Having pretty much finished the Williams, I turned by attention to the second car required for the diorama, Michael Schumacher’s Bennetton Ford B194. Designed by Rory Byrne & Ross Brawn, this was the car that ultimately carried Schumacher to his first championship in 1994. The car was not without controversy however, with the late Ayrton Senna being convinced that the car was still using the now outlawed traction control system. In fact, following the San Marino Grand Prix of that year (where Senna tragically lost his life), the FIA demanded that the Ferrari, McLaren and Benetton teams provide them with the source codes of the software used to control their cars. It was discovered that whilst traction control was not visible on a laptop screen when connected to the car, the programme could be activated by the driver by depressing the paddles on the steering wheel in a certain sequence. The FIA didn’t pursue as they couldn’t prove the system had been used, but Schumacher’s prowess of the start line (particularly in France), certainly raised eyebrows.
As I have come to expect from Tameo kits, this was a lovely model to build. I managed to find an old version of the kit on eBay, which would include the all-important helmet decals (for some reason Tameo stopped including these in the early 2000’s). Because my intention was to depict Schumacher’s car as it flipped onto two wheels, I had to fill and sand the manufacturers marks on the bottom of the car.
The bodywork was painted using two Tamiya spray cans (TS35 Park Green & TS23 Light Blue), which both gave a lovely finish. Just as with the Williams, the mid-90’s decals applied really nicely. There are a couple of areas where I was perhaps a little too liberal with the decal softer, but overall I was pleased.
Again, I was able to have some fun in preparing the driver figure. Reference photos showed that Schumacher wore a dark tinted visor at this race, which I was able to recreate by painting a piece of acetate in Tamiya “Smoke”, before cutting to size and curving around a pen by submerging into boiled water to soften the plastic and then into cold to set it in shape.
The hardest part was the helmet decals, which had been drawn and printed to fit a Tameo visor-less helmet rather than a Denizen one. Some careful splicing, and touching in with a paintbrush did the job.
With both the Williams and Benetton nearly finished, it was time to start thinking about how to place them into the diorama…