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A pair of small Italians, Fiat 500 and Fiat-Abarth 695 Esse Esse by Tamiya

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These were kits that I didn't realise existed this time last year.  They are also the first kits I have started and finished this year, less than four weeks from first post to final photos. 


Over the summer I was quite excited when I found the Abarth kit on eBay from a European seller at quite a reasonable price.  As an aside it seems European sellers are quite often cheaper than British ones, sometimes enough to cancel out the more expensive postage costs.  It wasn't until December or January that I saw a standard 500 kit come up on eBay (with a slightly silly buy-it-now price and I think it's still for sale with no price drop).  The 500 kit I bought was a bit cheaper but did have a lot of parts off the sprues and although it was a bit of a gamble the seller was correct that it was complete.  Building the two kits together helped provide a useful reference as many of the parts are identical so I could find the 500 part by comparing it to the equivalent from the Abarth kit.


I've been fond of Fiat 500s ever since I knew what one was, my first car was the 500's boxy replacement, a Fiat 126 which was a lot of fun even if not as cute as the older model.  Small Fiats also conjure up memories of holidays to Rome, where there are plenty of 500s in daily use in various states of repair.


Anyway, I'm sure you want some pretty pictures.



The body is Fiat Capri Blue, from a Halfords aerosol.  I'm not sure if it's authentic for a 500, but it's a nice shade although it looks a bit lighter in photos.  I wanted a dark blue to set of the bits of chrome and to contrast/compliment the red interior.











Interior is Ford Rosso Red and Halfords Appliance White where it isn't body colour.  I'm so glad I took the trouble to pick out the white piping on the seats.  I was a little surprised to see that this was a feature on the 500.



Engine bay.  There isn't much in here but I've enhanced it with plug wires, pipes for the fuel lines and wire clips for the air cleaner.



Underside, I added a little rust wash on the suspension and exhaust, more to tone down the colours than to make them look actually rusty.


And on to the Abarth


Body colour for this is Ford Dove Grey, again from Halfords spray can.  I'm not sure if it's right although it looks quite close to the FIAT Abarth script on the decals.  The instructions just suggested "light grey" without specifying a Tamiya product to reproduce the correct colour.  With some kits Tamiya will either list a colour from its range or tell you which paint to mix in the correct proportions to get the "right" shade.



The flared wheel arches glue to the standard 500 shell and are the most difficult part of the build.  It took a bit of light filling to get them neatly fitted.  I also wonder if I should have cut away the standard arches a bit underneath as the tyres barely have room to steer.



The body side decals are a bit of a nightmare, they are in two parts, split at the trailing edge of the door, but really need to be in three pieces, I think.  Plenty of setting solution was needed to get them to cling to the curves of the body.





There are a few metal transfers on the Abarth and the only one that gave any trouble was the silver shield behind the scorpion badge on the engine cover.





The Abarth dashboard is more detailed than the standard 500, it's a different moulding and there are more dials (each a separate decal and very fiddly) plus some rather lovely decals in front of the passenger seat.



For some reason the engine cover doesn't want to open very far, which makes a bit of a nonsense of the wiring and plumbing I did.  Maybe I should have gone for the classic Abarth "boot open" look after all?



Over head view.



Underside, showing the finned sump and twin exhaust as well as the "Carlos Fandango-style" tyres.



The 500 in the garage.



You can fit two 500s in a single garage.






I would definitely class the standard 500 as one of the best kits I've assembled.  It goes together so well that you never fight it and all your effort goes into getting a good finish and adding details.  In fact I would go as far as to say that the 500 deserves to be regarded as a classic kit.  In fact I've tracked down another 500 to build, probably with a right-hand drive conversion.  RHD isn't a kit option (pity) but shouldn't be too hard to do.  It would be a perfect kit for anyone who wants an introduction to building car kits.


Here, if you are interested, is the build thread.


Thanks for following along and all the encouragement.

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Hi John, really enjoyed the WIP, it's a great result for both, somewhere I've go the Gunze Abarth Assetto Corsa. Having seeing this pair I think it will be moving up the pecking order in my stack of kits.  The background looks great to, for some reason the chair has really impressed me! - looking forward to seeing your next build  - Andy

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Lovely work John, cracking pair of baby Fiats, and really enjoyed seeing them come together in your build thread!


Top job on both of them!



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Cracking job on both kits John. The Abarth especially. The garage backdrop is good idea. Makes them look more life-like.


Bravo, Nick

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Very nice pair of Fiats here, I'm amazed at how quickly you built them. Very good work all round. There's one just like the standard road-going here which I used to see doing the commute the other way during summers (I presume Covid put paid to it doing that last summer) and your model looks very close to it going by you saying that the blue is photographing lighter than reality.


Like many on here, I'm one who wishes Tamiya would rerun their historic car line - how many of us wouldn't jump at these Fiats, not to mention the Morgan, Mk2 Jag, Giulia etc...?

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  • 1 month later...

In my mind I can see them both bombing around Milan!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Lovely tiny cars ... 🙂


I like not to be obssessed in Supercars.



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