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Tamiya 1/24 scale Subaru BRZ ZD8 plastic model kit review

You won’t want to miss this marvelously engineered scale model car kit
Kit:24362 // Scale:1/24 // Price:$46
Tamiya (Sample courtesy Tamiya America
Typical Tamiya precision engineering and fit; industry-leading mold quality; accurate and striking results
Some fragile parts; others a bit fiddly
Injection-molded plastic (blue, black, clear, chrome plated); 141 pieces (4 black rubber tires) metal transfers; poly caps; decals
Subaru BRZ box top
The engineering makes magnets of all the polystyrene pieces… Building it is some sort of new-age ASMR that eventually awakens you to a guaranteed masterpiece... Don’t even open the box — just shake it up, feed the kit through the bars of the chimpanzee pen at the Metropolitan Zoo, and watch a complete model come flying back out in around 10 minutes.

You kinda run out of things to say about the fit of a Tamiya kit after a while, and this ZD8-generation Subaru BRZ is no exception. Lucky for us reviewers, Tamiya routinely sneaks in a design flourish or two, and those aren’t nearly as uneventful as the building.

Take the side view mirrors in this kit, comprising four pieces each: the metal transfer reflective surface, a black frame, a body-color outer shell piece, and a positively minuscule mounting tab that slots into the black frame. It seems a little gratuitous at first, but just go along with it all, though, and well… yup, Tamiya’s just showing off again.

The painting advantages for the side mirrors are clear, but this intricacy finds its way into more opaque applications, too. The separate black roof channels, for example, trade some simple masking for modestly trickier gluing. With logo decals the exact same diameter, you might wonder why those tiny separate center wheel caps are there at all (till you consider the sink marks they likely forestall).

Because much of the 1:1 architecture carries over from the first-gen BRZ/GR 86, you might suppose the kit carries parts over too, but no – the tooling is all new. What was once a nondescript 2.0 Boxer upper block surface molded with separate inner front fenders is now a more comprehensively engraved 2.4 upper integrated directly into the chassis. Timing cover, intake and accessories build around this as the previous incarnation.

The bloodier-minded among us might insist on calling this a “semi-curbside,” but you can pop the hood for a complete representation of the engine bay; all that’s omitted for major structure is what you wouldn’t see anyway. The mounted, swinging hood prop? Another little design flourish.

The interior and undercarriage are given a similarly precise treatment, with the usual platform/separate door panel scheme for the former, and the typical posable steering/poly cap -disc brake wheel capture for the latter. The rear suspension particularly is intricate and complete, just as in the first-gen kits. The interior gets a minimal but effective decal treatment for gauges, seat stripes, and aluminum pedal surfaces, plus separate door-panel trim parts again for easier painting of contrasting color or texture.

All great so far, but a bit more caution is called for around the body shell. If the wispy lower band of the front fascia is delicate enough to make you put the part back down VERY SLOWLY after the first look, you should also spare a thought for those gossamer hood hinges, doglegged and ready to snap at some badly judged side-eye.

That strain of intricacy runs right through both ends of the car — the five-piece headlight/bucket assemblies and their masking-trimmed covers, and the two-stage masks to help you get the taillights properly painted. And speaking of masks, all windows are also represented on that comprehensive die-cut adhesive sheet.

Again, touches like these might be the stuff of nightmares from any other manufacturer, but Tamiya has long mastered the precision to pull it off. Thicker, slower-setting cement is better for placing that hood rod bracket, and just be careful not to let your tweezers ping those wheel center caps into the Great Plastic Upside-Down. Maybe save those Subaru emblem decals applied over the reflective oval transfers for your absolute final touch, too (the photo model may or may not have a home-printed replacement decal on one of those, not to mention a scratch-rebuilt hood hinge).

Even with builder-imposed glitches, the engineering and design come singing right through. The finished model reflects Tamiya’s tendency to cheat the suspension a bit lower, and the tires, a bit wider than stock. But otherwise, the final product is accurate, sharp, and beautifully precise.

Of course, this new Subaru BRZ is highly recommended. What modern Tamiya kit isn’t?
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