In its long and illustrious career in the World Rally Championships, Toyota has mainly used the Celica as its flagship. In 1997, however, a rule change in the WRC presented Toyota with a chance to demonstrate its innovation. Permission was granted to equip the base of the Toyota’s widely marketed production car with a turbo-charge and four-wheel drive system, as well as modify the engine without restriction.
The more compact body of the Corolla was chosen for the development of the new rally car, and the Corolla WRC car was born. Using components tried and tested on the Celica, the Corolla WRC was equipped with a front loaded, 2-litre, 4-cylinder 3S-GTE turbo engine and 4-wheel drive.
Highly reliable MacPherson struts make for a winning suspension on both the front and rear. In addition, the side of the steering column was equipped with a sequential shift lever, called a “joystick”, allowing a 6-speed transmission control. With hydraulic brakes that automatically sense the movement of the wheels and a center differential equipped with a hang-on clutch, the Corolla WRC is stock full of the latest electronic gadgetry.
A size smaller than the Celica, the Corolla WRC is perfectly suited for the winding country roads of the Rally. The Corolla WRC debuted in the Finland Rally of 1997, which led to a half year of testing before fully entering the WRC in 1998. Main drivers Carlos Sainz and Didier Auriol showed winning skill.
Well, festivities are over and we smell a new year of model building resolutions. As I mentioned a few weeks ago on our Facebook page, one of my resolutions is getting to work on started models between projects. Actually I did started the resolution with this model late on December 2016 when I decided to get out of the box this Tamiya 98′ Toyota Corolla WRC. The body shell is absolutely clean of flash or sink marks and no putty was necessary. After sanding the body shell of this Tamiya model with Wet/Dry 1500 sandpaper, I gave it a fine coat of Tamiya spray white Fine Primer. This confirmed that the shell is molded in that Tamiya quality to which we are used to. After the primer was laid, 2 fine coats of Tamiya TS-26 Pure White were applied to the model and it was the sent to forsaken models corner last summer. I argued with myself to leave it as is or apply the bundle of decals. I was concerned, the model was apparently stored in a humid environment and decals where showing some yellowness. But I love this sport and I was determined to showcase this Toyota Corolla as it appeared on the Catalonia Rally -hence the flamenco dancer on the art- back in ’98 under the direction of C. Sainz and L. Moya.
Although the yellowish tint is not as visible on the pictures before the weathering, it was definitely there. That was the reason why I chose to depict my version of the car all weathered; you know, to hide some boo-boos 😉 .
The overall dust effect was airbrushed with the Aztek A-470 airbrush with the tan nozzle using Tamiya XF-57 Buff color.
Building the Toyota Corolla WRC from Tamiya
If you noticed on the pictures above the beams are lighted up and it is not via Photoshop. They are actually 2 micro LEDs. They are 12v and will be lighted via AC Adapter on mini diorama build on the wooden base pictured above. I will leave an extra input on the base to light it via batteries should I decide to display it at model shows. The entire model is well engineered and a breeze to build. I must mention that the figures I used on this model are *not* included with the kit. These 1/24 driver figures are provided with the 2001 PEUGEOT 206 WRC kit # 24236 also from Tamiya. Due to popular demand, Tamiya started offering these figures in baggies. But they have been discontinued for a while. I think I will briefly feature them on a separate entry.
I build antennas from K&S brass wire but recently I found the styrene equivalent. Plastruct .03mm 90850. It is in scale with most antennas found also in 1/35 scale subjects and 1/48. I guesstimate some 15 hours on this model and I would build the ESSO version in a jiffy if I have the chance. Heck, even without markings is a nice looking model car kit. The real life car never made it to the US market.
Happy model building!
I just received the newsletter from Revell of Germany and they are releasing the same exact kit as we speak. I hope the decals are of better quality because Tamiya’s leave a bit to be desired. Even the decals provided with the Airfix Ford Fiesta kicks major butt here. Also, this same Toyota Corolla WRC ’98 is available from Hasegawa.