Rosso was a short lived Japanese company, allegedly founded by some former Fujimi employees.
The company produced car models and kits between 1991 and 1993, the first CAM series kit dates from June 1991.
During its brief existence Rosso made some excellent kits, their attention to detail and use of different types of materials was ground breaking, as was the way the models were designed and engineered.
The company began by making highly detailed 1/43rd scale car models, at first just as assembled models, slightly later also as kits.
Rosso managed to capture the looks of the highly popular Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R so much better than their (die-cast) competitors that this model became an instant success, consequently Rosso ended up making many R32 GT-R variations.
In less than a years time Rosso had produced tooling for most of the models they would ever produce: four 1/43rd scale models (Skyline R32 GT-R, Ferrari 642, Ferrari 643, Honda NSX), four 1/24th scale models (Ferrari 642, Ferrari 643, Efini/Mazda RX-7, Ferrari 512TR) and the 1/12th scale Honda NSX.
All car models required complicated sliding molds for the bodies and on top of that Rosso used aluminum inserts molded in with the bodies for the refueling valves in the 1/43th scale Skyline Gr.A race cars.
In hindsight it is no surprise that the company went bankrupt, not just because of the sheer amount of expensive tooling that was made in a short time but also because of the non-plastic extra parts.
Experienced tool makers like Rosso used could reduce tooling costs by avoiding costly mistakes and by limiting trial-and-error, but the manufacture of most of the non-plastic parts had to be outsourced to specialist companies, which added a lot of production costs.
This meant that any kit with non-plastic parts had to sell quickly, in particular the, from a production point-of-view hugely expensive, 1/8th scale Ferrari 643 kit and its separate Grade-up Parts Set. It looks like the 1/8 Grade-up Parts Sets did not sell as well as planned which drained the cash of the company. Even a special 'Limited Edition' of the 1/8th scale Ferrari 643 kit could not make up for the losses.
Looking closely at the listings below it becomes apparent that the money started to run out: the later releases contain almost no non-plastic parts and required very little extra tooling.
On a personal note, I became a fan of Rosso models the moment I saw the first assembled models at my local hobby shop. By that time the first CAM series kits had also become available so I never bought any of the assembled models but bought some of the CAM kits instead.
I did not collect all Rosso kits but rather picked the ones that appealed to me most (and of course all Rosso RX-7 kits I could find). I did get a chance to have a close look at most of the models at my local hobby shop.
I started this page almost 25 years after the demise of the Rosso company.
Nowadays most of the Rosso kits appear to be stashed away because of their perceived collectors value, which is a pity for two reasons: first of all these kits are a joy to build and secondly the kits contain self-adhesive film and decals that will perish over time.
The listings below are not yet complete, I hope to add more whenever I find proof (catalog numbers, box art, and pictures or descriptions of the models).
Back in the early 90ies it was fashionable in Japan to adorn goods with (abbreviations made up of) interesting sounding English words, the names of the Rosso series reflect this:
|CAM||Collaboration Artist Model|
|PRA-X||Productive Relaxation Abstract-'X'|
|R-GEAR||Rosso Great Exciting Advanced Reality|
|WRX||World-wide Rare eXpert-replica|
|DORI²||(pronounced 'Dorito' with a short first 'o') not an abbreviation but rather a fancy phonetic notation of the Japanese way of pronouncing 'Drift'.|
The models in this series all contain extra parts usually found on cars used for drifting.
|Choice||not an abbreviation but a series of optional car parts.|
In addition to the regular kits, two more levels of kits were available:
|GPV||Grade-up Painting Version||kits contain a factory painted body. In case of a race car markings were also tampo-printed on the body and finished with a clear coat, resulting in a high-quality finish.|
|GMV||Grade-up Maniac Version||kits contain additional detail parts (white metal, photo-etched metal, etc.)|
The G-P series consists of 1/43rd scale assembled model cars, attractively mounted on a detailed base painted as a piece of road or track with curb stones, covered by a clear display case and wrapped in a box with cutouts in front and top sides. Each box is printed in colors that matches the colors of the car inside.
The car bodies were made out of resilient ABS plastic, allowing for fine details and opening parts like doors and hood.
Some metal parts, most notably an engine block and a hidden die-cast 'trunk-weight' made sure the cars would not feel flimsy and had a 'weighted-down' sit.
A series named 'Jack' consisting of limited editions was made with catalog numbers in the 0150* range (e.g. 'Jack 2', cat.nr.01502 for the LHD Honda NSX).
There is a persistent rumor that the G-P series included a Ferrari F40, however I do not recall ever seeing one and have yet to find any evidence that Rosso sold any F40 models.
|01001||Nissan Skyline GT-R Gr.A Calsonic 1990 JTC #12|
|01002||Nissan Skyline GT-R Nismo||street version, body painted either silver or dark metallic gray|
|01003||Nissan Skyline GT-R Gr.N Zexel 1990 #2|
|01004||Nissan Skyline GT-R Gr.A Calsonic 1991 JTC #1|
|01005||Nissan Skyline GT-R Gr.A Zexel 1991 #25 Spa 24h winner|
|01006||Ferrari 642 1991 US GP #27 Prost||body shell removable|
|01007||Ferrari 642 1991 US GP #28 Alesi||body shell removable|
|01008||Ferrari 643 #27 Prost|
|01009||Ferrari 643 #28 Alesi|
|01501||Honda NSX (RHD, Japanese)||body painted either dark blue, red, yellow or silver|
|01502||Honda NSX (LHD, export)||body painted either dark green, red, yellow or silver|
|01503||Honda NSX F1 GP Marshal Car Suzuka|
|019??||Nissan Skyline GT-R Gr.N Acerola 1992 #11||Limited Edition|
The CAM series consists of 1/43rd scale car kits. The CAM series kits were released a few months after the first G-P assembled models.
Since the CAM kits shared most parts with the assembled G-P series models, the early CAM kits got some extra's to make them stand out.
The first CAM series Skyline GT-R kits got white metal engine details and photo-etched parts for brake disc faces, windshield wipers and more.
The level of detail of these kits is at the level of later [GMV] kits, yet the early kits were never marked as such.
All Ferrari F1 car kits include factory painted pre-shaped photo-etched parts for front and rear suspension.
The CAM series Right Hand Drive NSX kit and a number of Skyline GT-R kits came in two versions: standard and [GPV] kit.
The Ferrari 642 and 643 Formula 1 kits came in even more variations as the kits include either a high-downforce (Monaco GP) or low-downforce (US GP, French GP,...) setup aside from the standard, [GPV] and [GMV] versions.
The [GMV] kits live up to their name as there is a stunning amount of detail packed into these tiny F1 race car kits.
|43001||Nissan Skyline GT-R Gr.A Calsonic 1990 JTC #12|
|43002||Nissan Skyline GT-R Gr.A Axia Trampio 1991 JTC #22|
|43003||Honda NSX||(RHD, Japanese)|
|43004||Nissan Skyline GT-R Castrol 1990 #23 (Macao GP Winner)|
|43005||GPV||Nissan Skyline GT-R Gr.N Acerola 1992 #11|
|43006||Honda NSX 'Left Steering Version'|
|43007||Nissan Skyline GT-R Nismo||street|
|43008||Ferrari 642 1991 US GP||decals for Prost and Alesi|
|43009||Nissan Skyline GT-R Gr.A Zexel 1991 #25 Spa 24h Winner|
|43010||Honda NSX F1 GP Marshal Car Suzuka|
|43011||GPV||Nissan Skyline GT-R Gr.A Calsonic 1991 #1|
|43012||GPV||Nissan Skyline GT-R Gr.A Zexel 1991 #25 Spa 24h Winner|
|43013||GPV||Ferrari 642 1991 US GP #27|
|43014||GMV||Ferrari 642 1991 US GP||decals for Prost and Alesi|
|43015||Nismo Skyline GT-R||street, 1992 version, new wheels|
|43016||GPV||Honda NSX||RHD, body painted either red, yellow or silver|
|43017||Ferrari 643||decals for Prost and Alesi|
|43018||GMV||Ferrari 643||with driver figure, decals for Prost and Alesi|
|43019||Nissan Skyline GT-R Gr.A Calsonic 1992 #12|
|43020||GPV||Ferrari 643 #27||tire logos also printed on|
|43021||Nissan Skyline GT-R Gr.A Unisia JECS 1992 #1|
|43022||Nissan Skyline GT-R Gr.A Kyoseki GP-1 1992 #55|
|43023||Nissan Skyline GT-R Axia Trampio 1992 #22|
|43024||Efini RX-7 Type R|
|43026||Ferrari F641/2 F1 (1990 French GP) 100th Victory||decals for Prost and Mansell|
|43028||Nissan Skyline GT-R Gr.A Kenji HKS 1992 #87|
|43030||Nissan Skyline GT-R Gr.A Taisan STP 1992 #2|
|43901||Acura NSX||Limited Edition|
|43902||Ferrari 643 1991 Japanese GP||Limited Edition, decals for Prost and Alesi|
|43???||Nissan Skyline GT-R Gr.A FET Sports 1993 #8|
The PRA-X series consists of 1/24th scale car model kits, the first kit in this series dates from December 1991.
Contrary to the highly detailed 1/43rd scale CAM kits, the PRA-X series includes mostly kerbside models, the only kits that come with engine details are the Ferrari 642 and 643 F1 cars.
Despite being kerbside models, each of the PRA-X car kits offers a wealth of detail, no 'blank spots' nor simplifications, there are sharply defined details everywhere you look.
The models were completely made out of polystyrene, no ABS parts, with some metal parts in the F1 car kits (such as metal coil springs) and in the [GMV] kits.
|24001||Ferrari 642 1991 Monaco GP||decals for Prost and Alesi|
|24002||GMV||Ferrari 642 1991 Monaco GP||24001 with extra parts: seatbelt webbing, heat shielding foil, photo-etched seat belt buckles and radiator faces, white metal radiator pipes and ECU box|
|24003||Ferrari 643||decals for Prost and Alesi|
|24004||GPV||Ferrari 642 1991 US GP #27||tire logos also printed on|
|24005||GMV||Ferrari 643||24003 with extra parts|
|24006||Efini RX-7 Type R|
|24007||Efini RX-7 Type X|
|24010||GPV||Efini RX-7 Type R||body painted either red or black|
|24012||Mazda RX-7 R1|
|24013||GMV||Ferrari 512TR||includes photo-etched metal parts|
|24901||Ferrari 643 1991 Japan GP||Limited Edition, decals for Prost and Alesi|
Just like Fujimi and Aoshima, Rosso also released some of the wheels of their 1/24 car kits separately in sets of 4.
Rosso packaged their wheels in neat little clear plastic boxes with a paper insert covering all but one of the wheels.
The wheels have 'female' connectors (a bushing on the inside of the wheel should be fitted to an axle).
|23001||OZ 'Futura' 18in wheels w. P-Zero tires||Also in Dori² RX-7 kits|
|23002||Speedline 18in wheels w. P-Zero tires||Also in PRA-X 512TR kits|
|23003||BBS 'F1' 18in wheels w. P-Zero tires||Also in Dori² 512TR kit|
This 'Drift' series was a nice way to get some extra revenue from existing patterns, some attractive optional parts were added to make the kits more appealing.
Each model comes with new wheels, chromed metal exhaust tip(s), aerodynamic door mirror covers and a set of sponsor decals, in addition the RX-7 kits come with RE Amemiya-style recessed headlights and the 512TR kit comes with a raised rear wing.
The box art of each of the kits shows the car drifting sideways across the picture.
|44001||Nismo Skyline GT-R|
|25001||Efini RX-7 Type R||18in OZ 'Futura' wheels|
|25002||Efini RX-7 Type X||18in OZ 'Futura' wheels|
|25003||Ferrari 512TR||18in BBS 'F1' wheels|
With the R-GEAR series Rosso set out to make the best detailed 1/12th scale kits ever and indeed even after all these years they still are. The first kit in this series dates from November 1991.
The models are a mix of ABS parts and polystyrene parts with some functional metal parts (steering shaft, hinges, bonnet prop, nuts and bolts and even actual wheel nuts with a small socket wrench).
Plastic parts are either molded in appropriate colors or plated.
With the street version of the NSX, four versions were released under the same catalog number (12001): Right Hand Drive Japanese; RHD United Kingdom; Left Hand Drive European and LHD Acura (USA). A small sticker on the box edge next to the catalog number indicates what version is in the box.
There might also have been different versions made of the NSX Marshal Car (12003) kit as I seem to recall seeing a 'Spa GP' version in a shop in Belgium rather than the familiar 'Suzuka GP' version, but I have yet to find definitive proof of this.
|12003||Honda NSX F1 GP Marshal Car|
The WRX series 1/8th scale kits are among the most ambitious model kits ever produced.
To provide rigidity without adding too much thickness the body shell was made out of injection molded aluminum rather than ABS. Suspension parts and wheels are die-cast metal, engine, monocoque and most detail parts are either ABS or polystyrene, seat is vinyl, tires are soft rubber.
Body, suspension parts and wheels are factory painted, all plastic parts are either molded in appropriate colors or plated. Assembly is mostly by screws, a screwdriver and a small socket wrench are provided.
Despite of all the different materials used, fit of parts is very good.
The separate Grade-up Parts Set adds a vinyl driver figure with decals for the helmets of both Prost and Alesi, rubber and vinyl hoses for engine and brakes, die-cast garage wheels, white metal hose connectors and front brake cylinders, large sheets of photo-etched metal for heat shields, cowl fasteners, ECU box, a Ferrari emblem and templates for painting the tire logos.
|80001s||Ferrari 643||'Special Thanks Limited' edition|
|80101||Ferrari 643 Grade-up Parts Set||can be used with either 80001 or 80001s|