Mike999 added a topic in Truck Kit News & ReviewsItaleri Toyota BJ-44 1/24Hi,
First post ever! Have been reading and enjoying the board for a long time.
Last week I picked up this "new" kit in my LHS. If you like 4WD stuff, you may be interested. Especially since these Toyota kits have not been available since ESCI issued them in the 1980's.
Box art pic:
ITALERI #6352 Armed Pick-up "Upgraded Moulds" 1/24
U.S. Retail: $47.99
Random Comparison Prices: LuckyModel US $23.99, Great Models Webstore US $35.95
VEHICLE DESCRIPTION: Toyota BJ-44 Land Cruiser, circa-1980's, with .50 caliber machine gun on U.S. WWII Jeep mount.
KIT DESCRIPTION: Re-issue of the old ESCI kit, with new gun parts. The old molds still look clean, with body emblems etc. very sharp. Some flash on smaller parts like pedals, but not bad for a kit of this age.
+First re-issue of this 1/24 Toyota BJ-44 kit ever
+Dashboards for right and left hand steering (not mentioned on instructions)
+Full rear seat and side-facing rear seats (not mentioned on instructions)
+Quick build (curbside, no engine), good for new/young/impatient modelers
+Great detail in places, e.g., separate windshield wipers
+Vast modification/conversion potential, e.g. with the back seats and a fabbed roll bar - Generic Third-World Dictator/Field Marshal Spec!
-no interior door-panel or side detail - really obvious on an open vehicle
-no instrument panel decals or engraved i.p. detail at all. Ditto above obviousness.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX?
GRAY: 63 parts for basic vehicle (some not used), 17 new parts for .50 caliber machine gun and mount
CLEAR: 9 parts (windshield, side windows, lights)
BLACK VINYL TIRES: 5
DECALS: 4 sets of dual license plates only, printed in black & white only:
1 set for Lebanon
2 sets for Somalia
1 set for Chad. Neatest option, since the license plates advertise "Diagnose Auto, Rue De 40 M N'Djamena." (Thanks, Mr. Opti-Visor!)
BACKGROUND: Way back around 1979 or 80, ESCI started issuing 1/24 kits of the Toyota BJ-44 Land Cruiser. Three different versions were eventually released:
#3027 Toyota BJ-44 Land Cruiser Canvas Top - basic vehicle with a full raised soft top
#3028 Toyota BJ-44 Philippines Taxi - one of the coolest kits in the history of modeldom! A bonkers, psychedelic Filipino "jitney" taxi with little chrome horses/figures for the hood, extra lights, horns, etc. And eye-popping decals. This kit included a nice hardtop.
#3030 Toyota BJ-44 Savannah Master Kenia (sic) Safari - a zebra-striped safari truck, also a hardtop. This version had a roof rack full of jerry cans, wooden crates, spare tires, canvas bundles etc.
As far as I know, none of these kits have been available since the original ESCI issues. All go for big bucks on eBay.
SUMMARY: Well, the boxtop screams "Upgraded Moulds!" I compared this kit to the Filipino Taxi in my garage, and the sprues are identical except for color.
So "Upgraded" means the single new sprue with the .50 cal gun and mount. A few months ago, ITALERI issued kit #6351, its old 1/24 U.S. WWII Jeep with a newly-tooled .50 caliber gun.
So here's the next kit in sequence, #6352 - a Toyota BJ-44 "technical" with the same gun and mount.
With the basic vehicle, ITALERI is on solid ground - armed Land Cruisers have been a favorite of grumpy insurgents around the world, especially the PLO in Lebanon. You might want to tweak the gun mount to make it look more home-made, though.
It's just a shame that ITALERI was so stingy with the extras (as usual). We only get one can of .50 cal ammo, mounted directly to the gun itself. Assuming they still have the molds, it would have been really nice to have some stuff from the old ESCI Safari kit #3030 - especially the jerry cans.
SUGGESTIONS: if you're building a "technical," just remove the doors completely. The users often did that anyway, for quick exits.
Otherwise you have to deal with those smooth inner door panels. If you feel scratchy, the BJ-44 had vinyl inner door panels and photos are just a Google away.
Since ITALERI didn't give us any extras, we'll have to get them from eBay or elsewhere. Anybody know of any 1/24 AK-47s? I lived in Saudi Arabia for 2 years and in Egypt for 4 years, so I feel fully qualified to scratch-build my own 1/24 scale bucket of falafel.
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