By Juho Ala-Jaaski
This is the newest kit in Tamiya's line of World Rally Car kits, and I would say it is the best. Detailing is fabulous, and the chromed mirror faces, hood and trunk pins and the Peugeot emblem add to the realism. Decals are provided for two versions, one driven by an Italian driver, Gilles Panizzi who placed second in the 1999 San Remo rally and another one driven by a French driver, Francois Delecour.
Decals are also provided for the seatbelts and both of the blue Peugeot lion emblems on the body. These were featured in the 1999 season. For the 2000 season the cars are painted silver, without the lion emblems. With that said, lets move on to the kit
The body is very well molded and comes in three pieces - the main body, the rear spoiler and a part of the lower front fender. The spoiler itself consists of three pieces. The airduct on the roof is a separate part. Tamiya would have you paint it gloss black but it's supposed to be carbon fibre, so if you have any carbon fibre decal, this is the place to use it.
I decided not to paint the plastic as it is the right color, and only has few mold lines which I sanded and polished. The window trim was painted gloss black. Care must be taken here as the co-driver's side window brace needs to be left white as part of the rear lion emblem goes on it. Tamiya includes masks to mask-off the insides of the windows while you paint the black trim. Some paint bled under the masks and I had to scrape it off with a finger nail. After that was accomplished, I applied Future Floor Polish to the body, let it harden over night and then applied the decals.
The decals went on with no problems, except for the lower part of the front lion emblem which I had to cut a bit to make it conform properly. After the decals were applied, they were allowed to dry overnight. I then applied Future to seal the decals.
I applied the final details after the bodywork had dried for several days. These included the hood/trunk pins, Peugeot emblem, the antennae and the windshield wipers.
Assembling the chassis is pretty much straightforward. Everything lines up great, but most of the nice suspension details can't be seen when the painted bottom armor is put on. Tamiya provides these as clear parts, so you have a choice of painting them and having them cover the details or leave them clear to allow for the suspension details to show. The kit is a curbside kit so no engine is provided apart from what you can see from the bottom of the car, which is very little because of the armor. If you want to detail your car even further, then I recommend adding brake lines and maybe separate springs for the shock absorbers. Tamiya would have you paint the shock absorbers pink for the front and black for the rear, but having just watched the Finnish rally on TV, I can tell that they are supposed to be red.
I painted the exhaust pipe silver and applied a heavy wash of black and brown to make it look burnt from the heat and to simulate grime and rust. The inside of the body was painted gloss black to prevent the dark interior components from showing through the white plastic.
There is quite a bit of work on the interior. The roll-cage assembly alone consists of five pieces!! The dashboard is really easy to get to look good, just paint it and apply the supplied decals. Decals are included for the speedometer, fuel indicator dial co-drivers screens seatbelts, carbon fibre seat backs , driver's names on the seats, fire extinguisher markings and for the small Peugeot emblem on the co-driver's side of the dash.
All of the parts fit well, especially the roll-cage pieces. The seat decals are a bit hard to get in place, but once on they look good enough. You might want to substitute PE buckles and paper belts. After the decals were applied, the seats were coated with a dull coat, along with the pads on the roll-cage and the shifting lever knob. A spare tyre is also provided for the interior. I suggest adding a Grandt Line bolt to the center to make it look like it has been attached at least somehow!
The seat belts should go through the holes on the seats and attach to different parts of the interior behind them. I added paper belts to make them look like they do. The air filter was painted flat black with gloss black frames and attached to the chassis.
The kit is very well engineered and detailed. Fit is great, and decals too. The only gripe I have with it are the seat belts. Hasegawa provided plastic or PE buckles and thin colored plastic for the belts. I wish Tamiya would too. That said, I recommend this kit to young and old, experienced and inexperienced modellers and to anyone interested in rally or race cars. Pictures can be found at these URLs:
Thanks to Tieto-Nikkari in Helsinki, Finland for the review kit. Check out their website. The staff is friendly and they also speak English.