Does it still wow us … after all these years? We all know the wow effect the Countach got its name from and the original car is still enough of a looker and legend for Lamborghini to give some of their last Aventadors a Countach-inspired body and call it the Countach LP800-4. What I am referring to in asking that question is the Kyosho model of the white LP500 S that was released more than 15 years ago and has now been re-released by Kyosho for a second time, albeit with a red interior instead of the original white. We never had a review of the Kyosho Countach, as far as our archives show, probably because DiecastSociety.com only came into existence in 2012. I both have the original release and the new release with me for a side-by-side comparison. As a reference point to the real car, I use the photos provided of a white-on-red Countach LP 500 S pictured in Jeremy Coulters’ book on the Countach.
At first glance, except for the different interior colours, both seem to be absolutely the same. And for the outer body shell and moulds, they certainly are: Kyosho is using the same moulds again as for the first re-release.
In the front, both models have the same three-dimensional raging bull badge on the hood, the same lower front spoiler with air intakes and pin-mounted fog lights and air-intake grilles. They share the same black-framed transparent outer lenses with fine lines in the direction of travel (unless you spin the car sideways), but the amber and clear interior lenses are now the coorect way with amber outside and clear inside, while that was wrong on the original release, and the amber lens is darker on the re-release than on the original release. You may suspect that the old one has paled over the years, but with reference to the photographs of a factory-new LP500S in Coulter´s book, you will find neither 100% correct, with the old one´s shade of light orange paler the re-release´s darker.
Popping the typically-Eighties-pop-up-headlamps functions via the same release switch at the right front corner underneath the model unlocks the lamps´ housing that must then be fully opened manually to reveal detailed double lamps on either side, identical on both models. Closing them back down works in reverse, pushing the right one down to lock them. Swivelling the model’s nose to nose, they´d stare each other directly eye to eye … if there wasn´t a slight difference in ride height on the models. The front end of the new model sits slightly higher, unduly revealing more of the front wheel than on the old. Is that a QC issue in assembly? Or has the suspension settled more with the weight of the model over the years? The tires look as if they were the same unbranded tires, but in fact, the new front tires are wider than the old front rubbers. That being the case you would expect a bit of an upgrade in giving them the branding that has become standard in this price league. The same goes for the OZ-rims that remain unbranded, having the same raging bull on their chrome centres, but the new ones look a tad shinier than the old one, which is closer to the original car´s photo. The wheel nuts´ detail is the same nice depth, but the valves have become a little more detailed. What you can see of the brakes through the telephone-dial rims´ holes remains the same with detail to be found on budget models now. But, believe it or not, this is entirely true to the original when you consult Coulter´s book on page 66.
Spinning the models round back to back, the ride height rear is identical, with maybe the old car less than a millimetre higher, but that might be created by the differences in the front end. Other than the raging bull emblem, unbranded rear wheels (both tires and rims) have the same tread-width
Another swivel motion to glance at the rear ends shows some of the bigger differences between the releases: As on the front end, the turn signals´ shade of amber is much lighter on the old than on the new with a much darker red of the other light and reflector-panel assembly creating the bigger contrast than on the new release where the red is much brighter. This Is much closer to the original´s rear lights. Differences continue with rear-end badging and scripts: Very obviously the new one has not received a script on the number plate. The old one´s flash-S is too thin and the new one is truer to the original, while the 5000 and Countach badges are accurately bolder on the old release. The quad-exhaust tips are the same nice detail of inner and outer exhaust, although that seems slightly inaccurate in both.
Before opening the engine cover that seems the better fit on the old model, you cannot help noticing that 5 striped vents on either side of the rear end of the roof have been omitted on the new release. This looks less interesting, but “the LP400 and some very early LP400 S models had these slots to extract warm air from within the cockpit, but on the LP500 S these were definitely no longer mounted by the factory, so the old release from Kyosho made quite an important error here”, says fellow reviewer Lambodiecast.com on his website and pictures in Coulter´s book second that. The engine seems to be the same nice detail as the V12, with the gilded engine parts being a darker, richer shade of gold, while the rest of the engine block has been made shiny now, while the old engine was a matte silver. With reference to the engine shown on pages 43/44 of Coulters’ book, I would regard the old engine as more appropriate. The complex wiring and pipes of the V12 remain nicely detailed, just as in the original release.
Under the rear lid and the wing or the front lid not much has changed. In the rear, a carpeted luggage compartment, and in the front a spare wheel, red horn and fluid containers are the same as on the original release. The lid itself now shows ugly mounting rivets of its hinges and does not as wide as the original release.
The moment some may have been waiting for is opening up those scissor doors. In contrast to AUTOart´s Lambos, Kyosho´s are not spring-loaded. Hence there is no locking mechanism to unlock them for them to automatically lift. Instead, you have to pull them up open against the resistance of a guiding wire strut that slides in the door and keeps the door open with its braking resistance. You could argue that this much simpler function gives the model less to fail, particularly with AUTOart´s Murcielago´s suffering from failing locks so that doors wouldn´t stay shut, or failing springs that they wouldn´t stay in the open position. My Murcielago has that latter issue on both sides, but I am happy to report that my 25th Anniversary Countach does not despite being displayed with the doors shut and the springs under pressure for years. On the new Kyosho, the driver´s door, unfortunately, does not fully open, which is not as wide as on the old on its own passenger side. So the Kyosho´s door function can have its own issues.
Sliding over the sill, both interiors are very much the same, the one in red, the other older in white. Both have carpets in the footwell, red in the red interior and grey in the white. Both have black fabric seat belts with photo-etched buckles, footrests in the passenger well and handbrakes on the drivers´ sides inside of the centre tunnel. What (in contrast to AUTOart) both don´t have is the round heating vent (or is it a loudspeaker?) on the centre tunnel, shown in photos of the original car. The seats´ quilted cushions seem to lack depth a bit when compared to photos of a factory-new LP500-S. The instrumentation on the dash is very good on both models, but slightly worse than AUTOart´s. The stereo on the old model is accurately painted in black, while the new release´s stereo being the same red as the rest of the interior is clearly wrong … not only on my model (QC issue or short-cut?).
Returning it is not an option, as I got the last available model, the dealer´s photo-demonstrator, for 225€ which is so much cheaper than the 289 to 299 it retails for elsewhere. I asked whether they had or would get another, because there are minor paint issues too (on the inner edge of the left air-intake “box”, on the lower left corner of the right tail light. Selling the old white on white is not an option for me either: “A white over white model […] is THE model to get, it just looks amazing with its white interior, and actually white on white was a very popular choice in the early Eighties on real Lamborghini Countach cars”, said Lambodiecast in 2011 upon the first re-release of the Countach by Kyosho and continues: ”These days the early LP500 S models from Kyosho are getting very expensive considering they were sold for about 40 Euro back in the days, I have seen the white on white Kyosho being offered for 250 Euro and more … I don’t know if they are actually sold for this amount, but you must admit this is a steep price for such a model.” Fast forward 12 years to now and Kyosho asks more than that as a regular price for something they have not changed at all since, while I bought the white original release for 60 €. Lambodiecast´s yellow first re-release was 89€ in 2011. Like with the Minichamps 300SL, the seasoned collector might just smile with satisfaction over his treasures and abstain from buying this re-release. But then (according to Ian Tyrrell) for Ferruccio Lamborghini there was only one colour for a Countach and that´s white. For anyone new to the hobby wanting a 1:18 Countach this is not enviable. Would I recommend it? I had just one fellow collector from Slovakia on the phone, asking for advice on whether to buy it. What the ultimate authority on Lamborghini models wrote in 2011 is still true as a conclusion in 2023, despite the tripled price:
“If you are looking to add a Lamborghini Countach in 1:18 scale to your collection, these newly released Kyosho versions of the LP500 S are the best you can get for the money, sure they still have a few minor details that aren’t perfect compared to the real car, but your only other option of getting a decent 1:18 scale model of this car comes from AUTOart … and we all know prices for these classic AUTOart models are reaching ridiculous levels these days, so the new Kyosho is the one to get.” www.lambodiecast.com