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Bwaaatch

Avante-gator 6x6 Paris-Dakar fantasy mash-up build!

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I started this build more than a year ago, but hoping to bring it all together in the next few weeks.

The original thread is here, but as I near crunch time I thought I will put together proper build thread: 

The idea for the build stems from my love of the Avante, but it gradually crept in scope to factor in the Paris-Dakar Rally, the Mini 4wd Dash Warriors anime and copycat brand mini 4wds from the 1980s.

This image sums up the influences …

 

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In addition to the influences above, I'm also really enjoying a fan faction angle to the whole thing, which follows on from the ideas stemmed from my Avante prototype build a few years ago, which you can see and read about here: https://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=133948&id=48472 . I've got this nutty idea about Tamiya developing the car in world where it's not quite clear if it's a real car or an RC … lots of inspiration from @Grastens on that.

In short, if that build was an imagined early model of the Avante (full of unrealised hope for track success) then this new build would be later in the lifecycle of the machine: what to do with the tech once it became clear that its initial goals for 4wd track glory would not be met. My thoughts turned to watching Ford RS200s and Metro 6R4 competing in Rallycross in the 90s … monsters that never met their potential, now driven around in less glamorous settings, making do with whatever lower league glory they could muster …

So the setup is this: It's 1991. The chance to dominate the track buggy scene has passed. Tamiya has shifted attention to the Top Force platform, and the Avante tech is redundant … but … Members of the original design team still believe in it! Can they repurpose parts of the technology to mount an assault on a new front? A plan is hatched to create a new class of machine. Higher up, battles through sand dunes in endurance races, but brings the Avante's refined engineering to a field previously dominated by crude hobbyist machines. Also, it's got 6 wheels!

The Takara Gulltech mini 4wd clone contains the genesis of most of this. When the G6-01 chassis arrived I through that in. I was reminded of the 6x6 mini 4wd clones from ARII by @Aerobert . I've recently added in the influence of the Mini 4wd Wildsaurus – mainly for the outboard battery holder, which I imagine to be a way of carrying extra power for long races!

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This was where I got to a couple of weeks ago …

The base kit is a King Yellow. Changes from stock include:

  • Bearings, of course
  • 2 x JP-497 carbon damper stays for GF-01: https://banzaihobby.com/TN-Racing-JP-497
  • VQS Hi-Caps (front and rear are standard lengths, middle ones are a hybrid of parts from the long and short version)
  • Avante driver
  • Front bumper from and longer arms scavenged from a set of Tamiya TL01B C Parts 0005688. Stance is now VERY wide, which really helps it looks bulkier than an original Avante. Standard width is really kind of geared to the different scale bodies like Konghead and King Yellow.
  • Longer dogbanes from random eBay seller (will source lengths later)
  • Metal ballends with locknuts on custom cut M3 rod

Servo is a random Carson thing for now, but considering something vintage to add to my mock period aesthetic. It will be visible, outside the body.

Motor needs some thought. Again, some kind of imagined 1991 retro future things would do it. Perhaps I'll make a custom label on a period Tamiya can?

I have a plan for and outboard battery, like the Wildsaurus. Have some vintage Tamiya racing pack on order, but would REALLY love an EX gold pack :-(

 

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Awesome, I'm looking forward to seeing this one unfold!  I love the backstory idea too, sometimes I make-believe that the cars I build are part of some greater 1:1 fantasy series with an eclectic cast of characters.  Exactly the way I used to play with Lego when I was young, I've got older but I still play like a child.

If I was better at drawing I'd probably make a manga about it :lol:  (hey, wasn't there some manga that surfaced a year or so ago about people racing in Tamiya buggies, or did I imagine that..?)

(I still think you should have done a wide middle axle and narrow front and rear ;) )

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13 hours ago, Mad Ax said:

Awesome, I'm looking forward to seeing this one unfold!  I love the backstory idea too, sometimes I make-believe that the cars I build are part of some greater 1:1 fantasy series with an eclectic cast of characters.  Exactly the way I used to play with Lego when I was young, I've got older but I still play like a child.

If I was better at drawing I'd probably make a manga about it :lol:  (hey, wasn't there some manga that surfaced a year or so ago about people racing in Tamiya buggies, or did I imagine that..?)

(I still think you should have done a wide middle axle and narrow front and rear ;) )

He he!

Sometimes I think all we really do in life is make up stories! It's good to acknowledge that this is part of what makes it all such fun :-)

In terms of Manga about RC racing, maybe it was this: https://tamiyablog.com/2018/10/new-manga-with-classic-tamiya-rc/

There is also the RC Boy series from the 80s/90s, which got some hype last year when an image from it showed a car resembling the images from the Super Avante Teaser video. Useful looking article in Italian: http://www.jokerteam.it/?p=1955

Also, and perhaps more similar to your idea of a manga about a fictionalised version of your own creative process, there is a special edition of the recent Hyper Dash Warriors series that focuses on a fantastical version of the life of Tokuda Zaurus (who created the Dash Warriors manga, design many of the Dash family f Mini4wd and indeed gave his name (kinda) to the 'Wildsaurus'. I have this and it looks amazing, but have not been through the laborious and error-prone google translate process with it. Check it out here: https://mini-4wd.fandom.com/wiki/Dear_Zaurus_Tokuda . This series is written and drawn by Hiroyuki Takei, who is kinda of a big deal in Manga. It's a love letter to his idol/mentor.

As for the wide middle axle … I like Gerry Anderson but trying to stay focussed on this one … already too much going on!

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So let's agree that painting wheels especially deep dish ones like these, is an absolute pain that requires much more patience that we all initially anticipate …

These are the wheels, which will pair with sand paddle tires.

I've you've never sprayed wheels before, my tips (having messed it up quite a bit) are:

  • Find a nice secure way to grip them in an inconspicuous place.
  • Make good use of that stash of COVID masks. I inhaled way too much Tamiya PS spray and my throat was not happy.
  • Spray coats as light as possible.
  • No, even lighter than that.
  • I SAID LIGHT! Two or three short bursts (half a second each), moving all the time. That's one coat.
  • Both primer and paint tend to cling to the outer rim of the wheel and form puddles while you are focussed on trying to get an even coat down in the deep recesses. RESIST THE URGE to get anything like complete coverage with ANY of your coats.
  • On the ones that worked out best, I think I had about 4 or 5 thin coats of primer, followed by about 7 or 8 coats of yellow, then 2 or 3 clear coats. This is all to prevent drips

I painted 8 in the end, hoping to have 6 good ones. I think I have 4 that I'm pretty pleased with. The rest I rushed, and it shows.

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OK, I'm pretty proud of this bit :-)

The Wildsaurus has this cool outboard battery mounting that i wanted to replicate.

The first challenge was to fashion a bracket strong enough to bold a battery pack aloft. Two useful-looking holes in the rear flanks of the G6-01 chassis proved invaluable, and I was able to wrangle the fixings together from spare rods, ball-ends ad bushings.

The bracket itself is a wheelie bar from a WR-02, and the battery holder is from 2mm plasticard.

Turnbuckle adjustment is just showing off :-)

 

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The nut on the rod is to fill in one end of the chassis hole. One end is m3, but the other end is much bigger (to allow a screwdriver in there).

 

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These long holes run the width of the chassis. Assume there are use in other configurations of the chassis (eg for 4 wheel steer) but for me they are vacant, so I'm using them!

 

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A little bit of slop here. Might shim it later!

 

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Turnbuckle adjustment is just showing off :-)

 

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All in place!

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I got this lovely set of sanding sticks from Buoys Toys and Models in Cromer last summer: https://www.facebook.com/buoystoysandmodels

https://www.megahobby.com/products/flexpad-set-angle-cut-sanding-sticks-flex-i-file.html

It's my first experience of having a really useful set of tools for smoothing stuff off. I've used it for all kinds of things (including sanding the custom printed silly user name off a second-hand Xbox controller – amazing!). But I've also discovered how good these tools are for cleaning up Lexan bodies. I combined it with a set of mini model files and a hobby drill (dremmel) and have found I can do useful stuff.

Lexan sands down really well, letting me make a mess with my drill, then tidy up easily. Going through the grits from course to extra-fine is extremely satisfying!

On this build, I've cut holes in the Avante body (which felt so wrong!) for my outboard servo and battery. It was tricky to get the hold in the right place. I probably make them a bit big, as there is a long of trial and error in the constant attempts at fitting the body over a chassis that it's not intended for. Depending on how the final thing looks, I'll consider buying a new body and having a second attempt once the fit is perfect.

Tips for this kind of work:

  • Wear a mask. Lots of fine dust is produced.
  • Cut very small holes to start with. Trimming off too much makes you feel like an idiot.
  • Mark the area to be cut on the outside of the body, on the overspray film.
  • Thinking in 3D with moving parts is something I found really hard. My trial and error method is not ideal, but measuring in 3d space is tough. So take it slow, and try to look from multiple angles before committing to a cut.
  • Lexan is really flexible. for some holes, I cut too much because I imagined I was cutting an inflexible material. Once I had it in place, I realised I could have cut away less if willing to bend the body to get it on.
  • When the shape is done, go through your grits from course to extra fine / polish. Try to avoid touch the internal or external face of the lean, just the exposed edge.
  • When you're totally done, a REALLY good wash is needed.

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I've made an outboard battery holder from 2mm black polystyrene sheet.

Nice guy at Antics in Gloucester assured me I could bend it with a hairdryer, and indeed he was right!

Technique was a bit fiddly.

  • Cut to size
  • Heat up for 30 secs with hot dryer
  • Start to bend it round a battery pack (some force required)
  • Keep heating and bending until I coudl couch the howl assembly (including battery) into a vice.
  • Leave to cool for as long as possible (I really I would) have done this overnight)
  • Remove from vice, test fit and sand edges for a nice finish.

NOTE: It uncurled a fair bit after removal from vice. Best to overbend if possible.

 

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10 hours ago, Bwaaatch said:

How to delete post?

You can't. Just edit to a picture of a cat.

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Been painting a lot.

Body is standard Avante PS16, then silver, then black. Can't recall where I picked up the tips about doing black at the very end, but I think t makes bodies look more realistic in the areas where you get a peak under the edges. The shadows are much deeper, as you would expect a 1:1 to be.

I'm repurposing a Wild Willy 2 side bar (unused from a Comical Grasshopper kit) as some some of structural/air duct decorative element around the outboard servo. Primed, then black, then gunmetal, then two coats of clear.

 

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This has to be one of the more ridiculous build threads I've seen... good on you for having a wacky vision and just going for it!  I love the concept, influences, and cartoonish nature of it.  Well done so far... it will be fun to see how this continues to play out.

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11 minutes ago, bRIBEGuy said:

This has to be one of the more ridiculous build threads I've seen... good on you for having a wacky vision and just going for it!  I love the concept, influences, and cartoonish nature of it.  Well done so far... it will be fun to see how this continues to play out.

Thanks @bRIBEGuy!

You’re right, I’m just going for it in this one! Hopefully get this finished in next couple of weeks.

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On 9/8/2022 at 11:00 AM, Bwaaatch said:

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I see you haven't 'tired' of this yet...  :lol::ph34r::P

I love this build!

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Erm, wow!!!

That's not left field, that's outta the field!!

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A wonderfully creative build, with a cool backstory! I am enjoying every bit of this :D Thanks for sharing!

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Starting to do some design for decals. The approach is evolving a bit. I thought at first that I would do it 90% based on standard Avante stickers, but now I'd like to include more of the motifs from the Takara Gulltech. That means some custom designs and an order from MCI in Canada (having really lots of recent threads about UK suppliers being a little inferior).

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So I started by finding a slightly better resolution image of a Gulltech. My own copy is in a box somewhere and I can't seem to find it. But I aim to do that this week, in case it reveals any more useful details.

This better image lets me ID the fonts, and might help me spot other interesting stuff I can include. It seems clear to me that the Gulltech body and decals are a direct nod to the Avante, and I plan to return the favour by bringing some of the Gulltech back to my project, as a reflection of my fictional back story about a collaboration where tech from Tamiya and Takara collide.

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Two fonts that interest me to start with. First is the number used not the Avante. It's a very good match for Corrigon Heavy (which i couldn't easily find a copy of) but also ITC Korinna Heavy Italic. This font is also used for the number '7' on a Terra Scorcher. The costly nature of fonts (es in the 80s) meant that Tamiya would often reuse the same fonts across different models, in different ways.

Next up is the font used by Takara for the Gulltech logo. Unsurprisingly they raided the Tamiya playbook once again and went with version of ITC Serif Gothic – the extreme 'Black' version of which is used for the Hornet and Super Hornet logos (and on something I think, can't quite recall). For the Gulltech logo, they have ironically used a customised version which removes the serif which give the font it's name! So it's like ITC Gothic Sans Serif. They widened the 'H' a bit, too. Possible that this was a bootleg version of the font form back in the day. Bit of tracking and kerning and some baseline shift – we have the logo!

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My current version looks a little tight on reflection, I'll fix that later.

I'm a typographer, so I recognise quite a lot of fonts, but I still make use of tools like whatfontis and whatthefont if I'm stuck, or just to confirm or see options.

 

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Lastly, I started thinking about putting a classic weird Tamiya slogan on the rear wing, and building some collaborative branding between the two brands, picking up on the meanings of the source wording. The 'x' doesn't feel contemporary to my early 90s setting though … Font for the slogan is Reporter, as used on the Tamiya Mini 4wd Drive Avante Dress Up Sticker Set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The realisation that the Gulltech has a rear wing quite similar to a Terra Scorcher led me buy a reproduction TS body set, from Penguin bodies on eBay UK.

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By chance, it actually came with two rear wings, so I have a spare TS body if anyone wants one for cheap. Let me know! I also picked up a reproduction Dynatech sticker, thinking ahead to motor options. I might use it, but also considering designing my own fictional period motor, like a 'Techno-gator' or something.

 

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Snap and core the basic shape with a few manual cuts with the lean scissors …

 

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Trimmed each side to matt the Gulltech as much as possible. Had to lose some of the front lip to blend the curve.

 

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Worked through the grits on my sanding strips and gave it a wash.

 

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Painted PS-16, then silver, then backed with yellow as an experiment.

 

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Need to smooth out some of the edges, cos the wonkiness shows up a lot better with bright yellow highlights!

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Trying out some carbon fibre effect air intake trim, fashioned from hand-bent black plasticard, double-sided tape and HPI carbon fibre decals.

Driver helmet will be yellow.

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