MI6 reviews the sixth 1:18th scale James Bond car from RC2 - The Lotus Esprit from the 1977 film "The Spy Who Loved Me"...

RC2 1:18th Lotus Esprit Review
23rd May 2006

The Spy Who Loved Me saw Roger Moore play the role of 007 for the third time, and also featured one of the most diverse and memorable Bond vehicles, the Lotus Esprit / Submarine.

The model has a plain white gloss finish that is lifelike. Most of the external bodywork of the model is made with metal, however there are some parts that are made in resin in order that the car can be transformed easily. Insignia markings on the car appear to be painted and help show the final detail that has been captured at the design stage. Stickers are only evident when looking at the number plates both front and rear, however these do not detract from the model.

Above: The 1:18th scale Lotus Esprit by RC2

What does detract is the finishing on the exterior, which has many spots and blemishes. Though in fairness to RC2 these could be a one off's with this review model.

Unlike previous models, the front wheels are not steer able, this is so that the model can be converted to its submergible state. Detailing on the wheels is to the usual high RC2 standard, and although the hubs/rims are made of plastic, the chrome finish makes them look realistic. However, the detailing does not stop there, as in the very centre of each wheel there is a Lotus logo. The detail is so fine that you will need a magnifying glass to read the writing, they are that good.


Above: Harpoons for underwater comabt

The lights on the model are all created using separate coloured plastic pieces. This adds to the overall quality feel of the car,and they certainly look better than some previous models. The exterior sports three main working parts, like most RC2 models there is the doors and hood. The latter reveals a spare tire, whilst just in front of the hood, a flap reveals harpoons for underwater combat.

The car interior is made mainly out of both red and grey plastic. The features inside the car are very basic which is a shame because, unlike many other RC2 cars, it is easy to see the inside due to the fact that the Lotus has a very low profile windscreen.

The models seats are grey and have red stripes over them which adds a great deal to the interior style and matches with the inner door design. Like virtually all other RC2 models, the car is missing seat belts, though this is something that probably would not be noticed upon first glance. With the wheels on the Lotus being stationary, obviously the steering wheel has no motion to it, though credit has to be given to RC2 for daring to make the model convert. Detailing on the dashboard is very good considering the style that the designers have had to work with; dials show very fine detailing.

Moving from the drivers side to the passengers is where the interior starts to falter slightly. The painted blue display simply looks out of place, though at least RC2 have painted this rather than using transfers. The central column features some other painted detail which adds to the model, though from this point detailing seems to stop. The passenger side is very bland, though once again this is not necessarily down to RC2.

Clean collector friendly packaging; the box has windows on four faces. A small montage of clips of the car is show on the front and side faces. The rear face gives pictorial details and a little information on the car. There is no documentation on the car and its famous role in "TSWLM".

The car comes taped up and screwed to a hard plastic base. The plastic base fights snugly into the box and only allows the flaps to be closed in a securing order. There is no tape seal on the externals of the box which ensures your do not damage it. A finishing touch would have been a inscription on the base.

Above: The Lotus Esprit converted into a submarine.

Unlike some previous models, the Lotus is itsself one huge gadget. After applying the parts supplied with the model and folding the wheels inwards, the car is transformed into the submarine as seen in the film. Thsi is no small feat when you consider the size of the car itself. The parts are of excellent quality when you consider its small scale. It is easy to see that RC2 have spent considerable time and effort in the cars design and with this aspect the model scores full marks.

With RC2's sixth attempt at this new business card size CD-ROM, it features 2 wallpapers, an interactive gallery of stills and a 360 degree view of the car with images of the cars features. The quality of the presentation and images are still poor, requiring a re-think. Sound is lacking and would be a big improvement to the cards.

Above: RC2's Q Card interactive CD-ROM


Overall the Lotus is a good attempt at creating a 1/18 scale model. Its design is excellent, and it has unique features that will set it apart from other 1/18 models in a collection. However, the model is let down by numerous blemishes, scratches and other imperfections. To RC2's credit these problems could be a one off, however if they are not they will seriously affect an owner's opinion of the car.

As with previous models, the Q-Card needs some improvements, however it's still a nice little extra to have in the box for rainy days. Something out of RC2's control is the cars interior, although it looks basic in the model, from what RC2 has had to work with they have done a good job. For the collector owning this car is a must. It has some nice fine detail added to it that will only be noticed upon close inspection.

MI6 Rating

Other Models
Joyride Entertainment (part of the RC2 group) secured the James Bond license in 2004 and plans to release twelve cars over the two years. The range will visit a mixture of famous cars from the 20-film canon. The models are expected to retail at £34.99 in the UK, and $39.99 in the USA (prices may vary). Updated release dates are estimates and are subject to change. Expect a further two cars to be released in the near future.