Let me first apologize for some of the poor-quality pics - I took several of them at nightime with 800 x 640 setting (mistakenly) on my 2.1 MP camera.
Some background -
The FD3S generation of Mazda's RX7 has been one of my most highly-favoured
sports coupes ever since its initial release in 1991. The car was distrubuted worldwide, with many badged as 'Efini RX7' in it's home market Japan, while others being distrubuted to countries such as the United States, Australia, some to parts in Europe and of course many to other reigons of Asia, including Singapore. My neighbor recently acquired a bone-stock white 1993 JDM-spec RX7
with 80'000 clean kilometers on the clock, which really inspired me to go searching for the original 1995 release of the RX7 by Kyosho. I really admired this model, as well as the Supra
models also previously released by them, but due to their limited period of production and age it was almost impossible to find for a reasonable price. Its not hard to imagine how I felt when news came that Kyosho would be re-releasing and updating this well-loved classic.
Earlier today I dropped by one of the well-known model shops In the area and picked up my new Kyosho RX7 together with an Autoart Display case for her.
My Impressions -
Lets start with the exterior appearence
The paint on this particular Kyosho is almost flawless. The layer of red is rich and thick, similar to 1:1 powdercoat jobs albeit without the metallic effect. There is absolutely no thinning of paint in areas such as the headlight covers, Inside the door area or under the hood/rear hatch. A front diffuser is present, as well as a well-scaled rear spoiler authentic to the actual 1995 RX7, and these are perfectly shaped and a sight for the eyes, although credit goes to the actual car. There are radiator strips present on the rear hatch window, and these are proportionate in size and authentic in shape to the actual car. The twin-unit exhausts are present on a scaled muffler unit, and although not fully hollow they have been darkend to provide a more authentic appearence. Front and rear wipers are well-made and to scale, same goes for the side-mirrors. The rear light lenses are darkend as true to the 1:1, and look great with no attatchment stubs visable. Overall the model is well-proportioned and has a authentic stance as well as authentic right height for the front and rear axles.
The Efini and 'RX7' logos located on the bonnet as well as under the rear lights are tampos, not raised units or seperate plastic/ metal pieces. They are perfectly applied though. The front, mid and rear section indicator lights are also painted on rather than seperate plastic light units, detracting from the otherwise realistic outward appearence of the model. The lower front and rear bumper lights are constructed of clear plastic, although they contain visible attatchement stubs hinting at the older origins of the basic model components. There are headlights present, but they do not raise to expose the actual light units; they are fixed in place. Although the panel gaps on the model are mostly consistant and tight, there is some variation in the rear hatch area as well as the front bonnet (one side has a slightly larger panel gap than the other), and this could be a result of Kyosho using an older, 'well-used' mold. Side windows are not included with this model although in my opinion it does not detract from its overall taught appearence. The doors, hatch as well as front bonnet of the model work on older-design 'dog-leg' hinges.
Next we can take a look at the model's wheels
Kyosho changed the wheel design of the RX7 when they re-released the model, and therfore it now sports 16"-scale wire-spoke units similar in appearence to those produced by BBS Co Japan. The rims themselves look terrific, with schrader valve units present, as well as authentic Efini logos on the hub area. The tires are also true-to-scale 55 profile units labeled as Brigstone Expedis S-07s. Brake discs and twin-pot calipers are present on all four wheels, although they are fixed together and the discs dont rotate with the wheels.
Time to examine the Interior
Having been seated in a Fd-series Mazda RX7, I can safely say that it is not Ferrari material but well-shaped and simple in layout as well as good in quality. This is true of the Kyosho model. Kyosho was arguably the first diecast manufacturer to release a model with full, rich interior carpeting on its previous JDM supersports models (including the original release of this model), and it is present on this model throughout the interior floor and inside hatch areas.
The dash area is well-replicated but there is not individual paint application to areas such as switchs and stereo parts. The clutch, brake and throttle pedals are painted and proportioned but are attached together via a silver plastic attatchement above them. The steering wheel and dials are well replicated and to shape, however.
The model includes front seats as well as a rear bench (although more used as a storage area), and although these look to be hard plastic they are produced of plastic which has a fair amount of 'give' and feel although not to the extent of those used on Kyosho's M3 model. The model also includes a movable storage shelf mounted above the boot area, although the actual boot section is not removable to reveal as spare wheel and tools, which was true with the older Kyosho Toyota Supra.
(Visit the 'New Releases section on the Kyosho Diecast Japan site for better pictures - http://www.kyosho-minicar.com/original/index.html
Lets check out the Rotary Engine and Underbody
The Rotary 1.3 litre turbo unit is one of the RX7s most distinct and unique features, and is well represented on this particular model. The rotary components are colour coded as with the 1:1, and there is a stock strut-bar similar in shape to the real thing. However, the area where the main engine block meets the bonnet hinges does not have any cover or seperating component, meaning the interior is visable slightly from the engine compartment. Also, there is no engine wiring which is present on the 1:1.
The undercarriage detail on this model is excellent however, with authentic suspension linkages as well as drive-shaft area, with a visable differential with it's trademark green-label. The steering rod is also gold in colour, with the front diffuser represented well in terms of shape.
The only other 1:18 manufacturer that is producing the RX7 FD-series is Etrl with their 'Fast and the Furious' version. Although it looks fairly decent, this is not on the same quality and detail level as the RX7 versions by Kyosho, as well as being a tuner version of the car rather than a bone-stock model. The Kyosho version of the car is the only stock 1:18 RX7 on the market.
Considering the prices that the original version of this model is fetching (upwards of US$ 100), this second release can be considered very desirable. It has been recently released to selected Kyosho dealers, making it harder to obtain than competing Autoart models, and when i visited my model shop approximatly a week after its release on the local market, there was only one (out of more than six obtained) left on the self (lucky for me :happy ), showing there is still strong demand for this diecast representation of this unique sportscar. Time and production numbers will tell if this will be the 'ebay hit' that the original is.
As you might have noticed from my initial comments, I really admire the third generation Mazda RX7 series, but have tried to be as objective and detailed in my review as possible. As the scores indicate, this is not a perfect model, heck to be truthfull it cant touch the newer Autoart releases or even its stablemate Kyosho models (such as the 645i, not the Smarts :giggle ). However, I had the choice to pick up newly-released and more detailed models today in the form of the Autoart M3 CSL and the Autoart Audi Quattro Sport SWB for a similar price, but chose this one. I did so for both the aforementioned sentimental reasons and the fact that these imperfections in the model give it, in my opinion, a unique quality - almost 'soul' if there is such thing for diecast scale models! True, new AUTOart models are perfect in almost every aspect and detailed beyond imagination, but to me they are all similar now, with no differention, no distinct 'qualities' or imperfections. Some think this is great, I do too, but once in a while you want something different, something with some variation...
There is a common, overused cliche which states 'nobody is perfect', and this applies to this model, and is why I cherish it. Is it value for money when compared to more modern, detailed releases? No. But its unique and imperfect nature somehow, in a strange way, appeals greatly to me.
36 / 50
review added to the DX Model Review Database on 27-JUN-2004