Kyosho, we need to have a talk.
We need to have a talk about quality.
But first, the background:
This is Kyosho’s model of the Audi R8 GT, the steroid-enhanced brother of the first-gen R8s (for details, specifications, and expert reviews, I invite you to consult the Google and Wikipedia bibles) and, in my opinion, the most desirable R8 that has been produced to date, either generation. The canards, the wing, the intricate gunmetal rims—they add the right amount of aggression to a supercar that I would otherwise classify as “dull” and “boring”. This car has been lingering on my want list for a while, and I finally drew a line through it after stumbling upon a nice deal on this Suzuka Grey example.
The R8 GT is a dated model that’s likely nearing the end of its shelf life, but with its high-end detail, diecast body, and opening features all-around—not to mention the fact that the R8 GT looks absolutely gorgeous in this icy-cool shade of matte light grey—it checks all the right boxes, in theory.
When the package arrived at the doorstep, I hastily cracked open my shiny new toy, only to have my expectations immediately tempered. Something was off, and it became apparent once the R8 was shed of its styrofoam padding. The first eyesore to catch my attention was that each wheel on the car had a different offset and “stance”, some poking out of the fenders, some saggy and droopy, and others more well-behaved. I set the car down on my desk and found the Audi to be a wobbly mess. That’s because the left rear has been compressed into its fender, throwing off the balance of the entire model.
I pressed for more. Playing with the finicky steering system, I discovered that the R8 had more rotation in one direction than the other. Okay, no big deal. Then I looked the GT in the eyes and saw its murky, fingerprint-infested headlight covers. Does this remind you of another diecast company? Yup, it’s the literal 1:18 equivalent of the “Greenlight syndrome”. Small-scale collectors will know what I’m talking about. Whipping out my figurative microscope for further inspection, I found more demerits against the Kyosho. Tons of blemishes in the paint. Nasty glue marks on the rear decklid. Sloppy carbon-fiber decal job. Among others.
In summary, this Kyosho R8 GT has a laundry list of issues, and it looks something like this:
Inconsistent offset, toe, and camber angles
One wheel has “bottomed out”, doesn’t touch the ground, and doesn’t roll well
Steering system not smooth in operation (tires get caught inside fenders)
Fingerprints and smudges on headlight lenses
Scratches on auxiliary window pieces
Sharp edges around the carbon-fiber areas
Sloppy paint alignment on trim pieces
Random scratch marks, air bubbles, and scuffs in the body paint
Glue stains near the base of the wing
You get the point.
That’s more flaws than is acceptable on any model, irrelevant of price. A $100 “adult collectible” shouldn’t be allowed to leave the factory in this state. After conferring with another collector who owns the highly-coveted Samoa Orange colorway—and recalling my past experiences with older Kyosho models—I came to the conclusion that my lemon R8 wasn’t merely an outlier.
I’m not singling out the GT because of my general disdain for Audis, but because this is hands-down the worst example of quality I’ve seen on a 1:18. There was once a time when Kyosho was considered to be AUTOart’s closest competitor in the 1:18 market but, in actuality, it wasn’t even close. Too many quality inconsistencies and lack of product diversity are the reasons why Kyosho got left in the dust.
There’s so much to love about this model, though, that I’d much rather have it on my shelf than not. From a reasonable distance, this R8 looks right in every aspect. The colors work seamlessly; the gunmetal wheels pair nicely with the carbon-fiber pieces and the red brake calipers complement the red ‘GT’ badges and red hits on the interior—all of which contrast sharply with the almost-white tint of Suzuka Grey. (I made sure not to expose the photos too much so that the car does not appear white.) This is one of the few Kyosho models I’ve seen that uses actual struts. There’s even some mesh here.
The details are all present, but they couldn’t figure out how to put everything together in a tidy way. Too bad.