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  1. Ford Fiesta RS WRC 1:32nd scale Airfix In 2011, the FIA brought in a new set of Regulations for the World Rally Championship (WRC). Chief among these changes were the rules regarding the cars themselves. The previous Super 2000 category was scraped and the 2.0 litre engines were replaced by smaller 1.6 ltr units. The power plants would still be turbocharged and restrictors fitted to the air intake system would limit power to around 300 BHP. This power would be transmitted through a permanent 4-wheel drive, 6-speed sequential transmission and would propel the cars from 0-60 in around 3 seconds, on any type of surface. Ford have had a long association with the WRC and with the new rule changes, they chose to enter a new car. The Focus had been their challenger since 1999 and it was a very popular vehicle on the stages. Over the years, it was driven by the likes of Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz, Markko Martin, Marcus Gronholm, Mikko Hirvonen and more recently, Jari-Matti Latvala. For the 2011 season, Ford debuted the Fiesta RS WRC (RS standing for Rallye Sport). The cars were prepared and run by Malcolm Wilsons M-Sport outfit. Aside from the factory team, the cars were also supplied to a good number of smaller outfits and privateer teams. The kit Airfix have produced many car kits in the past and perhaps the most well known are their range of classic 1/32nd scale automobiles. After Hornbys purchase of the company in 2006, Airfix once again returned to this scale, with the release of a couple of modern Sports Car racers (the Aston Martin DBR9 and the Jaguar XKR GT3). They have now entered the WRC arena with the release of the 2012 Ford Fiesta RS WRC rally car. The kit arrives in the now familiar modern Airfix, top opening, red box. Adorning the box lid is a very attractive illustration of Petter Solbergs Fiesta, at speed, on a stage of the Monte Carlo rally. When we open the box, we are greeted with 3 sprues of grey styrene parts, a separately bagged sprue of clear pieces and a one piece body shell, moulded in white. An 8 page instruction sheet is supplied, which features clear assembly steps, with colour call-outs for Humbrol paints, along the way. The paint and decal guide is illustrated with some very nice digital images of the WRC Fiesta. Construction begins with the chassis. The lower monocoque is a 1 piece moulding, which features some conservative detailing on the underside (sump and transmission guards, plus some fine riveting for example).On the reverse side, is attached a single piece interior floor moulding, which has a nice rendition of the pressed metal floor pans, as well as some electrical boxes and cabling, plus the spare wheel well moulded into it. Each corner of the chassis receives its own wheel arch liner and once they are set in place, the suspension parts can be added. These are simple 2 piece assemblies, comprising of a lower wishbone (which has part of the hub moulded in situ), to which you cement a shock absorber/coil spring unit. The sprue attachment points on these shock parts are quite heavy, so some care is required in their removal. To prevent breakage, I would suggest using a fine razor saw, rather than clippers. With the suspenion parts in place, the next order of business is the wheels and tyres. As is common for Airfix automobiles, the tyres are styrene, rather than vinyl or rubber and they are moulded integrally with the O.Z. Rally rims. Of course, one advantage to this, is the fact that you can file flat spots on the bottom of the tyres, to give the car a more convincing sit. The inside sidewall of the tyres have to be added, as they are separate pieces. The tyres themselves, have no tread pattern, being more akin to racing slicks. Not a problem for a dry tarmac stage. If you require something a bit groovy, though, then some replacements will need to be sourced (from the Scalextric range, perhaps). A grooved disc, complete with caliper detail, is added to the inside of each wheel and then they can be fixed to the chassis. We return to the interior for the next few stages. One thing to note here, is that Airfix suggest gloss white for the majority of the interior, where I believe it should in fact be a painted glossy aluminium colour. Once the various parts have been painted, construction can continue. The spare wheel drops into its recess, in the rear of the cabin. The drivers compartment is then kitted out with a good amount of equipment, which includes the drivers foot pedals, co-drivers footrest, fire extinguisher, electronic timing screen, handbrake and sequential gear levers and some electrical cabling. From studying pictures of the real car, about the only thing I can see missing is the mobile phone, which in this scale would be tiny, anyway. The steering column has the digital display added, before fitting the Sparco steering wheel. This assembly is then cemented to the underside of the dashboard. The completed dash has a long tab on the underneath, which fits into a location slot in the tub. The Recaro bucket seats are a little over simplified, detail wise, but Airfix have captured the basic shape, quite well. If you really wanted too, you could build the bolsters up using plastic card or something like Milliput. With the small scale however, I suspect you wont see too much when the model is closed up, anyway. One nice addition, is the inclusion of moulded 5 point harnesses. Once youve painted them blue and picked out the buckles in silver, they simply drop into place in the seat. Very neat. Once that is done, the seats can be fixed in position and then the roll cage can be built up. Airfix have moulded this in 5 parts; an upper, a rear, a single cross brace section and then the 2 sides. To their credit, it is quite finely done, so once again, take care when removing the pieces from the sprue. The instructions correctly point out that the forward A-pillar braces of the cage, should be painted black. Note here though, that the rest of the cage should be the same aluminium shade as the rest of the interior (not white, as Airfix suggest). With the cage in position, you can add the other parts of the harnesses. There are 2 pieces representing the shoulder straps, from their mounting points on the rear cage, going up to the slots in the back of the seats. They have a realistic sag moulded into them and they should look very good, once painted and added. This is a lovely little addition, which I like, very much. With the interior completed, the last job to do on the chassis is the addition of 2 mud/stone guards, which locate at the rear underside and cover the openings for the rear suspension. These can be seen hanging down on the underside of the real thing, when the car is airborne. These parts are a little on the thick side and could be thinned down along their edges, for a more realistic appearance, if so desired. Once they have been fixed in position, we can turn our attention to the body shell. As mentioned previously, Airfix have moulded the shell in one piece and a very nice job they have done of it, too. Theyve really captured the lines of this little beastie, very well. Surface detail is nicely restrained, with finely engraved panel gaps and joins, plus some perfectly acceptable raised bonnet and boot locking pins. Of course, with a one piece body, you have to expect some mould separation lines, but here they are so fine that only the minimal amount of clean up will be required. I have seen far worse on larger kits, with much bigger price tags. One area that is a little lacking, is the paint guide for the body. Airfix do supply those lovely digital images of the car, but they are geared more towards the decal application. You are left to work out yourself, exactly what needs painting. As far as I can work out, the body should be painted in the blue shade first (Airfix suggest Humbrol no14, but that seems maybe a tad too light, to me). Then it should be masked up and the black areas on the roof, running down the A-pillars and onto the bonnet, should be painted. Everything else (save for the smaller details) appears to be supplied on the decal sheet. With the paint applied, the body shell has a number of items to finish it off. There are inserts for the bonnet vents and the front grilles. A pair of door pull handles are added to the interior of the shell, along with the glass panels. Airfix have separated these into 4 sections, for an easier fit (windscreen, 2 lots of side windows and rear screen). The headlight and tail light lenses are also supplied on the clear sprue. The headlamps have their bezels moulded onto the reverse side of the lens. Another thoughtful little touch. You can paint the bezels with silver, on the back side, which should give a nice look to the lenses, when viewed from the front. The rear lenses need tinting with clear red, not forgetting to leave the reversing lamp lens clear, of course. This would seem a good point to fit the shell onto the chassis. The body is quite sturdy with not a lot of give in it. That combined with the complex shape and the bulky interior, makes me think that it could be quite tricky to persuade the shell into place. Once fixed, the smaller, more fragile items can be attached. The roof has 2 vents to be added. At the rear, the 2 piece spoiler needs painting black and then fixing to the tailgate. The final items are the wipers, the door mirrors and the various antenna on the roof. The aerials are a little thick, here and would be well replaced with some fine metal wire or stretched sprue. The decal sheet is a lovely item. Airfix have employed the services of Cartograf, once more, so the quality is assured. The images are pin sharp, with all the sponsor logos and markings, perfectly legible. Colours are bold and appear accurate and the carrier film has been kept to a minimum around the edges of each decal. Markings are supplied for either the No3 car of Jari-Matti Latvala or the No4 machine of Petter Solberg, from the 2012 Monte Carlo Rally. Conclusion This is a super little kit and represents excellent value for money. It is simple enough to be enjoyed as a quick, weekend build, yet it possesses enough detail to produce a very nice model straight out of the box. With some extra detailing and refinements, you could end up with a stunning little replica of a modern piece of WRC machinery. Im looking forward to getting stuck into this one. Review sample courtesy of
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