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Mad Ax

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About Mad Ax

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  • Location
    Lurking among the gothic shadows of Bath
  • Interests
    Streetfighters, motorbikes, fiction writing

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  1. I'm not an expert but I would personally go for sticky tyres on the rear. As you say, it's easier to control understeer than oversteer. I'm not sure of the M07 suffers from the same grip roll problem as the M03 and M05, but at the race club we glue the outer sidewall and about 4mm of the outer shoulder on our Sweep Racing carpet tyres. This helps to stop the cars from barrel-rolling as we lean into corners. Unless you're on a low-grip surface, I'd think the extra grip from super sticky tyres would make the grip roll worse, and having less grip in the rear will make the car unbalanced and want to oversteer. That said, I think the proof will be when it hits the road - a sticky rear and slippy front might make for some epic power-on wheelspins coming out of corners and a really fun FWD driving experience, or it might just be a frustrating drive trying to finesse the throttle around the understeer. A long while ago I tried to make an FF01 drift car. Well, I fitted drift tyres to my FF01, anyway. With drift tyres all round it wouldn't go anywhere. It wouldn't accelerate and once it did get some speed, it wouldn't turn. When it did turn, it would slide sideways and crash. With drift tyres on the front and old hard rubber on the rear, it just understeered everywhere. It took a while to get any speed up, and then it would just push on in a straight line at the corners. It wasn't really driveable. With hard rubber up front and drift tyres on the back, it was impossible. I had hoped it would accelerate well and then give some real big controllable slides in the bends, but the fact was I never got as far as the bends. Once it got over a walking pace it would swap ends, without any notable steering input or bend. It might have been something to do with torque steer or bump steer, but without rear grip to keep the chassis in line it would immediately flip around. It wasn't even slightly controllable. I also remember racing my M03 when the rear left suspension jammed at full compression. Our setup didn't have a lot of travel anyway (better to have a car that bounces on its bumpstops and drifts wide due to insufficient travel than flips over and goes off the track due to excess travel), so it wasn't immediately obvious by looking, but as soon as the car got to a bend it would swap ends. I think we often don't appreciate just how much work the suspension does on these little cars, even on smooth carpet tracks.
  2. What type of terrain will you be driving on, and how fast? You say "crawler" but the models you suggest are more rock racers than true crawlers. They'll go a lot faster than an out-of-the-box crawler. A true crawler won't really jump very well because it doesn't go fast enough. The Twin Hammers and Yeti have solid rear axles and independent front suspension. I'm not sure who else does something like that but there's not really anything in the Tamiya line-up with that kind of drive train. They're surprisingly capable as crawlers despite their IFS design, but their target terrain is going fast on rocks and sand. The solid rear / IFS design gives a good compromise between traction and handling over this type of terrain. The new Axial Capra is a similar style, but with solid axles front and rear it's more suited to rock crawling. It's a "rock buggy" as opposed to a "desert buggy" - not sure how fast they are out of the box, might be worth looking up some reviews. Now, in terms of building something fast and fun with big wheels made by Tamiya, well of course you can put big wheels onto a Top Force, however I would be concerned about the shock towers. Conventional 2.2 buggy wheels and tyres will allow the bottom of the chassis to slap the ground before the shocks bottom out, but if you add 1.9 wheels with big balloon tyres (like a Twin Hammers) you will probably exceed the available suspension travel. When you land from a heavy jump, the shocks will bottom out before the chassis does and all the force will be transmitted into the shock towers. This will be the same for most buggy layouts unfortunately, as they will be designed to work with 2.2 buggy tyres. So - what other options do you have? AFAIK Tamiya don't have anything in the desert buggy class right now, but if I was going to build something for going fast and doing jumps I would probably start with a WR-01. It's already got the clearance for big wheels, they're rugged enough for plenty of abuse and twin motor design means you can get buckets of torque by running the stock silvercans on 3S. You can add 100mm shocks (using aftermarket shock towers) for extra suspension travel and they are well-suited to custom mods. Mine is still in pieces following a strip-down a few years ago but despite its age I'm still excited to get it out again. Hopefully some others will come along with some more appropriate advice is this isn't what you want to do
  3. I'll confess to being a purist - the SRB is my go-to beach runner of choice. Back in 2011 we had a local Tamiyaclub bash on Brean Sands, back then I'd never driven an SRB, I had only briefly seen them close up. One had been on my distant wishlist until the re-re Buggy Champ came along, but even then it was an expensive purchase for an old car. I took a collection of buggies and monster trucks with me, but the one I enjoyed most was my friend's re-re Sand Scorcher with the Tamiya ball diff. It was the only car that looked like it belonged on the sand. His wife had a Buggy Champ with Scorcher rear tyres and a standard spool and that was just as much fun. We had an epic time swapping transmitters all afternoon. I vowed then that I had to have an SRB. Plus points for SRB beach running: stock Sand Scorcher rear tyres work well on sand sealed radio cover and gearbox means minimal cleaning required pot metal chassis parts don't corrode in salt water few steel parts to corrode - screws are easily replaced with stainless spool as standard keeps forward traction in loose sections hard bodies roll well on sand without breaking Negative points: heavy chassis, thin tyres, low ground clearance and low power mean you'll get stuck in soft sand So basically, IMO, the Scorcher is perfectly suited to the sand unless it's fine and dry. As long as there's some moisture compacting it down, they run well. If you want to tackle the dunes or the big dry expanses then you'll want lighter weight, more power and fat paddle tyres for those epic rooster tails, but IMO that doesn't evoke that oldschool charm of watching an air-cooled Baja Bug sending a spray of wet sand out the back as it hoists itself at a very scale-appropriate speed down the sands
  4. OK - so a thought came to be last night, as I was lying awake thinking about splashing £220 on a Beier MFU. LED lighting can still be achieved by passing the responsibility out to another Arduino. I'm pretty sure it could be done with a plain old Uno. Currently, the trailer code serialises all the lighting settings and the servo values for the 4 aux / park channels and sends them over IR. Well, all of that data is already being output through Arduino pins. In theory all I need to do is split the output pins so that they feed both the lighting board and aux servos, and a second Uno (a surface-mount Mini in the production version). This Uno will then have the responsibility of reading those values, serialising and transmitting over IR. It adds a bit of cost (minimal, a Mini is a few quid), and a fair bit more manual work (making yet another hardware board) but doesn't require much new code and means any delays in the IR Tx board will not affect operation on the primary board. At some point I actually need to turn all this code from badly-wired prototype into functional primary board. The Drag King project is taking a long time to finish due to the amount of custom fabrication required so I might pull my Globe Liner out of the box and turn it into my testbed. Watch this space - again!
  5. I'm a builder, too. From time to time I acquire an older / rarer kit and I find myself torn between the joy of building and the thought of keeping something new and special. I often sell these on. Right now I have three dilemmas. One is a Kyosho Volvo 850 on the Mantis EP chassis. I won it in a raffle a few years ago. My first thought was "great! build and run in the Iconic Cup" - but the Cup is Tamiya only, so it wouldn't be eligible. It's too rare and way too outclassed to race at my local club, and I never have any other access to smooth surfaces, so I'd never be able to run it. And being a Kyosho body, it's not as good looking as a Tamiya, so it doesn't make sense to build it as a shelf car. Plus, although I'm a big motorsport fan, I don't like doing boxart, so I'd end up painting it in my own design, which would destroy any resale value (especially as I'm not the world's best painter). So it's kind of a no-brainer that I sell it on. And, to be honest, that had been my plan from the start. Keep it for a while, just to enjoy owning a vintage NIB, then either sell it on or re-donate it to the raffle. Then the first disaster occurred. The neighbour's ivy grew up the side of my workshop, wormed its way in under the roof panels and dropped sap all over everything. The Kyosho box was on the bottom but a corner got saturated. It's now lost value due to having a bad box. Then the second disaster was discovered. I unboxed it a year ago to check the contents, and found the body was damaged. Looks like at some point the part-built chassis was cut loose from its box and the axle stub has punctured the shell. I'm pretty sure it was never dropped or knocked since I owned it, but I'm also fairly sure I unboxed it when I won the raffle and didn't see any damage before (not that I would have complained, it was a prize ), so when and where the damage occurred, who knows? So I guess it isn't worth much now. Which means I might as well build and paint it. But with the damaged body, I don't really know what style to do. Dilemma. The second dilemma is a Jun Watanabe Hornet. It's not something I would have bought myself, but a mate gave it to me as a Christmas present a couple of years ago. I don't know that I've ever been so pleased with a present. I immediately decided that when my daughter is old enough, we'll build it together and she can enjoy learning to drive with it. But then I remembered that the Jun Hornet has various rare parts and perhaps it would be better to get her standard hornet that she can build and paint her own way? Which means that yet again I have an NIB sitting doing nothing. But it was a gift from a very special friend, and I have a thing about selling gifts, so that too might remain NIB either until it's valuable enough to be traded for something, or until I decide it's the right time to build and enjoy it. My third dilemma came to me this summer. I picked up an NIB Toyota Corolla WRC bodyset from a local vintage parts dealer. I wanted one because I have a TA03-FS, and it's one of the few bodies that will fit it. My plan was always to paint it black and style it as a modified street car, a popular colour for modified Corollas when I was younger. But around the time I acquired the body, I realised I don't have the display or storage space that I used to have, and it's not so fun any more to build things just for the shelf. It's actually begging for me to do a grassroots motorsport theme on it (simple colour scheme, local sponsors) and style it as a clubman rally / rallycross entrant. In fact if there was a local rally club I would probably do just that, and have loads of fun racing it. At least with rally it wouldn't get so badly bashed. But it's such a rare and special body that I can't help feeling that I would be depriving the world of something that could be painted and displayed in its own rare glory. These are the kind of things that keep me awake at night. #1stworldproblems
  6. OK, long time no update - it's been a bit of a crazy few months with one thing and another, but I have been secretly working on the Arduino MFU as a side-project for a while. However, I've been working on it in a unit test environment and until tonight I haven't been able to test it on a physical device. I managed to break away early from my household chores, dragged my King Hauler development rig down from storage, and hooked it up to the laptop to load the latest version of the code. The good news is that my failsafe code (sort of) works. It needs some fine-tuning because I'm getting more than a few false failsafes, but it is working. The bad news is that the addition of an IRremote library for sending data to the trailer is causing the entire thing to slow down. I'm not sure if it's a timer operation in the library affecting the main clock speed, if there's some kind of delay in the library, or if the library is genuinely inefficient to the extent that the Mega has slowed right down. Having looked again at the price of a Beier unit (which will run with any motor and battery) compared to an Arduino Mega, modified handset, batteries, motor, battery, transmission etc. and suddenly it's not looking so expensive after all, especially when I consider the amount of time I've put in so far and the amount of time I'll have to put in to get around this IR problem. If I was an expert with C++ then I could probably rip apart the library and work out where the slowdown is occurring, but I'm not, and it doesn't look like my work will give me the opportunity to put all these new C++ skills to the test, so it might be time to park this project and put my time into something else for a while. I have briefly considered using a Raspberry Pi - but I'll need some additional hardware to convert the 5v PPM from the radio to the 3v necessary to communicate with the Pi. I'm sure the code could be ported without too much bother (at least I have a full unit test suite to start with) and Python is a current language, so I might even get to use it at work, but I'm so busy with other things that I don't know if I'll get around to it. If anyone is interested in seeing the code as it is then let me know and I'll make the library public on Github.
  7. I had no end of durability problems with my OG Mud Blaster but gearbox and driveshaft were not among them. I hazard the people who had issues either had better batteries, better motors or higher-traction surfaces than I had back in the mid 90s. I certainly wasn't kind to my truck.
  8. it looks a tad chilly there...
  9. not off the top of my head, I must admit it's been ages since I even looked, I think I assumed 27MHz radios were still around and cheap. I've just scanned at the places I used to see them and indeed they are no longer there - apologies for the incorrect info in my post.
  10. If I restore something to run then it will have modern electronics - 2.4GHz receiver, fast-ish servo, ESC and LiPo. That's because I like the consistency and reliability of modern stuff. I'm not too old to remember dumping batteries, stuck MSCs, slow servos and radios that went out of range half-way across the yard. If I restore a car then there's a chance it will get driven hard (and badly) at an Iconic race meet so I like it to be as reliable as possible. It's all very well ruining my race because I took an old radio but if my car glitches it could ruin somebody else's race too. But as others have said, that is my take on it and I respect people who prefer to restore with period-correct gear and to run them just as they did in the 80s. The only reason I can see to fit a vintage or re-re car with a modern 27MHz stick radio is price - it's still a bit cheaper, and the bottom-end 2.4GHz radios can feel very cheap to hold. If I restore or build a car for the shelf then it will get full bearings as a matter of course, but it will have a spare silvercan (or potentially an old non-functional) motor, alloy pinion and a cheap or broken servo, and no ESC or rx. I can't afford to fill shelf cars with electronics that will never get used.
  11. That RC Driver video is great and is pretty positive. I'm not a fan of the body, but it looks like Tamiya put a lot of effort in. Grille, light details, mirrors, all look great when painted properly. It's a shame we still get body post holes - would have been nice if there was a hidden mount system. But I won't be buying this for the body anyway. Tyres are poor and we knew that. We know we'll have to budget for proper tyres if we want to do more than trail running. Which as @78Triumph says, puts the cost right up with way more capable stuff. I'm really excited to see what other bodies Tamiya put out with this. I for one would love to see it with an original Blackfoot body (although the F150 was officially IFS, a lot of people converted to solid front axles). I've had a slow-burn CC01 KBF project on the back-burner for years and it would be nice to complete the set with a solid axle variant, but for the price of a new kit plus a new body I could get something technically very good. I think we have to expect to see this with the Land Rover body, which might tempt me, as I'm a born Land Rover fan and still don't actually have a scale LR in my fleet. Would be nice to see it with the Wrangler body too, although I'm not sure if Tamiya still have the licence for that. Land Cruiser, maybe? I have a CC01 Land Cruiser and it's probably my favourite RC to look at. It's on the shelf right above my laptop and even having owned it for 2 months, I still often find myself just looking at it and admiring its proportions. I'm planning on starting a new crawler project later this year (although I really should be finishing some of the old ones) and the CC02 is still on the list. I somehow doubt we'll see a second body option on this chassis before 2020 so I'm still out on whether this will end up in my fleet. I might yet end up with the MST if it turns out to be more truck for the buck.
  12. Looks like great fun good to see people getting together and doing more than just driving over ramps or doing donuts in the dirt.
  13. I think probably this bit: because it doesn't matter how well you play keyboard, I'm pretty sure every keyboard player just loves those days where they twiddle knobs to see what sounds they can come up with. I have seen some youtube vids of people hooking up old analogs to distortion pedals and echo boxes and live-playing some pretty awesome stuff. I kinda wish I could do that. (Actually I kinda wish I had the space to get my Mono/Poly out, let alone play it).
  14. What do you have? I sold most of my analogs before they started going up in price but I still have a Korg Mono/Poly in a flight case under my desk, which seems to appreciate every year.
  15. I definitely appreciate this thread. I've had my ups and downs with racing over the years. I started fairly early in my return to RC in the mid-00s, at a friendly local club. I got frustrated with failing batteries and lack of cash to replace them, and took a hiatus. I returned later with a TA05-IFS at a time when nobody was running Tamiya chassis, and never managed to get it to handle right on carpet. After another break I went back with an M03, just as everybody was switching to M05. I loved that there was almost no setup to worry about, but after a while I dropped out again. Now I'm back racing TT01E race trucks, with very limited class rules. Again there's no setup to worry about, just prep and race, but this time we're all running the same chassis and tyres and motors, so there's not much room to cheat or gain an advantage. Not being able to tune out the grip roll is frustrating but it makes more demands of the driver and IMO that makes for a better driver. I feel like I'm improving week on week. Actually I started to wonder if I'd enjoy going back to touring car racing again - it's a big step back into the frustrating world of setup and improvements but I started to get excited about it, which I haven't done in a long time. But if it gets stressful, is it worth it..?
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