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Old 01-06-2004, 05:26 PM   #17
Sweet, sweet tiny Hondas.
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Austin, Texas
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Tamiya S2000 Review

FnF-9 Acc-9 Val-8 Overall-8.75

The Tamiya S2000 kit was a joy from the shelf in the hobby shop to the shelf in my display case. The kit was just what you would expect from Tamiya; accurate, well fitting, and with a few frills to keep everyone satisfied.

Fit and Finish 9/10

When you open the box there are few surprises. The whole model goes together easily, with no fixing or adjusting parts to get them to fit, and they all just go in place so easily and intuitively that the instructions probably wonít be needed for 95% of the construction. But when they are needed, they are the very clear and only have a couple omissions, all dealing with paint call outs. The rear turn signals are poorly called out for painting, but after checking some reference material it was obvious. The front turn signals arenít called out for paint at all, which is correct for a JDM S2000, however they are amber on the US market S2000. This isnít a mistake on the original release that had only right hand drive, but the newer version of the kit has a dash for the North American market, and the paint should have been called out as optional depending on the version. It is a little difficult to paint the chrome headlights, too, but all the chrome on the car is well done. It is very smooth and evenly applied, and matches the polished metal of the stock rims and exhaust finishers perfectly. The only rub is the headlight buckets that could be a little shinier, but under the headlight lens it looks fine. Besides the chrome plated parts, there are metal adhesive transfers for the H and S2000 logos, and the mirror surfaces. When I first got this model and built it, the metal transfers were new and really raised the bar for logos and mirror surfaces. Tamiya includes these in most of their kits now, and they are wonderful, the clear backing makes them pretty simple to apply. The entire kit was beautifully and crisply molded, with no flash and very little mold lines. There is some minor and easily removed mold lines on the body, but on one of my four samples had a slight sink mark in the rear bumper, just inboard of the mold line. It was shallow and was mostly sanded out when removing the mold lines and was easily covered by just sandable primer. The only time the mold lines posed a problem were on the complex suspension parts, and of course the strut and spring assemblies. Otherwise, they were very easily removed with a sharp knife and sandpaper. The biggest molding flaw was on the package shelf, where two rather deep ejection pin marks mar the interior bucket molding. They are very difficult to remove, and I just left them. If you build the model with the top down, the convertible boot will cover them, but they will probably be visible behind the glass of the included hard top and up-convertible top. I used a resin aftermarket roof on one model, and built it with the top down on the other, so the marks were not visible either of my completed S2000s. The decals are full color and complete for a showroom stock street car. Tamiya even includes two decals for the digital display that is the S2000ís instrument cluster; one for the car stopped and one for full throttle. That was a nice touch, I thought. The decals have the biggest drawback to the kit, I think, as the decals for the H logos on the wheel center cap do not look convincing nor do they stick to the semigloss chrome. If you plan to use them, a coat of gloss clear might do the trick. I donít understand why Tamiya didnít mold the logo into the wheel center instead of using a decal, it would have looked much better.

Accuracy 9/10
The accuracy suffers here because of the lack of engine detail. If there is anything special about the S2000 itís the tiny, aluminum block, 4cyl, 2L, 240hp motor. However, credit has to be given to Tamiya for another intensely accurate model. They body mold very accurately captures the aggressive, angry lines of the S2000 that make it a design masterpiece. As far as the body molding goes, there are no discrepancies between the 1:1 and 1:24, which makes me very happy that Tamiya got the license to issue this particular Honda. From the reference photos Iíve studies, the undercarriage is spot on, as well, the only inaccuracy is a paint omission, the instructions do not call out the spare tire well as being painted flat gray. Iíve studied these cars in depth, and the suspension is a marvel. The parts are very well molded and accurately. There are only a couple problems with the rear suspension, the lower suspension arms are molded as solid, without the holes in the delicate cast piece. I imagine Tamiya did this for strength; in the mold, in the box, and on the display shelf. However, with a sharp knife you can easily open these spaces out and make it look perfect. The other problem is the rear surface where you mate the top and bottom frame parts. The do not mate flush, and need to be sanded smooth, nor do the look accurate. The actual subframe resembles two Xís next to each other (XX), while the kit has a solid piece of plastic. This is common on Tamiya kits, and is also probably for strength on the display shelf. It is quite hidden, though, so unless youíre a total nit-picker this will be a non-issue. The interior is spot on, whatever version you plan to build. Tamiya did a good job with making a simple, very detailed interior. The only thing they could have done to improve it would be separate parts for the door handles (instead of molded on) and two-piece seats with mesh to sandwich in the headrest to give it a more accurate appearance, as on the 1:1 the headrest is a mesh that you can see through. Other than that, and the ejector pin marks on the package shelf, the interior is a masterpiece, including a piece of clear for the glass between the seats. The glass on the car is also very well done, with three-part taillamps to really show off the innovative cluster that Honda uses. The third lamp is great as well, and if you paint the attaching surface black and the locating pin silver, you can make it look very convincing. The exhaust is well done, though the mufflers should be black instead of silver as indicated by the instructions. The radiator molded into the floorpan is a little too far forward, but that isnít noticeable unless you open it up and add an aftermarket engine. The wheels are well molded, and the detail in the tires are perfect.

Value 8/10

The inclusion of the Mugen rims in the newer V-spec release are a great addition to the car, and the hard top is also good. The real value in the newer release opposed to the older one, is the left hand drive dash, which allows North American modelers to build a replica of the cars sold here. The Mugen rims are beautifully molded, and will find their way onto at least one other Honda in my future projects. However, I can only use them on an otherwise trashed kit since it needs the included tires (in my opinion). I plan on using the S2000 suspension as well. Those, however, are the only parts of the kit that could be used for anything else without some intense research, planning, modification and scratchbuilding. Even the seats are application specific, and would take some work to put in another model. The lack of an engine really hurts the kit, as the entire thing is beautiful and could use that little extra bit to make it just perfect. By that token, Tamya makes it easy for you if you want to add, and can find, an aftermarket F20C. Only the V-spec issue has any real build options. The first one lets you choose top up or down, while the V-spec allows you to choose either stock or Mugen rims; right or left hand drive; top up, down, or hardtop; and V-spec or not (with a choice of steering wheels). Still, the price is a little high for a curbside kit, but not unfair. For the sheer joy of the build quality, and the wonderful subject matter, this kit is great. Just be sure to get the V-spec if you want any options out of the box.

Overall 8.75

If you love the S2000, youíll love this kit. But if you just like it, or donít care one way or another, youíll like this kit. It is very good quality, easy and fun to build, and due to the subject matter can be build many different ways in the hands of an experienced or adventurous modeler. Just donít expect anything beyond typical Tamiya, however, because in some instances you may be left wanting.
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Recent builds: Rocket Bunny FR-S and stock BRZ Toyota bB Bro-style Civic K20 powered SiR converted EK WIP I build slowly and poorly.
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