The day when ‘GP’ stands for ‘Gifts and Presents’

For those of you who were celebrating, I hope you all had a great Christmas. I had a great time and a number of Formula 1-based gifts were involved. Keith at F1Fanatic wrote a series of posts outlining F1 gift ideas, but none of the gifts I received were featured by Keith.

Firstly I got a model car. I used to collect diecast models in 1:43 scale, and at one point I wanted to collect all of the Drivers’ Championship winning cars in 1:43 scale. I got bored of that after the third Schumacher Ferrari in a row in 2002.

Graham Hill Lotus 49B (1968) 1:18 scale model

Recently, my father came across a small selection of inexpensive 1:18 scale models in our local TK Maxx. He decided to get me Graham Hill’s Lotus 49B, which the side of the box informs me finished 2nd in the 1968 US Grand Prix.

Manufactured by Sun Star Models under the Quartzo brand, it is nice enough. But in all honesty it is not the highest quality model I have ever set my eyes upon. For instance, the rear wing is made of plastic, it comes separately and you have to attach it yourself. The engine is also made of plastic and is rather wonky-looking. It is also far from the best presentation I have seen. However, the majority of the model is diecast and looks great. For the money, it’s a pretty good buy.

Bernie's belt The most surprising gift I got was this official Formula 1 belt, which I got from my brother (who sometimes writes here as Onebrow) and his girlfriend. It was surprising not just because I didn’t expect it, but because I didn’t even know you could buy an official Formula 1 belt!

I’ve never been one for official Formula 1 merchandise. I feel little loyalty to Formula 1 — I will follow any great grand prix racing. Plus, the thought of adding more money to Bernie’s pockets doesn’t fill me with total joy.

Nonetheless, this is a classy little belt. The Formula 1 logo looks quite good on the buckle. The ‘F’ in the logo is actually transparent, thereby only turning black when you do the belt up. I don’t exactly see myself going around the place wearing it, but I did wear it for all of Christmas Day and it certainly brought a smirk to my face when I unwrapped it. I wasn’t expecting to get Bernie’s belt for Christmas. I’m just glad it wasn’t Max’s whip!

For those interested in it, for some reason the product is not available on the official Formula 1 store, but the belt was bought from Tesco!

But my favourite present was the one that I bought for myself! It is a Mega Bloks McLaren F1 Racer. It is a McLaren Mercedes MP4/22, the 2007 car driven by Fernando Alonso, in 1:12 scale. For the uninitiated, Mega Bloks is like Lego, but less Danish. This McLaren model clearly takes its cue from Ferrari Lego.

Given that the McLaren–Alonso combination didn’t exactly work out, it may not be the most sought-after of gifts. But as I quite like both McLaren and Fernando Alonso, I have no problem whatsoever with it.

I got this out of my workplace, Woolworths. The original price of this was north of £20, which I think is quite a lot. But thanks to the fact that Woolies has been holding a closing down sale, I got an extra 20% off this on top of my normal colleague discount, which made it much better value for money.

McLaren Mega Bloks tin I was, in fact, lucky to get it. We had sold out of it long ago, but a customer returned one and I put it aside so that I could buy it myself. It originally caught my eye partly because it was F1-related, but also because it is beautifully presented in a gorgeous tin, which this photograph does no justice to.

Christine and Me at Sidepodcast had a similar idea, although Christine got the smaller pit stop version.

Mega Bloks McLaren-Mercedes MP4/22 1:12 scale

And here is the finished article! I didn’t time myself, but I reckon all-in-all I probably spent about three hours on it. When I first opened the tin and saw the number of pieces (455, but it felt like about a thousand) and the size of the instruction manual it looked quite daunting. But once I got stuck into it, it became difficult for me to tear myself away from it. In the end, I was quite upset when I came to the final few blocks, despite the sense of accomplishment.

In fact, by far the most difficult aspect was putting the stickers on at the end. I think I did a pretty good job of it though. I think it looks absolutely great. Being made of Lego-style building blocks, it doesn’t exactly have the sleek look of an actual McLaren F1 car. But it is still gorgeous, and I can hardly stop examining it.

Mega Bloks McLaren-Mercedes MP4/22 1:12 scale sans engine cover In parts it is very blocky, but in other areas the detail is suprisingly good. The frong wing has a curvaceous look to it, and additions such as the T-cam, the ‘horns’ and even a couple of aerodynamic flick-ups are all present and correct. Be careful not to lift the car by the engine cover (the natural place to pick it up, I think) because it is not attached. It comes straight off so that you can examine the engine!

The tin and the instruction manual appear to promise a “building challenge”. It appears to be another model — some kind of fantasy futuristic vehicle, WipEout-style — that you can build with the same pieces, but there are no instructions for it. However, having completed the McLaren model, complete with stickers, I don’t think I can actually do this. Taking the McLaren apart, having basically stuck many of the bits together with sponsor stickers, will be near impossible. This seems to be an oversight on the part of the manufacturers.

Mind you, it looks so gorgeous that I probably wouldn’t be able to bring myself to take it apart anyway.

Meanwhile, I got my brother a 1:43 scale model of Takuma Sato’s Super Aguri SA03. It may only have competed in four races, but that makes the model all the more special if you ask me. My brother is fond of Takuma Sato and Super Aguri, so it felt right to get him it!

Did anyone else receive F1-related gifts for their Christmas? If so, what did you make of them?

4 comments

  1. I didn’t receive any F1-related gifts, but I got my nephew (who’s just getting interested in F1) an encyclopaedia from Morrisons. I have rather stupidly forgotten the name and author. It’s not the most detailed one I’ve ever seen (having read it all the way through beforehand), nor does it cover 2008, but it fulfilled the mission briefing given to me by my brother which was “an introductory F1 book with lots of pictures, few words and cheap”.

  2. Wow! I hadn’t seen the Mega Blocks McLaren racer at all before. Very cool. We’ll have to meet up, I’ll bring my Ferrari Lego car and we can race them 🙂

    I got the ’89 Autocourse and a beanie hat with F1Fanatic.co.uk on it…

  3. I got several books – Bios of Robert Dunlop (the motorcycle racer), Sammy Davis (the Bentley Boy), Denny Hulme, and Raymond Baxter. And the F1 Yearbook.

    Also got a trip to the driving school at my local circuit – Mondello Park.