Words and photos courtesy of Wes Shakirov
Unless you’ve been living under a diecast rock, you must be aware by now of the recent influx of bewinged and bespoilered monster Porsches from a certain squatting, chain-smoking, oily-fingered Japanese man. I’ve always thought they looked pretty awesome, but as they became more popular, the purists got wind of what was going on. The RWBs instantly became opinion dividers, with one camp loving every single creation, and the other loathing the (in their eyes) violation of their beloved cars.
These cars have so far been tackled only by GT Spirit in 1:18 scale sealed resin. There are some plastic 1:18s coming from AUTOart as well, with only the doors opening. Hobby Design have been releasing 1:24 RWB kits for a while now, and decided to extend their expertise to the 1:18 scale under the newly created sub-brand Tunning Auto Model. The result is a limited run of 100 models based on the fully opening diecast AUTOart 993 Porsche 911. This model is quite pricey, having retailed for $530 USD before shipping, and as far as I can tell, at the time of writing, they’re all sold out, though I might be wrong. What I’m here to do is evaluate Tunning Auto’s (did they spell “tuning” wrong?) first creation and decide if it’s worth the asking price.
First big plus is the presentation. The model comes in a big box, labeled with the Tunning Auto logo, the name of the model, the colour, etc. It comes with an outer sleeve as well. Upon opening the box, you’re presented with a bow-tied display case with the model nestled safely within. Undo the tie, pull up by the strings, and after much effort, the heavy display case will slide out. Thankfully the case is of high quality, with a heavy base sporting a carbon pattern, and a nice, solid acrylic cover. There is also a metallic plaque with all kinds of information, and a hand written number of your model, which in my case is #80. The first minus is that the base was covered with some kind of sticky white powder that wouldn’t come off with a dust brush. I had to get a damp cloth and wipe it off. It would be really nice of them to clean it on their future models prior to sending them out.
Lift up the acrylic cover, and the model is carefully wrapped to avoid damage, with the engine cover in a separate box. Right away you’re hit with the paint colour, which according to the box, is “Rosso Corsa 300 RED”. I’m no expert on colours, but I know Rosso Corsa is a Ferrari colour, and I’ve seen Hobby Design proudly declaring for their LB Works Huracan that the paint is the same as on the real car. Assuming this model received the same treatment, it’s got Ferrari paint. Which is cool. It’s well enough applied and clear coated, but with a run of 100 models to be completed by what I’m guessing is a limited number of staff, they had no time to wet-sand and polish for hours, so some imperfections are present. Tunning Auto use their own in-house body kit, and it’s applied very well, with panel gaps simulated with black marker. Now here’s the really cool part. All the decals are under the clear coat. Yep, no nasty transfer paper and a fear of flaking in the future. See that German writing on the front spoiler, and the “Idlers” script on the tires? Those are spray painted through a template. Very nice!
Another big plus, and I may be wrong here, so correct me if I am. I believe this is the first 1:18 RWB Porsche to be based on an actual customer car, which in this case is dubbed “Fishbone” (not sure what’s up with the silly names). The GT Spirit cars, as well as the upcoming AUTOarts, are all generic versions, not really based on any particular car. In my book, that’s a really big plus. Another thing I like is the body kit itself. I am very much in love with the little winglets on the rear wheel arches, and the way the main rear wing slopes backwards. Also love that little stabilizing rod, which is made of metal.
The exhaust tips are to die for, and are also metallic. The rims are great, and I love the deep dishes on the back wheels. Obviously the main pluses for me is that the model is made of diecast metal and everything opens. It’s not too exciting as all you get are the stock AUTOart interior and engine, which is true to this particular car. The only things that differ from stock are the body kit, and the Nardi steering wheel, which are obviously both replicated on the model. The grills are also all perforated as they are on the AUTOart.
Now to the negatives. The main problem I have with my model (and I’m not sure if it’s an issue of any of the others) is the positive camber on the rear wheels. I tried to push them up a little bit to create some negative camber, but they keep going back to the way they were. I could take the wheels off and see what’s causing the trouble, or just direct some hot air from a hair drier while holding them in the desired position, but I would risk melting the tires. And anyway, at this price point, the stance is something that can’t be gotten wrong. It must be perfect. Big mark taken off for Tunning Auto there.
I was going to take off another mark for what looks like a crookedly applied RWB decal on the engine cover at the back of the car, wondering why some people can’t straighten decals. But then I thought I’d check pics of the actual car, and it appears to slope slightly upwards on the real thing as well. So kudos for this one. I was also hoping to get actual rivets for the flared wheel-arches but they’re just paint dots. To be fair, they’re so tiny that they couldn’t have been done accurately in scale.
Another problem is that the engine cover isn’t hinged. It’s also plastic, so I’m fairly sure this is not the AUTOart item. It’s very light, so even a light knock on the display case knocks it off, and you have to take the acrylic cover off to put it back on again.
So, just the verdict left then. Is it worth buying? Subjectively, yes. It is, as far as I know, the only actual replica of a 1:1 RWB car, done with all opening parts, in diecast metal, with freakin’ Ferrari paint and clear coated decals. The presentation is awesome as well, and you can’t argue with the exclusivity. In my humble opinion, it also looks better than anything else out there. Objectively, it is a custom model, and as such, it is going to have imperfections. The front wheels don’t steer, and the rear wheels have a weird camber. Then there’s the elephant in the room – the price. Ask any builder how much it would cost to make a bespoke model like this, and they’ll easily name you a price at least twice or three times of this one. There’s the obvious AUTOart 993, the body kit, the decals, wheels, other various bits like rims and the steering wheel, the paint, labour, display case and box. I’m not even sure if it’s licensed (probably not). So to me, the price is justifiable both subjectively and objectively. I’m absolutely glad that I bought it and it’s going to be one of my prized diecast possessions for sure. More than likely, a diecast fully opening model of an RWB-tuned Porsche will never be made. And that you can’t put a price on.