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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Jada Toys 1:24 and Welly 1:43 Toyota FJ Cruiser




2014 marks the final year of production for the modern Toyota FJ Cruiser.  Since then it's enjoyed a loyaling similar to the Jeep Wrangler as a credible off-road adventure vehicle.  To celebrate, i'm showing two different versions, both in Voodoo Blue, each with two different ways.



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From concept to production

Ever since the original FJ cruiser gave up its duties to the Land Cruiser, Toyota exes have been looking for ways to return the iconic truck.  In 2005 a concept car showcased a retro-styled FJ Cruiser with modern amenities.  The truck was approved for production and arrived in 2007.  The front has the round headlights, TOYOTA letters in the grille, and side markers of the original FJ, also including bumpers designed for better approach and departure angles, white roof, two-door profile, and round taillights with spare tire at the rear. Modern features include smaller half-doors for better access to the rear, three wiper blades at the front, mirrors with integrated turn signals, roof rack and running boards, and aluminum wheels.  The platform is used from the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (or 2-door 4-Runner), which also uses components from the Tacoma and 4-Runner, including the 4.0L DOHC V6 producing 237 hp and 278 Ib-ft. torque through a 5-speed automatic in two-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive with transfer case shifter.  The 6-speed manual comes with full-time four-wheel drive (meaning all four wheels are powered all of the time).




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The suspension is coil springs at all four, with upper and lower control arm front and live rear axle.  The interior has a boxy look with upright windshield and dash with color-matching trim on the doors and center stack.  The top section of the dash has a hidden storage area above the gauges and to the right is elevation gauges.  There's additional switches below the center stack for additional auxiliary gauges.  The large c-pillar does increase blind spots at the rear and makes the rear of the cabin seem dark, while the rear hatch opens to access a cargo area ready to carry any kinds of gear.  In 2010 the 4.0L V6 gets variable valve timing on both cams and premium fuel for 260 hp.  The wheels include the new 8-hole aluminum rims in 2011, while taillights got the addition of LED units in 2012.





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Forgetting the spare tire

This was a common problem to forget the spare tire at the rear when the FJ first came out.  So the Jada 1:24 you see here didn't have one originally, but thanks to their extra wheel that they give out at times I took one and glued it to the back hatch.  It's not correct, but it looks natural.  The details are impressive with chrome grille, headlights, signal lights, TOYOTA on the grille at the front.  The sides have chrome running boards and a roof rack, plus the added details on the large mirrors.  The rear has detailed taillights with the correct badges, oh and how it looks so right with the spare on!



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The base shows off the correct details, though the wheels are mostly aftermarket and range from 5-spokes with center star (shown) or American Racing 8-dot wheels, both with grippy tires for off-road use.  The hood opens up to show off the nice details of the engine cover on an otherwise mostly metal engine bay.  The rear hatch opens to the right and shows plenty of room for a 1:64 mini cooper; note the subwoofer on the right-side of the cargo area.  The interior has the correct details from the gauges to the center stack controls, shifters, seats, and the proper color-matching trim on the center stack.  Sure it's not the best casting out there today, but back in 2008 it was a fair shot just as long as you brought an extra 1:24 scale wheel for the back gate.




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The transformation from auto to manual

The other one is the Welly pull-back in 1:43 scale showing off the same blue color and details, but much sharper with the correct spare tire (YAAY!!!) and that spare has an actual rubber tire not a plastic piece!  It does have a few less details and no roof rack compared to the Jada, but otherwise on par.  The base shows off the same level of details despite the pull back motor trying to interrupt the show, and the wheels are the new 2011 aluminum rims.  Inside, the doors have rolled-up windows and front and rear seats, while the dashboard features the same amount of details minus the color-matching center stack frame.  The rear cargo area is taxed by the pull back motor.  Notice something different on the console?  If you see a tall shifter, that's right it's a six-speed manual version.  This technique required grinding the original automatic shifter (which is farther back) off, using a needle with a round black knob, electrical tape, and cement glue to hold it all down.  Then a spare pedal I had lying around was used for the clutch pedal to the dash, while the base underneath I grinded the automatic transmission pan to a rounder transmission unit (since manuals have no collection pan). 




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This is the second auto-to-manual conversion that I've done, and while it's simple it gives a new, unique meaning to an otherwise typical casting.






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