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Italeri 1/12 scale Lancia Delta HF Integrale 16V Sanremo 1989 plastic model kit review

If you like large-scale kits or rally subjects, this kit just bounced to the top of your wish list
Kit:4712 // Scale:1/12 // Price:$324
Italeri (Sample courtesy of Model Rectifier)
Superb level of detail; great parts fit; fantastic decals
Many ejector-pin marks to fill
Injection-molded plastic (red, gray, silver, clear, chrome-plated); 489 parts (20 screws/nuts/bolts; 90 photo-etched metal; 13 vinyl); decals
In the World Rally Championship during the 1970s and ’80s, one manufacturer dominated the sport: Lancia. First with the Stratos, then with the 037, and finally with the Delta HF. Possibly the most successful car to date, the Delta HF won the rally championship six years in a row starting in 1987.

The new Italeri 1/12 scale Lancia Delta Integrale 16V plastic model kit release is a modified reissue of the kit first released in 2021, this time with the one-off livery for the 1989 Rallye Sanremo. The kit includes markings for both team cars: the No. 1 car of winner Miki Biasion and the No. 5 car driven by Didier Auriol, who crashed out of the event. The two large decal sheets printed by Cartograf are exquisite! The only other change from the original release is the switch to treaded tires, as Sanremo was and remains a mostly gravel course. Italeri also includes a large fret of photo-etched metal (PE) parts, vinyl tubing, nylon mesh, and ribbon for the seat belts.

In building the chassis, you first form the two PE foot plates to the interior floor. I had to use a propane torch to anneal them. Once cool, I pressed them into shape with my fingers and a wooden dowel. Next, I searched ahead through the instructions and gathered all the parts I could add to the chassis before painting. This allowed me to fill the small gaps where the firewall and fenders meet, but it also made adding the tubing for the engine more difficult later on. I airbrushed the assembly with Tamiya Gloss Aluminum (No. LP70).

I followed the instruction sequence pretty closely for most of the build because you could easily paint yourself into a corner if you get too far ahead. Details slowly build up from the interior floor, adding parts, much like you would with the real car; pedals, shifter and linkage, fire extinguishers, oil and fuel tanks, and then up to the dash and steering wheel.

The dash is masterfully done with decal markings for all the knobs, buttons, switches, and rally gear. The kit even has clear lenses for the gauges. Decals provide the Kevlar pattern for the seat backs. They are broken down into nine pieces to conform to contours more easily. I started at the top and worked down, only to find I needed to fill some spots where I ran short. This was more my fault than the decals’.

Building the seat belts, I found the best way to cut the ribbon material was to heat up my knife blade. That gave me a nice clean cut and fused the ends of the ribbon so it wouldn’t fray when threading it through the buckles and adjusters. Thick superglue seemed to work best for gluing the ends. The lengths listed in the instructions are the overall length of the ribbon material, not the assembled length as it appears. I left the end sections off so I could adjust the lengths if necessary.

The instructions devote nine steps to assembling the highly detailed, four-cylinder, 16-valve, turbocharged engine. I started by assembling the major components and then grouping them for painting by color. I tried to vary hues and textures to add interest. Cast aluminum has a different texture and tone than sheet aluminum. So, for instance, using different paints for steel parts, like AK Xtreme Metal Steel (No. AK476) and Alclad II Stainless Steel (No. ALC-115), will create minor differences that add a great deal to the overall look.

The detail and fit for the engine parts are excellent and result in a replica worthy of display by itself. The only problem I had was with the smallest size of tubing meant for the spark plug wires, it’s light gray and was kinked and/or collapsed from being folded up in the package. I couldn’t get it to unkink, and it just didn’t look right, so I replaced it with beading cord.

The body parts required minimal cleanup before painting — mostly just filling ejector-pin marks on the underside of the hood and rear hatch. I used Tamiya Italian Red (No. TS-8) straight from the can, heated in hot water. Three coats inside and out took about 2 1/2 cans.

Decaling posed only minor challenges. First, I taped the doors and hood in place to ensure the decals that bordered them would line up. The Martini stripes fit perfectly, but I did have a bit of trouble getting them to conform to some of the contours, especially on the C-pillars. Setting solutions and heat softened them, but they sprung back when dry. I repeated the process a few times and eventually got them to stay down. The rest of the markings worked flawlessly, fitting flawlessly and perfectly opaque. Once dry, a couple of clear coats sealed them before masking for the black trim.

After letting everything sit for about a week to cure, I started the final assembly of the body parts, including the doors, inner door panels, rear hatch, and window glass. Opening doors on model kits is often an iffy proposition, but these fit just right, as did the hood and rear hatch.

The instructions have you mount the body to the chassis before adding the front bumper and grille, and after trying to get the body on, I can see why. It is a tight fit. Do it as shown: back in first and rotate the front down. Go slowly and carefully, and trust that it all goes together. Check the rearview mirror for clearance regarding the roll bar; that was the only hang-up I encountered.

It stands to reason that an Italian company would pay special attention to another Italian subject, and Italeri did a spectacular job with the 1/12 scale Lancia Delta HF Integrale 16V Sanremo 1989 plastic model kit. This really is a top-level effort! With nearly 500 parts, the kit would probably be best suited to someone with at least moderate experience, but there really isn’t anything difficult or problematic to be found. If you like rally cars or big-scale kits, you’ll definitely want to check this one out. And I see Italeri has announced an all-new 1/12 scale Lancia Stratos for later in 2024. Oooh, baby! Bring it on!
Step 1 of the instructions has you shape the PE floor plates to the floor pan. I used a torch to anneal them and then my fingers and a wooden dowel to shape them.
There are several ejector-pin marks to fill in the firewall and engine bay. I used Mr. Surfacer to fill the marks and then sanded them flush. The interior floor requires the same treatment.
After test-fitting some parts, the engine showed an open gap on either side of the bell housing, so I made a cover out of sheet styrene. You probably won’t be able to see it once everything is assembled, but better safe than sorry!
The spare wheel wouldn’t have lug nuts, so I carefully drilled them out.
Looking through the instructions, I gathered parts that could be built into subassemblies and glued them together. After de-seaming, they were painted various metallic colors based on whether they were aluminum, steel, cast, machined, or sheet metal.
As supplied, the kit’s engine pulleys have a ridge molded around them to locate the parts, but it doesn’t look realistic. I simply removed the ridge from the open part of the pulley and, voila, grooved pulleys!
A barb on the upper part of the strut is captured by the lower halves, making it necessary to fully assemble before painting. I made some shims out of styrene sheet to hold the springs up of the way.
I contemplated drilling out the brake discs but thought I’d see how they looked with a wash first. I don’t think that drilling would be worth the effort. The colored bands represent a heat-sensitive paint used to determine brake temperature.
The Kevlar seat back is broken down into nine decals. I suggest starting with numbers 119, 113, and 114 because their locations are set by the openings for the seat belts. Then, fill in the rest, but be careful when positioning them because there isn’t much overlap. However, there are plenty of spare decals provided if you need to fill in some spots.
The completed dash looks spectacular. Decals provide all the instruments, buttons, and rally gear. Separate clear lenses for the gauges are also included.
The completed rear suspension fit together without issue. I made a bit of an error and forgot to add the spacer at the top of the strut. I think this was added for this version because Sanremo is a mostly gravel event.
While the front steering is posable, the parts are fragile, so use caution when repositioning. I snapped the shaft (Part 18i) that goes through the rack, and there’s no way to reattach it securely.
Add the radiator and attach a few hoses to complete the engine compartment. Mounting the engine relies heavily on the exhaust and driveshaft for placement, but everything seems to line up well.
I found the best way to cut the ribbon for the seat belts was to heat up my knife blade. It made for a nice clean cut and fused the ends so they wouldn’t fray. My superglue has gotten a little thick with age, but it worked well for gluing the belts without wicking through.
You can see the filled ejector-pin marks on the underside of the hood and rear hatch. If I had one complaint about the kit, it would be that some of these could be smoothed out during tooling to make them less noticeable.
Complete and ready to roll! There isn’t a lot more you could add that isn’t included in the kit.
The supplied tubing for the spark plug wires collapsed, and I couldn’t get it to unkink, so I replaced it with some beading cord. It looks more to-scale and was easier to work with.
Trying to drape the seat belts correctly required gluing them to the seats. I left the rearmost section off the shoulder belts in case I needed to adjust the lengths.
Body parts have been painted, decaled, clear-coated, and are ready for final assembly. I used Tamiya Italian Red straight from the spray can.
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