For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a fan of RC cars – but more-so the building of the cars themselves rather than the actual ‘playing’ aspect. So what better way to commemorate my own car than build a scale model Impreza RC Car replica?
My base vehicle was an old carbon chassis shaft-driven HPI PRO 4 that I’d converted to Brushless & LiPo power. For as long as I’d owned this it had basically been sitting under my bed gathering dust and I had never fitted a body shell, so it was time to change that.
Impreza RC Car Body Shell
First things first – I need a body shell.
I can’t recall the exact amount of time I’d put into researching the most accurate parts and accessories to use when building this Impreza RC car, but it was a lot. There were two distinct body shells I had planned on using for the project, one from Tamiya (#58305) and one from HPI (#17205).
For the life of me I could not find the correct Impreza body shell as supplied in the Tamiya kit (it was over 10 years old and by now long out of production), so I settled for the HPI 190mm Impreza body. This was also rather hard to find, but I found it eventually.
Now, to open it up and get the scissors out:
With some careful cutting I managed to fashion some mudflaps from the surplus polycarbonate material that would have otherwise been discarded.
Painting the Impreza Body Shell
If you’re unfamiliar with RC car shells, they’re made from clear polycarbonate. So the best way to paint them, and preserve the finish in case of a crash or accident, is to in fact paint them on the inside of the shell.
For this, I used some Tamiya Paints (numbers #PS16 and #PS41) that are specially formulated for use on polycarbonate. I chose Tamiya’s version of WRC blue, and a metallic silver to add a nice metallic ‘pop’ to the finish.
Once you’re ready for paint, you must remember to wash the inside of the body and then apply the window masks as supplied (if applicable), otherwise you’ll have painted over the windows! As I was also installing some light buckets, I fashioned some light masks to preserve the clear headlights from paint.
Also, many thin coats of paint are far better than fewer thick coats. Let the painting begin!
Starting on the silver backing:
All done! Now to inspect it before removing the window/light masks.
Peeling back the masks to reveal the clear windows
Nice result! Now, we just have to peel back the overspray film on the outside of the shell:
Impreza RC Car Accessories
Shiny! Now for the accessories.
I was lucky enough to find a couple of rare parts taken from long discontinued Tamiya kits that comprised of a selection of wing mirrors and spoiler options (both the WRC wing as fitted to my Impreza at the time, and the standard STi high-rise spoiler). So depending on which my actual car is wearing, I can mix and match! (These are Tamiya options #9005720 and #0005834)
Also a selection of gold wheels (Tamiya #51219), and some shiny chrome accessories including an intercooler, muffler and brake discs – plus wind-shield wipers! (Tamiya #54139). All imported from Japan – JDM yo.
And finally some very nicely detailed head light buckets modelled to the blobeye Impreza lights (Yokomo #SD-GDBL). Perfect! I could fit real LEDs into these at a later date, but that will have to be another project.
Front Mount Intercooler in place.
Brake discs fitted.
And now to bring it all together, here’s how the final model looks now:
It’s just as accurate as my time/budget allowed – but I think it’s a pretty good representation!
Certainly brightens my shelf up now!