At last, I gotten my hands on the long-awaited 1/18 AE86 diecast. But wait, it isn't just any ordinary diecast. It's the popular tofu-car driven by Takumi Fujiwara in Initial D. The hachiroku (86) casting is probably the best one I own so far. Join me to unbox this treasure and you'll get what I mean by saying 'the best'.
AUTOart is a Hong Kong based diecast manufacturer which is famous for its ultra detailed cars at affordable price (compared to Amalgam, BBR, MR Collection). As far as I know, AUTOart is the only diecast company out there which releases the Initial D version of the AE86 in 1/18 size.
Some time ago in 2010, they released an AE86 Initial D diecast (original comic vers.) but only limited to Japanese market, selling only 1000 units. Sadly, I missed my chance and now, it is back again with an updated model, the "Project D" version.
Very thoughtful of AUTOart for using polystyrene box to protect and keep the diecast in superb condition. Usually, they use see-through boxes for standard cars.
If you follow the story of Initial D, you'll know that Takumi joined "Project D" team to challenge racers from different prefectures. During his journey with this team, his car has undergone some tuned up treatments and the car above, is the result of the modification done. The most significant change over the original tofu-car is the front black carbon fiber bonnet.
AUTOart did an excellent job on the paint quality and casting details. The 'Toyota-Sprinter-Trueno' logos are where they are supposed to be and even the mud-guards have the word 'Trueno' on them. For a second, I thought the car was real in this picture. :D
It follows the anime's 8-spoke RS Watanabe wheels with neat disc brakes on all four sides. The famous 'Fujiwara Tofu Shop' decal was correctly placed on the right door panel. This is something that AUTOart has amended, as the previous 86 casting had an obvious decal error. (Click here to see the mistake) Good job AUTOart!
The diecast looks true to life with its retractable headlights - the main feature of Trueno model. There is a switch at the bottom that easily toggles the pop-out headlights.
The fun doesn't stop there. You can open up some more parts on the AE86 too see more awesome details. Takumi's '13-954' number plate was intentionally added. :)
Under the bonnet, reveals a model of Silvertop 20V 4A-GE (AE101) engine from TRD Group A category. The one that Takumi's father replaced, after Takumi blew up his 16V 4A-GE engine in Initial D 2nd Stage. The silvertop 4A-GE (exists in real life) is high revving, non-street legal engine prepped by TRD for Group A Touring Class in JTCC. In the anime, it is capable of revving it up to 11,000 rpm before gear change.
You've just got to take some time to admire the details here: The silvertop, exhaust manifold, cam pulley, velocity stacks, strut bar, cables etc. They look as if the parts are functional and the engine could be started up with an ignition. Vrr Vrrr Vroommmm~!
Lifting up the rear hatchback door, exposes a boot with red carpet.
And, the interior of the this diecast is brilliant! The interior is covered with red zenki Trueno GT-Apex type and installed with Italvolanti Admiral steering, additional 12,000 rpm tachometer and bucket seat at driver side. It's a perfect replica of Takumi's everyday cockpit in Initial D anime.
The GIF file demonstrates the diecast's total openable parts. Cool!
The detail continues on even at the undercarriage of the diecast. You can clearly see the whole exhaust line and the tranmission system connecting all the way to the rear of the car. AE86 has a rear-wheel drive layout.
I've just got to take out the 1/64 Tomica AE86 Trueno which I bought a while back (Here!) to compare its size. They look proportionately the same! Of course, the more you pay, the better quality you get.
This car has been around for more than 30 years and thanks to Toyota company for building lightweight and fun to drive car, it became an important icon in drifting world. Its popularity rises even more with the help of Initial D and Keiichi Tsuchiya (Drift King). I salute AE86!
In a nutshell, 'AUTOart AE86 Initial D Project D Ver.' is a must-get diecast for all Initial D fans. The level of casting quality, paint finishing and interior detailing are absolutely admirable and deserves a place in your diecast collections. For me, this is just a step nearer to achieving my target of a 1/1 sized AE86. :D
Enjoy more pictures below.