October 30Tamiya Mud Blaster 2.1
The Tamiya Subaru Brat has a very important place in my heart as it was the first Tamiya I ever wanted. It all started in 1984 when my dad accidentally brought a Behringer (the German Tamiya importer till 1986) catalogue which a toy shop put in a shopping bag. I had seen already some nitro RC cars but the Tamiyas fascinated me immediately with their realistic look and superb action photos. On the cover of the catalogue there was a box-art Brat which looked so impressive to me, I imagined so often driving through mud and paddles with its block pattern tires. Unfortunately my local hobby shop had only a Holiday Buggy at stock so I got it on my 10th birthday. Later when I got older and visited more hobby shops the Brat was already out of stock, so I was very happy when I read in a magazine with the 1989 Nuremberg fair news that the Mud Blaster would be released. In June ’89 I finally got one of the first batch that came to Europe and really loved it. Later in the 2000s when I started collecting I also got a new build original Brat and later a NIB re-releas.
Seeing the upcoming Mud Blaster II I remembered that I have already its WT-01 chassis (Mighty Bull) so I got a lexan Brat body (like the Mud Blaster II has) and added it to it. I chose a bit more modern look with whole bumpers and sides painted in a second colour, also the window stickers weren’t used but windows were masked and stayed transparent. Chassis-wise full ball bearings, King Blackfoot wheels (front suspension needs to be modified as its normally for 4WD wheels), Super Stock TZ motor and longer (small instead of mini) CVA dampers were added as they give a better look and much better performance. The wheelbase problem needs still to be solved though, although for a runner I think it looks nicer then all previous WT-01 versions, but as said I am biased.
Update 1.11.2011: Competition is closed now, results will be posted on 14th November.
Exactly 5 years and 299 posts ago this blog was started by a small group of Tamiya fans to gather interesting information about our favourite company in one place, but we never thought it would be such a success with over one million page views in this time. Therefore we would like to thank you for your continuous and growing support, Tamiya INC. for keeping up releasing an enormous amount of superb new models and thus keeping us busy building and reporting about them as well as all other sites who sent or allowed us to use their material. In the past years we have received several offers to get sponsors and add advertisements, but we declined and decided to pay all the running costs ourselves to guarantee being as neutral and objective as possible. Something we hope you appreciate.
For the celebration of the 5 first years, we decided to give a new Sand Rover kit (also paid by ourselves) as the original version was released almost exactly 30 years ago (22nd August 1981) and also 5 years after Tamiya’s first RC-car and also because of being kit number 58500. To participate, please send only one of your own made Tamiya related photos or drawings (maximum size 300 kilobytes) together with your full name, age and country to the address shown in the below picture until the 31st October 2011. The team of tamiyablog will choose and present the entries they liked the most on 14th November 2011 and one of them will win the 58500 Sand Rover kit. The kit will be shipped to the winner’s address from Japan or Hong Kong at tamiyablog’s cost, but the receiver may have to pay for customs or taxes depending on his/her country’s import laws.
We are looking forward to your continuous support also during the next 5 years!
The team of tamiyablog.com
The new Tamiya Mazda Savanna RX-7 (SA22) body for the Rear Wheel Drive M-06L has now been out for a little while.
But to our surprise, we have seen very little feedback for this nice new body, especially on the big Tamiya Fan and Club sites, where not a single example of the new old RX-7 could be found.
The team of Tamiyablog likes the first generation RX-7 a lot, so this body was the first choice for my M-06 Pro chassis kit which was waiting to be built for too long now.
Tamiya recommends the classic black Minilite style wheels for the RX-7 which I think don’t suit the car so well. So we chose the Tamiya wheels which were known from the Tamiya Honda S800 kit.
Combined with the black anodized wheel nuts to imitate the fullsize car’s black hubs, they give the car a very authentic look.
The body is painted in a classic light green metallic which was seen very often on the original Mazda RX-7 in the late 1970′s.
It’s good to have another long wheelbase body for the M-06 chassis in addition to the Tamiya classic Volkswagen Beetle.
Thank you very much for your interest and…
Enjoy Rotary Power!
August 21Fun Activity Vehicle
When I was a kid in the 1980s when the FAV was released my opinion about it was very mixed. On one side I didn’t like it as it was a military vehicle, on the other I loved it scale looks, much more then the Wild One with its lexan body, large front dampers and low profile tires. Then I got the idea of painting a “civil” FAV, but unfortunately never got one. In the early 2000s I got finally a FAV but as they were quite rare and expensive I painted it in boxart. Now with the great re-release from Tamiya I finally got the chance to execute a 25 year old plan. I got my kit yesterday and since I couldn’t wait any longer I immediately started the painting and built. This time no parts were modified and no hopus where used, just a different paint scheme and decals. I really like the FAV and in my humble opinion its one of the most scale buggies ever made, especially its chassis, hope to run it soon carefully.
The history behind this model is very long. My first encounter with the VW Type 181 was in my early childhood, when my father brought me brochures from the local VW-dealer. Among them was a brochure with a “Jeep” with a boxy 4-door body, totally different from all VW’s I knew, but still with lots of details that made it look like a VW. I have loved off-road vehicles and boxer-powered VW’s virtually all my life, so I instantly fell in love with the strange looking “VW Jeep”. Much later I learned that it was officially named “Kurierwagen” in German speaking countries (but often referred to as Kübelwagen), “Trekker” in British English speaking countries (and Type 182 for RHD) and simply “VW Thing” in the USA and in Mexico, where it was built for the US-market.
In my home country at the time (Norway), there didn’t exist any VW Type 181 toys (and hardly any 181′s on the road either), so it wasn’t until a holiday in Germany a few years later that I found a 1/60 scale diecast Type 181 from the company Siku. Needless to say, it became one of my favourite VW toys. As a teenager, I started to collect VW toys and models and also got quite a few Type 181′s, but the largest one was for many years the rather crude plastic toy from Strombecker (about 1/24 scale) and later the somewhat larger plastic toy from The Thing Shop and diecast cars from Jada Toys.
Of course, there are strong connections between my interest in RC-cars and VW-models, and getting a large RC Type 181 was a dream for many years. As no company made one and I don’t possess the skills or artistic talent to make a really well proportioned body from scratch, I was extremely excited when I stumbled over a scratchbuilt 1/10 scale Type 181 on eBay some years ago. Being unique and apparently very well made, I bid quite a lot for it, but still lost the auction. A couple of years later, the same model was offered on eBay again, and despite bidding hard, I lost the auction again! A few days later the seller contacted me and informed that the high bidder had refused to pay and that I could have it. I paid without hesitating and waited in excitement for it to arrive. Well, it didn’t. For weeks the seller told me it had already been shipped, then made countless empty promises to ship. After a lot of communication, the model arrived. A childhood dream had finally come true!
The person who originally built this model, built it to be a replica of his own ex-German Army “Feldjäger” (Military Police) Type 181, but the word deliberately misspelled on both the 1/1 car and model for legal reasons. Having the 1/1 scale car in the garage obviously made it possible for him to get exact measurements, and it’s simply amazing how he combined this with great skills and dedication to turn scrap metal, fibreglass, wood and a little plastic and canvas into a beautiful model. At the time the model was built, the Sand Scorcher hadn’t yet been re-released, so instead of simply using the Sand Scorcher headlights, he had them turned from aluminium. Similarly, as the Maisto 1/10 scale VW Type 2 Samba didn’t yet exist, the taillights were made of metallic orange and red film, looking rather “2D”.
These were two of a few things I improved. Sand Scorcher headlights with golden yellow LED’s (slightly yellow and not white LED’s, as bright white xenon look would be wrong) and I made resin copies of the Maisto Samba taillights, illuminated with red LED’s. The Maisto Samba depicts a US-spec vehicle, which has a slightly different pattern on the taillight lenses than the Type 2 European spec model (which would be correct for the Type 181), but it’s hardly noticeable under a coat of clear orange and red. Also, a Sand Scorcher VW logo was added on the front. Apart from improving the look of the headlight and front fender “protectors” with double screws (like the original) and touching up the paint, I made no further modifications to the body.
The original owner had used the chassis from a Graupner Mercedes-Benz SLK. Not a bad choice, but as a Tamiya enthusiast, I simply had to replace it, and chose the M04, extended to 268mm wheelbase and widened with TL01 suspension arms and ground clearance increased with M05Ra uprights. I would have liked to use an SRB chassis, but the rear suspension is simply too wide.
Also, the model originally had touring car style wide low profile tires and wheels, which I replaced with Buggy Champ front tires and wheels, detailed with the centre part of the wheels off an Esci/Revell Type 82 Kübelwagen (same 5-bolt wheel pattern as the Type 181). The wheels were mounted on the axles using re-release SRB rear hubs.
Furthermore, the diff was locked with CC-01 G-parts, and a CR-01 35t crawler motor installed to compensate for the relatively high gear ratio and large diameter tires. A TL01 bumper was added in the rear and like the M04 foam bumper front mount drilled to accept “upside down” TamTech-Gear style body posts.
As you can surely imagine, the result is not a very capable off-roader, but neither is the 1/1 scale Type 181. As a 4WD version of the Type 181 never existed, I decided against using a 4WD chassis for my model too, but may reconsider it if I should get tired of the model getting stuck. I may also replace the black film windows with clear plastic.
Being a kid in the early ’70′s, I grew up with dune buggies everywhere, in the media, on the streets and of course as toys. I liked them very much, primarily because I was a fan of aircooled VW’s in any shape, but also for their image of conveying freedom, summer, sun and a carefree life. As a kid, it never occured to me that it was a pretty shortlived craze that would eventually fade away.
I have collected dune buggy models for about 30 years now and I had hoped that the revival of dune buggy toys and static models in recent years would also spur releases of dune buggy RC-models. I still hope the Tamiya Sand Rover will be released on whatever chassis, but meanwhile, I found my own solution. When Parma released their dune buggy body for the Slash, I was excited, but the size and the body’s somewhat ungainly proportions put me off. Then the 1/16 version was released with what I perceive to be better proportions and knowing that both bodies were oversize for their scale, I quickly got a body and started the search for a suitable chassis. A couple of years ago I started on a class 11 baja bug based on the M04L Beetle and a TamTech-Gear GB-02 front suspension. For several reasons, this project was put on hold, so I decided it would instead serve as a base for the dune buggy.
The conversion was in fact pretty simple. I wanted to keep as many parts as possible umodified, so all I did was to modify the M04 front bulkhead and mount the GB-02 front suspension on it. I may dye the front suspenion black later, but kept it in its original grey for a better contrast in the photos. The wheelbase in now very close to a “Medium” M-chassis, which actually means that the model’s dimensions is close to 1/10 for a dune buggy on a shortened VW floorpan! I made a chassis cover of 1.5mm lexan, combined with the side pods from a DT-02 chassis tub. The rear bumper is a Wild Willy 2 front bumper mount with a U-shape TL01B shaft, both a direct fit without any modifications. I may put a resin copy of the Lindberg Flat-6 Corvair engine in the rear when time allows.
The body was finished as original, except that it was fitted with resin copies of the Kyosho 1/12 Beetle taillights. The molded-in headlights is one of the less nice details of the body, but I have yet to find a solution. When I get brave enough, I’ll probably cut them off and use TamTech-Gear headlights instead, mounted to the chassis and protruding through the holes left in the body when the original headlights are cut off.
Rear suspension and gearbox are M04 original, of course with ballbearings and with the diff locked with CC-01 G-parts. For an old-school look, Wheels and tires are narrowed M-chassis Beetle wheels up front and widened (with Wild Ceptor wheels) M-chassis Beetle wheels in the rear, wrapped in Sand Scorcher tires. At the moment, only TamTech-Gear friction shocks are fitted and the first run on smooth soft sand indicated that this is sufficient for this type of intended running, but TamTech-Gear CVA-shocks is an option. As for running, the pretty light weight and short wheelbase ensure that it feels fast enough with just a silvercan and overall handling is actually pretty good, with predictable light understeering in most situations. Now let’s hope Tamiya will soon re-release the Sand Rover!
March 6Tamiya Hornet 2014 ?
As Tamiya made a new version of my first Tamiya RC car (Holiday Buggy) on a newer and improved chassis 30 years later, I decided to do the same for my second Tamiya RC car, The Hornet, also to tribute the Tamiya’s most sold RC car with 700.000 pieces, not counting the recent re-release! Since its basic chassis and gearbox design still is used on a current kit (Rising Fighter), the base choice was obvious, as in my humble opinion, the reliable, light and fast rear solid axle gives the Hornet its “personality”. I tried to adapt the re-release Hornet decals as well as possible on the different body which I painted black.
Only hop-ups used were ball bearings as well as yellow CVA dampers and yellow Super Fighter G wheels as I think they match the colour concept better then the original white wheels, something which Tamiya also did on the Super Hornet. In times of modern ready-to-run high-tech buggies, the Grasshopper/DT-01 chassis seems an extreme anachronism, but it brings great memories to many hobbyists and with its great robustness and simplicity is still a good choice for young beginners, not to forget that on a straight line it is faster then any modern “weapon”.
Hope the simple and successful solid axles will stay even longer in the Tamiya program, lets not forget that also Midnight Pumpkin/Lunchbox and Clod Buster are some of the most and longest produced RC cars ever and maybe Tamiya will come up with something similar in 2014 to celebrate 30 years of Hornet, who knows, maybe in the future power efficiency will be important combined with solar or hydrogen drive concepts and then this primitive chassis will be modern again…
February 25Rally Ready – Tamiyablog Suzuki Swift M-05Ra
Rally Up a M-chassis car. This was only a dream many years before. But sometimes dreams come true, and now you can build your own Mini Rally Car from a kit. Two types, the Suzuki Swift Super 1600 and Alpine A110 are available at the moment. The Alpine also as an XB-Version.
To give the chassis more ride height, Tamiya uses new designed F-Parts for the M-05Ra. It´s a big advantage that you can build the chassis also with the standard M-05 ride height. So it´s no problem to use your M-05Ra machine also for normal M-Chassis street racing without using extra parts. Different attaching points on the C-Hubs are making this possible. Our car is equipped with some of the most popular Hop-Ups used in the M-Chassis scene, like full ball bearings, universal shafts, oil filled shocks and a ball diff. I used the new M-05 Ball Diff in combination with the new M-05Ra reinforced Differential joint set. Although i´ve heard about some durability problems with the new M-05 ball diff. But, time will tell. Another tip, if you want to use oil filled shocks on your M-05Ra, the 54000 M-Chassis damper set isn´t recommended here. These are fantastic dampers, but they are too short for the M-05 Ra Rally Setup. They are only useable with the normal M-05 ride height. Standard sized touring car shocks are ideal for this car, like the Tamiya black Super Mini C.V.A. shocks or the classic Tamiya 53155 Aluminum damper set. If you use the super Mini C.V.A. Shocks you have to take note that the shock pistons are long enough, because on some cars, Tamiya uses shorter pistons for the Super Mini C.V.A. Shocks. Furthermore we used a Tamiya High Tourque servo saver + a strong metal geared digital servo in combination with the good and well priced 3Racing carbon steering set. Gives a much more precicse steering mechanism.
Ok, that was on the technical side. Now some words about the body. As seen on the Tamiya M-05 Abarth 500 body before, Tamiya made some small but nice changes to the Suzuki Swift body parts. You can now use LED´s on the front and back of the car. This adds a much more realistic look. As a regular reader you may know, we always like to use alternate paintschemes on our bodies. A normal and understated “Skyblue” was used for the little Suzuki. But looks great, using the Tamiya mascot sticker set.
Thank you very much for reading.
Enjoy M-05Ra !
February 14Tamiya Japan RC Modelling Contest
As always great creativity and modelling quality.
Source: Tamiya, INC.
September 22Dusty Holiday
The modifications on my first Holiday Buggy 2010 are moderate, and I will let fantasy flow a little more freely on my next. I wanted this first one to be a robust “semi-scale” runner and deliberately only used parts that are readily available. The result is a model built pretty much straight from the box, but with ball bearings, CVA-dampers, steel driveshafts and a Tamiya Dirt Tuned motor added. The wheels and front tires are from the Sand Viper and the rear tires taken from a modern no-name model. The original geardiff was lubricated with Tamiya Anti-Wear Grease to create a certain diffbrake effect, but if this shouldn’t be sufficient on loose sand, I will probably lock the diff up completely using CC-01 G-parts. To protect the driveshafts against the elements, I mounted the very nice rubber boots available from RC-Channel. They offer both scale looks and are made of a very tough material, so will probably last well.
As the Holiday Buggy body doesn’t snug up so nicely against the chassis tub as the other DT-02 bodies, sand and debris can quite easily enter the tub, especially in my intended use. So I utilised a slightly modified Sand Viper body as a chassis cover, just like the Dark Impact body serves as a chassis cover on the DF-03Ra. It clears the driver insert when mounted below, rather than over the standard DT-02 rear body mount, but is still easy to mount and remove.
As my Holiday Buggy 2010 is meant to represent a leisure time vehicle rather than a racer, I mounted a rearview mirror from the Sand Scorcher 2010 and a windscreen from scrap lexan. For the same reason, I kept the stickers to a minimum, and combined the stickers included in the kit with a few Tamiya stickers from other models (primarily from the Hilift Hilux, the Landcruiser and the ’67 Beetle) and repro light cover stickers.
Back when the original Holiday Buggy was released, there were a lot of opinions whether the polytethylene body could be successfully painted or not. This is now repeated, almost 30 years later. For good reasons, Tamiya states that the body can’t be painted, but I know that there are some modelers out there who have tried and claim it to work. I would be happy to hear that the paint still sticks well after having fully hardened and when running the model. However, information from professional and credible sources has been discouraging and a colleague who is a specialist on plastics has confirmed that making fully hardened paint stick to polyethylene requires advanced chemical and thermal preparation methods that are beyond what’s feasible for most of us. In other words, just sanding and a plastic primer will very unlikely be adequate. So I kept my body blue and hope that Tamiya will offer the body molded in some alternative colours.
Furthermore, the front suspension was narrowed for a more authentic look. I first modified the front to make the wheels fit flush with the front fenders, more or less like the original Holiday Buggy, but this looked strange in combination with the wishbone suspension arms, so I chose to make it a little wider again, ending up with a front about 30mm narrower than original. Suspension travel and steering geometry don’t suffer much from the modification and seems to be an acceptable compromise between handling and scale looks. I tried different methods of narrowing the rear too, and was surprised to end up with the opinion that the original width is actually quite alright, at least with the used wheels and tires. So the rear was narrowed just 4mm by using narrower aluminum hex wheel hubs rather than the original plastic hubs.
For fun, I’ve included a few pics of a re-release Hornet that I built a couple of years ago. Of course this was at a time when a re-release of the Holiday Buggy was just a dream, and though I had a few original Holiday Buggys, I wanted a lightweight dune runner slightly inspired by the Holiday Buggy’s look. Except for the sand paddles, Centerline style wheel covers, TA03 dampers and a Tamtech damper replacing the vulnerable original “hairneedle” springs and the addition of a Lunchbox wheelie bar to keep the car from flipping on firm sand, it’s pretty much box stock. Weirdly, this Hornet then again served as an inspiration for some of the details on my Holiday Buggy 2010.
My next Holiday Buggy 2010 will be more colourful and closer to what we at Tamiyablog believe is Tamiya’s intention with this model in the market, and I can’t wait to get started. Being robust and simple, with a very nice combination of quite good handling and nostalgic looks, we simply love the Holiday Buggy 2010. We are very excited to see what Tamiya has in store for the future. The Sand Rover body on a suitable chassis would be fantastic, but whatever Tamiya will do, we are surely in for some fantastic surprises.