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Was there ever a team/TRF/racing Thundershot?

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In part of my ongoing obsession with unloved chassis of the tamiya litter, was there ever a team/TRF Thundershot? I have seen all manner of awesome hot shot based FRP and carbon plated chassis, and then things went Avante/Egress/Top Force. Was there ever anything cool done with the Thundershot in this vein? I can't find anything on the internet at all which suggests not, but thought I would ask the hive mind! 

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To my mind there was just the standard Tshot that we all know of.

But I am no Tamiya expert. :D

You can always make one up......lots of TRF decals and fancy paints out there.....

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Well, while folks have done all sorts of neat things to Hot Shots and such, there was no official racing version/TRF from Tamiya. The Avante was the first buggy Tamiya really put effort behind in organized competition. The Egress is essentially all the they learned from the Avante's missteps. Even then with Jamie Booth behind the transmitter, the Egress wasn't perfect. It morphed into a hybrid/rolling test lab that would eventually lead to the Manta Ray/Top Force.

This being said, Tamiya did go to the effort of getting the Thundershot into the hands of racers. The ad that ran in RCCA magazine was updated with a "bulletin". My memory recalls the bulletin stating that some Thundershots were entered in some race where it battled Optimas, Radiants and RC10 4wd conversions and came out on top. Its the first time I remember an MRC/Tamiya ad referencing an actual race, not just the usual hype ad copy.

As I've mentioned before, the Thundershot sat at an odd time in development. Being the new 4wd buggy, it had to simpilfy the old Hot Shot design, be cheaper, yet be more competitive. It did all these things. But even Tamiya realized this was all temporary as the Avante was well into development by this time. Shortly after the Thundershot came out, the Avante was introduced (less than a year, IIRC). After the Avante intro, the T-shot fell back into a more entry-level/intermediate role. With its high ground clearance, supple suspension, mid motor, simplified drivetrain and surprisingly adjustable suspension, the Thundershot was probably better on more varied types of surfaces than even the Avante which favored smoother tracks.

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In the late 70's and early 80's all organised racing events were 2wd and the 'sport' was still in it's infancy.  1/10th scale off road was new and it is widely claimed that Tamiya kick started everything with their realistic  replica machines.  Tamiya were dominant on the racing scene, such as it was back then, mostly rivalled by Bolink and the the Kyosho Scorpion buggies.  Tamiya continued dominance with new chassis designs like the Frog - more purpose built, but still had realism in mind on the drawing board.  Enter the RC10 and everything changed.  The car was not a replica of a Funco dune buggy, but a scaled down vehicle, designed specifically to handle oversized jumps and bumps for it's size and none scale speeds, long wishbones, wide track, oversized dampers, bigger than scale wheels, and other purpose built items.  Other manufacturers followed suit.

The next step for anyone was to go 4wd.  Until then, most 4wd were scale trucks, mud boggers and feats of three speed engineering.  Not racing material.  Enter the Hotshot.  Being the most widely available 4wd buggy in 1985, it showed up everywhere and beat most 2wd with it's ability to handle the rough(er) stuff.  Tamiya were back on top.  But not for long.  The Hotshots were great at the time but over engineered (typical Tamiya), and other manufacturers wanted in on the action.  Losi drove a Yokomo with success, Schumacher released the CAT in 1986 and Kyosho had the Optima.  In 2wd, the RC10 was still king.

By the time Tamiya released the Thundershot, it was a bit too late.  Other manufacturers were using space age components, fibre plastics, carbon, belts, ball diffs, real rubber tires, metal dampers, flat chassis.  The Thundershot with it's plastic chassis, plastic dampers, no ballraces, was seen as toy by a lot of the pro's.  It was a more advanced car than the Hotshots, simpler, more efficient, lighter, better gearboxes with enclosed diffs, with a range of hop ups available (Terra Scorcher), and the car can shift.  It was just a bit too late to the party and wasn't rocking the twin deck carbon chassis.

If it was released earlier, I bet it would have given many early 4wd buggies a run for their money, but instead it was probably better represented in the Tamiya Cup - an off road series for Tamiya buggies only.  Apparently, Mark Chapman was unstoppable with his Bigwig.  

To keep up with the Joneses, Tamiya released the Avante in 1988, but as beautiful and radical as it was - inline motor (who are Tenth Technology?), it was expensive and fragile, and of course, over engineered.  Tamiya improved upon it with the Egress a year later.  They had it's 2wd counterpart, the Astute, and signed up Jamie Booth who did very well with the cars, once he simplified them.  The Astute won a major title too.  Jamie's involvement was a major milestone and this is about the time TRF really started.

Somewhat ironically, the modifications made to the Egress gave it more in common with the Thundershot and led to the development of the Mantaray - more Thundershot than Egress. A very tradional layout.  Stick a fibre chassis on it and you have the Top Force.  I wonder what a Thundershot buggy with a double deck chassis would be like.  

From the Mantaray, Tamiya kick started another popular trend - electric touring cars.  The Mantaray chassis was churned out with a gazillion different body shells, became an easy money maker, led to new iterations, new chassis, and for a while became more popular than off road racing.   As a result, Team TRF concentrate on the Touring cars and, sadly, have all but given up in the off road circuit.  I'm an off road fan and would love to see more crazy designs in off road from Tamiya, a la the Avante and Astute.

Anyway, sorry to waffle on, but I thought I'd add my two cents.  Adjusted for over inflation.

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Thanks for the info guys. Loving learning the history. Seems the Thundershot was just a little out of time but with some great features. I have always loved my Thunder Dragon and really enjoy improving it even now. 

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History sort of missed the Thundershot in racing circles, a sham as its a very reliable drivetrain and more nimble than the hotshot due to the lighter weight.  Popular mods were to go for twin front shocks, but other than adding universals driveshafts and Hi-Cap dampers there wasn't a huge amount of mods to choose from.  

Makes for a reliable vintage racer these days - just get an alloy A5 part as thats the vulnerbale area.

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Fruitfly hit some good points there. Classic Tamiya fashion was to innovate a segment and lead it right up until the competition came out with something better and then it was game over. SRBs were a hit because they were the first of their type but when the Scorpion came out, they were done (except for those who doggedly continued to campaign them because they had invested a fortune in hop-ups). This scenario repeats until Tamiya was essentially out of the competition game. As time went on Tamiya continued to rely on ABS plastic. While reasonably durable for bashing, in competition, nylon and glass reinforced parts were the name of the game. The RC10 could take abuse that would shatter a Tamiya. Then there's the issue of parts support. In the US, back then, MRC was Tamiya's importer. They often broke up kits and re-bagged parts for spares. Parts support could be sporadic with this method. Nobody wants to race a car that would be sidelined for weeks waiting for some hard-to-find parts sprue when the locale hobby shop had all the parts to keep your RC10 (or popular racer like it) running.

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Interesting Topic.

I do recall the News Bulletin Add in Car Action stating that the Thunder Shot TQ,d and filled the top 3 spots in a American race.

The Thunder Shot was also the first Tamiya to feature Nylon components such as Arms and front bumper. Had no bump steer and fewer drive line parts to the Hot Shot platform. 

A very capable racer it was and still is in vintage. 

They should have dropped the word "SHOT" as it is nothing like a Shot and shared no components  in my opinion.

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Sorry for going off topic

BUT

Loved my Thundershot, started a club for RC in school and was joined by some friends with 

Thunderdragon, Saitdragon and a Terra Scorcher. 

It was the Terra Scorcher that I used as a basis for most of my hop ups. twin front shocks, ballraced, adjustable top suspension arms are the ones I can think off. I also put a second additional bumper as we kept crashing and still have a decent nr of spare suspension parts and drive shafts

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Thunder Dragon Wide V6

Spare few hours this afternoon so got the CAD fired up and got this carbon chassis idea I have had knocking around in my head out onto the screen. Took a lot of trial and error with DF03 and M05 steering options before finally looking like a modified Top Force system should work. It really is right under that front gearbox! 

With that in place I managed to get a basic kit layout with with everything fitting, even my massive old 27mhz receivers.

Bottom plate will attach via brackets to the cross chassis screws which hold the gearbox halves together, plus some blocks on the lower rear gearbox mounting. Slender side plates in place of a top deck because of the vertical gearbox fixing faces, but didn't want to do full depth plates like the Hot Shots I have seen as these will be super stiff and wouldn't save much weight. Using the side plates to roughly locate the battery. Should take everything from hard case Lipo, shorty to 8.4v hump pack nimh. 18mm longer wheelbase should allow the use of an aluminium TA02 prop shaft in Hot Shot ReRe outdrives. No idea where or how I am going to do an undertray to stop dirt getting in, but it has been fun getting this far.

What do you think?

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That is f###ing brilliant !!!! If ever you manage to make this make 10 ! I ll buy one for sure. Would an original avante undertray work after a bit of cutting ?

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