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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Maisto 1:43 and Matchbox 1:64 Nissan Cube




Boxy cars have come and gone, seen their high points and then faulter in the U.S.  The Scion brand with its once famous xB was one of them, and this Nissan Cube was another.  Despite their short life there was enough interest to garnish diecast replica's of both vehicles, and for this review the Nissan Cube is profiled with a Maisto Power Racer 1:43 scale and a Matchbox 1:64 scale version.







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The Cube was introduced in Japan in 1999 as a car-based hatchback that has a very boxy profile (hence the Cube name) with rounded-out corners.  The first-generation was based on the Nissan Micra sub-compact car sold outside of the U.S.  After the release and popularity of the xB in the U.S. in 2003 Nissan was interested in bringing thier Cube to compete with it in the U.S.  However, Nissan would have to wait until the next-generation (gen. three) and by the time the Cube arrived in 2010 the xB has grown up in size and the boxy car revolution in the U.S. has dissipated.  It's no surprise that the Cube would be a not-so-hot seller and would exit the U.S. market in 2014.  The Cube has some unique touches that distinguishes this car from everyone else.  The front grille and large elliptical headlights are based on University of Georgia's bulldog mascot sunglasses.  The lower bumper has round foglights, a mail slot grille, and lower grille insert.  The side profile shows the boxy look with rounded corners that are also found in the window cutouts.  The rear window wraps around the right-side (left-hand drive) or left-side (right-hand drive) for better rearward visibility.  The post, on the left or right, hides the hinges for the side-opening doors.  The taillights are resorted to a bar just above the rear bumper.





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On the silver Maisto version you get a good glimpse at the details and yes you can see through the rear windows despite the fact that you'll be looking at a large pullback motor cover that pushes the rear seats far forward that normal.  The 4-spoke alloy wheels are nicely done and the front has clear headlights though they seem to slighly miss the shape of the actual headlights.  The Matchbox version, in its sole clean release in blue, is the right-hand drive version outlined by the rear window layout.  The roof has the sunroof option that connects with the front windshield.  The blue paint is a nice touch and details are perfectly executed; even on this blue version it has all of the proper front and rear lightning details and Cube plates for a nice touch.  The Matchbox version has a detailed base that shows the Versa platform and shares the same 1.8L DOHC I-4 that produces 122 horsepower through a six-speed manual or a CVT automatic transmission.








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The downside of the Matchbox version is the blacked-out windows that hides the interior details, mostly for the fact that the rear rivet post goes through the rear seats.  The Maisto version is left-hand drive with a cheap 3-spoke steering wheel.  The interior design echoes the curves of a jaccuzzi and it shows:  The dashboard is wavy instead of flat, shag carpet on the dasboard was optional, the dome light on the roof has ripples like a stone tossed into water, and HVAC controls with a blue center display to resemble home-based controllers.  Despite the cool features this is still an econobox with hard plastic surfaces, flat seats front and rear, and a small gauge display (nicely detailed, if barely visible, in the Maisto version).







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These two saw a limited run as well, with the Matchbox version show here the only release without any wacky graphics.  While they may not be for everyone they are here for those who appreciate the cube-car cult.



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