Model, Text and Photos by: James L. Ravelo II
In the 1973 season of the World Rally Championships, the name "Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution" first appeared and later on in the 1993 season it came back, even though in the interim period the Lancer was participating on and off rally activity. The first Lancer Evolution was just a rather crude application of Mitsubishi's previous rallycar, the 6th generation Galant VR-4. Transplanted into the Lancer Evolution from the Galant VR-4 was the turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 4G63 engine and the 4WD system. The Lancer Evolution acquired a 2nd place in the Indonesia and RAC rally, paving the way for further successes to come. The Lancer Evolution II came in 1994, the Evolution III in 1995, and through the driving of Tommi Makinen, the Evolution III won him 5 races in 1996, giving him a Driver's Title in the World Rally Championship. In 1997, the Evolution IV was brought out on a new body platform, and it also gave Tommi Makinen another Driver's Title, showing the prowess of the continually improving Lancer Evolution. In the World Rally Championship's 1998 season, the Lancer Evolution V debuted in the 5th Catalonian Rally. The most notable change comes in the exterior. The body was widened to 1770mm through the use of new front fenders and fiberglass overfenders on the rear. The front bumper was redesigned, ading a canard spoiler and changed airflow to the engine bay, and the bonnet was redesigned with new shaped ducts. The previous Evolution's rear wing was also redesigned and is now movable. Mechanically, it was the adoption of an electrically controlled active differential in the rear, center, and front of the car which gave it the edge over the previous Evolution and it ensures high traction. The Lancer Evolution V, driven by Tommi Makinen, showed its impressive power throughout the season.
The kit comes in 12 parts - 4 runners (in white, black, or clear color), the body, a tire bag, two wet-transfer decal sheets, a tire decal sheet, a masking seal sheet, mesh, and the manual. Assembly dictates the use of styrene cement for some parts and of course, painting which is best recommended done as the building process proceeds.
The fold-out manual is done in typical Tamiya style. It's printed in black and white, featuring a picture of the completed kit and a short description of the car (in English, German, French and Japanese) in front, required and/or recommended tools and paints to use on the second page, and also detailed step-by-step building instructions on the second page, and painting, decal application and tire decal application, and an aftermarket service card at the last page. Too bad though the aftermarket service card is only for Japanese use.
The body comes in three main parts - the main body, the front bumper, and the rear bumper. Other parts such as the 4-piece rear wing, side mirrors, glass areas, various antennas, roof scoop, front windshield wipers, side skirt molding, headlamp and taillamp covers, hood and trunklid latches (unfortunately, I misplaced one of those latches and thus the trunklid is missing one latch), headlamp backing (molded in white and thus requires a coat of chrome silver paint), mesh and a part to simulate visible engine bay detail, and license plate attach separately and would require their own detailing at that time also. The visible engine bay detail for the rally car kit is different from the road car's kit in the sense that there's more detail (and understandably, requiring more detail painting). There is one very nice detail which Tamiya got to put into the front bumper - the "EVOLUTION" text recess on the foglamp covers are nicely molded in and actually readable, even after painting. The body and related parts require not only detail painting, but also the addition of numerous decals to simulate either Tommi Makinen's Lancer Evolution V rallycar or Richard Burns' Carisma GT rallycar.
This Lancer Evolution V carries a white scheme for the body portions above the beltline and red for portions below the beltline and for the rear wing, and is decorated with the red/gray/black "Ralliart" stripes and various sponsor and competition decals.
The parts are molded in white, black or clear plastic, and they would require detail painting to enhance realism. The suspension components are very nicely detailed and represented, although using accurately painted front and rear suspension protective covers would hide most of the details. Easily remedied though if the clear plastic molded suspension protective covers are left unpainted to show details of the suspension. Being a curbside kit, this doesn't have an engine but the visible portions of the engine underneath the car is represented accurately. A nicely detailed radiator (with fans) and intercooler are separate parts but attached later on. The drivetrain and exhaust system is also excellently detailed. The underside of the floorpan itself is very accurate, down to the last recess on the spare tire compartment on the trunk (unused though on the rally car as the spare tire is stored inside the cockpit). The front brake system is nicely detailed, with "AP" markings molded onto the brake calipers themselves and the front discs have ventilation grooves but only for the portion of the discs facing outside. The rear brake system is also detailed nicely, as it has "Alcon" markings molded onto the brake calipers and as with the front discs, they also have ventilation grooves on the visible part of the discs facing outward. The front suspension allows for not only turning movement for the wheels courtesy of polycaps inside the brake assemblies, but also steering movement, and the rear also lets the wheels turn courtesy of the same way the front does, through polycaps inside the brake assemblies. The wheel rims require a bit of detail painting to make them look more realistic, and decals are also required, but it is worth noting that putting on the "Magnesio" decals on the inside of the rim requires patience due to the difficulty in placing a decal at a normally hard to access place. The tires are slicks with grooves cut onto it as this car represents a tarmac-spec version, and it also requires the placement of 2 tire decals ("Michelin" and "Pilot SX"). Unfortunately, while there were 5 of each type of tire decal provided, I had ruined two of them "Michelin" decals - the first one while I was attaching it, and the second one was after I had successfully attached it but forgot to avoid holding it while attaching the body. Thus, the right front tires only have the "Pilot SX" markings. Once the rear suspension is built, it can be noticed that the wheels point inward - it's no part manufacturing error. The rear suspension was built like so to simulate the tarmac-spec car which expectedly needs more cornering grip brought about with that kind of wheel orientation and since there aren't too many hard jumps expected in a tarmac rally, there is virtually no risk of the fenders cutting into the wheels.
The cockpit has parts molded in either white or black and would require detail painting along the assembly process, and is somewhat of a mixed bag. First off, the good points. The construction of this car's cockpit isn't the same as the roadcar's cockpit in the sense that this doesn't use a cockpit "tub." Instead, the cockpit parts such as the footwells, seats and seat rails, shifter, pedals (clutch, brake and accelerator), rollcage, and other accessories such as fire extinguishers attach directly to the floorpan. That specific portion of the floorpan itself is nicely detailed, so to speak, with the recesses and indentations accurately molded (I know so, since the Lancer, whether an Evolution or a plain one, has the same floorpan and I for one can compare it against the Lancer that I own). The rear seat bulkhead is also a separate part that attaches to the floorpan, and so does the inside door panels. Again, there is very nice detail on the inside door panels - it's even got a representation of the manual window crank.
The rollcage is made of modular sections which connect to other sections very accurately, a testament to the superb engineering that Tamiya has done. Even the GPS transponders are represented and are attached to a portion on the rear portion of the rollcage. The dashboard is quite spartan compared to a roadcar's dashboard, but it has details for the various toggle switches and knobs and other control mechanisms necessary in operating the car. The steering wheel and column are separate parts and attach to the dashboard later on. There is also some sort of separate display panel on the dashboard and on the right side of the inside door panel for the co-driver's use. Wet transfer decals are provided to add detail for the cockpit such as for the fire extinguisher markings, dashboard display panels, seats and related parts such as the racing harness, driver and co-driver/navigator decals and carbon-fiber backing on the back of the seats, and other accessories inside the cockpit. Quite simply, the cockpit gives us an idea of how spartan but utilitarian the rally car's cockpit is.
Now on to the gripes. They aren't actually gripes per se, but more like a wish list for those modelers without the time or talent or a combination of both to do quite substantial scratchbuilds of portions of the cockpit. The cockpit doesn't have a spare tire included, where the real rally car has one and it's stored behind the driver and co-driver's seats. Next is the seatbelts. They're only decals. Granted, they were done quite nicely but those seeking to add more realism can make a more accurate representation of the seatbelts, although those who don't have the time and/or skills can settle for the provided seatbelt decals.
Tamiya has done quite a nice job with this kit, with all the details incorporated into it, but in my opinion this kit is just a "base" model kit wherein advanced modelers can add more details to this kit to enhance its realism, unlike other Tamiya kits where they are great even if built "as-is."
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