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Opposite Lock

1995 Subaru RAC Rally Diorama

n by Darren Maharaj

The scene depicts one of the stages of 1995 RAC Rally through the Welsh countryside. The car is the 1/24 scale Hasegawa 1995 season RAC/Monte Carlo Rally - depending on the decals you use. I chose the RAC rally because the driver, Colin McRea, won the rally and went on the win the World Rally Drivers' Championship that year also giving Subaru their constructors' title. I am also a big McRea fan.

I chose the Hasegawa kit instead of its bigger rival Tamiya, because of the fact that Hasegawa has photo etched metal parts, which include seat buckles and fastners. This would be perfect for the next stage of development, the drivers. The driver figures come from the Fujimi mechanics and drivers set, the spectators are from the Tamiya campus friends set.

I set about researching the attire of the drivers of the period, which was not as easy as one might think. The Internet provides an invaluable source of information in terms of pictures of the Welsh countryside, but not so of the drivers and mechanics of that particular rally season. Generally, rallying was still not so much a television- friendly sport back in 1995. Real picture coverage began in the later part of the 90's when the sport took off in popularity. 

The car

A lot of cutting, shaving and fitting was required to get the driver figures in the seats despite the fact that they are the same scale as the car (1/24). The co-driver had no helmet and one had to be molded on (my first attempt on such conversion) using the two part Milliput putty. The driver "Colin" also was molded deliberately leaning forward in a wheel turning effort, to show the him counterlocking the steering wheel as the car slides along a muddy corner, Hence the name of my diorama "Opposite Lock". 

Building the car itself was conducted entirely according to the instructions.

Composing the diorama

The actual scenery was built from Styrofoam on a wooden base, and using fine plastering powder to smoothen out the landscape. Rocks were created by leaving some of the powder to clump, dry and then breaking them. 

A light spray of deep green was first placed on the hilly area and a deep brown earth spray as a base colour on the track. The track was deliberately "scored" using a butter knife while the plastering was semi-dry to get the effect of tyre tracks set into the mud. Also some mud holes and puddles were done in the same way. Vegetation came way of moss and fine artificial turf found at any model store. The taller scrub grass was cannibalised from an old bath- body scrubbing brush. On the track a fine grit sand was used from kids' hobby and glitter set (originally orange in colour) Every thing was fastened with white glue diluted with water. 

The "old " stone walls in framing the rear edge of the scene are typical of the Welsh countryside.I cut brick and stone shapes into wet moulding plaster on a cardboard base, sealed with dullcoat (Testors) and then painted and weathered accordingly.

Different shades of brown and greens were used to give more realistic effects (all Tamiya acrylic airbrush paints) the puddles were filled with clear coat, which was also painted on the parts of the track to stimulate "fresh" wet action by cars racing over the area. When weathering the car, this was taken into account and some areas of the weathering, clear coat was added to give the effect of wet, fresh splattered mud. One mudguard was deliberately damaged adding to realistic effect of more mud spray on that side. Dry plastering powder was added to give a rougher effect to the underside of the car.

The spectators were interesting subprojects, using putty I moulded new jackets onto every figure. The "Finnish" fan also had a pair of trousers moulded on (she originally came in a bikini from the Tamiya set), the safety person had a full suit moulded, he had tennis shorts and a T-shirt originally. But my best "recreation" has to be the photographer who was originally designed to sit on a motorbike! A sleeveless jacket was moulded on and his hands reshaped to hold a camera (1/24 scale!).

Both flags were painted on tissue paper and affixed with diluted white glue. The red-white safety tape was produced from clear cello tape. The small radio hanging from the tree and the radio in the safety personnel's hand came also from the Fujimi mechanic set. 

I really enjoyed doing this, it is my second diorama (first diorama- http://www.angelfire.com/de2/darren/brab.html ) and still quite amateurish in some aspects. As I look at it I still see ways to improve it now. I would like to find a way to show mud flying off the tyres - that would be something!

maharaj_subaru_02.jpg (25002 bytes)  maharaj_subaru_06.jpg (48781 bytes) maharaj_subaru_05.jpg (48476 bytes) 

Additonal images, click to enlarge

 maharaj_subaru_08.jpg (44652 bytes) maharaj_subaru_11.jpg (48826 bytes) maharaj_subaru_13.jpg (52485 bytes) 


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