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Kit review: Aoshima Hilux Radical Custom pickup

Box art
1980 Hilux Radical Custom pickup
Aoshima No. 032800
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: White, black, clear
MSRP: $32.95
Pros: Well-engineered kit. Movable and working suspension. Great chrome parts. Lots of fun to build.
Cons: Warped chassis, at least on my example. Tire-to-rim fit a little loose. Low parts count.

This is yet another version of the popular series of Aoshima Custom trucks, and I must say that I was eager to have a chance to build one.

Upon opening the box, you will see five separate plastic bags of sprues and parts in white, black, and clear plastic, and of course, the rubber tires and chrome parts. There are few chrome parts, but the chrome is crisp and clean especially on the beautifully done rims. I was happy to see that Aoshima cleverly placed the sprue attachment points where they did the least damage on the rims upon removing them from the sprue. The low-profile Toyo tires have a neat and well-engraved pattern on them, but I thought they could have fit a little tighter on the rims.

The body is well done and looks correct in every angle. The hood is not a separate piece, and it shouldn't be a surprise being that it's a curbside. The bed is a separate piece, and the instructions call for the side panels to be installed on the sides, as well as the rear door and front panel. It's an easy process and goes well and easily together.
The front and rear bumpers are chrome-plated, as well as the front grille, which is also molded open and gives the front a realistic look. It was clean, and I don't remember removing any mold lines.

I was a little disappointed that the frame on my kit was warped, and this is important to address. This part has to be straight in order to have the truck sitting correctly at the end of the build. I addressed this problem by heating a pot of water and using the hot vapors to get it back in place. Please be aware that it must be done carefully not only so that you may avoid damaging the frame, but also to make sure that you don't get hurt in the process.

Few parts are glued onto the chassis; most of them are snapped together. The idea is to have a completely working and moving suspension, which I thought was the fun part of putting this kit together. I found that it takes quite a bit of force to snap them together — to the point where I was a little afraid I would break them. The completed suspension will permit you to pose the model in a myriad of positions.

The interior is simple and consists of only nine parts, but looks nice. It fits snugly and secure in the cab. The glass looks clean and crisp, and fits well.

The kit includes the chrome hydraulic pumps that work the suspension, and there are options on their placement
— either on the bed of the truck or anywhere on the chassis. There is also an option of having the wipers in place or omitting them; but please do not forget to open the holes on the body before painting; it will be an easier and cleaner process. Many of these trucks are used only for display purposes as major car shows, so the wipers are an option.

The box art depicts the truck painted in an orange color surrounded by flames. I must apologize for not adding them on my build. While working on some parts, I accidently placed the decals on the table and spill a little bit of lacquer thinner on the decal sheet. Thankfully, only a quarter of the sheet was ruined, but of course, it was the "flames" part of the sheet.

I was able to use the rest of the decals, which include the gauge detail for the dash, the front and rear glass logos, and the license plates. The decals seemed to go on well, but make sure to leave them enough time under water so that you don't tear them when removing them from the paper.

The completed model looks great, and as I said, the best part is the working suspension! How many of us sometimes are not satisfied with the final stance? Well, with this baby you don't have to worry. It is a really cool feature.

The instructions for the building process are well done and easy to follow. I was originally going to paint my model similar to the color of the box art, but after I ruined the decals, I decided on this color and I am very happy with it.

This is a kit well worth having, and I guarantee you that you will enjoy it to the fullest. It's quite unique and different.


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