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'68 Fiat 500F

Italeri 1/12 '68 Fiat 500F Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2018 (Updated April 2018) Manufacturer Italeri
Subject '68 Fiat 500F Scale 1/12
Kit Number 4703 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch, see text
Pros Beautiful kit! Cons See text
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $149.95

First Look

'68 Fiat 500F
'68 Fiat 500F
'68 Fiat 500F
'68 Fiat 500F
'68 Fiat 500F
'68 Fiat 500F
'68 Fiat 500F
'68 Fiat 500F

(UPDATE) When we first looked at this kit last month, Italeri's Fiat 500F had been on the market in Europe for several months and kindly sent us a sample in anticipation of its arrival in the US market. I'm happy to report that you should be seeing this gem on store shelves now (or very shortly). While we received some comments from our original publication of this first-look concerned about the price, remember that: 1) this is a new-tooled kit with lots of details; 2) this is in the same scale as the Tamiya series of race cars though nowhere near the same price range; and 3) the listed price is MSRP, so once these are out on the street, you'll find lower prices if you shop around.

The Fiat 500 series was created as a town car which was economical to own and operate. The first Fiat 500s were sold in 1957 and production of this design continued through 1975 with nearly 4,000,000 units produced. The car came in two basic body styles, the two-door coupe or the three-door (stretched) estate/van. The coupe offered an optional sun roof. The car had a rear-mounted two-cylinder engine and rear transaxle for power, similar to the Volkswagen Beetle. While having four seats inside, the Fiat 500 was smaller in all dimensions than the VW Beetle. The car was popular across Europe and in the United Kingdom.

Here is one of Italeri's signature kits for the 2017/2018 season, a 1/12 scale 1968 Fiat 500F with sunroof. Here's a simple math problem for you: how long is a 9-foot car in 1/12 scale? If you said nine inches, you're correct as you can see in the second photo to the right. The car is slightly longer than nine feet with the bumpers installed. When you open the box, be prepared to be impressed. The body shell is delicate, yet well-protected inside its box shield. The kit is molded in styrene and presented on eight parts trees plus the body shell. As you can see in the images, the body shell and one tree is molded in white, one tree molded in light gray, four trees molded in metallic gray, and two trees of clear parts. The kit also includes one set of vinyl (rubber tires), a set of springs for the suspension, a fabric section for the 'soft top', and a fret of photo-etched details. According to the instructions, the car can be built in European or "Anglo-Saxon" configuration, which translates to the car can be built with left or right-hand drive.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Movable driver/passenger doors
  • Movable hood (bonnet)
  • Movable truck (boot)
  • Optional sun roof cover
  • Choice of plastic or fabric sun roof
  • Interior can be built with left or right-hand drive
  • Steering wheel will steer the front wheels
  • Detailed engine and transaxle
  • Working suspension
  • Driver and passenger seats can be tilted forward for access to rear seat
  • Detailed interior
  • Detailed engine compartment
  • Photo-etched floor mats

Decals are provided with your choice of European license plates or one British example. The decals also include the speedometer face, placards for under the hood, various Fiat 500 model markings, and the distinctive Fiat crests.

When looking over this kit, I'm reminded of the 1/8 scale Pocher car kits of old, also produced from plastic, fabric, photo-etch, and metal parts. Like the Pocher kits, this car has movable doors, hood, truck, and suspension, as well as steerable front wheels. Unlike the Pocher kits, this car is 1/12 scale, lacks the screw-together assemblies and complexities, and lacks the high prices. While the 'classic' Pocher kits are long out of production, they command collectors' prices greater than $500 for unopened kits that haven't been robbed of key parts. Pocher resumed production several years ago to make pre-painted metal-body car kits with retail prices over $800, and those prices will likely be going higher still now that the company appears to have ceased production (again).

This kit provides an interesting stepping stone into those detailed car kits at a significantly lower level of complexity and cost. Another option worth considering is lighting - in this scale, it would be easy to rig LED lighting for the various interior and exterior lights.

Whatever your interests, Italeri has produced another nice kit that will provide you with some serious fun.

My sincere thanks to Italeri SPA for this review sample!