Ford Focus WRC from Portal43

one model two reviews

by Ian Edwards 

                                by Rodney Rawlings

Manufacturer: Portal43

Ford Focus WRC

Review by Ian Edwards

When I opened the box I was greeted with a nicely packaged and presented kit, on inspection of the parts it was obvious straight away that this was going to be a good quality model. The instructions point you in the right direction, but a bit of extra thought is going to have to go into the construction of this model.
Once I had given the parts a good inspection, I decided the best plan of attack was to start at the floorpan and see how it goes. The reason why I may sound unsure is that the interior needs to be assembled without glue, took apart again, painted and re-assembled. This may sound very time consuming, but considering you have to build a four-piece rollcage on the floorpan for the body to fit over, it is well worth the effort.
I had terrible trouble making the decals stick on the matt black dashboard and seats, they constantly fell off when dry, I resulted to applying them with neat micro-sol and this seemed to work. You will find a lot of parts and etchings which do not appear anywhere in the "instructions" and you have to work out for yourself where they are likely to go. Some of the parts like foot pedals are obvious, but other parts are going to be left out because I just simply don't know what they are or where they should go.
The seatbelts and buckles are very tricky but again worth the effort.
The next problem came with fitting the windows. There is absolutely no flex with the window material. This caused me problems, as you can imagine, the material is very rigid and there was no chance of fitting the light covers, because they were a mile out of alignment. I ended up making the windows fit correctly with micro-clear.
The floorpan and rollcage now fits inside the body with no problem.
I have now discovered they do not supply any axles with the "kit" so I will have to make my own. Once I had fitted the wheels the car looked very striking in plain white and all the effort was beginning to show.

So, on with the decals. The decal sheet looked as detailed as the rest of the car, so I was looking forward to applying the finishing touch. You can imagine my disappointment when after applying the first couple of decals cracks started to appear on them. I thought that perhaps I had not got them wet enough because they seemed to be quite rigid, so on the next one, after applying it to the body I soaked it with micro-sol with a cotton bud, this seemed to help so I carried on. When I came to apply the black window surrounds, the decals collapsed in the water, at this point I decided to ring Peter at Merrymeet Models and explain my problem. Peter said that he would be in contact with the manufacturer and possibly get another set of decals to experiment with, but I should carry on with my existing set. I persevered with what I had and after a few ?? hours the end result looked fantastic. I then added the bonnet pins, door handles, boot pins and sat back to look at my work. I must say that I was not sure how this model would turn out; I am not the most experienced white metal builder so I was pleased with the outcome.

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The detail of the kit is absolutely stunning, but does require a lot of time to achieve the end result. The model is sat in my son's cabinet alongside the diecast Martini Focus of McRae/Grist, and as I said before the detail is there for all to see.
I look forward to my next article…….hopefully


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I contacted Portal and they were very concerned over the decal problem and assured me they would look into the problem. The kit is a Racing43 base kit so I was surprised by the reported problems with the vacform and suspect this too was a one off as I have heard no other complaints. The instructions could be better and sadly Ian's photographs taken with a conventional camera did not produce the expected results. Portal supplied a second kit and it is interesting to see a second opinion. There does appear to be a problem with this kits decals but otherwise as is to be expected with a Racing43 base the kit builds into a fine model. Decal problems do occur and it is always wise to cut out and wet decals in small numbers as usually if they do crack the pieces can be saved and applied usually without apparent fault.

Review by Rodney Rawlings

Portal Ford Focus WRC 11th. Portugal 2001.

As is to be expected this Portal 43 kit has an awful lot in common with the kits offered by Racing 43. The same excellent white metal castings, super photo etch and the very clear vac form are all produced by Racing 43. This is completed by a very nice, sharply printed decal set and instructions produced by Portal to complete these "Iberian" rally subjects.
From the very start you feel that this is going to be an enjoyable build. There is not much cleaning up to do with the body and the rest of the white metal parts, so preparation and painting follows the usual route. The colour isn't hard to match, it's white. Having painted the body and floor pan, next we have to clean up and paint the dash, seats and other cabin furniture. The nicely printed colour instruction sheet tells us exactly where everything fits and what colour it is.
Assembly of the interior is straightforward although the roll cage is a little fiddly. I found it best to glue the sides of the roll bar in position and then install the seats etc. before finishing it. I must admit that as with previous Racing 43 kits I do find the interior detail very pleasing. There is plenty of scope for fine detailing if you are inclined to do so.
Next I applied the decals. The ones in my kit unfortunately were inclined to break when applied. The sheet had not been damaged in any way; they were just a little fragile. This did not present too much of a problem, as being nice and thin they did blend together without any noticeable crease.
Now for the second minus point. The vac forms, clear as they are, do not fit very well. I trimmed them carefully, but try as I did, the only window that was as good a fit as it should have been, was the front screen. The rear screen was acceptable but the side windows were less than perfect. The decal sheets provide the black surround frames for all the windows with the exception of the front. Now, I decided to lay these onto the windows, before fitting to the body. I have previously fitted the windows first, and then applied the decals. To be honest, there is little to commend either method in preference to the other. Either way you just have to be very careful. Take your choice.
I always enjoy the final assembly stage. Fitting the wheels, (especially when the kit has axles, this one didn't), and the photo etch bits, transforms the model in no time.
One white metal roof aerial is provided, so, as two were necessary, I fitted the superb aftermarket ones produced by Renaissance

As can be seen from the photos, despite a couple of shortcomings, this kit does provide what appears to be an accurate and very attractive representation of the WRC Focus. It will fit nicely in a collection of Rally cars. What is nice about these cars is, they are so colourful.