The new Mini Cooper launched in the US in 2001 and was instant hit with American car buyers. In 2010, BMW introduced the fourth and, to date, the largest addition to the Mini line, The Mini Cooper S Countryman All-4. The Mini Countryman is the first in the Mini series to feature a five-door hatchback design and four-wheel drive. In the styling motto of “as many different MINI’s as there are drivers”, the Countryman is available in a variety of color options, including the “UNION JACK” which features a flag design on the roof and mirrors.
The kit comes in a sturdy box with an artist’s rendering of the car on the cover and photos of the completed model on the side panel. Inside you will find 104 parts, including optional right- or left-hand drive dash and wiper setups, two sets of factory option wheels, and four soft rubber tires. There are also decals for the dash gauges, hood stripes, emblems, two sets of Union Jack decals, and a sheet of chrome transfers. The instruction sheet is divided into twelve steps, not counting decal placement, and is very detailed with clear and easy to follow graphics.
The body is molded in white plastic and is a good representation of the one-to-one vehicle. This is a curbside mode;, there is no engine, the chassis pan has the bottom of the engine molded in, and it will benefit from detail painting.
The build-up of the model was pretty straightforward and, for the most part, trouble-free. There are mold lines on the corners of the body that should be dealt with. Other mold lines and ejector pin marks are pretty well hidden on the finished model. The panel lines on the body are faint; I suggest using a scribe to deepen the panel lines before painting. The body is molded as one piece – no separate hood or front and rear fascias. Take the time to deepen the panel lines to make masking and painting the separate colors easy.
The glass fits reasonably well; it is comprised of four pieces. The rear hatch glass has a decal depicting the rear window defogger, a nice touch. The front windshield and the front and rear door windows are molded as one piece. I had problems getting this piece to fit properly. I finally solved the problem by separating the windshield from the door glass.
The chassis and suspension build was a breeze. The chassis pan is nicely engraved and fairly comprehensive.
Fifteen separate pieces make up the all-wheel drive system; the exhaust is molded in two pieces. The interior is platform-style with molded rear bucket, a choice of left- or right-hand drive dash, separate door panels, and front bucket seats. Add the gauge decals, the separate overhead console with rearview mirror and sun visors. and you get nice depiction of the Mini Cooper’s interior.
With the three sub-assemblies (chassis, interior, and body) completed, final assembly was trouble free. The interior tub mounts to the floor pan and the entire assembly slips inside the body. The body fits snugly around the interior/chassis assembly and the final product is a convincing representation of BMW’s latest addition to the Mini line.
The Mini Cooper is a popular vehicle. With its diminutive size and peppy performance, it has won the hearts of automotive enthusiast worldwide. Hasegawa has done an excellent job of depicting this latest addition in scale form. The lines and scale of the one-to-one car is right on. The fit and finish is superb; what problems there were during assembly could very well be attributed to builder error. The suggested retail price is steep for a curbside, but if you are fan of the Mini Cooper or European cars in general, it is well worth the price.
Thanks to Hobbico for providing the kit and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to build it.