Model Number: 58060
2WD rear, gear differential
Front double wishbones, rear trailing arms, oilfilled plastic shocks
ORV, spaceframe plastic
Styrene VW Baja Bug
So whats all the fuss about?
The Monster beetle is simply one of the most usable, fun to drive vintage tamiya monsters around! Tamiya took the ground breaking blackfoot chassis (one of the first 'truggy' chassis ever) and improved it to make a great looking custom offroad bug.
What did tamiya do to the chassis?
The blackfoot chassis was based upon the subaru brat/frog plastic space frame. A great place to start building a truck from, as the space frame is amazingly ridgid and strong. The gearbox was also practicly the same unit, allthough this was not best suited to a truck with big wheels - but more on that later! For the monster beetle, tamiya added CVA shocks, a metal servo support braket, gold wheels and a rear skid plate, all as standard. These upgrades mean the monster beetle will out perform any stock blackfoot or mudblaster, plus it looks cooler too!
Whats it like to build?
The monster beetle is a joy to build. Once you've got past the first stage in placing a buch of bits inbetween the chassis sides, the build is a matter of bolting a few parts on in each step. Everything goes together easily, and there is hardly any slop in the moving parts. This is a quality little kit!
What does it drive like?
The moster beetle provides a very enjoyable RC experience. Its ideal teritory is on loose gravel, dry mud or dirt, where its geared diff; spike tyres; oil shocks and tight turning circle provide endless powerslides, dohnuts and sideways skids! But the monster beetle can also handle on road surfaces too, with a low centre of gravity from the frog chassis its pretty hard to flip over. Cornering is always fun, it tends to lift a front wheel when exiting a corner, or lift a rear wheel when entering one - depending on your suspension setup and speed. But it usually keeps itself sunny side up! Under acceleration, the rear end squats with the torque of the motor (even a stock 540), but this can be tuned using different shock oil, damper pistons and spacers on the coils. All in all, the monster beetle is a very impressive runner
Ok, if i run it, whats going to break?
On a well maintained monster beetle, with a slightly carefull driver - not a lot! The gearbox and driveshafts will always be this cars weakness. Differential gears require lots of grease to keep them working well, as do the hex drive shafts. Left alone and run hard, the gearbox will self destruct. A crunch under acceleration is a tell tail sign of a broken diff gear. But - re re frog parts are a straight swap and re re frog drive cups and shafts are also excellent to keep your drive running smoother for longer! Other weakspots are - the rear body mounts and suspension mounting points where screws fix into plastic. Rear body posts can be upgraded with vintage crp supports. the suspension mounts require new parts if they are cracked where the self tapping screws fix the shock to the chassis. the rear arms are typicly cracked where these screws fix in, even my brand new shelf queen required new ones as the stress of the self tappers had caused a crack (even though the car was never run!)
I recommend drilling out the screw holes slightly, and fitting m3 nuts and bolts in their place, thus eliminating the problem self tapping screws cause! Wear can also affect the fit if the rear suspension arms in the gearbox sides. wear on this joint causes the rear wheels to angle inwards and flap around. New gearbox sides will cure the problem and re re frog ones are a direct replacement
Should i get a monster beetle for my collection?
Yes! if you like vintage tamiya, you simply must have at least one of these little cars. the detail of a fully built and decalled shell is a sight to behold, and the chassis is something to look at too. Plus the fact they are just as good as runners as they are shelf queens!
ok, i'm convinced, so what should i look for before i buy one?
Make sure the gearbox is as good as you can get it, ask if the diff is working properly, if it crunches, its worn. try to get one with the original shell. blitzer beetle shells are the same, but the nose cone at the front is different. monster beetle shells tend to get battered, and are not the easiest to restore. Dont worry about tyres, new ones are still available as tamiya still makes them.
Get one before prices go crazy, dont sit and wait for a re re monster beetle, as it doesnt look like its going to happen!
The Monster Beetle is based on a chassis that was well-used in the late 80's in cars like the Subaru Brat, Frog, and Blackfoot. This car was techinically the buggy for someone who wanted a "full options" version of the best-selling Blackfoot truck, with spiked and V-treaded tires wrapped around gold plated wheels, trick bumpers, and a highly realistic Beetle body filling that bill.
The toughness that has always defined Tamiya cars was not missing in this one, with many features going to prove it. The gearbox contained stout pieces housed in a 3-piece metal-plate housing, with the Mabuchi RS540 motor supplying plenty of power. The space frame chassis did a good job of protecting and housing the battery and radio gear, while lending itself to a weight savings that was somewhat lacking in many previous Tamiya off-road buggies. The two wheel drive kept run time extensive even with the most conservative batteries, and performance was respectable considering that the car wasn't a race-oriented design.
Weaknesses included steering blocks that were known to crack under the stress of a blow to the front tires, in some cases breaking altogether; halfshafts that would strip easily after repeated hard runs as a result of questionable design; and flimsy rear body mounts that virtually begged the aftermarket to replace with more durable pieces.
Be all of this as it may, though, this car maintains its modern collectability due to its durable design and unique, scale look.