Wangan Warrior: Autoart’s 1/18 Blackbird

For most Auto-Otakus, this is a car that needs no description. Straight out of the pages of the Wangan Midnight manga series, the Blackbird is the series’ antagonist vehicle of choice and was given its name because of its color and because it was in fact, a RUF CTR Yellowbird. Fun fact, the Blackbird was also loosely based on an actual Porsche that was part of the uber exclusive and uber elusive Midnight Club pack that blasted across Tokyo’s highways. If you want in on that club, your car will need hit speeds exceeding 320km/h multiple times.

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This was a model i’ve been wanting ever since i saw it on Autoart’s release list. Alas, upon its release, i could never get myself to pull the trigger due to AA’s prices. No matter how much i liked it, i could never justify the purchase. Especially with other life priorities to take care of. And as always like all other cars with a rather unique origin, these Blackbirds were sold out rather promptly.

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I occasionally glanced at a few cars on offer on Ebay but again, the prices just kept me from clicking the “Buy it now” button.

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Fast forward many months later and i spotted a local reseller putting one of these babies up at a much more palatable reduced price. It was now or never, so i ponied up the moolah and came home with the Blackbird! So how does it stack up?

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Well, to be honest, i love it given i paid a discounted price. But if i had to pay full retail. I’d be rather disappointed. It’s a lovely looking model but is hardly Autoart’s best and at the prices AA is asking, there are quite a few areas which let it down.

Let’s start with what’s great about it. I’d have to say the overall look is spot on and the car just looks menacing and the car sits perfectly without going into “Stancenation BRO” ride heights. Unlike GT Spirit, Autoart really nailed the ride height. Paint is also beautifully applied with deep black paint that really pops with just a touch of Dodo Juice purple haze wax.

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Having going into mostly sealed resin models lately, it felt really nice to have a model with full opening parts once again.

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What’s good? Well, the wheels look good, but they lack detail and tyres are also unmarked. I know this is a car from a comic book, but it wouldn’t hurt to come up with some original Autoart designs for side wall markings no? The wheels themselves also lack any branding, they look like suspiciously like Work Brombachers. As for for close it is to the car in the comic book, there were quite a few iterations of the Blackbird in the various sources of the series but AA’s car looks closest to the earlier version from the manga comic.

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Undertray detail is also pretty good considering it’s an area few collectors will venture to look into. It’s nice that AA decided to put some effort here instead of just slapping on a big slab of moulded plastic.

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Inside, we get some nicely flocked interior carpeting and a decent amount of detail across the entire cabin. Some areas could have done better with a tad more intricate detailing (steering wheel…) but that is just being a little bit nit-picky. Overall interior detail is pretty good but not what we know Autoart is truly capable of.

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And now, on to the bad. The biggest bad and the reason why i’d be really upset to pay full retails on this lies under the lovely rear deck. Namely, engine detail. Or rather, the lack of it. Just look at that piece of grey plastic passing off as an intercooler. I know air-cooled engines are not much to look at but the engine bay in this Autoart is a real shame and looks like a toy. The tailpipes joined together in the middle also look somewhat wrong on a “highly tuned” Porsche. If you did some googling, the pipes on the car in the manga do look a tad bigger.

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Overall though, for all it’s faults, it’s a car i’m happy to have in my rather small collection. I love the subject matter and being able to bag one at a discounted rate makes it all worthwhile. If you can find one for a good price, don’t hesitate.

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