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Aoshima London Black Cab

London Black Cab
Aoshima No. 000724
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: Black, gray, clear
Scale: 1/24
MSRP: $49.99
Pros: Classic design
Cons: Original kit design for motor/lights detracts from this version; finicky hood hinges
The “black cab” is a true icon the UK; the basic design has not changed in 70 years! This model represents a 1948-1959 Austin FX4.

Assembly of the classic Austin cab begins with the one-piece chassis. This kit was motorized at one time, as there is a box for a AA battery, and a hole for an on/off switch. The front spindles have great engraved detail on the back sides, and there are drum brakes.

Because of the model’s motorized nature, the interior does disappoint, but it can be built to look good. The interior floor has the driver’s seat, rear bench seat and parking brake molded integrally. Painting the seats in a contrasting color to the floor really helps bring the interior to life.

The dashboard is well done, and three gauge decals are included. Installation of the steering column and wheel, shifter, two-piece front seat back, and chrome-plated rearview mirror finishes the interior.

The body is well done, and is molded as one piece. Side marker lights need to be covered with foil, then painted clear orange; window trim, door handles, and rear body emblems need to be chrome foiled. 

The windows install from the inside of the body, and I found the one-piece side windows tricky to set in place.

The only engine detail present is of the cam cover, intake system, and exhaust manifold, which are molded to a bucket designed to represent the engine bay. Molded details such as wires, batteries, and plumbing are also present. The only separate parts of the engine bay are three fluid bottle caps, the radiator, a two-piece overflow tank, and a retractable hood support.    

I found the hood hinges too finicky to use. The hinges are to be trapped by the interior bucket and the engine bay bucket. Unfortunately, the tolerances are too close for the hood to open and close freely, so I left off the separate hinges. The retractable hood support doesn’t work too well.

The wheel fronts install via a metal pin from the outside, which is secured in place by the spindles. The rears install via a solid metal axle. A small chrome- plated dog-dish hubcap is included for each wheel, and these parts trap the metal pins in the front wheels. 

The tires are too new for a 1950s taxi.  They are Bridgestone dueler tires, which look to be suitable for a modern-day pickup truck. 

Final assembly is a breeze.  The TAXI roof sign, windshield wipers, fender-mounted mirrors, grille, turn signals, bumper and license plate are separate parts for the front half of the taxi. The headlights are two-piece units for each side, and they also help reveal the model’s past; apparently the kit once had working lights. The chrome headlight buckets have deep holes molded in for small light bulbs. When the model is completed, the holes create a strange “google-eye” effect.

This is a refreshing change of pace. The final result is excellent, and I recommend this model kit to anyone who’s looking for something different.


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