Here's the next review, guys. This one's for the Mazda RX-8
The model is available in one of four colours: Velocity Red, Lightning Yellow, Titanium Grey or Black. As with most AUTOart models, the paint is faultlessly applied to the model without any rough spots, unpainted or unevenly painted areas. There is no mismatch in the colour between the painted metal sections of model and the plastic ones. The logos are simulated by decals which are applied very well and don't look peeling off any time soon.
The model's scale and proportions are practically perfect and the panel gaps can't really be any tighter. The model weighs in at a very reasonable 620 grams. Its headlights are very nicely done with some fine detailing and the side repeaters are simulated with separate plastic pieces and very well at that. The grille is perforated with a cross-thatched mesh and the air dam is an opening without mesh (this is correct) leading to the radiator. The theme of the triangular rotor is evident around most of the model as you can see the shape in the front air dam, on the hood and at the back of the model. The vents behind the front wheel arches are simulated with very finely perforated mesh.
The rear light clusters are as equally as impressive as the front ones and they too have very fine detailing. A close inspection reveals that detail to the keyhole is included in the right side cluster. The central light is a separate plastic piece instead of an unattractive sticker or blob of paint. Although the mesh at the back of the model is only moulded, not perforated, this is accurate as this is how the mesh at the back of the real car is designed. Further fine detailing even extends to the small holes in the windows of the "suicide doors" and the keyhole in the driver's side door.
The overall finish is arguably one of the best on any AUTOart model.
Both the front doors and the "suicide doors" open to show a very nicely detailed interior. While still on the doors, they open with the more modern hinge design and as with the real car, the front doors must be opened in order for the rear doors to open. The windows are complete so the handles have to be used to open the doors. The RX-8 typeface is marked on the door sills with decals (moulding would have been more desirable). The red version of the RX-8 has the colour co-ordination option that the real car has interior and it is replicated very nicely in the model - sections of the seats, doors and the steering wheel have sections of red along with black. The buttons on the interior of the doors are just painted on rather than moulded and painted but the detail is still very good here and it even goes so far as including a thin black line of paint in the inside rim of the front doors to simulate the seals. The floors are carpeted and although the seats are hard plastic, they are textured in the black areas of them and the front seats have the correct metal finish at the back of them. The seats are very well moulded too. The seatbelts are nicely defined with separate buckles and clips on all four doors. Attention was paid to having the tops of the front seatbelts attached to the rear doors while the bottoms of them attached to the sills of the doors.
The centre console is very well defined with very fine mouldings and fine application of paint to accentuate the detail although the metallic circle isn't perfectly round. The controls on the steering wheel and the transmission tunnel are well rendered too again with fine moulding and fine application of paint. The interior roof is complete and a very nice detail on the interior of the model is that the sunblinds can be lowered and raised as you can see in the pictures and below:
Both sunblinds down
Left sunblind up, right sunblind down
Although the interior is extraordinarily good, it can't be awarded a perfect score because of several small faults/gripes.
WHEELS & BRAKES
The wheels are very well simulated with detail on the wheel nuts and attention was taken to how the spokes are slightly curved away from the rim of the wheel. The Mazda logo is present in the centre of all hour wheels. The brakes are well defined too with a thin piece of metal on a plastic disc simulating the brake disc nicely with well detailed calipers that have "Mazda" tampo painted on them. As with just about all of AUTOart's models the brake discs are fixed independently from the calipers so the discs rotate with the wheels while the calipers remain fixed in position. The only criticism with this section is that the tyres aren't branded but the unique tread is accurate.
ENGINE & UNDERCARRIAGE DETAIL
The hood opens to show the engine bay. The underside of the hood is correctly painted black and detailed. The water and oil boxes are clearly marked out but not much of the engine can be seen…until a little piece of paper in the box tells you that you can remove the engine cover (that is marked "RENESIS") with the tool provided. When you follow the instructions to safely remove the engine cover you can see a great deal more of the compact rotary engine which is very highly detailed showing some wiring, the fan belt, the cross brace across the front suspension and several other parts of the engine.
The undercarriage is very impressive too, where sections of the engine, gearbox, differential, etc. can be clearly seen. The detail in the underbody is very good too and the exhaust pipe is well defined and made separately from the underbody. The wishbone front suspension can be made out easily and it is well simulated and the rear suspension is well done too including some perforations in the beams.
Currently, no other model manufacturer makes the Mazda RX-8 in 1/18 scale but even if another manufacturer did make the RX-8 in 1/18 scale, they'd have to make a colossal effort even to challenge AUTOart's rendition of the car.
While the real car's styling isn't to everyone's taste, there is no denying that the model is of extremely high quality and accuracy. Although AUTOart's models aren't as easy to find as your average budget model, the RX-8 is by no means rare. This model would certainly appeal to collectors who take interest in models of European/Japanese sports cars.
As always, AUTOart did a truly remarkable job of rendering the RX-8 in 1/18 scale. It is a wonderfully detailed model with very few faults. The detail goes almost to the point that the model is more like a scaled down car rather than a scale model. As with many of AUTOart's recent models, the result is a virtually perfect model, rivalling Exoto in terms of quality but easily beating them in terms of value for money. This is certainly one of the "must have" models, especially for a sports car model collector, and it will fit like a glove with models such as AUTOart's Nissan 350Z or Maisto's Audi TT Coupe.
Total Score - 48/50
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review added to the DX Model Review Database on 12-JUL-2004