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Radio Shack Black Phantom 2

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My colleague knows im into RC and says he was clearing out his garage and found this so I can have it if I wanted, its a non runner but should be fun to turn around.

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Decent model, manufactured by Nikko (for Radio Shack) during the latter years of Nikko's heyday when it was mostly made in Japan/Singapore. I suspect it's similar underneath to the Nikko Scorpion...

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Nikko was dissolved and liquidated in 2009.

The brand name was later bought by "Toy State". They still mention Nikko history on their website, but the design philosophy today seems to be "X-Treme baby toys made in China" and nothing like what Nikko used to make - in looks or quality.

R/C industry sure went in a strange direction. Hobby-grade went RTR and became the new Toy-grade. While Toy-grade became Garbage-grade.

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OK just got it in my hands! 

Its pretty grubby rusty and old and has 9.6v battery, I think I intend to upgrade electronics to hobby grade.

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Looks a nice little project. A thorough clean will have it looking almost new.  Probably needs some better steering linkages, but easy enough :D

 Three thin wires to the motor ?

 

 I only had one Nikko, a Subaru Imprezza WRC bought for £1 at a car boot - I had plenty of controllers so just dropped a matching RX crystal into the all in one ESC/receiver and it was good to go (was actually a decent drive too)

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Not sure about the 3 thin wires?

The electronics look OK actually, gonna get a new battery as this one looks shagged. So I can test it

Will need some new connectors as well got some spare deans so will solder them on 

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The third wire is just a ground wire for extra electronic noise supression I believe.

It's fairy easy to fit a hobby grade servo, the stock one is a similar shape and size to a hobby one.

This is the later chassis that has a 360 or 380 motor instead of a 540 but it's MUCH lighter so still goes quite well for what it is. The gearbox is usually dual ratio but for some reason they usually lock these models in the slow gear and don't fit a selector. I used the selector from another model to make mine 2 speed which gave it a handy speed boost.

The stock motor is quite a high turn count because it runs at 9.6v. This is worth bearing in mind if you intend to upgrade the motor because if you use a motor intended for 7.4v it can overheat quite dramatically. It seemed to run well with a wltoys 390 motor at 9.6v though. Only problem is you get to a point where even the best 9.6v packs will be current limiting the system. I got a little more head room by making a pack out of Eneloops which are one of the best AA cells on the market but you're still talking 10 amps at a stretch.

I ended up putting a 2445 brushless motor in there, it's the diameter of a 280 but the length of a 390. It runs way cooler than any brushed motor I've had in there. I would have used a brushless 380 or larger but they have 3.17mm shafts instead of the 2.3mm you get on a brushed 380 and nobody seems to make a pinion of the necessary spec for 3.17mm shafts.

You can replace the plastic bushings on the outer gearbox case/axle with 8x12x3.5mm flanged bearings. This immediately fixes the area of the truck most affected by wear. 

I always assumed this chassis was a poor relation to the earlier 540 motor version which is pretty much a beefed up F10 buggy but once I got one my opinion changed, it's lighter and seems to handle a little better and is more resilient to tipping over. The rear mono shock helps to give a little articulation under throttle which solid axle vehicles are notoriously bad at (think grasshopper, lunchbox etc)

 

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2 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

The third wire is just a ground wire for extra electronic noise supression I believe.

It's fairy easy to fit a hobby grade servo, the stock one is a similar shape and size to a hobby one.

This is the later chassis that has a 360 or 380 motor instead of a 540 but it's MUCH lighter so still goes quite well for what it is. The gearbox is usually dual ratio but for some reason they usually lock these models in the slow gear and don't fit a selector. I used the selector from another model to make mine 2 speed which gave it a handy speed boost.

The stock motor is quite a high turn count because it runs at 9.6v. This is worth bearing in mind if you intend to upgrade the motor because if you use a motor intended for 7.4v it can overheat quite dramatically. It seemed to run well with a wltoys 390 motor at 9.6v though. Only problem is you get to a point where even the best 9.6v packs will be current limiting the system. I got a little more head room by making a pack out of Eneloops which are one of the best AA cells on the market but you're still talking 10 amps at a stretch.

I ended up putting a 2445 brushless motor in there, it's the diameter of a 280 but the length of a 390. It runs way cooler than any brushed motor I've had in there. I would have used a brushless 380 or larger but they have 3.17mm shafts instead of the 2.3mm you get on a brushed 380 and nobody seems to make a pinion of the necessary spec for 3.17mm shafts.

You can replace the plastic bushings on the outer gearbox case/axle with 8x12x3.5mm flanged bearings. This immediately fixes the area of the truck most affected by wear. 

I always assumed this chassis was a poor relation to the earlier 540 motor version which is pretty much a beefed up F10 buggy but once I got one my opinion changed, it's lighter and seems to handle a little better and is more resilient to tipping over. The rear mono shock helps to give a little articulation under throttle which solid axle vehicles are notoriously bad at (think grasshopper, lunchbox etc)

 

Thanks for all the info, I intend to get it running and clean it up. Then my daughter can have it. I toyed with the idea of upgrading all electrics but its just not worth it 

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Just now, novicelad said:

Thanks for all the info, I intend to get it running and clean it up. Then my daughter can have it. I toyed with the idea of upgrading all electrics but its just not worth it 

It's absolutely fine for that as is, not fast but enough torque to spin the wheels on dirt and go over some mild terrain and already proportional. All I'd recommend is one of these if you don't have a decent 9.6v pack already:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/9-6V-2500mAh-RECHARGEABLE-Ni-MH-AA-FLAT-RC-BATTERY-PACK-TAMIYA-CAR-TRUCK-BOAT/221261384940?hash=item338434ccec:g:4mAAAOSwpDdU-ZMy

Good capacity, better current ability than the standard pack and it's low self discharge too.
 

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On 12/12/2017 at 6:31 PM, Hibernaculum said:

 

Nikko was dissolved and liquidated in 2009.

The brand name was later bought by "Toy State". They still mention Nikko history on their website, but the design philosophy today seems to be "X-Treme baby toys made in China" and nothing like what Nikko used to make - in looks or quality.

R/C industry sure went in a strange direction. Hobby-grade went RTR and became the new Toy-grade. While Toy-grade became Garbage-grade.

You know, I always wondered what happened to my beloved Nikko. Looking at the current offerings under ther Nikko brand name left me wondering just what the heck happened. That last statement is so true. Odd times, this future is...

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So last night I managed to fudge the connections to the battery and put some AA's in the remote, the remote is quite badly affected by battery acid and seems to be a bit ropey but got it working.

So next step is strip the thing I know I will have to replace the wires for the battery and connector the wires are so brittle they flake in my hand! 

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11 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

It's absolutely fine for that as is, not fast but enough torque to spin the wheels on dirt and go over some mild terrain and already proportional. All I'd recommend is one of these if you don't have a decent 9.6v pack already:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/9-6V-2500mAh-RECHARGEABLE-Ni-MH-AA-FLAT-RC-BATTERY-PACK-TAMIYA-CAR-TRUCK-BOAT/221261384940?hash=item338434ccec:g:4mAAAOSwpDdU-ZMy

Good capacity, better current ability than the standard pack and it's low self discharge too.
 

Found your thread on RC groups 

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?2763693-Nikko-Scorpion-III/page3

did you have to change the electronics or did you keep them standard? 

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8 hours ago, novicelad said:

Found your thread on RC groups 

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?2763693-Nikko-Scorpion-III/page3

did you have to change the electronics or did you keep them standard? 

I changed the electronics on my Scorpion III yes. Servo is quite easy to fit then you can just rest it like you would a Tamiya in terms of electronics. 

They drive quite nice with the stock electronics too though if that's what you want. Miles away from most of the crap in the toy aisle today!

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Basically you have to knock the metal axle pin out. It's held in place by two push on collars. Put the truck on its side with the rear wheel as flat as possible on a firm surface and then on the wheel facing up you will see the axle inside the sleeve. Hold a punch or similar tool onto the axle and hit it with a hammer, a few knocks should do the trick. It feels scary but I've done it at least 20 times on various vehicles with no breakages. It's worth it to get a pair of bearings on the back there, the internal gears will last a looooong time with good grease so not having bearings in there is trivial but the bushings on the outer gearbox are a much bigger problem because whether you lube them or not, dirt will get in there and they will wear out and wear out the plastic axle parts too. Putting bearings there eliminates the wear completely and prevents dirt getting further inside the gearbox.

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1 hour ago, nowinaminute said:

Basically you have to knock the metal axle pin out. It's held in place by two push on collars. Put the truck on its side with the rear wheel as flat as possible on a firm surface and then on the wheel facing up you will see the axle inside the sleeve. Hold a punch or similar tool onto the axle and hit it with a hammer, a few knocks should do the trick. It feels scary but I've done it at least 20 times on various vehicles with no breakages. It's worth it to get a pair of bearings on the back there, the internal gears will last a looooong time with good grease so not having bearings in there is trivial but the bushings on the outer gearbox are a much bigger problem because whether you lube them or not, dirt will get in there and they will wear out and wear out the plastic axle parts too. Putting bearings there eliminates the wear completely and prevents dirt getting further inside the gearbox.

Great thanks for the info will try later

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On 12/14/2017 at 1:53 AM, Saito2 said:

You know, I always wondered what happened to my beloved Nikko. Looking at the current offerings under ther Nikko brand name left me wondering just what the heck happened. That last statement is so true. Odd times, this future is...

I think the market shrunk massively for starters, when RC was at it's peak you could charge quite a lot for a toy grade so manufacturers were competing on specs and quality etc to the extent that some of Nikkos top end stuff was essentially built to hobby grade standards but even the lower end stuff was put together better and the materials were better. And although some people would prefer to ignore it, the fact is that Nikko, Taiyo and Radio Shack DID have good spares parts availability. A lot of Nikko stuff had exploded views and parts lists and some even had upgrades such as bearings etc.

Fast forward to the millennium and suddenly the market is just a small trickle compared to the old days and everything is built to be cheap and disposable. Spares are non existent, materials shatter like glass, suspension is rock hard if it exists at all, tyres are rock hard etc etc. Nikko braved on heroically still knocking out some quality products but they just weren't making profits ike the old days and eventually the losses started. Not helped by an unfortunate recall incident in 2005 that saw over 280,000 trucks recalled in the USA alone, only god knows how many worldwide!

They eventually folded and were later acquired by Toystate who sell a combination of original Nikko designs and new Chinese designs. The old designs are pretty good. The new stuff has one or two gems but mostly cheap and basic crap unfortunately. The Taiyo name has also recently resurfaced but only to be plastered on generic Chinese junk.

The company that weathered the storm best? New Bright. Because they had the business model of selling mostly cheap crap down to an art already by the early 90s!

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Completely agree.

And you're right, the "Taiyo" brand has resurfaced too... I recently spotted the brand name on a small Chinese toy in a store. Pathetic <_< Taiyo (the original Japanese company) were bought out by Sega in the late 2000s, and then promptly liquidated. After a history of some 40-50 years. And yes, it's all due to the downturn in the R/C hobby, coupled with rise of cheapest-possible mass-manufacture in China - which has destroyed the quality of the "toy grade" segment, which was originally excellent. And indeed had spare parts support in many cases.

On 12/17/2017 at 9:03 AM, nowinaminute said:

Fast forward to the millennium and suddenly the market is just a small trickle compared to the old days and everything is built to be cheap and disposable. Spares are non existent, materials shatter like glass, suspension is rock hard if it exists at all, tyres are rock hard etc etc. Nikko braved on heroically still knocking out some quality products but they just weren't making profits ike the old days and eventually the losses started. Not helped by an unfortunate recall incident in 2005 that saw over 280,000 trucks recalled in the USA alone, only god knows how many worldwide!

That recall would have occurred after all Nikkos were made in China, I bet - i.e. was it lead paint, exploding batteries, or some other issue? :)

On 12/17/2017 at 9:03 AM, nowinaminute said:

The company that weathered the storm best? New Bright. Because they had the business model of selling mostly cheap crap down to an art already by the early 90s!

In the early 1990s, some (and I emphasize *some*) New Bright models actually looked nice. They were cheap underneath, but on the surface there were a handful of realistic, nice looking models. But I think they've been Chinese from the get-go, so were essentially sub-standard the whole time (compared to the Japanese brands) as you say.

Carrera is another one, and probably the only RTR toy-grade style manufacturer these days with any semblance of quality left. At least, that was true as of 5 years ago. They originally manufactured their cars in Germany (1980s and earlier), but it's all China now of course. But a couple of their 2010-era cars at least had proper suspension arms, and actual rubber tyres!

When people ask me these "What R/C model can I buy today which is like the quality of the toy store models in the 1980s?", I usually tell them to buy a low-end XB model from Tamiya. These are essentially the equivalent today, of what Nikko was doing in their heyday of the mid-late 1980s, with maybe one more benefit (sealed circuitry).

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9 hours ago, Hibernaculum said:

Completely agree.

And you're right, the "Taiyo" brand has resurfaced too... I recently spotted the brand name on a small Chinese toy in a store. Pathetic <_< Taiyo (the original Japanese company) were bought out by Sega in the late 2000s, and then promptly liquidated. After a history of some 40-50 years. And yes, it's all due to the downturn in the R/C hobby, coupled with rise of cheapest-possible mass-manufacture in China - which has destroyed the quality of the "toy grade" segment, which was originally excellent. And indeed had spare parts support in many cases.

That recall would have occurred after all Nikkos were made in China, I bet - i.e. was it lead paint, exploding batteries, or some other issue? :)

In the early 1990s, some (and I emphasize *some*) New Bright models actually looked nice. They were cheap underneath, but on the surface there were a handful of realistic, nice looking models. But I think they've been Chinese from the get-go, so were essentially sub-standard the whole time (compared to the Japanese brands) as you say.

Carrera is another one, and probably the only RTR toy-grade style manufacturer these days with any semblance of quality left. At least, that was true as of 5 years ago. They originally manufactured their cars in Germany (1980s and earlier), but it's all China now of course. But a couple of their 2010-era cars at least had proper suspension arms, and actual rubber tyres!

When people ask me these "What R/C model can I buy today which is like the quality of the toy store models in the 1980s?", I usually tell them to buy a low-end XB model from Tamiya. These are essentially the equivalent today, of what Nikko was doing in their heyday of the mid-late 1980s, with maybe one more benefit (sealed circuitry).

There's one or two half decent Nikko models still, similar to the decent carrera ones. Most of the decent stuff is just left over Nikko designs but there's one or two decent new designs, I picked up an "Elite trucks" Peugeot 3008 a while ago and was pleasantly surprised. It has proportional control, soft rubber tyres, a 380 motor, 3s lifepo4 battery, double wishbones up front and metal steering knuckles etc.

A lot of the lower end stuff is just terrible though, not worth bothering with at all.

The quality of stuff from China is so variable. Digitcon stuff was always decent but they were more of the exception to the rule. 

It's weird today because you can buy very decent semi hobby grade stuff direct from China for less than you pay for terrible stuff on UK toy store shelves that's also made in China. Makes me wonder why we can't have decent Chinese stuff for sale instead of New Bright etc. 

I got an FY03 for £35 not so long ago, even if that was on a UK shelf for £60 it would be so much better than a £60 New Bright it's not even funny.

Maisto make some nice crawlers but the rest of their stuff is very hit or miss.

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Yeah, good comments. I think Digitcon was decent because it originally wasn't made in China... they started as "Radcon" in the 1980s, and their best achievement was the Radcon Wild Fox - better known as the Radio Shack Red Arrow. By the early 1990s their cars were being made in China, but were somehow still quite rugged and decent for what they were.

Agree also about the weird disparity between the quality of the toy store junk, and the semi-hobby grade stuff at hobby stores (which isn't terrible).

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On 12/18/2017 at 10:58 PM, Hibernaculum said:

Yeah, good comments. I think Digitcon was decent because it originally wasn't made in China... they started as "Radcon" in the 1980s, and their best achievement was the Radcon Wild Fox - better known as the Radio Shack Red Arrow. By the early 1990s their cars were being made in China, but were somehow still quite rugged and decent for what they were.

Agree also about the weird disparity between the quality of the toy store junk, and the semi-hobby grade stuff at hobby stores (which isn't terrible).

There's actually an RC job lot on ebay at the moment that contains a Wild Fox AND a Red Arrow, what are the chances of that?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Rare-Vintage-Tandy-Radio-Shack-Nikko-Radio-Control-Car-Buggy-Boxed-X-7-Job-Lot/263419797578?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

Knowing Radcon/Digitcon used to borrow quite heavily from other designs (even their star logo!) I have to think that the Wild Fox owes a little something to the Yonezawa Land Dash/Missiler also sold as the hobby grade Monogram Lightning. The gearbox and rear axle looks very similar externally and the Land Dash even has a similar 2 button body release. I guess it depends which came first of the two, as far as I can work out the Yonezawa was '84 and the Radcon '85? You probably know better than me!

I have a Red Arrow and the later Thunder Fox with the different body style. Both are truly excellent cars in terms of build quality. I love the Golden Arrow but the Red Arrow was a real bargain by comparison and I like the idea of all those kids who might have had to settle for the cheaper option but were rewarded with the same kind of power!

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So after much thought I have decided not to fully restore or spend anything on this other than buying a suitable battery, just make it work and give it to my 4 year old daughter.

I soldered on a new battery connector ( first time soldering) and new aerial. Gave it a spit and polish, put all back together but without the humongous bumpers. All works ok tested with 7.2 volt battery and a 3s lipo, have ordered 9.6v jobby. 

Job jobbed

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Little photo of all set ready to go, my daughter loves it. Run on 7.2 nimh still goes well, just quick enough rps20180114_102635.thumb.jpg.36cecd8f13fee081fd115763bbe2e298.jpg

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On 14/01/2018 at 10:06 PM, novicelad said:

Little photo of all set ready to go, my daughter loves it. Run on 7.2 nimh still goes well, just quick enough rps20180114_102635.thumb.jpg.36cecd8f13fee081fd115763bbe2e298.jpg

Missed this for some reason but good job pal! Nice to see it get a new lease of life!

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13 minutes ago, nowinaminute said:

Missed this for some reason but good job pal! Nice to see it get a new lease of life!

Got a proper 9.2v battery for it now and its pretty quick

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