As most of the RC-enthusiasts among you know, the Bigwig’s body was designed by Takuya Yura of Mooncraft Design and the model was a celebration of Tamiya’s 10 years into RC-cars, and was released in 1986. With its body-design, Technigold motor, 8.4V battery option and rack-and-pinion steering, it was intended to be the flagship of the Hotshot series. As covered in my review of the designs of the different Hotshot series models here on the blog, the Bigwig failed more or less completely. I won’t repeat my comments here, suffice to say that handling was mediocre, steering response slow and several of the Bigwig-specific parts were pretty fragile, making the Bigwig the least desirable in the Hotshot series in my opinion. Add a bodydesign that many enthusiasts
Well, look how time changes perspectives! Meanwhile is the Bigwig among the most desirable of the vintage Tamiya RC cars, both because of its unique technical solutions and maybe most of all because of its looks.
Some years ago, I got the idea of painting a Baja King in the colours of the Bigwig because of some similarities in the design. However, I never got around doing it, so some time after the Keen Hawk was released, it struck me that it has even more similarities with the body of the Bigwig. So I began to think about how Tamiya could have made the Keen Hawk if they instead had decided to call it the Bigwig 2. Or when considering that the Falcon was released at about the same time as the Bigwig and the Neo Falcon at about the same time as the Keen Hawk, maybe more appropriate, Neo Bigwig.
The chassis is a pretty much stock DF-03, with the wheels changed to TNS-B dish wheels for a closer Mooncraft look and clear blue DF-03 parts to reflect the blue parts of the Bigwig. At first I also tried with yellow CVA dampers with white TRF511 springs, but they looked outdated, so instead I opted for black CVA II dampers, combined with yellow DF-02 springs to at least slightly mimic the yellow dampers of the original Bigwig.
Since Tamiya’s “2″, “King”, “Xtreme” and “Neo” versions of old models never have had exactly the same paintschemes as the originals, I let the shape of the Keen Hawk body dictate the paintscheme, rather than just painting it as much as a Bigwig as possible.
The Dick Cepek logo on the wing was masked and painted, both to avoid cutting up an original sticker sheet and because the original sticker turned out to be too small for the wing. At first, I intended to use Pennzoil stickers too like the original, but then realised that a DF-03 based Neo Bigwig would not have original Pennzoil stickers, but rather the generic “Forward” stickers that replaced the Pennzoil stickers for instance on the re-re Frog. I felt that I could use Dick Cepek logos though as they have been used by Tamiya on other modern models too, and because the Dick Cepek logo is such an important part of the Bigwig’s visual impact. I added side plates on the wing, cut to resemble the sides of the wings on the original Bigwig. The only original Bigwig decal used is the Mooncraft sticker in front of the windscreen, which I didn’t use when I built the first showroom Bigwig for my employer in 1986. It pays off to save old unused stickers!
The model is pictured together with a Bigwig Watch, released as a promotional item at the same time as the Bigwig model. I got it back then and have never carried it. The battery has been dead for more than 20 years!
Working on this model, I discovered that the Keen Hawk body is an unusually well suited canvas for alternative paintschemes and have completed two more in retro paintschemes, which will be presented on this blog the coming few weeks.