Scale Cars

Aoshima Subaru Impreza WRX STi GRB + USCP Sedan Transkit

The STi is an iconic childhood car for me – ironically because one of my earliest memories as a child was of playing with an Alternators Smokescreen Transformer toy that turned into a Subaru WRC. I like them even more now that I’m familiar with their performance and pedigree, to the point where I was deadly close to pulling the trigger on a 2015 model when I was looking for my new car.

That being said, it’s all the more embarrassing now that when I’ve finally got around to building an STi…and it ends up being one of my most flubbed builds ever. Notice that the title mentions this being a resin transkit of the sedan STi – but the final car is the hatch. Things went seriously awry for this project.

So, our story starts with the big-name scale model manufacturers. My personal favorite WRX/STi generation is the latest – the 2015 VA chassis. For whatever inexplicable reason, no model maker thought the car significant enough to make a scale kit for it, and as far as I know there aren’t even any resin transkits to convert an older STi to the latest one. Okay, fine. What about the previous generation, the GR?

Aoshima saves the day – with a kit that includes parts for both the original 2007 GRB STi and the facelifted 2010 car. Awesome, I like this STi too, so I’ll take it. What I don’t like, however, is that Aoshima only ever came out with this generation in its hatchback form.

I have nothing against hatches – but for the STi I really wanted the sedan variant, giant rear wing and all. Unfortunately it seems like the hatch variant was by and far the more popular version of the car; even around here in southern California I’ll see a GR STi hatch maybe every week and the sedan variant only once in a blue moon.

Enter USCP – Ukrainian Scale Car Production. They’re an aftermarket resin parts company based in (can you guess?) Ukraine. They actually make a bunch of unique stuff, at prices that don’t break your bank, set it on fire, and eject it into space in the way parts from Hobby Design do.

Of course, one of their products that I had a very keen interest in was a full transkit for the GR STi, in order to convert it into the GV STi sedan. I’ve only worked with one resin transkit before in the past – the Veilside Fortune conversion for my RX-7 from EightyOne – and that one turned out to be a relative success so I thought hey, why not try my hand at this on my beloved Subaru?

Upon receiving the transkit in the mail, the company was already making a very, very good impression. The Fortune transkit I got from EightyOne was just thrown into a standard small brown shipping box with no labeling, instructions, etc. USCP clearly cares about presentation, as everything comes nicely packaged in a sturdy little flip-out box, complete with a nice diagram sticker and a custom instruction manual.

This stuff isn’t high-end professional packaging with heat-shrink blisters or anything; the paper on the box is clearly just printed from a standard printer on label paper and stuck on, but I find efforts like this endearing, even if it really doesn’t matter to the actual product by the end of the day.

Taking a look at the base parts for the plastic body – one option of rear bumper, a separate hood with the iconic Subaru hood scoop, and two options for the front bumper – 2007 or 2010 versions.

As hatchbacks go, I think the GR STi body is relatively boring – the relatively long hood and high rear end make it look like a shoe and more SUV-like than more stylized hatches like the Lexus CT or new Type R.

And here’s the USCP sedan transkit body. Right out of the gate it’s already impressing more than the EightyOne Fortune kit did. Recall that the RX-7 transkit was made out of a not-very-flattering opaque white resin, with excess molding chunks bigger than my fingernail that had to be cut off and sanded clean.

This Subaru body seems to be made of a much more crisp and nicer-looking solid gray resin, almost as though it’s already been cleaned and primed before being shipped.

Despite trying very hard to look for areas on the resin body that needed to be sanded, cleaned, cut, etc., I couldn’t really find anything. As far as I could tell it was paint-ready out of the box, which really surprised me as I’m pretty sure that’s never the case with aftermarket parts.

The only small quirk that I decided to go ahead and take care of was the fender vents – on the hatchback body provided by Aoshima they’re open, with mesh that’s supposed to go underneath. USCP has them filled in, probably for structural reasons. I could’ve left such a small detail as it was, but as it happens it wasn’t hard to stick a knife in and open them up.

Of course the first thing I did was glue that iconic wing onto the trunk deck. Everything from the b-pillars forward on the two bodies are identical.

Extra parts required for the sedan conversion. Clear resin is included for the rear windshield, rear windows, taillights, and third brake light. Other parts include a chassis extension piece, extension piece for the cabin behind the rear seats, new radiator(?), taillights, and axle-back exhaust.

I was actually really confused as to why USCP decided to include an extra front bumper (of the 2010 variety) when it’s completely identical to the one from the Aoshima kit. Turns out it’s because the front grille and headlight housings are molded together with the rest of the bumper, allowing the entire thing to go on as one unit easier rather than fiddle with the housings, grille bezel, and bumper itself separately.

This means it needs to be masked to get the proper colors, rather than painting the pieces separately.

I actually forgot why this was necessary – I believe because USCP redesigned the front end slightly so there’s no easy way to line the headlights and grille up to fit.

So of course, my rule now will be that if it’s a Subaru, it’s going to be World Rally Blue. That translates to Mica Blue in Tamiya Paint form (it’s actually the paint Tamiya recommends to achieve WRB on their BRZ model).

Unfortunately, the first few coats of Mica Blue after primer didn’t quite turn out as nice as I’d hoped. It’s really hard to see on camera, but there are random splotches and grainy areas that acted up for some reason. It’s also much darker than I had hoped; it looks very bright above because it’s under direct incandescent light, but under normal lighting it looks abnormally dark.

I’ve learned that stripping Tamiya and Mr. Hobby lacquer sprays is actually very difficult after they’ve cured. The local hobby senpais told me that it’s basically impossible after a day of drying because it’s “bonded” to the plastic. I confirmed this before when even after 3 days of soaking in Purple Power, dried lacquer wouldn’t come off; it’ll only work when the paint is still relatively soft and fresh.

So instead of trying to sand the body down for a better coat of Mica Blue, I decided to hit everything with some Brilliant Blue as a base coat, which will hopefully show through the thinner coat of Mica Blue and provide a more brilliant blue than before.

This also means that instead of attempting to spray over the resin bumper that came with the transkit, I decided to start fresh with the Aoshima plastic bumper, and simply attempt to fit the headlights and grille together with it later.

It looks much more solid and less grainy/splotchy with the Brilliant Blue base coat now.

I was prepared to cut into the suspension components to lower the car, but Aoshima is very thoughtful in that they already include an extra set of rotor/hub assemblies that are meant to be attached in a lowered position on the chassis.

Not the most detailed undercarriage; a shame that the mid section of the exhaust is molded in.

Also note at the very end is a resin extension piece, since apparently the stock chassis was too short.

I bought these Work Emotion CR Kiwamis for use specifically on this car long before I actually bought the kit.

Wheels come plated silver with stretched tires.

All the Subarus I build will retain the classic blue body/gold wheels combo, just because I think it’s an iconic look for cars of the brand. As such, the silver plating was partially stripped in Purple Power, so the gold paint can adhere better.

This is still using the same ‘ol can of Testors Metallic Gold that I’ve been using for years, but I still really like the results.

Rotors painted silver, brakes in red.

Silver under the chassis was painted in by hand. As usual, it takes several layers to get a solid coat.

Aoshima is kind enough to include LHD parts for this car, but unfortunately are not kind enough to mold an extra foot rest in the footwell on the left side of the tub.

Resin package shelf extension glued in behind the seat heads. It’s meant to go in at an angle, so it looks a bit strange, but the instructions for the transkit assure that this is how it’s supposed to look.

Masking stickers included for the front and rear windshields, though with this transkit I’ll only be using the front since the rear window is different for the sedan.

Just for fun I decided to try the masking sticker on the rear resin windshield to see how much it was off by, and to my surprise it’s only by a minuscule amount on the edges. It could probably even work if the tape didn’t come off of the clear resin part so easily (it doesn’t seem to take as well as plastic).

Easy work to paint it by hand.

One really annoying point for this resin body is how easily the A-pillars snap and break. They broke when I first took the body out of the box due to how thin the resin is in that area, and I glued it back in place before painting, but they kept breaking again when I moved on to polish the body paint.

By the third time I decided to just leave them alone until everything else was done, and glue it down at the very end when I wouldn’t be handling the body anymore.

How refreshing it is to finally have a set of Aoshima aftermarket wheels fit on an Aoshima kit as it was intended. I’ve been hacking them apart so often to make them fit on models that were never meant to accept them that I was actually surprised at how easily they popped on here.

The actual STi for this generation doesn’t actually have bright red ostentatious seat inserts, despite the front seats being Recaros, but I really like the blue body/red interior aesthetic, so I’m making it red anyway.

They look ugly as all hell get out here because I’m hand-painting all the red (because masking is too annoying) with thin layers of acrylic, but I promise it’ll look presentable once the final coat is laid down.

The door panels and especially dashboard actually have a surprising amount of silver trim; I don’t think any other car I’ve worked with other than the second-gen NSX has had this much, and for that car Tamiya at least made it easy by including separate parts.

Aoshima goes balls deep in giving you a decal sheet with just about every variation marking you could think of for this car. As far as I could tell, not even the instruction manual tells you where every little thing is supposed to go. I didn’t even figure out until after I had finished the interior that they actually give you two options for the steering wheel center.

I’m actually impressed that Aoshima went out of their way to include tiny decals for the HVAC controls on the dash, but I ended up screwing up and losing one of them. I was surprised there weren’t other HVAC decals on the sheet that I could sub in, so my only remaining option…was to use one of the similarly sized wheel hubcap decals. They were black and just had a red “STi” in the middle, so I thought it would be small enough to remain discreet.

Body looks hideous again after clear coat. I don’t understand why paint has such a hard time taking well to this body – the exact same colors and process on my R34 Skyline was a breeze. I would think that it’s the resin underneath, but after so many coats of primer, color coats, and clear, it shouldn’t matter anymore.

To mitigate the ugly grainy clear coat I decided to attempt to sand down the entire body – starting with 1500 grit and working up to 2000 and then finally 3000 to finish.

Some polish later and it’s finally looking proper – the glossy reflection alongside the door is pretty mint.

The resin bumper that had already been painted is a slightly different shade of blue than the body because it never got the Brilliant Blue base coat, so to fit the plastic front bumper that matches the body, we’ll have to cut the headlight housing bar out and glue the headlights individually to the bumper.

The fitment isn’t 100%; it’s tough to keep all that stuff up front together when there’s very little surface area that mates them; after all this resin body setup was never intended by Aoshima. The bumper gap with the fenders is particularly annoying, and it’s tough to keep it closed without getting glue or residue on the outside, ruining the paint finish.

The quickest and most effective way to hold the headlights in was actually via hot glue – the usual Crazy Glue doesn’t have the thickness to bead around the edges of the housings and hold it to the underside of the hood. It’s messy and has a certain degree of flex because that’s just how hot glue works, but it gets the job done.

Checking out the fitment with the bare chassis and body. I actually found that I wasn’t really digging the super thin tire profiles – in this case I think a more normal tire would look better on the larger-bodied Subaru.

Much better, I think. These are actually the stock tires that came with the kit, and they happen to fit the aftermarket Kiwamis perfectly.

Interestingly, the sidewalls actually read Pirelli P Zero, 235/40ZD18 – I don’t know if these are realistically the stock tires that came on the STi from factory, but if they are, then Subaru clearly didn’t spare any expense equipping the STi with some really nice meat – P Zeros are expensive!

Mirrors painted Mica Blue, then hand-painted satin black because I’m not about to attempt to mask those blue areas.

Resin exhaust exclusive to the sedan transkit painted silver, with the plastic chrome quad tips from Aoshima.

Gloss surfaces will generally hide the clear borders around water slide decals much better than flat or satin surfaces. With this in mind, I now usually gloss coat pieces that will require decals like these seats. After the decals have been applied and dried, a final flat coat will even out the finish and make it look good.

Silver accents on the center console added by hand. I keep forgetting that this generation STi also had the diff controls behind the shifter opening – Aoshima gives you one decal for this that you’re expected to conform around the raised knob and buttons.

Tub finished.

The front grille actually has a very narrow tolerance margin – not like the usual bumper meshes where I can just cut a large rectangle and plaster it behind the bumper openings without a care. Aoshima clearly realized this, and went out of their way to include a to-scale reference for you to size your grille mesh to, so it fits in the bezel perfectly.

I wasn’t going to cut that template out of the manual though (I’m not a savage, though Aoshima seems to like making you cut templates out of their manuals) so it took a bit of back and forth to size it correctly .

Once the mesh was squared away, I was left wondering how Aoshima intended for us to replicate the classic STi badge on the front grille. Turns out they include an absolutely microscopic piece of plastic shaped to the outline of the STi logo, which is then glued onto the mesh. A decal then goes over this plastic piece, creating the solid badge-on-mesh effect.

Now, this is when things really start to go downhill. I praised USCP for their wonderful resin casting earlier and part crispness, but unfortunately that was a false sense of optimism.

The body fit over the chassis was all off. I’m particularly shocked that there was no tab or peg system at the rear that lined everything up; the only way the chassis was supposed to mate to the body was through some tiny grooves in the front radiator.

So, we’re getting problems. The chassis wouldn’t go all the way up into the body, and it seemed as though something was preventing it from flushing all the way up. The rear of the chassis kind of just slots into the rear bumper groove, with no tabs to keep it steady so it’s always moving around and causing fitment issues up front.

I surmised that the problem may have been the trunk lining getting in the way and preventing flush fit, even though the USCP transkit manual never mentioned modifying this in order to make things work. Still, it was worth a shot to cut it up and see if it would help things.

It fit slightly better, but still didn’t bring the entire chassis in. Worse yet, the more I tried to force things to fit, the more parts were getting scratched and paint was getting damaged.

Eventually my frustration got the better of me, for the absolute worst scenario came to pass: a cracked clear part. That couldn’t be omitted from the final kit. That was front and center and near-impossible to hide. I don’t know if there are actually ways to fix these sorts of breakages seamlessly, but as far as I’m concerned this is game over. Had it occurred to one of the side windows I could’ve just taken or cut them out for the “rolled down” window effect, but you can’t have a “rolled down” windshield.

This happened because the black windshield base wouldn’t fit properly in the resin body, which in turn meant that the clear windshield itself wouldn’t fit properly without leaving gaps here and there. In my attempts to push the clear plastic in, the pressure caused a crack.

Sure, it may not seem like a big deal to some – it’s just a small crack in the corner, right? I tried to console myself with this reasoning for quite some time – until I decided that I simply couldn’t settle for less. I didn’t want an STi of all cars to be the bastard child that I wasn’t proud of in my collection. So the only thing to do was to order another kit and salvage an unbroken windshield from that.

I’ve done this before – when I thought I lost a hood to my 300zx I ordered another one to get the hood. But the difference there was that kit was $10 – not a big blow. But this Subaru was $30 from Japan; more expensive if I wanted it quicker domestically. The pill was three times harder to swallow, and I ended up waiting nearly a month for the replacement kit to come from overseas.

The nice thing now I guess is that I have double of nearly everything sans the resin parts, so if I mess up on any more decals or anything there’s always a backup.

The rear windshield was also a nightmare to fit and glue down. Out of the box the clear resin was way too large to fit in the body opening, and even after a lot of trimming it still wouldn’t stay flush.

Considered painting the weather seals around the windows and b-pillar flat black, but it came out pretty bad.

Going with the usual semi-gloss black instead.

New windshield fitted. Of course I was very careful not to apply pressure this time. If I broke it again I’d probably end up setting the entire thing on fire.

It still doesn’t fit perfectly even after I trimmed the windshield base and inside of the body, but this is about as good as it’s gonna get. The a-pillars don’t quite sit flush with the inside windshield, and there’s a gap on the upper driver’s side, but no matter what I tried there was no way to solve these issues.

All windows glued in.

Mesh added for those little fender vents that I cut out at the beginning.

Finally, chassis glued onto body, via some thick hot glue beads under the front bumper. It’s not the cleanest, but at this point I just cared about getting it to come together properly.

Acceptable. The rear is still a bit finicky but at least everything’s glued down and secure.

After messing with the body so much during the fitting process I thought it good to bring the paint back to life with some actual car wax.

Chrome plastic was included for the side view mirrors – not as good as Tamiya’s metal transfer mirrors, but good enough.

Taillight housings painted chrome.

I was surprised to find that USCP actually went out of their way to include a subtle bulge in the taillight lenses to indicate where the divide is for the red and clear portions of the lens. I was fully prepared to just paint the entire thing clear red, but I was glad to find out that I didn’t have to.

They don’t fit perfectly though, as usual. Quite a bit of test fitting and trimming was required to get these clear lenses to actually sit flush over the taillight housings.

This is when things started to go downhill, really fast. The roof finish was a bit screwed up thanks to the constant body handling, so I went ahead and polished it a bit more to get the shine back. Unfortunately I made the rookie mistake of polishing too much – now there was a clear coat hole in the middle of the roof, not dissimilar to the oxidation you’d see on the roof of real cars.

Okay, this means the roof needs to be repainted. Easy. Mask the body off with printer paper because I’m cheap, and proceed to sand before a fresh coat.

Instead of attempting to go through the trouble of matching the roof blue to the rest of the body blue, I decided to just make the roof gloss black – I like black roofs anyway. But then it turns out even with sanding from 400 to 2000 grit, the inconsistent layering still showed through the gloss black.

Sand it back again, this time making sure that there aren’t any raised edges and that it’s actually smooth. Instead of trying again with gloss black and having it fail if the paint doesn’t level well though, I decided to try a different method.

I don’t have much of this Composite Carbon decal stuff left, but I figured it’d be worthwhile to use the remainder to attempt to “wrap” the roof in carbon.

You’d think that a shape as simple as the roof would be easy for the decal to conform to – but that’s where you’re wrong, kiddo. Unfortunately the shape is still rounded at the edges, meaning it has the nasty convex curve that decals hate to go around smoothly.

The decal still had a bit of an ugly texture due to the large surface area, so I went with the usual Floor Finish in an attempt to give it an even glossy sheen (I use Floor Finish for decals because the last time I tried to clear coat large decals, it didn’t turn out so well). It looks perfect when first applied.

But then it dries and it doesn’t look very perfect anymore. The entire roof area including the rear window just looks like a gross mess – a product of too much sanding correction and multiple repaints of those black weather strips.

So regular paint and decals aren’t working, and sanding it all over again down to the edges could compromise the body paint and ruin the weather strip areas even more.

At the edge of desperation, I turned to insanity: what’s a thick coating that could cover all the nasty textures with some light sanding and would come out looking smooth? The answer lay in a can of plasti-dip that I had lying around that I recently used for my actual car.

It feels super wrong to use this on a model car, but I was very, very close to rage-quitting the entire project because of this stupid roof, so I went ahead with the nothing-to-lose mindset. Ironically, after it leveled and cured, the plasti-dip turned out to be the best and smoothest finish so far.

Unfortunately, even with the main roof section looking good, the edges were tattered and gross, so in lieu of sanding them down again, I tried a unique approach of laying down some 1mm masking tape painted black in an attempt to simulate exterior weather stripping. At first it looked much better than the ugly and jagged sections beneath, but stepping back it still doesn’t look proper. There was no way I was getting this to look perfect – we were way beyond that.

The bumper is now having fitment issues again – turning the wheels will pop it out and the glue doesn’t like to hold it together. One of the A-pillars also had an entire section break and come off – so gluing that back in left a visible seam.

And then, I made another crucial error – to blow dust and sanding residue off the car, I always used compressed air cans. They work wonders, and even have a double function of spraying ice if turned upside down, in order to rapidly cool hot glue welds if needed. Unfortunately, this feature worked against me when I sprayed the body down with the compressed air but hadn’t let it sit for long enough after using it to cool hot glue – so it sprayed a bit of ice on the body finish and chipped some clear coat off the hood.

I thought it wasn’t a big deal – I would just decant some clear and add it in by brush, then polish the section so it would be mostly undetectable. Unfortunately I learned the hard way that concentrated clear coat doesn’t work that way. This stuff is apparently much stronger than standard solid colors, so it proceeded to melt the blue paint underneath and the clear coat around it almost immediately, turning the area into an irreparable mess. In retrospect, I shouldn’t be surprised – I always knew that clear coat, when applied heavily, can melt color coats – but clearly I didn’t think ahead here.

At this point I had to take a step back and seriously assess my options. I could take the entire thing apart and sand-strip the body and start from square one, keep building and end up with a really imperfect and low-quality STi Sedan, or save myself the trouble of stripping paint off of resin and taking everything apart by just starting fresh with the hatchback body that I now have two copies of.

Option three – fresh start with a hatchback body. I was super done working with this resin body – if I decided to keep working with it and go for a perfect finish, it would all need to be sanded because Tamiya lacquers apparently don’t chemically strip very well after they’ve cured, and the compressed air ice method would be a very uneven way to chip the paint off. Even after all that, the chassis would still be a janky fit with the body, so I was ready to wash my hands of the whole sedan business and move on.

Salvaging that precious windshield out of the sedan body, now that I only have one since the other one is irreparable.

Other than the windshield, I have an entire second STi kit that I can build as normal. With the leftovers from the first kit, I have a pretty safe margin if I happen to mess anything up from hereon out.

Now, I may be scrapping the resin conversion body, but there’s no reason to toss the perfectly fine interior that I put effort into building the first time…except that the sedan tub had the trunk bin gutted, so at the very least I’m going to have to redo that section with the new kit.

I actually really, really regret not buying the INGS Version STi when buying the second model for the windshield. It was only a couple of dollars more expensive than the standard car I have two copies of, but included an INGS body kit and decals/extras. I didn’t think I needed to pay the extra since I was only getting the second kit for the windshield, but had I known I was going to end up building the hatchback anyway, I would’ve much preferred having the INGS goodies.

So to make up for that disappointment, I went ahead and attempted to emulate the INGS bumper by de-badging the normal front grille. This simply involved hacking at the oval that would house the Subaru badge and filling in the divots with putty.

Hood is separate on the hatch, unlike the sedan body that had it molded together. This will make painting it a separate color much easier.

Assembling most of the body before it’s sent off to paint. The side skirts and front/rear bumpers all had to be glued in first.

Repainting the rear seats since I can’t reuse the old ones thanks to the hacked trunk cubby. It might’ve been faster to just cut the intact trunk section off and weld it onto the old seat/tub assembly, but there was too much chance of the fitment ending up slightly off, and after the fitting nightmare that was the sedan body, I wasn’t down to take any chances in case the hatchback body also refused to mate with the chassis because of something wrong with the interior tub.

Two coats of Mica Blue, easy and perfect the first time around. Why the sedan body gave me so many issues when the resin seemed smooth I’ll never know.

Masked in plastic cling wrap so the rear diffuser can be painted Metallic Black.

I really would’ve liked to try something cool with the hood being carbon or whatever, but aside from being out of anymore of the Composite Carbon decals, I also wasn’t willing to attempt decal-ing that hood scoop.

The secondary option was then to paint things like the rear window spoiler and hood Metallic Black, which I’ve used before on cars like the FR-S and Silvia.

I think I neglected to mention this in the beginning of this build, but Aoshima’s STi actually comes with two sets of wheels – I think one of them is meant for the 2007 model and the other for the 2010 facelift. Of course, I never intended to use any of them for this car (and possibly any other car) so I cast them aside almost immediately.

I decided to make use of some of them though, so I cut out the nicer looking set (5-spokes) and painted them silver, with the intention of fitting two or three in the car’s trunk once it’s finished. Since it’s a practical hatch, I thought I might as well have it carry some of its stockies in the boot. I could’ve also fit the rest in the back seat, but didn’t want them rolling around when I handled the kit, since they wouldn’t be snug as the ones in the trunk will be.

Oh, and new tub finished. The dash, doors, and front seats are all recycled from the first attempt.

I didn’t want to decal this body out with full race-car sponsor flare, but at the same time I wanted to add a few markings here and there the way you’d see it on a street car.

Because the car’s running the Pirelli P Zeros that I mentioned earlier, I figured it appropriate to add the marking, along with some Work decals on the front fenders and an Exedy marking on the hood, because it’s obviously running an Exedy racing clutch.

Different axle-back exhaust attached, since the sedan came with its own dedicated unit.

And because I liked how it looked on my recent Civic, I decided to add some drybrush weathering to the underside of this car too; all the silver in the middle with nothing but black around it was getting boring. It still looks too heavy; it’s gonna take me a while to get the finesse of this down, since I think I constantly apply way too much silver.

This is actually one of the coolest features of the Aoshima kit that I totally forgot to mention earlier – pre-tinted windows! I didn’t actually think they’d care enough to do this, but I welcome it since I’m particularly bad at tinting myself. It’s only for the rear windows, quarter windows, and rear windshield, so of course none of these were going to be used on the sedan transkit.

Sure, it’s just darker clear plastic, but it looks a million times smoother than the crapsack tinting I always attempt with Clear Smoke spray. While a masking sticker is included for the rear windshield, I opted to just paint the black borders in by hand, since the raised defroster lines on the window could potentially cause problems with paint leaking underneath the masking sticker.

Painting the black borders is actually almost pointless, since the tint is so dark you’d never even notice the contrast unless it’s held up to light.

Windshield in. Oh, how I’ve missed you, perfect fitment.

The little gap at the top of the rear windshield when fitted bugged me until I remembered that it’s probably there as a mating surface for the rear spoiler that will be attached later.

Still used hot glue to hold most of the clear plastic in, but this time it wasn’t a messy clusterfuck, like the fiasco with the sedan body.

This is what USCP’s transkit body was desperately missing – solid pegs or slots to clip the body and chassis together. They added a resin extension to the chassis rear, meaning those pegs were covered up, and the sedan body had no such slots or holes in its rear bumper, making for a messy and uncoordinated fit.

The very audible click that the hatch body makes when it lines up with the chassis and mounts together is much more satisfying than it should be. No body fitment issues, though the rear wheels are a bit off, probably because they’re aftermarket.

Some slight adjustments there and we’re sitting flush. Mostly. I don’t really want to mess with the fronts because it would compromise the steering system.

Rear wiper and spoiler cemented in.

Final comparison with the broken shell of a sedan body before it’s locked away forever. Was it a waste of good money since I forked out for that transkit? Absolutely. Maybe I’ll revisit it in the future and possibly attempt it again, but for now my spirit’s too broken to look at it without welling up in tears.

I like it. A lot more than I thought I would. But I can’t tell if that’s the side of my brain telling me that I need to like it in light of the death of the sedan transkit, or if the hatch body actually has grown on me.

August 2018 Update:

I didn’t like it enough. Several months after finishing this kit, I decided it was finally time to bring it back out and get it up to par with some of my modern builds.

The STi hatch has been bothering me as it sat on display in my shelves because it just didn’t look right – something about it was just boring compared to the cars it was sharing a space with.

I decided to start with the wheels and fitment. The original Work Emotions were okay, but I’ve since become enlightened to the reality of aftermarket resin wheels, so these were looking a bit bland. Refurbishing this kit was meant to just be a one or two-day affair – I wanted to fix it up with just the parts I had on hand, without having to order anything from overseas and wait on it for a month.

Ironically, I really wanted to use the Rays 57 Gram Lights that I took off my NSX, since they were a good size, but I decided to try to stay with Work Wheels since…there are decals on the fenders that I really don’t want to attempt to remove. The only other Works I had on hand were these Emotion XD-9’s that I ordered recently for another BRZ build. They’re 19″ and way too big for this car without ground effects.

So, we’re back to square one – fine, I’ll use the Kiwamis. More low makes everything better.

Swapping the tires out for some slightly lower profile ones – though the sidewalls are blank.

This fitment…actually looks really good?! The car overall looks much better and less bulbous tucking the tops of the tires. All I had to do was glue the rotors/hubs higher up and cant it out at the bottom for a bit more camber. I normally don’t even consider tucking when I’m working on the ride height of my cars, but I’m about to do it more often.

Just lowering it is well and good, but I thought we could do a little more – especially for that front end, since it’s just not aggro enough, even with the front grille badge delete.

Custom splitter being built from scratch. As usual with these, I model out half of it first, then flip it and cut the entire thing out of pla-plate so the design is even.

Little winglets added. I’m basing this lip off of a random one I pulled up on Google Images – I didn’t find the brand or make or anything.

I also have a lot of leftover canards from my R35 build that I never ended up using, so now’s a good chance to put a set to use. They’ll have to be cut and fit to the curve/size of the STi’s bumper, of course.

I didn’t want the splitter alone to make just the front end look aggressive, so I went out on a whim and built some side splitters too.

Painted metallic black.

Weirdly enough, while I was polishing and waxing the hood for its final shine, I seemed to have cut through some of the top coat a bit too much. This means a full repaint in metallic black with a new hood decal to replace the EXEDY one that will be lost.

This is awkward. Some lowering and ground effects was all it took to move this kit from one of my least favorite to quite possibly now my actual favorite.

Before and after.

The fitment I had out for the rear wheels before is embarrassing.

I’m actually pleasantly surprised that I got to keep the steering on the front wheels even after slamming it. I was totally prepared to give it up in the name of stance, but as it turns out it all still moves just as it did – and I didn’t even have to roll or pull fenders!

I actually mindlessly painted the taillight covers clear red without even checking sources or the manual first to see if they were actually clear red on the production car. Turns out they weren’t – Subaru shipped them from factory with clear lenses and chrome housings, meaning it had a very racer-y Altezza look. The clear red is an improvement, I think.

I think the canards and especially that custom lip are what finally sell me on this bumper. Before adding them I always regretted not buying the INGS+ version for the cooler front end, but as it turns out I didn’t need to spend that extra money after all when I could just make my own parts.

Aoshima’s tinted plastic is surprisingly so dark that all the effort I put into hand painting the rear seats red is effectively null. The rather elaborate and decal heavy dash is on full display though, so that’s nice.

The stock wheels I stuck in the trunk are also basically undetectable unless you shine a flashlight through the hatch window. It adds a nice weight to the kit though.

Some mighty sophisticated AWD shenanigans are hidden in those drive-train components.

I wonder what could have been with the sedan transkit, but ultimately I’m still extremely satisfied with the hatch now. I’d still say go for the INGS+ version of this kit if you want a more modified look to your Subaru, but at least I’ve proved to myself that I don’t necessarily need aftermarket body parts to make a build look good.

The destruction with the USCP resin kit ultimately wasn’t even completely USCP’s fault – I’m convinced I’m just not good enough of a modeler to do consistent justice to resin transkits, and it was made worse this time because USCP’s resin quality was so nice out of the box that I was lulled into a false sense of comfort, thinking that the entire build would be a breeze because the mold was so crisp.

It’s no question that the USCP body wasn’t as well precision molded as the Aoshima body, but that’s apparently an accepted thing with resin bodies and parts – they won’t be precision molded, so it’s up to a good modeler to make things fit perfectly. In contrast, there’s really nothing wrong with the base Aoshima kit – you get two model year options, everything fits perfectly, and while there’s admittedly no motor, the plethora of decals and parts included to detail up the interior is worth it.


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