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      Your path: Home >> Wall-E's World >> Model Cars >> 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser
2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser
Manufacturer: Maisto
Release dates 2008-Current 
Catalog number: 06161
Date Purchased: February 2008
Date Completed December 2009
Number in collection: 24

The FJ Cruiser is an SUV introduced by Toyota in 2006. It's most noticeable feature is the styling, which is intended to resemble the original FJ40 Land Cruiser, which was made from 1960 to 1984. Although engineered to be capable off-road as well as on-road, the FJ Cruiser has been criticized for restricted outward visibility, lack of interior room, and below average fuel economy. Although I've never driven one, I have sat in several at auto shows over the years. It's always struck me as vehicle that might be pretty fun to own and drive. Unfortunately, I have less of an opportunity, as Toyota has discontinued the FJ Cruiser in the US for the 2015 model year.

This scale model is made by Maisto, as part of their Power Racer series. Like all other cars in this series, it features a spring-loaded, 'pull-back' type of motor at the rear wheels, as well as opening front doors. This one is also example of the disadvantages of sizing a replica to fit packaging constraints. The 1:49 scale engraved on the base makes this car significantly smaller than most of the others that I have in this series. It looks a little out of place when 'parked' next to cars in the more common scale range if 1:36 to 1:39. Scale issue aside, The body and related details aren't bad, but the room needed for the motor intrudes into the back seat area. Although a rear seat is represented, it is much further forward than it is on the actual car. The wheels are in the style of the actual car, but look larger than they should. The chassis detailing make it clear that these are intended as toys.

I originally worked on this car long before I started photographing them. The 'before' pictures are not of my car, but ones I found on-line of cars that are in original condition, some in different colors. The 'after' pictures were of my car, but taken while I was originally writing this page.

Click to zoom Click to zoom
What I started with. Actual car I used for reference.


Pictures of car before any changes were made (click to enlarge)

Disassembly was started by removing two screws that hold the chassis to the body. The remainder of this process, as well as the resulting parts breakdown, is as follows:
  • The bottom half of the interior, with the rear seat and console moulded to it as a single piece. The front seats are a separate piece that fits from the bottom through holes in the floor. Both pieces are black plastic.
  • The front axle, with wheels and tires pressed onto the axle. This falls loose once the bottom interior is removed. I didn't see any way to remove the wheels from the axles without damaging them, so I stopped there.
  • The rear tires, wheels, axle and pull-back motor assembly. This snaps free from the chassis plate by carefully flexing the chassis until the motor pops loose. Once again, I didn't see any way to remove the wheels from the axles without damaging them or the motor assembly, so this is as far as I went.
  • A one piece black plastic chassis That has minimal and unrealistic detail cast to the bottom.
  • a steel spring that locates between three pins cast into the underside of the body. The purpose of this part is to allow the doors to spring back closed after being opened, and to hold them in place when closed.
  • The two doors, which are easily removed once the retaining spring is removed. These are painted the same blue as the body, and have door panel detail lightly cast into the inside surface.
  • A black plastic dashboard and steering wheel. The steering wheel is glued the dash, and I chose not to remove it at the risk of damaging it. This whole assembly is pressed onto a rivet cast into the underside of the body. It was removed by prying a tab on the part from the rivet.
  • The clear windshield, which snaps to the inside if the body. Another clear piece is for the rear window and side quarter windows. This one was carefully pried from the retaining rivet inside of the body.
  • Black plastic front and rear bumpers, that fit over the posts cast into the body that are also used for the chassis-to-body screws.
  • Two clear plastic headlight lenses and two clear red plastic tail lights, which are attached by heat applied from the inside of the body to moulded-in pins on the parts. I cut these bonds and removed the parts.
  • The die-cast body, painted blue and white, with tampo-printed markings.

After disassembling the car, only paint and foil were used to add details.

The following is a summary of the changes I made:
  • Wheels and tires: Sanded the tread surface with 220 grit sandpaper to simulate wear. Painted inside of wheels Testors acrylic flat black.
  • Chassis: Painted entire piece Testors acrylic flat black. Highlighted the few moulded in details with Tamiya semi-gloss black, metallic gray, and aluminum.
  • Interior: Painted entire piece Testors acrylic flat black. Painted front and rear seat cushions a mix of Testors acrylic flat and a small amount of flat white, in order to add a some contrast and depth. Center of dash is painted a shade of blue to match the body. Remaining interior details were highlighted with appropriate colors, using pictures of the actual car as a guide.
  • Windows: Added a piece of Bare-Metal foil to the area of rear window where the high-mounted brake light is, then painted the foil with Tamiya clear red.
  • Body: Painted the inside of the roof that is visible inside the interior with Testors acrylic flat white. Painted remainder of the inside of the body Testors acrylic flat black. Drew in body panel seams with a metal tipped 'quill' pen and black ink. Painted window trim, lower body side, and fender mouldings with Testors acrylic flat black. Detailed side view mirrors and bumper trim with Tamiya aluminum. Applied Bare-Metal foil to front turn signals, door handles, mirror surfaces, rear fog lights, and section of tail lights that contain turn signals/backup lights. This foil was also applied to the side of the head and tail light lenses for a reflective effect. Additional detail was added to the lights with Tamiya clear orange, clear read, and Testors flat white. Remaining exterior details were highlighted with appropriate colors, using pictures of the actual car as a guide.
Disassembled parts, before reassembly To the left is the car prior to reassembly.

The car was reassembled by reversing the procedure used to disassemble it. No glue was needed.


Pictures of completed car (click to enlarge)


The proportions of the completed car look very close to the actual car. The table below shows how close they are.

Actual car 
(mm / in)
Model
(mm / in)
Dimensions of actual car based on model scale
(mm / in)
Calculated scale based on model to actual car
Length 4671 / 183.9 96 / 3.79 4704 / 185.8 1:49
Wheelbase 2690 / 105.9 55 / 2.18 2695 / 106.9 1:49
Width 1895 / 74.6 41 / 1.60 2009 / 78.4 1:47
Height 1829 / 72.0 39 / 1.52 1911 / 74.4 1:47

According to my calculations, this car pretty close to the 1:49 scale moulded onto the chassis plate. Height and width are a little oversized, but not near as much as I expected them to be. To me, the wheels and tires look too large in relation to the body, but I guess I was wrong.

This is the first time I've really looked at this car in any detail since I bought it in 2008. I'm generally happy with the way it turned out, and made no changes other than giving a thorough cleaning .before taking these pictures.

As I mentioned earlier in this article, I'm not too thrilled with the smaller than average scale of this car. Although the body and interior are smaller than most cars in this series, the door hinges and pull-back motors are the same physical size, making them look even more intrusive and out of proportion. These issues aside, I'm glad that I bought when I did, as I haven't seen a new one for sale since I bought it. It must be popular somewhere, because Maisto still shows it in their current catalog.


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