AK has taken the step of producing and releasing their own line of models with Toyota being the target of choice for them. The first two kits out of the starting blocks are an FJ43 SUV with Hard Top and a FJ43 Pickup with DShKM in 1/35th scale. The modeller of course will just be thinking new technical’s to dress up as they desire without fear of being told “that would never happen”. There is a great deal of shared mouldings in these two kit offerings and if I am any judge there will be several more offerings on the same vehicle frame. So let’s take a closer look and see how they live up to possible expectations.
The model kits arrive in a sturdy cardboard tray and a separate card lid with pleasing artwork on each. Inside the instruction book is in a re-sealable plastic bag, also in this bag are the decals and any photo etch elements which means the decals are well protected. The mouldings are packed in their own re-sealable plastic bags and then packed in another re-sealable bag together. In these days of ecological concerns I would have liked to see a little less use of plastic bags, but that is just an observation.
Looking over the mouldings is a positive experience as moulding quality is good having small gates and a low number of them holding the parts to the sprue. Looking at the specific parts I see no sign of flash or moulding issues of that sort. I have observed some flow marks in areas but these also seem to be a visual defect rather than a physical issue. I have observed some large shallow ejector pin marks that will need to be assessed during construction as regards if they need to be addressed.
The instruction booklet is a robust heavy paper with a high gloss finish; the result is a pleasing document to work from. The directions are covered in a line drawing format with a lot of effort being put into point out detail painting and clearly showing where parts need to be fed through other aspects of the model. I am also pleased to find patterns for spray masks provided to cover clear areas when needed.
Both models build up from a single piece chassis meaning that the model will not be twisted and so fight you during construction progress. Looking at online images of the dirty areas of this vehicle the kit parts appear to be accurate in form and location, but I am not an expert. One aspect I really like is that both kits have road and all terrain tyres in the kit meaning you can mix and match to suite your needs for a unique look.
The suspension parts are of course set up for a level presentation of the model, but those who wish to show the vehicle on rough uneven surface could do surgery to get the display they desire. Another positive for me is that the front wheels can be shown either left, right or straight due to the supply of alternate parts. No engine has been provided and so I expect the aftermarket providers jumping on this if there is demand.
The body structure as regards the sides and interior structures are identical in both kits with decals provided to dress up the dashboard. The pickup version of the model does provide details on drilling and adding a roll bar if so desired or of course a requirement for the country in which you are lookin to set your vehicle in. The ejector pin marks in the vehicle side panels will need to be tackled I believe. The seat detail is well defined but does have that new look that would likely not be the case where a technical in most areas would have. The light lenses have been provided in clear plastic with required lens colours pointed out in the instruction booklet. It is at this point that the models deviate from each other.
FJ43 SUV Specific
This offering differs due to the hard top that gives the model a very different look. The interior faces of the hard top do require some minor ejector pin marks be tackled. The rear doors have separate door cards and so open rear doors are an option. The same rules apply for the front doors and with some minor work the door windows could be shown up or down. Some surgery is required for the model and is well covered in the instruction booklet; this for me is another indicator that more offerings are in the works. Bench seats are supplied for the rear deck and can be shown deployed or folded and have a very nice used look to them.
The finishing options provided with this release are:
18th Mechanised Brigade, Iraqi Republican Guard, Gulf War, 1991
3rd Armoured Division ‘Saladin’, Iraqi Army, Gulf War, 1991
TV/Press Vehicle 1980’s
FJ43 Pickup with DShKM Specific
This model provides a tailgate that adds a different look to the finish. Then there is a pintle bolted to the deck with the machine gun mounted on top. Detail wise the machine gun looks good but no slide moulding here for the muzzle to have a recess. Some extra ammunition boxes and cases have been provided to give some touches to the rear bed and I like that a short length of linked ammunition is provided to the weapon.
AK has provided the following finishing options for this model, but really you could finish it for a setting of your choice.
African Guerrilla Forces, 1980’s
Chadian Forces, Toyota War, 1987
Lebanese Militia, Early 1980’s
Lebanese Militia, Mid 1980’s