Starting today, fans of scale model kits in Japan will be able to buy what is likely the most detailed miniature Toyota Celica ever made. Measuring over 20 inches long and over six inches tall in 1:8 scale, the Celica Liftback 2000GT will have a metal body, working lights, and several moving parts. It will also take you over two years to complete.
That’s because the model, produced by Hachette, will be one of Japan’s notorious subscription model kits, in which a few small parts are sent by mail every week. It will take 110 weeks to complete, and at around $20 per volume, by the time it’s finished you will have spent ¥222,890 ($2,050 USD) in all. That’s assuming exchange rates hold steady until spring of 2021 and human civilization is still in tact.
That may sound a big investment, but you’re getting what you pay for. Just take a look at the engine bay. The 18R-G, battery, radiator, engine mounts, various reservoirs and wiring and all reproduced in tremendous detail.
Exterior features continue the theme, with multi-colored badges and center caps. The tires boast the same tread pattern as the Celica’s original rubber. Of course, the steering is connected, and turning the steering wheel turns the actual wheels as well. The headlights are slightly staggered too, just like the real car.
Underneath, the transmission, control arms, driveshaft, exhaust and floorpan are meticulously replicated and come as separate parts. According to Hachette, 3D scanning was employed to make certain parts as accurate as possible.
The interior is just as insane, with three-point belts and seats that actually slide along the rails. The Celica’s distinct four-spoke steering wheel and five-gauge instrument panel are faithfully reproduced as well.
Of course, the main lights function as they would on the real car. On the front there are three settings — corner parking lights, low, and high beam.
The turn signals function as well, as do the taillights. This being a Japanese model, the rear features the banana tail design rather than the chunky three-element design of US models.
That’s not all. The luggage compartment light also turns on, activated when the liftback door is opened. Likewise, the safety lights on the interior door panels also illuminate when you open the doors.
Even the lights for the gauges turn on, revealing proper lettering on the gauges. And yes, the pedals are operational. The brake pedal activates the brake lights, naturally. However, the car comes with a sound box, which plays the 18R-G’s engine sound at idle when you turn it on. Then, when you push the accelerator pedal, the engine “revs” and plays tune of the glorious Mikuni-Solex-fed 18R-G. Other sounds include the horn and turn signal clicks.
Moving to the back, the center-access fuel door swings down to reveal the filler cap. And finally, in the cargo area, the you can pull out the retractable privacy cover so your 1:8 scale belongings stay safe.
As you can see, the model is simply stunning. The first volume goes on sale today, January 9, by either subscription or at bookstores throughout Japan, and will cost around $3 as an introductory price. The next three will run about $18 each, and after that the remaining 106 pieces will come at approximately $20 each. If you subscribe before January 15, you’ll get a bonus DVD as well.
The Celica is a somewhat unlikely subject for a subscription model. Previous subscriptions have focused on higher end cars like the Nissan Skyline GT-R, Toyota 2000GT, S30 Fairlady Z, or actual race cars. Japan has a long history of super detailed subscription models, and it’s great to see a more accessible car like the Celica join their ranks.