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Mike999

Italeri #3661 Range Rover Police (At Last!)

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Italeri #3661 Range Rover Police

KIT HISTORY: 
This is a straight re-issue of the ESCI Police Range Rover kit from the early 1980s. ESCI was an Italian company that made scale model kits/accessories from 1972 to 1991, when it went out of business. Many of its molds passed to Italeri. See the Wikipedia link below for a full ESCI company history.

ESCI's 1/24 scale Range Rover series started with kit #3029, a plain stock vehicle.  Two rally versions followed:  the VSD Dakar Rally Rover, later reissued by Italeri as its kit #3694. And the Camel Trophy rally vehicle, which had a big roof rack holding a spare tire and 2 jerry cans.  The Camel kit has never been reissued but we can hope. Especially after this reissue.

The series also included this Range Rover Police version.  After its first release in the early 1980s the police Rover re-appeared once, very briefly, in a Humbrol box. Until this latest Italeri reissue, like the Camel Trophy kit, it was very hard to find.  I used to search for this kit on eBay. Very few were ever listed and those had Nosebleed Prices.

The Scalemates link below shows a timeline of all the ESCI and Italeri Range Rover kits, with boxtop photos.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: 
Very good. Those old ESCI molds are holding up really well!  All parts are clean and well-defined.  I don't see any sink marks or mold lines on the very sharp body. On my kit body there is a very tiny amount of flash on the bottom of the right rear window opening. A sanding stick will fix that. 

There is a big waste-plastic support bar in the windshield (see stolen photo below).  That monster will take some VERY careful cutting to avoid damaging the windshield frame.

The body and all other parts are sealed in one large plastic bag, with clear parts in a separate bag.  Tires are also bagged separately.

The kit is curbside, with a hood molded shut and no engine. But it has good chassis detail, with separate brake drums, shocks etc.  In typical ESCI fashion, the basic chassis is made up of 2 side rails glued to the front and rear axles.  WARNING FROM EXPERIENCE: make sure the chassis is square and sits flat during assembly. Otherwise after the build is done, the dreaded "one-wheel lift" might show up.

The rear tailgate/hatch is only molded in place with a few pieces of plastic. It might show a gap if left alone and should probably be filled with some strip plastic. But for an open tailgate/hatch, it's already halfway there.  The plastic "holders" just need to be carefully cut out.  With a little more work, it could be hinged.

BUILDING VERSIONS: 
Hey, it's a 3-in-1 kit!  Sort of.  Parts and decals are included to build one of the following. Making things easier for us, those complex Day-Glo orange and checkerboard police decals are all on the big, beautiful decal sheet:

Version A: British Transport Police, 1980
Version B: British Great Manchester Police, 1980
Version C: Dutch Rijkspolite, 1979

The 2 British vehicles are right-hand drive, the Dutch is left-hand drive.  One of my favorite things about this kit is that ESCI didn't just settle for different dashboards.  Underneath, there are separate chassis parts for the left and right-hand drive vehicles.  Also separate wipers for the different versions, including the rear window wiper.

This also means we have to WATCH OUT for the different versions called out in the instructions.  These are clearly labeled "Version A/B/C," so it shouldn't be a problem.  But pay close attention to STEP FOUR (4) of the instructions. That step shows where to drill the holes for the front and rear wipers.

The kit includes 2 different styles of police lightbars for the British and Dutch versions. The British versions also have a police siren and lights mounted on the front bumper.

PARTS COUNT/COLORS:
Rather than torture you with my lousy low-res photography, just click the link below to Axel Modellbau in Germany.  That site has good photos of all the sprues. 

White parts = 1, the body
Black parts = 83
Clear parts = 28. All the police roof lights are molded clear and will need to be tinted with Clear Blue paint.
The 5 rubber tires are generic SUV-type shoes with no sidewall lettering.  Only 4 tires are used. The spare is mounted on the left side of the interior with a cover, so it's taken care of with plastic parts. 

No chrome parts are included and none are really needed.

INSTRUCTIONS:
Double fold-out, 8 pages, including a large parts layout photo.  Two pages are full-color illustrations showing where all the decals go for the different versions. Instructions are clear line-art drawings with part numbers and paint callouts.  But the "Color Table" only shows numbers for Italeri paints. Not a problem, the colors used are all pretty basic.

DECALS:
Absolutely gorgeous. Along with all the complex police decals and instrument panel decals, they include "Range Rover" emblems for the front fenders/hood/tailgate.

RECOMMENDED FOR:
Vintage SUV fans, police car enthusiasts and anyone who wants a quick weekend-type build (famous last words!).  After assembly this one just needs a good coat of white paint, and maybe not even that. The body looks good enough to polish out and the black window trim looks pretty easy to paint.  The decals will do the rest of the work.  Hit it with a clear coat and you're done! (Also famous last words...)

ESCI company history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESCI

Timeline of Range Rover kit releases: https://www.scalemates.com/kits/232257-esci-3029-range-rover

Photos of parts and decals: https://www.axels-modellbau-shop.de/katalog/en/italeri-3661-range-rover-police-1-24.html

 

 

box.jpg

1-body.jpg

Edited by Mike999
omit2

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Pictures of the 3 versions in the kit:

 

ver-1.jpg

ver-2.jpg

ver-3.jpg

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i've built both the stock version (blue RR box-art) and the Camel Trophy one when they were new....was in my mid-teens back then and don't remember any problems building it, except one annoying design choice for the Esci engineers, which were/are the thick taillights, which made painting from the inside useless and made them prone to sink marks too.

At my folks home I still have a Camel Trophy Verlinden did, dunno if it got publicized in one of his books, though., will take a pic when there in a week or so.

 

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Mike, thank you for the comprehensive write up on this kit. I've never liked Range Rovers, preferring the Old School looks of the "Real" Land Rover, but you work has me changing my opinions.

Maybe you could do the same for the ESCI Toyota FJ Landcruisers? (hint,hint)

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6 hours ago, alexis said:

Maybe you could do the same for the ESCI Toyota FJ Landcruisers? (hint,hint)

Thanks for the compliment!  And what a coincidence - way back in 2012 I wrote about the Italeri re-issue of the Toyota BJ-44 in here.  Link below.  A few things are out of date; Great Models Webstore no longer exists. It was bought out by Sprue Brothers several years ago.  And the Italeri BJ-44 re-issue is very hard to find now, like the original ESCI kits.  But these days you can find 1/24 scale AK-47's, at Shapeways.

Another coincidence: I'm just about finished with my own BJ-44, after setting it aside for a LONG time.  Building it as a "technical" used by the Amal militia during the Lebanese Civil War.  Hope to post pics of it soon.

 

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