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Tamiya Subaru Impreza WRC 2004

Paints:

  • Kapci 2K automotive primer
  • Zero Paints white primer (body parts)
  • Zero Paints ZP-1492 Mann Filter - HTP Motorsport Yellow
  • Kapci 2K automotive clear

Extras:
  • Shortened front and rear shocks to lower the body on the chassis
  • Chassis modified to match with the shortened shock absorbers
  • Tamiya rims and tires taken from another WRC tarmac-version kit
  • New higher drive shaft tunnel constructed
  • Almost all original interior mounting points sanded down
  • Scale Model Works stainless steel HKS silencer
  • Exhaust pipe modified to allow fitment of the SMW silencer
  • Hobby Design HD03-0170 AP Racing brake calipers
  • ScaleLab_24 photo-etch 15mm disc brakes
  • Fujimi Right Hand drive Subaru Impreza dashboard
  • New dash was fully modified to turn it into a race-spec
  • Scratch-build 3-gauge center dash pod
  • Scratch-built ECU, Display, Battery + Holder and Gear Lever
  • Original hand-brake was modified to alter lever position
  • Added a modified swirl pot, fuel pump and hose in the boot
  • Modified rear parcel shelf and door cards
  • Custom silver tape installed beneath drive system and exhaust
  • Scale Motorsport carbon and kevlar decals for the interior
  • Hobby Design decals for the Recaro, gauges and Defi lettering
  • Custon switches installed to dashboard side panel
  • Custom decals for the Motec ECU & display + BuddyClub battery 
  • Top Studio braided lines and resin hose joints
  • Custom wiring done to center console, ECU and battery
  • T2M green strand and Scale_Lab24 photo-etch used for harness
  • New interior rear view and door side mirrors, from my extra parts box
  • Scratch-built front lip, side splitters and rear diffuser
  • Hobby Design HD03-0047 GT Wing (B) rear spoiler
  • Crazy Modeler Enkei decal (rims) & HD Endless decal (brake calipers)
  • Hobby Design HD04-0008 carbon decals used for external parts
  • Custom printed decals for the body, to achieve a JUN livery
  • Custom air valves attached to rims
Tamiya Box. Subaru Impreza WRC 2004 Rally Japan kit, No.24276
This is being built for a group build being organized on facebook by 1/24JDM. The idea is to turn a Japanese vehicle into a track car. I saw this Impreza as the perfect candidate to turn from a WRC into a Track! Above picture is the one used to submit my entry!

First thing I did was to test fit the ride height to see how much lowering was needed. So I cut off all the chassis parts and assembled them temporarily in place using blu-tac!

Since this is a gravel version, I was expecting the ride height to be high.. but not this high!! I was shocked to discover it needed so much lowering as it means much more work! Lesson learned for next time... get a tarmac version WRC kit, not a gravel!! Rims and tires seen above are the ones I'm planning to use and come from another Tamiya WRC kit

Here's the culprit of such a high ride height! Lowering this will be easy by simply chopping that long arm off and re-join the suspensions. However modifying the control arms to a new position will take much more work and time. Let's go...

First thing to do is take out the knife and start cutting to get the Impreza to sit right!

These are all the steps to get the shock absorbers lower! Cutting, drilling and joining!

With the suspensions cut short, everything around them had to sit at a higher position. First thing I did was to cut off the lower part of the engine from the engine bay

Then, I needed to lower the rear control arms mounting points. I first cut a hole where the original position was, then using styrene I constructed new positions for these to rest onto. Another piece of styrene was added next to the engine for new mounting points

Above, all work on these new points is completed. Just some further smoothing required

All that remained was to mount the suspensions and control arms in their new higher positions and check the front ride height. It's the height I was aiming for, so off to the rear!

For the rear I began with the suspensions where these were shortened by 2mm

Then, it was time to lower the whole differential assembly by 2mm to match with the shorter shock absorbers. This was achieved by cutting 2mm off the top of the structure beneath the differential, seen in grey above as before (inset) and after

Everything was re-assembled and now the body sits where I wanted it to be.. perfect!

Here I thought that I was finished from the chassis modifications.. but I wasn't! Having a higher front and rear set-ups, meant the drive shaft will now sit higher too and this came in contact with the tunnel floor! So this had to be cut out and a new one built higher!

I began by first making two straight pieces of styrene on top of the old tunnel to achieve the new required height, as seen above

Then I placed a flat piece of styrene to cover the hole cut earlier. This will be detailed further at a later stage. I have also sanded down almost all of the original interior items mounting points, as these will be replaced or relocated. You can also see that the driver seat brackets were completely removed as the Impreza will be converted to a RHD!

Finally, this is how the underbody looks now. The front part was lowered to avoid the gearbox touching with the floor. Also the gearbox pin lenght was adjusted. In the middle, the new tunnel can be seen in its new height, making enough clearence for the drive shaft

Next work was the exhaust. The Impreza already comes with a straight pipe, so that's great! However the back silencer needed replacement and for this I chose an HKS unit from Scale Model Works. I have a review on these exhausts which can be seen here

On the back side I cut the original silencer off and added two different diameter plastic rods. The transparent one above is the same diameter as the HKS inlet to facilitate installing it. On the front side, I had to add an extension to the exhaust pipe as this became too short due to the re-location of the engine at a higher position

The rear bumper also had to be slightly sanded down around the exhaust hole due to the larger diameter exhaust. All that remained was to test fit the whole exhaust in place

The bumper hole diameter also had to be increased due to the larger exhaust tip. I really like the way the exhaust looks from behind, these SMW exhausts are very realistic

Next job was a brakes upgrade. For this, I chose the 15mm Photo-Etch disc brakes from ScaleLab_24 and AP Racing Calipers from Hobby Design

First thing to do is put the photo-etch disc brakes together, by first cutting the front and rear flat parts, then the grills and finally attach everything together

Then it was time to make them more realistic. First I attached the discs on a sanding stone using double sided tape, then slowly scratched the surface to achieve that worn look

Finally, here's a comparison of the kit disc brakes and my newly finished combination

With all the chassis work sorted, it was time to start working on the interior, beginning with the dash. The original supplied with the kit was great for a track car, however it was a Left Hand drive and I couldn't keep it like that since I was after that JDM look. So after a chat with a local friend, I was the owner of a new Fujimi Impreza dash that was Right Hand drive.. Thank You Gilles! Time to modify this, beginning by cutting off the bottom part

Then I opened all the dash vents to simulate these has been removed, making it a more race-spec dash. Then I found a piece of 3mm styrene to build a 3-gauge pod

Then I constructed the 3-gauge center pod, using a piece of styrene for the bottom and also a piece of transparent wire heat-shrink to simulate the gauges covers

Next job was to cut a hole in the top middle part of the dash to allow the gauge pod to sit into. Then, I realized that the new dash was shorter than the original and there will be a larger distance between the seat and the dash. This was due to a longer rear part on the original, so I began by cutting out both rear sections of the dashboards

Finally, the rear part from the original was glued to the new dash, achieving the same length as the original dash. This was then smoothed and the new dash called done!

Then it was time for some scratch-building! Referring to photos of real items, I made a Motec ECU and Display together with a BuddyClub battery and bracket. These were made from extra pieces of resin I had left over from the FD2 Civic build and styrene

I also scratch-built a racing gear lever using metal wire, resin, styrene and wire insulation. As for the hand-brake, I decided to use the original Tamiya one however this was modified

The original kit pedal box received some new styrene pedals to make it more detailed, while the enclosure received some cutting and sanding to make it more track-car friendly! 

Click for more info

Next job was the fuel system where I took the original WRC automatic fire extinguisher and modified it to look like a swirl pot. Then I also made a new fuel pump and filler hose

The rear parcel shelf was detailed further by opening all the holes, making it more realistic and also allowing the fuel system to be seen through the bigger holes

Some details like the window winder handles, were removed from the original door cards to make the interior more track-car focused. The rear door handles were covered

Last modification was done to the Hobby Design calipers to make them narrower since these were much wider than the photo-etch disc brakes. These were first cut in half, the extra sanded off and then both parts re-joined together

Finally, with all the chassis and interior modifications carried out, all the pieces were cleaned from any mold lines present and attached to the sticks, ready for primer!

All parts were then airbrushed with Kapci 2K automotive primer

The main chassis and interior parts were first to receive their final colour, and this is an automotive 2K pure white, which dries hard and gloss without need for clear

The seat, dash and steering were airbrushed with ZP Textured paint to make them look more realistic with a 'suede' look

As for the chassis control items, it looks like I raided the Cusco catalog as all items were airbrushed in metallic blue!

Then I started masking and once done I airbrushed several parts and pieces in satin black

Once the black was dry, more masking was done and other parts airbrushed in aluminium, chrome and gun-metal grey

More airbrushing and detailing was done wherever required, like these suspensions which were colored according to real Cusco ones available for the Impreza

Once all items were detailed as necessary, everything was ready for final assembly. The chassis received some custom silver tape beneath the gearbox and drive shaft

Here's the all finished chassis. It is still missing the brakes as these will be attached later

With the chassis finished, it was time to continue working on the interior, beginning with the door cards where these were covered with Scale Motorsport #1424 carbon fiber decals. The seat back was covered with #1324 kevlar decal. Both were then airbrushed with 2K clear

Recaro decals from Hobby Design were added to the seat while the black part was airbrushed with flat clear to achieve a more realistic look

The dash was next. This was finished off with Hobby Design decals for the gauges and Defi sticker, together with some custom switches to one side. Carbon decal was also used to blank the original instrument cluster area

I also printed some custom decals for the Motec ECU and display together with the battery

All the parts were detailed accordingly and then everything was ready for assembly

The interior floor was slightly weathered and is ready for assembly, just like both doors

First thing I assembled was the custom fuel system using 0.8 and 1mm Top Studio braided lines and resin hose joints. Braided lines were also added to the handbrake to make it even more realistic. Then the custom gear lever and hand brake set-ups were attached, together with the standard switch system where I also added some wiring. Then, I began placing the ECU, battery and extinguisher on the floor to choose a set-up

This is the set-up I went for, thanks to Mark for the idea! Battery and ECU were also wired to create a more realistic look. Dash installed temporarily to show how they'll look overall 

With the seat and roll-cage installed in place, I could start installing the harness using T2M green strand, Scale_Lab24 photo-etch and custom Takata decals

At this point, all that remained was to assemble the last pieces together and call the interior done. The last part that was added was a rear view mirror, taken from my parts box spares

Next job was the body, and the first thing I did was to fill the extra holes with super-glue

Then it was time to choose a new pair of side mirrors, since the original ones were a little too.. boxy! In my spares parts box, I found these pair which I instantly liked and fitted in place

The body lines were scribed and before heading for primer, I decided to add some aero to the body. So I scratch-built a front lip, side splitters and rear diffuser from styrene sheets

I also chose a rear spoiler for the Impreza: The Hobby Design GT Wing (B) 1400mm

All the parts were then attached to the sticks and airbrushed in 2K automotive primer

The rims were then airbrushed in gloss black and Crazy Modeler Enkei decals applied. The brake calipers, were airbrushed in blue and received a Hobby Design Endless decal

The front lip, side splitters, rear diffuser, rear wing and side mirrors were then covered with carbon decal, where I used the Hobby Design HD04-0008

As for livery, I chose JUN!! A custom livery inspired by the famous Super Lemon WRX

Since the final colour will be a bright yellow, I decided to airbrush some light layers of white primer from Zero Paints. A white base will make the yellow colour look better 

Here's the chosen colour: The Mann Filter - HTP Motorsport Yellow from Zero Paints! This was perfect as I needed a bright yellow colour. Special thanks to MG Models Malta

As soon as I had airbrushed enough layers of yellow paint, some mist coats of 2K clear were airbrushed to seal the colour off and get the body ready for the next steps

Panel lines were next and these were painted using Tamiya smoke mixed with Mr.Hobby    Thinner. After some minutes drying, excess paint was cleaned using the same thinner

Decals Time! The inspiration WRX uses a variety of logos, all in the same green colour. I wanted to replicate this on mine, so I printed this decal sheet using appropriate logos

Decals were then attached to the body until I got the look I was aiming for. As can be seen, I printed quite a few extra decals! Better to have some spare rather than missing!

With all the decals in place, the WRX headed back to the booth for more 2K clear layers!

Around 2 mist and a further 2 wet coats were airbrushed to achieve the result seen above

Once the 2K was fully hardened, all orange peel was sanded smooth using 2500-grit automotive sand paper with soapy water. This produces a fully flat finish as seen above

Next was the actual polishing where this was done with a buffer to achieve a deeper shine

In the above picture you can see the shine that was achieved after all polishing steps were performed. All the steps I did, are documents into a Polishing Tutorial. Click HERE to view

Body was then fully masked to airbrush the window trims and front grille in satin black

Next job was to finish the brakes and wheels. First the calipers were joined to the photo-etch brakes, then custom air valves were attached to the rims and finally joined together

Finally, all remaining pieces were attached to the body and the Impreza called done!

For the complete set of finished pictures, head over to the Gallery section, or click here to be re-directed

More info inside
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