Monday, August 1

"You know, you used to look great in a Mini" - Hasegawa's new tooled 1997 Mini Cooper 1.3l in 24th scale...

Thought by many to be the ultimate, but to others as the "new" Mini (not the German staff car one) the 1997 Mini Cooper 1.3 is much loved by most of the community and car lovers alike. Now, Hasegawa are making a new version of the 1997 version, we take a look at the test shots in our preview...

"You know, you used to look great in a Mini" -  Hasegawa's new tooled 1997 Mini Cooper 1.3l in 24th scale...

Mini Cooper 1.3i (1997)
From Hasegawa
1/24th scale
Kit No #HC54
127 partis in plastic & Vinyl tyres
Model total length 128mm / width 67.5mm
Price: $17 USD from Hobbylink Japan
The Subject: 1997 version of the Mini 1.3ltr...
The Rover Mini was an adaption of the original classic design that appeared in 1959. Apart from small change, this car was manufactured without a model change until 2000. A front-wheel drive vehicle with a compact body and maximum living space, it is especially popular and has been loved for generations.

What did change from the original mini were several small, but noticeable changes for mini experts. The front indicator lenses were clear instead of orange, along with plastic infills around the wheel arches and bumper-to-wing seams at the rear. There was also the option of the Sports Park, which fattened up the wheels and arches, and added a contrasting roof and bonnet stripes, along with four spot lamps. Other changes were regulatory: the old Lucas headlamps were swapped for Wipac Quadoptic units with adjustable levelling, and a front towing eye was installed below the bumper.

The interior changes were bolder, with new front seats, a fabric headlining and plastic trim around the rear storage bins, partly to conceal the mechanism for the seatbelt pre-tensioners. An airbag was standard, although a Mini remained one of the places you’d least like to be in a high-speed accident. For the first time, the Mini also got a bonded interior mirror with a proper dipping function. Further ‘refinements’ included a headlamp level adjuster switch modified from a Rover Metro blower fan controller, and a new two-speed heater fan, with even air-con an option. The column stalks were new from the Rover 200 – while the carpets contained quite a bit more soundproofing. Remote central locking was also included, along with an immobilizer based on Rover’s MEMS2 ECU system. This allowed for passive arming if the owner forgot to lock the door.

The biggest changes were mechanical. All Mini models now got a 63bhp derivative of the 1275cc A-Series engine with multi-point fuel injection. Although a five-speed gearbox was still one engineering challenge too far for the Mini, the four-speed gearbox was revised to give much taller gearing in its highest ratio, making it a more amenable motorway cruiser. Other tweaks included a new 65-amp alternator instead of the old 45-amp version, and – for the first time – a front-mounted radiator, which in turn allowed the fitting of a radiator expansion tank on the nearside inner wing. Distributorless ignition and an engine bay fuse box (featuring blade fuses instead of in-line items) were further advancements.

The Mk7 Mini range was hugely simplified. Gone were the entry-level Sprite and budget special editions with their jazzy paint, replaced by the Mini 1.3i base model; a car markedly more upmarket than entry-level Minis of old, right down to its alloy wheels, plush trim and remote locking. Then there was the Cooper 1.3i, which evolved from the resurgent Cooper models that had completely revived the Mini in its previous incarnation. The final standard model was the Cooper Sport, which got the wide-body sports pack and a comprehensive equipment list, albeit at a price.

The last Mini rolled off the tracks on October 4, 2000 with 60s icon and Mini fanatic Lulu at the wheel: a fitting finale for a car that was as much a part of the fabric of British life as it was a means of transport.

The kit: Hasegawa's new tooled Mini Cooper 1.3i (1997)
Hasegawa's new kit no #HC54 "Mini Cooper 1.3i (1997)" is a completely new moulded kit in 24th scale. Coming in at an understandably modest size of 128mm by 67.5mm wide, the kit has only one hundred and twenty-seven parts in plastic.

We do not yet have the box art, but we do have plenty of pictures of the test shot parts and the made up kit, made from the staff at Hasegawa.

Here are some shots of the test kit:  The body of the Mini, here in a grey colour, these parts will be moulded in white:
The roof can be painted separately. No sunroof option here so far...
The flared guards for the 1.3l Coopers are included. We suppose you could leave these off if you want to customize your Mini.
The side mirror are the late type, often painted white.
The floor plan won't be seen once full of seats, just like the real thing.
The front seats, no option for folding front seat that we can see.
Door cards, with door handles and window winders ( 'member them?)
The kit gives you a choice of either the Rover Mini dash or the classic centre cluster type.
Steering wheels - Rover steering wheel or the wooden sports steering wheel (right) is also included as a bonus.
foot pedals are moulded in detail with the "Go" pedal vented to save weight (lol)
chassis underside is included in careful detail.
Suspension parts
Engine block is included, you will need to ad wiring though.
Minilite Alloy Wheels are included.
Bumpers front and back, and headlights will be moulded and covered in that chrome that half of the modellers love and the rest hate.
Headlight mirrors will be moulded in plastic with chrome coating.
Rover emblem is included.
Front grill in chromed finish in the final kit.
Headlight lenses in clear with ribbing
Tail lights, Tamiya clear paints are your friend here.
Front and rear windows....
Tyres are moulded in vinyl - again a love/ hate story for the ages.

The Built up test kit:
The kit has already been built up by Hasegawa's staff to a pretty nice level...

First, the interior:
The finished kit in a full walk around...
This kit is due at the end of October, 2022, Although Hasegawa's website says it will be priced at 2900 Yen, we have already found it for sale on the HLJ website for 2,320 Yen!

You can find out more about this kit and Hasegawa's other products on the Product link on the Hasegawa website

Oh, and as a partial explanation of the tagline at the start of the article...