Ignition Models are a guilty pleasure of mine. They’re not cheap, but they’re always worth it. Specializing in tuned, modern Japanese classics and VIP-inspired saloons, they always deliver a masterclass on how to properly style a car. There’s no rice here, so you can put away your Zojirushi. Tasteful modifications permitted only. Example: this R33 Skyline.
The most underrated, underappreciated, and overlooked Skyline is the R33. As the forgotten middle child, it’s caught somewhere in between the two prominent factions of GT-R fanboys: the older generation who side with the R32 and the newer generation who fawn over the R34. Retaining much of the same hardware (though more refined) from its predecessor, the R33 was reprehended for not bringing anything new to the table, among other criticisms such as being overweight and bloated. Yet, people forget that this was the first production car to do a sub-8-minute ‘Ring run, besting the R32 by a whopping 23 seconds. For perspective, just imagine the distance you can travel, at racetrack speeds, in that amount of time, and you’ll realize it’s actually quite a large gap.
The R33 is also the sleekest and most perfectly proportioned Skyline of them all, but hey, that’s just my opinion. Feel free to continue throwing shade, though, because I’d really love to import one of these in a few years, and I need you guys to keep the demand - and prices - as low as possible.
This Ignition example is a fairly accurate rendering of what I would want mine to look like, which is what drew me to this model in the first place. The modifications here are relatively minimal, consisting of a wheel swap, suspension drop, and exhaust augmentation. The stock body is already beefy and the standard wing is already over-sized, so there isn’t much that needs to be done to the R33’s already-fabulous design. Gold wheels, though, are mandatory for any tuner, and I’m glad they went with those - though I would personally choose a set of Volk TE37’s over the BBS LM’s here. (For the record, Ignition does have a Midnight Purple colorway of this model, with gunmetal TE37’s.)
The level of detail from Ignition is always astounding. I would compare it to a plastic model kit that was customized and assembled by a master craftsman - without you having to put in any of the work, of course. It feels more like a piece of art rather than something out of a production line. Therefore, don’t expect to be able to play with it, because the wheels won’t roll; they’re glued on to achieve the cambered and flushed effect. The only blemish on this example is the crooked Nissan badge on the trunk - not sure how that one slipped through quality control.
If there were such things as customer satisfaction ratings for scale model brands, Ignition would be right at the top of my list, above AUTOarts and Ottomobiles and other makers that I laud so often on here. JDM fans, this is the brand that you should be collecting. One thing that Ignition does differently from the other guys: they trace the panel gaps and shutlines in black for an added touch of depth. You won’t find solid or painted grilles here either, because those are for the plebeians. Though it’s hard to tell from all the realism, you’re looking at a sealed model and not the actual car.
2020 is the year the R33 GT-R will be officially legal to import here in the U.S. You can bet that’s pretty high on my bucket list. Until then, my dreams will live vicariously through this 1:18. Thank you, Ignition.