Aoshima Top Secret S15 Silvia

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My next automobile model kit – this time I decided to go full race-car, no holding back. After my test mule GT-R R32, I considered my options carefully for my first real car that I planned to build for display.

I wanted a kit that was just as cheap, since I was spoiled by that bargain-bin pricing on the GT-R, and of course had a reputable company name behind it, like Aoshima or Tamiya.

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As much as I wanted to immediately purchase a Tamiya kit from my local hobby shop and get started on a new kit right away, I simply couldn’t justify dropping $50+ on a kit when paint costs would still have to be added in afterwards. It turns out this Top Secret kit is one of the cheapest available online new; it ran for only about $20 all in.

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I was worried I’d be getting skimped on the kit if it was so cheap, but thankfully that doesn’t seem to be the case. Maybe I’m just not used to the car model market pricing yet, but paying more than $20 for a kit like this isn’t quite justifiable to me yet.

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I like the Silvia as a car – unfortunately they’re basically non-existent in the states, so the closest I’ve come to one is watching the infamous Mona Lisa get beat to death in Tokyo Drift as a kid.

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This Top Secret variant of the S15 Silvia seems to be a performance track machine built by – well, Top Secret. It’s got the aero kit and big wang all ready from the box.

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The body’s not warped! I was most worried about this part getting bent the way it was for the GT-R, screwing the whole kit up, but everything is pristine as it should be for a new kit. The bumpers are separate pieces, different from the R32’s uni-body.

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I really like the S15’s rear end. The kit even comes with the italicized Silvia lettering molded on, and a blank Nissan badge.

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Chassis doesn’t look too complicated, some aftermarket bucket seats are included.

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The included stock seats actually look really good; I was almost tempted to use them but decided to save them for a street car I could be building in the future.

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The wheel rubber this time looks fresh and glossy, a stark contrast to the aftermarket Volks I used on the GT-R that had a powdery faded finish.

An interesting bit with this kit is that it’s advertised as  having spring suspension – real springs are used for all four corners, meaning all the wheels have independent suspension as opposed to having the rear wheels attached on an axle.

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Praise! The critical clear runner is included – the lack of that one large piece gave me way too much grief with my last model.

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A whole aftermarket runner, including a new hood, wing, side skirts, front lip, aero mirrors, front mini-splitters, radiator grill, and steering wheel.

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The kit came with its own water-slide decal sheet, and interestingly enough if you build this kit exactly according to the manual specs, you’ll have quite a lot of decals still left over – I guess extras were deliberately given for some freedom when building.

I got myself an extra 1/24 scale decal sheet of big name automotive brands from eBay – there’s plenty on there to last quite a few cars, though of course I don’t plan on filling out every single car I build out with these. This Silvia is going to be fully race-car’d though, so I wasn’t about to hold back.

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Chrome goodness, with a nice good-looking set of wheels, brake rotors/calipers, exhaust, and headlight strip. Tiny mirror pieces are also given that slot into the side mirror housings, giving a nice realistic reflective look on the finished product.

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I was actually thoroughly impressed that clear color pieces were included with this kit. I didn’t think Aoshima would go this far, but good on them that they did. There’s actually what looks to be an unused third brake light on the clear red runner.

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As always there are plenty of unused parts that are grayed out on the manual for these aftermarket-oriented kits. As lazy as this might sound, I love the fact that Aoshima makes these kits that are already of modded-out cars, so we don’t have to spend extra cash buying aftermarket parts to work on a stock car (a stark contrast to how it usually works in the real world, ironically).

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Also interestingly enough, the entire manual has translations in surprisingly good English. I guess I wasn’t missing out on much before when I couldn’t read the manual, but it’s nice that this is here – wonder how many more Aoshima kits do this. The extra irony comes when I’m now dating someone who can read Japanese fluently enough to translate manuals for me.

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Started out by cutting the driver’s side window out because I wanted at least one small opening into the interior. This was absolutely terrifying to do since I was just going at it with scissors and the plastic is pretty thick, meaning cutting a clean straight line is basically impossible. Cracks appeared all around the cut points, which I expected, so I only cut the general chunk out with the intention of sanding down the edges later.

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It mostly worked out well; I cut a small chunk out of the rear quarter panel though, but thankfully I realized I still had some trusty Testors Clear Parts Cement laying around. This stuff works wonders for cementing pieces together without any of the glue fogging and residue, and doubles as a clear parts maker too because it dries hard and clear. I glomped some on the edge of the broken quarter panel to mend it a bit, and while it isn’t seamless to any extent, it shouldn’t show up much since that area will be blacked out anyways.

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Carved out the harness slots in the aftermarket seats even though I didn’t plan on having harnesses. I know they’re available as an aftermarket model part though; I’ve seen plenty of custom kits with mini little Takata straps.

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Dry fitting the bumpers, lip, and hood to see how well it all goes together and if I’ll have to make any adjustments before painting.

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Everything fits like a glove, as it should. The quality of the body parts are actually really nice and sturdy, I almost hate to paint it away.

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Black trim painted onto the windows. The clear plastic actually has a “fogged” section that’s more opaque than transparent molded in to guide you on where to paint. The plastic is also pretty thick, so there’s a noticeable depth difference when you paint from the underside.

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Taillight housings need black trim, easy to fill in by hand.

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The entire rotor and caliper assembly came in chrome, but I thought that looked a bit tacky when we already had chrome wheels going, so I painted them gloss silver for a bit more of a muted effect. Calipers hand-painted gloss red as usual.

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So very excited to finally have a successful tint. I’ve tried using Tamiya Smoke before but have never quite gotten it right. It just took some careful masking here and several light coats to get a really cool dark tinted effect. I left the windshield clear for the sake of realism (windshields usually aren’t tinted) and of course the driver side window would be “rolled down” so you can still make out the interior all right once all is said and done.

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Getting the independent suspension together was a little more difficult than I thought due to the springs moving around all over the place. Everything fit well though; I guess I could technically even lower the ride height by cutting the springs.

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I had the hardest time finally deciding on the body color I wanted for the Silvia. I took to a whole bunch of online sites and forums and checked out a plethora of custom actual Silvia builds straight out of Japan. The actual Top Secret Silvia is actually a dull gold; I didn’t quite like that and very nearly almost went white.

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Eventually I stumbled on this VeilSide S15 and decided I really liked the look, especially since it already had the chrome wheels and black wing. I didn’t quite wanna do red because I had already done a red car before, but that kit’s been long gone, so I suppose for my new model car lineup it was okay to start out by filling out the red palette.

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Glued the front and rear bumpers on before painting, along with the side-skirts. I actually went out and bought a special red Tamiya paint just for this kit because I wanted something special to make it stand out.

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So basically Ferrari Red. I already had gloss red in my stock but figured this would yield a better car finish.

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The mesh from the R32’s vented hood came in handy again, since technically the Silvia’s hood is also vented, but no mesh was included with the kit.

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For a race-car though, just straight red wasn’t ostentatious enough for me. The Silvia’s body lines are actually really interesting – the character lines on the flank run from the rear and disappear into the front fenders. I figured I could use that somehow to run some sort of paint livery down the profile. I low-key love two-tone paint schemes or stuff of similar variety, though I think it’s hard to do right.

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Because nothing screams ostentatious race-car better than Fast and the Furious. To my credit, I’ve only ever watched Tokyo Drift in its entirety; I’ve seen like half of the first two movies each and the new ones look too long and exhaustively action-y to be of any further interest.

Anyway, since I decided on a red body and black lip and wing, I figured I could pull the rest of the design from the red Evo featured in Tokyo Drift. I didn’t have anything approaching the sick APR decal on the sides, but I liked the general idea of the black and white stripes running from the trunk to the front.

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Of course, a good paint job has gotta follow the body lines of the car, I think.

I learned with my last kit that the blue painter’s tape actually leaves a nasty residue that’s tough to fully clean off, so this time I was a lot more careful, using only Tamiya masking tape and clear plastic for the rest while only using the blue tape to secure plastic on plastic.

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First gloss black line revealed. I nearly painted the trunk lid black too but decided it against it since it’ll have a black wing. Tamiya masking tape is so clean.

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Interior coming together. Seats were painted gloss red but will be matted down. I love the stark contrast between the tinted passenger window and the stock front windshield. As dark as the tint is, you can still see through it.

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Kinda bummed the rotors are plain and not slotted, drilled, or vented. Starting to lay the first coats of silver on the undercarriage parts.

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Dash was masked and painted a two-tone of gray and black. Lots of little detail will be added by hand with a brush.

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I really regret getting lazy and painting the door inlets by hand. Even with a coat of matte to attempt to hide the imperfections, you can clearly see how rough the finish is and where the brush strokes are.

I should’ve just masked and sprayed the same way I did for the dash, but ultimately got lazy. Thankfully you can’t see these areas much on the completed model.

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Hood was also modeled after the Tokyo Drift Evo with the center black section. Initial masking ended up being a little sloppy, so I re-masked the edges for touch-ups.

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You can just barely see through the rear window tint. Funny story – I mentioned in my previous R32 post that I didn’t bother using the rear-view mirror and windshield wipers for that car because it was a botched kit.

Ironically, I ended up losing the tiny rear-view mirror and rear windshield wiper for the Silvia while I was painting one day and the wind knocked my pieces over. Turns out the GT-R ended up being the perfect donor kit because its spare pieces that I didn’t use fit nearly perfect for this Silvia.

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Interior detailed, mostly with hand-paint, including the rear of the bucket seats in gloss black.

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I was very nearly going to paint the rear seats in red to offset from the black, but after taking a closer look I can barely even tell where the seat cushions begin and end. They’re very strangely bordered on the sides, and since this was a race-car that placed no value on carrying rear passengers at all I decided to just forsake them and go lazy with keeping them all black.

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Rear wing attached with the clear plastic cement and held in place while drying with some masking tape. Attaching this with super glue would have been a bad move since the glue fogs up the area around it with a white mist (I still don’t totally understand how this chemical reaction works or what’s going on with it) when it dries.

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Body’s coming together, with the black aero mirrors, bumper splitter fins,  and lip. The white pinstripe that borders the bottom of the black stripe on the flanks was painted the same way as before, which means I essentially had to mask the entire car off twice.

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Looks like a Mk. 4 Supra with the hood off.

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Approaching completion with decals being applied now.

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I used quite a bit of the stock Top Secret markings, and even tried one of the metallic ones from the GT-R sheet I ordered a while back. None of the markings follow the intended placements from the instruction manual at all; I basically used the Tokyo Drift Evo as a rough guide for where things should go and went primarily by what felt right.

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Decals set and body mostly glued together. Just needs a coat of Future Floor Finish as the final gloss coat to get things nice and show-car shiny.

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And she’s done. The bright red, race-car markings, big wang, chrome wheels, and colored stripes just makes the little kid in me squeal.

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The gloss finish still isn’t even close to what I want it to be – when it hits the light, it still definitely looks very orange-peeled. Nowadays I’ve gotten a lot more proficient with matte finishes than gloss, though I figure getting a good result with the latter is just straight up more difficult. The Future Floor Finish certainly helps, but doesn’t completely take away the grainy texture of the paint (which I’m pretty sure comes from the paint shrinking and curing improperly).

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The exhaust has a nasty seam line that cuts it right in half, an unfortunate reminder that it’s composed of two parts. Chrome tends to be more difficult to touch-up.

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Honestly the awesome window tint gives me such a hard-on. I’ve been trying since way back when with my first Lamborghini to do this and just now finally got it right.

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Unfortunately I screwed up a bit with the headlights in that I fitted them improperly at first when assembling them. I got quite a bit of clear cement on the inside of the casings, which clumped up and formed some defects that are still stuck to the inside of the plastic.

As a result it doesn’t look perfectly clear and smooth on the casings but it isn’t too noticeable unless you pay really close attention, and even then the headlights themselves are all chrome so it should distract from the imperfections well enough.

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Driver’s side window cut-out workin’ well. The gauge cluster is a single decal that doesn’t quite fit perfectly into the dash, but works well enough that you really can’t see the folded edges.

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At first I really wanted to brand the seats as Bride…but then I noticed my JDM decal sheet only had the Bride decals in red…while the seats were red. So they became Sparcos instead.

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Kind of sad the decal sheet didn’t include any APR ones for the wing. I’m also really proud of how the custom-painted side stripes turned out, even if they do go right through the door handle.

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The spring suspension system at work! It’s kind of humorous to me since there’s really no point in including it for a display model car, but I suppose it’s a nice touch of realism?

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Undercarriage also turned out really nice, since I actually bothered with several coats of silver this time and cleaned up the edges so the transmission case and exhaust piping look nice and clean.

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Another one of my favorite parts of this kit is the varied door decals on each side. Who noticed beforehand that the left door has ORC Racing Clutch and the right side has TOP SECRET Performance Engineering Service? This was really only done because I didn’t have two of each decal, but it ended up looking cooler than I thought.

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Compared to my botched GT-R R32 that I’ve been referencing throughout this entire write-up. From afar they really do look like two peas in a JDM pod, but up close you can really note the subtle differences and improvements from the first kit to the second.

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This kit is of course by no means perfect as a car model, but I’m honestly really happy with how it turned out and can’t wait to get it up on display at my new apartment next year, with hopefully quite a few more cars to come.

The finish isn’t anywhere near the super-high-gloss-wet-showcar-shine that I want to achieve, but as a decked out full-on track race-car I think the muted gloss red finish works well. Overall with how it’s built up, it totally looks like something straight out of a Fast and Furious film or a drift track, and that’s exactly how I intended it to be.

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