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Grastens Builds (and Runs) the Lancia 037 Rally (TA-02S)

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And when I do run the:


It will be with:



Yes, the 13T motor is going in - with a 20T pinion, to start.

Installing it with the label facing up, though, means fouling the rear left wheel with this particular motor:


It takes on the appearance of a generic black-painted motor, mounted the other way, but the cables clear the wheel:


It makes a bit of a difference if you are at the right angle while the shell is on:


Now, here is where it gets interesting. Recall how the car sounded with a stock silver-can motor: http://tinypic.com/m/k2xpi1/1

Now, with the 13T motor: https://nofile.io/f/jbxb8FEDySU/20180427_012231.mp4

I had optimized the sound device for the RPMs that a silver-can motor could be expected to do. With a much more powerful one, the sound definitely changes! Comparing it to 037s at full throttle, though, does not reveal too much of a deviation.

And, of course, I took more pictures, because I am obsessed:






It will be quite an interesting second session, I think.

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A new level of complexity has been reached:


LEDs were the last aspect of the build to tackle, with the set arriving at the end of the rest of the build.

I have never seen the Lancia 037 4WD-H run with auxiliary lights - or any lights on, for that matter. Hence, I was looking to light up just two buckets at the front, and two at the rear. Maybe this did not require a separate module, but I was interested in having working brake lights.

I do not recall which light module I used for my original Lancia Rally, which enabled brake lights by increasing the brightness of LEDs already equipped at the rear. The set I ordered could not do this, and neither could the set that I realized I could reuse from my old Wheelie Rally. Despite the expenditure associated with the new light set, I selected the used module for its proven performance and simplicity. The other set had extra wires for a third radio channel, which was useless on this car.

One not-useless lesson I learned was that with enough pressure on the lenses, you can pop out Lancia Rally rear lights from the shell:


Facing a shortage of 3 mm LEDs in red and not interested in drilling out the light buckets with lenses to accommodate a 5 mm pair, I popped the lights from my Wheelie Rally shell to use its already-present 3 mm red LEDs. I removed the lights from the 037 4WD-H in a similar manner to complete the swap. I believe my ability to do that owed to my use of Tamiya plastic model cement instead of CA glue to affix the lenses.

At the front, though, I had no 3 mm LEDs that were either bright white or insufficiently yellow to pass off as front lights. A surfeit of 5 mm white LEDs meant I ended up hand-drilling the front light buckets anyway:


Really not the best tool, but in my misplacing of my hand-drill set, this actually worked. From there, the LEDs were a secure push-fit:


Too secure, it turns out... Such is the difference between 3/16" drill bits and 5 mm LEDs. It remained intact, though!

As in the start of this post, the wiring was daunting:


This light module, like others, used two Y-harnesses to attach the module to the servo and ESC each to the receiver. It meant a lot of excess cable. I zip-tied everything together and tucked it behind the servo. The module was covered in a balloon to afford some weather protection, and some slack was left in the harnesses to allow them to reach the module through an opening in the balloon. Passing through this opening as well were the LED cables.

Everything was getting cleaned up at this stage:


The motor wires are detached here; I did not need it running while I was testing the lighting system at this stage. They were reattached once the wiring was cleaned up further:


The central zip tie binding all the light cables together should leave sufficient slack to remove the shell for battery changes. The wire in this configuration is also easy to isolate from the propeller shaft.

Despite running the risk of having the shell not fit the chassis, everything worked. The model feels quite heavy, which is unsurprising given its ABS shell, interior set with engine parts, Ni-MH battery, and now a light module.

It might not be "the biggest flashlight in the neighbourhood," which was how I described my original Lancia Rally when I fitted that with lights, but it sure looks like it can illuminate:


The current module setup has the tail lights activated when flicking the throttle into reverse. It is not a good effect when reversing the car, but works nicely for deceleration, which was being done here:


LEDs and a 13T motor drawing current from a Ni-MH battery using a Tamiya connector might cause problems... I have experienced power surges that resulted in runaway cars before. I nearly put the silver-can motor back in there, until I remembered I could change the throttle travel settings on my radio:


It is astonishing to me that this new motor at 25% throttle spins about as quickly as a silver-can 540 at full speed, or at least that is what the tones from the sound module are telling me!

I have now fitted a light module, a sound module, and a semi-detailed interior into this car. There is barely any extra space left on the chassis for anything else, but I have succeeded in including what I set out to build. In the process, I have created a model more complex than any I have ever constructed previously, and for some reason I am quite proud of that:


The car certainly feels dense when handled, so perhaps some harder springs/damper settings are in order.

I had a moment of weakness: I briefly considered leaving this model for the shelf! The extras would complicate maintenance, I thought, to the point that running it would be a high-risk, low-return experience every time...

... But it lights up! It makes cool sounds! It looks (a bit) like the real thing! It's fast! All I could think of were premium toys, with all those attention-grabbing features that make the lucky owner the envy of every kid in the neighbourhood :P I, for one, feel lucky that I got to work on this one.

I was looking to run this car on an early Sunday morning, but staying up late to work on it laid up those plans. A proper session is still in the cards.

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I like Jay Leno and I'm very very proud about this licence plate (TO).


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More televisual love for the 037 here - courtesy of Clarkson:


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I have always wanted to watch that episode! Thanks, Jenny!

This seems like an appropriate time to reveal that I got my hands on another 037:


And this one is going to be a Twin Star Racing special:


I wonder if I should just build on this build thread...?

Either way, that delightful Grand Tour segment is motivation enough!

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Thumbs up, beautiful Lancia Build! This is one of the posts in the internet that convinced me to pick it up! :) Maybe it is only me but I like the red color scheme much better than the white one. Really looking forward to the next build!


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On 3/16/2019 at 1:18 PM, CKU87 said:

Thumbs up, beautiful Lancia Build! This is one of the posts in the internet that convinced me to pick it up! :) Maybe it is only me but I like the red color scheme much better than the white one. Really looking forward to the next build!


Thank you! I am happy you are inspired, and of course anticipate seeing how yours builds up :)

I will be posting an abridged summary of the second build here, but even before I start I noticed that one of my proposed paint schemes (that I used on several previous cars) resembled the Lancia Montecarlo Group 5 racer at the 1980 Le Mans 24 Hours:


This one was entered by Jolly Club Lancia, and finished 19th - it looks like the only Group 5 Beta Montecarlo to finish that event.

While I am a bit less interested in using it now, I can at least see that it looks good! I guess there actually is a Beta Montecarlo shell that is better-suited for that kind of project:


For equivalency, the Jolly Club Lancia 037s were the Totip-sponsored cars in green and orange stripes.

I will begin working on the new car this week :)

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It is that odd part of the year where it is warm enough to think about painting and preparation for RC model kits, but not warm enough to actually attempt it. In the midst of my Ferrari 312T3 and Bruiser projects awaiting paint and additional plastic-related work, I saw fit to build my second Lancia 037.

I took less time on this build – as I have already built one, I had to be faster on this chassis. More importantly, I saw no need to document this particular build to the same depth as my previous one since I am writing about it in the same thread. Hence, detailed notes can be found in the earlier posts in this same thread.

However, the privilege of building two has brought several thoughts to the forefront, where they were previously glossed over in the experience of constructing one for the first time.

The start of this project saw a new and much neater location to work:


It is merely a different room in the house, but the surroundings are far less claustrophobic than my previous workspace. It is less permanent, though. Also new to this build is the Duratrax-brand car stand, which I planned to use for the chassis once it reached the advanced stages of assembly.

A new place accompanied a different approach – where I previously left wheels and tires to the last step, I did these first. Over the past few months, I have accumulated quite a few sets in addition to the kit’s offerings, and these joined the kit’s semi-slick tires and Lancia 037 wheels:


There is a different set of wheels, too: I acquired a set of HPI fifteen52 turbines with this particular 037.


I am not sure if turbine wheels were used on the 037 in period, but they did appear on the Delta S4:


Since I intended to give this 037 a post-period feel, I went ahead with this set. I heard they do increase the tread width of the chassis they are mounted on, along with rumours that they do not work on the present iterations of the Tamiya Lancia Delta Integrale (a shame since turbines were also used on that car). Nonetheless, I hoped to try them out, and given their appearance in on-road racing, I paired them with the kit-stock semi-slick tires. For the stock Lancia-style wheels, I had at least one set of Pirelli rally-style tires from overseas – the thinking was that private teams might have a preferred wheel and tire for most of their events, but would stick with standard rims where other tire types are required.

Unfortunately, the bead seat diameter of the turbine wheels is larger than the stock wheels’, so the semi-slick tires were a tight fit while the Pirelli-style gravel tires were a bit too loose for the stock wheels. I glued them anyway; the turbine/semi-slick combination is likely to be the everyday set, and at least they were able to seat properly. Rubber bands were used to help along the stock/Pirellis:


Once glued, the turbine/semi-slick set was secure, though I will likely have to revisit the stock/Pirellis:


I made up two sets of the stock/Pirelli combination, as I had another set of 037 wheels and Pirelli-style tires that I wanted to use with my first 037. Between them, they will have three sets of gravel tires – I had a third set paired with generic black dish wheels, which may become the alternate set for this 037.

A surfeit of spare ball bearings allowed me to begin:


And so, I started on the rear gearbox.

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One difference between this build and my first one was the assembly of the rear differential. I heard that the TA-02SW (and thus TA-02S) has a “non-adjustable” ball differential in the back, meaning that instead of tightening or loosening the set screw within to adjust the differential effect, the unit is meant to be fully screwed in. I did not do this in the first one, so the second one was assembled with a fully-tightened set screw. The lack of springs in this rear differential should have tipped me off, though my only clue for that would have been that I had previously assembled an adjustable ball differential for an Avante, which featured two prominent springs.

I also had more 3 mm washers to use on the first build than the second, so this 037 has more slop in the suspension than the previous one. A steel pinion was sourced to replace the standard aluminum part.

Assembling the kit the second time around, though, really allowed me to appreciate the construction process: as figuring out where everything went was more second-nature to me, I could pay more attention to the details, such as the relatively-compact gearboxes or the kick-up on the front suspension, which had me convinced that the car was a natural off-roader. That latter point is a bit of a stretch, since the very much on-road Porsche 911 GT2 uses the similar TA-02SW, but this feature made me think of the off-road driving that 037s saw in their prime.

Everything went together smoothly, though I forgot the rear dog-bones the first time around! I did not wish to take out the decal set at this point, so I used some leftover “Caution” stickers for the chassis and motor: a less-rectangular “Caution: Rotating Parts” decal for the chassis, and a vintage “Caution: Hot!” decal for the motor, which was probably from a vintage kit for its MSC resistor (the sticker alone was given to me from a fellow hobbyist). It did not take much time to make good progress:


The build really began to diverge from the first one when I started using my new car stand. It has holes drilled in the car platform for holding dampers, which is perfect for building oil-filled types. I put that feature to use to enhance the damper build on this kit:


Left to sit in a stable manner like this, I noticed the oil dampers had more consistent rebound across all four units once assembled. It has already made a difference!

While the dampers were waiting for the oil to settle, I configured the electronics. A Dynamite ESC was going to be used, but it had an EC3 plug instead of a Tamiya connector. I went with a spare Hobbywing 1060-type ESC instead, coupled along with a handsome ARRMA Durango waterproof servo to a Spektrum SR410 receiver:


The SR410 is not only smaller than the SR210 (somehow), but it does leave some potential for lighting control. I hope to add lights to this 037, and being able to manipulate them from my radio would be quite a bonus. In the event that does not work, I have a standard light set that plugs directly into the steering and throttle channels on the receiver.

More significantly, the use of the SR410 means that I will be using my new (to me) Spektrum DX4C radio, instead of my well-worn DX3C. The benefits so far are mainly properly-functioning trim switches and an integrated antenna; perhaps I will find more advantages as I introduce it to the rest of my runners.

Once that was sorted out, I built up the dampers. The kit springs are 29 mm tall – I removed the larger of the two internal spacers that are placed in each damper, in an effort to increase the chassis’ ride height.


When the body is lowered from the stock location, this has the effect of tucking the chassis further under the shell, reducing the amount of chassis visible from the side. Removing the larger internal spacer meant the springs were too short for the dampers – even with the largest spring pre-load spacers, I needed springs with a 33 mm height to fill in the extra space.

The internal spacers ended up going under the lower spring collars to take up the slack, which ironically means the chassis is at the same effective suspension travel as standard. I will be looking for longer springs if they exist.

The idea of using the longer damper eyelets at the bottom occurred to me during my first build, but it went unused. The chassis in that configuration never bottomed out, which is useful for taking heavy loads off the suspension components when jumps are landed. Therefore, I continued with the shorter damper eyelets this time around.

The assembly of the dampers is best illustrated here:



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After that, the rest of the chassis was nothing unfamiliar. I took time to appreciate the fact that detaching the rear gearbox is a matter of undoing 4 screws, though the front requires more due to that bumper. I used the smaller one in the kit; it is specified as a “not used” extra piece in the manual, but it fits the chassis and tucks neatly under the nose of the 037 shell. While I still want to produce a good-looking shell, this build will result in a simpler, less maintenance-intensive version of my first car, so I might be inclined to run this one without the snow-plow in front!

The SR410 receiver features a prominent antenna. I was looking forward to using the antenna tube until I remembered that it would have to go right through the engine bay I was hoping to build for it! It may be used after all, but in the interim I have it taped to the chassis:


I referenced my first 037 for wiring layout and body mount positions, recalling that I ran my first car’s shell lower than standard. I ended up replacing the cuts of rubber tubing on the rear body posts with two of my many plastic bushings, from other kits. The turbine wheels and semi-slick tires were all that were left to finish up the chassis:


As I looked at it, I felt a wave of 1990s nostalgia, despite the fact that I would not remember that era particularly well. The chassis layout and wheels would contribute to that feeling; with the short wheelbase and overhangs, the impression was of a compact and powerful sporting machine – much like the original 037…

The bare shell went on to complete the look:


And sure enough, the wide track appeared. The 037 shell is narrow (no more than 180 mm wide at the front), and the rear is wider than the front, so the impression was then that the front track was wider than the rear. It drove me crazy on the original Tamiya Lancia Rally, but here, I did not mind the look – it was not as noticeable on this 037, and contemporary performance cars across many scales suggest that a wider front track is better for handling.

The stagger is more evident in this photo:


The rear wheels, meanwhile, fit nicely under their wheel arches and fender flares. The front and rear track for the chassis is physically identical, but appear visually different.

One issue with the shell that I was reminded of was the lack of clearance for the front wheels: the front edge of the front wheel arches would foul the wheels while steering. I do not remember having to remove 6 mm of plastic during the first build, however. That was exactly what I had to do for this one, lopping off that amount just so the car could turn.

With the chassis finished, it was time to put it away. Space was at a premium, though… In the end, I put an old locker shelf over my Bruiser chassis and stacked first the 037, and then the lighter Ferrari 312T3 project on top, with the car stand:


The 037, meanwhile, got its own shelf space:


The build, as with the first one, was enjoyable. It was obviously not as sophisticated as a 3-speed truck, but it did not need to be – it was plenty of fun to put together, and still rewarding to be able to do so and have it operating smoothly.

Amidst more rumours of warmer temperatures and clear conditions, I have scrubbed up the shell and accessories in preparation for paint…

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Plenty of waiting was done for painting weather, but at the first warm day I could not wait. I gathered some unpainted shells and got to work - alongside my Bruiser receiving primer and my Ferrari 312T3 taking a base coat of TS-26 Pure White, the Lancia shell got several layers of the same paint as the Ferrari:


I started out with many, many thin coats, but the weather took a downturn. Unfortunately, this somewhat rushed my work, and orange peel began showing up on the shell. Fortunately, after one full can of TS-26 Pure White, coverage looks adequate, and the finish looks manageable.

The white is intended to be mostly a base coat, as it is not presently going to be the primary colour for the finished shell. As such, I am fairly pleased with the result. I will pay more attention to the other colour coats, though!

That will be in a week's time, at least, once the white cures thoroughly.

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