A slew of new models arrived this week, the first to be photographed and reviewed is the new Kyosho “Hi-End” Ferrari F355 Berlinetta 1995. When first announced back in September/October of last year I was as happy as a pig in shit, I’m sure many other collectors were too. Maybe the sleeping giant (Kyosho) is back! New Ferrari!! But alas it wasn’t meant to be… Let me preface this review as so, I’m no authority on Ferrari or the F355. This review isn’t about measuring every corner or angle with a digital micrometre or caliper, it’s about the overall presentation and how well the 1:18 is replicated to the 1:1 within reason. We all know models aren’t perfect, and the F355 does have is share of shortcomings. I also have a treat; photos include both the red/black and black/tan examples available today.
The first thing you notice before you take the model out of the box is the overall weight. I had to ask the shop owner if the actual model was inside the box, it is extremely light! The model features the new packaging from the Kyosho Hi-End line. Layer one is a cardboard surround with photos, then an inner red box, and finally the styrofoam shell. All work well together and does present a level of quality one would expect from this price point.
The exterior is nicely executed. It isn’t perfect but the paint, finer details, and overall execution is there. Panel gaps are minimal, the worst as you will see in the photos are found on the front hood around the headlights. The actual operation of the headlights is quite easy, a simple push of a button found underneath the model. The biggest flaw is the ride height, I for one prefer an aggressive stance but in this case, it’s a few millimetres too low. I’m not sure who signed off on the final pre-production model, but someone should be accountable for this oversight at Kyosho. There are also some small areas of black overspray; again at this price point, the model should be perfect. The exterior red paint though is very good, smooth, rich and well painted. Side markers are plastic and not painted, and the rear 3D Ferrari logo is a nice touch. No opening gas flap on this model, for $200+ it should have been included.
The wheels are beautifully executed, the best I’ve seen replicated to date for the Ferrari F355. I love the curvature, and the added value gives a real impression of authenticity not seen on all models today. The brake rotors are brilliant as well. The detail is so good Kyosho actually replicated the grooves along with the solid rotor. Well done Kyosho!
The best part of the model is the motor. Lots of eye candy here. Painted value covers, photo-etched detailing, and transitional exhaust colouring adds a level of realism to the model. Again Kyosho well done! Also, the perforated detail under the engine bonnet is well done. It also features factory labels, the finer detailed expected to see (see images below). The front storage area is covered in a rich velvet fabric; the only miss here is the luggage, which looks cheap and out of place. It doesn’t fit with the level of finish on the model, bad form Kyosho. The hood also features two struts that keep the hood in the open position.
Interior has only been one of Kyosho’s stronger points, and they have not disappointed here I’m glad to say. The black interior works well, but I must admit the tan is absolutely sexy and the overall winner for sure! The dash gauges are nicely finished in a higher than usual standard, again adding a touch of realism not found on lower-priced models. The carpeting in black or tan is found throughout. Also, notice the grille work exposed once the door is in the open position. Also features a factory label that is present on both sides.
Now for the hard part, would I recommend the model… I would say no, it’s not for everyone. The main reason, is the price point worth all these finer details when taking into consideration all the misses be it minor or major? You decide. There are cheaper dated models than will satisfy the casual collector and an upcoming Hot Wheels Elite version that will be priced at 40-50% less. Unless you’re a Ferrari die-hard I would say pass. Enjoy the pics!