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Fujimi 1/24 scale Mercedes-Benz E320

Kit: No. RS-48
Scale: 1/24
Manufacturer: Fujimi, distributed by MRC, 80 Newfield Ave., Edison, NJ 08837-3817, phone 908-225-2100
Price: $29.98
Comments: Injection molded, 68 parts (12 vinyl, 1 metal axle), decals.

Mercedes' restyled E-Class sedan features a luxurious interior and three engine options. The stylish body, leather seats, and walnut appointments on the dash and doors price this autobahn cruiser beyond my reach, but, thanks to Fujimi, I can add one to my model car collection.

Flow lines of the metallic bits in the silver styrene body show the need for a covering paint job. Mold-parting lines don't follow natural seams, so some cleanup of the body is necessary. The body is the version of the car sold in Europe, which has small side turn signals behind the front wheel wells. They could be easily filed off.

The hood is molded shut and thre is no engine, only a representation of the transmission housing and a stone guard underneath. The front wheels are attached to a simplified suspension system, while the rear wheels mount on an exposed metal axle.

The front suspension is tricky to get in place and an extra hand would be helpful to locate both struts while aligning and placing the front undercarriage unit. I had to hold everything in place with a small clamp while the glue set.

This type of kit is known as "curbside;" there's enough detail to make the model realistic if you don't look too close. The interior is a mix of good detail on the dashboard and nearly nonexistent detail on the door panels. The backs of the front seats are hollow, and the bottoms are molded as part of the interior bucket.

I usually paint all subassemblies before putting them together. After cleaning mold-seam lines, I sprayed with Floquil Primer, then painted the body with Mercedes Spruce Green Metallic (No. 429) touch-up paint; even the paint is expensive! If you go this route, remember lacquer-based paint can eat styrene. Apply it in light coats so it doesn't soak through the primer.

The instructions miss some body color details. All door handles should be black with chrome tops. A strip of chrome runs around the body; I used Bare-Metal Foil. I finished the trim before applying a clear overcoat. When the clear was dry, I painted the bottoms of the bumper fascias and rocker panels satin black.

The chassis was painted flat black and dry-brushed with steel. The exhaust system was painted flat aluminum.

Fujimi's vinyl tires are well molded with petite Bridgestone lettering. You'll have to sand the tread lightly to eliminate minimal flash. The chrome-plated wheels have just the right amount of sheen.

Once everything was painted and dry, assembly was straightforward with no major fit problems. The headlamp arrangement was a little tight, though. The instrument pod decal doesn't fit the opening, but lay it over the opening and let it dry. It will look fine.

Fujimi's Mercedes is easy to build and paint. It's a good model on which to learn how to paint details and apply chrome trim. Although detail may be lacking inside, the outside looks great. I put 15 hours into my Merc.

Ross Whitaker

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