KIT:  Nichimo 1/20 FUJI FA-200  AERO SUBARU
KIT #: ?
PRICE:  USD  93.03 at HLJ
DECALS: 4 civil options
REVIEWER: Jean Paul Poisseroux
NOTES: 332 parts, with metal parts, movable parts, suspensions, electrical motor and light effects possible (not include).




While the Second World War had allowed Japan to produce a lot of famous aircrafts by prestigious firms still present in all memories, the defeat seemed to have sealed the future of this well established industry. Finally that’s the “light “aviation sector that was going to save the country from extinction. From the ashes of the Nakajima Aircraft Company, Fuji Heavy Industries was formed in July 1953 and put on assembly lines the Beech Mentor  for the Self -Defense AF. This revival also allowed the construction of a four-seater light civil aircraft certified for aerobatics, the FA-200 Aero Subaru. All metal built, it has successively been powered by Lycoming 160, 180 horse power engine. In 1980, one counted approx three hundred machines, when join venture led to produce the Fuji 300 in association with Rockwell.  



Light aviation has never really interested seriously the model makers except some 1/48, 1/50 scale kits, and that’s a shame in regard of the potential market. The exception came form the “rising sun empire” with Nichimo and two models (Cessna 175, FA-200) in amazing 1/20scale in the  70’s. Long time out of catalogue, it has been a good surprise to see the Subaru available again.  This big scale allow a very detailed model, with medium dimensions (50cm x40cm), that feature functional parts; gear shock absorbers, an electric motor hidden between the firewall and the dashboard, landing lights in the wing. This model come to life when you pull the control stick back, and the batteries are located behind the rear seats (which bent as the real  for easy acces. (This said, the current technics should allow a different lay out, and why not to ad some new functions).


All this does not prevent you from getting a true model, as everything is invisible. The first stage start with the wing and tail surfaces with springs allowing movable parts with a return to the neutral position after activation, and the gear legs with metal and suspensions. Next sequence deals with the “cockpit”, floor, seats (with belts to create), pedals, fire extinguisher, parking brake, battery. The engine is the first important sub-element to create (a model in the model), cylinder by cylinder with pipes and durits. For this, a la Hasagawa, black and white pictures in the notice help you to see immediately what you must obtain. The cowling panels operate with hinges to be open or close, to admire the propulsion group. The second sub-element contains the rest of the “office” with the well detailed  dashboard (support, decals and crystal), the radio, the moving knobs. While the windshield is fixed, the access canopy  move back. 


The major work is to join these assemblies to the main frame, already equipped with the wing and gear.  The civil decoration decal sheet  offer 3 aircrafts in blue, red and yellow, and green. (but why not, you can create you own decoration, gathering on your near club). The art box and sides display figures, but don’t think you lost them, a Japanese sticker message on the notice tell you that they are exclude. (for this, you can modify some figures from Tamiya 1/20 formula one set, by example). Neither try to find the vinyl tires, yours are in plastic (a better choice).



 In summary, this beautiful representation of an “aeroclub” model will surely catch a lot of eyes in contest in static display, and surely more, if you ad movement and lights. With this model a certain justice to an important part of aviation too often forgotten recover, and paradoxically the aspect of aviation the most close to all of us, that we can easily touch, heard, smell and practice. I obviously recommend you this model for his originality and I cross my fingers and hope that the second model (the Cessna 175) will soon appear on the store shelves. It really change us from warriors models from decades! For sure , you’ll enjoy building and displaying this model 

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