13 June 2022
Examining a selection of Solido’s recent 1/18 diecast releases
As if by resolute response to my musings in "Pareto's Porsche” (May 2022 issue) first up this month are two releases that robustly tick all the boxes when it comes to the modelling of specific, real, cars. Following on from Solido’s celebration of the contemporary tuning world, with the pair of LB Works makeovers of the Nissan R35 in Road & Track (February 2022 issue), we now have a pair of RWB makeovers based on Porsche 964s. Love them or hate them, there is no doubt that they are significant records of 21st century extreme styling.
RWB stands for RAUH-Welt Begriff (Rough World Concept) and is the signature of the high-profile Japanese car tuning company founded by Akira Nakai-San. A man that has turned his passion for air-cooled Porsches into a world-wide movement by redesigning them into drivable art. What may surprise you is that the second of the two RWB models has very strong British connections.
2011 RWB 964 “PANDORA ONE” (S1807502)
Unboxing the “Pandora One” model (yes, pun intended!) underlines just how extreme the RWB widebody modifications to a 964 are. Nakai-San has been radically modifying Porsches for around 15 years now, with work that not only gives cars an aerodynamic advantage at track days, but a distinctive street image as well.
He achieves these creations with RWB kits that include front and rear bumpers, widened wheel arches, side skirts and a selection of accessory parts. Rear spoilers are usually sourced from either the factory GT2 or a 3.8 RS. The work is carried out world-wide through certified partner workshops that market the RWB kits after the customers specific requirements have been established and the resulting GRP parts have been manufactured in Japan. Final assembly by Akira Nakai-San (who jets from country to country converting around 60 vehicles a year) is not for the faint hearted or purist. It involves sawing off the OE bumpers and fixing the bodykits to the remaining stub body sections with screws! The work normally takes Nakai-San 2-3 days and costs upwards of £30k. This is a model of the first RWB Porsche as delivered to an American owner.
2016 RWB 964 “HIBIKI” (S1807501)
Arguably more attractive, this second RWB 964 in metallic orange illustrates how the RWB kits had developed in five years. It vibrantly replicates, in 1/18 scale, the first RWB Porsche built in England. So the pair of models, together, make an interesting display duo with the backstory of them having each been the first in their respective countries of ownership. What the models also share is the commendable attention paid by Solido, not only in modelling unique real vehicles, but to the degree of authentic detail inside and out at this price range.
1987 Ford Sierra RS500 (S1806104)
Moving on, but staying very much with a British connection, this is surely a release that will delight a lot of UK collectors, and one which I intuitively suspected would follow Solido’s initial Ford Sierra Cosworth releases last year in "Road & Track” (February 2022 issue). Solido’s modelling of the three-door RS500 Cosworth conversion by Tickford is fab news. For a start it is great to see a new model from this French manufacturer of a RHD car bearing UK style number plates. But in a more serious frame of mind, the subject itself is one that has become a well-recognised marker post in British automotive production history, and very worthy of more coverage. Setting aside the bodykit and rear spoiler additions, these 500 Tickford prepared cars were understated, in anticipation of motorsport customer adaptation. I found it interesting, therefore, just how charismatic this model is in its plain white paint. It leads the eye to appreciate the extent of detailing in the fully lensed light clusters, badging, trim and grey based upholstery of the interior, complete with the period door card and Recaro seat facings.
1967 Renault 8 1300 Coupe Gordini (S1803607)
The latest version in Solido’s coverage of the Renault 8 production history is this Gordini version, typical of the cars that competed in the popular single brand Coupe de France Renault Gordini (then Coupe de France Renault) held on circuits across France between 1966 and 2000. A nice, well-finished, lavishly-detailed model of a robust, long-running, French favourite.
1973 Renault 17 TS (S1803705)
Holding with the Gordini theme for a moment, Solido’s colourful, evocative Renault 17 Gordini “Press On Regardless ” model featured in “Arriving fast and furiously” (August 2021 issue) is, for me, now challenged by the latest Renault 17 offering. In so many ways it exudes early 1970s automotive vibes – styling, as well as colour and trim, fashions. So much so that, perhaps surprisingly, it stands out (by half a car’s length) as my favourite of the six models with its well presented charisma of an era.
1978 Renault 4L GTL DDE Orange (S1800110)
In close second place, for me, though, is this the latest of something like eight different civilian and service variations on the Renault 4 theme. I have always thought the base model to be a fresh, very tidy and endearing take on the Renault 4 which looks, yet again, superb here in the livery of the “DDE” (Direction Départementale de l’Equipement) service dedicated to road maintenance in France. After all, with so much tarmac-tearing potential in the other five models, this functionally colourful one really deserved the final word