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  1. Alright, I'll be honest here, this isn't my first time straying from The Path of Tamiya. I've owned an HPI RS4, a Corally CCT and an Academy Griffin buggy. But somehow, probably because this car is from the great far-east, it just feels wrong. But I didn't let that stop me. I've always liked M-chassis cars, having owned an M02 Alpine as a kid. I've owned an M05 Pro VII with all the bells and whistles, but I've never been able to get that thing to handle the way I wanted to. Ever since I've mostly stuck to touring cars, but I've always kept an eye out for something that's as easy to setup as a TC, but can wear the great little body shells of an M-chassis. On Christmas morning I found this little go-cart under the tree, which is exactly what I've been looking for. This car originally started out life as a Nanda NXR12, a 1/12th scale touring car, before the Chinese OEM found out that with a few tweaks to the wheelbase you could fit Tamiya M-chassis body shells on there. HobbyKing picked up the car, rebranded it, and is selling them for a very reasonable price. And quite the car you're getting! Full ball-bearings, CVDs all around, carbon lower and upper deck, oil shocks, and it even comes with a cute little totally-not-a-Suzuki-Swift body shell. The car has a wheelbase of 210mm (the 'short' M-length), which allows for my old Mini Cooper Racing bodyshell to be used. After Christmas I could barely contain myself, but had to wait for a few hopups I'd already ordered after opening the package. However, that didn't stop me from doing the body shell! I'm challenging myself to create better and prettier body shells. I found I've got a bit of a knack for spraying polycarbonate body shells, even though I haven't moved on from using rattle cans. But with some careful masking you can still get decent results. For the colors I chose PS-2 red as the main color, with the accents done in PS-1 white. At the last minute I added a swoopy dragon's tail, something my wife came up with. For the price it even comes with mirrors and a little spoiler, both of which I painted duefully. The decals included with the body shell are quite basic. Unfortunately you get full window stickers instead of just the outlines. However, my trusty blade made quick work of that. That, along with a black sharpie to accentuate all the panel lines (and hand-draw things like the fuel filler flap and the door handles), actually suit the body quite well and make for a handsome package. Yesterday-morning the hopups arrived, with most crucially a set of ball bearings for the sliding steering rack. You'll see when the build gets to that stage. On with the actual build! Step 1 Build the diffs. Done. The diffs are pre-built from the box. As they are two ball-diffs, I took them apart and checked them for any mistakes during assembly. They needed tightening, but other than that they were fine. After they're run-in I'm sure I'll take them out to be set at their final tightness anyway. Step 2 Step 2 involves building the sliding rack steering setup. I've never seen this before on any car, and it's a cool system. That whole thing attaches to the aft front suspension block, and slides back and forth on four ball bearings. From the box you get bushings, but everyone that races one recommends replacing them with ball bearings immediately, or else your steering won't center properly. Step 3 Attach steering block and suspension bits to chassis Nothing too exciging here. You can see how the sliding rack works and is attached to the car. The chassis is a nice piece of CF. Quite thick, but on a carpet track you don't want too much flex anyway. Step 4 Servo-time! They've included a servo saver of similar design to the Tamiya 51000 High Torque servo saver. It's huge though.... I attached it to a Savöx MG1251 low profile servo, my servo of choice for anything on-road. They're fairly affordable and give great and dependable performance. I had to spacer out the servo saver a bit, or else it would hit the body of the servo when tightening the screw. Step 5 This involved attaching the servo to the chassis. I noticed that the holes for the servo were drilled a little too close together, and also offset slightly. I blame Chinese QC. However, my Dremel made short work of that, and the servo (with aluminium posts!) mounted up well. In the same step you also attach the rear lower arms. The suspension blocks are actually mounted to the rear gearbox, allowing the whole unit to come off with just 4 screws. This is done so that changing the spur gear doesn't involve pulling half the car apart. Clever! Step 6 This was probably the step that took me the longest of the build so far (aside from the body, obviously). There is a 48 pitch spur and pinion included, but I wanted to use 0.4 mod gears because that's what both my race cars use and this insures that I've got enough gears. A while back I bought two 0.4 mod spurs for a TB Evo, thinking I could fit them to the TRF419. Nope. However, the 90t spur fit this car well, and combined with a 39 or 40 tooth pinion from my stock this should give me an FDR of about 5.4, which should be in the ballpark for 55mm tires on our small carpet track. Many shimming happened on both these input shafts so that the backlash was correct for the diffs, which are installed in... Step 6 With the backlash now set correctly, the car runs decently quiet and smoothly. Of course all gears need to be run-in some more before I can have any final say in it, but I'm decently confident that after 45 minutes of shimming the living daylights out of it it should run decently well. Onto Step 7... In which we build the two front C-hubs. I lubricated the CVDs with a bit of graphite powder, and built them up as per manual. Surprisingly it required no shimming at all! Time will tell if that remains the case or that some slop will develop after some running. Step 8 Not very surprisingly, step 8 attaches both C-hubs to the chassis. Again, no shimming was required. There is a slight bind on one of the arms, I'm hoping this will simply wear in with running. And this is where I was left last night. Today, we continue on! Keep an eye out on this space.
  2. Going to build a Lancia Stratos. I have always loved this body! Using HPI body and wheels, and BSR MRage chassis kit. I couldn't find the exact wheels in yellow, so I had to get them in white and paint them yellow. That's as far as I got so far. So this will be a combined HPI Stratos Body / BSR Mrage build thread. The chassis kit that I am using HPI body I am using HPI wheels after they were painted
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