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Aoshima Nissan Skyline ECR33 Drift Machine

February 2004
Nissan Skyline ECR33 Drift Machine
Aoshima No. 031193
Model Type: Injection-molded
Molded Colors: White, gray, black, clear, satin chrome
Scale: 1/24
MSRP: $26.55
Pros: Accurate rendition of prototype; crisp, clean moldings; high-definition decals; excellent fit
Cons: Japanese-only instructions, pivot point for right steering knuckle missing from strut; no chrome housings for headlights and taillights

Many North Americans are unfamiliar with the Nissan Skyline, since this vehicle is not imported to our continent (but a variant is imported, under the guise of the Infinity Q45). With a power-to-weight ratio of 11:1, this car could hold its own with the fabled American muscle cars of the 1960s.

According to the specs and photos of the 1:1 prototype published on the Internet, Aoshima's rendition of the body is right-on. Although the instructions are in Japanese only, the accompanying drawings are concise.

Some of the suspension parts' mounting locations are rather vague, and three paint colors are not translated, but those are the only problems I had with the instructions.

Assembly begins with the front and rear suspensions. Assembly is straightforward, but be sure to test-fit the front suspension parts before installation; the parts fit only one way.

For some reason the pivot point for the posable steering was completely left off the strut. I had to glue the steering knuckle to the lower control arm and the strut to keep the assembly from falling off.

The rear assembly has no surprises and goes together easily. Aoshima has even included decals for the front and rear brake calipers that are works of art. The printing is so small that they are impossible to read with the naked eye, but when viewed through a magnifying glass they are as crisp as the 1:1 prototype.

The final suspension/undercarriage assembly is rather simple, but it's so clean and neat you almost want to display the completed model on a mirror.

The body is a thin one-piece unit that shows no dimples, minimal mold lines, and no flash. Prep time for painting was only about three minutes.

I recommend installing the ground effects now, instead of waiting until the last step. The installed ground effects leave large gaps between themselves and the body that need to be filled before painting.

The decals for the grille emblem, fender crests, and deck lid emblems are bright and crisp, with no color bleed.

The glass is marked on the inside to show the boundaries for the blacked-out areas, but no masking stencils are included.

The last stop in assembly is building the interior. In addition to the stock interior, Aoshima has included a nice racing seat for the driver and a racing-style steering wheel. I did not use these options; they seemed a little radical for the conservative design of the exterior. The completed interior is an attractive assembly, although it does seem to be rather simplified.

There are only a few things I'd change to make the model more realistic: fix the missing part in the front suspension, add bright-chrome light housings (silver paint behind the lenses just doesn't do the job as well), and include a five-point racing harness.

This kit is well worth the time it takes to build. I would definitely recommend this kit to any car modeler who is interested in the tuner craze.


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