Scale Cars

Revell Fast and Furious Brian’s Mitsubishi Eclipse

After discovering the miracles that are Japanese car kits, I told myself that I would never go back to building plebeian American-made model kits. Revell was actually the reason I stayed away from building vehicles like cars for so long. I remember the first time I tried one when I was in middle school was an Audi R8 from them – an absolute nightmare. Japanese kits are leaps and bounds more builder-friendly, with better parts fitment and material quality. That being said though, I wasn’t left with much choice when the major Japanese companies didn’t make an Eclipse, and the iconic Fast Eclipse was on sale from Revell at around $15 USD.

I’ve been aware of Revell’s offerings for a long time – as far as I know they’re the only ones who produce model kits of the Fast and Furious cars like Dom’s Civic and Charger from the first film. They’re almost always in stock at my local craft stores for pretty cheap – in this case only around $15.

I always stayed away because of my previous experiences with how bad they were, and most of them weren’t even in the right scale – what is this 1:25 scale BS?! (The accepted universal scale for car model kits seems to be 1:24; it baffles me why Revell would go out of their way to make it just that slightly different for no reason. Would it have killed them to size it up just a tad more?)

I’ll give them props for actually putting photos of the completed and painted model on the box sides though – Aoshima really needs to get with the game in that aspect. It seems to hit all the required points I’m looking for in a kit, even if I suspected that it’ll take quite a bit of leg work to get it to look as good as it does on the boxart.

The awkward thing is though – I already own a Fast and Furious Eclipse. The only other comparably sized one released is from Jada Toys – a diecast model from the same series as the Tokyo Drift 350z I’ve taken a look at before. I talked there about how Jada’s castings seem just a little too big – nowhere on the boxes are they actually marked as 1/24 scale but every online listing will have them at that size because that’s what they’re most comparable to.

The Jada Eclipse next to my recently built Tamiya GT-R R34. The sizing issue with the Jada cars only really started to bother me once I placed these two together in the display cabinet – the 1995 Eclipse should be around 172 inches long in real life, while the fifth-generation GT-R should be around 181 inches. This scaling clearly wasn’t working.

But I still wanted Brian O’Conner’s iconic green chariot in my collection, so what do we do when the die-cast pre-built model is too large? Build the slightly undersized Revell version of course.

Already starting to feel the quality discrepancy with just the chrome-plated parts. For what they are and the price I paid I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with them – they look cheap because they are cheap. I’ve just been spoiled by Tamiya’s ability to give a subtle satin-like finish to their chrome that keeps it still chrome-y but adds depth to the pieces to make them seem like real metal. (More on this in the upcoming Tamiya Acura NSX post)

I know the Eclipse is inherently a front-drive car, so we’re not gonna get thick meat at the rears, but that’s no excuse for Brian to be riding on essentially rubber bands at all four corners. Maybe I’ve just been used to all my JDM cars sporting hella thick treads but these wheels and tires are thin. Aftermarket Aoshima Advan RGIII’s shown on the right for comparison.

All the plastic in this kit sans the clear and chrome parts are given in plain white – I’ve seen some people make the argument that you can forsake painting Japanese kits like Tamiya because they technically give it to you in multiple colors of plastic, but never before has it been more clear here that painting is kind of a requirement for a kit like this.

A large part of why I think so lowly of Revell is itself due to their plastic and parts molding – most of the kits I’ve worked with in the past have had horrendous amounts of plastic flash (excess bits of plastic hanging off the parts due to poor injection molding) and probably due to this highly flawed process of making the pieces for the kit, the parts themselves very often fit like ass.

I’m pleased to say that this kit actually has little to no flash on its parts – it generally looks pretty clean, even if the plastic itself still feels cheap. I’ll have to wait until things start getting glued together to comment on its fitment though.

Revell also gives you the option to build this Eclipse any number of ways with different body kits, option parts, and graphics. This results in three different front bumpers, two different rear bumpers, two wings, two hoods, and a myriad of different option bits like different tail light bars.

It wouldn’t be a Fast and Furious car without the obligatory NOS bottle and giant speaker system.

I actually like how the clear window dome assembly has the windows “rolled down”. Makes checking out the interior once everything’s put together a bit easier. The stock Eclipse hood is also given in clear – a peculiar choice since the manual and box don’t mention anything about keeping it clear, but I suppose it’s there so you have the option of building the car with a clear hood and the engine always visible, which is a cool feature in and of itself.

I’ve never seen the main chassis underbody split into two sections – it’s usually just one piece. The plastic used for these pieces is thicker and heavier too, so it adds overall weight to the kit once it’s all put together.

Test fitting the chassis pieces and main unibody on top of each other. Fitment is pretty solid – points there already since the last Revell kit I worked with didn’t quite give me the luxury of a main body that didn’t flex and bend when the chassis was fitted.

Gigantic water slide decal sheet, complete with about half the sheet as optional extras. I actually never noticed until just now that Brian’s Eclipse had a carbon hood – the Jada die-cast just had it in flat black, but Revell goes out of its way to give you an entire carbon-esque decal for the entire hood here.

Revell does its color guide via very simple letter designations – if the manual has a part with A pointing at it, it’s meant to be aluminum (or in my case just plain ‘ol silver).

First order of business was to glue the little roof scoop on – I’m surprised that Revell didn’t bother molding this bit onto the main body and instead has you glue it by hand.

Also – I’ll never deny that the roof scoop just looks cool, but even I think it’s going a little hard into the realm of dysfunctional add-ons when it’s a front-engine non-rally car. Maybe it was meant to cool the NOS bottles to make sure they don’t overheat and blow the welds on the intake?

The actual bumper that’s supposed to be used on Brian’s Eclipse is conservative compared to the other offerings in the box, but to that end it’s also a bit plain. Only the center grille is cut out, with the vents on the lower sides all filled in with a mesh pattern imprinted on the plastic. I thought I could do a little better than that.

First I stabbed at the vents with a heat knife and gouged out as much as I could (the heat knife doesn’t actually work very well for clean cuts in plastic because it just melts the plastic into a gooey mess all over the knife), then went in with an actual exacto to scrape away the excess. Stuck some rolled sandpaper in the openings to smooth it out and it looks pretty good.

Test fitting the motor. I’m proud of knowing most of these engine parts since the Eclipse actually shares a very similar drivetrain and turbo setup as my old car (front-drive inline 4 sitting side-saddle with the manifold and turbo hanging out the front).

Here’s where I have issues with Revell’s instructions – they tell you to glue the suspension bits (pieces 28 and 29 there on the manual) to the subframe assembly with the rotors right? There are just little grooves in the subframe where you’re supposed to glue the rods of the suspension bits – but nowhere does it tell you at what angle to glue them – straight up? Canted slightly sideways?

The pieces themselves have no specific grooves or moldings to tell you how to glue them, just a general area to place them. As a result I had to blindly glue them in straight-up because that seemed logical but sure enough – later when I had to insert this assembly into the rest of the car, it turns out I was supposed to angle the suspension bits slightly outwards so it could fit, but being that the manual doesn’t tell you this, I had to take them off and re-glue them at the proper angles.

I know the wing is supposed to be silver, but I’m pretty sure it’s not actually chrome. Points for trying, Revell, but it’s getting done in actual silver.

And a chrome exhaust tip. Yeah, no. That’ll be silver along with the rest of the piping.

It almost feels wasted when so much of these chrome parts Revell went out of their way to give you are better off as plain silver, but I think it works better that way – of course they needed some primer first.

Undercarriage done in satin black.

Front bumper primed. Almost looks like a real car.

It pained me to do away with the clear hood since that would’ve actually been a cool bit for the kit, but ultimately it could only look complete if it were actually done up with the rest of the model.

Body primed with the rear bumper already glued on.

Unf this green looks so good. At first I hated the idea of buying a can of paint for a color I was probably only going to use this one time (who uses lime green?) but after seeing it come out so vibrant on the bumper I have absolutely no regrets.

Some paint problems with the hood. It was primed first, then hit with a coat of metallic black paint. For some reason the metallic black screwed itself up after it dried – I have no idea what could’ve possibly caused this reaction. But the good thing is that for some inexplicable reason this reaction didn’t actually leave a texture – it’s perfectly smooth yet looks very funky. So I don’t even really need to sand it away and respray it since it’ll have a carbon fiber decal going right over it to cover it all up anyway.

I’m 90% sure I won’t be doing any other car in this color again – after seeing it on the body like this it’s just too Eclipse. The color was meant for this car, to have any other tuner rock it would be a disservice all around.

Metal axles aren’t too surprising – a shame that this means the car won’t be able to turn its front wheels, but I wasn’t super expecting that to begin with. What is surprising is the inclusion of a metal screw in a plastic model kit – that’s new and something I’d expect out of die-cast metal models, not these plastic ones. But only one is included, presumably to hold the chassis to the body during final assembly.

A rather disappointing point with this kit is the lack of any sort of brakes – the “rotors” are just blank circles and look lame behind the wheels. I’m almost convinced this was a deliberate in-joke because Fast and Furious cars don’t need to bloody stop.

Screen-accurate or not though, my Eclipse needs to have brakes or else the NHTSA will come after me for not following safety regulations. I actually have a lot of caliper-and-rotor assemblies lying around because a lot of the Japanese kits include extras. Being that I basically have an entire donor car with pre-painted parts that I can just strip off at a whim, I pulled the ‘ol R32 GT-R out and proceeded to take its brakes.

Thankfully there’s enough wheel clearance on the Eclipse’s wheels to just add the rotor assemblies on with minor modifications.

At first I tried to use the heat knife to cut off the back of the rotor parts so I could just glue the disk onto the Eclipse’s pre-existing “rotors” but that ended up with one poor mangled disk. I mentioned how the heat knife isn’t good for clean cuts through plastic right? Should’ve heeded my own words.

That tosses a set out the window, but as I mentioned, there’s plenty where that came from – and these are all solely from the R32 too.

The center holes had to be slightly drilled out to widen them enough to fit the Eclipse’s metal axle, but once all was said and done it fit like a charm.

Decals were included to fill in the speakers, but I’ve never had good experiences applying markings to non-flat surfaces. These speakers are particularly ridged and basically impossible to get a single marking around. I tried it anyway, with predictable results. Mark Softener might’ve helped, but I didn’t have it on hand and didn’t care to get some to try it when I could just paint them in by hand.

I strongly considered painting the chrome valve cover and intake/exhaust manifolds but after a rewatch of the first Furious movie it looks like Brian’s valve cover is actually polished chrome. I find myself constantly underestimating the early 2000’s tuner scene.

Motor sitting pretty.

I had some severe reservations about painting the interior panels neutral gray, even though that’s what the manual called for. I’ve basically only ever done black interiors up until now and the only sea-gray interior I did before didn’t look that great. I confirmed the color online and it turns out the ’95 Eclipse was really nearly all-gray inside. It had a distinctly 90’s plastic look that I commonly associate with older cars.

The dash is basically one piece save for the aftermarket gauge pod that’s mounted to the driver’s right – the interesting thing here is that there’s no groove or mounting point for the gauge. The instructions just vaguely point to it going on the dash, glued straight on without any specific pegs or designated area.

Paint’s dry, so we can start the decal work.

Revell’s decals are actually very nice quality-wise. The print’s clear and it’s easy to work with – they come loose in the water very quickly, so there’s no extended soak time. I’m particularly thankful for them including the roll call decals that go on the sideskirts as one piece – I would’ve hated applying each of those sponsor names individually and worrying about them lining up straight.

Decal’ing didn’t take long, since it was all so easy to work with and things slid on easily. Gloss black paint was added by hand for some of the extra details, including silver for the intercooler that will be showing through the bumper grille.

Dash coming together with the gauge markings all applied. The little aftermarket gauge was actually a two-piece decal – one with the cut-out that goes in the more sunken area and another that was supposed to go over the raised area of the gauge. Unfortunately the raised portion proved too difficult to mold a decal over so I just left it off – looks fine, I think.

Not super happy with the speakers – turned out to actually be more difficult than I thought to paint them smoothly. I doubt they’ll be very visible after everything’s put together though, so I wasn’t too hung up on them. The NOS tank of course comes with the obligatory warning label – remember, the stuff’s highly flammable and can implode your car.

I mostly followed the boxart shot of the bay for the engine accessories – the piping and intake was all given in chrome and shown in metallic blue on the boxart. Some minor masking and mica blue produces a really nice looking shiny blue – appropriate to compliment the chrome valve cover and manifolds.

This is what happens when you try to mask bare chrome without sanding it away first. I painted the wing silver first, then masked the middle to paint the bits on the end black. As I peeled away the masking tape it peeled the silver paint with it – because chrome is so smooth that the paint sticks better to the tape than to the actual part.

Lesson learned – sanded and tried again.

Chassis basically done – tub inserted and motor mostly together.

Gluing those pipes and intake on was a fine art – no way to do it without tweezers. Another interesting point was the mold of the pedals being little more than bumps in the footwell – they’re not actually suspended or anything – just part of the tub mold.

I remember very distinctly from the flim that the Eclipse had hood pins – Jesse rather angrily undid them after the car’s first and last race. Instead of any sort of molded pin detail on the hood (akin to how the Aoshima Top Secret Silvia did it) Revell saw it fit to just include a set of decals that you would slap over the carbon fiber hood decal. As much as I wasn’t about to actually try and mold pins onto the hood, I decided to add just a bit more detail to what was given.

You’d think a hood decal would be a fairly straightforward application if there aren’t any vents or intakes to deal with. The Eclipse laughs at you with its off-center hood hump – a defining trait of 2G Eclipses thanks to their gigantic cam covers.

Mark softer would’ve made this application a lot easier but since I didn’t have that I had to play with and stretch the decal for nearly an hour to get it to settle without crinkles. Even once it was all said and done it was far from perfect – there’s still a crinkle or two up front but the decal had settled and I was just about done trying to fenangle it into place.

My bright idea with the hood pins involved cutting some spare runner pipes into raised bits that I could apply the included hood pin decals on. It isn’t as good as actually having the pin detail molded in, but it’s better than having 2D flat decals in to substitute the details.

And of course, Revell doesn’t include any sort of masking stickers for your convenience when painting the window interiors – did it the old fashioned way by hand with acrylic paint this time. It’s actually a very easy and mess-free task to do it this way – I actually got worse results with Tamiya’s masking tape (which should’ve made the job easier), since the masking tape somehow screwed up the clear plastic.

First time assembling a body where the dash is attached to the top instead of assembled with the rest of the interior tub.

Wing was resprayed silver. I decided to say screw it to masking it all over again and just painted the black ends by hand instead. It actually looks fine; shouldn’t have wasted my time trying to mask it in the first place.

Body and decals done, time to polish. There’s a coat or two of clear over all the decals but I was still worried about being too rough with the polish and peeling up the decals, so I took it slowly and only polished the larger sections with more paint than decal.

Good thing I have plenty of leftover grille mesh from the GT-R’s. Simple matter to cut them to size and add a ring of glue around where they’ll sit.

It looks so good. If I recall correctly the actual grille and bumper on the Eclipse is slanted inwards but clearly there’s really no way to recreate that here.

Trying to hide the decal crinkles as much as I can by slathering a layer of future floor finish on. Hopefully this will also give it a more realistic gloss-finished carbon look.

As much as I like how easy the headlight assembly is because there are pegs molded into the lenses that just slot through the housings, I dislike the final look compared to the traditional approach of having the lenses be completely flat and clear and cemented on.

I didn’t realize until near the end when I’d thrown most of the runners away that the rear bumper had some tiny clear lenses for the reverse lights. I checked the clear runners in the trash but could only locate one of the tiny clear pieces, so I had to make the other one out of pla-plate. I never intended to keep them clear anyway; they’ll be done solid silver.

The early 2000’s had their own style. Anyone whipping something like this down the street today would just be laughed at, but back in the day this was how you’d know you had a 10-second car.

It’s got the wing, body kit, race graphics, roof scoop, carbon hood, and it’s…not slammed?! Bro you’re playing the game all wrong, #stancenation man.

While the kit is mostly accurate to the infamous car we’ve all seen on the silver screen, it’s actually a bit off in the fact that it doesn’t have the hero car’s tiny carbon fiber aero side-view mirrors. It looks like the stock mirrors were given here and that’s the only option you get.

I like how the gray interior looks a lot better than I thought I would – it fits the Eclipse’s character nicely. Gives me some variation in the collection too so not all my cars have pitch black cabins.

This was actually my first time assembling a lift-back style body too, so I was curious how the model designers would handle it. It’s weird having the cabin tub extend all the way back through most of the rear windshield, since this car doesn’t have a traditional seat-back trunk and instead features a rear liftgate.

Also something a bit strange to note – what’s up with the silver handle thing on the gas cap? It’s actually inaccurately reproduced here – Revell just gave it to you as a flat decal marking. I believe in the film it was actually this very strange mushroom-like disk that protruded from the gas cap. I never quite figured out why it’s there – just a handle to open the cap, perhaps? Early century car trends were so weird.

I like how the motor is so pronounced when viewing the car from below – there’s even some intercooler piping that was included for the express purpose of being attached below the car, out of sight in all other situations.

First time I’ve ever seen anything like this on a plastic kit – most Japanese kits I’ve seen don’t actually give hinges on the hood to lift it – they just make the hood a separate piece and make you remove it completely when you want to see the motor.

All the chrome and metallic blue make it the most ostentatious bay I’ve ever seen, but I suppose it’s fitting.

There’s actually also no hood lift included; that’s a toothpick I cut to size and hastily painted black.

I was really concerned at first with the lifting hood because I thought it wouldn’t close flush and end up with some weird warp because plastic likes to do that. Turns out it actually closes pretty well – it’s not perfect but the margin of error is very small, within tolerable range, so it saves me the hassle of gluing it closed to maintain fitment.

Now of course, I have to compare it to the pre-built diecast model from Jada that I’ve been talking about above.

The sizing and scale discrepancies become very obvious when you compare just the wheels. Jada has a tendency to inflate their proportions for the sake of “tunerizing” them.

I think the Jada Toy’s green is more movie-accurate – especially since the whole movie had a sort of filter on it. Despite that I like the green on the model kit more – it’s more vibrant and clear green, versus the yellow mix the diecast sports.

Funnily enough, I believe the Jada version actually uses the naturally aspirated Eclipse motor, versus the correct turbocharged and nitrous-injected mill the hero car is actually supposed to have, as reflected on the Revell model.

As much as the diecast Jada model has a few more details like rivets in the wing, the correct aero mirrors, and (probably) more accurate paint, I still think I’ll be boxing it and putting the Revell Eclipse on display in its stead simply because its inaccurate scaling throws everything off. The plastic model kit has more detail in the way of the carbon hood, mesh’d bumper, detailed engine/interior, and decals for the gas cap and hood pins anyway.

The same comparison image from the beginning of this post with the Tamiya R34 GT-R, now with the completed Revell model kit also for comparison. Scaling matters, true story.

This is probably gonna be as close I’m ever gonna get to having Brian O’Conner’s Fast and Furious Eclipse in the 1/24 collection, despite the kit actually being in 1/25 scale. Normally I would’ve stayed away when the scaling was clearly off from the rest of my collection as it said so right on the box, but there’s just about no other way to get it at this size and with this much detail, especially since Jada Toys has let us down with their diecast release.

I’ve come away with a new respect for Revell though – I think because this is a more recent release (2015 if I remember correctly on the manual) the kit quality as a whole is vastly improved from what they’ve been doing before. It’s still not quite as builder-friendly or as crisp as some of the most recent Japanese kit offerings, but it’s damn close.

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