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Blog Posts (4)

  • Kit of the day - Hasegawa Corolla WRC

    Hasegawa’s take on WRC machines series started about 30 years ago with the Mitsubishi Galant VR4, Lancia HF integrale and Subaru Legacy RS, etc. The first direct intense rivalry between their products and Tamiya’s counterparts came in 1993 with the release of the Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD ST185 from both parties. The clean and crisp details given by traditional Tamiya’s kits always seems to have won the support of most rally kit fans which always in turn left Hasegawa’s in the shades. But for real die-hard fans like myself I tend to side with Hasegawa’s higher fidelity on visualizing the details such as actual sizes of rims and fender bulges, let alone most kits come with a PE sheet depicting belt buckles, bonnet pins, bumper grilles and even down to Peltor headsets’ hardware. The nuke-proof Cartograf decal comes as standard on some selected releases which often saves the day because most kits are meant to be piled up until the day that we really have time to build them! The Corolla WRC 1998 Monte Carlo Rally Winner (kit #25024) we have here featured today was released back in 1998. As mentioned above, the desirability has not been on par with Tamiya’s 24209 (released in 2009) since new. Unlike Tamiya, Hasegawa always tend to produce numerous versions out of the same tooling with slight differences on liveries and guises, which definitely breaks the bank if one would love to collect them all! Nowadays both kits from the two brands have long been out of prints. People come to Plasmojo are mostly after the Tamiya’s but to be very honest this Hasegawa’s take deserves a fair share of respect and attention. The kit comprises of 6 main trees which packs all the essential stuffs such as roll cages and sump guard to visualize the rally cockpit and under-chassis details to the fullest, which is essential to any modern rally car kit. Together with a clean sheet of PE, metal antenna, sheets of vinyl mud flaps, a set of tarmac slicks and the aforementioned Cartograf which looks as if it was freshly off the factory printer yesterday, making it overall a very attractive package in its own right! It holds up nicely even when compared against any contemporary releases from Beemax or Belkits alike. So don’t miss it while our stock still lasts!! https://www.plasmojo.com/product-page/hasegawa-1-24-toyota-corolla-wrc-1998-monte-carlo-rally-winner-25024

  • Obscure Alternatives

    Take a trip down memory lane again, as most kids grew up in the ‘70s I was fascinated by all things Sci-fi especially those Japanese robot anime TV series aired non-stop every Sunday morning on both local channels. As one of the relatively small scaled model manufacturers IMAI had released massive amount of these subject related kits at affordable prices. Their scope of marketing never failed to surprise model buyers with vast variety of choices on subject matters ranging from robots, automotive to historic sailboats or even medieval amour series et cetera. Although IMAI was never a renowned car kits manufacturer as opposed to other Japanese aces at the time such as Nichimo, Otaki, Nitto and Bandai (I opted out Tamiya here as their effort put on smaller scale car kits wasn’t really keen right until circa 1978 saw their release of then-new 1/24 series which had picked up what’s left off by their Cox inspired 1/24 slot racer series from the 60’s…), their products were never short of creative inputs. The kits from a same series in front of my desk today definitely fall into this niche if not weird category. Upon opening one of these boxes, the first thing stands out must be the R/C cars inspired vacuum formed PC or “Lexan” clear body shell. Which might be commonly found on contemporary R/C cars but definitely not with 24th scale. Don’t forget back in the late ‘70s even Tamiya had all their R/C shells made out of PE starting with their ’76 release of 1/12 Porsche 934 Turbo RSR Vaillant, right through pretty much the whole ‘80s R/C line. A funny story springs to mind, it happened when I had purchased this exact box of BMW 320i Racing some 44 years ago as my very 2nd 1/24 car kit (I’ll try cover the story of my 1st some other time) from a neighborhood stationery shop. I soon left the shop contented without checking its content thoroughly as it was commonly sealed with cellulose tapes. When I got to open it at home, I was totally freaked out when the body shell was found “missing”! I then dashed back to the shop in no time in hope of getting my refund or something. Funny was even the shop owner didn’t have a clue on why it wasn't there and thought that the clear vacuum was a clam shell which holds a plastic body inside… not until he had finally checked on all other boxes from the same series on his shelf, we would realize that the clear shell WAS indeed the body itself! Proportion-wise it ain’t bad at all but just don’t expect any crisp and presentable details as found on other display-oriented kits. Then came the real problems, due to the lack of painting technique and extra money, the car had to run with clear shell with only decals on right until its demise -those were the days and I couldn’t care less! Of course, nowadays when revisiting this same kit, it’s actually stated “Clear Machine” in Japanese on its box art. I think it did live up to its given name to the fullest. Another unseen of feature found on this kit must be its monstrous power delivered to its real axle through a RE-260 motor driven by 5 x 1.5V “AA” (7.5V) batteries, which is truly a league of its own. Steering was a super strange single-bolt pivoting right in the middle of the front axle, as opposed to the rather common multi-link which everyone else was using. Love it or hate it, it definitely was not meant to be a handsome car kit at birth but its sheer ground covering speed did put a grin or two on my younger face. It finally got whacked after a few good bangs on concrete walls but it did contribute itself as a gut donor to my then art & craft homework at school -an electric lantern made in the shape of a manta ray! You can’t be too creative in those days to get entered into those inter-school competitions, and I finally won a grand prize with it...a happy ending!

  • Feels Like Heaven

    As a car fanatic boy grew up in the 70’s, my favorite exotic car poster pinned up alongside with Ace Frehley and Farrah Fawcett ones had shown no Lamborghini Countach, instead it was a Lancia Stratos HF in its iconic Alitalia airline livery, which came almost a decade earlier than another iconic Martini Racing livery which would associate closely with the works Lancia team starting 1982. To many it was as striking as it gets visually and works perfectly well on a car which was so ahead of its time on both form and function -purposely built to win the rallying motorsport, and it did conquer big time. And the rest is history. Back in the days when intellectual property licensing practice wasn’t by all means respected, you could see almost every iconic car of the era such as Lamboghini Muira & Countach, Porsche 930 Turbo, AC Cobra or even Mini Cooper were popularized in all categories of boy’s toys: from R/C to die-cast Tomicas, right down to rubber erasers, let alone countless sticker sets and jigsaw puzzles sold at just about every corner shop where kids would show up. My very first Lancia Stratos kit arose from this unlicensed toy rush and wasn’t even in scale! It was made out of polypropene and came as a free toy with a tube of Japanese made bubble gum or candies which I can’t recall but imagine it’s pretty much a Kinder Surprise from the East. Then came my first proper injected Lancia kit in 1/24, made by Nichimo and released circa ‘77/’78, Instead of in rally guise it was a track raced Group 5 silhouette racer in Marlboro livery (before the tobaccos imageries ban on all toys circa early 90’s). Motorized with a tiny FA-130/RE-140 motor and driven by 2 x AA batteries which marks a common set up of these kits between the competitions back then. Some provided option of fitting tiny light bulbs (non-LEDs) front and rear to add authenticity of the real thing. Quite a few Japanese model manufacturers had raced to get a share of this booming market segment of such affordable car kits. As a young model buyer, I was almost certain that it was the box arts which usually drew my first attention and made an impact, followed by their competitive shelf prices, which would in turn dictate where the hammer should fall. The build was pretty straight forward and could be finished in a matter of hours or so. Many kids back then couldn’t afford to have them finished to the highest standard as the box side prints would have suggested mainly due to the lack of resources to acquire extra spray cans or paint pots after the kits spending. And since they were hardly remote controlled once taken to the playground and ran flat-out, they usually couldn’t endure a good few weeks before they fell apart…Fond memories! The marque has haunted me ever since and some later models just grew on me. Fast forward 4 decades, after the ownership of six 1:1 Delta integrale's and a record low bank balance, I can safely admit it is a pure guilty pleasure to be a true Lancista. Viva Lancia!

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