Available at HobbyLink Japan
When Subaru decided to embark upon a campaign in the World Rally Championship, nobody was truly ready for the change that was about to come upon the sport. The iconic blue, gold, and yellow are forever synonymous with the sport of rallying, and the 555 Subarus have been driven by some of the greatest drivers ever to take to the special stages of WRC.
Despite many being overly familiar with the Impreza models of rally car, the crown jewel in the Subaru empire is actually a RS Legacy. Nestled away in the Subaru dealership in Mitaka, Tokyo the #7 car dressed in the 555 livery was driven by Colin McRae & Derek Ringer in the 1993 Rally of New Zealand. The reason this particular car is so special is that it delivered Subaru their first ever win in the World Rally Championship.
Hasegawa has always made superb rally kitsets and this example is no different. The iconic colors, and the sound of the Subaru boxer engine is something Group A rally fans will never forget. Today, cars of this era are either long gone, or locked up in private collections, and with Mitaka Subaru being open to the public for viewing makes this Legacy a must see!
The kit comes molded in three colors: blue, white, black, and also the clear sprue with glass and lights. Included in the box are waterslide decals, easy-to-follow instructions, a photo-etch set, rubber mudflaps, and realistic rubber gravel rally tires.
The kit is slightly simplistic in appearance, however, don’t let that fool you; this model builds up into a fantastic example of the real car.
After visiting the real car, the first thing I noticed is that the tobacco markings were not reproduced for this particular kit due to licensing. Hasegawa replaced the ‘555’ markings with ‘SUBARU’ although as a stickler for accuracy I opted not to use them.
The kit decals shown above are of excellent quality but I went with an aftermarket set of 555 decals to ensure it was just as the car that ran in 1993, and that which is on show in Tokyo.
If you wish to replace the kit decals, an excellent set can be found at HobbyLink Japan by Museum Collection here: 1/24 Subaru Legacy 555 decals
The instruction booklet is a 14-step, easy-to-understand guide on building the kit, with a complete paint guide. The drawings are excellent, and don’t worry if you can’t read Japanese; there is English with every explanation to ensure you know exactly what you are doing.
The first step of the build focuses on the cockpit, and in true Hasegawa fashion they reproduce this via a tub style. The kit comes with a pre-molded floorpan so it required a little precision painting for the extinguishers and foot rests for both driver and co-driver. The realistic rollcage wraps around two bucket seats and a dashboard slots in up front.
A matte grey interior doorcard is realistically reproduced in the kit, and makes the rollcage really stand out once installed.
The group A rally cars were merely production shells, with safety gear installed. The similarities between them and their showroom cousins were vast, and many still retained the interior trim as per the road-going spec models.
Chassis and drivetrain
With the Legacy RS being a full-time 4WD, this made it the perfect base to go rallying with. Hasegawa has lovingly recreated this with everything from longer suspension, front and rear sized brakes, and the Speedline gravel rally wheels to give this Subaru the authentic look.
The square boxy lines of the body make the Legacy unforgettable, especially in rally trim. The blue I used is a custom mix of tints to recreate the actual blue that the cars were painted with from factory. The 53C 555 blue has a darker hue than was run on the Impreza, and I wanted to recreate this to be as accurate as possible.
Once the body was painted and cleared, I masked the black rubber trim off and painted that. The assembly of the body was smooth sailing, a little care was needed to mask up the window trims, and then assemble the front headlights. Fitment on all these parts was great, and I was very happy with the finished result. The body required very little sanding in prep prior to paint which made the build that much more enjoyable.
The decal step is where the kitset really comes to life. The blue and gold is iconic, but a bright yellow set of 555 graphics adorning the body is truly the icing on the cake.
The number plates that carry the event name and number are included in the kit decals, as well as the aftermarket so it is entirely up to you which you use. The great thing about the Legacy is the boxy body shape means the decals go on with next to no solution required to make them conform to odd shapes.
The finished product
This Legacy quickly transforms from beauty to beast once the decals start getting laid down. The dark blue paint comes to life with the addition of yellow decals, and you can almost hear that boxer engine dancing through the Motu Stage.
With the kit all finished, my overall impression is that Hasegawa has truly outdone themselves. Initially, the lower amount of parts compared to many of the Tamiya kits worried me, and I was unsure what the finished product would look like. As I got building, the great fitment, very little flash, and lack of sanding made the build a smooth and enjoyable one.
The most difficult part of the build was mixing the shade of blue to one that I was happy with, although after ensuring that was correct the rest of the process was very smooth and enjoyable. I would have to rate this a solid 8/10 as the Legacy looks very much at home in the cabinet with all the other 1/24 rally cars, and with a bright 555 down the door and McRae on the front fender you simply can’t go wrong!