Yes, it’s made of that dreaded composite material, which is just AUTOart’s fancy way of saying “plastic”. No, the hood doesn’t open, so there are no engine details to ogle. Despite all that, Godzilla’s never looked better.
In 2011, the R35 GT-R received its first facelift, giving it a few subtle changes including a more angular front grille and a bunch of wrinkles on its cheeks. Along with the minor refresh, Nissan spiced up the GT-R’s hum-drum color palette with a splash of color. Aurora Flare Blue Pearl, which is presented on the model here, is like the modern version of the Bayside Blue made famous by the R34, albeit darker and more metallic. Choosing the plain body blue colorway over the other options was the obvious decision as no GT-R models in this scale have been offered in this color before.
The NISMO GT3 is a made-to-order, track-ready version of the GT-R that you can get your hands on by calling NISMO, Nissan’s racing and motorsport division (NISMO is literally short for Nissan Motorsports), and forking over a healthy wad of cash. This is a more monstrous version of Godzilla, with more power and a lot less weight. It’s enjoyed some success in the racing world, most notably finishing in first place at the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour event in 2015 down under.
An exact replica of the winning car, in its NISMO livery, was also offered by AUTOart at one point before it was discontinued. I missed out on that one, but second prize is quite nice too.
It’s strange that AUTOart never followed up their fantastic, stock R35 GT-R with any of its later model-year variations, especially considering the demand and popularity of Godzilla scale models these days. In particular, the first refresh - during the 2011 model year - is a large omission in eighteenth scale, across all brands, and this racecar-converted GT-R is the closest you can get to that specific body style. But because of its racecar DNA, everything about the car’s visuals is taken to the extreme. The dive planes are outrageous. The front splitter and rear diffuser are like surfboards, and the wing will put to shame anything from an Auto Zone catalog. The model sits barely a millimeter above the ground, and the wheels are so snugly fitted that there’s hardly any room for them to steer.
This model lacks an opening hood and boot, but the offset of that is a lower price point, a fair trade-off because most people don’t display their cars with their parts open anyway. However, many collectors will immediately write this off because it’s not made of metal. A featherweight in comparison to other scale models, there is, however, nothing fragile about it. The build quality is solid. This GT-R’s got a plethora of small parts, and even I haven’t managed to break anything yet (the same can’t be said about many of my resin models). AUTOart hasn’t compromised on the detail, which is always above standard, so the only difference, really, between their newer and older products is the material that makes up the outer shell. Times have changed, and it’s time to embrace the shift towards composites and resins. Godzilla is still Godzilla, after all.