Kit: No. 021958
Manufacturer: Aoshima, distributed by SATCO, P.O. Box 38, Stanley, IA 50671-0038, 800-777-2826
Comments: Injection molded, 66 parts (8 vinyl), decals.
Pros: Detail and overall appeal, foil reflectors, choice of three tops: soft up, soft down, and hardtop
Cons: Fragile brakes, fit of body over windshield wipers, lack of engine.
Mazda's introduction in 1990 of the Miata redefined people's idea of what an affordable two-seat sports car can be. In 1998, the Miata's restyling has heads turning again. Like the real car, Aoshima's model deserves attention.
The company has done a great job of molding the kit in colors convenient for painting without priming. A sheet of adhesive metal foil is provided for the face of the rear-view mirror and reflectors for the headlights.
My sample was intended for U.S. distribution - it has left-hand drive - but most of the instructions were in Japanese. Even so, the detailed drawings are easy to figure out.
The kit is a "curbside" - no engine - but it features a well-detailed suspension and chassis pan. The parts fit together well, but I had to glue the tie rod in even though the instructions suggested it could be attached without glue. I didn't like how the brakes attach. A flat tongue-and-groove connecting surface results in brakes that snap off easily.
Everything else in this model's interior fits snugly and has great detail. A decal is provided for the dashboard dials. The painting instructions must be specific to the racing version, because they don't look anything like the photos in my brochure from the Mazda dealer. I painted the interior on my model with Testor Black Chrome Trim.
The exterior was painted with Testor Guards Red and polished with LMG's polishing kit. This car has many complex curves in the body, so go easy to avoid taking off too much paint.
The windshield seemed to fit perfectly into the body, but the addition of the wipers opened a gap at the bottom. While this looks like the real car, the resulting gap impacts the fit of the body, interior, and chassis. To compensate, I snipped off the connector pegs on the chassis that position the interior. That bit of extra space was enough to permit the body to fit properly on the chassis.
The foil reflectors in the headlights work great. I painted a portion of the foil with Gunze Sangyo Aqueous clear orange to simulate the turn signals. For the rubber seal around the headlight, I painted a thin black line around the headlight glass. Two coats of clear red and orange went on the taillights before they were backed with Bare-Metal Foil. The lights all fit well and have good detail, but the plastic is brittle, so take care removing the parts from the sprue.
Decals are provided for the side marker lights, but I painted them silver and overcoated with clear red and orange. All decals were well printed, and they laid down nicely.
I used the folded convertible top for my finished model, but both the hard top and the raised soft top fit fine. Both are molded in clear plastic, so you won't have to bother with a separate rear window.
I was impressed with Aoshima's new Miata kit and recommend it to all car modelers. I spent 20 hours on mine; it was a nice, relaxing project.
- Jill Davis