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Old 03-19-2004, 04:38 PM   #35
Sweet, sweet tiny Hondas.
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Austin, Texas
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Tamiya Supra MkIV

A good kit from Tamiyaís good years, it has an engine and trouble free construction. No fancy tricks, though, but I think we can deal with that, eh?

Fit and Finish: 7/10

Compared todayís standards, the kit isnít the premium quality you would expect from Tamiya. Donít get me wrong, itís not bad by any means. It all goes together swimmingly, with no flash to speak of. There are a few mold lines that will have to be gotten rid of, but that isnít surprising considering 10 year old molds, and really arenít bad at all. The only thing keeping it off par with the newest of Tamiya kits is the lack of cleverly and extremely precise fitting parts. Like I said, there are no problems, but the fit of the parts is nothing to write home over. The interior tub does suffer from those inescapable ejection pin marks, though, which are bothersome but I suppose not preventable. If youíve built a kit with an engine before, this model is pretty straight forward. There are no omissions or mistakes that I can tell in the instructions (granted, I am not a Supra expert) and building the kit will land you a model of a Mk IV Supra as it came off the showroom floor. Funky spoiler and all. The only real issues I have with the molding are the reflectors. The body is molded with the single amber lamp on the front quarter panels, which is correct for Japan, but to make it American they must be shaved off, and the American market reflectors are depicted by nothing more than a decal. While Iím glad we have the option, and donít really have any idea how Tamiya could have molded the flush-mounted reflectors on and still made them optional, it kind of disappoints me to have to use a two dimensional decal for three dimensional reflectors. Thatís why I build a model instead of drawing a picture, after all. The decals are another source of frustration. The kit comes supplied with decals for the Toyata badges for the front and rear of the car. These badges are black on the decal sheet. This seems to be accurate, (I thought they were chrome, but did a Google search to see if it was Tamiya or me that was mistaken) but the black decal disappears on a dark paint job, and as we all know Tamiya does not mold badges into body work, so there is no relief to the badge either. This is one model that could desperately use the little metal transfer badging. And while Iím picking over metal parts, the headlamps could use a bit of metal plating, and would be greatly improved if they were a separate part. Painting headlamp buckets just isnít as convincing as chrome plating.

Accuracy: 8/10

Itís all there, every bit of it. After searching my knowledge and Google, there isnít much that this 1:24 kit doesnít have in common with its big brother. However, there are things Tamiya could have done to make the model look more accurate. A lot of the engine bay parts, for example, are molded to the chassis. While this is ok for fuseboxes, there are other parts that just look odd and take away from the realism of the model. There are also three holes for mounting windshield wipers. There are two windshield wipers. Do the math. Why they did this, I do not understand. The kit was obviously set up to be built either for the Japanese or US market. They could have just as easily made dimples under the body shell so you could open up the right mounting holes, and there wouldnít be an unprototypical extra. In fact, on the rear deck Tamiya did just that for the rear window wiper. For shame, Tamiya, youíre better than that! The interior shows how spoiled I am. In this kit, it is a one piece tub so the inside door panels lack even the barest of detail. It sure is disappointing when alongside the fancy interior of the S2000 of 350Z kit. Two extra parts and fifty cents more in price would be worth it any day to have a better looking interior. But the kit makes up for it in the engine bay, where the venerable 2JZ lives. The twin turbo I6 is one of the best engines I've seen, especially with the turbo detail. The turbos actually look like turbos, better than the R32 Skyline but not quite as well as the 300Z. The intake runners and exhaust headers look odd, however, and detract from an otherwise immaculately detailed engine. The only real issue I have with the motor is the intake plenum, itís a hollow part and the void opens to the side and is very visible. Thatís disappointing, and shame on Tamiy again! (Incidentally, this is why FnF is a 7). Tamiya got the body shape and proportions right, though the wheels seem a little on the small side. That might just be because I only ever see tuned Supras these days, but they do look a little off. Still, Tamiya does a great job of capturing the muscular, chunky look of the Supra without losing any of its unlikely floaty, airiness.

Value: 9/10

Itís a Supra, itís well done, and it has a motor. Need I say more? The MkIV Supra is one of the most popular, and most able built cars to come out of Japan and into the hands of tuners. It is, therefore, a popular model to be built and tuned. With the inclusion of the engine, there is a ton of potential for detail and modification. It isnít just limited to body work. There are only two optional parts, the spoiler and a hood scoop. They are both goofy looking, and probably will never make it onto a model, so I wonít give Tamiya mad props for the building options that come with the kit. But like I said before, the subject and the engine easily do more than make up for that lack. The kit is cheap these days, retailing for just under $20, and is fairly common; common enough to be found at stores that might have sales (ie Hobby Lobby). So this kit scores well under ďbang-for-your-buck.Ē

Overall: 8

This kit is hard to rate overall. It has some aspects where it shines over others, and some where it falls behind. It comes from what I consider as Tamiyaís best years, when their design and molding processes were as modern as it gets, and they still made the complex kits that included full suspension detail and engines. It doesnít have the color-molded taillamps, or the metal transfers, or any other of the bells and whistles that new Tamiya kits have, but it does have an engine and all the crisp, accurate molding that youíd expect. I would consider this to be what may amount to just a really, really good Revell kit, and with Tamiyaís flubs of late, I will take it over a 350Z or WRX any time.
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