I suppose now would be a good time to mention that as of the last year, my interests and hobbies have shifted slightly towards the automotive spectrum – that is to say, I got my first car and suddenly became engrossed in the automotive enthusiast scene. It’s a large reason why I’ve cut down so much on the plastic model hobby – car parts are significantly more expensive and debt-inducing than model kits and paint supplies.
I don’t plan on using this site to talk about my car or real cars in general though – rest assured that it’s still going to be strictly otaku and collector culture here. That being said, it’s not impossible for the two worlds to bleed into each other – as is the case with car models like this infamous GT-R here.
I haven’t built a car model in a long time – the last completed one was with an American kit and was only modeled after a Transformer.
A few buddies and I recently went to a warehouse sale held by infamous plamo distributor Bluefin though, and I spied this box tossed aside in the bargain area. The box was dented, the pieces were loose inside, and it was running for $10. I looked it up and a new kit online was over $40, and a quick breeze through the manual seemed to reveal that just about everything was there. I decided, hell, why not we came all the way to the warehouse, might as well get something out of the ordinary.
I had never heard of the company Aoshima before, and to be perfectly honest what drew me to this box first was the giant VeilSide brand printed on the box. It’s hard to be in the automotive scene and not know VeilSide after all (no thanks to the F&F films) so my inner JDM fanboy was instantly drawn.
The Bluefin warehouse also had several box-fulls of 19 inch Volk TE37’s for a steal at around $5 a set. I regret not getting more, but I didn’t think it was such a good deal at the time. Apparently car models are usually at a pretty universal 1/24 scale across brands, so getting aftermarket parts is just about as easy as it is in real life.
Just from inspection of the parts at the warehouse, I could see that some pieces had come off their runners and that even some bits like the main body were missing the plastic packaging.
I thought I had everything, but after getting home and pouring over the manual and taking a parts count in detail, it looks like I’ve been had.
For starters, quite a few pieces were straight-up broken, like the dash stalks and the headlight casings shown above.
Okay, no big deal – the dash stalk can be repaired as long as all the broken pieces are there, and I got incredibly lucky with the headlights – the broken ones are actually extra pieces that were meant for the stock R32. This VeilSide version uses the intact ones shown on the right.
The kicker lay in the absence of an entire hunk of clear plastic though – the one piece that would’ve made up all the windows wasn’t in the box. I searched high and low – convinced I must’ve just been blind because it was clear plastic – but to no avail. It might’ve fallen out and be lying around the warehouse at this very moment, or someone might’ve opened the box and taken it. Either way, this was a serious blow to the project, and I’ll explain more in a bit.
Given that this is an aftermarket iteration of the R32, original components are given as well as the VeilSide alternatives.
Chrome exhaust. I guess it’s kind of accepted that car models will always require painting, unlike Gunpla.
Veilside Aero parts. Funnily enough, you get three different wing options in this set, including an APR-Style GT Wing and two much more subtle variants. Of the completed models I looked up online for this kit, no one used the VeilSide Combat vented hood or the GT Wing.
That broken bit seen below the stock steering wheel is the dash stalk trim piece I was talking about that was broken in packaging. It’s certainly not a big deal, but something so small is bound to be a pain in the arse to fix.
The wing variants I was talking about. The one on the bottom right seems to be the stock spoiler, while the one above that…is slightly less stock? I honestly don’t know if the R32 came with different wing variants, but the last one unbuilt on the runners is the distinctly aftermarket GT Wing.
The aftermarket TE37’s on top versus the stock wheels below. They’re two-piece with chrome lips. I got lucky yet again by making the purchase for the Volks – turns out the kit was also missing the tire rubber for the stock wheels! If I hadn’t gotten the TE’s I would’ve been out of luck for rubber.
The Volks also came with a neat little decal sheet on their own. I assume they’re water slides, but I decided not to use any on this kit, for reasons which I’ll explain later.
A neat little soft mesh bit is also given (and surprisingly was still in the box when I bought it) for the vented hood. There’s plenty of material here to use for several kits over, if the need ever arises.
One copper axle was also given (and once again, surprisingly still in the box) to connect the rear wheels during assembly.
And of course, the most important part of the kit – the main body. Initial inspection yielded good results – nothing was broken!
And yet, what could’ve been a minor issue with this part suddenly became a massive crutch for this project thanks to the missing window piece I mentioned earlier. See how the frame pillars are bent, skewing the roof?
That normally wouldn’t be a huge deal because the stiffer clear plastic that goes into the roof section would give it its shape back. I was missing that piece. Meaning I’d end up with a crooked GT-R at best.
I tried remedying it for a bit by applying a weight on the other side for a few days straight and hoped that it would bend the plastic back. It didn’t.
So what was I gonna do without windows? After some rummaging around I came up with some big ‘ol clear plastic containers that could be cut apart for some makeshift windows.
The idea is simple – the plastic is thin enough to bend, so recreating the windshields wasn’t totally out of the question. I just had to glue them against the interior of the car, how hard could that be right?
The Volks wheels came in a dull bronze, with rubber that looked strangely washed-out. I didn’t know why, and I figured I could get them to look shiny black with some rubber polish, but I didn’t quite bother since the sidewalls were so thin (so JDM!) anyway.
That camber tho! (Kidding, I’m not actually about that kind of -10 camber stance life. I love riding low, but not wheels-flat-low).
The original body came with the hood molded together; the instructions tell you to just Exacto it off if you want to use the included VeilSide vented hood. The process ended up being messier than I thought, but some sanding cleaned it right up.
As far as I could tell, there’s no hinge mechanism or anything of the sort to display an open hood; just some flimsy pegs on the underside that would go into the chassis. Most builds I see of this kit have the stock hood attached to the body, meaning the entire engine build goes to waste.
Test fitting the exhaust a bit. Strangely enough, stuff back here doesn’t seem to fit very well – I’m not sure if I screwed up somewhere or Aoshima mis-molded. The exhaust shouldn’t stick that far out, but it’s where the pegs line up with the holes.
Body primed; I usually don’t take such precautions when painting, but car bodies have large and open surface areas, meaning any blemishes in the paint become that much more noticeable at the end.
Interior and engine bits; the former was given in all white and the latter in all black. The manual kinda tells you how to paint them the proper colors, but I looked up some modified GT-R’s online for color inspiration.
Volks are going gold. The left is painted, the right is stock.
Had to go a little crazy with the masking for a lot of parts for the interior. Rear seats are molded with most of the tub, so to add detail it had to be done.
Front seats painted black first, masked, then sprayed with gray. It came out mostly clean; had to touch up some bits with black brush paint a little, then hid it all under a final matte coat.
Hood done up in gloss black. Ironically, I actually have a really tough time painting gloss nowadays – my matte finishes always come out better. Getting a wet gloss finish with no orange peel is basically impossible for me right now.
See what I mean…that looks gross when it catches the light. Apparently Tamiya paints shrink as they cure, causing this effect, so the remedy as I’ve read is to do a lot of mist coats with polish in between. My results come from one or two thick “wet” coats, so that’s obviously not the right way to do it.
Body painted in Racing Blue (that’s the name on the can). I originally wanted a bright mica blue finish with black break two-tone and gold wheels, but the blue paint ended up being darker than I anticipated.
For the interior, I used super cheap gloss black paint just because I had a lot of it left over. It looks like crap now because the final finish will be matte, and that usually smooths things over perfectly, even if it’s gloss underneath.
Rotors, calipers, springs, and shocks were molded together, so that was all hit with silver at once…
…and detailed by hand with red acrylic paint.
I’m especially proud of the coils, even if they’ll probably never be seen after assembly.
Suspension test…kind of. Not really, just assembling parts as they’re finished.
Center console and steering wheel were kept fairly simple; I’ve seen some guys do some pretty crazy carbon fiber wrap and patterns on there, but I wasn’t about to figure out how that was done yet.
I kind of surprised myself by having clear orange paint on hand – I have no idea why I’d ever needed it before, but it happened to work out for the headlamp casings here. Taillights were painted clear red.
Bit of a two-tone running on top of the car in black. It doesn’t look as good as I imagined; in retrospect I wish I had kept the body in one color and only done a black hood or even just kept everything one color instead. Note that nasty gloss finish.
The blue somehow doesn’t look as bad as the black, even though I sprayed them both the same way. It looks a lot smoother when it catches the light, though it isn’t by any means wet-gloss smooth.
To remedy this somewhat, I decided to try a method a friend of mine tested before on some Gunpla – Future Floor Care Finish. This is essentially floor gloss finish that self-levels (to an extent) and provided some good, smooth gloss results for my friend when he used it.
I actually cared about painting the undercarriage accurately. Just some silver for the transmission casing and exhaust was it.
Everything’s glued down, all that’s left is to clamp the body over and be done with it.
Cut a small piece of mesh to glue into the hood vent, simple stuff.
Last thing I had to decide on was to roll with the GT Wing or the stock one. As much as I liked the distinct aftermarket-ness of the GT Wing, I didn’t like how close together and towards the center the pedestal pieces were, so I eventually opted for the lower-profile stock wing.
Done. I’ll say this – about halfway through the build, while I was fighting with the kit to work on my scratch-built super-cheap clear windows, I kind of gave up on making this a really good-looking kit and relegated it to test mule status.
It’s never going on display because it’s so janky, but it was definitely a positive learning experience.
Look at how crooked the roof is geez…in the end I couldn’t fix it, but I put that down to just straight-up missing parts.
The aero mirrors are also VeilSide extras, though I’m not sure if they came with chrome pieces to slot into them for the reflective effect. If they were originally in the kit, I never got them, so they were painted silver by brush.
Another awkward thing…is that the Volks TE37’s don’t actually fit the car very well. I’m pretty sure the stock wheels were 18 inches, and with these wheels being rated 19, they ended up being too large and squished themselves into the wheel wells, meaning they can’t really roll. You can really tell how squished up the rears are into the body. To ensure proper fitment of a new wheel size, I guess I should’ve modified the suspension.
Yet another janky feature – the aftermarket hood doesn’t sit flush. Without gluing it, it’s always kind of popped up over the engine, and falls off frequently. You’d figure Aoshima would ensure fitment if you’re going with one of the body kit options, but it turns out that doesn’t quite seem possible…I’m pretty sure this isn’t my fault either- maybe that’s why all the other builds I’ve seen just stick with the body-attached stock hood?
Sadly, the kit was also missing all the VeilSide decals that would’ve gone on places like the blank license plate and on the rear/sides. I actually ordered a special metallic decal sheet just for the GT-R, but after deciding that this would end up a scrap project, decided to save the decals for any future GT-R’s I might build.
The two-toned black/blue looked better in my head. Actually, the Future Floor Finish I mentioned above worked fairly well – the paint is nowhere near perfect, but it certainly did help give it a much smoother shine. All I did was use a brush and go over the entire painted body by hand; in the future I’ll have to learn some more advanced wet gloss finish techniques.
The windows make me cringe so hard. It was actually pretty challenging getting them to fit snug since I had to cut and size the pieces myself, and at the end of the day there are massive gaps and the like everywhere.
Funny thing too – the rear-view mirror and front and rear windshield wipers were all originally supposed to attach to the clear glass piece that made up all the windows. I got too lazy at the end to add any of that stuff to my half-assed clear plastic windows, so they’re just straight-up omitted from the kit. They’re painted too, but I suppose they’ll come in handy as spare parts down the line – rear view mirrors and wipers are generally pretty universal, right?
The interior looks okay though – I could’ve been a bit more thorough with my paint, but I think the black/sea gray colors work well.
At the end of the day, I got so desperate I straight-up used blue masking tape to tape the windows inside…glue wasn’t holding it up on it’s own, and the glue that did make it on ended up fogging the clear plastic, as can be seen above with the rear quarter panel. I was originally gonna tint the clear plastic with clear smoke Tamiya paint, but it didn’t quite work out.
Half-assed undercarriage because I only applied one coat of silver to the transmission casing and midpipe, and I didn’t even bother to clean up the paint bleed.
I’m at least fairly proud of the engine though – I spent quite some time looking up modded R32 engines to get the colors relatively accurate on the kit.
The irony is that I was looking up modified engines with all the fancy piping and colors while this model seems to be bone stock – the OEM airbox is still there!
The decal sheet I got exclusively for GT-R’s that I ended up witholding from this kit also had a really cool Nissan Twin Cam 24 Valve decal that went right on the center block’s strip, but I wasn’t about to use it on a kit that would never see the light of day again after this photoshoot.
So all told…this isn’t my best work by far. In fact it’s way down there as one of my worst. But that’s okay! I’ve already finished my second Aoshima car model and have generally learned well from my mistakes. This kit will go into storage, but I’ll be salvaging the perfectly fine TE37’s for a future kit. Aoshima seems to be a fair model kit manufacturer, and as I understand it, their main competition is with Tamiya models, though the latter seems to be quite a bit more expensive.
It’s too bad this kit ended up being a loss because of some missing pieces and janky parts (I’m especially salty because the guy at the warehouse assured me that the kit was complete and that no one had opened it before) but in the long run I’m sure the leftovers from this kit will come in handy one day.