Model, Text and Photos by: James L. Ravelo II
After a corporate change at Mitsubishi Motors, their cars appeared with a standardized look, among them the Lancer and its powerful variant, the Evolution. And with other changes to the mechanicals which include a revised and better Super AYC (Active Yaw Control), ACD (Active Center Differential) and ABS, the Lancer Evolution VIII was released. Physical changes include a different front and rear fascia that reflect the aimed "generic" Mitsubishi look, a larger heat extractor at the bonnet, and standard lightweight non-adjustable CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic) rear wing. The RS variant has 15 inch steel rims compared to the GSR's 17 inch alloy rims, and it doesn't have the mechanical aids that the GSR has. Not only that, but it has less creature comforts inside the cockpit as after all, the RS is marketed for competition purposes where they'll most likely be modified heavily.
The kit comes in 12 parts - 6 runners (in white, clear color, black, or chrome plated in the case of the wheel rims with attached tires already), the body, a wet-transfer decal sheet, 2 polycap sets, mesh, a metal rod, and the manual. Assembly dictates the use of styrene cement for some parts and of course, painting which is best recommended done as the building process proceeds. Certain parts from the runners though are marked in the manual as not used as they are parts for the Evolution V kit and Evolution VII.
The manual is a change from the usual ones - it's in two parts now. For the first part, it's the main manual. The first page contains a picture of the Lancer Evolution VIII RS, a larger illustrated listing of all the parts included necessary in building the kit, and the aftermarket service portion for Japanese use only. The second page contains decal placement instructions, paints recommended, and the assembly instructions from page 2 to page 4. The illustrated assembly instructions are clear and concise, and while they can be understandable even if Japanese, there is no clear division between processes, something which might confuse some modelers out there. A mesh pattern is printed on the last page to help in making the correct mesh shapes for the various intakes on the car kit. The next part is a two-page sheet (front and back) which contains the assembly notes and precautions in bigger text and in different languages.
The body of the Evolution is molded in one piece and white, although parts such as the side mirrors, taillamps, headlamps, 3-piece rear wing, wipers, the glass areas (in one-piece clear plastic), lamp covers and license plates, foglamps, mesh and engine topside details will have to be attached separately sometime along the assembly process. Details such as door recesses are molded, and even the fuel filler door. The mesh have rather big gaps compared to other brands, but it isn't that a big deal anyway, and a pattern is printed on the last page of the manual to help in making the shapes. There is noticeably one big gripe on the body - it's in Evo VIII form in front but what's this?! The rear definitely depicts an Evo VII. A real bad move on Fujimi's part. Another gripe is that the front wipers are unrealistically thick. However, the rear wing is really easy to assemble compared to a Tamiya LanEvo VII WRC kit and it has wet-transfer decals to simulate CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic).
Every part of this kit's underchassis is molded in black and most parts will require detail painting as the assembly process moves along. Being a curbside kit, there is no engine, although engine details that can be seen below the car are molded. A separate intercooler is included to be attached later on, but there is no radiator. Another big gripe with this kit is that the suspension, drivetrain, and even exhaust components and the floorpan seems to be under-detailed. We don't get a nice representation of the front differential and driveshaft, the rear differential is just "protrusion" from the floorpan with a hole in the middle to let the metal rod through (more on that rod later), the rear suspension's too basic in appearance and doesn't look like anything that the real Evolution has (compared to a similar Tamiya version kit). The front wheels attach to the front brake assemblies through a peg which is attached to the opposite end where the wheel rims attach to, and is a rather hard process since the space is quite small. The wheel rims aren't like a Tamiya kit where there's a male end that goes into the brake assembly - a Fujimi wheel rim has the female end and the peg serves as the male end (for the front rims) or the metal rod (for the rear rims). The rear wheel rims attach to the rear brake assemblies through a metal rod, and the metal rod goes through one rear brake assembly, through the rear differential's hole, and out through the opposite end rear brake assembly. The wheel rims are gold painted, but the quality is quite sloppy - you can see in the sides of the rim's spokes that it wasn't painted completely. The wheels can turn through the use of polycaps inside the brake assemblies, and the front wheels can steer. The 15 inch steel rims didn't have the holes like the real ones, so you can either drill open holes on the rims or leave them as-is. In my case, I decided to drill open the holes but after a while, I decided to use the extra 17 inch rims that I have in stock from the Fujimi 1/24 LanEvo VII GSR kit (which I gave it the extra rims from the Fujimi 1/24 Mine's LanEvo VI RS) and painted the rims in metallic blue to match the cockpit trim.
Molded in black plastic which will require detail painting to complete it, the cockpit contains details, but sadly, not enough. More griping on that later on. The front seats, dashboard, shifter, handbrake, center cockpit console, steering wheel and steering wheel column are separate parts which have to be attached later on. Decals are included for the "Recaro" front seats (in this case I didn't attach as the baking it's supposed to be put on is black and the decal text is black), the main dashboard display and center dashboard display panel (containing the airconditioning display). An additional runner is provided for a different center console for the Evo VIII, be it the GSR or RS variant. The side door panels are poorly detailed - just a straight rectangular recess on some areas. The real Lancer's side door panels have never looked that bad and so lacking in detail. The front seats are also rather wierd. The detail on the front is good, but the back has just a vertical recessed area. Another boo. The cockpit "tub" is one piece, and it attaches to specific points onto the floorpan between the front and rear wheelwells.
Being the first Lancer Evolution VIII kit in 1/24 form, it can't be directly compared with other kits are there simply aren't. Now unless you have a friend/know someone who owns a real LanEvo VIII RS to compare (details and the lack thereof), you'll just have to use pictures/brochures. I'm sure that while the kit has its flaws like the Evo VII rear, the kit stands out on its own because of its unique Fujimi character until the other kit companies make
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