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Smiffy

Deckard Sedan from Blade Runner

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Deckard Sedan

1/24 Scale Fujimi

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Blade Runner is possibly one of the most discussed, studied and dissected movies ever made. It has a huge ‘cult’ following, with a great many websites, books, magazine articles and documentaries dedicated to it. The films distinctive look has become one of the most imitated styles over the years and it’s influences can be found in numerous other movies, television shows, computer games, anime and graphic novels. The vehicles (the Spinner, in particular) being, perhaps, one of the most recognisable elements of the whole production.

Originally, it was planned that 54 cars would be built for Blade Runner. Budgetary restrictions meant this number was reduced to 25, however. The vehicles were designed by the legendary, Syd Mead. He produced colour renderings which were sent to Gene Winfield, who was tasked with actually building them. It seems the majority of these vehicles were built on old Volkswagen chassis. The VW offered many advantages. They could be bought for little money. The air-cooled engines meant they could be left running during shooting, without fear of over-heating and the rear mounted engine allowed a lot of freedom in designing the front ends of the various automobiles.

Once filming was completed, director Ridley Scott had most of the vehicles destroyed, with only 5 surviving the cull. One of those was Deckard’s sedan, which in the production notes, was established to have been an older version of the Spinner Car, which had been decommissioned, with all the flight capability removed. This prop ended up on display at the Miami Police Museum.

The kit

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Fujimi have followed up on last years Spinner Car kit, with two more models from Blade Runner. The Police Car No 27 and the subject of this review, Deckard’s Sedan. The kit arrives in a glossy top opening box, which features a rather attractive illustration of the subject, in a suitable night time setting. Lifting the lid, we are greeted with 42 parts moulded in white, 23 pieces on a bright chrome sprue, 4 wheels in a satin chrome effect, 8 clear parts, 2 in clear red, 4 rubber tyres, 2 metal axles, 4 vinyl rubber grommets, a length of rubber tubing, 1 tiny photo etched fret and a small decal sheet.

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The kit is a kerbside model, meaning no engine parts are included, which is not much of a surprise, really. The kit is very reminiscent of their Spinner Car, in quality and parts break down. We have some very crisp mouldings, with absolutely no flash present. There is a fair amount of detail, but the parts count is fairly low, so construction should not present any problems.

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The chassis is a one piece moulding and has enough detail on it, to make it look busy. I suspect many will just paint it satin black and leave it at that, but you could spend some time here with differing shades of blacks, greys or silvers to enhance it. As mentioned, the wheels are supplied in a satin chrome effect, which is actually quite nice. Quite often chrome parts are too overwhelming in their appearance and require stripping and repainting, but the wheels look perfectly usable, as is. The wheels are shod with some lovely Pirelli P7’s, which feature all the correct raised emblems on the sidewalls and some very intricate tread pattern detail. Quite a novelty these days. There is some moulded flash running around the centre of each tyre, but that is quite common on these parts. Nothing a little trimming and sanding won’t take care of. The wheels have vinyl grommets, which are inserted at the rear, to enable a push fit onto the metal axles.

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The interior tub and rear deck are a one piece moulding. The centre console is moulded in situ and features some fine switch detail. There is a bulkhead which is added behind the interior, separating it from the rear deck and this has a clear window piece and some chrome struts added (for the door opening mechanism, I presume). The seats are basic one piece units, to which a separate headrest is added. The dashboard consists of the instrument panel, which is decorated with some decals for the displays, the forward deck piece, the steering wheel and a forward trim panel where the deck meets the windscreen. Comparing it with pictures of the full-size prop, I would have to say Fujimi have done their homework here. It all looks pretty accurate. Even the display screen decals look to be perfect match.

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The rear deck is decorated with a whole host of gadgets, gizmos and greeblies (including something that looks suspiciously like a Moulinex food processor) and once again, this all looks to be a very good representation of what appears on the real thing. This area is all visible through an opening at the rear of the car, so time spent painting this detail will be well spent. Fujimi have supplied a length of rubber tubing to add all the hoses and cables in this area. A diagram is included in the instructions indicating the length to which each piece should be cut. A very thoughtful touch, however looking at pictures of this area, it appears the prop builders used a lot of braided “Aeroquip” type hosing here, so you may wish to source some suitable material to accurately portray this.

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The body shell is largely, a one piece item, with the doors moulded closed. The exterior features more finely executed detail on the surface. This is enhanced with many separate panels to be added around the sides and rear of the vehicle. The windscreen wiper is fitted before adding the upper panel, which has more gizmos to be attached. One word of caution here. Fujimi have included a red beacon which they advise gluing to the top deck, however this isn’t screen accurate. It appears to have been added to the prop sometime in between the end of filming and it going on display in Miami. Some chrome conduit pieces are included for the rear flanks and top area. This is in the bright style chrome and could really do with toning down a little, at least. I will probably strip this bright chrome work and repaint using Alclads.

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Clear parts are included for the headlamps, front marker lamps and taillights. The instructions give callouts for which clear tints to use for this, using Gunze colours. The windscreen and side windows are a one piece unit and it has to be one of the clearest mouldings I’ve ever seen. There is very little distortion and with this much glass area, the interior is going to be very visible.

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The mirrors are among the last few pieces to add to the exterior and have separate chrome lenses. The instructions would have you glue them in place, before dropping the body onto the chassis.. They look quite delicate, so I wouldn’t attach them until after the body and chassis have been brought together. Fujimi have supplied the small PE fret that came with the Spinner Car, which has three little Spinner logos, but to be honest, I can’t see that they were used on Deckard’s vehicle. Still, it is a nice option to have and might be useful if you’re thinking of some conversions.

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The decal sheet is printed by Cartograf and is of the usual high quality which is associated with their products. As well as the previously mentioned instrument panels, we have the rear ID marking, the half red/white circle for the roof and some Police and number logos. As with the red beacon though, be aware that the Police and number logos were only added after completion of the movie. If you want to do a screen accurate version, leave these markings off.

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The last item found in the box, is a little bonus. It is a small replica of Deckard’s Blaster. It appears similar in style to the little F-toys which are very popular in Japan. Shape and detail wise, it looks very good. I may just give it a little bit of a re-paint. This is only going to be included with this initial production run, so if you want it, don‘t hang around or you‘ll miss out.

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Conclusion

Well, it’s taken thirty years, but we’re finally getting mainstream kits from one of the most stylish and influential sci-fi movies ever made. The sedan may not be the most attractive subject, from an aesthetic viewpoint, but I don’t think that matters. It’s Deckard’s car from Blade Runner. If you love the movie as much as I do, then that‘s all that matters. I pre-ordered the kit as soon as I found out about it and I will be getting the No27 Police Sedan, as well.

Fujimi have produced a lovely kit, which features crisp mouldings, accurate details and looks every inch the vehicle we see on the screen. I’m hoping they continue the series, as it would be great to see an Armadillo, a Taxi, a Coupe… (imagines, a whole Blade Runner street scene diorama).

Review sample from my personal collection.

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That looks rather tasty, many thanks for the review. As you say the movie is a cult, I tried to watch it on the TV, big mistake it needs wide screen viewing. I think from your review I may have to take up car modelling again!

Just when you thought it was safe to step outside!

Colin on the Africa Station

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