Model: McLaren MCL35M
Release: Monaco Grand Prix 2021 Lando Norris #4
eBay link: ixo Tarmac McLaren MCL35M
Why I’m featuring it: I’ve written a few times in these pages that we were crying out for some modern Formula 1 cars in 1:64 scale. Demand is now higher than ever thanks to the popularity of Netflix’s Drive to Survive series with season five, covering 2022, premiering this Saturday as the pre-season test wraps up. Fortunately, ixo/Tarmac Works, Spark and (soon) Mini GT are responding to demand with a string of new pocket-sized F1 cars.
The first to reach dealers, in December last year, was this version of the 2021 McLaren MCL35M. A collaboration between ixo Models and Tarmac Works and released in Tarmac’s Global64 series, it represents the one-and-done Gulf colour scheme that was raced in Monaco by Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.
My example of Lando’s car arrived recently from Tokyo Station and I thought I’d share it here along with some older 1:64 F1 McLarens for comparison.
I see no reason to slap a Gulf logo on every passing vehicle but it’s great to see a new 1:64 model of a real Gulf-liveried car. It has an interesting matt paint finish with good colour matching to the original. There’s a bit too much orange up top and there should be a sharper corner at the base of the orange on the sidepod, but overall the deco is very close to how the real car looked, albeit a little naked in standard form, without the Vuse logos.
I’m not here to sell vaping but I do love authenticity, so I did my best to add the decals from the sheet provided. A word of warning though that some of these are tiny and when combined with the complex curves of a modern F1 car, very hard to apply. I managed to put the larger ones on the engine cover, sidepods and front wing outer endplates, and left it at that. The sheet comes with three of each in case of breakages; you’ll need them!
The ixo McLaren casting is interesting, well detailed and a pretty close approximation of the real thing. It consists of a diecast body riveted to a plastic floor. Comparison with photos of the real car reveals the areas where compromises had to be made to make the thing manufacturable (and at reasonable cost), especially the barge boards and front suspension, but that’s fine by me. Being a Global64 release, it rolls brilliantly on rubber tires.
Staring at a scale model really brings home that current F1 cars are waaaaay too long for their width – a phenomenon exacerbated by the insanely tight packaging of the body around the powertrain these days.
I’ve measured the McLaren model and at around 8.5cm (3.5in) long and 3.1cm (1.25in) wide, it replicates the proportions of the real version at the advertised 1:64 scale. It’s even longer than my next most recent F1 model, the Spark 2017 Renault R.S.17. I’m a 40-year F1 fan but when you put this recent car alongside older MP4s, modeled here in 1:64 by Kyosho, something is amiss.
There’s talk that the 2026 cars could be noticeably shorter than today’s machines; let’s hope so. In the meantime, its length means the MCL35M will be harder to display than many of my other race cars!
Ixo/Tarmac have already released the 2021 McLaren in another paint scheme – Italian GP (regular orange) – with Abu Dhabi (Rabab Tantawy artwork) coming soon. That’ll make for six different variations to collect. I’m happy with just the one for now, but I’m looking forward to comparing it with the F1 cars from Spark and Mini GT when they arrive (the Spark models are already available at some retailers or on eBay). Thanks for reading and here’s hoping for a good battle in F1 this season!
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