The original Fiat 500 was the Italian answer to the VW Beetle: a small, economic and affordable car for the people. Launched as the Nuova 500 (New 500 in Italian) in 1957 as a successor to the pre-war Fiat 500 Topolino ((Mickey) Mouse). The car was a great hit in and outside Italy. Small, cheap and good looking it was perfect for the time and provided lots of people with mobility.
Sadly, there aren’t a lot of kits of this iconic car, this kit is only one of two kits in existence, although the other kit by Gunze Sangyo has some re-releases with different decals but not much else. But I managed to find a 1996 release of this kit. So let’s start with the review.
It comes in a nice, sturdy box with some great artwork on the front. Inside we find a bunch of sprues, obviously, and some nicely molded rubber tires. They lack brand names on the walls, but that’s the only ‘fault’ I could find with them, no obvious seam-lines or things like that. Great: this is often a headache to clean up, although you probably want to roughen up the tread to give it a more used look.
Next is the body of the car, which is excellently molded with no flash whatsoever. No pin-marks in visible spots. And I think Tamiya has done an excellent job capturing the simple yet elegant lines of this iconic car. The tiny 500 cc engine is also full of detail, looking at reference photos there aren’t a lot of details that were left out. Parts look just as good, the interior detail is quite sufficient as well. One downside is that the trunk is not open, that will require some careful surgery and lots of scratchbuilding. But the engine cover is open.
One thing that doesn’t open are the car doors, which seems to be normal on Tamiya kits. I think this is a shame, but it would require major surgery to open them. And you can see the interior of the car through the sunroof. Speaking of which: you have two parts for this sunroof/cabriolet roof. Open and closed, which is a nice addition. This car needs an open roof of course. But it is still nice to have the option. The little roof is fairly well molded, but it’s a little thick, you may want to replace it with something thinner. But I don’t think the original part will look bad on the finished kit.
If I should name one thing I don’t like about this kit, it would be the chromed parts. I don’t like chromed parts at all. And the parts in this kit are no exception. They always tend to be looking like what they are: plastic parts with a chrome-y look to them. Apart from that the parts are really well molded, even the little door handles and other tiny parts.
The clear parts are fairly large, nicely molded, clear and free of distortion. Lenses have some great details, and the windows are reasonably thin and easy to mask should you need to do so.
Color options and decals
This kit comes with a few color options in the usual 500 colors, nothing really fancy here. Just keep in mind the exterior color is also used in the interior, as quite a bit of metal is left exposed in the interior. So make up your mind first before spraying the base color. In the decal department we have to sheets: one with regular decals and a roughly 1.5 cm x 1.5 cm large sheet with metal transfers. These transfers are the FIAT logo and the ‘Nuovo’ emblem of the car. The normal decals offer jst a few emblems and license plates for an Japanese and Italian car.
This iconic car is well served with Tamiyas rendition of the car. Nicely detailed and without any (obvious) issiues in building or details makes for a interesting little kit. Just be careful as there aren’t a lot of these kits around anymore. But I highly recommended it to anyone. It’s not that hard to paint this car, but offers enough ‘challenges’ to be challenging for beginners and people not used to building and painting cars.
Vehicle: FIAT 500F