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This is the 1/12 scale kit of the 1923/24 Fiat Mefistofele, by Italeri. This kit was originally released by Protar as a die-cast kit, then converted to an all-plastic kit and re-issued by Italeri in 2015.

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The Fiat Mefistofele began life as a 1908 Fiat SB-4 chain-driven Grand Prix car, with an 18 liter engine with two individual but linked-together cylinder blocks. By 1922 the car had come into the hands of John Duff, who was racing it at Brooklands when one of the cylinder blocks exploded, separated itself from the rest of the engine and flew skywards, taking the hood and several other supplementary components with it. Duff lost interest in the car after that, and went off instead to help start Bentley's winning run at Le Mans.

The shattered remains of the Fiat were acquired in 1923 by British race car driver and engineer Ernest Eldridge, with the intent of building a car that would set the land speed record. He looked at the remains of the18-liter engine and decided that it was a little on the small side for his plan, so he managed to acquire a 22 liter Fiat A-12 World War I airplane engine. The Fiat A-12 was a liquid cooled in-line six with a single overhead cam, and put out 260 hp. This engine was so long that the car's chassis had to be extended, using bits from a London bus chassis!

The rebuilt car was given elegant new bodywork, and Eldridge modified the airplane engine. In modified form it had four valves per cylinder, and 24 spark plugs fired by four magnetos, with four carburetors. The modified engine now put out 320 hp at only 1,800 rpm, with a 5 to 1 compression ratio. Still chain-driven, with mechanical brakes on the rear wheels only. The car weighed two tons, and must have been a monster to bring to a stop.

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On July 12, 1924 at Arpajon, France, Eldridge broke the absolute land speed record by achieving a top speed of 146.01 mph, but the record didn't last very long. Fellow Englishman Malcolm Campbell broke the Mefistofele's record in September, 1924.

In 1969 the car was bought from Eldridge's heirs by Fiat, when it underwent an extensive restoration and was repainted red (it had originally been painted black). It is now part of Fiat's historic collection in Turin, Italy. Here is the restored car as it exists today...

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The kit is nicely packaged...

and includes a plastic box full of tiny screws and miscellaneous hardware, wiring, tubing,etc., a clear plastic stencil so you can spray the "FIAT" logo on the radiator, and of course a decal sheet...

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You have to build the drive chains link by link, just like a real chain...

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That car looks huge ! The chain links would stop me dead in my tracks !  : )

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Just starting to dig into this kit. There are more than a dozen parts trees, molded in black, red, dark gray, light gray, brown, and a satin chrome look. Absolutely no flash whatsoever... I've rarely seen a more cleanly molded kit. Even the various thin linkages have no mold misalignment... they are perfectly round, with no mold seam line to clean up. Every kit should be molded this well.

Major assemblies are meant to be assembled with screws (like a Pocher kit)... but this being "only" 1/12 scale, the screws are tiny! I'm sure I'll need my magnifier lamp to install these tiny screws.

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Harry, you certainly have a knack for finding the exotic (weird?) stuff to build! And they all come out looking like museum pieces! This should be spectacular to see finished! Good luck on those chains!

Sam

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Harry, you certainly have a knack for finding the exotic (weird?) stuff to build! And they all come out looking like museum pieces! This should be spectacular to see finished! Good luck on those chains!

Sam

I do like the oddball stuff, especially early 20th Century. But I am definitely not looking forward to building those chains. I had a hard enough time with the chains on my Pocher 1907 Fiat Grand Prix, which is 1/8 scale.

Doing it in 1/12 scale is going to be a challenge.

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I'm in.  Good luck with those chains.  How do the wire wheels look?

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Pretty good. The spokes are pretty close to scale thickness, and there is no flash. Each wheel builds up from four separate layers.

The four layers are connected around the rim by screws...

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Nice to see you back in 'larger scale' action Harry.

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Thanks, Charlie... but my sciatica has been acting up big time the past few days. It hurts just to sit, so I'm not sure how much time I'll be able to devote to this project. It's really hard to concentrate and enjoy the project at hand when you have a constant shooting pain in your left leg/hip area. :(

I think I might need a Cortisone shot just to get this pain under control.  The painkillers the docs have prescribed just aren't working.

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I think I might need a Cortisone shot just to get this pain under control.  The painkillers the docs have prescribed just aren't working.

Do not take painkillers! Or shots Harry. They are dangerous and habit forming.

This will make you feel better instantly. Or at least not feel anything...

http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2016/06/30/macallan-releases-65-year-old-scotch-for-35k/

 

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I deal with sciatica & back pain as well, Harry.

Empathy.

I got an inversion table...gave me back my life.

best to you

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mid '80s i was out of work for almost 4 months with that.

if you have to sit for long periods, stick a tennis ball behind you, and move it around to reduce pressure.

and above all, get thee to a swimming pool.

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Look forward to seeing someone else do a great job of this kit, I know given the Harry treatment it will be a stunner.

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Well, today the sciatica took a day off, thank God... so I was able to put some time in on this. First thing I always do is glue together any parts or subassemblies that will be painted the same color...

For some reason they molded the springs in light gray, but the shackles in black! Also, the tie rod is supposed to be attached using the "heat the pin sticking out and press it down to flatten it" method, but I don't like doing it that way, so I made "nuts" out of hex-shaped styrene rod (that's why the tie rod nuts are white... they aren't from the kit.

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Sometimes you have to come up with a clever way of attaching the handle to the part you want to paint. In this case, I wrapped strips of masking tape around the ends of some shish kabob skewers until the tape was just the right diameter to slip into the cylinders.

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The reason there's metallic paint sprayed on the bottoms of the cylinders is because I temporarily press fitted them onto the block, so that I could spray the block and keep the mating surface between the block and the cylinders free of paint. No need to scrape paint later! The fact that the cylinders got paint on them doesn't matter, as they will be painted black.

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I'm just getting started on the engine. The block was sprayed metallic silver, then two coats of Testors Transparent Black window tint. If you look closely you can see where the mating surfaces where the cylinders will go are clear of paint... because I placed the cylinders on the block first, then sprayed the block... so no tricky scraping needed around those areas; I can just glue the cylinders in place.

And of course, the block got a wash of Future and acrylic black, to bring out the detail.

This engine has well over 200 pieces, so it's going to be a while...

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I've probably said this before, but I appreciate the time and effort you, or anyone else for that matter, put into taking pictures, writing captions and posting them on the forum!

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John, I do it for two reasons. One, it's fun! It's like writing a magazine article (except for no pay, of course...:P).

But seriously, I do it because I know there are several guys like you who like to follow along and watch a kit being built that you yourself would probably never build, but like to see being built.

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Ok, here is a real pet peeve of mine... poorly engineered and poorly thought out parts trees. Here is the kit dash...

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Notice all the ejector pin marks? That means I will have to sand the dash smooth, repaint it, and scratchbuild the switches on the right side. All extra work that I as the consumer should not have to do! There is absolutely no reason why they couldn't have designed this parts tree with the dash flipped the other way... so that the ejector pin marks would be on the back side of the dash, where you would never see them, But no! They had to do it the stupid way. Sheesh... :rolleyes:

I expect better from a kit at this price point (MSRP $195!!!). Even though I paid much less, still... boneheaded mistakes like this have no place in a "premium" model kit. :angry:

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