Sonic Fighter
Model Number: 58071




2WD rear, gear differential


Front swingarms, rear trailing arms, oilfilled coilover shocks

Chassis Description

Plastic bathtub/monocoque

Body Type

Hard plastic injection molded




232 mm


437 mm


144 mm

Wheel Base

265 mm

Tread Front

190 mm

Tread Rear

196 mm

Ground Clearance

30 mm


1460 g





The Sonic Fighter was the second car to be released on the bathtub-monocoque design layout first seen on the Striker. The new car used a different upper body and decal scheme - styled after contemporary fighter planes - and featured four oil-filled coil-over dampers in place of the Striker's friction shock absorbers. This necessitated the use of a taller front shock tower; otherwise mechanically the cars were identical. The Sonic Fighter would still retain other driving characteristics and weaknesses of its predecessor, with the front section of the chassis still prone to breakage. Today, the model has a modest following, and good examples can still be had for lower prices than other cars from that period.



12/15/2003 6:15:33 AM

My review of the Sonic Fighter. Mostly I do not have much good to say for this model. While the 'look' is interesting the remainder is questionable. In my opinion this is the worst Tamiya buggy in the first 100 group. It is heavy, poorly engineered, weak and unreliable. This is likely the list of good points to many of us. Now having said this about the Sonic Fighter I have to say it was a mix of fun and frustration to assemble. As others have pointed out you need to plan ahead and paint the chassis tub before you begin assembly as it is also the body shell.

Assembly of the front end is straight forward. The only hitch is you must be sure to put the front arms in correctly. The assembly of the rear end is just fine until you get to the installation of the rear axles/arms/arm stay. This is just silly IMHO. This buggy uses the same weak setup from the Falcon for it's drive axles.

Overall my impressions of this buggy are poor. I would not reccommend this to anybody. Save your money for something a bit more fun and better running. I was going to buy a Futaba FX-10 which is based on the Striker (the sister to the Sonic Fighter) but have since been cured of that idea after my experience with this buggy. My rating of this buggy is 3 out of 10. Poor. I am likely to take the re-usable parts from this and use them on other better buggies.


11/27/2002 3:57:36 AM

As I just finished a complete teardown/rebuild of a Sonic Fighter, I guess it's time for a review.

This car is similar to the Falcon and nearly identical to the Striker. It uses the same rear gears, drveshafts, rims (except color) and tires as the Falcon. The weakness in the Falcon dogbone system is repeated here.

The most unique feature of this car is the body/chassis. Unlike most cars which has a chassis which is hidden by the body, the Sonic Fighter has a 2 piece body. The lower half of the body is also the chassis. The upper piece fits on top and is just large enough to cover the electronics inside. Both pieces are made of hard-plastic-body meterial, instead of Lexan or real-chassis plastic.

Because of the chassis is also the body, constuction of the Sonic Fighter is different than other RC cars. Beacuse all of the electronics, drivetrain and suspension connect to the body, it was necessary to paint the body (at least the lower half) before starting the real construction, or face a difficult masking job (or leave it unpainted as the original owner of mine did).

If you are building one, pay close attention to the assembly of the front suspension. Make sure you have the control arms right side up, and the left one on the left side etc. I messed this up a few times before getting it right. Working too fast I guess.

I realize now that I have to save up the money to to visit the Tamiya factory in Japan and see the amazing people with 3 hands who designed the rear suspension. It's really hard to mount the control arms. You have to fit one part of the control arm to the gearbox, another part to a mount which is loose but must be mounted to the body at the same time and keep track of the dogbone with only 2 hands. If there's a trick, I never found it.

Although I have said bad things about the Sonic Fighter (I still think it's one of the weakest Tamiya cars), I enjoyed rebuilding this car. The whole jet-fighter motif is certainly weird for an RC car, but now that I see it all painted and properly decaled, it looks pretty cool.

I haven't driven it since I rebuilt it, but I drove it before. It wasn't very exciting to drive. Similar to the Falcon if you've ever driven one of those. Isn't particularly fast or great handling.