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AK Interactive 1/35 scale FJ43 pickup with DShKM plastic model kit review

The first time this well-used vehicle has been kitted
Kit:AK35002 // Scale:1/35 // Price:$74.99
AK Interactive (Sample courtesy of manufacturer.)
First time the subject is molded in plastic; detailed instructions; many build options
Instructions colors make it hard to interpret the part orientation
Injection-molded plastic (gray, clear); 193 parts (2 photo-etched metal); decals
AK Interactive has released its first two plastic model kits, both of the ubiquitous Toyota FJ43, seen on battlefields around the world from the 1960s to the mid-80s, but with different armaments. This review is for the FJ43 pickup with DShKM mounted in the rear, not the hardtop (No. AK35001).

The J40 series of trucks had a few variants: The F in the FJ40 denotes gasoline-powered; the BJ40s were diesel-powered. The 43 indicates a slightly longer Land Cruiser body than the FJ40, with an extra foot of cargo space in the back.

Construction begins with the tires. You can choose between civilian-looking all-terrain tires or chunky, military-style off-roaders. Both options are well-molded and have crisp lettering on the side walls.

Turning to the frame, the large, illustrated instructions make part location easy. The only place where this isn't true is on some of the suspension components. Shown in black, it makes judging the correct orientation a little complicated. There are three options for the steering rack, with separate parts to position the wheels straight or turned, to the left or right.

Some quick internet research of FJ43s used in the field yields plenty of photos of these vehicles in different states of disrepair. AK Interactive helps you achieve some of this when building the model’s body. For instance, you can build the truck with the tailgate up, down, or missing, and the same goes for the windshield and doors. The kit also provides parts for roll bars and aftermarket off-road lights.

When finishing the FJ43, I installed the Russian DShKM machine gun in the rear with the extra stowage included in the kit. There are plenty of opportunities to add even more stowage, if you’re so inclined, for a really lived-in look.

The kit includes markings for four vehicles, all shown on large, full-color pages. I chose the bright blue option that matched the box art because it was striking and colorful. Plus, it would contrast well with dirt, rust, and stowage. Other options include a 1987 Toyota in Chad and two FJ43s used in Lebanon in the early and mid-1980s.

I wholeheartedly recommend AK Interactive’s 1/35 scale FJ43 pickup kit for any modeler. The lower parts count and smaller finished model size make it a fairly quick build with tons of weathering and diorama options. And it doesn’t take up a large amount of room! I have some ideas for building the hardtop version as a civilian or safari vehicle.
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