Heller 1/43 Citroen ZX Rally Raid

KIT #: 80191
PRICE: $10.00
DECALS: Oneoption
REVIEWER: Richard F.


The Paris-Dakar rally is world famous. It started back in 1978 and has run every year except 2008. The route has changed from time to time and from 2009 it has actually been held in South America, because of concerns about terrorism in Mauretania, which was the reason 2008 was cancelled. Given that Paris is in France, Dakar is in Senegal, and neither of those places are in South America, it's branded as the "Dakar Rally" now.

Not popular with the people who actually live in the African countries where the rally route is, or was, the event and its drivers apparently had a flamboyant attitude to running over camels and livestock that villagers depend on. The ridiculous quantities of dust that the teams leave behind them didn't go down well with locals either. The rally is nonetheless big business. At least 190 countries take the live feed and more than 1,000 hours of footage is generated, including from 6 TV helicopters.

Citroen, the French car maker, has a pretty glorious rally history. In this century, Citroen Racing started competing in the World Rally Championship. With Frenchman Sebastien Loeb, it won the Drivers Championship 7 years in a row - 2004-2010. The team took the annual Manufacturer's Title in 2003-05 and 2008-10. That's an amazing record, but not the full story.

In the 1990s, Citroen Racing ran the ZX Rally Raid in cross country rallies like the Paris to Dakar. It used a tricked-out version of the regular ZX. Well, "tricked out" is a bit of an understatement. The production ZX had a range of 3 door and 5 door models. The most powerful of them managed 110 kW or 148 bhp from its 2 litre engine, the least powerful a measly 43 kW or 57 bhp from a 1.5 litre motor.

In its Rally Raid form, the Citroen ZX had buckets of power from its 2.4 litre 4 cylinder turbo engine -
250 kW or 330 bhp. Its top speed was 205 km/h. For comparison, a mid-90s Porsche 911 with a bigger engine (3.6L) only put out 200 kW or 272 bhp (for American readers, a 2010 Ford Mustang V8 only manages 235 kW or 315 hp from a 4.6L donk).

With the mighty ZX Rally Raid, Citroen dominated the cross country rally scene. It won the Rally Raid Manufacturer's Championship each year from 1993 to 1997, scoring
36 victories in 42 races between 1990 and 1997 and five consecutive wins in the World Cup for Cross Country Rallying.

Legendary Finn Ari Vatanen won the Paris-Dakar in a ZX in 1991, his third-consecutive and fourth total win after winning in 1990, 1989 and 1987 for Peugot. In 1993, Citroen competed again in the Paris-Dakar, coming second with Frenchman Pierre Lartigue and his navigator and compatriot Michel Perrin and third with Auriol and Picard. In 1994, 95 and 96, Lartigue and Perrin won the Paris-Dakar (94) and Granada-Dakar (95-96) in their red ZX Rally Raid, with team second places in 94 and 96.

All in all, this little red rocket is a pretty awesome car.

(Rally fans or American readers might know of Ari Vatanen as the man who took the Peugot 405 Turbo 16 to the top of Pike's Peak in world-record time of 10:47.77 on
dirt in 1988 in the award-winning short film "Climb Dance". This is pretty fast - in 2010 the record for 2WD was set in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup at 11:31.095 on sealed road. Ari's overall record has since been beaten by Rod Millen in 1994 (10:04.06 on dirt in a 4wd Toyota Celica) and today's record-holder Nobuhiro Tajima in a Suzuki XL7 Hill Climb Special at 10:01.408 on sealed road. The link to "Climb Dance" is below - it's only 4 minutes long and well worth a look)


This kit is simple, with only 37 parts. Nicely moulded in red plastic and with tinted clear parts, you could probably get a pretty decent result without opening a single can of paint. I suspect these kits are partly aimed at younger modellers, who might follow rally driving on TV. A comprehensive decal sheet gives plenty of cool markings to break up the monotony of the red body.

Interior detail consists of a steering wheel, two racing seats, a dashboard with instrument panel decals, a gear stick, and a one-piece engine cover that goes under the rear window. The tinting is so dark, it's just about impossible to see inside.


Building this puppy is easy too. The wheels click onto the pan chassis, and are free-wheeling so you can rally raid across the kitchen table or over your suitably coloured bedspread.

I painted the car's body and the spoiler and front fender area before putting the car together. The windows are one piece that fits in from the inside. The interior is only about 7 pieces - two seats and a few other bits go onto a floorpan, which then pops into the underside chassis pan.

I actually made some seatbelts for my driver and navigator but you cannot see it unless you put your eye right up to the windows.

From there, you just add the car's body, the spoiler, the front fender piece and two little rear vision mirrors and a windscreen wiper. I seem to have lost those three parts over the years.

There are also rear mudflaps for each wheel but I left those off because the car looks cooler to me without them.


A can of gloss red spray paint from the hardware shop took care of the painting of this Citroen. I did the rims in Tamiya XF-16 aluminium and the tyres and underside in matt black.

The decals were great and go on quickly and easily.

I should have painted the rear fin black, but I didn't notice until I had already applied the decals.



I always meant to get more of these cool kits, but never did. If the other Heller 1/43 car kits are this great, then I can happily recommend them to anyone.


See "Climb Dance" here:
If you can understand French, or just want to watch:

Richard F.

August 2011

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