- Warning: NOT sponsored by The Athlete's Foot. I deliberately left this one shot untouched simply to show how inadequate the iPhone 4S -- and me -- performed back then. All photos shot and edited by author.

Reaching for Glory | Hot Wheels Ferrari F2008 Shell Promo | Inspection Room

My brother arrived home at 9:00 AM Manila time after an all-nighter and woke me up to news that he brought two cars for me and my 10-year old brother, then slept (his satchel also had Tom Sawyer, which is neat). This is one of those cars.

[Originally published on Kinja 22 July, 2016 at 08:15PM . As part of a massive week-long initiative to bring my most significant LaLD posts to Drivetribe in the wake of Kinja's demise, I present my greatest hits: every feature and review I've written that's worth reading about, revised for more discerning audiences.]

When I got downstairs and saw what he meant, I got quite ecstatic. Here were two cars from a promotion I thought I’ll never get, and yet a good friend of his decided to give these away. I also saw my little brother playing with them. Eventually, we decided that the 430 was his and the F2008 was mine. I didn’t regret my choice.

{Full disclosure: It was my elder brother who provided the cars as, effectively, hand-me-downs from a friend of his. Thanks, Marv and Marv’s friend/host. I can’t and won’t trade them, unless you can find similarly-sized pullback actions or are an electrical engineer. All photos are shot with an iPhone 4S, so I apologize.}

The Proof Is In The Pudding

I have in my possession a 1:38-scale Ferrari F2008 model, with screw-on plastic body, molded-in Kimi Raikkonen driver and cockpit, fake hubcaps like the real thing has, grippy rubber tires with Bridgestone Potenza markings, non-movable suspension arms, and an airbox that may or may not be detachable. It is housed in a windowed cardboard box with printed-on leather & stitching and two unsealed box flaps to open the model. The model rests on a cardboard plinth with steel patterns.

I can’t speak for the quality of the box when new (it should be good), but the current state of the packaging is still quite solid, given it’s already about 7 years since the model was released. Still, the open flap means that the model has been played about often when it was new. I don’t mind. It’s not like I wouldn’t take it out and play with it, anyway.

As you can see, the model is legitimate. Resin, yes (this will be a key talking point later) but legit. Even has the HW logo and everything.

Unfortunately, this model does not have the series’ main selling feature, which is touch sensitive steering. You can watch some short clips below to see how the rest of the cars in the range works. They’re neat. Really neat. More toy cars should have this, with an expanded memory to allow 45 inputs. Maisto should have this, or they are a no-good die-cast company.

Initial Scrutineering

Here’s the thing: that windowed box won’t do the car justice. You really have to pull it out of there to fully appreciate what Mattel and TMSW were able to do with the plastic they used. It is, as one would say, a very good model.

1:38 seems to be a perfect scale for injection-moulded cars like this: not too big that it becomes conspicuous, so you can play with it, but not too small that there aren’t a whole lot of details to represent. And because the body and chassis are mostly plastic, the pullback drive unit propels little weight, which, coupled with the good mechanical grip, the model goes further than others in the range on one full pull.

Or, at least, that was supposed to be what happens when I pull the model back.

Instead, nothing happens. It doesn’t resist when I pull the model back, when ideally it should, and it doesn’t really go anywhere when you let go. That’s a knock against the model, and reduces play value. Or maybe not, because now it’s essentially a free-wheeling toy car, which is better... I guess.

General Scrutineering

That said, one doesn't really feel the lack of drive capacity the moment the car captures your stare and nails your gaze to it. It’s quite a looker, in fact, and not just because of its pedigree. TMSW nailed the aggressiveness of the aerodynamics, and the model’s inherent beauty still comes through despite being plastic.

Detail is more than reasonable, too. The very specific bends in the endplates are well-captured, same with the lower mounting and diffuser. Decalwork is also excellent—crisp, clear, and seamless. The tires, too, are accurately-made; they get up to temperature fast and wouldn’t mind being forcefully turned to corner.

Problems inherent to the material still show, however. Gaps where winglets are supposed to go (consult this photo of a bigger scale model) don’t exist, and everywhere else the detail, while accurate, is still lumpy. The prime problem with plastic resin, which shows in the front assembly, is that the intricacy that metal can provide gets lost in lumpy, frankly-unwieldy plastic. There is a way to get that beautiful (if short and stumpy) wing to work with the material, but then you’d run into the problem of brittleness. It’s why I’m stuck with Kimi’s head molded in to the cockpit, non-existent arms, and no steering wheel, and why the entire front suspension assembly is one lumpy piece. There's a 1/64 model that has a fully-furnished cockpit and driver, and that one’s plastic inside.

Besides those and hubcaps that won’t line up for jack, the rest of the F2008 is well-done. Whatever detail the material can muster, it shows with ease and accuracy. The complicated shapes on the bargeboards are finely-rendered, the colors match across the board, and Kimi’s helmet is, for all intents and purposes, on point. In truth, the small inaccuracies don’t take too much away from the model’s goodness. For something that’s about as plastic-fantastic as a C5 Corvette’s interior, it does the job admirably, and I wouldn’t really question a Ferrari F1 model with a driver assembled in.

Final Verdict

+ Pedigree, graphic detail, playability

- broken pull-back drive, lumpy body detail, plasticky feel

Now, in reality, I soon realized that the car’s pull-back drive unit was broken by, most probably, my brother’s friend’s little brother, who didn’t really care much about playability, or at least the fragility of a pull-back as thin as the one on this model.

But all in all, I got me an excellent model. There’s respectable detail, good grip, and hoonability isn’t hampered by the lack of drive. Mattel and TMSW did well. Quite well.

FINAL SCORE: A-

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