I won this old, and now very rare, FDS model on eBay a few years back. It is Emerson Fittipaldi’s Copersucar FD04 Formula One car from the first half of the 1977 season. It was advertised as a built model in need of some TLC as various parts had broken off.
What arrived. All the parts were there (on closer inspection, there were no exhaust pipes…), but it was soon evident this would be a bigger project than I had anticipated. Really, it needed a complete strip and respray. The seller gave me a link to some replacement decals on eBay. Unfortunately they had already sold, so the strip & spray was no longer an option.
Years of dust had settled on the model and some parts were rather dirty, as can be seen on the rear wing decal. A moistened cotton bud worked wonders with the clean up and I was amazed at how resilient the decals were.
What I thought was dust on the lower edges of the cockpit surround was in fact metal showing through from where the yellow paint had flaked off. Damn that person who bought those spare decals – I needed them!
While continuing the cleanup, the model quite literally fell to pieces! The base plate and engine dropped out from the main body casting. Luckily I caught it as, being white metal, it possibly would have deformed beyond repair had it hit the floor. Things were not looking good, but it meant I now had the opportunity to clean up, paint and fix some other areas that needed attention. However, I put this project on hold for a loooong time while I built the silver 1976 version which, by pure chance, had two decal sheets inside the box!
With the silver car finished and the spare decals un-used, it was back to work on this model. The old paint was stripped, parts primed, ready for a fresh coat of yellow.
…and with the fresh coat of yellow. I used Tamiya TS16 straight out of the can, over Tamiya primer. I do find, however, that it’s very fragile and chips far too easily.
Re-assembly was pretty straight forward. Just the decals, wheels, mirrors and wing to go.
Done! I decided at the last minute to do the Ingo Hoffmann #29 version the Brazilian raced at the two South American GPs at the start of the season. Fittipaldi drove this car in the opening seven races before switching to the new F5 for the last half of the season. Spark are doing the F5, so I’ll get that for Emmo’s ’77 ride. I also polished the rims a bit, sanded the tread of the rubber tyres and applied new Goodyear decals (well, three of the four wheels got a new decal).
As far as I can tell, Emmo always ran this car with the transparent yellow windscreen, whereas Hoffmann used a dark blue tint version (and black mirrors) which is easier to replicate with this FDS model. I considered adding some side skirts as the FD04 usually ran them in 1977, but yet to find a material and adhesive that will work in unison.
No detail underneath. I fabricated some basic exhaust pipes from solder wire. No close up pics of those or the suspension because, quite frankly, they’re rubbish.
Hand painted vents and radiators; my hand is more unsteady than I thought :/
I didn’t bother glueing the air intake. It’s not symetrical and doesn’t fit particularly well – when positioned to look ok on one side, it has gaps on the other, and vice-versa.
In the display cabinet alongside Emmo’s silver 1976 version. As per the ’76 model, the yellow car had changes from one race to the next. As such, my model does not represent a configuration from any specific race, it’s simply a general representation of the FD04 from 1977.