Today we have something a little bit different here. It’s a plastic model, about HO Scale, and by an unknown maker. But as an obscure model of an obscure car, and painted as a Taxi to boot, it ticks all the boxes for me.

So what on earth is a Hino 4CV? Well, it is really just a Renault 4CV, assembled by Hino Motors in Japan. Like many other Japanese makers, Hino started off after WWII by manufacturing a car under licence.

The 4CV was a bit of a world car anyway. Apart from France and Japan, it was also produced in Australia, England and Spain. And it was widely exported, also becoming the Taxi of choice in Saigon while that was under French control.

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I know very little about the model, other than it came as a gift with sets of Bath Salts (!) and was part of a series of small items that depict typical scenes from a Showa Period Hot Springs Resort. As you can see, it is a bit cartoonish - but then again, it was only a few bucks and too cute to pass up on.

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The little Taxi Stand sign came with it, and gives a nice period touch for the photos. Hino later developed the car into their “Contessa” model, which remained rear-engined and still owed a bit to their Renault cousins. But more and than in an upcoming post.