by: James Bella [ ]
The Lancia Stratos HF was designed from the ground up to compete in Rally racing, and proved very successful in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. For us modelers, Hasegawa offers several variants of the Stratos, with this one focusing on the 1977 Safari Rally in Nairobi, understandably considered to be the toughest course in the series. Car #7, driven by Sandro Munari, placed third, while car #4, which failed to finish due to engine trouble, was driven by Simo Lampinen. Both options are provided for in this kit.
The kit comes packaged in a light weight slip-top box, with the main sprues contained within one bag, and the clear parts and other items encased in another. Even though there was some slight damage to the box, all the parts arrived safe and sound. The box top shows a full color image of the 1:1 scale #7 car in its natural habitat, and a picture of the completed model is shown on the side.
Consisting of over 160 parts, the contents are broken down into the following:
•1 Car body
•3 sprues in white styrene
•4 sprues in black styrene
•1 clear sprue
•5 rubber/vinyl tires
•Tight weave mesh
•Larger weave mesh
•Small piece of ‘rubber’ material
Overall, the kit parts are very well molded, with minor flash in just a few areas and seam lines kept to a minimum. Any ejector pin marks appear to be in areas that will be hidden, no sink marks were detected so clean-up and prep should prove to be a simple task. The doors, hood and engine access are molded closed; hence no engine, and under hood detail is kept to a minimum. What will be seen through the wheel wells, front, rear and undercarriage appear to be sufficiently detailed.
Suspension, Exhaust and Brakes:
The intricate suspension components are finely detailed and complete enough to display without the wheels attached. The dual exhaust for the six-banger is simplicity itself, consisting of only four well detailed parts which have the mufflers pre-drilled. The slotted rotors are directional and trap the poly caps behind them which will allow the wheels to rotate, and with prudent use of glue the front wheels will be steerable.
Starting on the interior is where the choice of which option desired needs to be made, as both drivers’ cars varied slightly starting with the style of headrests and color of the seats. The spartan race interior is well portrayed, thankfully, since the large windshield will provide a clear view of the inside. The foot pedals are dimpled, which should show up nice when finished.
The dashboard is highly detailed, right down to the fuse and relay array, with careful painting and decal placement this should more than look the part. The inner door panels also appear to be correct, and other appointments such as fire suppression finish the cabin area to a nice degree.
Underhood merely consists of the fan/radiator and the panel with a spare tire molded in. The spare is the wrong style for this vehicle and is carried over from Hasegawa’s previous releases, luckily this will be painted flat black and shouldn't be visible through the small louvers in the hood. The radiator and dual fans are very well done, for what it’s worth.
The one-piece body will require a multitude of holes to be drilled, which are marked on the inner surface, to mount the various components that the Safari Rally car used. Close examination of the instructions is recommended in order to drill the proper ones. The windshield and door windows are molded as one piece, which I believe, were normally kept in the closed position during race conditions.
The option for having the headlights in the raised or lowered position is provided, as well as having the light pod covered or not. All light lenses are molded in clear and will need to be painted with various solid and semi-transparent colors.
The rear mud flaps are depicted with the rubber material supplied with the kit, and cut out using the full size template in the instructions. Templates are also provided for cutting the mesh material, with Munari’s #7 and Lampinen’s #4 using different patterns, and are mounted on the front bumper/brush guard. The latches for the hood and rear access are provided as separate parts, I’d recommend removing the alignment marks on the body for the rear ones since the positioning looks to be a bit off. The included metal antenna is a welcome addition which I’m happy to see wasn’t attempted in styrene.
Wheels and Tires:
The wheels and tires presented a small problem researching, since different set-ups were used for the various circuits. To top it off, I had difficulty finding photos of this car standing still, so will refer mainly to the box-top image.
The five rubber/vinyl tires are molded solid, with a well defined tread pattern. A slight seam runs around the center which will require removal, being an off-road vehicle these will most likely be ‘roughed up’ anyway. I’m unsure if these tires are directional, although judging from the box-top image, the tread blocks are reversed.
The wheels could use a bit more detail to the center caps, and adding valve stems will enhance them even more. And now is where I come upon another questionable detail, these wheels have an opening on every other spoke rib, yet once again referring to the box-top image, it appears that there is an opening between every rib.
Decals and Instructions:
The large decal sheet is printed by Cartograf in vibrant colors and perfect register. The correct markings are included for both cars, with a thin carrier film which should lay down smoothly. The build instructions consist of 17 steps and are the exploded line drawing style. Paint codes are provided for the Gunze Sangyo brand, with call outs throughout the steps. The instructions appear to be easy to follow, with the options clearly marked, and the general assembly sequence well thought out.
The quality of the kit looks very promising and the engineering well thought out. The multimedia items along with easy to follow instructions and high quality decals should make this kit very enjoyable to build. The cost of the kit has risen sharply over the past year, with this variation of the Stratos seeming to be a little higher than the other offerings from Hasegawa. The tires and wheels are questionable, although after getting a bit of mud on them really won’t have much of an impact.