Kei cars are wonderful little things. Immensely popular in Japan, they were originally conceived to curb space constraint in the cities. I think it is a novel idea that other countries and vehicle manufacturers should adopt. Despite restrictions in all aspects, such as displacement and dimensions, the cars make up for it with incredibly cute looks and maximum versatility. There are many variations of kei cars to choose from. You can have a reasonably spacious family hatch, like the Daihatsu Tanto, or a sporty pocket rocket (Autozam, anyone?). Whatever your need is, there is always a kei car for you. Which brings us to this.
This is one of the little gems from Mitsubishi's stable, the Pajero Mini. Throughout its 18-year production life since 1994, it came with 4WD and a 4A30 inline-4 660c engine, with an option for a turbocharger. To cope with the dimension restrictions, the Pajero Mini had to shave off the rear passenger doors and shortened the wheelbase.
I found this model earlier on today in a flea market. Despite some issues like deformed rear tyres and orange peeling on the roof, the car looked remarkable for a used loose toy. And it was going for only two dollars, so I just had to get it. And as I am writing this article, there are still no regrets about the purchase.
This is a 1/72 scale model from Real-X. I am very impressed by the amount of detail found on such a small car. It is painted in Scotia White (with silver for the lower half section),and there are Pajero decals on the side doors.
The front is a real beauty. Real-X has put in a lot of detailing into the fascia. The Pajero Mini's headlights are individual plastic parts with orange paint for its signal lights. The grilles are painted black with ridges, and the "Mitsubishi" badge is molded into the body. Even the number plate is part of the body, and painted on in white with black lettering. The foglights are painted white, but comes across as slightly off-white on the silver paint.
On the side, the Pajero Mini shines again with its details. The 6-spoke wheels are well-crafted, but I found them to be slightly inconsistent across the 4 wheels. The side indicators are painted, as are the door handles. The mini SUV also comes with side mirrors, which adds to the realism. The lower half of the doors possess some ridges. Panel lines on this model are plentiful. The door windows are absent, but the interior more than makes up for it. It is just full of little details you would not expect on a 1/72 model. The dashboard and centre console are well-made, with all the proper buttons present. Even the seats look good. Now this is what I call "value for money".
The lights on the rear are painted. The reverse lights/ reflectors on the bumper, too, are painted, as is the third brake light on the rear window. The back itself is fairly good in terms of detail, with a spare tyre tightly in place. It is interesting to see that Real X has included thin black strips on the window to depict defrosters. Such little add-ons just make the car even better. There is also the rear spoiler, which adds to the Pajero's sporty character.
The base is not that detailed, but we can see part of the exhaust system. The name of the car and its scale is located at the rear, and the brand & country of manufacture at the right side.
The top is interesting too. We can clearly see the molding for the rear spoiler, and the ridges where the owner can put his extra luggage on. There is also a rounded square right above the front row seats, presumably the cover for a sunroof. We can also see the molding for the washer jets on the bonnet.
This is an incredible toy. For less than a McDonald's meal, I have acquired a model that is full of character. You can look at the Pajero Mini from any angle and still find an interesting aspect of it. And for a kei car to be represented in 1/72 scale, its puny size is emphasised. But best of all, the details found on this Mitsubishi just makes it shine. I have seen bigger models that do not possess as many details as this. And all this for two whole dollars? Bargain of the century. I look forward to purchasing more models from this manufacturer, and perhaps you should grab one for yourself too!