With its first full-detail Mercedes kit, it looks as if Aoshima intends to shake up the status quo and show it can perform to the same high standards of other Japanese kit makers.
At first glance, the two basic pieces that make up the block and transmission look crude and unfinished. But other parts of the kit are finely engraved and boast some nice engineering features. Parts are attached to the sprues in places that make sense.
It’s a kit that benefits from an “out of the box” approach, with brand-new, fresh tooling, minimal cleanup, and maximum quality – and sufficient detail for nearly any skill level, from novices to aftermarket mavens.
The modest engine builds up well, resulting in a compartment that, straight from the box, looks packed with detail – certainly adequate for a kit like this, where those parts are never seen inside the finished model.
The chassis also is nicely detailed, including a working suspension (though the actual range of motion is only a millimeter or two). The only issue I had was the very difficult assembly of the wheels and poly caps on the suspension and axles; they’re loose and wobbly. The discs are well-detailed with vents molded on the outside, but there are ejector-pin marks and plating to remove before painting. The brake discs should rotate with the wheels, as they are loose inside the two-piece calipers. While clean on the outside, the inner wheels needed attention before assembly to remove sprue attachments and ejector-pin marks prior to painting. Still, the wheels can be easily turned to a perfectly aligned position. Considering how well the suspension fit the chassis, I would be comfortable attaching the wheels to the brakes/axles/hubs before attaching those subassemblies.
The exhaust system is one of the more complex and visible parts, and requires careful preparation to remove visible mold lines.
The interior looks good, though for assembly and molding Aoshima broke the center console into pieces that are not completely faithful to the car. Decals provide fine features in the controls and gauges. Another swell touch is a U-shaped part trapped between the console and floor; it is the two front seat belt latches, especially handy for aftermarket seat belts. There is some simplification and omission of adjustable parts around the headrests, and, oddly, no decals for the carbon-fiber or wood-trim panels seen on cars from the factory.
The body is crisp, with only very faint mold lines. (While priming, I found two in the area of the removable hardtop quarter glass.) Only a few small ripples in the body and a couple of nearly invisible sink marks in the rear bumper needed smoothing.
Final assembly was a breeze. The hood hinges needed a bit of trimming where they go through the base of the windshield glass for the hood to seat. My only disappointment with the final exterior is that the silver emblem decals barely show up on my champagne silver model. Metal-transfer emblems and logos, standard on Aoshima’s competitor’s models, would help greatly.
I highly recommend this kit to all modelers. I would build it again in a heartbeat, and I hope Aoshima will offer a Black Series SL variation in the near future.