September 2010 in Europe, BMW has launched the new Mini Countryman model in the Mini brand and the fourth. The Mini Countryman – the successor of the three door hatchback open car convertible mini-wagon Clubman – is the first in the Mini series to feature a five door (with rear door) hatchback body design. Also available is the Mini Countryman All4, the biggest in the lineup, which is equipped with full four wheel drive.
In terms of exterior design, the car features a radiator grille and headlights that are evocative of classic Mini styling, while enlarged roof, windows and wheel housing make for a roomy car interior. SUV-style roof rails are standard. With a chassis strengthened at key points and a cabin featuring high torsional rigidity, the car offers a quiet and comfortable as well as a safe and stable ride. All cars of this model are equipped with four stroke 1.6 liters engines. The Mini One countryman is capable of a maximum power output of 98 PS, and its adjustable valve timing also makes for highly efficient fuel consumption. The twin scroll turbo-equipped Mini Cooper S Countryman has a maximum power output of 184 PS. Front suspension is of the single strut joint type, while rear suspension is of a multi-link type that is rare for this class of vehicle. Wide stance and low center of gravity provides handling that is both stable and agile, and all feature very tight cornering characteristics.
The “ALL4” four wheel drive system, which was designed with snow and icy road conditions in mind, has an “on demand” feature that allows for front and rear drive to be engaged jointly or separately. Together, these features give the cars traction which allows them to operate with maximum stability and safety in any conceivable road conditions.
Mini Countryman cars sport paint schemes from a palette of both solid and metallic colors developed exclusively for the series. In the spirit of a styling motto of “As many different Minis as there are drivers,”
buyers are offered a rich variety of roof, door mirror cap, wheel and interior accessories options from which to choose to create their own unique Mini Countryman that fits their personal tastes while also honoring the iconic Mini tradition.
From pure curiosity, I visited the company’s website dedicated to Mini Countryman and I read they claim there is over one million combinations available, not only colors, but also technical packages and scores of options for both interior and exterior.
First kit of Hasegawa
Mini Countryman ALL 4 Series was item 24121, released in 2012, followed by kit 20253, Mini Countryman ALL4 “Union Jack” Limited Edition, released in 2012 and providing new decals. The latest is the subject of this review, kit 20262, released in 2014, providing new decals and re-boxing.
technical data mini cooper s countryman all4
• Length: 4105mm;
• Width: 1790mm;
• Height: 1550mm (in European configuration: 1561mm)
• Curb weight: with manual transmission: 1440kg; with automatic transmission: 1460kg;
• Engine: 1.6 liters overhead cam, 16 valve in line 4 cylinder, scroll turbo charger aluminum engine with variable valve lift timing;
• Stroke / bore: 85.8/77.0
• Peak power: [email protected]
• Maximum torque: [email protected]
• Fuel tank capacity: 47 liters;
• Minimum turning radius: 5.8m;
• Passenger capacity: four-five.
boxing and contents
My kit arrived in an unsealed rectangular card box. I have received mine in unaltered condition. The box art depicts a black Mini running over “Ray Package” color stripes. The named colors were specially conceived for this model: energy pink, vitamin orange, alien green, lemon yellow, flash white, shocking blue.
The kit contains 108 parts, organized as following:
• Item A: the body shell, molded in white;
• Item B: sprue containing the chassis and cockpit elements, molded in grey styrene;
• Item C: sprue containing cockpit base, dashboard, door panels and optional rims molded in grey styrene;
• Item D: sprue containing suspension and external elements, molded in black styrene;
• Item E: sprue containing cockpit, brakes and suspension elements;
• Item F: sprue containing aesthetic elements, molded in chrome plated styrene;
• Item G: sprue containing optional rims, molded in chrome plated styrene;
• Item J: sprue containing the windshield and all widows, as well as lights’ glasses, molded in clear styrene;
• Item MC: metallic foil decals;
• Item P1: poly caps;
• Item T-64: rubber tires;
• Undesignated item: sheet of decals;
• Leaflet with instructions, disclaimer, color scheme and contact information. For the Japanese customers only there is available also a part number list for replacements, indicating the price.
Some items are packed individually (Item A) while other items are packed together in plastic bags (B with C and D, MC with J, P1 with T-64, E with F and G). The decals sheet has no protection at all, not even the usual translucent paper. Personally I’m not favoring this kind of packing, making breakages and scratches probable.
The quality of the molding is impeccable, no flash whatsoever, the pin ejection marks barely visible and well concealed in assembly process. Naturally the builder doesn’t have to bother at all with them.
The clear parts are very crisp, safe a small scratch I observed on the rear window in my particular kit.
The rubber tires are well detailed, the fine tread reproduced faultless.
The decals are very precisely printed, without color offset and the carrier film looks clear. The self-adhesive metallic foil decals look high quality and well stamped.
The construction looks rather simple. The manufacturer organizes it in thirteen steps, as following:
• Step 1: dashboard and seat assembly;
• Step 2: cockpit assembly;
• Steps 3 and 4: rear axle assembly and installation;
• Step 5: front axle assembly and installation;
• Step 6: muffler and sub frame installation;
• Step 7: wheel assembly;
• Step 8: chassis assembly;
• Step 9: Radiator and head light assembly
• Steps 10 thru 13: final assembly and detailing.
Obviously the manufacturer emphasized the external features of the model. As you can see from the build steps, there is no engine and no option for open / closed hood or doors. That could be less attractive for the modeler wanting to show the nicely detailed interior. The construction offers several other options: left or right side drive, two different rim styles (5 spokes or 8 spokes, chrome or solid color), different antenna configuration (for European or Japanese market), all six colors from Ray package for detailing (but only for the stripes, not for the main decal which is only semi-gloss black).
The assembly steps are accompanied by painting instructions as you go, either by elements, either in cartridges inserted to depict the whole assembly. For my modeling style this is a priceless feature. Just have in mind that Hasegawa offers for this model just a single paint scheme: black. If you like to change the main color, then you have to apply the required changes whenever necessary.
Hasegawa instructions show only one color scheme: black on black with energy pink trimming. Optionally, they offer four out of six Ray colors for trimming, but not the other elements: lateral mirrors, rearview mirror etc. Another scheme is suggested on the side of the box. For the modeler interested in changing the color recommended by manufacturer, it is very easy to check the Mini website: on the front page they have a graphic customization application which show all available official colors. For more creative modeler, any option is open, naturally. Hasegawa recommends the following paint list for kit’s detailing, coded for GSI Creos Aqueous Hobby Color or for Mr. Color. Where the required shade is missing, Hasegawa recommends mixing proportions. As note: almost everything inside is matte black, except few details which are silver or steel. Hmm… Personally, I’m going to change that. The full color scheme is rather basic:
• Black (not specified, but by comparative deduction should be gloss);
• Flat black;
• Sky blue;
• Clear red;
• Clear orange;
• Orange yellow;
• Burnt iron;
• Yellow green;
• Semi-gloss black;
An observation I feel has to be made after I examined the color scheme: the car’s body is molded together with the bumpers which will make a little difficult the painting even in black on black scheme. Please note that Mini Cooper S has lateral plastic skirts and running boards. For less experienced modeler, that could be an unnecessary extra headache. On the bright side, Hasegawa kit offers template for masking the windows and tail lights glasses, for who may desire to do so. It has to be noted also a nice decal for rear window, depicting the defrost system.