I have made a full unboxing video of this particular kit and uploaded to YouTube. So if you're interested in knowing which parts are included, feel free to watch this video above
I shall also be using the Hobby Design HD02-0303 photo-etch set to make this Crown more realistic. This is actually dedicated for the Royal Saloon version, not the Athlete. However, only the badging are different, so I'm able to use most of the parts from it
I have also made another unboxing video for this photo-etch set where I mention the differences between both kits and what I'll be able to use. Watch it from the above link
This kit comes with a lovely set of 20-inch SSR Professor VF1 (bottom rims). However, I had these BBS-LM in my wheels cabinet and when I compared how both rims looked beneath the large Crown body, I liked the BBS more! So I've decided to use the LM!
A person who's into the Aoshima VIP scene, knows that the chassis is shared with various other kits. When mounted to a GRS214 body, one can notice that it's a little short on the front part, as can be seen above. This causes the front wheels not to be exactly in the middle of the arch. On the back, it's ok. But on the front, the wheels are too backwards
This all means that the chassis need to be slightly longer. Aoshima didn't make it, so let's make it ourselves! First thing to do is to mark where exactly to cut the chassis in two!
Chop Chop.. the chassis is in two parts! Big thanks goes to local friend Mark for the knife as it has cut the chassis as if it was made of butter! As you can see I chose to cut behind the rear interior pins, so that it won't affect the installation of the interior tub later on
Next job was adding the styrene. I used two sheets, 1.0mm and 0.5mm to achieve the necessary extension of the chassis. These were then covered with super glue
Super glue was then sanded smooth and on the back side I also added 2 styrene strips in the opposite direction for a stronger bond.! More super glue was also added!
It was then time to re-assemble the chassis to the body and test the wheel position once again. Now, the front wheels sit much better in the middle of the arch, as seen above
With the wheels sorted, I started preparing all the parts for airbrushing the primer. The brakes were a beauty from the front, but on the back they needed some work! Pin holes were so deep they were filled with a 2mm styrene rod and then covered with super glue for a smooth finish. The Brembo lettering and bolts were sanded down while on the back, the caliper had no detail at all. So I added some simple resin pieces to simulate this
It was then time to start working on the interior and the first thing I noted was that the original paddle shifters were too simple. So a quick look at my parts box revealed I had an extra photo-etch piece left over from the LFA. Obviously, I decided to use this instead!
Then, it was time to sort out some new seat belt buckles. For the front, I will be using a pair of Hobby Design, photo-etch pieces. For the rear, I made some simple resin ones
With all the chassis and interior parts cleaned from mold lines and prepared, it was time to airbrush some layers of primer. For this, I used automotive 2K grey primer
Next job were the seats covers. For this, I mixed a custom dark red using a Zero Paints Red Leather colour together with some drops of Alclad Gloss Black. I also applied the same colour to the bottom section of the dash and door cards, referring to the real Crown
Then, it was time for the second colour: custom dark silver. For this, I first masked where necessary, then I mixed a custom colour using Alclad Gloss Black and AK Aluminium
Then I did the brake calipers where these were airbrushed in yellow, Brembo black decals from Hobby Design attached and finally cleared with several layers of Zero Paints 1K clear
Once again, all necessary items were masked so that I could airbrush the satin black
Every part was then airbrushed in satin black. For some pieces, this will be the final colour
Next, I continued working on the chassis where several parts were masked and then gloss black followed by chrome was airbrushed. The engine tray was airbrushed in silver
The photo-etch disc brakes received some sanding before attachement to make them more realistic. All the steps performed are explained and shown in the images above
Some final details were added and all the chassis pieces were ready for final assembly
Almost ready! Clips holding both silencers in place while the glue is hardening
Here's the all finished chassis of the Crown 'Athlete'
Then it was time to continue working on the interior, beginning with the speaker grills! The original door cards had no detail at all, so I used some Tamiya mesh as seen above
The rear seat needed 3 holes to insert the seat belt buckles into, just like the original. So I masked this and carefully cut out the 3 required holes, careful not to damage the paint
The only thing remaining before the final assembly were the seat belts! For this, I chose the photo-etch accessories from ScaleLab_24, T2M black cloth and HD / custom buckles
All that remained was to assemble everything together and call the interior done!
With the chassis and interior done, it was then time to start working on the body. First thing I did, was to open the sunroof. Aoshima gives you the option to cut this out, or leave the roof intact. On the bottom, it is already marked and you are supplied with a clear part. So I masked the clear part to avoid scratches, and slowly drilled out a smaller opening than the marked lines. Then, I slowly sanded the plastic out until I reached the lines
Then I started assembling the body pieces to note any problems that needed correction. One such defect, was a hood corner that touches with the grille and bumper, seen above
This was filled with styrene and glue, and slowly sanded until I got the required shape
It was then time to start working on the front bumper where I wasn't a fan of the original fog lights with their cylinder shape. So I carefully cut these out and sanded area smooth
Once both fog lights were cut out and smoothed, I searched my parts box and found the grille and clear parts seen above.. perfect to make my own, cleaner-looking fog lights!
Grille was cut and sanded into two parts that fit perfectly inside the newly created fog light holes. Then, the edges were filled with styrene (no.1 above). This was followed with drilling a hole for the new lights, together with opening a vent on the other side, perfect!
Next job is to continue working on the body to perform the required modifications and get it ready for primer, so keep watching this space for more updates on the Aoshima Crown 'Athlete'.