ferrari 250GT SWB Competition car and was very satisfied with those models. Fortunately none of them developed paint rash. Was
most of that confined to their Mercedes models?
I am very disappointed by the thickness of the rubber seal under the rear window of the 275 GTB but couldn’t resist pre-ordering the #4 Nassau racer. I’m a fan of the 275 GTB and if they get the paint color correct on the production version of that particular model it will be a keeper for me. So I guess I don’t fit your typical profile of who will buy this model.
I know it’s unlikely but I’m hoping they slim down that rubber seal by the time the version I ordered is produced.
I totally agree with TCL. The glass frames are too protruding, and unfortunately they are not up to the quality of the rest of the model. Other CMC models also had this problem (the GTO, partly also the 250 SWB). I find that on the part of CMC, at times, there is an “excess of research” of the particular. A note also about the seat belts, made of leather (like on the GTO). Why not use the fabric? For the rest, a beautiful model that will surely be successful, but whoever is willing to spend 500 euros for such a model is looking for perfection (or almost).
It’s really good to see a manufacturer take the time to let collectors in on the creative process, well done CMC. I hope they keep doing this. There’s a company called CCM that produced high-end construction vehicle models and they have a blog that keeps collectors nicely updated on the process of creating upcoming models and it really does a good job of keeping collectors in the loop and building brand loyalty. Such a thing would be nice to see from CMC.
As far as this model, I’m waiting for a review to see how thick the window frames are before buying. Hopefully they really did get it to look “fine and beautiful” as CMC claims. Seems like a silly problem that they could have solved by just using plastic or some other material.
I agree on the comment saying there somewhat is “an excess of research” sometimes. But in the end, who are we to comment on what goes on in R&D? The article gives some answers but doesn’t go as far as explaining exactly what the decisives factors are when it comes to taking a technical decision.
The model shown in the last picture looks good in comparison to the first prototypes. I’m sure it’ll sell well. On my part, I don’t like the “funny face” of the 275, so I’ll pass.
Regarding the comments on the 250GTO, I don’t understand. It is a fine model with good lines and details .In real life, no 2 GTOs look the same, so who cares about “exact reproduction”?
Of course, you are right about the handmade 250 GTO. However, CMC has chosen to scan the only one of the 36 models that, following a serious accident, had its front end repaired by a repairer whose work was not approved by Ferrari. That’s a bit of a stretch. Who cares? Perhaps those who love original cars. Probably the same people who don’t like harnesses in 60’s cars, maybe those who love car history more than beautiful trinkets, maybe those who thought CMC stood for Classic Model Cars.
Again my fear when I saw this article was the comments section would be littered with those WHO DON’T ACTUALLY OWN THE MODEL!
I’m not a specific CMC fan as such, but my collection is mostly CMCs because I like what they offer in the industry, a gap between my Exotos which are now simply eye wateringly expensive, and my BBRs which are sealed resin.
Yes, they are not perfect, but why should I expect them to be? Just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it should be perfect! That’s where people are losing sight of what is possible.
I now make and sell 3d engines that I print, airbrush and then sell. They are not perfect! They can’t be, I don’t have the ability or the time!
Frankly, I don’t think CMC do either! But if all people did was moan about my engines I wouldn’t make them! Personally I feel the car model world would be a emptier place without CMC and their products, and that would be a shame for all of us. So carry on doing your best in a difficult economic world CMC – you can count on my hard earned money as long as you keep producing Ferrari products. As unlike most here, I do own pretty much every Ferrari you have ever made, and so far two 275 GTBs which I can hold in my hands and accurately access rather than just moan at pictures! And for the record, both are QC issue free!!!
And for the record, I own one with QC issues and I own 30 CMC models!
Enough! I never gave a bad comment to CMC, I always saluted their job!
But can’t I be upset with the model I received?
Absolutely you can. And we would hope a correction is prompt and timely.
How dare you Goncalo! Make Daniel happy and just feel lucky that CMC gave you the opportunity to own their models even if it’s ruined. ;)
Daniel, I own over 20 CMCs, massive rivets and stitches and all. And here I thought I was too accepting of them and their sometimes ridiculous flaws. Boy, they’d love to have a lot of sheepish customers like you!
I’m very happy with mine well done CMC
I used to adore them as a scale model manufacturer. Over the years, I bought over forty models from their line up. Sadly to say it , but they have been on their downfall a few years now. My personal opinion, is that everything started with their replica of the Aston Martin DB4 which is completely wrong and it looks like it is made from few cars combined together. Then there was their famous 250 GTO I own the red one which in my eyes is not the wrong car, since they scanned the exact real red one with its changed frontside. What they did wrong though is produce a few racing variants from the same mould, which was a big mistake, the models have gone up in value but for all the wrong reasons. The Mercedes 600 pullman came a few years later, and the interior is horrendous for that kind of money. The Laundalet version, especially the brown one with its plush interior is considerably better. Now, we come to the 275 GTB. No matter how they try to twist it around, the fact is that the overall shape is wrong and the rubber on the rear window is too thick. I’ve looked the model and my local hobby shop and these are my impressions. The interior could be better too. Then we come to the price, they as a model maker stick to one logo ‘ supply and demand’ There is a core of collectors ( I used to be one of them ) who will stay loyal and buy almost everything they offer, as long as they can afford it ) that is where they know no matter what, the brand will grow. Then there is the group who buys the models for profit. This not bad everybody has its own ideas how to make extra money in the near future. The third group are people who have high expectations and try to get their first high – end model and end up with a bitter taste in their mouths, hence they are the ones who complain the most ( most cases they are spot on) In general, the hobby as a whole, is not in a good state.The inflation hits harder and harder on it. The Q & C issue is becoming a bigger problem day by day. In the end though, if these trends continue, my fear is that many collectors will pull out of the hobby. Hopefully, things get better not just with CMC models, but the state of the hobby in general.
Excellent analysis which I fully share. I agree with you on the starting point of the decline that was the Aston martin DB4 GT Zagato (another bad choice of original scanned model, as it was a DB4 GT re-bodied in “Zagato style” at the request of its owner). Another example is the Jaguar C-Type with its bizarre front end and its improbably crudely stitched tonneau cover. So it’s up to each person to decide what they want and what they want to do with their money. Of the three categories you identify, I think I’m rightly in the third, especially since of the thirty or so CMCs I’ve owned, a good half have seen their paint fade over time. Many people deny this problem or minimize it by calling it rare, but if you look at the pictures of the CMC sales on eBay, you can see how widespread it is. To me, high-end should mean quality and fidelity. But this is just my point of view, which I wanted to express, without hoping to impose it, of course.
Great insight Edward. Thanks.