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Everything posted by Grastens

  1. Having been confirmed by Tony's Tamiya Parts, Mokei Kagaku, and of course Tamiya itself, I wonder what the re-release of the Super Astute will bring - whether most will end up in the collections of racers who used to compete with the original, or if they will mostly be used to keep racing rigs running, and/or if they will continue to bring interest in re-release racing as their own kits built up. In the face of Fibre-Lyte and other companies building (arguably) better parts for the Astute series, what will become of this re-release? The future could be quite interesting for the examples that make it into TC members' hands... My own experience with anything remotely-Super Astute related was a hybrid Astute built up with a number of Super Astute pieces, most notably the TTC geartrain that I added later. I remember it being one fantastic car with a low-turn brushed motor, but I ended up selling it as I had no real place or occasion to run such a race-oriented platform. I would hope that a good number of them get to hit the dirt/astroturf/gravel/clay/etc.. Though it will be a little while away, I also look forward to seeing what TamiyaClub can come up with for the new-old racer
  2. Grastens


    I noticed that TamiyaClub has a Retro BMX thread, but it is a bit specific as it pertains to bike style. Earlier on this forum, I sold off some parts and cars to fund life-related things and help stay afloat during some trying times. Happily, things have improved since then - I have employment, which while not in my field, is still quite welcome. During all this, I had been working on my bicycle. A long time ago, I bought a Schwinn Volare 1300 from a department store as my first road bike. I wanted a cheap one - even if it meant some components were subpar - to see if I would like it without dropping the $1 000+ that a "real" one costs. Well, I got hooked... With some minor sorting, it held up well to all seasons, and compared to a mountain bike (which I was coming from), it simply flew. Modifications were a manifestation of my love for RC cars. Gradually, the bike lost its bar-mounted shifters and awkward-looking handlebar stem for integrated brake-shifters and a donor piece from another cheap bike. I did it myself, using Asian-made parts - sounds like a certain hobby of mine! Recently, I found the cash and some great deals to finish transforming it. A bike that served me as well as it did deserved a total refresh, so I disassembled it to the frame, cleaned everything, and acquired fresh parts. The bike looks like this in stock form: And now, I present the present-day product: Generic wheels, tires, crankset, bottom bracket, 7-speed freewheel, and brakes have all been swapped out for the 10-speed Shimano Tiagra groupset, while the generic derailleurs were replaced with the microSHIFT R10 groupset components. The shifters went from Shimano A050 (stock) to microSHIFT 7-speed to R10, as well. A department-store bike was never meant to have parts like this, even if the saddle is also from a department-store donor bike! I could have saved a bit more and bought a much-nicer model with the same groupset; however, the parts all together cost far less than a complete bike, and I get the joy of working on it myself Besides, the frame and fork have life in them and are not all that bad to ride on, despite their limitations... I saw fit to spend money on this bicycle as it is my primary form of transportation, meaning I am leaving RC cars behind for the time being. The love is still alive, though: Can you guess the three models from which the decals were used? I admit that not all of the decal placements make sense - a "Twin Star Racing" stem (which is the cheap donor bike piece mounted upside-down!) might be feasible, but what kind of rear derailleur is made by "Super Gripper?" I can tell someone that "Hyper Cam" has a great "Engineering" firm At the very least, it further personalizes my bike; I know of no other person who puts Tamiya decals on his/her bike... ... But then, that is more or less the point of this thread: what do you ride?
  3. An interesting chassis announced recently by Tamiya: the Lunch Box Mini on the SW-01 chassis. The link is Tamiyablog's; the chassis was also mentioned earlier on this site by TC's Mokei Kagaku, and on his Facebook page. From Tamiyablog: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Suggested retail price in Japan: approx. ¥ 10600 Expected release date in Japan: July 2019 ★ Condensed various mechanisms in a compact new design chassis that fits in both hands of adults ★ Uses an upper arm that works in conjunction with the steering wheel. Reduce the roll of the body at the time of cornering, reduce the fall. ★ The chassis is a gear drive 4WD that transmits the power of the motor located in the center to the front and rear wheels with a gear. ★ The body reproduces the popular Lunch Box in polycarbonate. Adoption of magnet type one-touch body mount makes it easy to attach and remove the body. ★ It can run with four AA batteries. ★ Upgrade to the 4WS (four-wheel steering) specification is possible simply by installing the “Upper Connect Bar (provisional name)” scheduled to be released as an optional part. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ As part of the "Star Unit" line, it is likely going to be quite a basic chassis, yet the technical details and the involvement of some sort of Lunch Box might make it intriguing...
  4. Grastens Builds the Tamiya Bruiser (58519) The Kit Builder’s Build In the midst of the assembly of my Ferrari 312T3, the revival of my original Lancia Rally, and the planning and acquisition of another Tamiya-centric project, lumbered: It has been quite an outburst of RC-related activity lately, which is as sure a sign as any that I am dealing with some serious personal issues; burying myself in projects like this might be the least-destructive way to cope with them. I have never had the luxury of three new kit builds on the go, and the Bruiser will be by far the largest and most involved of them. Those concerns aside, I can point to the Tamiya Bruiser in my possession and say that this is a long-held dream of mine, finally realized! Finding a (Long-Winded) Dream My first Tamiya was a Toyota GT-One on the F103RS. It was a simple chassis that proved to be a good rookie car, if a bit difficult to find the ideal surface for it. I had always been interested in radio-controlled items and cars, so RC cars were a logical culmination. That car felt like a lifelong dream realized; playing video games was much more economically-feasible, and I had neither the money nor the support to treat radio-controlled cars as a real hobby. My childhood aspirations made do with the occasional cheap remote-controlled contraption, to be pitched when it broke after its inevitably-underwhelming performance. I could hardly complain, for I had the essentials covered in life, but I still fantasized about a true hobby-grade radio-controlled machine. Tamiya was even making the cars I saw in my video games – from Gran Turismo to 1:10 scale came the Castrol Celica ST205, the Calsonic Nissan Primera, the Castrol Mugen NSX – and the Toyota GT-One – all by the same company that produced the best static model I had built to that time (another story itself). My involvement in the hobby changed forever when I acquired a Buggy Champ as my second car; with it, I discovered the comparative freedom of off-road running, and nearly all of my acquisitions since have been all-terrain chassis. Along the way, I had been building my collection toward increasing mechanical complexity. I had always been interested in the mechanical aspect of machinery, and around the same time I purchased my Avante Black Special – then the most complicated build I would undertake – Tamiya re-released the Bruiser. It did not matter that I was not alive when the original Bruiser (or Avante, even) was available, for the concept of an all-metal, all-terrain truck with an actual shifting transmission was something that captured my imagination. At the time, I had saved up much of everything I had to acquire that Avante, but despite my good fortune that day, I still ended up wanting a Bruiser. If I were really increasing the mechanical complexity of my collection, the Bruiser seemed like a logical step, in the right direction, especially after the Avante. Instead, time and money (but mostly money) saw me take a different path with my cars, my desires for new challenges manifesting themselves in bodywork as opposed to chassis. I found out that the Avante was not what I envisioned; it had proven expensive to repair and limited in talent. Though Tamiya’s higher-end offerings certainly had my interest whenever they arrived, I probably never really wanted them as each new model slipped away without any further effort from me to acquire one. The Bruiser never totally left my consciousness, though. Eventually, I found that I was running out of spaces to run buggy-type off-road cars, and I was still intrigued by the sophistication of the 3-speed truck, especially as I learned more about automotive engineering. With classic models like the original 4 x 4 Hilux and Blazing Blazer reaching used-1:1-car prices, the Bruiser was the only affordable model until the Mountaineer re-emerged as the Mountain Rider. Even then, they were out of my grasp. It should be noted that the Tamiya Hilux High-Lift was also on the shelf that day at the hobby shop, yet neither that nor the Tundra nor the F-350 seemed to catch my imagination the way the Bruiser did. I passed it over completely. Fulfilling a (Long-Winded) Dream “I probably never really wanted them as each new model slipped away without any further effort from me to acquire one.” It was a trip to my local hobby shop for paints to complete my Ferrari 312T3 build when I finally decided I wanted a Bruiser, once and for all. It was likely triggered by the astonishing stock of Tamiya re-release models in the store: there – in the year 2019 – were new-in-box examples of the Novafox, Bigwig, Blackfoot, Egress(!), Monster Beetle, and a Frog, perched high on a shelf behind the sales counter. Clearly, the employees there had an appreciation for classic Tamiyas, which was encouraging. Pure curiosity prompted me to ask about their prices. I was astonished to realize that this particular shop had nearly closed the gap to online retailers, and every model there was competitively priced – I could have had an Egress for under $500 CAD after taxes! But then I asked the shop owner: “Do you still have the Bruiser in stock?” I saw one long ago, in another visit, and asked in the off-chance that maybe it was still kicking around. I never saw too many visitors in the shop, and the ones that were there either bought Redcats, Gundam models, or paints. “No,” he started, as my reasonable being sighed in relief, “but we can order one. You fill out a form, and we can have it in 48 hours.” My mind started racing, leaving my reasonable being in the dust. There’s no way I could… No way I should… If I have to ask… “How much would it be?” His reply shocked me. They had closed the gap – no, they had opened one up of their own! Even more shocking was learning that the upcoming re-re-release of the Mountaineer/Mountain Rider would be more expensive through the shop’s distributor, by $100 CAD, and not on pre-order. I had believed the Bruiser to be more complex somehow than its sibling, but this was completely secondary to the fact that a metal Tamiya 3-speed was now within reach! I would need to stretch, but within reach! “… I’ll think about it,” I said weakly, and continued searching for paints. I thought about it, all right, and a week or so was all I needed to clarify more than six years of dreaming and a lifetime passion for mechanical objects that begged me to make it happen. It felt like a lifetime had led me to that store the following week, where I sought out the shop owner, looked him in the eye, and said: “I want to order a Bruiser. Give me the form, please.” I was nervous. Last time I was there, I was talking myself out of it by telling the shop owner about my Ferrari 312T3, and laughing that I needed to finish that before thinking about any new projects. I knew I would need to work hard to get that money back, particularly as unlike the 312T3, the Bruiser had been unplanned just a month ago. Yet it felt like I had been preparing for it for much of my life, and all my extracurricular interests had readied me for this moment. Even stranger was that the Hilux High-Lift that I was previously totally uninterested in was still there. It was going for even less than the Egress, and for that kind of money I could have it finished with full electronics – but no, I wanted a Bruiser! As if to firmly put my cards on the table: “I’ll pay for it in full.” What am I doing?! The shop owner started to smile. That definitely lifted his spirits, too! The trip home was an odd mix of elation and fear: I needed a third project like I needed to get hit by a truck, let alone a big, expensive truck that could be worth more than everything I was working on to that point. In my heart, though, I knew I made the right decision, and celebrated my ability to enjoy my hobby in a way I have never done previously. The rest is a short story: having ordered it on a Friday, it arrived on the Monday, and by Tuesday – stopping to retrieve it from the shop during my regular errands – I had it in my hands. First Impressions Well, I had it in my arms, anyway: this box was massive! I had no idea just how large it was until I brought it home, and realized it was almost the width of the doorways in the house! When viewing box art for a kit online, it is easy to forget that the image is nearly the size of the box itself (though not true for some new releases with the “post-box-style” box front). In the case of the Bruiser, that means a large image indeed, and fine details really jump out at the viewer when looking at a box like this in person – this was the impression I was getting. One side of the box: Picture quality at this point was not great, mostly because I did not have a lot of time to take them before I had to find a place for it and continue on with my day. I have yet to even open the box! However, I can at least see what the chassis might look like when assembled: And in detail: The gearbox, which is likely the most compelling feature of this truck, gets another detail on the side, in addition to the inlaid image on the front: And then I had to set it aside. I can only wait so long, though! Planning the Build If you managed to read my lengthy story about how I got to wanting and finding a Bruiser, you would understand why I want to savour this build. I really wish I could go for the speed record, but I anticipate I will be putting in assemblies in a piecemeal fashion. Unlike previous projects, I do have all my supplies purchased at this preliminary stage, from electronics to paint to accessories. Hence, if deliveries are smooth, I should be able to make good time while still enjoying this build. Those electronics will consist of a Futaba 4YWD Attack 2.4 GHz radio and two 6-kg generic waterproof metal gear servos – which will be replaced by a Traxxas 2056 and a Futaba S3003 in the odd event that I fit servos in the build before the intended units arrive, or if their performance is unsatisfactory. I will look to fit one of my Tamiya TBLE-02S units but will soon have the luxury of an Axial AE-5L ESC with LED output. That will allow me to fit at least headlights and taillights immediately, though I had intended it for another build… That being said, I did read on this forum somewhere that one should not skimp on electronics for a Bruiser, and I am inclined to agree! That Axial ESC might make its way into the truck yet. I have yet to see a Tamiya 3-speed sporting a battery under 4 000 mAh capacity, and presently have no working batteries of that specification (maximum 3 000 mAh, and well-used), so it looks like there is in fact one more thing I need. I could get a proper-capacity battery while ordering another Axial ESC, I suppose! As was the case with my Lancia 037 4WD-H, I intend to find a moderate stand between scale realism and the model’s radio-controlled nature. While I am interested in adding things like door panels and a driver figure to the interior, a large part of the Bruiser’s appeal to me is its realism in its drivetrain, so I will be content to run it with a few concessions to scale presence as opposed to all-out authenticity. Besides, the latter would require more LEDs and the MFC-02… My Lancia 037 4WD-H has also taught me that too much complexity is possible in a model, so the emphasis will be on producing a running vehicle, though one with some attention paid to aesthetics. It is still not enough to convince me that I should use Stealth body mounts (it’s an RC car, and RC cars use body posts and clips – I can live with that), but enough for me to at least attempt to produce a neat paint job – the static modeller in me is still alive somewhere! Since I cannot afford a used vehicle, and therefore by association a classic Hilux 4 x 4, I have elected to pay tribute to it with a Czech-made custom step-side rear bed. Doing so means I will be unable to use the bed topper that is standard in the Bruiser kit, and I will need to do some drilling and cutting for this custom bed to fit the chassis. Roll bar options for the 122 mm width of the rear bed seem to be limited – thankfully, I have an assortment of styrene tubes and rods on the way, which could enable me to build one from scratch. As before, I will be adding a driver figure and hopefully some simple styrene cuts serving as door panels. I am seriously entertaining adding a passenger – I was previously intrigued by the possibility of reworking a resin figure kit into a seated passenger, but the expense and detail are too high for the purpose I have in mind. As such, any passenger will almost certainly be a reworked 4 x 4 driver figure – though the extent of the “rework” remains to be seen… The chassis will be stock – having a Bruiser is enough of a novelty for me to be happy with its stock performance for a little while. If I feel the need to upgrade, chances are I would find a higher-turn brushed motor for it first, and even then, that might suffice. Paint is at this point going to be mainly TS-43 Racing Green. If I elect for graphic accents, I will add stripes in TS-26 Pure White and TS-8 Italian Red, as an homage to my previous Avante Black Special and Astute hybrid – I had forgotten how popular those designs were when they made their debuts and feel that this combination could work on a truck like this. Even if it does not, it works for me! The Last Word – for Now Going through literature, accounts, and reviews of the Bruiser, as well as the depth and breadth of custom projects involving the model, has made me realize that I know precious little about trucks and their culture. Knowledge at this point might be dangerous, since it could compel me to spend even more money on accessories (how about that K5 Blazer shell from RC4WD?!), but anything I can learn about pickup trucks, show trucks, mud/bog racing trucks, and any combination thereof will be interesting to me. It feels a world removed from my regular research on rally racers, sports prototypes, and other genres, and it gives me something else to look forward to as I start this exciting RC adventure. “Yes, [I’m] really in Hog Heaven [now that I] own a Bruiser!” – Tamiya promotional spot, c. 1985
  5. Grastens

    Hall of Fame - fastest on ...

    I am confused - is that not the purpose of: Or more like an offshoot of that thread that is solely for Tamiya kits, and includes comments on running surface?
  6. Grastens

    How has the hobby affected your relationships?

    My partner accepts my hobby, and has on occasion commented on the quality of my work. Simultaneously, it has been understood that at this point in our lives, it is interfering somewhat with our future. It is not that I am somehow less of a candidate because I enjoy this hobby, but the expenses do tend to pile up with new parts, models, finishing supplies, and so on. Once we have enough to establish ourselves, I can return full-time - though the irony is that there will not be much time by then... The most trying time was when I bought that Bruiser - my partner did not really understand how I could spend that much money on a model, but admitted later that it made sense once the chassis was together. On the opposite end, when I put our names on my Lancia 037 4WD-H project and painted the cockpit figures after ourselves (with full-face helmets, it was really down to eye colour and some minor nose bridge sculpting), I earned some goodwill that day These days, the hobby has been put on hold. I have enough supplies to finish three in-progress builds and polish off a fourth, but my other hobby in road bicycles is the more prominent pastime. As a bicycle mechanic, I call it professional development , though more seriously, it is a hobby the two of us have really gotten into, so it is the one I can keep on with. I figure that the pastime of radio-controlled models is only a factor in anybody's relationship around here because we are that passionate about what we build and run. From my experience, model train hobbyists are much the same way (if not more so, to allude to the original post); it is a bit difficult to be a 'casual' model train enthusiast.
  7. Grastens


    The bike has been something of a rolling laboratory. That role continued with my introduction to tubeless tires: A Schwalbe Pro One kit and accessories introduced me to the concept, but the first tires that actually got rolling were a set of Hutchinson Fusion 5s. The carbon-alloy wheels from previously have some rather-pronounced shoulders on the rims, so I went tubeless on these: Despite never being advertised as tubeless-ready, I found that the shoulder profile and rim bed shape were both friendly to the technology. With the airtight rim tape, special valves, and a good dose of sealant, the tires held air with no weak spots. The shakedown was on what was incidentally my first-ever group ride. Riding with the other mechanics from the bike shop where I work, I found it a bit ironic that the least-established of us (me) should be the one with the loudest bike: The leader was more skilled than the rest of us, so in our attempts to follow him as he jumped his bike over curbs, I bent the rear wheel. The brakes did not rub until later, and fortunately it came out with a bit of truing. Otherwise, it was a grand day out, and the rest of the bike survived: Having no tubes in the tires did actually make a small difference in speed and comfort: I was the only one riding aero-section wheels, but had less trouble spinning them up to speed to catch my groupmates in sprints. The curb mishap could have also easily led to a pinch flat, but nothing of the sort happened. There is still nothing wrong with inner tubes, but I am glad to have tried tubeless. And if nothing else, I am now our shop's go-to resource on installing them! I look forward to the next opportunity in 5 years when someone comes in to ask about installation help
  8. Grastens

    CC01 Sumo

    It looks great! Do you suspect this little rig has more power than the 1:1?
  9. Grastens

    The "The Manhattan Project" Project

    Nice concept for a build! And some tricky driving to be done there in the film
  10. Grastens

    Tamiya 58044 mitsubishi pajero

    Now that is some slick packaging! This extra attention to running details is certainly helping this build stand out
  11. When I got into bicycles, I learned of Tri-Flow brand PTFE oil. It penetrates and lubricates with some of the best, and performs well; I have seen good results with it on performance bikes carrying rather-high drivetrain loads. Like any light oil, bearings so treated require some upkeep, but Tri-Flow is easy to apply and quite effective.
  12. Grastens

    Environmental Impact of our hobby.

    There was a time when I built kits that I would keep track of the waste/excess produced once assembled. For an otherwise-simple F103RS, I remember it being disproportionately high... It certainly makes the case to run and repair our models, and do so responsibly. I like the discussion that Jonathan Gillham had with his son about durable vs. throwaway products. I also like the idea of cardboard and paper packaging for the models. Though Tamiya started with wood models and not exactly paper, it could still be a nice tie-in to history. And even if good cardboard can take lots of water to process, recycling is easy. Over the years, I have found that as I become more aware of the environment and the crisis at hand, I have been using my models less (and thus ordering less parts from overseas). As much as I would love to say this is due to my attitudes on the relaxed emissions standards of transportation and freight vehicles, I would be hypocritical as I still use them for other hobbies... Plastics are improving all the time, but with metal being easier to recycle, could this make the case for more old-school RC cars like the Rough Rider, Sand Scorcher, or Bruiser?! Anyway, it is a good topic to discuss, especially since the problem will not be going away any time soon - not without drastic changes to the way we live...
  13. Well done! I thought the use of the hole-punch was particularly clever.
  14. Grastens

    Porsche 911 rally TT02

    The Lancia 037 light pod might be worth an attempt: It would require the Lancia 037 J parts (0983049 or 0005170), K parts (1911472), and M parts (19115121), but would allow for a contemporary appearance.
  15. Grastens

    Vanquish rebuild

    It is most certainly not - snap oversteer was (and sometimes still is) a complaint of Avante owners/drivers (since I never raced mine, it was less of a problem). The issue was somewhat settled with staggered wheel widths, but the relatively-short wheelbase still makes it twitchy. I am excited to see what this Vanquish will turn into, but am also enjoying the journey through CAD. I was much the same way when picking up Inkscape, and was immensely proud of my first efforts - until they were promptly overshadowed by all my subsequent work! You are building up one special car, graemevw
  16. Grastens

    Vintage wild one modernised rebuild

    It turned out nicely! Great idea on the battery protector, too.
  17. Grastens

    Tamiya 57409 - Lunch Box Mini (SW-01)

    Personally, I like their inclusion - it drives home the point of just how small this thing is. The tire tread will probably be more useful for the running these kits will likely experience, unless I am totally incorrect and an off-road series forms around it! I understand the gripes about non-bespoke wheels, though.
  18. Grastens


    MCI Racing has actually played a few parts in the ongoing saga of my bicycle. After the first rebuild, a few kit decals ended up on the aftermarket components I used. I even commissioned them to print original decals for a set of blank carbon-alloy wheels I had. Today, said wheels received an update in some proper white-fill wheel stickers: And with that, I think my bike ended up looking even tackier (in a good way?): But flashy stickers had captured my imagination when it came to high-end wheels, and so I took the opportunity to get some printed out, to dress up what were otherwise rather ordinary rims. The design is certainly busier than most proper wheel rim schemes, even like that on the Fulcrum Racing Quattro that inspired me: The end result has me thinking more like some of the no-name offerings from overseas: But once up to speed, they look the part! Nonetheless, a lesson learned in graphic design... I have resumed shift work at my local bike shop, as they are quite busy this season. I am now training to be a dedicated mechanic, so I get to spend a lot of time around some neat bikes these days The subsequently-healthy pay has allowed me to invest in good cycling clothes, which I hope will make a positive difference, especially in the cold and the rain. It is looking like a nice summer for cycling, as I have already booked a half-dozen events from June to September! The Schwinn is my training bike; I have the carbon-frame ride for the actual events. The carbon-alloy wheels on the Schwinn are actually there on shakedown - once properly stressed and adjusted, I intend to put them on the event bike for the flat-road rides.
  19. Happy birthday, Crash!

    Hope you get to spend some quality time with your loved ones and RC collection :)

  20. Grastens

    "Formula Radio" - F1 drivers with R/C buggies

    So, Senna really was the best, then: Although the story over on is that he broke this Hotshot, too!
  21. Grastens

    Fenix Classique 70

    Does this mean we will see a Lotus 72 in a few years? I can hardly wait for that!
  22. Grastens

    Striker on the way.

    @Jason1145 we regret to inform you that there is one less Striker you will be getting
  23. Grastens

    Fenix Classique 70

    Way better than cutting down an existing Tamiya March 782 shell - nice work on this one! It is great to see more options for 1970s F1 shells, especially where custom paint schemes are concerned. A period-inspired livery would evoke memories of the numerous privateers who competed in that era, and March certainly had a lot of customer teams! Again, great work Perhaps @speedy_w_beans may agree
  24. This is going to be so great! I am humbled that one of my builds should inspire yours - I will be following this one closely! And while I did struggle somewhat with reworking the step-side bed, I have no doubt your expertise with plastic will come through when you modify yours. The prospect of that has me further excited for this build
  25. Grastens

    Tamiya 58044 mitsubishi pajero

    I do like these, though never had the opportunity to pick one up when I was most interested. You may recall TC member IBIFTKH's version on a stretched WR-02: Looking back, I guess by the time I could get the re-release, I was no longer keen on the chassis specs. I still think they are neat little cars, though - as such, I look forward to following along with your rebuild/restoration!