Let me start this feature by saying that I like the 1/24 Protar kits. I've seen and heard awful things about them in the past: some true, some exaggerated. The most common complaints are poor engravings, poor fit, and awful tires. Let's take these complaints one at a time.
The 1/24th Protar kits have declined in quality over time. If you look at the Ferrari 126 C2, 156/85, and McLaren MP4/2 kits, they all have better engraving and generally crisper moldings. These two kits have poor detail in the engine compartment, but the bodywork is fairly nice. In fact, they separately mold the access panels at the front of the bodywork, which adds to the realistic effect.
I haven't experienced fit problems with these kits, but stay tuned.
The tires are awful, mainly because they're some kind of vinyl. The older ones aren't as bad as the newer ones in these kits that have swirls in the surfaces. You can almost sand these away, but it's a compromise. Also the raised lettering doesn't seem accurate. Still, they can be improved with a little work.
Now to the positive stuff. What I like about these 1/24th Protar kits is the subject matter. Each of these cars is historically significant. Gerhard Berger won 3 races with them: Japan and Australia in 1987 and that incredible win at Monza in 1988. The F1/88 was the only non-McLaren to win a GP in 1988.
The other positive thing is that these kits are simple. They're identical aside from the decals, and the slight exterior differences between the two can be accurately rendered.
You can use the box photos as references for these kits, but be careful which ones you use.
This F1/87 box shot shows the early version with the low turbo intakes.
This shot from the F1/88 box top shows the F1/87 late-version turbo intakes.
This photo shows the F1/88 (strangely enough it's from the top of the F1/87 kit box!)
Items to note are the 1988 turbo intake shape, antenna, and piezo tube at the front.
The F1/87 only had a center-mounted antenna, with no piezo tube. Also the turbo intake
has to be modified or scratch built, because this taller, more slender piece isn't included with
This incredible engine shot is nice, but there's no way
you could ever get the kit to look like that.
Here are some quick and dirty shots to show you how my F1/87 is coming along. I'm only at the bodywork painting and cockpit detailing stage right now. I shot it with Testors Red no. 1203, which roughly approximates the color of the later Ferraris. The bodywork needs polishing and possibly another coat to get the openings in the front and the nose completely covered.
I'll have more photos as this kit goes together. The next challenge is getting the engine to look presentable.