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Hasegawa Jaguar XJ-S H.E. TWR

Hasegawa No. 20305
Molded Colors: White, gray, clear, chrome
Scale: 1/24
MSRP: $62.99
Pros:  Full detail engine, a lot of racer-specific parts, includes photo-etch
Cons: Seat belt material difficult to work with, body shell has hard to remove heavy windshield moldings, hood needed sanding to fit

Taking a luxury GT and turning it into a successful racer sounds like a foolish proposition, but Tom Walkinshaw Racing did just that with the Jaguar XJ-S.

In addition to its sprues, Hasegawa has included photo-etched stainless steel for grille mesh, hood pins, seatbelt buckles and anchors, and the large “XJ-S” emblem on the rear fascia. There’s also a stiff wire to simulate the radio antenna, three sizes of vinyl tubing, and a sheet of vinyl for seat belts.

Some of these extras were more successful than others. The photo-etch was easy enough to use and the mesh gives a purposeful look to the front end below the bumper, and a bit of extra detail behind the grille. The hood pins folded up simply enough, and the seat belt hardware looked the part.

The vinyl bits were a bit less useful and the material for the seat belts had to be cut into strips to fit the buckles and strap adjusters. Cut yours a little thinner than 2mm and it’ll slide easily through.

Once you get it in there, folding it over and gluing it back to itself to complete the belt is a frustrating task. Hasegawa indicates it can be secured with cyanoacrylate adhesive, literally, “instant glue for metal,” but the vinyl didn’t respond to the super glue I was using, a tube of thin, instant-setting glue.

The tubing for the rear brake cooling ducts was also difficult to use. It was too thick to bend into the shapes needed to fit into the rear suspension, and didn’t look much like a scale version of something that belonged under a race car. I used plastic-coated wire as a form, slipped inside the tubing to get it to maintain the shape I needed, and cut it short where it should have passed around the rear axle half-shafts.

I added a short segment to the rear of the brake discs to complete the look.

This is a full-detail model, so construction starts with the engine. Decals provide the “Jaguar” emblems on the cam covers, and a red warning sticker on a black box on the left intake runner adds a dash of color. Testors Model Master Metalizer colors gave the engine parts a realistic finish, and a wash of oily black paint brought out all of the molded-in detail.

The front suspension is simplified, but there’s enough there to give a realistic representation, and the steering is poseable. The rear end is specific to the race car, with a beefier differential and sturdy-looking lower control arms. The stock parts fall into the unused category.

The interior is a tub specific to the racer, with a large coolant bottle and mounting plates for the roll cage molded in. The competition-spec lower dash has decals for gauges and a clear plastic lens for the main instrument panel.

Wheels and tires likewise get upgraded for race duty, with staggered Dunlop slicks to wrap around the Speedline alloy wheels.

The body shell is shared with the stock version, so there’s a heavy chrome molding around the windshield and side windows. It looked daunting to carve off, so I left it in place. The Tamiya Racing Green was dark enough to hide it a bit.

Decals were easy to place and responded well to Micro Scale MicroSet and MicroSol. A clear coat sealed it all in.

Once I maneuvered the chassis under the long underbody mesh and the front, it was a snap to secure it under the rear pan, no glue required. Overall, this was a satisfying model to build. It’ll be nice to place this big cat on the shelf with other racing icons of the ’80s.             


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