DrewZ

Budget Brat Basher

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'Basher' is a relatively new word in my vocabulary, one which I learned here at tamiyaclub.com, and now I need one. So I've 'won' an original Subaru Brat rolling chassis on ebay, shipped for a total of $60. I thought it was a fair price, although it showed up with a broken front body mount due to inadequate packaging. I believed an off-road RC car would make it through the US mail without getting broken, but wound up slightly disappointed. On the other hand it has bearings throughout which is a nice bonus. I was actually looking forward to the locked differential of the early Brat, but this one has a differential in it. Anyway the Brat was one of those cars I drooled over in the Tamiya catalog as a kid and I'm pretty excited to finally have my first ORV (man was I disappointed the fist time I saw a real Subaru Brat with it's tiny tires)! Not shown is a lexan Tamiya Brat body with decals, also from ebay.

 

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1 hour ago, DrewZ said:

man was I disappointed the fist time I saw a real Subaru Brat with it's tiny tires)!

Something tells me you're going to like these Subaru Brat pictures :D

https://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=92934&id=23692

And orig brochure:

https://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=106153&id=23692

Will be nice to see your truck in action ;)

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@mongoose1983 Oh yeah, thanks, that is how a Brat should look!

OK, this steering linkage part (circled in red) caught me by surprise. I've never seen one of those before. Was that an early ORV thing? I have some Frog parts (gift from a friend ages ago) and I think I like that servo mount (circled in green) better. Mainly because I don't think I have all the parts for that weird Brat piece. 

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That piece circled in red is the original part of the Subaru Brat's steering setup. I was curious looking at the first picture, because I can see the original 380RS motor there, but I can't clearly see there the alu bracket that fixed the motor on the gearbox. Also, the white cups on the gearbox and the vintage rear shocks tell me this might have started its life as a Frog which is a later model, and sported a differential, not like the original Subaru Brat. What else? The rear bodymounts are from the re-re Brat, and most intriguing is the brown MSC and resistor cage. The original Subaru Brat had a black MSC and the resistor was double, not single.

If you have a look at the original Subaru Brat manual you might be able to confirm a thing or two. Other than that, what you have there is a fine chassis to use. The Subaru Brat is beautiful AND has lots of character as a racer :)

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Thanks for the comments. So it would appear that I've got a mash up of Frog and Brat here. That pile of parts with the MSC and resistor is left over from a Stadium Blitzer, but they will probably find their way into this budget build. Mash up indeed. What should I call it? Fr-at-zer? Those re-re body mounts came with the lexan body and I had just installed them before I decided to take everything else apart!

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Going back together nicely with the Frog servo mount and Blitzer speed control. The resistor needed some spacers to fit but i think it will work. The steering servo scavenged from my junk box is so old I had to cut the old connector off and replace it with the typical J style. Looking forward to getting a body on this thing.

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Here's the new lexan Tamiya body nearly ready for paint. It came from nitro-master on ebay for a total of $27 and that includes the decal sheet and special rear body mounts. The Tamiya lexan seems thinner than the Proline and Parmabodies I've worked with, but it's easy to trim and doesn't weigh as much.I have to say though, it doesn't look as cool as the real deal hard plastic shell. But this is a budget basher!

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I once had one like yours. It was super fun when hitting the road! I'm very curious if your gearbox is a Frog one with a 380RS motor installed or actually the original Brat one with no differential? Any more pictures of the gearbox? By the way, I happen to LOVE the vintage Futaba radio gear. Nice 148's there :wub:

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Hi @mongoose1983 - I was hoping for the 'locked' Brat gearbox with no differential, but what I have here looks like the typical Frog differential. As you can see, I have had some old spare Frog parts stashed away for about 20 years, so I was comparing gears to see which were in the best condition. Everything looks ok, but I have a feeling some improvements will be required. Thinking about doing the "OldFrogShot Screw Mod" described here if necessary.

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I was feeling pretty underwhelmed about this body until I got some decals on it. Now I'm pretty stoked! The Tamiya decals make all the difference. The color is PS-2 red because that's what I had left over from my Falcon. And I ended up spraying the PS-5 black bumpers from the outside by using the protective film as masking tape. The weak link drive train still needs some attention and then it's time to beat on the Brat :-)

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I can appreciate the strength and smooth operation of a shiny new MIP dif but alas, the $60 price tag would put this Brat Basher over budget. The 'screw mod' appeals to me because it's a simple solution to an age old problem.

Here's the M2.5 tap in action. I got it from Hobby Etc on Amazon for $8: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006O4H18 

If you've ever tapped threads before, you know it's important to cut only a few threads at a time, and reverse frequently to allow the chips to escape.

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Then the other side gets drilled out to 2.5mm so the screw will slide through it easily.

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As you can see, these are re-release Frog drive shaft parts. I had friends with Blackfoots back in the day and those hex shaped drive shafts were always trouble!

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I set it fairly tight. At this point you can feel the bevel gears working which makes one appreciate the smoothness that a ball dif would provide. Nevertheless, no more slipping gears!

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Cost to date...

  1. Chassis (ebay Brat/Frog mashup): $60
  2. Front Body Mount: $6
  3. Lexan Body and Decals: $27
  4. Drive Shafts, Axles and 540 Silver Can: $31.50

Not included are tools and things I already had such as...

  1. Paint
  2. MSC
  3. Radio & servos

I was hoping to put this together for under $100 and ended up spending about $125. That's not too bad when the current price in the USA is $225. However, I think the re-release is still worth it, with the better looking hard plastic body and an electronic speed control included.

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Highlights from the Brat's first run...

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I love the way this thing steers! It feels quick and tight compared to the under-steering Falcon. My only complaint is that the rear shocks are way too stiff. One of the 35 year old rear suspension arms cracked under the impact forces. After replacing the broken trailing arm I think it will need some yellow plastic Tamiya shocks (the cheapest decent shock I know of) and it will be good to go.

 

 

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Upgraded the rear suspension with some yellow Tamiya CVA units. I do realize they appear to be installed 'backwards' but they fit in this orientation without any extra brackets. Functionally, they get the job done!

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Looking good! I have always been fond of the ORV chassis, and I still wish they would bring back the Lancia variant. And you're right; a Tamiya Brat makes a "real" Brat look kind of disappointing...

Nice job on the diff mod. In the future, for the next one you build (because there will be a next one; there always is), you can also use a length of 2mm threaded rod and a pair of 2mm locknuts. This gives you a little bit of adjustment, without drilling/tapping or worrying about thread-lock. I did this to my resto-mod Blackfoot and it's still going strong after 7 years. (Good grief, has it been that long?)

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1 hour ago, markbt73 said:

and I still wish they would bring back the Lancia variant.

Yes, that was another one from the catalog that I used to dream about!

1 hour ago, markbt73 said:

(because there will be a next one; there always is), you can also use a length of 2mm threaded rod and a pair of 2mm locknuts.

I will definitely keep that in mind... Indeed, the box of spare parts is growing and my 7 year old has already called dibs on whatever might be built from it :-)

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Swapped out the old radio gear and manual speed control for a dirt cheap Tactic radio ($39 new) and vintage Futaba MC112B ESC (still have it from years ago).

Front suspension would probably be the next upgrade. Would any of you have suggestions for a cheap solution there? I do have 2 more new yellow CVAs if that would be a possibility.

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If the body was taller (like Monster Beetle or Blackfoot), you can use the front tower to mount regular shocks.  But there isn't a lot of room for that for Brat.  

The instruction for Re-released Brat (I keep typing Bart!) would tell you to use sticky anti-wear grease.  If you don't have it, plumber's faucet grease can be found in most hardware stores.  It's sticky, so it can dampen the spring.  ORV's front is light, so that could be enough.  

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There are also aftermarket shock towers out there like this...

https://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/aluminum-front-shock-tower-for-TAMIYA-1-10-Frog-Subaru-Brat/131259793979?hash=item1e8fb1823b:g:fQYAAOSwIgNXvBED

You can probably find 3D printed versions and I think CRP did some plastic ones too. 

Something like this - 

https://www.shapeways.com/product/YWR379GS8/tamiya-frog-brat-shock-towers-deluxe?optionId=62883052&li=marketplace

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Thanks guys!

39 minutes ago, Juggular said:

The instruction for Re-released Brat (I keep typing Bart!) would tell you to use sticky anti-wear grease.

That's an interesting note about the grease. I'm finding that when I drive in dust and mud the whole thing needs to be re-greased anyway. I use what I have, automotive grease, so Bart is smelling very manly at this point. Ready for some self-contained oil filled shocks though.

34 minutes ago, Badcrumble said:

There are also aftermarket shock towers out there like this...

https://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/aluminum-front-shock-tower-for-TAMIYA-1-10-Frog-Subaru-Brat/131259793979?hash=item1e8fb1823b:g:fQYAAOSwIgNXvBED

You can probably find 3D printed versions and I think CRP did some plastic ones too. 

Something like this - 

https://www.shapeways.com/product/YWR379GS8/tamiya-frog-brat-shock-towers-deluxe?optionId=62883052&li=marketplace

Either one of these would probably be great for me, just need to choose one. The aluminum parts look trick and are stronger perhaps, but I'm not crazy about waiting for something to ship from Taiwan. Nice that the hardware is included though. The price is right on the 3D printed versions.

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The 3D printed ones may or may not stand up to heavy abuse - the material isn’t the same as standard kit from Tamiya, however, isn’t tinkering and fixing part of the charm?!

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Get the aluminum ones.  I tried some DIY plastic ones (not the same as your link) on my Frog and they snapped on the first roll-over...  Once you deal with getting a second set of plastic, you've paid for the aluminum...

The CVA 50519s fit it (and the brat/frog) perfectly at the front.

Terry

 

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You can use a 5/32" bit to enlarge the extra small holes on part MP-3.  Then use a needle file to enlarge it more to fit a 4mm screw.  Then you can mount to that hole using typical metric hardware.

I enlarged both holes on both sides of both MP-3s.  I then inserted one of those 4mm brass tube things that goes inside the tranny case and then ran a 3mm bolt through that.

https://jpegbay.com/gallery/006673156-.html#2

You should look for CRP #9127 to get the little spacers you'll need to mount the CVAs...

Terry

 

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