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ebaYJeep - aka. "Daydream B'leafer"

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OK, here we go again... another winter project to keep me busy!

If you've followed my content/build-threads on here in recent years, you'll know that increasingly I've moved away from traditional Tamiya kit based builds, and more into the realm of scale and scratch-built projects - albeit hopefully with a nod at least [and degree of parts] from the Tamiya stable.

I've also really got into driving crawlers - my own ongoing project, a 4-wheel-steer narrowed Hilux truggy: "Desmond the 2.2" (build thread in the Monster-trucks and Crawlers section), and the Land Rover Defender 90 I built for Lisa: "OK TC" (thread here in The Builds section) - so for this latest 4WD project, I thought I'd mix things up again and build a classic Jeep Wranger (using the excellent Tamiya YJ hardbody shell of course), but on a proper scale leaf-sprung chassis - hence the AKA title of this thread.

Rather than build a monster off-roader that is geared towards off-road and crawling performance (like Desmond and the TC), I imagine using leaf springs is naturally going to limit the outright crawling ability of this new rig - although I'll still do what I can to give it the best performance possible of course...

So instead I plan to go super scale with this one - detail much as I did with the Defender build (weathering, scale accessories and other typical 1:1 touches), and fundamentally, try to get the underpinnings accurate, and hide all traces of the RC gear that actually motivates this beast.

It will be an ongoing project - details added as and when I get inspiration (whether we'll see another animated drive for example, I'm not quite sure yet), but I'll start this thread off with a look at the fundamentals below...


photo. That's quite the stash of parts already Ozzy, what are we going to do with them?


Part 1: Chassis

As with my previous crawler builds, I decided to utilise a Trailfinder/Gelande style ladder chassis kit - the kind you find on ebay for less than £30 typically - and which can be adapted to mount either multi-link radius arms, or traditional leaf springs.


photo. Scale 'Yota' style axles - very nicely made I have to say, although do check the bolts that hold on the diff-covers, and apply thread-lock.



photo. The axles came with 4-link brackets attached, they are simple to remove if you want to fit leaf springs instead...



photo. ...which is exactly what I did!

note. the cast blocks on the axle case line up directly with the chassis rails above when using leaf-springs. It's also worth noting that the springs come with 4 separate leaves as standard, and seem very stiff. I removed the 2nd shortest leaf (which seemed to have the most arch to it) and reassembled them - although it may be that ultimately I only run two leaves for maximum articulation.



photo. the hardware with the chassis kit allows you to mount the leaf-springs and shackles with the suppled bolts.

note. these are not the genuine RC4WD springs and hardware (but the Chinese ebay version) - and the shackles themselves are actually much longer than the pukka RC4WD Trailfinder ones, plus the bolts that mount the springs to the shackles are regular M3 screws, and not stepped/shanked, so there is quite a lot of play in there... Whether they've done that as simply a cost-cutting measure or specifically a benefit to articulation I'll have to see - but I've gone ahead and ordered the pukka shackle and hardware kit from RC4WD now too.



photo. Ozzy likes how things are coming together so far... although he too is concerned about how much lift the chassis has on those extra-long spring shackles.



photo. the axles in place - using leaf-springs and their natural mounting location/s on the chassis is very much going to dictate/fix the wheelbase of this build.


I was aware that in using the regular 'Tralifinder' length chassis would mean the wheelbase would be too long for the Tamiya YJ Wranger shell... currently as it stands the axle to axle length is around 265mm - so approximately 25mm/an inch (so nearly a foot in 1:1 scale) longer than the current* wheel-arches on the body.

*I say current, because if you saw my Rat-Brat build, then you probably know what I'm going to do already... ;o)

Rather than shorten the chassis or wheelbase, my plan is to simply extend the rear of the bodywork to fit the existing rails and wheelbase... in that regard the hard-top would also need to be stretched, although to keep things simple (and arguable more scale), I'm actually going to remove the hard-top anyway and make this an open pick-up style vehicle - maximising the opportunity for a scale interior, and not least as a homage to the Wild Willy too of course!


Stay tuned!

Jenny x



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Nice to see another project going i knew your going to get something while your away.. :D

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Before we crack-on with the body mods, shall we take a look at what else arrived in the post?



photo. You've already met Ozzy of course - he's going to the be the driver in this build, and as with Jack in the Defender, he's going to need some surgery to fit in the seat I'm sure - although I'm going to try and keep his legs and feet (rather than use Wild Willy parts) in this instance.

It's interesting that when I bought this (new in packet still), the batteries still worked in the sound base - and I thought he was saying "Not sure where we are?!" in the slightly Steven Hawking style Birmingham accent... which I thought would be perfect to incorporate into the truck and trigger from a third channel on the receiver! However, on closer listening, apparently he's saying "That's the way we are... [we're the Osbournes]" so it's not quite so appropriate, but I might still do it anyway ;o)




photo. As mentioned above, these are the seats I'll be using for Ozzy to sit in - from Axial Racing (for their Wraith typically). There are copies available on ebay, but I like the quality of the genuine Axial version since they are good enough that they don't need painting for example, and what I used in my SRB Cage Racer build too of course.



photo. It might not seem important, but these details matter [on a scale build] - a fuel filler recess from Don Jarr (Don's Place on ebay in the UK) and scale filler caps. I bought this set because I also want a couple of filler caps for Desmond, so it was a great way to get everything I needed for both builds.



photo. Similarly, I had to splurge out on these tiny scale metal badges for detailing the body.




photo. engine and transmission - having realised these [5:1 ratio] planetary gearboxes turn far too slowly for a 70T motor (I subsequently fitted a 35T in Lisa's D90 for example), I've taken a punt on this more traditional [25T] Tamiya motor 'tuned' for torque, ahem. This is because I plan to use this truck as more a general trail-runner than outright crawler, and feel the additional speed will be useful.

The transmission is basically the same as I fitted to Lisa's D90 - a planetary gearbox that locates the motor in the engine bay, and a second intermediate 'transfer box' in the centre of the chassis to divide the drive front and rear.



While this is not exactly going to be a budget build (far from it I fear), at the same time, I want to try and save money (or at least be prudent) where I can, and having had to buy some replacement drive shafts for the D90 recently (those axles are the original Mad Gear budget crawler ones), realised that you can also buy their [crawler specific] ESC for little more than $10 - nice! I also bought the pistol style transmitter from them (another $10!) although unfortunately there was no corresponding receiver available.


photo. Mad Gear ESC - works very well at slow speed and has a drag brake circuit. Needs a Tamiya style battery plug of course, which fortunately I already had in stock.



photo. continuing the budget theme - this is actually the original 9Kg servo from Lisa's Mad Gear/D90, before I swapped it for a stronger 20Kg version.



photo. Flysky 24Ghz receiver complete with bind plug - should sync with the Transmitter as they are the same as I use on my other models.

Finally for the electrics, I also intend to incorporate front and rear working lights on this build (I already have plenty of Axial LED parts and wiring in my stash), plus will endeavour to use a regular six-cell stick pack battery - most likely located under the seat box.

Oh, and I really want put a working winch on this one too - the Jeep body/chassis is perfect for mounting a Warn directly in front of the radiator grille!


Wheels and tyres

Where would a scale build be without the classic Weller white 8-spokes eh?


photo. You'll note these are the 5 lug pattern, as it befitting a Jeep.

You may recall I bought a set of these for the SRB Cage Racer build originally, only to find [the six bolt version] didn't actually line up with the SLW hubs I required to mount them to the SRB stub axles. These wheels are the pukka RC4WD ones again, and I have to say they are lovely quality and very realistic looking - especially once the tyres have been fitted.

The tyres I've bought (for now at least) were a cheap set from ebay (UK seller), and are 110mm in diameter, and about 35mm wide - so nice and narrow with a scale looking tread (and no nasty non-scale 'translated' side-wall lettering). Ultimately I'm tempted to go for some true scale BF Goodrich or Goodyear tyres from RC4WD or Proline for example (and paint in the raised white lettering too of course!), but those cost at least $25-30 a pair, and I got all four of these for twelve quid!

The compound is quite soft which is nice, although the foams could be a bit more squishy perhaps - again, I'll have to see how they sit once the full weight of the vehicle is on them, and after they've been run for a while.

It's worth noting that the 5-lug version of these wheels have a pin-drive hub (and not a 12mm hex) as standard - so while they are a direct fit to the axles, there is no way to alter the track-width easily. While currently they seem to work well enough on these [quite narrow] axles with the intended body and offer enough steering angle without hitting the chassis rails, ultimately I've now ordered a set of 12mm hex hubs (complete with built-in disc rotors and scale hex wheel nuts), so that I might fine-tune the track width as required. It seems that while I started out bargain-hunting for 'pattern' parts on ebay, RC4WD are going to get a sizeable chunk of my money after all for this build!

note. I've also ordered a pair of genuine RC4WD Gelande II front shock towers as you'll see why in a subsequent post, plus will be using their super-scale Old Man Emu shocks once I've got the basic axle/chassis geometry dialled in.




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:D looking forward to this one

Currently collecting parts for a very similar build so I will watch and learn (read steal) from you. 

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So to get you up to speed, once the axles were fitted, the wheels could be bolted on, and I had effectively a rolling chassis already:



The next thing was to see how well (or not) the body was going to line up:


photo. this would be pretty much where the axle and standard size wheel should be in the front arch.



photo. correspondingly at the rear, the wheelbase disparity is obvious already.

Now it's common for a build [either 1:1 or scale] using significantly oversize tyres, for the body and/or axle to be shunted back or forth a little, particularly at the front to ensure there is enough room for the front wheels to articulate on full lock for example - and fortunately the Jeep body is ideal for this since it has very little bodywork forward of the front wing tops.

Certainly my plan is to have the body mounted far enough back so that a winch can be bolted directly to the protruding chassis plate at the front, with no need for any additional overhang, and then simply extend the rear of the bodywork so that the rear arch is now central over the rear axle - which will be simple enough to do with some styrene work.


photo. the stock Tamiya body on the rolling chassis - note it sits far too high with the moulded bumpers in place - there will be some chopping required there too.



photo. Ozzy reveals his plan - remove the hard-top section and create an open pick-up style rear end (full of junk, and probably a spare wheel too), and chop a good proportion of the front arches away too - to give maximum clearance for what are 1:1 scale 42" tyres!



This mock-up also suggests cutting the doors down to half-height (but in this instance, preserve the quarter-light window frame sections too), and of course those nasty bulbous side step panels will have to go - hence the sheets of scale checker-plate I bought to trim everything up ;o)

So lets' get Dr Dremel out Ozzy! (no, you can't just bite the bits off like you do with bats!)


photo. Ok then - better, but that is definitely still a 'work in progress'!



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Currently I'm still being cautious with the body mods, and not wanting to cut too much away just yet - for example I already made an 'error' when I cut the horizontal plastic panel in front of the radiator off, as that would have been perfect to bolt through to secure the front of the body on to the chassis [where the servo would locate on a Land Rover build for example].

I also want to wait until I get the new [shorter] spring shackles fitted, as dropping the chassis will have the effect of lengthening the wheelbase slightly - although not much more than +5mm I imagine, so 270mm overall.

So in the meantime, I turned my attention to getting the transmission and steering sorted...


You'll notice in the previous post that the motor assembly was already loosely bolted [centrally] in position, however, because of the shape of the Jeep body and short bonnet [hood], there isn't any room to mount the steering servo to the front chassis plate in the designated location - like I did with the D90 build.

Instead, I thought laterally, or is that parallelly? - and mounted the servo sideways along the chassis rail, which meant having to move the motor over slightly to the right* to allow everything to clear.

*note. there is no reason you couldn't have the servo mounted to the right hand chassis rail, and just move the motor to the left instead of course - but I did it this way round as this vehicle would typically be/will be left-hand drive.



Other than trimming the motor/gearbox mounting plate down slightly (and drilling new slots on that side), all I had to do is move the left hand engine mounting bracket over using a pair of 5mm spacers, and everything bolted up a treat!

Ultimately I also drilled another hole in the left chassis rail so I could use the aluminium L shaped servo brackets (that come as part of the front axle kit) to mount the servo securely to the chassis one hole further forward than before, which meant in turn I could drop the engine mounts lower, and potentially increase the distance between the gearbox and the transfer-case, which is already pretty short at 55mm (either way, I'll still have to shorten the punisher-shaft I ordered when it arrives).


The result is a very low-profile installation, with the servo horn directly underneath the servo itself, and actuating the steering via a rod to the right hand swivel knuckle. This final location of the servo means that neither the servo horn nor the drag link interferes/makes contact with the main steering connector rod even under full compression - nice!


photo. With some fake rocker covers on the motor and battery terminals on servo, it would almost look like a scale engine bay already! 

Best of all, not only will all this help to keep the centre of gravity of some of the heaviest components nice and low, but there is actually enough room above the motor and servo [below the bonnet] to mount a second full-size 6-cell battery to power the winch should I choose to fit one - result!

So that is pretty much where I'm up to now [at the time of writing]...


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Currently the central transfer box is mounted directly half-way between the two axles, which means the prop-shafts are of equal length, which is another big tick from an engineering point of view.

Ultimately the axle spring mounts may need to be tweaked slightly to angle the differential pumpkins upwards to smooth out the prop-shaft UJ angles a touch, although again with the shorter spring shackles in place this angle ought to be reduced anyway - as an illustration, currently there is as much clearance under the central chassis rails [80mm] on this vehicle as there is on Lisa's D90 with 15mm diameter larger tyres, so the chassis really ought to be dropped down a touch to stop it looking like a really bad ghetto leaf-over-axle lift!

More soon... as soon as the postman arrives!

Jenny x



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12 hours ago, Grastens said:

Yes - another JennyMo build thread! :D Will stay tuned on this one!

My thoughts exactly! 😁

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Hee hee - plenty more to come!

Just had a delivery this morning:


RC4WD parts include hex-hubs with build-in brake discs (plus scale hex bolts) - if you added up the price of just the plain hex hubs ($12) and a set of scale hex bolts ($8), then the extra $5 for the discs I think is worth it for the bling, erm I mean 'scale detail' alone!

I also bought their Gelande II hoop-style shock towers (since I need to mount the towers on the outside of the chassis because of the servo location, and the ones on the chassis kit would mean the shocks wouldn't sit square with the narrow axles I'm using), and a short (83mm) metal drive shaft to connect the planetary gearbox and centre transfer box together - note. this will have to be cut down further (to around 55mm) but hopefully this will be straightforward as the two UJs effectively can butt-up against each other with just a short section fo spline/shaft between them.

Finally, something arrived from China that I'd all but given up hope on - the scale seatbelts!

Those of you who followed my SRB Cage Racer build will know I bought some Yeah Racing seatbelts (which you have to assemble yourself) for the Corbeau seats that Kelly sit in, so I bought something similar for this YJ build too - only this time I was please to see these ones even come pre-assembed - result! 

More soon, once I get the new parts bolted up - still waiting on the new [shorter] spring shackles and hardware before I can finalise the length of the dampers required, and start working on lengthening the bodywork...

Jenny x



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OK, while the US postal service continues to do it's thing (slowly)... I've still not been able to finalise the wheelbase [with the new shackles] and start on the body, so have had to be content with this little indulgence for the time being:


photo. now those look kewl!


I've always thought that scale brake discs were rather unnecessary - however, I have to concede that on the right wheels (and especially if you're going for maximum scale 'points') - they do add a certain something...




As I mentioned in a previous post, I bought these [RC4WD] ones primarily as I wanted to replace the stock pin-drive hubs with 12mm hexes, and thought why not also add some disc rotors and scale bolts that also come as part of the set.

note. personally I still prefer the slightly fatter 3mm acorn nuts you get from Locked-Up RC [which I fitted to my Vanquish wheels on the SRB Cage Racer], but these scale hex nuts are effectively 20mm in 1:1 size, so technically in the ball-park for a real wheel nut.



I really love the look of these wheels now... in fact I might even have to spring for some scale freewheeling hubs too!




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The other thing I did/realised is that the hoop style shock towers (again from RC4WD - the Gelande II style taller version) while perfect for mounting the eventual shocks on the outside of the chassis rails, will require me to counter-sink the chassis rails behind the servo and bolt though from the inside-out on the left hand side. Similarly, where I need to mount the hoops will also require one of the current servo screws to be recessed into the rail too - good job they are 5mm thick solid aluminium eh?


The other minor disappointment was that the short (83mm) prop-shaft I bought to connect the gearbox to the centre transfer case is still going to be too long if I want to retain the 50/50 prop-shaft split/location I currently have (and the nerd in me wants to ;o). The RC4WD shaft does come apart (note. the sliding shaft sections are actually held on to the UJ sections with screws - nice), and so it would be feasible [since this only needs to be a fixed length shaft anyway, not sliding] to fabricate a short spacer with a square drive and bolt it all together... however, I don't really have the facilities or materials to do a proper job here, so have sucked up the cost of a 45-50mm Hot Racing shaft as I had to do for Lisa' D90 build too.


So that is where I'm up to with the Leafer build at the moment - waiting on those new/extra parts to arrive in the next few days...

In the meantime, with nothing else to do except overindulge in turkey and some pumpkin pie during the next couple of days, I've taken the opportunity to dive into my Desmond project again [check that thread here: https://www.tamiyaclub.com/forum/index.php?/topic/81391-desmond-the-22-aka-skinny-malinky/&page=2&tab=comments#comment-731034 with a serious revamping/finishing and scale interior additions!


More soon!

Jenny x


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Finally, enough new parts have arrived to consider it's time for another update!

So, this is what's arrived and been fitted so far:

• A handful of M3 countersunk screws (16mm long, so can be trimmed down if needs be)

• A short 45-50mm drive-shaft (Hot Racing - for a Tamiya semi-truck)

• A pair of Gelande II front shock hoops (RC4WD)

• A set of spring shackles and mounts/pins (RC4WD)

The idea being, that once all these have been fitted I can establish the final wheelbase/ride-height, then order the correct length scale shocks, and also get to work on mounting and lengthening the bodywork...

First up, the RC4WD shackle set from an ebay seller... I was pleased to find someone selling what I needed for $10 less the the SRP... however, when they arrived, unlike the [stock] photo they'd used, unfortunately one of the nyloc nuts were missing, plus there was a bunch of random hardware rather than the M3 button-head screws typically used to attach the shackle mounts to the chassis:


photo. I'm not one to usually complain online about anything, but this lot did still cost me $29.99 so I kind of expected it to be all present and correct.

Fortunately, I had enough [black] hardware already that the missing nut was not an issue, and actually the black M3 screws I removed from the copy shackles worked for mounting the the hangers to the chassis anyway, so all was ultimately well.

However, I feel it's worth point out [should anyone else consider going this hybrid ebay/China and RC4WD route] that the RC4WD stepped screws are 4mm thick in the centre with 3mm thread/nuts, which means the holes in the chassis [at the front] and the bolt-on hanger [at the rear] need to be drilled out to 4mm too if you want to utilise all that new hardware. Interestingly, the original longer-shackle set have 3mm holes for mounting to the [presumably paired] pattern chassis, and 4mm holes for the bolts - although as I mentioned previously, all the hardware was M3 and not the correct stepped screws for the springs. Again, all this really meant was a bit of mixing and matching to get everything the way I wanted it.


photo. Original 'pattern' shackles and hardware (top) and the new RC4WD Trailfinder parts (bottom).

The other thing I noticed/realised is that the spring hangers from RC4WD are slightly more shallow than those that came with my original spring kit [and which fit perfectly on the pattern chassis] and don't actually line-up properly with the holes on the 45° sections of the chassis (where I want/need to mount them) - again, this disparity shows that while the pattern chassis and spring kit is essentially a copy of the RC4WD set, it is not an exact copy/interchangeable after all...

Still, it was no problem to use my original hangers with the new pins - but I would suggest that if you're going the budget route, unless you really want to lower the chassis [like I did - see below], I'd just stick with the pattern set and call it good - particularly as it appears the M3 screws that mounted the springs originally do, as I suggested earlier in the thread, offer a little more 'wiggle' (and therefore ultimately articulation I imagine) that the stepped screws from RC4WD.




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However, my reason for wanting to fit shorter shackles was to reduce the overall lift a bit...


photo. original one-piece long shackles [top] and the two-part RC4WD Trailfinder shackle side plate below.

The original spring kit came with folded one-piece shackles that had 25mm between the hole centres, whereas in comparison, the pukka RC4WD ones are only 17mm centres, so 8mm shorter, offering a corresponding drop in overall ride-height...


photo. once everything was mounted up, the drop equates to -5mm, so 75mm under the chassis rails compared to 80mm originally, and as I suspected an overall wheelbase of 270mm now (up from 265mm).

The other thing I did was to remove the third (shortest) leaf from the rear springs, so that means there are only two leafs at the rear, and three on the front now - which results in the chassis being nice and level, with hopefully a little more articulation available at the rear which will be correspondingly less laden than the front end - especially once all the electronics and battery has been fitted.

Fitting the centre (gearbox to transfer-case) prop was simple enough, although unfortunately this Hot Racing product ships with only two short grub-screws rather than full length pins, so I had to buy a set of [Traxxas branded] set-screw drive pins with an M4 thread so that the collars were properly connected to the shafts - especially when you consider the amount of torque that is likely to be put through this transmission when crawling.




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Finally [for now] it was time to sort the front shock mounts...


photo. Gelande II hoop style shock towers.

As I explained previously, to get these to fit with the steering servo in the location it is, I had to countersink the holes on the inside of the left hand chassis rail, and use countersunk machine screws from the inside out (ie. with the nyloc nuts on the outside) - although I think they look pretty realistic this way around anyway, and particularly once the excess screw thread has been trimmed off.



photo. You'll also notice I had to replace one of the button-head screws that hold the servo bracket to the chassis with another countersunk screw, as the hoop bracket just overlaps it slightly - again, everything is pretty cosy and compact up front with this particular layout.


photo. It was simple to match the inside-out bolt mounting [using regular button heads] on the right hand side too - after all, you've gotta have them visually matching in each arch ;o)


The overall result and subsequent droop/extension measurements means I've now settled on 80mm long shocks front and back. These offer 17mm travel, which means the leaf springs are just slightly over flat on full compression, while there is a little slack if and when a wheel completely unloads and the springs droop slightly - although it's not much to be honest, as currently the unladen chassis means the springs are pretty much at full extension already. Interestingly, it's worth noting that the RC4WD 'Marlin' edition Trailfinder 2 [which is 'performance biased' presumably] also comes with 80mm shocks front and rear, so I guess I'm doing something right.

note. once the leaf-springs have bedded in a bit, it's possible they will soften and I can use the alternative mounting holes on the chassis should I wish to have slightly more droop travel at the corresponding expense of some bump travel - but ultimately of course this thing is never going to articulate like a 4-link/coil-sprung set-up anyway...

One thing I've considered (and having nerded on YouTube this afternoon, had confirmed by one of the Scale Builder's Guild videos) is to remove the internal springs from the shocks I've ordered, so that they are essentially just dampers (as they would be on a real 1:1 vehicle of course), and let the leaf springs do all of the work.

It's going to be fun trying to dial this all in once the rolling-chassis is finally assembled (hopefully by the end of this week) - so in the meantime, fundamentally now that the chassis dimensions are set, I can get busy with modding and mounting the body at last!


photo. The body back on - I'm really liking the distance between these 'oversize' tyres and the wing/bonnet now...


photo. Overall I think this stance is pretty much spot-on for a true scale trail crawler?

More soon!

Jenny x

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15 hours ago, Kevin_Mc said:

It’s looking good now, particularly the stance in the last photo 

Hi Kevin - yes, I'm really pleased with the overall relationship between the tyres and the body - I didn't want it sitting too high you see, and because it's running leaf-springs with relatively short-travel shocks (17mm) the front tyres ought not to touch the current arches on full compression, although it will be tight ;o)

Originally I thought I'd probably have to chop all of the front wings away and just leave the bonnet - and box-in the footwells as inner wheel arches (which I'll still do anyway of course). However, since the motor and servo are now mounted so far back in the engine bay, it means the body can come a little further back than before, helping with tyre clearance on full lock and compression - so I'm going to leave the front wing panels as they are for the time being as it helps to retain the 'Jeep' face with the flat fenders I feel?

More soon...



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On 11/27/2018 at 9:54 AM, Pablo68 said:

Cool build so far.
Ozzy doll is hilarious!

Hee hee - I know!

I've given him a haircut (well, just a trim so far) and also started to remove his tattoos and nail varnish - they currently look like oily stains on each forearm and fingertips now, so I might actually leave them like that - apt for working on a Jeep build just as much as a Land Rover I imagine ;o)


photo. I love this look - "Oh no, what have you done Jack?!"

Jenny x

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So, while I'd hoped my 'guaranteed by Friday 30th' delivery of the OME scale shocks would be just the incentive I needed to get on with this build, it turns out the US postal service has let me down again this week - which is really disappointing as I'm heading back to the UK tomorrow, and really wanted the rolling chassis to be 'finished' as it were...

Still, I'm confident the wheelbase and ride height is now correct, so I took my frustration out on the body-shell with a Stanley knife anyway!


photo. the rear [Land Rover] cross member needed to be trimmed down a little on each side to fit inside the curve of the rear quarter panels.



photo. I initially mocked up the new body to the wheelbase using strips of cardboard and masking tape... well, it works for me!



photo. turns out the distance between the rear edge of the door recess and the vertical line in the rear quarter panel was exactly 140mm, which made it easy to keep things square on each side.



photo. strips of 2mm thick styrene used as internal braces - since this is an open vehicle I'll want the top of the open bed thicker than the shell itself is (again 2mm) anyway, so this is a simple way to beef it all up.



photo. with the front of the arches reattached, the result is a 20mm extension of the wheelarch itself, plus another 10mm between the door and the forward arch section.

note. the stock wheelbase of the Tamiya CC-01 chassis Wrangler is 242mm. My wheelbase now measures at a hair over 270mm, so +30mm is essentially bang-on!



photo. front arch - cozy, but the huge tyres still ought to still clear on full lock and compression - if not, I'll just remove the front wing section up the vertical line as originally planned.



photo. rear arch - note I cut the infill piece slightly too long, but the whole arch will be sanded and trimmed with a Dremel anyway of course.



photo. Yep, I'm liking that...



photo. ...and so do Ozzy and Louis! - although I'm still not sure if Ozzy is 100% on board with what is going on yet... ;o)


More soon,

Jenny x



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Just a quick update to this build, as I've had to leave the vehicle in the US while I'm back home in the UK for Christmas now...


photo. so we left Louis to explain to Ozzy that the wheel-arch infill pieces would be sanded off in good time...

But before we got out the Dremel, it made sense to do a little more to the body too:


photo. extending the side sills below the doors (where the original bulbous steps and arch extensions were moulded)

The original body-shell here is only about 1.5mm thick, so in an effort to both strengthen and also minimise any sanding and filling, I decided to cut some 1.5mm thick panels to stick inside the body and provide a lip, then the new [1.5mm] sill panels could in turn be glued directly to those - adding a huge amount of stiffness in the area where the body mounting screws are likely to locate.


photo. using masking tape to create a template around the door recess on the outside is then easy to transfer to the styrene sheet.



photo. The curved cut-out section follows the line of the door bottom - meaning that should I ever decide to remove the doors, the sills remain solid (3mm thick), and also from an interior detail point of view, cutting a separate door-lining panel will also add to the authenticity.



photo. the sill-trim panels were then attached to the inner panel behind using superglue. It's worth noting that while the outer sill panels [currently] follow the line of the front and rear wheel-arches, the inner panel is actually cut at 90° at the front (ie. in line with the vertical body crease), so that I can fabricate a square/box inner wheel-arch, and also if I ever decide to remove the front wing panels completely.



photo. inside - you can see the beginnings of what will become the scale interior detailing too.


So with only a little time left before I had to leave, all I could really do now is sand some of the rough-cut edges away, and get a better idea of the overall proportions:


photo. looking a lot more like a 'real' vehicle now the sills are fitted.



photo. previously there was still quite a disparity between the body 'perched on top' of the chassis, and even with the 12mm deep sills in place, you can see the body is still quite high above the centre chassis rails - great for clearance of course, but this will require some creative body mounts.



photo. the rear panel will also require some further shaping and in-filling... I intend to delete the current spare wheel mounting holes and fill in the original body-mount nubs that I'd already removed. As for the rear lights, perhaps the obvious solution is to use some flush-mounted round ones (such as the Axial ones I've used on other builds) as this is a popular mod on 1:1 Jeeps - however, I'm tempted to do something slightly different as a homage to the original square surface-mount lamps you get on the YJ Wranglers...



photo. along with sanding the rear arch infills and some of the rough initial cutting, I also snipped out the moulding/support sprues from the side windows and screen... currently I'm still debating whether to retain the door-tops and corresponding side window surrounds and glass or not, but there will certainly be a windscreen (and wipers) added eventually.



photo. I'm also hoping to be able to retain the current flat-fender style short front wings too - perhaps with some kind of tubular edge to the them?



photo. a little more trimming to the front grille panel - I'm tempted by a pukka polished aluminium grille (I've seen on ebay), but actually a very similar effect can be achieved with self-adhesive aluminium tape of course, and that would also wrap around each vertical vane in the grille. Either way, the main focus up front is going to be a working Warn winch.



photo. I think the boys are pretty happy with the body mods so far!


More - but not until January now I'm afraid... in the meantime, do feel free to ask any questions of course!

Jenny x


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OK, I'm back in the US now, and can't wait to get back into this project!

First of all, fortunately a series of online orders made last week coordinated perfectly with my return date:


photo. an RC4WD 1:10 scale Warn 8274 winch was waiting for me the day I arrived!


And I had to offer it up to see how it might look:


photo. awesome!


Along with the winch, I also ordered some more scale acorn nuts (both from Locked-Up RC), to replace the original RC4WD hex bolts, which are nice, but I felt a little too small visually - while the acorns are more chunky looking (and the same as I fitted to my Vanquish wheels on the SRB Cage Racer) and use a 3mm hex tool.


photo. I also bought some M2.5 set-screws...



photo. ...so I could create my own acorn nut-head bolts to secure the wheels to the hubs.



photo. You can see the difference in size here - it's subtile perhaps, but I prefer the size and shape of the acorns.


I also replaced the original 5mm width axle hexes with 6mm ones - again, that might not sound much, but the effect is to push the wheels out just a touch (improving tyre clearance on the front steering knuckles particularly), and also this means the black M4 axle nuts now look even more like scale stub-axle ends:


photo. before...



photo. ...after. I can't wait to get a few scratches and some natural rust on these Weller steel wheels!


The other thing to do was to fit the OME scale shocks (that had arrived the day after I went home last December):


It is a bit annoying that RC4WD have printed the lower text essentially upside down on these shocks (unless you mount them the other way up of course, but then most of the writing is hidden by the tyre...), but I love their scale looks - again, I have the 70mm version of these fitted to the SRB Cage Racer, complete with blue boots.

I've elected to fit the 80mm long version to the YJ (note. the same length RC4WD spec for the Marlin Edition Trailfinder II on leaf-springs too), and ultimately utilised the lower of the two rear axle locations to try and keep the overall height of the rear shock towers within the inner arches, which I trust I've achieved.


Finally for now, some more trinkets arrived in the post this morning:


I dare not add up what this build has cost me now, but one thing is for sure - it is going to be one expensive scaler once its finished!

More soon, once I get the styrene out!

Jenny x

ps. you also get some really nice scale decals with both the ARB and Hi-Lift parts (and the Warn winch too I would add) which is a really nice touch... seems you do get what you pay for with the RC4WD parts!

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So with the frivolities unpackaged and played with for a bit, it was now time to get on with the serious job of fabricating a proper interior for this build.


To recap, unlike most of the [Tamiya] YJ crawler builds you see, my plan is to have this as a fully open truck (ie. as if the owner had simply unbolted the hard-top and left it in his garage), and indeed, while a 1:1 Wrangler of this era does have an internal roll-over hoop, I'm actually temped to have this completely open - as a nod to earlier incarnations such as the Willys and CJ series (although I realise a lot of people put a roll over hoop in CJs too of course - if only for their own self-preservation!)

Therefore, some extensive styrene work is going to be required - since while the exterior of the Tamiya Wrangler shell is wonderfully detailed, it is essentially a drop-on body, with no interior concessions at all.

I felt it would probably be easiest to work from the load-bay forward - not least since this would essentially have a flat floor, just above the chassis rails - so the first job would be to fabricate some simple wheel-arch boxes for the newly extended rear wings:


photo. I elected to make these 29mm wide, so they are the same width as the quarter panels - meaning the load-bay floor is the same width as the rear tailgate.

You'll notice the rear shock towers are actually a little inboard of the wheel-arches - there is no way around this really without encroaching on the load-bed itself - but fortunately the length of the shocks [80mm] mean the tops of the towers can be cut down to below the top of the wheel-arch boxes, and that ultimately they will be hidden by the spare wheel anyway.

The next thing to do was to try and sort out the body mounts to the chassis itself... you'll be aware from the previous posts that I extended the sills of the body down 12mm [essentially replacing the original moulded wheel-arch and sill trims), in an effort to provide a secure location for some horizontal body mounts - much as I have with both the D90 and HiLux crawlers I've built on these chassis.

Sure enough, this was sufficient for a pair of 6mm rods to be mounted to existing holes in the chassis in front of the rear wheels, while at the front, some lateral thinking using some spare leaf-spring brackets, raised the front mounts up to the same hight - result!



photo. All four body mounts in position and the body secure. note it was necessary to space out the various length rods I had in my stash with tube spacers to get the correct width of 158mm between my styrene bracing panels along each sill.



photo. Along with filling all the exterior styrene panel joints with Araldite (as it's more flexible than plain filler) I also used some styrene off-cuts to fill in the crescent shaped cut-outs where the original Tamiya CC-01 body mounts would locate - all this external body-work will be finished with filler and sanded of course.


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