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Friday, April 7, 2017

Kinsmart 1:32 Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 and Maisto 1:43 2009 Nissan 370Z

With the many examples of the Nissan GTR and Fairlady Z here's a few more from Kinsmart and Maisto.

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Nissan Skyline GT-R R34

One of the last GT-R's based on the Skyline body was the R34 GT-R and it was also the last one to be soely sold in Japan only, and now thanks to its starring role in the second Fast and Furious movie it is a very popular model.  This R34 GT-R faithfully follows the three previous generation models while offering freshened styling with a tall rear wing (mostly seen on higher-end models) and shorter overhangs.  The powertrain uses the same all-wheel drive setup with four-wheel steering and the same twin-turbocharged DOHC I-6, a 2.6 that developed 420 horsepower (est.) through a six-speed manual transmission.  After this generation the Skyline diverted towards a different direction and the GT-R became a separate model and now aiming towards the exotic car realm.

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Kinsmart did a nice, if not excellent, job on this Skyline R34.  The all-black look is very sleek on this car and the six-spoke torqued wheels look very accurate even if the tires are a bit tready.  The front headlights have the clear quad projectors but the corners are rounded off too early and make the front look a bit awkward on this car.  The lower bumper has larger grilles while the center one has the GT-R logo and a Skyline plate just below.  Contrary to most GT-R castings out there that lean toward the tuner spectrum this car is thankfully clean stock so the side profile just has the classic Skyline look with GT-R badges on the front fenders.  The rear is the most impressive part with those large quad round taillights, SKYLINE stamped in the trunklid, V-spec badge, twin exhaust tip, and the metal rear spoiler (yes, it's metal) with functioning vents inside the horizontal blade.

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The rear window has the wiper and defroster grid pattern, while the base that normally is a sour point on Kinsmart vehicles of this scale has the correct drivetrain layout.  Open the doors to the light-colored interior where the front seats have the supportive almost Recaro look while the rear seats have black luggage to cover the pullback motor.  The dashboard has the typical layout with radio and HVAC controls below the auxiliary gauge package on top, large and detailed gauge cluster, 3-spoke steering wheel and shifter that are nicely done and stock.  The only problem found here is the lack of inner door panels since this is an early Kinsmart casting.  If it wasn't for the chunky tires and rounded off headlights this would be one sharp R34 casting at a bargain price.

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Maisto 1:43 Nissan 370Z

At the other end of the spectrum is Maisto's version of the second-generation of the new-age Z-car, the 370Z.  I always like the modern Z and this second generation goes for sharper curves and rounded corners that make the car look smaller than it is.  The powertrain is still the DOHC V6 with 6-speed manual transmission to the rear wheels, but the engine is now a 3.7L making 332 horsepower through a six-speed manual transmission.  Unlike the previous generation this Z has been knicked for the annoying rev-matching downshifts and crude engine sound at higher speeds.  On top of that Nissan has no plans to revise the current Z in the future, and one of their replacement ideas is an SUV-based Z car!

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This Maisto version is very nicely done and offered in smaller 1:64 to the 1:24, though the latter has a plastic rear bumper section for some reason.  This 1:43 pullback version nicely fits the gap between the two, though some other colors than yellow would be nice.  The front has the V-shaped clear headlights that extend down to fangs in the lower front grille.  The sides have smaller rear windows, smooth bodylines not interrupted by any wierd door gaps or crevices like on the previous model, detailed Z badges and door handles, and the 5-spoke wheels are the exact match to the real car.  The rear has the L-shaped taillights with rear spoiler, 370Z badge, Nissan license plate, and dual exhausts.  What really helps this car out is the added lighting details and trim to make the car stand out more from the pearl white paint.

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As usual for Maisto Power Racers the base does not show much and inside the door panels are not separate trim and the dinky 3-spoke generic steering wheel is used.  The dashboard has the tri-gauge pod that adjusts when the steering column is moved, the auxiliary gauges in the center above the navigation screen and radio and HVAC controls below.  The shifter is nicely detailed on the center console while the sport seats have the proper bolstering of the real car.  The nice thing about a two-door coupe is that the rear pullback motor interferes with nothing in the back, and speaking of cargo area the rear strut bar in the previous model that robbed cargo space has been reshaped to not interfere with the open space.  Both are not the best-executed models of its type, but for a bargain price they do well-subsitute for smaller models that might lack detailing that the larger and space-robbing scale models offer.

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