DF-03Ra Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
- Model #: 58440
- Gallery: View
- Released: 2009
- Prebuilt: No
- Category: Cars
- Chassis: DF-03Ra
- Scale: 1/10
- Use: Onroad/off-road
- Style: Touring car
- Config: MA
- Driveline: Shaft
- Body: Polycarbonate
- Finished body: No
- Susp. front: Wishbone
- Susp. rear: Wishbone
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Tamiya has been a champion of RC rally car production for decades, but it took me a couple of years to buy into the DF-03Ra phenomenon. It's not that I had no interest in it, things just never quite fell into place. All of the chassis kits are identically equipped and I picked the Mitsibushi Evolution X in homage to the full-scale Evo 8 I once lovingly owned & took rallycross racing a few times. Incidentally, the "official" UltimateRC.com livery was designed in the Xbox game Forza 2 in the year of this DF-03Ra's release, specifically for this body, but it wasn't until this build in 2011 that I saw it all come together in tangible form.
Obviously the DF-03Ra chassis is based on the DF-03 buggy chassis, and it merely uses narrow-track, short-wheelbase a-arms to bring down the overall size. The bottom-loading battery tray is a convenient way to keep weight centered in the vehicle, but unfortunately the rounded cross-section is carried over from the buggy and requires the use of "shotgun" style sport packs in this age of rectangular lithium polymer batteries. Thankfully some companies do still offer lower-capacity LiPo packs with the correct shape, but most are sized after some of the later-generation NiMH packs and only fit with a tight squeeze. Wire routing to avoid the exposed center driveshaft can also be a bit tricky.
The body on this model is stunning for a polycarbonate shell. Decals for weatherstripping and other details bring the one-piece mold to life, and Tamiya's typical use of separate ABS wing and side mirror accessories adds a certain crispness to the appearance. Making matters even better, the kit includes chrome light buckets which can accept a full optional LED set (lights not included with this particular kit). Even without the LEDs installed, these kick the realism of the model up another notch. They do require extra masking, hand painting, and very careful decal placement, but if you're in a hurry or want to avoid any worries about scratching up and ruining such nice details, you can use the included optional standard exterior decals at all four corners.
On the road, the tall stance and soft suspension settings make the DF-03Ra drive much like a stock TA03. There's a lot of realistic body roll which looks and feels phenomenal, even if it's not great for actual performance. On a dirt track, the long shock travel allows for generous ground clearance and the absorption of shocks from modest jumps. The fairly hard compound "rally block" tires with no foam inserts limit the car on any surface, though. On tarmac I experienced a significant amount of understeer even at the very modest speeds afforded by the included silver can motor. On dirt or gravel, steering became nearly neutral, but the ride was unnecessarily bumpy due to the poor compliance of the tires. I also had occasional troubles with small rocks getting caught in the wheels and wedging up against the ends of the suspension arms, temporarily locking that corner.
Though the DF-03Ra has its flaws in box stock form, the suspension can be better tuned and the tires can be replaced with aftermarket treads for a much better driving experience to give you a phenomenally scale-looking car with the ability to conquer on multiple driving surfaces.
Note: I used a Evo VII beater body for the running tests & videos to keep the 'X body in shelf queen state.
You can click the video twice to see it in full size on YouTube.
See the whole buildup, with photos, in the Tamiya DF-03Ra Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X build thread on the forum.
- See my generic ball diff tip video for a couple tricks for getting them little balls in place without risking losing them.