Ford Focus WRC 2001

Airfix 1/43 scale

by Alfredo Molina Reynoso © 2003 MS

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After I had read about how attractive was this scale, the idea of building a 1/43 kit excited me very much. A friend of mine told me that a local hobby store was on bargain sale and, thinking I could get them there, I decided to go……and bought two, the Ford Focus WRC and the Peugeot 206; both of them were from Airfix (Heller).

A modelling contest was about to start, so considering, that building one of these, would not be difficult, I set to work at once.

This note aims at letting you know my experience as a beginner to this scale, with my first 1/43 kit.


The kit

In the picture, you can appreciate the parts the kit comprises; although the body comes already primed and, the rear aileron and front fascia come already glued, the rollbar was scratchbuilt.

The decals leave much to be desired, well, have in mind that it’s a very cheap kit.

The wheels and tires are supplied in only one part, and you will just need gluing its rear part. Nevertheless, I decided a more satisfying way, at least to my liking. I took away the centre of the wheel and added scratchbuilt disks and callipers.

I made small holes to put tiny nuts that would support its rim, which was also scratchbuilt, drilling finally the centre of the wheel to add a pin that would act as its axle.

As this kit didn't provide the roll cage, I scratchbuilt it with cooper wire, and then it was tin welded.


This is the hardest stage of the project, as I had previously commented, the decals aren't of good quality, so, that “pushed” me to decide painting nearly all I could, to apply just the sponsors logos, and the blue trips with the fluorescent orange parts.

I started painting all the body in white, with lacquer used to paint cars from the Excello brand, letting the paint dry during 15 days, sanding then, with a #2000 sandpaper. Shortly after, I masked and painted the blue area, that's to say the rear part of the body.

In some areas the blue spread itself over the white, probably owing to a masking failure but a smooth sanding was enough to correct it.

I let the blue drying during 7 days, to give a sanding with #2000 until getting a smooth surface, ready to receive the decals..

Then, it was time to paint the orange. Masking these strips meant a very complex task. I photocopied the decals sheet, to use it as template, to make the masks with Tamiya tape, next I masked the whole model and painted the orange strips.

Once this time-consuming process finished, I went on applying the decals. Then, I waited a couple of days to wash all the body up to varnish it, letting it dry during one week

The wheels

After having both parts of each wheel cemented, I sanded their joints to have them removed. I painted all the wheels with Tamiya TS-26 pure white, it's excellent, doesn't need to be polished and the brightness you will get, will be very good indeed. After letting the wheels drying during 2 days, I took the rim measure using a template with circles, I cut a circle from masking tape, which would be later used to cover the wheel without problems.

The tires were painted Tamiya gloss black, and once the paint was dry I applied the “Pzero” decals.

Finally, several layers of matt varnish were given, placing then, the five nuts and the centre, applying a smooth wash and…..the wheels were ready.

The interior

It also needed a long masking session, since all the additions come moulded in the plastic. I began by painting the front areas of the seats, gloss blue; and behind black, applying then the decals.

When airbrushing the matt varnish, the decals started ungluing ( something usual with the Heller decals)… I had to repeat the process.

I removed the paint from the seats, redoing all the job, using decals from a similar kit I especially bought for that purpose.

Fortunately, I succeeded in getting the result I expected with the seats.

Next, the dashboard was painted satin black (although it should have been painted matt black). After applying the decals, I gave several coats with Future,( since the carbon fibre the real car has been made out of , is polished) The steering wheel arms were painted Humbrol satin black, the ring matt black, and two circular points with different yellow tones, were also painted to simulate the push bottoms.

The spare wheel was painted like the others, and all the tools with Humbrol polish steel, and were slightly dry brushed with gold color.

Then, I masked the whole interior to airbrush in Humbrol semi matt white.

The roll cage was primed and painted in white (the same lacquer used to paint the body).

The cushions were custom made and painted blue watercolor, the attachment straps were made out of thin wire, that was slightly burnt by drawing it near the flame of a candle to get it blackened.

Once finished and glued the rollbar, went on placing the seat belts. As this kit doesen´t provides them, I cut two strips (from tin foil) as wide as the seats holes, next they were primed and painted gloss red, applied decals and some matt varnish coats. I added pieces of wire as to show that the belts were fastened (a friend of mine remarked me that the seat belts should end “Y” shaped, thank you Javi).

The chassis

To give a more realistic look, I started by cutting away the oil pan guard plate, to be replaced. I made a cardboard template to cut a thin part of plasticard which was drilled where the rivets should have to be applied, sanding then with #500, to paint finally in Humbrol chrome plate, but actually, this result didin´t satisfy me.

Next step was to mask the gear box and exhaust tube and paint in Humbrol matt black, airbrushing then, matt varnish. I sanded a piece of plastic which had previously been painted in aluminium, letting this “dust” falling on the paint, and with the help of a cotton swab, I spread the dust all over the chassis until it was wholly impregnated.

I applied Humbrol polish steel, to the gear box and exhaust tubes, polishing them very smoothly.

All these stages mean a hard work of masking….that makes lose anybody´s patience.



I sanded the chassis with #2000 sand paper, polishing with Novus 3, and after all the lines the sand paper had left, were removed, I applied several coats of Novus 2 until getting a bright surface. Finally, a coat of 3M wax to get a deeper brightness.


As it was plainly shown along this text, this kit takes many hours of hard work if we want to get a good result, however it was a pleasing experience as the kit gave me the chance to test the 1/43 scale. Although at times, small details take us on edge, I consider to build in future a higher quality one of this pretty scale…..


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