Some things in life you take for granted: The sky will be blue above the clouds. The Earth is round. Water is wet. Penguins are awesome. You know, this is stuff that anyone, anywhere, anywhen can tell you, and it will always, ALWAYS be true. If you asked most people with a passing knowledge of cars to make generalizations, I’m sure one thing they’d agree as being a universal truth is that Ferrari always makes beautiful cars.
WRONG. Sometimes, the sky isn’t blue and even penguins suck, it seems. Not every Ferrari is beautiful; take the 308GT Rainbow as the exception that proves the rule!
The Ferrari 308GT Rainbow was a styling exercise performed by Bertone, and the idea was that main stylist Marcell Gandini would have “free reign” to explore what is loosely termed as the “Ferrari Ethos”. The car was revealed for the first time in Turin in 1976. What else can I say? It was the 70’s, it was Europe, it was experimental. I think the pictures say the rest. Sometimes, you shouldn’t experiment; you should just stick with what works.
Unfortunately, I got my Rainbow second (or worse) hand, and the box has seen some hard use. Whoever owned it before cut out nearly all the Ferrari wording and emblems, leaving gaping holes in the box. I can imagine that it was some grade school-age boy who, in the mid 1980’s wanted to adorn his Trapper-Keeper or Note Tote binder with Ferrari logos, so he could be cool, like the guys on Miami Vice. Nice work, Tubbs… Now I have a box that has the rigidity of an old lady in a wind storm!
Regardless, you can IMAGINE what the rest of the box would have looked like. The important part is still there though, a nice front three-quarters view of the “stylish” Rainbow front end, charging off the box. It gives you a feeling of excitement, like you are present at the Turin show in 1976, and are witness to a defining moment in automotive styling history! Well, okay, it shows you a picture of some weird-arsed car that looks like a cross between the Syd Mead limo from Blade Runner and a Brinks Truck.
The side of the box shows other views of the car, to whet your appetite. The box is very different from other MPCs of the day; the Omni, Cavalier, Camaro and EXP from that time have whitish borders with colourful inserts, and a picture of the model on the box. This box is dark, and looks more sinister. I think it’s going for a “continental” feel, something more European and sophisticated. Of course, that’s what Bertone was going for too, and you can see how well that worked out…
This is an MPC boxing of a kit that has also been seen as an Airfix and has its roots in Japan. As a result, the kit is somewhat minimalist, being typical of Japanese car kits in that it is a curbsider with no engine detail. However, what is there looks passable. There is a two-place interior bucket, nice tires and interesting wheels. Typical of a Japanese kit, the wheels are attached to the sprues AT THE BACK (God, why can’t American companies figure this out???) so when they’re cut off, they don’t have visible nubs.
Just like the real car, the model has pop-up headlights that can be moulded up or down. It doesn’t really hurt the style of the car to position “up” either, unlike most cars. I mean, ugly or uglier; those are your choices. The glass is nice and clear, but it wraps all the way around, so you can’t look in open side windows to see the interior very well. Not too big a deal, though; the interior of both the real car and the kit are basically black vinyl and leather, so you’re not missing much.
The car itself is supposed to be moulded in white. Mine was, at one point, but age, and a lack of most of a box, has caused the car to yellow somewhat. Okay, a lot. TONNES. My kit is so yellow you’d think it was a chain smoker or just back from a tour in the desert. Worse yet, my kit is broken at the “hood”, all the way down the side of the car. This will take a bit of fixing, but it’s nothing I can’t handle.
The body is nicely cast and there’s very little in the way of flash or seams anywhere. It’s a lot cleaner than any other MPC I’ve ever seen, that’s for sure! The headlight covers are moulded in place but need to be cut out to allow for the pivoting lights to go in. Normally, I’d say leave the lights down, but the odd thing is that the doors don’t QUITE meet the “hood” in most spots. They’re a bit smaller all the way around except for a few attachment points. It looks weird, and basically demands you cut the doors out of the way.
The taillights are clear, which is nice, since you can now paint the turn signals orange with minimal effort. The headlights, big and round as they are, also come clear, with no chrome backing. Time for some Bare Metal Foil!
The instructions are simple; this is a Japanese curbsider, remember? They are clear and in English, though, so there won’t be any trouble getting this thing together. (Well, unless the car is broken, like mine…) The best part is the decals! To add to the Cyber-future-wedge styling, there are all kids of weird stripes and lettering, which are themselves very digital. The amazing part is that my decals are PERFECT, even though the car is yellowed to death. This is because some bright soul stored them in the folded up instructions, thereby preserving them. I don’t know if I’d put them all on, but they’re interesting to say the least!
This is a simple kit of a very unusual car. It won’t present a challenge for anyone, I don’t think, so long as you can stomach looking at it. Some people love this car, most wonder what the heck the Bertone crew was thinking. I’m with the latter group, but because of that, I couldn’t turn this kit down. Besides, he’s injured and clearly unloved, what better motivation could there be? He’s kind of like the model version of a shelter puppy.
I’ve never seen another one of these, but I’m sure they’re around. If you want something weird, it’s a great kit. If you want to make Ferrari fanboys shut up and sit down, it’s also a great kit. Feel like customizing a flying future car? Heck, it will do for that too!
I say if you see it, get it. It’s a great project for a new modeller or for an older modeller to work on with a child. If worse comes to worse, you can always cut the Ferrari logos off the box and glue them to your Ford, too, right?