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Hasegawa Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD

Driver Juha Kankkunen and navigator Juha Piironen took Toyota’s Castrol-sponsored No. 1 1993 Celica Turbo to victory during the 41st Trust Bank Safari Rally held in East Africa. The Safari rallies are demanding and treacherous off-road events, but the Toyota took both the WRC Manufacturer’s and Driver’s championship for the 1993 World Rallycross season.

The Celica advertised is the unique, all-wheel-drive, turbocharged GT-Four, but this kit is curbside and you’re unfortunately not able to show off that incredible powerplant.

Instructions start with the buildup of the bucket-style interior. As expected with a rally car, there’s minimal detail on the door panels but the seats are nicely rendered Recarros with provisions for the pass-through racing seat belt harnesses. Make the belts by using a sheet of super thin plastic that needs to be cut to size using the included guide and small photo-etched clips, buckles, and mounting hardware. They later get mounted to the rear roll bar.

The Celica’s dash is molded with minimal detail but the fix is six decals with carbon fiber backgrounds, switch and button detail, and a speedometer and tachometer.

The seats, dash, and fuel cell are all mounted to the interior bucket before the fragile seven-piece roll cage is installed.

The 15-piece chassis includes a chassis pan, well-detailed exhaust, and an engine with an attached drivetrain (all of which end up hidden behind skid plates). Next is the suspension build, comprising four struts, separate disc brakes, and poly bushings for the wheels to mount to, along with the front and rear skid plates.

The Celica wears rally-inspired OZ Racing “turbo” style wheels and nicely rendered Michelin gravel race tires. Decals for the Michelin lettering are a pleasure to use.

Trim the lettering as you want it to lay on the tire’s sidewall, then wet the outer layer of the decal, wait a couple of minutes, and then remove the backing and voila, the white lettering is applied crisply and beautifully.

Steps No. 11 through No. 15 construct the body. Parts are rendered beautifully with only the faintest of mold lines, relatively hidden along panel lines, and are easily cleaned. The paint is Toyota bright white followed by clear, both from Duplicolor. I refrained from a showy “dipped in syrup” look.

Windows were masked, and the black trim painted then re-masked, so the side and rears could be tinted with Tamiya’s window tint clear. The body then was declared using the two beautiful expansive sheets by Cartograf. Even with all the rounded corners of the Celica’s body, the decals laid down great with the minimal setting solution needed.

Hasegawa Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD

The final assembly went without any real hiccups. After the interior was mounted inside the body the chassis was slipped in and clipped using the pin and groove mounting tabs that require no adhesive to the chassis.

The last pieces added were the rubber mud flaps, air snorkel, off-road lights, and metal antenna.

Overall I was excited to receive this automotive subject to build, as this was not something I would have normally built. I looked forward to building outside my comfort zone because it would challenge me. This was an incredibly enjoyable build.

Anyone who hasn’t taken a go at a Hasegawa kit needs to look into the vast array of rally cars offered, and finish at least one variant of the incredible Toyota Celica.