Tamiya 1/24 Subaru WRC 98 Safari

Model, Text and Photos by: Zeljko Segin


Safari Rally in Kenya is known as one of the 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 an 'animal guard' on the front bumper and there are high power projector lamps on the front of the rear view mirrors. Subaru with this car wanted to repeat the 1997 race when they won the Safari rally, but they were forced to retire after the second day because of heavy damage.

Like most of the rest of Tamiya's models, this one doesn't have a complete engine, so it is a curbside kit. Visible is only the bottom of the engine. The suspension and other parts on the chassis are very good with lots of details. The only thing which I dislike with Tamiya is their color mixing which 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 cut excess of plastic on spring, left after molding. As is usual with Tamiya, between the suspension and the brake disk, goes rubber tubes so you just push wheels on it without glueing. Front drive is steerable so you can put wheels in different positions. Manufacturer gives transparent parts which covers engine and suspensions. If you want more reality, get kevlar decals and put them on the transparent parts instead of painting them in semi-gloss color like Tamiya suggests. Or you can leave them transparent, as they are intended to show off the detail.

Wheels are very good with PVC tires. When you put decals on tires, cover them with flat lacquer because they are too shiny.

There is a lot of detail here too, e.g. pedals, hand brake, fire exstinguisher, shifter, etc.. Aluminum sticker which goes under the drivers feet should be thicker so it would be easier to attach to the floor. The way it is, you must push it a little harder over raised and sunken panels. On the seats, watch the decal which goes on the rear side because they are a little bigger than the seat, so you must cut it. Here you must to decide which version you will build and for which driver, because decals are different for each driver. Dashboard is very simple and instruments are made with decals, without raised numbers and pointers. Over all this goes the roll-cage, inner side of doors and the rear view mirror.

Now we turn to the thing that is most visible on every car; the body. On the begining you must cut part of front bumper as stated in the instructions and drill holes on the roof and rear bumper. You can add antennas later on, but my advice is to drill the holes at this stage so you can attach antennas on the end. The hooks on the rear bumper (no. A27) I made of wire. Very good to use is wire from 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 two-components glue. Hood grilles are cut like 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's different for version '3' and '4'. On version '3' you must cut 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 in the kit. After painting, the windows can be glued in the body. I used Micro Kristal Kleer white glue which doesn't damage the windows. After that you can cut the UV foil and put it on the inside of the 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 I attached it with CA glue.

When you are finished with the body you must attach attach it to the chassis before you 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 looks like real mirrors.

Now you can attach transparent parts for lights, side mirrors, snorkel and front defender on body.

Most of the car is painted with Mica Blue color which you can only find in Tamiya production in sprays. The name of the color is TS-50 Mica Blue and is good for all Subaru WRC versions. Places where to attach lights I did paint in 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 to leave the areas clean that would be cleared by the wipers.

This model is great and I recommend it to all car lovers, and not only to rally-car fans.

Zeljko Segin

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I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.