The old traditional ‘shakotan’ scene in Japan has been kept alive and very well supported with the classic Skylines, Cressidas, and other bosozoku-inspired rides. They are famous for bright paint jobs, wild flared fenders, stretched tyres, and being incredibly low hence the nickname ‘shakotan’.
Aoshima has lovingly reproduced a range of these kits known as ‘Gurachan’ or ‘Grand Champion’ and this particular example proved to be a fun, yet challenging build and the finished product is certainly an attention grabber.
One of the most fantastic things about these kits is the ‘variety’. Within this particular one you have the choice of three front grills, rear light combinations, and even the interior has mix and match parts so you can create your own individualistic version of the car.
A choice of bucket seat or normal seat, and everything is well moulded with great detail.
The ‘Kenmeri’ (Ken & Mary) body with wild over-fenders.
Instructions are nice and clear with good illustrations. The painting guides are a little difficult to follow as Aoshima doesn’t have the Tamiya conversion chart, however creative license is certainly the go with this kitset.
The one thing I wasn’t expecting until I opened the kit was that I would need to dremel away an area of the rear and front guards. After some careful work I cut back the area shown with grinding discs. To ensure you don’t cut too much or too little there is a scale side portrait included which allows you to mark out your cutting lines.
The front guards needed much less trimming so this was a relief.
Job done! It looked odd although during the process I kept checking by dry-fitting the over-fenders to ensure the cut was right.
During this stage I assembled the suspension which is very crude although isn’t seen upon completion so at this stage I wanted to dry fit things and get the perfect stance.
The hardest part of the build to be honest was finding a colour I was happy with. I settled on TS54 as it had a metallic flake in it, as most of the 1:1 examples do as well. Something old school, with a sparkle was the order of the day.
After shooting 4 layers onto the fenders and body, the outcome was quite darker than the cap indicated, however the colour was certainly sparkly, and had an old school touch to it as well.
I decided against polishing the body as in many instances the real ‘shakotan’ cars are not superbly put together and usually do not have that ‘showroom shine’ to them. I wanted mine to look like one that was tidy but ‘old’.
As the kit is a curbside, the cockpit was the only place I needed to add some detail. Almost everything inside was meant to be painted black as per the instructions. I added some basic aftermarket harnesses to the bucket seat, and a hint of colour where I could.
The office, basic but then so were the cars of the time as well. The wild body more than makes up for the ‘bland’ interior. Those who are into scratch building, this interior is pure heaven for you.
The wheels which came with the kitset were chromed, and the detail was stunning. I painted the spokes in a metallic gold as I felt leaving them as they were was a chrome overload. The stretched tyres fit perfectly onto the rims.
If you like old school stickers, then here you go. All are period correct, although in this instance I have decided to leave this particular one ‘stickerless’ and without number plates.
The finished product.
Chrome mirrors, chrome bumpers finish the kit off nicely. The perfect amount of silver to accompany the solid blue body colour.
With just a slither of clearance between the rear tyres and guards mean that the real ‘shakotan’ stance can be achieved with these kits.
The fitment of the car was flawless, however some may be confused as the guards included in the kit do not seamlessly fit onto the body. Although this is typical of the ‘one fit all’ style of guards which were used at the time. The thin metal they were made from was riveted to the body so gaps and bad fitment were all a part of the scene.
The kit gives you the option too for building the car with normal headlights, slanted headlights, and the headlight covers which you can see in this photo.
A shelf full of these things would certainly look quite impressive. Aoshima has done a very good job in replicating this car in perfect proportions.
All it needs now is some massive scratch-built ‘screamer pipes’ sticking high up the rear of the car.
My overall impression of the kit is that you can easily achieve a great looking model just following the instructions. However a little more additional work is needed cutting away the chassis to get it sitting as low as it is in these photos. Fitment was very good, a testament to Aoshima’s high quality.
The best thing about building a ‘Gurachan’ kitset is that you are able to be as wild or reserved with it, this kit would still look great with a bright fluro pink paintjob. It is a also a great base for those who love scratchbuilding, you can add a rollcage and have a full-blown track machine as opposed to a street car.
Loved the experience of building this, and would rate it a sold 8/10 and a must have for those who are into their classic Japanese cars.