by Tony Paton
Subaru unveiled their new 2000 Impreza WRC mid way through the season at the rally of Portugal. It was an impressive debut with Richard Burns finishing in first place overall. His teammate Kankkunen failed to finish.
There are no 1/24 2000 Impreza kits on the market at this time so to produce a replica of this car, a studio27 transkit (ST27-TK2413) is needed. The donor kit that it is designed for is the Tamiya Subaru Impreza WRC '99 (24218). The S27 kit comes with metal parts for the new front spoiler, rear wing, bonnet air scoops, radiator and exhaust pipe with muffler. There are also the usual photo etched frets that include grills, pins, brakes, wipers, pedals and badges. The last part are decals to produce either the cars that ran at Portugal or Catalunya rallies for both Burns & Kankkunen. The decal instructions are in colour and an English translation sheet is also provided.
The instructions tell you (by the way of photos) what parts of the donor body to remove. For the front spoiler it was quite easy as it only took a few cuts. The new bonnet airscoops were a different matter. It took a lot of work with a dremel tool and sanding to get the white metal parts to fit. Don't push too hard or they bend. The metal parts were then glued into their places with CA glue. The gaps were filled with putty and sanded smooth. The radio aerial placement for the roof is different from the 99 to the '00 model. All that is needed is to cut off and sand the pins for them and drill two holes at the front of the roof on each side of the roof vent. Everything was sanded and washed in preparation for priming. I used Tamiya's primer and I had done a good job with fitting everything that no gap filling was needed. Three coats of Tamiya TS-50 Mica blue were applied and this was left to dry while work on the chassis commenced.
For this part the instructions were used. Only parts that needed to be replaced were the radiator and the exhaust pipe underneath. There were no major problems to report in this part. Everything was painted on the sprue before construction; this I find saves a lot of time. The suspension and under tray areas went together as planned with no major concerns and the end result was very pleasing.
I decided to add an extra bit of detail to the interior. I really hate Tamiya's seat belt decals as they don't at all look scale and only appear at the front. I got a set of scalemotor sports seatbelts that have white fabric with a sticky substance on the back. You can use a felt tip pen to colour this fabric anyway you like. The Subaru's' belts are blue so painting is a breeze. Only criticism I have is when you cut the fabric, it tends to leave frays and takes awhile to clean up. It is also hard to remove from the clear plastic backing. Apart from that they went together well.
Another scale motorsport product I used was a sheet of carbon fibre decal. I used this for certain parts of the dashboard, exterior mirrors and side intrusion areas. This stuff is easy to use and comes highly recommend by me. The results are very eye catching to say the least.
It was now time to decal the body. The S27 decals are complete and no extra kit decals are required (except for the interior). There are a few problems where some of the smaller decals as they are very light. Where I could I substituted with the kit decals that were better. When these dried I used Testors' gloss coat. This seals the decals and gives a great shine to the body.
When this had dried, many of the PE parts like grills were fitted. The front and rear lights were fitted. The front indicator lights had a problem fitting due to the replacement front spoiler. A little bit of sanding and they went in ok. The one-piece window was painted with the seals. These things are really a nuisance to use and I think this will be the last time I use them. No matter how hard you press down on them, they still creep paint underneath. Back to the old masking job for me.
The body was then connected to the chassis. Remember to remove the front connector pins off the chassis as the holes they fit into were cut away when the major surgery was done. I thought there maybe a fit problem but the two halves came together with no complaints. The window decals were added along with the PE wiper blades, pins and badge for the bonnet. Interestingly, reference pictures for this car show the wheels a metallic silver colour instead of the usual gold. I thought this would look wrong but after spraying these gloss aluminum it looks ok. Finally it was capped with two bent aerials from Sakutsu. This was my first attempt at a conversion using white metal parts. I was so impressed with the results it has urged me to do more of them. As I always say, take your time and get some good reference material to help you.
The car kit and transkit were purchased from Rainbow ten
The scalemotorsport seatbelt set and carbon fibre decals were purchased from John Lancaster in Australia
Sakatsu aerials were purchased from Hobbylink Japan
Big Thank you's!!
Thanks to Stephen Loft for the pictures and excellent reference material. Without his help I doubt that my replica would be as good as it is. Also thanks to Philip Curtis who supplied an extra rear vision mirror that I had somehow discarded. Without his generosity this car would not be complete.
To both of you a big thank you..