11 March 2022
Where we find that a Ford pick up and Subaru Forester have more in common than first meets the eye.
Ashared commonality that, surprisingly, has much more to do with particular aspects of the high-level of modelling detail that DNA Collectibles incorporates into its 1/18 resincast models than the functionality of the full sized vehicles.
Ford F-150 SVT Lightning 2003 (DNA000097)
My first thought on unboxing this model is what a great companion it makes for the Volkswagen Amarok Aventura (DNA000047) that was the featured cover star of the May issue last year. My second thought was that this model is certainly a heavyweight in more ways than just how it feels when handled.
As a marque, Ford is fairly new to DNA Collectibles’ catalogue, with the F-150 SVT Lightning being the first offering, to be followed by the 2020 model Fiesta ST (DNA000092), which is pre-orderable now for delivery, all being well, later in the Spring.
Ford’s F series trucks now have an immensely long and successful production history, stretching back over numerous generations to 1948, from which this model represents the second generation of Ford’s incredibly successful F-150 SVT Lightning manufactured between 1999-2004. The model is offered in three colours: Vermilion Red (399 pieces), Sonic Blue and Ebony Black (299 of each) chosen from the limited range of paint finishes Ford offered the real vehicles in. All of the colours, however, show the truck’s lines and detailing off brilliantly. The lines were smoothed down from the first generation to enhance the appeal of a vehicle with its V8 delivering 380bhp that was far more a performance street muscle truck of an era than a serious off-roader vehicle.
All the details of the second generation facelift F-150 SVT Lightning are to be seen in the fine detail on this model. Included are the smoothed headlights and front fog lights, set either side of the fully slatted front grilles and perfectly miniaturised Ford badging right around past the side inset steps to the rear tailgate and tow hitch inclusive details. The rear tailgate latch handle and door handles are worth a close look, particularly as the one to the driver’s door even goes as far as the minute detailing of the inclusive digital lock panel. Also begging closer scrutiny is the tyrewall lettering and Lightning flash badging. The convincingly textured pick-up bed, with its ribbing and moulded Ford Racing text set below the rear window, makes a good, solid contrast to the body paintwork. And that rear window is worth more than a passing glance with its replication of the third, high level, brake light flanked by spotlights set above the sliding central window panel. That rear window also helps to throw light into the fully detailed grey and black trimmed interior with its intricately detailed dashboard and controls.
Subaru Forester STI 2007 (DNA000067)
Whilst the 1/18 F-150 SVT Lightning could be seen as having a very American market appeal, this 1/18 Forester STI also has a curiously UK market appeal thanks to the popularity of Japanese ‘grey-imports’ to these shores, attributable in part to Japanese domestic models being right hand drive. In 2004, Subaru launched the Forester STI for the Japanese market only and never (officially) exported to any other countries. It is therefore also the very first DNA Collectibles model of a right-hand-drive car!
So what is ‘hot’ about this particular version of the chunky all-purpose compact crossover SUV? Well the STI badging signifies a lot. Apart from standing for Subaru Tecnica International (Subaru’s racing division), it indicates that the version incorporated the 2.5-litre turbocharged flat-four boxer engine of the Impreza WRX STI and its associated rally proven all-wheel drive into a bodywork of estate car practicality. Externally this rugged Forester was enhanced with special bumper kits and bonnet scoop, whilst internally the extra equipment included Recaro front seats.
As with the F-150 SVT, DNA Collectibles has released the Forester in three colours: WR Blue Mica (399 pieces), Aspen White and Obsidian Black Pearl (199 of each). If anything, the Obsidian black paintwork provides the best setting for the numerous red STI badges (including on the Recaro seats) that Subaru embellished the version with. I talked about the minute detailing on the F-150 SVT and have to return to the subject again with the Forester when it comes to the Subaru badging, which when subject to macro lens scrutiny during the photoshoot demonstrated an amazing degree of clarity in its reproduction.
The superbly-finished black paintwork also tends to direct the gaze to the Brembo scripted golden brake calipers set behind the miniaturised 18" alloy rims. And then, as if the Brembo hint wasn’t enough, there is that tell-tale large diameter, chromed, exhaust tail pipe, with its own particular Impreza connections.
Both the F-150 SVT Lightning and Forester STI are attractive, impressive models in their own right and will, I’m sure, find a lot of favour with respective theme followings. Both represent vehicles that, in their own ways, rank as hot favourites. Both models also deserve a specific mention concerning a commonality of detailing that I have left until last.
Regular readers are, I’m sure, well aware of the value we place in our reviews of 1/18 diecasts and resincasts about the modelling finesse and authenticity of detailing at this scale. Over the past few years, the bar in this respect has been moved ever upwards, thanks partly to CAD modelling and production – thanks also to manufacturers paying closer attention to such matters. Although, in truth, it still doesn’t feel very many years ago that an accepted way of modelling rear lights was a coloured wash of orange and/or red painted onto a chromed plastic moulding!
Admittedly, some of the finest detailing gets overlooked by many collectors, but it rarely escapes the scrutiny of close-up shots during a photo-shoot. For this reason particularly I noticed that both the the F-150 SVT Lightning and Forester STI share a commonality when it comes to their rear light clusters. Whilst personally not a fan of the fashion for clear lensed rear lights that then rely on ancillary casings to the bulbs or LEDs to display the prescribed signal colours, they have become successively more fashionable over the past 20 years. They also just happen to be styling features of both the modelled vehicles. The rear lamps on this pair push the bar even higher by several pegs, with the detail encapsulated within their crystal clear ‘glass’ outer casings.