Honda Civic Si Coupe "Fast & Furious"
On the back of the seventh Fast & Furious movie release, Revell has re-released a kit born in the 2 Fast 2 Furious era, or more commonly, 2003. Responding to the tuner craze of the time, Revell released several 2’ n 1 style kits of popular imports such as the Acura Integra Type R, Mitsubishi Eclipse, and the subject of this review, the ‘99-00 Honda Civic Si coupe. Each of the the tuner-inspired kits included several aftermarket wheels, body kits, and spoilers, along with the parts to build a stock car.
The EM1 Civic Si, a nickname derived from the car’s chassis code in a tradition that is common to many popular Japanese cars, is based on the sixth-generation Civic two-door coupe, and it was offered only in 1999 and 2000. Honda’s popular small car is typically praised for it’s value, comfort, economy, and reliability, attributes the Civic Si retains. However, as another late-’90s icon might say, it also kicks things up a notch! The heart of the EM1 is the 1.6-liter B16A2 DOHC inline 4-cylinder engine featuring VTEC, Honda’s infamous variable valve timing system. Thanks to the VTEC, yo, the B16 in the EM1 produced 160 hp, good enough for a 7-second 0-60 time. Beyond the trick motor, the EM1 came standard with suspension improvements, 4-wheel disc brakes, painted rockers, restrained lip and trunk spoilers, 15-inch alloy wheels, special interior touches, and Si and VTEC badging. The EM1 Si was offered in several colors, but was often seen in, and commonly known for, it’s exclusive Electron Blue Pearl (code B-95P), which is best described as a blurple shade.
Although branded as official Fast & Furious movie merchandise, the EM1 Civic Si does not have a starring role in any of the films. The black Civics featured in the first movie, that famously fit underneath a tractor trailer thanks to some movie magic, are fifth-generation Civics. In fact, Revell has previously kitted a ‘93 Civic coupe that features both an aftermarket front bumper and a rear spoiler that closely match the parts that customized the movie’s cars. The highlight of the EM1 Civic’s movie fame is actually a brief race against a stolen Porsche 911 in the 2000 remake of Gone in 60 Seconds.
Moving on to the kit, Revell’s Civic Si is rendered in the typical American-iron scale of 1/25, slightly smaller than the 1/24 scale that most of the Japanese-made car models are created in. Beyond the scale difference, the kit actually compares very well to the typical Japanese offerings, with crisp molding throughout. The kit is composed of 106 parts, found on 12 sprues along with the body shell, interior tub, and floorpan. The majority of the parts are cast in white plastic, however, there are also two chrome sprues and two clear sprues. The kit also includes rubber tires, metal screws and axle pins, and a mesh screen to fill the optional front bumper’s openings. While the first release of the Civic included a metal exhaust tip, it’s replaced in this boxing with a plastic tip found on one of the chrome sprues.
The main body shell is cast in a single piece, minus the hood and front and rear bumpers. The molding has very crisps panel lines, including very nicely defined rubber trim around the windows. Thanks to the prominent trim, it should be very easy to mask and paint the rubber an appropriate color if so desired. While the driver and passenger's windows are not provided, the windshield, rear seat windows, sunroof, and rear glass are mold as a single piece. Below the glass, the interior tub is cast as a single piece, which includes the engine bay. A separate firewall is added to complete the engine bay. Finally, another single piece represents the chassis. I was impressed by the detail found in the full assembly, which notably included fully enclosed, accurate-looking wheel wells. A quick test fit confirmed that this sandwich of parts fit tightly and easily together. When it’s time for final assembly, four screws will hold the body shell firmly to the chassis. While the screw holes are countersunk into the chassis, the holes and screw heads will be easily visible when viewing the underside, unless a great deal of work is done to fill and cover them smoothly.
Perhaps one of the nicest features of the kit is the fully detailed B16A2 engine, along with the transmission, front axles, and detailed crossmember. These parts feature detailed moldings that will allow a nice wash to be added, and the chromed valve cover includes raised logos, in the same way that they are cast onto the full-size cover. The engine offers a choice of the heat-shielded OEM exhaust manifold or a chrome aftermarket header. Oddly, the kit does not include an option for a cold air intake, which almost certainly would be a tuned Civic’s first mod. This may be because the stock airbox is cast onto the interior tub’s engine compartment, however, it’s certainly something that could be added with a bit of scratchbuilding. There are some nice looking, albeit stock, peripherals around the edge of the engine bay that will look great with some detail painting. Adding a few vacuum and emissions tubes and the short spark plug wires will really make the engine bay pop!
The interior of the EM1 is molded as nicely as the engine. A choice of decals is provided for the blank instrument cluster, while the remainder of the controls are nicely rendered as raised parts. The only real challenge, and letdown, is the front seats. The seat cushion and front of the seat back are molded in one piece, however, the the rear of the seat back is molded separately, with the joint running along the sides of the seat back, including the sides of the headrest. This will take a bit of sanding and filling to remove the seam, and a few of the seat’s contour lines will likely need to be rescribed. Black decals are provided for the centers of all four seats, allowing for the quick creation of a custom two-tone interior. I’m not sure how well the decals will apply, but the seats should be easy enough to mask if you’d like to emulate the effect with paint.
Once the interior, engine, and body shell are installed, the real customization can begin! Two choices are provided for the front bumper, the stock option and a mild custom bumper with a logo delete, mesh-covered intakes, and faux brake cooling ducts on a lower lip. The body shell has the Civic Si’s color-matched side skirts molded in place, over which a wider, but very mild, aftermarket side skirt can be added. The one-piece stock rear bumper can be replaced with another single-piece bumper featuring an extended lower lip and side scallops matching the aftermarket front bumper.
The rear end also offers the choice between stock and clear Altezza-style taillights. Chrome reflectors and clear covers are provided for each style, but the stock taillight covers will need the upper portion painted clear red. Be sure to ignore the instructions to paint the taillights’ turn signals orange; the EM1 featured clear rear turn signals fitted with orange bulbs. While only the stock headlight style is provided, it featured an internal orange reflector, and a common upgrade was to use headlamps that did not have the orange part, easily replicated in scale. It would also be possible to paint the headlights in a popular blacked-out style, where only the actual reflectors for the headlight and turn signal remained chrome, while the surround trim was painted black (or gunmetal to replicate the not-available-in-the-US Civic Type R).
The Civic Si sported a sensibly enlarged stock rear spoiler, although the aesthetics of the early 2000s dictated something far removed from sensable. Enter Revell’s optional spoiler, for all intents and purposes a replica of the JSP Terminator II universal spoiler. Almost ubiquitous on poorly planned and executed tuner cars of the time, it’s not aged particularly well, but certainly reminds us all of the not-yet-a-cliche nature of the first Fast & Furious movie. The final body part to upgrade is the hood, and this is accomplished with an included carbon fiber decal cut to the stock hood’s shape. The Civic’s hood has only a subtle step at each edge, so there is a chance that the decal can lay flat with careful application and lots of Micro Sol.
With the mods complete, it’s time to change the wheels! Only busters roll on stock rims, so you’re offered a choice of two aftermarket options: a common six-spoke, split-spoke design and a somewhat unique six-spoke rim with very thin spokes. Of note, the kit includes only one set of rubber tires, so all three wheel options, including the stock-looking rims, scale out to about 19 inches. The EM1’s stock wheels were actually 15 inches, so 19s are an aggressive upgrade!
Regardless of the rim choice, the kit includes only one set of suspension parts, so the ride hight represents a nice drop, which is great for the upgraded rims, but only serves to highlight the oversized OEM wheels when building the kit as a stock Civic Si.
The kit’s instructions are very easy to follow, and they end by illustrating two custom paint and graphics schemes, in addition to the stock car’s decal placement guide. The instructions suggest red for the stock car, and blue for the car depicted on the box top featuring black geometric graphics, and white for an unpictured tuner with black and red tribal-style graphics. No real masking is required for the custom schemes, as decals are provided for the graphics, along with all of the stock emblems. And, because no self-respecting tuner would be caught without sponsor stickers, the decal sheet includes an assortment of decals featuring logos of various popular aftermarket manufacturers. Remember kids, each sticker adds +5 HP, so be sure to use them all!
Having built, and thoroughly enjoyed, Revell’s Civic Si many years ago, I’m happy to see the kit released once again. Despite some of the drawbacks that are inherent in creating a kit that can represent both a stock and modified car, it’s a great build easily equal to the JDM cars made by the respected Japanese kit makers. The Civic Si, in both real and scale trims, makes for an ideal canvas to express some creativity and artistic skill. With the real EM1 Civic Si available on the cheap today and nice examples being bought, tuned, and beat, it may be hard to believe, but one day the teens of the 90s and 2000s may look back on the Civic as fondly as the boomers look back on their GTOs, Mustangs, and ‘Cudas, and be willing to pay similar amounts of money for a pristine or restored example. I’m certain when that day comes, you’ll see this great kit released once again!