Model Number: 58056
2WD Rear Wheels
Front independant coil spring & rear rigid trailing arm system
Clear Lexan polycarbonate
Who can't remember the Falcon. A massive seller for Tamiya when released in 1986. This car took over from the Grasshopper and Hornet as that 'first car'. The Falcon suffered from the rear dogbones falling out and stripping but it was a capable off roader. Lots of them are still around but they don't hold a great amount of appeal with collectors today.
58056 The Falcon was my first Tamiya buggy. I got one as my 1986 Xmas present along with an Acoms Techniplus MkIII R/C system, Tamiya 7.2v Racing Pack, Acoms mains slow charger, Acoms 12v fast charger, some PC-3 light blue and PC-12 silver paints and the ubiquitous Beatties bag...! As I was only young at the time, my Dad built most of the car with me helping (hindering) here and there and by mid January it was ready to roll (see movies on my website).
I have since built a further three Falcons and am still a huge fan. I have recently added two new ones to my collection. One is fully restored and the other's a very clean runner.
Good points : I think that they're a good looking car - there's something about the body, yellow wheels, yellow transmission protection cage and big yellow CVA's that really sets it off, but then I'm probably biased. The gearbox is bulletproof. I've run very low turn motors through there with the only issue being traction...! The car was priced so it was accessible to the Grasshopper and Hornet brigade, but with it's four wheel independent suspension and CVA's the old school starter buggies couldn't hold a candle to it on or off road. The big rubberised bumper on the car stopped most damage (have you ever seen a broken Falcon bumper?), but as a side-effect, caused a disadvantage which I'll come to later. The car handled reasonably well with fairly benign power-understeer being the order of the day - ideal for the beginner. The car was pretty tough and could take some fairly heavy knocks with no damage.
Weaknesses : The major weakness of the Falcon (bearing in mind it's a beginner's buggy) was the method employed to attach the front bulkhead to the chassis. That big bumper did nothing more than transmit any shock straight into the bulkhead and thus the four screws holding this bulkhead to the chassis. Invariably, weaknesses in the front of the chassis meant that it would break in a heavy impact meaning a big job to fix compared with the bumper letting go and saving the chassis which would have been infinitely preferable and a much simpler job to fix. The front suspension design on the Falcon is wonderful and it works extremely well, but the geometry of the rear suspension is not good and it is in fact heavily oversprung. To get the best out of the rear suspension you really need to use some lighter weight springs and set the damper valves to the softest setting (even drill another hole if you're running on road most the time). Leaving these items stock means that the shocks will probably never utilise their full travel, even landing from huge jumps. The Falcon struggles with it's dogbones too. A cheap design and it shows. Wear and slack in the cups and rear suspension allows the dogbones to fall out occasionally which is not very good. DON'T force them back in or you'll just exasperate the slop in the suspension...! unscrew the trailing arm and insert the dogbone properly. The only other gripe I have in the body is weak over the rear shock towers, but if you take care fitting and removing it they it should be fine.
If you look after your Falcon, I promise it will grow on you. You'll begin to appreciate the nice front suspension design which damps absolutely beautifully right out of the box and the tub chassis that allows extraordinarily good access to the radio gear and plenty of space for everything. If you run your Falcon, you'll appreciate the benign handling and fun character of the car - it also looks really good when it's running. Put yourself in the shoes of someone with their very first R/C car and you'll see what I mean...!
My brother bought this car back in the 1980's when it was a new model. I donated the radio and battery/charger from my destroyed Rough Rider to the cause.
From what I remember, assembly was pretty simple. It's all plastic. We ran into 2 assembly problems. #1, as jcubfan alluded to in his review, the lexan body was very weak around the shock towers and the rear part of the body and wing tore off in the first few runs. I vaguely remember thinking that we cut the body incorrectly in this area and how it would have been stronger if we took a little more time to see where to cut. I dunno.. Problem #2 was that we were never able to get the rear suspension to work properly. Although the rear suspension gives when you push it, and impact or drop causes the car to bounce as the rear tires bounce. It's as if the shocks don't compress when needed. I haven't taken this part of mine apart in over 10 years, but I know we spent alot of time back then and never made it work. The front suspension is flawless by comarison. Slamming the front of the car down on a table causes no bounce. It just 'plops'..
Plenty of space in the chassis for the radio gear and batteries. A welcome change from the Rough Rider. I really like the layout in there.
It was faster than the Rough Rider. On pavement, it understeers if you turn sharp at full throttle, the front tires slide. I think the biggest problem with the car is the rear driveline. The gearbox is fine, but the axle/dogbone system is pretty weak. The dogbones are plastic, with small metal pins protruding. I think the falcon has the most plastic of Tamiya's cars. Even now, entry level cars seem to have full-metal dogbones. This translates into a sloppy drivtrain which affects performance. Ball bearing would probably improve things, but I don't have them.
The rear gearbox and axle mechanism is also used in the Sonic Fighter and (I think) the Striker.
I spent alot of time driving this car when I was a kid. I really like it. Other then the rear drivelines and rear suspension, it's a great car. The rear suspension problem is probably my fault, but those dogbones are junk.
The Falcon was Tamiya’s 56th R/C vehicle. I actually purchased this off of Ebay for $29. I thought, for that price, I couldn’t go wrong. Well here’s what I found.
When I purchased the vehicle, there where several modifications that had been done to it. It had some ungainly old Ford lexan body, which made it look very strange. Nonetheless, I started taking the vehicle apart and cleaning it. The car was literally covered with sand. Remembering the experience with sand and the Holiday Buggy, I began to understand why this thing was only $29. A serious cleaning took place and after it was cleaned up, it really didn’t look that bad.
What makes this car up?
I determined that it wasn’t going to need a whole lot to restore this vehicle. The vehicle comes with oil filled shocks a RS540 motor and a 4 wheel independent suspension. The aft portion of this vehicle comes with a yellow type of protective cage that you have to assemble. I am not sure that this nothing more than set dressing and that it does not have any real protective purpose for the transmission and motor. Typical of Tamiya, I think that this is the car that started the recycling of parts. I have seen this particular chassis in the Bearhawk, and the Blitzer Beetle. I am sure that there are more than just these three.
Off to Ebay we go…
One surprising thing about this car is how cheap parts are. I purchased a Lexan body from Japan for $20. A set of front/rear tires for under $30 and finally the rear cage that goes around the motor and transmission for about $7. Did I say that the body was Lexan? Ahhh!!! I started the task of cutting out the body from the mould the other night and realized that this is a pretty complex body style. I am a little skeptical about the area around the rear shock towers. It would seem to me that the body would be a bit flimsy.
Work in process.
I am still in the process of cleaning the shock absorbers up and installing a new RS540 motor. The transmission casing does a wonderful job totally enclosing the gears. The lexan body will be the gloss black along with red. All in all, it should be a pretty neat looking buggy….
I have to admit; I think that this is one of Tamiya’s neater looking buggies that are out there. The car seems to have great appeal to those just starting out in the hobby. Once its finished I am sure that it will turn heads…