Safari Rally in Kenya is known as one of hardest in WRC. Sporting a roof-mounted snorkel for driving in heavy rain or over flooded terrain, the Impreza can continually supply air to its engine. This car has 'animal guard' on the front bumper and there are high power projector lamps on the front of rear-view mirrors. Subaru wanted to repeat their 1997 Safari rally victory, but they were forced to retire after the second day because heavy damage.
Like many Tamiya models, this one doesn't have a complete engine, so it is a curbside kit. Only the bottom of the engine is visible. The suspension and other parts on the chassis are very good with lots of details.
The only thing that I dislike with Tamiya kits is their color mixing that is required for some parts of the engine. At the time I worked on this kit, the Tamiya X-31, X-32 and X-33 were not available which replace that color mixing.
On the suspension you must remove flash on spring, left after molding. As usual with Tamiya, between suspension and disk brake parts go rubber tubes so you can push wheels on without glueing. Front drive is steerable so you can put the wheels in different positions.
The manufacturer provides transparent parts which covers engine and suspensions. If you want more reality, get kevlar decals and put it on transparent parts instead of painting it in semi-gloss color like Tamiya suggests. Or you can leave them transparent, as they are to show off the detail. Wheels are very good with PVC tires. When you put decals on tires, cover it with flat lacquer because they are shiny.
There are many details - pedals, hand brake, fire exstinguisher, shifter, etc. The aluminum sticker that goes under driver's feet should be thicker so it can be easier attached on the floor. You need to push it over raised and sunken panels. On the seats, beware of the decals that go on the rear side because they are too large.
Here you must decide what version you will build and for what driver, because decals are different for each driver. The dashboard is very simple and instruments are made with decals, without raised numbers and pointers. On all this goes the roll-cage, inner side of doors and rear mirror.
Now we turn for that thing that is most visible on every car - the body. First you must cut part of front bumper as stated in the instructions and drill holes on the roof and rear bumper. You can put the antennas on later, but my advice is to drill the holes at this stage so you can put anntenas on in the end.
The hooks on the rear bumper (no. A27) I did make from wire. I used wire from an electronic resistor (or any other electronic component) because you can bend and shape it very easily. You must attach it on the body with CA glue or epoxy.
Hood grilles are cut as shown in the instructions. Glue them on after you have painted the body because they must be left black. The front bumper needs some filling and sanding after you glued parts A6 and A7. Complete the rear wing first and make a dry test fit before glueing. Study the front defender carefully because it is different for version '3' and '4'. On version '3' you must cut the upper arch.
Windows and windshields are molded in one part and should be painted with semi gloss black from the inner side. You have the help of masking stickers which are included the kit. After painting, the windows can be glued in the body. I used Micro Kristal Kleer white glue that can't damage the windows. After that you can cut the UV foil and put it on the inside of windows.
The snorkel has a hole on the bottom side and doesn't look realistic. I filled the rounded part of the snorkel with excess plastic from part-trees, filled with putty to get the good shape. The end of the snorkle is square so I used paper from a pocket calendar, cutting it into shape and attached with CA glue.
When you are finished with the body you must attach it on the chassis before you can attach mud flaps. I didn't paint the side mirrors in silver like Tamiya suggests. Instead of that I used Bare Metal Foil so they look like real mirrors. Now you can attach transparent parts for lights, side mirrors, snorkel and front bumper on the body.
Paint & Markings
Most of the car is painted with Mica Blue color, which you can only find in Tamiya production in sprays. Name of color is TS-50 Mica Blue and is good for all Subaru WRC versions. Inside the light lenses I painted silver. When you glue on the transparent parts, the lights look more realistic.
Decals are typically good for Tamiya but are a little thick. You need Micro Set and Micro Sol to attach it nicely. For weathering I used Humbrol 29. I lowered compressor pressure so I got sprinkled flow from airbrush. I put a little drop of dark color on the mufflers' end. I masked the windshield wiper areas where the glass looks clean.
This model is great fun and I recommend it to all car lovers, as well as to rally-car fans.