Scale Cars

Fujimi Toyota MR2 [AW11]

I mentioned during my SW20 build that I was planning on building the entire MR2 line – but I didn’t think I’d be doing it this quickly.

I never had any special connection to the AW11, despite being a ZZW30 owner. The SW20s were always the cooler kids that got all the attention for being fast and sleek, while us third gen children were mocked for being ugly and slow. Meanwhile, no one dared talk ill of the granddaddy that started it all and defined the car’s identity.

I’m kind of surprised it seems like Fujimi had the exclusive rights to the MR2 lineup, being the producer for all three generation’s model kits. I’m no AW11 expert by any means, but from what I can tell this is a kouki version of the car, a late model from ’87-’90.

I never expect much from Fujimi – I find they tend to cut corners in detail the most, and I don’t think I’ve ever built a Fujimi model with a high parts count. This kit seems to be no exception.

I will hand it to them that the decal sheet is quite generous though. I have no idea what ABBEY ROAD is, but all the miscellaneous aftermarket brand markings like ARC, ENDLESS, and BRIDE are a very nice addition.

I’m not as endeared to the classic 80’s boxy car look as some enthusiasts are, but it’s a nice break from many of the modern car shapes I’m always building.

This feels like a newer kit, but I guess some things never change. We have some pretty nasty flash and mold lines on the body that will have to be sanded back.

Almost the entire main body comes as one piece, including the bumpers, side skirts, and front hood. The only separate pieces are the rear hood and factory wing. The rear hood panel is also weirdly large – is it like this on the real car?

So that’s why the rear hood is separate – we actually get an engine! Is this…I think it actually is the first Fujimi kit I’ve built that includes a motor. Kind of odd when the SW20 and ZZW30 didn’t come with engines but I guess Fujimi decided to hell with it, the 4AGE is iconic.

Before we move on, I think it’s a good time to talk about my inspiration for this build.

Since I never had any particular attachment to the AW11, there was no iconic color I wanted to see it in, or any crazy colorshift color that I wanted to test on it the way I did on the SW20. As I was getting started on the build though, a certain song came on, and it all fell into place.

BLINKs will understand.

Still not totally sure why YG even decided to use an AW11 in the video – seems like a very strange niche choice of a car for a Korean bop filmed in London. But it’s the only JDM car featured so far in a BLACKPINK M/V, so that’s reason enough for me.

I do actually like the uniqueness of the two-tone look. No, I’m not actually going to scribble NOT EVEN A DISTANT MEMORY on the sides. This is inspiration, not a replica.

I realized after looking at the MR2 in the music video that my kit came as a slicktop – how is any woman scorned supposed to ride out the roof like this?!

This isn’t the kind of detail I would normally bother with, but I decided to just go and do it after I looked under the roof and realized there were actually imprints from the mold for where T-Tops would come out. Fujimi must’ve released a T-Top version of this car, and I just so happened to pick up the slicktop version.

Either way, if they’ve already given me the shapes on the underside I don’t really have an excuse not to just trace the lines and cut the roof out.

It actually doesn’t look bad after some sanding to clean up the edges.

To give it a bit more detail I decided to cut the edges even further back and use some thin styrene pipe to line the edges in order to simulate the weather stripping that’s actually there on the real car.

Paints used for the body will be Mr. Hobby #69 (nice) OFF WHITE and amiya AS-12 BARE METAL SILVER.

That’s it. No more white cars after this. I’ve built too many. Next to MICA BLUE this is my most commonly done color, and I’m sick of it. OFF WHITE is technically different (it’s a creamier white, which I used for my DC5 Integra to represent Championship White) but you really can’t tell unless it’s next to a pure white car.

The AW11’s straight and true body lines made this such an easy masking job. The rounded fender arches weren’t even that bad since I’ve finally figured out how to use Tamiya’s curving masking tape.

Clean. Clear coat applied already.

Something interesting to point out – Fujimi actually does provide open headlight parts including clear lenses, but the only way to display the headlights open is for you to physically cut the closed lenses out from the original body. I’m pretty sure this then means you can’t display the lights either open or closed, but only open or closed. I’d rather have the headlights only closed, so I didn’t touch them.

As I started fitting the body and chassis together, I suddenly realized why the engine lid seemed so absurdly big – Fujimi had combined the actual hood, the trunk, and parts of the car’s body together into one panel.

I only figured this out when I tried to open the single large engine lid and realized with how large it was you wouldn’t be able to see the motor inside the bay at all, which means the only way to display the motor is to have the entire panel off…but that’s no good. Thankfully all the panel lines are already scribed in the big lid piece, so all I had to do was score them a little deeper and separate it into 4 pieces.

As a ZZW30 owner, it was completely lost on me that previous MR2’s actually had a rear trunk behind their motor, and that those trunks opened separately from the actual hood.

The two little pieces that were attached to the side of the engine lid are glued to the body as they should be, while the trunk lid and engine lid will remain separate so they can hinge open.

Could’ve just done this out of the box, Fujimi.

The only small modification I made was to add a thin strip of plastic underneath the existing rear window bar, which would allow the back of the engine lid to sit on when it opened.

I’m not designing any real hinge mechanism here – the both the hood and the trunk will be displayed “open” through a delicate balancing procedure, though with the engine lid it’s a little easier since I can just wedge it against the C-pillars while the bottom edge sits on that plastic strip I added.

Not too much to the interior.

I was wondering how the parts count in this kit seemed so low despite having an engine and full interior, and I suppose I got my answer – I think this is the first kit I’ve built that doesn’t come with a proper interior tub. There’s no real flooring – everything just goes in on the topside of the chassis. I suppose this isn’t a huge deal since you wouldn’t really be able to see the floor of the interior anyway, but damn Fujimi talk about cutting corners.

Of course the seats are hollow in the back. Classic.

I’m hoping the carpet flocking will make it a little less obvious that the interior is raw on the chassis floor.

I used a dark gray carpet flocking this time instead of the usual black – I think it adds just enough variety in color shade when literally everything else in the AW11 interior is just flat or satin black.

I love how the entire radio/center stack is just two decals pasted into recessed rectangles.

My original plan for wheels was to go with the Watanabe’s that Fujimi included in the kit. I remember before I bought this kit I was dead set on using Wats since I thought it was very fitting for an 80’s Toyota, and looked around everywhere for an aftermarket set before realizing Fujimi already included them in the kit as an aftermarket option.

I like them, but something was a little off to me. At certain angles it looked kind of weird. The tires I’m using are low profile stretched tires I got from an aftermarket seller, not the ones that came with the kit.

The Wats were giving me a funny feeling on this body, so I decided to dig around my wheel storage to see if I had anything else that was 4-lug and 15 or 16 inch. Lo and behold, I happened to dig up these 16 inch 15/52 Avus Snowflake wheels that I had originally bought as just throwaway wheels so I could steal the stretched 16 inch tires off of them.

After mocking it up though…I actually like them?!

After doing a little research I found out that these are actually heritage wheels based on the OEM Volkswagen Golf Mk. I factory wheels. Awkward. Is it a crime to put such iconic and storied German wheels on a JDM car? Does it matter if it looks good and has the correct amount of lug nuts?

I decided to go through with it. This was a nice chance to try a two-tone black and chrome color scheme on a set of wheels that I’d never done before. This is apparently a standard look for these, and it mildly resembles the wheels on the MR2 in Solo.

I didn’t actually try to replicate the wheels on the Solo MR2 because they were way too big for the car and a bit of a boring design, methinks. Again – inspiration, not replication.

Fujimi included a motor in this model, but it isn’t really a full motor. What’s weird is that the bottom half of the motor is actually molded into the chassis plate (the oil pan and bottom end of the block with the exhaust, etc) while they give you the top half as separate parts that assemble into the engine bay cubby.

This is the supercharged variant of the 4AGE (designated 4A-GZE) so it has a giant top-mount intercooler that’s literally almost as big as the motor itself.

Funny thing, Fujimi includes a piece that’s obviously meant to be the battery on the runners, but in the instructions it actually tells you not to use it. There’s a clear tab next to the engine that it’s meant to attach to too. I don’t know if Fujimi thought it wouldn’t fit with the intercooler or what, but it goes in just fine so I decided to use it for extra detail.

Adding some more detail like extra hoses and spark plug wires.

Before the engine goes in the bay, we’re gonna detail the trunk a bit, since we did go out of our way earlier to make it open. It’s a little more cramped than the real thing since Fujimi cut out the sides to make room for the rear of the wheel wells, but I wanted to go all in and flock the whole lining. I cut some pla-plate sheets to close up the holes Fujimi kept open so it would be a complete “closed” trunk.

Flocked. Could probably fit a small spare tire in there!

Motor in. The engine assembly was actually a very tight fit inside the engine bay, so to fit it with my extra hoses and spark plug wires I actually had to delete the firewall.

Can’t really tell the difference once the body shell is over everything anyway.

At this point it should be pretty obvious that I don’t have high expectations for Fujimi kits – any detail we do get is almost always a pleasant surprise rather than a baseline expectation.

I am, however, mildly shocked that they didn’t even bother to include real brakes at all in this kit. The only thing resembling a hub assembly are those two round gray pieces shown above, that clip backwards against the wheels.

This is also pretty much all there is to the subframe/suspension assembly. At least we get a moving front axle!

I’m adding brakes and rotors on my own through a set of spares stolen off an old Z32 model.

The muffler-back portion of the exhaust is the only part that comes separate on this kit (the rest of the exhaust is molded with the bottom half of the engine in the chassis plate). It’s really half the muffler chopped in half since it lays up flush against the chassis.

I think Fujimi included this metal pipe as what’s meant to be the exhaust tips? It looks like you’re supposed to chop it in half at the score line and have yourself two narrow metal tips that glue onto that muffler portion showed above.

I decided to forsake the tiny stock tips entirely and replace them with some larger aftermarket units, even if the muffler remains stock. The rear light assemblies are also painted chrome first before clear color parts are added on top.

While clear lenses are included for most of the lights on this model (main taillight assemblies, side markers, front markers), there are curiously no clear parts for the rear turn signal and reverse lights. Those are just slightly indented panels molded into the rear bumper that can only be brought out by paint.

Adding some final touches with some custom decals. I didn’t want to go overboard with a bunch of BLACKPINK or JENNIE stuff but I did want to have some reference to SOLO on the car besides the main color scheme.

The BLACKPINK logo was originally supposed to go on the rear window visor, but such is the woe of homegrown decals – light colors really won’t show up on anything except white. You can barely make it out here.

I rarely (if ever) panel-line my model cars, since usually the body colors are dark enough that it doesn’t make a difference, or the panel gaps themselves are either actually real or deep enough that lining isn’t necessary. In this case though, the AW11 had both a light body color and very shallow details that could do with some filling to bring them out.

So the car was done. But something about it still didn’t vibe with me. I had a really hard time with the window weather trim with this kit for some reason – I spent a good 3-4 hours just trying to get the lines straight and clean, but it still didn’t come out as nice as I wanted, so I thought that was why the car just felt “messy” to me.

After ruminating on it for a bit longer, I determined it might be the wheels – something about the chrome on those Snowflakes just didn’t look clean to me, even though objectively the edge lines are as straight as they’ll ever be. I figured it might be the black barrels and overly chrome outsides that made it look cheap.

My first instinct was to get rid of the black and do the whole wheel in just silver to see how I would like that, but those dreams were quickly dashed when I tried to take the wheels off and it turns out they were reps.

Back to the Wats.

The mounting hubs had to be cut out with a heat knife and sanded down for a clean wheel mounting surface, since they were originally ridiculously long due to the Fujimi never providing brakes.

Definitely cleaner with the Watanabe’s, I don’t know why. I even used chrome on the lips anyway, but the silver faces just jive better with the body I suppose.

I’m really kind of miffed at Fujimi not including any raised panel detail for those reverse/turn signal lights. I’m mostly mad at myself for not being able to paint them in any cleaner – I must’ve gone back and adjusted the edges dozens of times in an effort to make them look more crisp.

I considered cutting out the front lower grille at first instead of just painting it in flat black, but decided against it since I wasn’t sure how such a classic car would look with just a big mesh lower grille.

As far as being inspired by the SOLO car, I think I was admirably restrained with the decal work. The SOLO logos I had always intended to apply to each side of the car, and the one BLACKPINK decal I had printed I decided to throw on the driver rear fender since it didn’t show up well on the rear window visor.

Jennie definitely rolls in an 80’s Toyota, make it happen YG

(ok but can she even drive)

Painfully aware that I left the right-side intake vent undetailed. The panel in the back was just too deep and small to get a paintbrush in cleanly to mark the insides black without messing up the white fins. The easy way out would’ve been to just paint the whole square black, but I did want to keep the fins white.

Engine bay does open without a prop though, that’s nice. It’s just wedged against the C-pillars for support.

The engine itself is pretty overshadowed in there by the giant intercooler square.

The trunk does not, unfortunately, stay open without a prop. But the detail is there, that’s what counts.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: