In-Box Review
Calsonic Skyline GT-R (R34)
Calsonic Skyline GT-R (R34)
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

It was a real surprise when I noticed the instructions and sprues in Tamiya's Calsonic Skyline GTR (R34) are dated 1999, because the quality of the moulding makes it hard to believe the kit is 20 years old. I couldn't find a blemish on my kit, and the parts are free of flash. To be honest, the kit is still as crisp as the best mainstream models appearing today.

The Skyline is packaged in a sturdy top-opening box, and makes a good impression from the word go, with each sprue bagged separately and little sealed packets for the accessories. My kit arrived in perfect condition, with the size of the box being just right to prevent the contents rattling around in transit. The model comprises:

52 x blue styrene parts
37 x aluminium styrene parts
11 x white styrene parts
9 x clear styrene parts
4 x soft tyres
Reverse-printed self-adhesive tyre logos
2 x sheets of conventional decals
Die-cut kabuki tape painting masks
1 x metal sticker

The sprue attachments are small and sensibly placed, and the designers look to have done a good job keeping ejector-pin marks out of harm's way. The overall finish of the parts is nice and smooth, while the body shell has been polished to a flawless mirror-like shine. There aren't any moulding lines to worry about on the body, but there is a small pin in the centre of the roof that you'll have to trim off carefully and polish to match the surrounding glossy finish (a padded nail buffer should do the job).

A Few Details
The Skyline is designed as a kerb-side kit, but still features a reasonable amount of detail for the engine and front suspension, with over a dozen parts and steerable wheels. Around another dozen parts go into the transmission and rear suspension, and I'm quite impressed by the overall simple but effective assemblies.

The original wheels on the blue sprue are replaced with a new set moulded in white with different style hubs. The detail on the retainers is nice and crisp, and the hubs slip firmly into the soft "rubber" tyres. The material used for the tyres is slightly shiny and, while there are no moulding points to trim off, there is a fine line on the surface of each slick. Hopefully, this will sand away without much trouble - and I think most modellers will want to dull the surface of the tyres anyway.

Tamiya include a sheet of self-adhesive markings for the tyre logos. It seems a neat idea - certainly much easier than trying to paint the logos - but I've never used markings like these, so I can't comment on how easy they are to apply or how permanent they'll prove to be. The completed wheels are held in place with poly-caps.

The interior looks pretty straightforward (it's fairly spartan, as you'd expect in a racer), with a level of detail that should be quite adequate seen through the closed windows. There's a decal for the controls on the centre console and another for the display on the steering wheel.

The Recaro bucket seat is neatly moulded and comes with a set of decal belts. These are very neatly printed and it's nice that they are included - and, of course, you can always replace them with aftermarket belts if you wish. The rear/exterior surface of the seat is covered with another decal to represent the material it's made from. Getting the decal to conform to the complex shape of the seat could take a considerable amount of coaxing and liberal applications of decal softener.

With the basic interior constructed, a cat's cradle of roll bars slot in, followed by side panels and the dashboard, ready to clip into the bodywork.

The glazing is flawless in my kit, with no flow-lines or other problems in the crystal clear parts. The windscreen and front side windows are moulded as one piece, with a separate rear window and rear quarter lights. A really nice touch is that Tamiya include a sheet of die-cut painting masks that will make life massively easier. I've often criticised Tamiya for expecting modellers to cut out the masks in their aircraft kits, so it was a real surprise to find them pre-cut here. (It also inevitably raises the question of why they can't always provide die-cut masks.)

With the windows in place, the floor pan attaches to the body shell with locators at the front, back and sides, so there should be little chance of misalignment. With that done, all that's left to fit are the panel under the front of the car, the wing mirrors and the rear wing. Rounding everything off is a small aluminium sticker for the plate surrounding the side exhausts.

Painting & Decals
As always with Tamiya kits, the assembly guide is very clearly laid out and illustrated. It's produced as a fold-out sheet, so not as convenient as some of their recent booklets, but that's only a minor gripe. Construction is broken down into 17 very manageable stages, and Tamiya's own-brand paints are indicated throughout.

The painting and decal placement section could benefit from being larger - the diagrams seem a bit cramped compared with the rest of the illustrations - but they do the job.

The decals are beautifully printed in perfect register across two small sheets. As noted above, the decal for the seat could prove challenging, but those for the exterior should work well on a high gloss surface.

I'm really impressed by Tamiya's Calsonic Skyline GTR (R34). It's a very well designed and produced kit that can easily hold its own against models 20 years more modern. It's also great value for money. I bought mine for a shade under £18.00, which is a snip for a kit of this quality in this day and age.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AUTOMODELER.
Highs: Excellent moulding that looks as crisp today as when the kit was released 20 years ago. Clear instructions. Good quality decals.
Lows: None really, although I'm prepared for a struggle to get the decal for the seat to snuggle down.
Verdict: The Calsonic Skyline is a really nice kit. Not over-complicated, and promising to be a very enjoyable build. It's also excellent value for money.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:24
  Mfg. ID: 24219
  Suggested Retail: £ 17.98 (Model Hobbies)
  PUBLISHED: Feb 03, 2019
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright ©2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Nice review Rowan, I did say you’d like it Now to see it built
FEB 03, 2019 - 09:20 AM
Great review Rowan, and being a Tamiya kit it is bound to be easy to build. I would love to see you tackle this one next, after your two other car builds. Andy
FEB 03, 2019 - 09:53 AM
Very nice review Rowan, looking forward to following the build on this one whenever you get it to the bench! Cheers, D
FEB 03, 2019 - 03:38 PM
Cheers guys @ Luciano - yep, you were quite right! I've got a bunch of stuff I need to work on before tackling this, but it really does look like it'll be a fun build. All the best Rowan
FEB 04, 2019 - 07:52 AM
Rowan, Another one of your outstanding reviews. Tamiya really does quite a nice job on their curbside kits. I sure wish that other manufactures, specifically Hasegawa would follow suit, as they curbside kits are certainly what I'd call on the spartan side at best. I'm pretty sure that a lot of the aircraft guys/gals are wondering why Tamiya pre-cuts the masks for their car kits, but you have to cut your own out in their aircraft kits. I had to chuckle when you saw when Tamiya actually made the molds. That a new kit compared to my just completed Tamiya Porsche 956 that was molded in 1984. And like I said, it's still up to today's standards and then some. Joel
FEB 21, 2019 - 09:56 AM
Cheers Joel Yes - Tamiya's moulds for this one have certainly stood the test of time brilliantly. Better, in fact, than those of the Hasegawa Miura which is a few years younger. While that's still very good for the most part, there are signs of wear in a few spots. All the best Rowan
FEB 21, 2019 - 10:50 PM
Rowan, Funny you should bring that up. My lovely wife says I've got more then a few worn parts these days Joel
FEB 22, 2019 - 03:23 AM

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