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Finally getting round to doing this build. I've had what looks like a brat chassis lying in my loft for years (in pieces) and I've always loved the original Lancia rally due to the well detailed body, martini livery and the cartoonish stance making it more nostalgic. So here we are... a few days ago I was scanning eBay, and decided the time has come... time to order a re-release Lancia 037 body shell. The treacherous road begins here...
A New Build! It has been a long time coming, but it is now time for a build thread as I tackle the: I have waited a long time for this model, cutting back in other areas of my finances to keep the pre-order I applied for a long time ago. Naturally, then, I am beyond excited to have an example in my hands. Such is my excitement that I can write an incredibly boring piece about my ruminations of both the Lancia 037 and Tamiya's equivalents On the Lancia 037, 58040, 58278, and 58654 The Lancia 037 is a vehicle that holds a special place in my heart. On the face of it, the 037 is a mid-engine rally machine, a sportscar that can tackle rough roads. It does so with a unique style and flair, with its Italian styling and heritage rooted in the country that produces some of the most soul-stirring automobiles ever made. Perhaps Tamiya did not think of this when they first produced a version of the 037, marketed as the Lancia Rally. As we know, this was an odd contraption, capturing the body’s lines perfectly while parking it on top of quite an awkward-looking chassis. Handling depended on who you ask and what motor you left in there, but the superb shell was difficult to preserve under less-than-careful driving. Today, we remember Lancia’s 037 as the last rear-wheel drive car to win the World Rally Championship for Makes, defeating the nascent Audi Quattro and its four-wheel drive, with supercharging, to paraphrase 037 pilot Markku Alen. We remember it as a beautiful little racer stuck somewhere between the radical Stratos and the terrifying Delta S4, not as accomplished as its angular predecessor and not as memorably intimidating as its successor. It never even had a name outside of its project number. We remember Tamiya’s Lancia Rally quite differently, it seems, and its legacy is a little more divisive. Many bemoan its mediocre handling, fragile shell, and unusual proportions, while others praise its wonderfully detailed body, genuine off-road capability, and unusual proportions. In 2001, Tamiya addressed the non-scale appearance of the original Lancia Rally in a re-release. Now known as the Lancia 037 Rally as on the box, this offering kept the superb shell, added some more detail parts, and placed it on a much more proportionally-correct touring car chassis. While this version lost much of the off-road ability of the original, especially as the special TA-03R-S chassis was a belt-driven one, it definitely looked more serious – even if an oversized bumper was issued with the re-release, like the original’s massive bush guard… 17 years later, and Tamiya has re-released the re-release. The proportionally-correct Lancia 037 Rally has made a reappearance, this time on a shaft-driven TA-02S chassis. The excellent shell and detail parts return, and so does a large snow plow bumper! The last-named still works well to avoid crash damage like that which the great Henri Toivonen encountered with his Lancia… Grastens and Tamiya's Lancias It was through the original-style Lancia Rally that the 037 made its way into my collection. I fell in love with it for its genuine off-road capability – like the Subaru Brat and Tamiya Frog that shared its chassis design – and its lovely detailed body shell. With the swoopy Martini stripes and the big rally spotlights sitting atop an aggressively jacked-up chassis, it looked like it was from outer space. The re-release of the Frog and Subaru Brat also meant that parts were readily available, as were upgrades that improved the original’s driving characteristics. A fast car that can run on rough roads, with easy maintenance and good parts support… It was the rally car I had dreamed of! This was in 2014, which was well after the first re-release 037 was discontinued - to say nothing of the original! At the time, I figured I would never be able to acquire a re-release, and for some time did not want to. The original had that useful ground clearance and actual rear-wheel drive, two traits that endeared it to me over the four-wheel drive touring car-based iteration. Yet by 2017, my Lancia was no longer in running condition, and my enthusiasm for the hobby as a whole had diminished. I had to sell off much of my equipment to fund life, among them my Lancia's bodywork. By reigniting my passion for radio-controlled cars, the latest 037 saved my hobby career. Much of my enthusiasm came from seeing the venerable Lancia being given the re-release treatment, from the new box to the updated photos. Some of it came from the fact that the new chassis for the car was a sealed shaft-driven type, which I figured would be much better for the off-road running I wanted to tackle with such a car. Even limited experience with a belt-driven TA-04 was enough for me to harbour doubts about a belt-driven machine in those conditions. Most importantly, it was a car I had come to adore, emerging at a price well below my expectations for such a fantastic little machine. It simply got me excited again. I placed my pre-order, held course, and finally saw it delivered to my country, where it was dispatched quickly. First Impressions Many people have reservations about the smaller boxes and the unattractive packaging of the re-releases compared to the blister packs of the original models, but I for one love the subsequent savings on shipping. The box was small and sleek: The offsets look off in this box schematic, but consistent with the box art. Many 037s did have their wheels well tucked into the arches. What intrigues me more is the listed wheelbase of 236 mm; I had committed the figure of 237 mm long enough for me to find this particular detail odd, however inconsequential: Was this a detail on the first re-release's box? FCA was not around back then, but Lancia and Martini sure were: The packing is efficient and compact. I had difficulty replicating it following my examination of the contents: And here is the first layer of parts from the box: The second layer I extracted had many of the plastic chassis parts and some body detail pieces: Instructions, decals, and metal hardware can be found near or at the bottom: The decal sheet looks identical to the earlier re-release's, but I had never seen that before and was intrigued by the dashboard decals for the cockpit set at first: The story of me selling my original Lancia Rally shell has an important catch: I sold the one I finished, but had a spare body set. Initially keeping it for spares - I anticipated the worst for what was my most frequent runner - I dug it out to reaffirm everything I knew about the differences between the original and re-release bodies: I assume it is normal for the original shell to have a slightly more yellow plastic The enthusiasm generated by this new Lancia has inspired me to finish my original one; such is the power of this special model. Planning the Build I will likely be building this car up out of sequence, as I have an international order of ball bearings on the way and not enough spares to outfit the entire car. I will be sure to outline steps I follow for specific parts and their places in the manual. The same delay applies to light sets; however I also anticipate that acquiring paint and having good painting conditions will be difficult. Hence, the bodywork may only occur much later. I will be provisioning supplies to finish two bodies while I sort out my original Lancia Rally. It might receive some coverage in this build, but the focus will be on the re-release. Accordingly, I intend to finish the original in box-art Martini Racing livery. This leaves the re-release open to some customization. As for that customization: lots of lovely paint schemes exist for this car, but without custom printing I will either be repeating the box-art Martini livery, piecing together decals for a 1986 Bastos-Texaco racer, finishing up Markku Alen's 1985 Portugal test car, or finally getting Adobe Illustrator and commissioning a printer for a nice set of Jolly Club/Totip decals, courtesy of TamiyaClub's own firefoxussr If I have the time and resources, I have several other liveries from the 1983 season in mind, which I may detail later if they come up as an option. I selected 1983 as I do not feel like parting with the rear bumper (Evo.2 Lancia 037s appeared from 1984 onward, which omitted the rear bumper for practicality). Resources permitting, I also hope to construct an engine bay and roll cage for the model, the first real scratch-building project I will undertake! I hope I can exercise enough restraint to get those finished before abandoning it all to thrash the finished car... The Last Word - For Now If you have read this far: congratulations, and thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts If not: I can hardly blame you. All you need to know is that I am really excited for this model! In any case, I look forward to commencing the build!