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Toyota MR-S Fun Sports Package and Toyota Altezza HKS Kansai Service

June 2003
Toyota MR-S Fun Sports Package and Toyota Altezza HKS Kansai Service
Fujimi Nos. 0353 (MR-S) and 18662 (Altezza)
Model Type: 1/24 scale injection-molded plastic model kits; modified reissues
Molded Colors: Black, white, clear, gray, chrome-plated
MSRP: $41.40 (MR-S), $30 (Altezza)
Pros: Clean, crisp molding; minimal flash
Cons: Oversimplified interiors, front and rear bumpers and ground-effects kit
What hot rodders were to street racing in the 1950s, the highly modified compact sedans and coupes, loosely grouped together under the term of "tuners," are to the 21st century. The first hot rodders were, and still are, interested mainly in straight-line acceleration; tuners are interested in total performance.

With the tuner craze so strong in the U.S. and Japan, it seem only natural for the model industry to recycle some of its previously issued kits to cater to the import-performance crowd. It makes financial sense to engineer only to accessorize the stock versions, and it allows the manufacturers to reach the tuner portion of the buying public.

The Toyota MR-S with the Fun Sports Package is a 2001 Toyota MR2 with a grounds-effects package and larger wheels and tires. The Toyota Altezza (Lexus IS300 in the U.S.) HKS Kansai Service receives the same add-ons (HKS/Kansai Service is a Japanese car-tuning company). The kits are so similar they could almost be built from the same instructions. Both are curbsides.

The chassis assemblies are clean and simple, with no surprises. Detail is basic, but can still look good when painted and detailed.

The interiors are extremely simple, with minimal detailing. The instrument panels are supplied for right-hand-drive only. The seat backs for the MR-S are far too thin to give an accurate representation of the 1:1 seats, and there's no texture on the interior pieces. The Altezza also lacks texture on its interior pieces and its front seats have hollow backs commonly included in other kits. Fujimi suggests painting both interiors flat black; this may be to hide flaws.

The bodies for both kits are wonderful. Mold marks and dimples are almost nonexistent. The surfaces are extremely slick and glossy and extra attention should be paid to prepping the body for primer and paint.

Both kits' bodies should be built prior to painting, because they must fit with the bumpers and ground effects. The bumpers on both kits lack mounting tabs or slots and don't match the body's shape. The best way to correct this is to glue one end to the body and tweak the bumper to match the other side.

Both sets of rocker panel ground-effects also have fit issues; it's easy to misalign the parts. There is also an unsightly gap between the rocker molding and the body at each wheel well. These gaps should be filled because they detract from the body's appearance.

The Altezza's rear spoiler supports are solid, but I cut the areas between the Erector-set-style supports for added detail. The MR-S has a removable top, but unfortunately, removing it makes the gaps between the interior tub and body more visible, and it doesn't fit as well as it should.

In spite of the flaws mentioned previously, these two kits are well worth having, especially if you're a tuner nut. If you dream of four-wheel drifts through the streets of Tokyo, these kits may be right up your alley.


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