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Tamiya 1/24 scale Nissan Z (RZ34) 400Z plastic model kit review

A curbside beauty to match the real machine
Kit:24363 // Scale:1/24 // Price:$49
Tamiya (Sample courtesy of Tamiya America
Superb, cleanly molded parts; lots of detail; almost no cleanup
Bent part is tough to get to stay in place
Injection-molded plastic (white, black, silver, clear); 154 parts (four semi-soft tires; poly caps); Nissan badging and metallic transfers for mirrors; pre-cut window masks; decals
Tamiya’s all-new 1/24 scale Nissan Z plastic model kit builds into a curbside model with full suspension and chassis detailing. You can assemble it to model either righthand or lefthand drive (Japan or U.S. spec), and the model has no moving parts beyond the posable steering and rolling wheels. The tires have realistic tread but lack sidewall lettering details.

The instructions offer two painting choices for the interior color combinations and six options for the two-tone exterior colors. (Easy-to-follow mixing formulas using Tamiya LP paints are provided for the colors not straight from the can.) There are also three other optional monotone exterior colors.

Many of the more than 50 decals are elements to help eliminate painting, including 18 for the interior, 14 for the lights, and even endcaps on the rockers. The decals were easy to handle and apply and benefited from Tamiya Mark Fit decal solvent.

The cleanly molded body has seams placed so well to make them virtually invisible. I drew using a Sharpie along the mold lines and wet-sanded with 1000-grit sandpaper until the ink disappeared. The front and rear fascia parts have slightly more prominent seams, so I began wet-sanding with 400-grit paper and finished with 1000 grit.

The parts are engineered with attention to painting, nearly eliminating the need for masking. In fact, the only parts I masked were the inner door panels for the optional blue inserts. Had I chosen the other interior color option, I would have been able to easily brush-paint the areas without masks. The separate gas cap and door handles can be attached after painting to keep the panel lines crisp.

The chassis is called out as Dark Ghost Gray with some Semi-Gloss Black areas. I found it easier to spray the gray and hand-paint the other colors rather than masking.

The main interior floor section has several ejector-pin marks in the carpeted areas that can be seen through the rear window if left untreated. While flocking might hide them, I was using only paint. So, I filled them with superglue and sanded them.

I used Tamiya Mica Blue (No. TS-50) as Nissan Seiran Blue, but after looking at photos and videos of the full-sized cars, I toned down the metallic just a bit with a couple of coats of Tamiya Clear Blue (No. TS-72). Lastly, I applied a few coats of Tamiya Gloss Clear (No. TS-13).

The only thing that caused any problem was one of the silver "katana blade" or "samurai sword" side trim pieces that run above the windows just under the roof section. One of them in my sample was warped — odds are this is an isolated issue suffered during shipping.

It was clear that they were not mirrored as they should be, so I test-fitted them to determine which was correctly shaped. The piece fits between the clear window and the painted roof, and I wanted to use clear parts cement, not superglue or solvent cement. The properly-formed part fit perfectly and stayed in place with a few dots of canopy glue. The bent part kept popping out after removing the tape that was holding it in place as the glue dried.

As a last resort, I flowed acrylic gloss clear into the gap and taped the part down for a couple of days, hoping the extra surface area would hold the piece better. It worked OK, but I can see that the part doesn't quite fit as flush as the other side.

The windows and other clear parts are designed with tabs, not only for a positive fit but also as a flange to apply cement without much worry of getting any in places that it would be visible. The windows fit so well that I contemplated not even cementing the side ones. But, in the end, I glued them to ensure that I would not have to reinstall them during the final wipe-down. The rear glass gets sandwiched by the roof section, so no cement is needed.

The Tamiya 1/24 scale Nissan Z plastic model kit captures the look and character of the real car and goes together very well. Not having to mask anything and an abundance of detailed decals makes it so much easier to paint all the parts cleanly. Additionally, I used the Tamiya LP lacquer colors, which cover very well in thin coats and work well for brush painting. The dry times are quick, so the model went together relatively fast. I recommend this kit, especially to fans of the subject. I know I plan to build another one.
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