Model Number: 58082
Double wishbone all 4 corners, coilover friction shocks
ABS monocoque tub
An all-new Tamiya 2WD buggy design, and a pretty good one too (precursor to the Astute). In good hands it would probably give the Associated RC10 a good run for its money... simple chassis layout provided excellent access, transmission is efficient and does not have any design faults. Plastic thrust bearings better changed for the metal thrust bearings of Astute, however. And hey... where's the shock oil??! (Original description by Willy Chang)
Originally back in the late 80's I saw a magazine article reviewing the Sonic Fighter. I had been interested in RC cars from an early age, but the more expensive tamiya models were always out of reach as a kid. However, in 1989 I started to save, combined b'day and xmas money eventually gave me enough to go buy my first Tamiya. This was an extremely exciting moment and ended up parting my saved cash for a Tamiya Madcap. It was £69.99 I think at the time, so the radio gear had to wait a few months later. Now the car was easy to build (well my dad did most of it!). The design of the car in my opinion makes it one of the best looking buggies Tamiya ever made. The car was quick out of the box however did lack several weaknesses, mainly the chassis. It shared the Astutes gearbox but using some plastic parts instead of brass\aluminium. I think it was either the first or second run, when my bro drove it head on into a kerb, cracking the chassis and destroying the front bumper. I had to make an aluminium strengthening plate to hold the front end back on. Another noticable weakness are the shocks. Friction shocks just could not cope, I soon replaced these with hi-cap dampers all round (more b'day money). The chassis plate was also a weakness and tended to warp. I replaced this with the Aluminium plate as in the Astute. I spent most of my time racing this car against my mates Avante and even another friends Team Assciated. It always held its own until the rear chassis cracked and the back end almost fell off. The damper towers were also prone to cracking. It was a quick car, even on its plastic bearings, but was flawed in my opinion by it's chassis and shocks. But after all it was more of a beginners buggy at it's price, and if you were looking for something stronger, then the Astute was the one to go for at the time.
I bought this car used. It was pretty much destroyed and I ended up replacing everything but the gearbox, so I am pretty framiliar with the chassis. It is a very straight forward and robust design. I didn't paint it exactly box art and went for a clear cockpit. The only hop-up I used is the steel plate in the gearbox. It keeps things tight under load and makes the gears stay in mesh if you go with a hotter motor. I have built all of the cars in this series, and I am happy to report that parts are pretty easy to get and reasonable. The only gripe I have is if you were going to run it, it really needs oil shocks. There is plenty of clearence and throw in the suspension, but with friction dampers, it is going to bottom out and scratch the bottom, not to mention hop when it lands. This is from a time when the company was changing directions in car production, from complicated expensive cars, to more entry level type. They were made in pretty large numbers and share several trees and even the chassis with 3 or 4 other cars. The body and looks are typical Tamiya, first rate all the way. It looks at a glance like an Avante, with the turned up front bumper, but that is where the similarities end. I like this series of cars, and enjoy running them. It is also a good one for the grand kids, not too fast and not too valuable! Why do they always want to drive my Bruiser? I have to rate this car high in all aspects except the shocks.
My Madcap was very cheap (£15 including postage) for a complete rolling chassis and radio gear, only shell/wing were missing. I knew that there was a small crack in the chassis when I bought it but I wasn't bothered because It was going to be destroyed at the Tamiya Club meet at Snetterton in April!
I intended to use a modified motor so an ESC was essential, everything to do with the MSC was removed as well as any "un-necessary" bits from the chassis. There's a fair amount of space to fit an ESC on the chassis after the MSC mount has been removed. The kit friction shocks are total crap and were dumped in favour of a set of old YZ10 ones I had laying about, It was then completely ball raced and a 12x2 modified motor installed. I taped an old Thunder Dragon shell onto it (not a pretty sight) and it was ready to rip!
On It's first run it proved how efficient the transmission is, it was very quick and handled relatively well with the replacement shocks, the springs were a bit soft but it didn't bottom out (fitting better shocks must be considered a must if you're going to race your Madcap). The car accelerated smoothly and quietly.Another worthwhile upgrade includes replacing the plastic motor mounting plate, this warps very easily and can be replaced with the metal one from the Astute, it also helps dissipate the heat build up from the motor.
The test I gave it at Snetterton wasn't really a fair way of judging it's off road abilities but it did prove how strong it is! Even with the knackered off road tyres it still managed to keep up with some of the 4WD cars and down the straight it was faster than some. It handled the jumps well and was totally reliable. During the meeting I managed to find a shell and wing to improve the look of the car.
Even though I only intended to keep the car for a short while and run it "to death", then get rid of it I enjoyed using it so much that I've decided to keep it!
I bought my Madcap around 1998, and never regretted it. The buggy is hardy, and the transmission is quiet. Also, compared to previous models, it is lightweight and fast. It comes with two spur gear options, 70T and 77T, and one 23T pinion gear. There are many gearing options for it to suit different conditions and terrain. You can jump this buggy off a 6 foot ramp and nothing breaks.
With a modified motor, the buggy flies!
My grouches are that the buggy's performance takes a dive when on grass, as the 2 wheel drive doesn't give enough grip to power it well. Also, the stock shocks are next-to-nothing when it comes to damping.