Aoshima Wangan Street Gear: Nissan Leopard Review
Today’s review is a vintage kit made by Aoshima. I first saw it online in the Yahuoku auctions and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Nissan Leopard kitted like this before. Being one of my favourite cars with an interesting retro bodykit, I decided to buy it.
For the uninitiated, the Wangan Expressway is a motorway running between Yokohama and Ichikawa in Tokyo Bay. Once a month at midnight, an exclusive club of elusive car enthusiasts took to the streets in high-powered street machines to see who is the fastest.
Inspired by the club, this model series featured many kits, all of which have big bodykits and large spoilers.
Best of all, they were made in the 90s so all kits are period-correct.
I looked around the instruction manual and found the date of November 1998 printed on the bottom.
Like most “standing body” kits, this was easy to assemble - you can divide this kit into three main parts:
The body is one piece with simple stick-on bumpers and skirts. It all fits together quite well with very little use of putty. The box art shows a red car, however the body comes in white with a black underbody - I was tempted to paint the car metallic Blue, but I was swayed over by the artwork once again.
It may be that 22 years have deteriorated the plastic, but this kit was not as rigid as the other kits I assembled recently.
The wheels included in this kit are SSR XR-4Z - a 90s update to the original XR-4 that saw them upsized to 15”-18” and the spokes made convex with a kink in the middle. In typical Aoshima fashion they slot on using the polycap system - this time onto a plastic thumbtack that fits inside the brake housing. The rear hubs are designed in a U-shape to allow rear camber adjustment.
The tyres are Bridgestone Expedia replicas, while each wheel has two accompanying decals: the XR-4Z logo for the centre cap and “XR4Z Kai” lettering for one spoke of each wheel. Due to the age of the kit, the adhesive had worn out and the lettering decals came off too easily.
For the interior I opted for the sporty version - this meant including the bucket seat and aftermarket steering wheel. So far all kits I assembled featured aftermarket interiors. I considered leaving this standard, but that isn’t the spirit of the midnight racers, so I opted for something unique.
The factory seats are all of a plush leather type, so I decided to base the interior off a colour scheme from a Toyota Soarer (aka Lexus SC300).
I mixed a few colours to get the right shade of grey/green and got the desired interior. Unfortunately, like the Soarer kit I previously made, there were some cutbacks to the seat models so they are more of a hollow shell with nothing on the back.
One thing I liked about this kit was the number of decals included. Although the box shows almost no decals, the sheets was loaded with them. Because it is a tuning car from the 90s, I decided to use many of the decals in a way that street racers would have displayed them in the early 90s: all over the doors and fenders like a racecar.
In contrast to this, there were a few imperfections with the kit; the first of which is the lack of chrome/glass.
The bodykit may be aftermarket, but there was no glass for the foglights - I had to paint them onto the bumper, or have a random red square. Nor was there any chrome for the headlights or mirrors - speaking of which, you can see some imperfections in the mirror housing from the mold process.
In addition to this, the rear quarter clip-ons and rear spoiler are all quite flimsy. I already broke one a clip-on and had to glue it back on.
Although I did mention that the choice of decal was good, but I found the badges to have too much clear off-cuts so they don’t sit well on the badge stubs on grille and bootlid. Combine yhis with the adhesive quality and they will eventually fall off.
Also, if you are wondering, I did try on some smaller wheels, but because of the performance brakes, they can’t fit on properly (the brakes are the size of small wheels) and they don’t reach the ground since the bodykit is so big.
Unlike every other Aoshima kit, there was no active suspension. The ride-height is static and there are no springs anywhere.
So to summarise, it is a vintage kit from 1998, it looks really good and is quite an uncommon car with a lot of decals, but the tuning options beyond this kit are limited and the plastics are a bit brittle. Many corners were cut and it shows, but I actually quite enjoyed assembling this kit.
Aside from the badge decals that is.
Would I recommend this kit?
Only if you are a die-hard fan of the Midnight Club and can’t settle for a better quality model that excludes the bodykit.