If someone asked you to think of Japan, what springs to mind? Some of us will talk about the months’ worth of sightseeing to be done - but for us car enthusiasts it’s almost always their cars.

This is the legendary Nissan Skyline GT-R BNR34, in all it’s Bayside Blue glory. Undoubtedly, it’s the definitive heir to the Skyline name and was also said to be the “only true Japanese contribution to sports cars (at that time)” by none other than the boys from Top Gear. Hey, if it’s good enough for them, it’s gotta be good enough for everyone else!

By golly did Nissan strike the jackpot with this one in terms of the R34’s standing in pop culture. Gamers among us will definitely remember this car as the car the antagonist, Eddie drove in Need For Speed: Underground. Personally, I remember this was the car to have in every racing game my friends and I played on the PlayStation 1 & 2, and when the late Paul Walker crashed his in the beginning of 2 Fast 2 Furious, it’s safe to say that all of us let out a collective sigh.

Anyways, let’s move on to the review.

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Design & Accuracy : 8/10

This particular example is a reproduction of the V-spec II (Victory Specification II), released in 2002. It features a stiffer suspension setup and a carbonfibre bonnet with a NACA duct among other goodies. Amber turn signals gave way for much better looking clear ones and the seats were upholstered in black instead of the gray used on its predecessors.

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Proportions are correct and all the prominent features that made the R34 stand out are dead-on. Silver paint and clear plastic mimics the ones on the 1:1, and the little ‘GT’ badge is well positioned and legible. The six-spoked, 18” BBS wheels have the correct brown-ish bronze hue to them and by golly do they pop. Unfortunately it loses a point due to a lack of centrecaps, but maybe that’s a little too much to ask for, given what this model is capable of...

Paint is evenly applied all round, and seems to be of good quality. Little to no overspray can be seen on its opening parts. On the back, things are good as well. The lines that make up the defroster is faithfully recreated, as is the single wiper blade. Peep the speakers!

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And of course, it would be unfortunate to miss out on the Skyline’s most distinctive feature - the rear lights. The lenses that make up the ‘afterburners’ are absolutely beautiful and realistic, as it is with the two little lights that flank the licence plate. The dual Calsonic exhaust pipes are well done and add pizzazz due to their shine. Surprisingly, the keyhole for the trunk is not a tampo - it’s a part of the trunk and is photo-etched! Not bad for a model nearly 10x cheaper than an AutoArt...

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Devoted to the car it’s based on, the interior is impressively well made for a 1:24 scale model. The headliner is painted black and proper details are present, such as sunvisors, interior light and a rear-view mirror. It features a manual transmission, a plastic dashboard that mimics the real thing with it’s tampoed LCD display and instrument cluster. It is pretty clean - nowhere are there any mould lines and the plastics don’t feel so cheap nor do they have an oily feel to them, which some of you might have noticed on cheaper models. Plus, the tampos are well applied and are legible. I’ve seen far too many cars fall victim to the misplaced sticker syndrome and fortunately this isn’t infected! Wiper and indicator stalks add to the realism.

The seats, however take the cake when it comes to the interior. The plastic seats are pretty soft, and are layered to look like the padded cloth units in the 1:1. In fact, the whole interior feels supple to the touch. Another point bites the dust due to a lack of steering wheel and centre console detail. Keen observers will note something else is missing here, but it’ll all be justified in the end. Happy spotting!

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Pop the hood and you’ll find the infamous RB26DETT, in all its ‘276bhp’ glory. The lump of Japanese muscle is a thing to behold - if you’ve ever seen one in real life you’ll know how h-u-g-e it is. I’m happy to report that the engine is impressively done, with details such as warning stickers, a ‘Twin Turbo’ badge and various caps are present, helping tremendously in bringing this model to life. The engine is not made of a single, shallow piece of plastic - giving it a nice depth to stimulate the look of the real thing. Check out the radiator, complete with fan!

Fit & Finish - 9/10

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Mainly because nothing but the hood opens. Nothing wobbles loosely and everything feels firmly in place. Unfortunately, all the vents on this car are represented by clear plastic. Sure, it helps in being able to see what’s beneath the front bumpers but on the other hand, it completely makes the GT-R emblem on the grille invisible. D’oh!

Features - 9/10

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Next we move on to th-hey! This isn’t the car I’m reviewing!

That’s because I blew the car up! Just kidding, LaLD, I haven’t lost my marbles! This is the biggest thing that this particular model has to offer - a complete set of parts to transform the bog-standard GTR to a meaner S/R/Z Tune model.

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The package includes 2 sets of engines - the R1 and the S1, complete with upgraded wires and pipes, a titanium strut brace and a fire extinguisher! The engines are finished with matte paint and has the proper stickers to separate one from the other. Cross drilled Nismo big brake kits add to the effect!

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The end result is this, a car transformed throughout. It is best mentioned that this is the Z-Tune Prototype Version 1 model (by God that was a mouthful), so some details may be a little different from the S and R Tune models. True to the car it’s based on, the Z-Tune silver is made to look metallic.

Now defunct Hotworks Racing Factory went the extra mile with this car. Like the real prototype, the front brakes have dark grey calipers hiding behind the timeless Nismo LMGT4s. The tyres are made of rubber and replicate the tread patterns of the Bridgestone RE540s rather accurately. Everything about the wheels sell it for me - from the glossy black paint to it’s aggressive profile.

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And the rears calipers are in gold. Unfortunately all is not perfect (as I wished it could be) when it comes to the additional parts. The stickers have to be attached on our own, which almost always mean unclean lines. There was nothing I could do about the little peeling edges, so one mark has to go.

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Oh man, Billy Mays would have a field day selling this car because THERE’S MORE!!! The suspension is fully adjustable! The two pictures above shows the difference. The blue R34 is running on the stock setup while the Z-Tune has been lowered and fed with a fair degree of camber. You’re free to choose between 4 wheel offset choices, a maximum drop of 3mm and tilt the tyres to -10 degrees of camber. Anything - from bone-stock, race-car or onikyan - goes!

To those who spotted the little missing something in the interior shots above - here’s your justification. The OEM seats can be replaced with Nismo race buckets featuring 4 point harnesses! These seats are even better compared to the stock ones - the word Nismo is tampo printed, the seatbelts are very similar to cloth and it is two-toned - just like the real thing. A MOMO steering wheel replaces the very 90’s stock one. Completing the look is an accurate representation of the Nismo GT500 titanium shift knob.

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Of course, it would be a shame not to see what happened to the standard RB26. Differences are apparent - the hoses and strut brace are now bigger and reinforced. The metallic dark gray block sits comfortably inside. Finding information about this car was not an easy feat though. Released 14 years ago, the RB28DETT ‘Z1’ is the most powerful factory fettled RB engine - a host of upgrades meant 590bhp with 647NM of torque. The production Z-Tune was detuned to 500bhp for the sake of reliability and day-to-day use. Hooo-weee!!!!

Value: 10/10

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I’d say that this is definitely an upper-middle range model. Definitely a notch above most 1:24’s and at US$100 for 2....there’s nothing more to say than the price is right!

Rarity: 8/10

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The brand has been out of business for quite sometime already so finding good examples may prove to be a little daunting. There are a few on sale up on everyone’s favourite online shop, but the prices are ridiculous, with some even reaching US$150.

Total: 44/50

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An above average score for an above average model. It’s an important car in the automotive world as we know it and this model is a beautiful representation. This model scored strongly on every count and I hope you see it as fair as I have. This model is a near-perfect representation and as such, it’s a great addition to any petrolhead’s collection - just as the real thing(s) are.

Thank you for reading, fellow LaLD’ers. Have a wonderful week ahead!