Aoshima: Marcus Nicholls takes a look at Japanese street-racer cars from Shizuoka City
‘Aoshima Bunka Kyozai Co, Ltd’ – usually shortened to just ‘Aoshima’ – has been producing model car kits, amongst other things, since the 1960s. Along with Tamiya and Hasegawa, Aoshima is based in Shizuoka City, the mecca of model kit production, a 90-minute, 175km Shinkansen ride from Tokyo. The company is known for creating Japan-specific models such as giant robot anime characters, miniatures of the fabulous ‘Dekotora’ decorated trucks, science-fiction kits and other niche subjects, but alongside these productions, Aoshima also has an extensive 1:24 car-kit line. Within it we find some extremely characterful vehicles that would probably not have been produced by more mainstream manufacturers.
The most recent example is a 1:24 Nissan GT-R R35 LB Works as customised by Liberty Walk, a customising company which puts a very recognisable spin on the cars they modify. Slamming the chassis as low as it will go is their starting point, along with adding outrageous oversized rims plus bolted-on flared wheel arches in which to house them.
In this example, the ‘Works Style’ design comes with 20in wheels all round (albeit scaled down by a factor of 24), 11 inches wide at the front, 12 at the rear. The vast arches form part of the extreme bodykit that give the GT-R that distinctive Japanese street-racer feel. It’s not to everyone’s taste but they are addictive and once you adjust to the styling, the standard car looks quite pedestrian in comparison.
In recent times, Aoshima has teamed-up with a new Macau-based model creator by the name of Beemax. Together they are creating some cracking kits of classic motor sport subjects that cover rally and Formula 1, and Alain Prost’s 1985 Monaco GP McLaren MP4/2B is a particular highlight. Aoshima/Beemax have even created a super-detailing set for this kit, including photo-etched radiator faces, chassis parts, and even a fabric seat harness set.