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The Kit Builder's Kit: Grastens and the Tamiya Bruiser (58519)

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Grastens Builds the Tamiya Bruiser (58519)

The Kit Builder’s Build

In the midst of the assembly of my Ferrari 312T3, the revival of my original Lancia Rally, and the planning and acquisition of another Tamiya-centric project, lumbered:

2uz31bp.jpg

It has been quite an outburst of RC-related activity lately, which is as sure a sign as any that I am dealing with some serious personal issues; burying myself in projects like this might be the least-destructive way to cope with them. I have never had the luxury of three new kit builds on the go, and the Bruiser will be by far the largest and most involved of them.

Those concerns aside, I can point to the Tamiya Bruiser in my possession and say that this is a long-held dream of mine, finally realized!

Finding a (Long-Winded) Dream

My first Tamiya was a Toyota GT-One on the F103RS. It was a simple chassis that proved to be a good rookie car, if a bit difficult to find the ideal surface for it. I had always been interested in radio-controlled items and cars, so RC cars were a logical culmination.

That car felt like a lifelong dream realized; playing video games was much more economically-feasible, and I had neither the money nor the support to treat radio-controlled cars as a real hobby. My childhood aspirations made do with the occasional cheap remote-controlled contraption, to be pitched when it broke after its inevitably-underwhelming performance. I could hardly complain, for I had the essentials covered in life, but I still fantasized about a true hobby-grade radio-controlled machine. Tamiya was even making the cars I saw in my video games – from Gran Turismo to 1:10 scale came the Castrol Celica ST205, the Calsonic Nissan Primera, the Castrol Mugen NSX – and the Toyota GT-One – all by the same company that produced the best static model I had built to that time (another story itself).

My involvement in the hobby changed forever when I acquired a Buggy Champ as my second car; with it, I discovered the comparative freedom of off-road running, and nearly all of my acquisitions since have been all-terrain chassis.

Along the way, I had been building my collection toward increasing mechanical complexity. I had always been interested in the mechanical aspect of machinery, and around the same time I purchased my Avante Black Special – then the most complicated build I would undertake – Tamiya re-released the Bruiser. It did not matter that I was not alive when the original Bruiser (or Avante, even) was available, for the concept of an all-metal, all-terrain truck with an actual shifting transmission was something that captured my imagination.

At the time, I had saved up much of everything I had to acquire that Avante, but despite my good fortune that day, I still ended up wanting a Bruiser. If I were really increasing the mechanical complexity of my collection, the Bruiser seemed like a logical step, in the right direction, especially after the Avante.

Instead, time and money (but mostly money) saw me take a different path with my cars, my desires for new challenges manifesting themselves in bodywork as opposed to chassis. I found out that the Avante was not what I envisioned; it had proven expensive to repair and limited in talent. Though Tamiya’s higher-end offerings certainly had my interest whenever they arrived, I probably never really wanted them as each new model slipped away without any further effort from me to acquire one.

The Bruiser never totally left my consciousness, though. Eventually, I found that I was running out of spaces to run buggy-type off-road cars, and I was still intrigued by the sophistication of the 3-speed truck, especially as I learned more about automotive engineering. With classic models like the original 4 x 4 Hilux and Blazing Blazer reaching used-1:1-car prices, the Bruiser was the only affordable model until the Mountaineer re-emerged as the Mountain Rider. Even then, they were out of my grasp.

It should be noted that the Tamiya Hilux High-Lift was also on the shelf that day at the hobby shop, yet neither that nor the Tundra nor the F-350 seemed to catch my imagination the way the Bruiser did. I passed it over completely.

Fulfilling a (Long-Winded) Dream

“I probably never really wanted them as each new model slipped away without any further effort from me to acquire one.”

It was a trip to my local hobby shop for paints to complete my Ferrari 312T3 build when I finally decided I wanted a Bruiser, once and for all. It was likely triggered by the astonishing stock of Tamiya re-release models in the store: there – in the year 2019 – were new-in-box examples of the Novafox, Bigwig, Blackfoot, Egress(!), Monster Beetle, and a Frog, perched high on a shelf behind the sales counter. Clearly, the employees there had an appreciation for classic Tamiyas, which was encouraging.

Pure curiosity prompted me to ask about their prices. I was astonished to realize that this particular shop had nearly closed the gap to online retailers, and every model there was competitively priced – I could have had an Egress for under $500 CAD after taxes! But then I asked the shop owner:

“Do you still have the Bruiser in stock?” I saw one long ago, in another visit, and asked in the off-chance that maybe it was still kicking around. I never saw too many visitors in the shop, and the ones that were there either bought Redcats, Gundam models, or paints.

“No,” he started, as my reasonable being sighed in relief, “but we can order one. You fill out a form, and we can have it in 48 hours.” My mind started racing, leaving my reasonable being in the dust.

There’s no way I could… No way I should… If I have to ask… “How much would it be?”

His reply shocked me. They had closed the gap – no, they had opened one up of their own!

Even more shocking was learning that the upcoming re-re-release of the Mountaineer/Mountain Rider would be more expensive through the shop’s distributor, by $100 CAD, and not on pre-order. I had believed the Bruiser to be more complex somehow than its sibling, but this was completely secondary to the fact that a metal Tamiya 3-speed was now within reach! I would need to stretch, but within reach!

“… I’ll think about it,” I said weakly, and continued searching for paints.

I thought about it, all right, and a week or so was all I needed to clarify more than six years of dreaming and a lifetime passion for mechanical objects that begged me to make it happen. It felt like a lifetime had led me to that store the following week, where I sought out the shop owner, looked him in the eye, and said: “I want to order a Bruiser. Give me the form, please.”

I was nervous. Last time I was there, I was talking myself out of it by telling the shop owner about my Ferrari 312T3, and laughing that I needed to finish that before thinking about any new projects. I knew I would need to work hard to get that money back, particularly as unlike the 312T3, the Bruiser had been unplanned just a month ago. Yet it felt like I had been preparing for it for much of my life, and all my extracurricular interests had readied me for this moment.

Even stranger was that the Hilux High-Lift that I was previously totally uninterested in was still there. It was going for even less than the Egress, and for that kind of money I could have it finished with full electronics – but no, I wanted a Bruiser!

As if to firmly put my cards on the table: “I’ll pay for it in full.” What am I doing?!

The shop owner started to smile. That definitely lifted his spirits, too!

The trip home was an odd mix of elation and fear: I needed a third project like I needed to get hit by a truck, let alone a big, expensive truck that could be worth more than everything I was working on to that point. In my heart, though, I knew I made the right decision, and celebrated my ability to enjoy my hobby in a way I have never done previously.

The rest is a short story: having ordered it on a Friday, it arrived on the Monday, and by Tuesday – stopping to retrieve it from the shop during my regular errands – I had it in my hands.

First Impressions

Well, I had it in my arms, anyway: this box was massive! I had no idea just how large it was until I brought it home, and realized it was almost the width of the doorways in the house!

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When viewing box art for a kit online, it is easy to forget that the image is nearly the size of the box itself (though not true for some new releases with the “post-box-style” box front). In the case of the Bruiser, that means a large image indeed, and fine details really jump out at the viewer when looking at a box like this in person – this was the impression I was getting.

One side of the box:

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Picture quality at this point was not great, mostly because I did not have a lot of time to take them before I had to find a place for it and continue on with my day. I have yet to even open the box!

However, I can at least see what the chassis might look like when assembled:

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And in detail:

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The gearbox, which is likely the most compelling feature of this truck, gets another detail on the side, in addition to the inlaid image on the front:

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And then I had to set it aside. I can only wait so long, though!

Planning the Build

If you managed to read my lengthy story about how I got to wanting and finding a Bruiser, you would understand why I want to savour this build. I really wish I could go for the speed record, but I anticipate I will be putting in assemblies in a piecemeal fashion. Unlike previous projects, I do have all my supplies purchased at this preliminary stage, from electronics to paint to accessories. Hence, if deliveries are smooth, I should be able to make good time while still enjoying this build.

Those electronics will consist of a Futaba 4YWD Attack 2.4 GHz radio and two 6-kg generic waterproof metal gear servos – which will be replaced by a Traxxas 2056 and a Futaba S3003 in the odd event that I fit servos in the build before the intended units arrive, or if their performance is unsatisfactory. I will look to fit one of my Tamiya TBLE-02S units but will soon have the luxury of an Axial AE-5L ESC with LED output. That will allow me to fit at least headlights and taillights immediately, though I had intended it for another build…

That being said, I did read on this forum somewhere that one should not skimp on electronics for a Bruiser, and I am inclined to agree! That Axial ESC might make its way into the truck yet.

I have yet to see a Tamiya 3-speed sporting a battery under 4 000 mAh capacity, and presently have no working batteries of that specification (maximum 3 000 mAh, and well-used), so it looks like there is in fact one more thing I need. I could get a proper-capacity battery while ordering another Axial ESC, I suppose!

As was the case with my Lancia 037 4WD-H, I intend to find a moderate stand between scale realism and the model’s radio-controlled nature. While I am interested in adding things like door panels and a driver figure to the interior, a large part of the Bruiser’s appeal to me is its realism in its drivetrain, so I will be content to run it with a few concessions to scale presence as opposed to all-out authenticity. Besides, the latter would require more LEDs and the MFC-02…

My Lancia 037 4WD-H has also taught me that too much complexity is possible in a model, so the emphasis will be on producing a running vehicle, though one with some attention paid to aesthetics. It is still not enough to convince me that I should use Stealth body mounts (it’s an RC car, and RC cars use body posts and clips – I can live with that), but enough for me to at least attempt to produce a neat paint job – the static modeller in me is still alive somewhere!

Since I cannot afford a used vehicle, and therefore by association a classic Hilux 4 x 4, I have elected to pay tribute to it with a Czech-made custom step-side rear bed. Doing so means I will be unable to use the bed topper that is standard in the Bruiser kit, and I will need to do some drilling and cutting for this custom bed to fit the chassis. Roll bar options for the 122 mm width of the rear bed seem to be limited – thankfully, I have an assortment of styrene tubes and rods on the way, which could enable me to build one from scratch.

As before, I will be adding a driver figure and hopefully some simple styrene cuts serving as door panels. I am seriously entertaining adding a passenger – I was previously intrigued by the possibility of reworking a resin figure kit into a seated passenger, but the expense and detail are too high for the purpose I have in mind. As such, any passenger will almost certainly be a reworked 4 x 4 driver figure – though the extent of the “rework” remains to be seen…

The chassis will be stock – having a Bruiser is enough of a novelty for me to be happy with its stock performance for a little while. If I feel the need to upgrade, chances are I would find a higher-turn brushed motor for it first, and even then, that might suffice.

Paint is at this point going to be mainly TS-43 Racing Green. If I elect for graphic accents, I will add stripes in TS-26 Pure White and TS-8 Italian Red, as an homage to my previous Avante Black Special and Astute hybrid – I had forgotten how popular those designs were when they made their debuts and feel that this combination could work on a truck like this. Even if it does not, it works for me!

The Last Word – for Now

Going through literature, accounts, and reviews of the Bruiser, as well as the depth and breadth of custom projects involving the model, has made me realize that I know precious little about trucks and their culture. Knowledge at this point might be dangerous, since it could compel me to spend even more money on accessories (how about that K5 Blazer shell from RC4WD?!), but anything I can learn about pickup trucks, show trucks, mud/bog racing trucks, and any combination thereof will be interesting to me. It feels a world removed from my regular research on rally racers, sports prototypes, and other genres, and it gives me something else to look forward to as I start this exciting RC adventure.

“Yes, [I’m] really in Hog Heaven [now that I] own a Bruiser!” – Tamiya promotional spot, c. 1985

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I applaud you for your epic introduction, and moreso that you've chosen to buy a pukka Tamiya version and not the clone we've seen recently...

It will be an awesome build experience I'm sure - thank you for taking us along with you!

 

Jenny x

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1 hour ago, JennyMo said:

I applaud you for your epic introduction, and moreso that you've chosen to buy a pukka Tamiya version and not the clone we've seen recently...

I'll echo that sentiment. While I'd never look down on anyone who buys the clone, its nice to see someone who lusted after the real-deal version go for it and make it a reality. I imagine its a very satisfying feeling. You'll find the Bruiser build to be pleasantly involved and rewarding. Tamiya at their finest. 

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Fantastic!!  I was shocked just how big the box was when I picked mine up!

If you do get another ESC, the Hobbywing 1080 crawler esc is supposed to be phenomenal and they are $40 USD.

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Enjoy the build and take your time with it; there's plenty of winter left where you live!

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4 hours ago, JennyMo said:

I applaud you for your epic introduction, and moreso that you've chosen to buy a pukka Tamiya version and not the clone we've seen recently...

It will be an awesome build experience I'm sure - thank you for taking us along with you!

 

Jenny x

Thank you for appreciating my introduction! This project means a lot to me, and I look forward to sharing it with you :)

3 hours ago, Saito2 said:

I'll echo that sentiment. While I'd never look down on anyone who buys the clone, its nice to see someone who lusted after the real-deal version go for it and make it a reality. I imagine its a very satisfying feeling. You'll find the Bruiser build to be pleasantly involved and rewarding. Tamiya at their finest. 

Thank you - I appreciate it :) This kit is certainly living up to its expectations so far, at the very least!

On the topic of the HG-P407: I did consider one, but got to learning that the parts quality of the clone is not on par with the Tamiya model. If true, I would have hated to buy the HG-P407, have it fail on me, and blame it on my expectations of a Bruiser, only to be constantly reminded I that had a clone instead. Then I would have wanted to spend the extra money...

1 hour ago, tamiya3speed said:

Fantastic!!  I was shocked just how big the box was when I picked mine up!

If you do get another ESC, the Hobbywing 1080 crawler esc is supposed to be phenomenal and they are $40 USD.

Thank you for the recommendation! Hobbywing is a common name for good reason, it seems! I will have a look.

8 minutes ago, speedy_w_beans said:

Enjoy the build and take your time with it; there's plenty of winter left where you live!

Thank you! I intend to split some time between this build and the Ferrari 312T3, which looks fabulous even in its currently-unfinished state thanks to those marvellous wheels and brake ducts you sent me :)

Some more detailed first impressions are in order, for a free day has me making the highly-anticipated start on:

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The sense of occasion was marked by viewings of several Bruiser videos, namely the original promotional spot and a MatteoRC special! Those, along with several Tamiya R/C Line-Up entries, were enough to set the mood.

I spent the first few minutes coming to grips with the fact that this thing is bigger than my desk:

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Curiosity was quick to overtake that: I have never seen the inside of a Tamiya Bruiser box! What treasures await (besides a Tamiya Bruiser)?

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It is curious that despite my previous Avante Black Special, with its extensive use of blister packaging, it is only now that I understand the appeal of keeping kits new-in-box. It sure is beautiful in there – sure, there are plastic bags in the other half, but they are neatly-arranged plastic bags, and it definitely feels more high-end than the Ferrari 312T3 I have been working on.

Of course, some of the feeling has to do with the sheer number of parts included, as we will see.

In the meantime, the pre-built chassis and axle castings get their own lovely display:

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There is also this nicely-illustrated box within the box:

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Again, those are neatly-arranged plastic bags of parts in the other half:

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It had to be – the cab, bed, bed topper, mechanism box, wheels, and tires all had to fit:

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Meanwhile, the manual, decals, and aftermarket service card sit on the bottom:

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If my build goes to my plan, the decals will remain mostly unused.

The contents of the box-within-the-box:

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That’s FIVE parts bags in there – big ones, too! The shift fork parts, clear parts, servo horns, transmission case, skid guard, motor, and tools really add to the heft. The tools are the ubiquitous 4-way box wrench, two small wrenches, and hex wrenches in 1.5 mm and 2.5 mm sizes.

At this price point, even the silver-can motor proudly wears a sticker:

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Even just one of these bags is action-packed – here’s Parts Bag A, covering Steps 1 – 9:

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Tamiya thoughtfully includes a small tub of red AG thread-lock and a whopping 10 grams of ceramic grease! That should be enough for me to run all my models for a long time… My readings of the manual, though, showed mostly metal gears in the build. The plastic gears are in the transmission, so the grease will likely get used there – meanwhile, I intend to use up my current tube of Tamiya Grease instead. Still, this is as sure a sign as any that this is a big kit:

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The front uprights/knuckles are beautiful cast-metal parts:

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I did not pay too much attention to the fact that the re-release Bruiser had a black finish to the frame. The original/unpainted frame and re-release/painted frame scenario was the opposite of what I was expecting, and I found the finish on this kit’s chassis to be scuffed in several areas. No problem, though – the finish can always be touched up with black paint if surface deterioration becomes an issue.

That frame arrives semi-assembled, with screws holding the left and right rails to their crossmembers. The first step in the manual covers removing these screws and reinstalling them with the supplied thread-lock on the threads, while adding more thread-locked screws and two damper bushings in the central crossmember. Consequently, we begin with it:

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It was at this point that I realized I was forgetting my work mat, so I placed it on my desk and gathered my tools. The thread-lock tub was opened, too, and I elected to use a cut spoke left over from a bicycle wheel build I did some time ago as the applicator:

9kz62f.jpg

With everything in place, it was time to dig in!

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As mentioned previously, the first step is to add thread-lock to the existing screws on the semi-assembled chassis, and then add several more screws and a pair of flange nuts. Two damper bushings are also pushed into the central crossmember.

We thus need the following:

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The manual advises loosening every screw simultaneously to ensure that the new additions fit properly, though I was initially concerned that I would reassemble the chassis in a warped state. I had nothing to fear once it was all back together and straight:

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A crank arm stay, four damper stays, and a rear bumper stay are next:

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Everything needed to be loosened again, which was mildly aggravating. Happily, it was the right thing to do, and every screw made it into the chassis cleanly.

At this juncture, I was using my old Tamiya Grease instead of the kit-supplied Tamiya Ceramic Grease. Hey, it still worked:

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I had some conflict as to where to put the second 5 mm ball connector; you can see where there are two holes. One is obviously sized for the connector, though, so I just went with that:

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The practice of laying out parts for build thread photography has the benefit of organizing each step of my builds, but early on it became clear that my build style did not really fit this method naturally, when I omitted this plastic spacer from the white D-parts tree:

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This is used for attaching the crank arm stay to the chassis. It seems I build by pouring out the parts in a tray/bin and picking them out as I go, a legacy of my days building with Lego. It is not a particularly efficient way, but one that is normal for me. For this build thread, however, I intend to continue laying out the required parts prior to each step as it remains practical.

The crank arm, in any case, was the first new assembly I attached to the chassis:

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As before, a good all-around loosening was needed for everything to fit, which it did:

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Leaf spring shackles were next:

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I was just over an hour into the build already at this point. Knowing how much the Bruiser means to me helped me deal with the challenges of the metal frame, and also gave me a broader appreciation for assembling kits. I found peace in even the most tedious of tasks, which was a good thing given that almost every screw also needed thread-lock!

I am also learning more about trucks as I keep building, with the first lesson being that spring shackles are supposed to move, or at least one of them is, at each corner. It makes sense, given how leaf springs operate, but it was not something I gave much thought. The pivoting shackle is linked to the chassis by this spacer within a spacer:

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Finish is excellent – on the outside of the frame, the spacer within sits nearly flush:

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The pivoting shackle swings well and feels solid:

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The chassis then looks like this – the front spring shackles are put on first:

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The rear shackles require another mounting assembly for the pivoting types, and so adds the shackle mounts and more spacers to the regular complement of hardware seen for the front:

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I am enjoying the resemblance between the chassis at this early stage to the ladder chassis seen on 1:1 trucks. Spring shackles are now there for all four corners:

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Gears are next – specifically, the ones within the axles. This will include the intricate geared differentials, whose internals are seen here:

28himf9.jpg

One and a half hours, and still only on Step 6. I love this build!

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The front and rear axles each feature an all-metal differential gear meshed to a bevel pinion gear. The first step for each axle is this bevel pinion gear, which is identical front and rear:

2zpimpw.jpg

This picture shows four 5 x 0.3 mm shims; in reality, only two are needed, with one for each pinion. There I am, organizing the parts again…

I have never heard of this arrangement: there is a hole drilled in the pinion shaft and the pinion gear for a pin, much like a CV joint or an axle stub for a hex adapter. The pin is captured by a ball bearing that sits around the pin, and that in turn remains in place with another ball bearing contained by an E-ring. Each ball bearing sits in a recess in the axle housing. The pinions look like this:

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The geared differentials were next, with internals similar to the much-lighter plastic geared differentials in the Avante, or so I suspected:

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The manual prescribes regular grease. In an attempt to slow down the differential action for better off-road performance (without locking the differential), I mixed a 3:2 blend of anti-wear grease and regular grease, packing it in. It was contradictory to my knowledge of open-gear differential building, but I hope this helps with the intended effect:

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Each differential goes together with three tiny 2 x 8 mm cap screws – thread-locked, of course – and rolling with two 1280 ball bearings each:

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From there, axles were assembled, starting with the rear:

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A combination of E-rings, shims, and 1050 bearings to go with special spacers leads us here:

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Tolerances are good, and the entire assembly spins well even without the other half of the housing. Greasing the gears was an easy task from here, following which it gets closed up using an assortment of 2 mm cap screws and one 5 mm grub screw to seal up what looks like an access port for the optional differential lock (which I am not using at the moment):

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Once together, everything continues to spin:

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The whole experience was taking me back to my Buggy Champ days, with the cast metal, metal gears, red thread lock, and cap screws. The textures and odours were certainly similar – that red thread lock is distinctive, and as always is tricky to keep off one’s hands. Also similar to the Buggy Champ was how smoothly everything rolled. For some reason, this was unexpected despite the abundance of ball bearings – perhaps it was due to the coarser finish of the cast-metal parts. I am used to fast-rolling cars being made largely of plastic, which is usually smooth; it is possible I associate that with the low friction these cars happened to also possess. It could also be because I never pictured the Bruiser to be a car that rolled quickly… I will not complain about the reduced drag on a heavy drivetrain, though!

The front axle housing is similarly-built, but uses dog-bone ends to facilitate steering knuckles up front:

rmiwx5.jpg

Like the rear axle, it is sealed up with ten 2 mm cap screws and one 5 mm grub screw. Of course, it is shorter than the rear axle in width:

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Oddly, Tamiya does not specify using the 5 mm grub screw for this axle until the next step.

Steering uprights for the front followed, using conventional dog-bone-cup outdrives and those lovely cast-metal knuckles:

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One steering arm is attached to the lower part of the right upright, lining it up with the crank arm on that side of the chassis:

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My time spent studying the electronic manual beforehand helped, since my kit was not issued with the supplementary note about flash on the front axle casting. The steering bound up in both directions, and recalling that note had me trimming the excess with a sharp knife right away.

In all, three hours of build time accomplished a few chassis assemblies and the front and rear axles:

mbooyw.jpg

What an immersive build! Far from being discouraged, I am really having a wonderful time getting into this project and am happy that it may only get better with the leaf springs and transmission ahead. For now, this concludes today's build action.

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Just a heads up (you may know this already) Ibread on another Bruiser build thread here that it is a good idea not to press the bearings into the wheel hub bodies too far as this reduces the side to side play in the wheels when they are fitted to the axles. Will try and find it and a link.

 

Here, its not the bearing its the plastic bush the bearing sits in doesnt need to be fully pressed in.

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On 2/7/2019 at 1:56 AM, Superluminal said:

Just a heads up (you may know this already) Ibread on another Bruiser build thread here that it is a good idea not to press the bearings into the wheel hub bodies too far as this reduces the side to side play in the wheels when they are fitted to the axles.

Here, its not the bearing its the plastic bush the bearing sits in doesnt need to be fully pressed in.

Thank you for the advice - I had a look through the thread, and see exactly what you mean. I will be careful when I get there!

I am curious, though, since it looks like that hub was originally designed to fit a 2280 bearing, which would also be found on the old Tamiya Audi Quattro and Opel Ascona. Comparisons with an original Bruiser manual suggest that the original kit had those wheel hubs pre-assembled. If my speculation is correct, I wonder why Tamiya changed it up...

As I prepare for another build session with:

2uz31bp.jpg

I had a thought after seeing this picture, by TC member TDanny:

img41145_09062014195822_1_1100_.jpg

If this picture is correct, it seems the Bruiser’s interior piece excludes footwells in order for the original to run with the large 6 V, 4 000 mAh battery. Now that 7.2 V stick pack technology is better, the same capacity is realized with a battery about half the size, which would leave this space between the interior piece and the chassis empty. A few plates and a pedal box, and maybe we could have a footwell…

This is now of interest for me since I have changed plans and am going ahead with a 1:8 resin figure riding shotgun to the trusty 4 x 4 driver figure. The driver will need lower legs built up, but thanks to my latest haul, I am confident I can do it:

rw6w5l.jpg

The trick will be to get the finish of these lower legs on par with the rest of the driver figure. I anticipate this will require Tamiya Modelling Putty built up around two sections of the largest-diameter styrene tubing, visible on the left in the above photo.

Why a 1:8 figure? This website dedicated to sci-fi modelling, in its discussion of driver/pilot figures, changed my thinking.

If the writer’s hypothesis is correct, the Bruiser driver is in fact closer to 1:8 scale. I believe this, having considered stuffing one into a 1:10 Ferrari 312T3, only to find the figure required extensive hacking just to fit inside the cockpit.

Off-topic: that Ferrari will be getting a modified 1:12 scale driver figure. We will see if this pans out!

In the meantime, there seem to be more figure kits available in 1:8 scale instead of 1:10, and I did not have the heart to cut up a cheap pro-wrestling action figure. I wanted to be able to paint up a somewhat ordinary-looking passenger, and if that meant removing the lower legs, it would be easier to do to an unassembled kit than a completed, pre-painted figure.

But the whole point of potential footwells would be to preserve the 1:8 figure’s legs, despite the fact that it will require some cutting and modification to fit in the seat…

It remains to be seen if this plan will work. If not, then the easiest thing to do would be to drill another hole on the passenger side to install another 4 x 4 driver figure and do whatever remodelling necessary to get it to fit and differentiate it from the driver. Given my resources at this time, however, I see little reason not to give it a go! It will also be interesting to build an actual figure kit, which is something I have never done before – I have never even painted a full-body Wild Willy figure!

… Maybe Wild Willy’s head on the driver figure would be a good complement to the passenger…

On the mechanical side of things: I have now ordered a slipper clutch for the Bruiser gearbox. There is a good chance I will be building the transmission before it arrives, but I will see what happens.

I also intend to try out the Axial AE-5L ESC, with the plan being to replace the battery connector with an extended Tamiya type (counterintuitive, but it extends the battery cable and brings it in compliance with the rest of my RC equipment – the Bruiser even features a battery cable extender, as we will see), and use the built-in LED output feature. If the LEDs can reach both front and rear from the ESC’s stock position in the mechanism box, the AE-5L will become the Bruiser’s; otherwise, I will either stick with the TBLE-02S or order a new, more truck-friendly ESC (I hear drag braking is vital).

That comprises my thoughts on the build’s direction so far – if you are reading this without another post from me, I am either busy with Parts Bag B or writing up the next build thread entry!

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And now we can get started on:

2dhwdjn.jpg

Like the parts bag before it, this one is action-packed:

2ldymw3.jpg

Parts Bag B concerns itself primarily with the suspension; hence, the damper bodies, damper oil, leaf springs, and suspension links among the hardware. This is where the axles will meet the chassis.

Everything you see here will be needed to build up the leaf springs and attach them to the chassis:

jzhiw.jpg

There are three different “leaves” that go into each spring, and four leaf springs to be made. I found the easiest way to build them correctly was to sort them by size and take each one as I built the springs:

8x0n81.jpg

What’s the problem? Each spring requires a 2 x 6 mm screw, and I picked the incorrect 2 x 4 mm type. I recorded this discovery below, after realizing that the screws I had selected were never going to thread into the nut to hold each spring together – that’s 6 mm on the left and 4 mm on the right!

vd2ujd.jpg

Once that was sorted out, I had the task of assembling each group of three leaves. This was the simplest method for me to ensure each one was aligned properly:

120sfvd.jpg

That went without incident, so a short while later, I had four leaf springs:

xf0z5v.jpg

There then comes the feat of attaching them to the axles and installing each resulting subassembly to the chassis itself:

2e0ldnr.jpg

I had missed the call in the manual for “synthetic rubber cement,” and dug up this ancient tube of Marine Goop in response:

10pdky1.jpg

The cement/Goop was needed for gluing the axle mounts together and said mounts to the axles. Here, the axle mounts are made up:

2hyic7c.jpg

The contents of the tube were definitely aged, but with everything bolting together, it seemed the cement’s true purpose was to prevent the pieces in each subassembly from sliding around excessively. In this, the partially-cured chunks from the tube were still useful, and once built up, the axles showed no signs of shifting in place. A quick-curing or high-strength adhesive would have compromised my ability to align the axles appropriately, anyway.

I did need all the help I could with this step, too – it was a struggle for me to even fit everything in the U-shaped bolts, let alone in the correct orientation. If there was a step I disliked so far, this would be the one! The manual specifies 6 mm of exposed axle between the outboard bearing location and the axle holder for the rear, and 7 mm for the front, which must be measured by ruler/caliper/etc. while this step is executed.

After failing miserably in this endeavour, I realized I needed a less-complicated approach than the one I attempted in the following pictures:

2cdubfl.jpg

2udw3vb.jpg

Instead of attempting to do everything at once, it proved better to take care of each parameter as it came up in each stage of the assembly: ensure the U-shaped bolts are secured and everything is in the right orientation, check the axle spacing, tighten the bolts equally, repeat for the other side, and dial in the required position of the pinion. I suppose that here, as with every other step of this build, I just needed patience.

I elected for slight caster on the front; without a fine protractor, I estimated it at 3 degrees, which I feel is still better than none. I can adjust it further at a later date to meet the manual’s prescription of 5 degrees, but am more concerned with getting the rear axle’s zero-degree setting correct!

It should be mentioned that there is a system to ensure the correct setting for this, using a divot in the axle mounts to be lined up to scribed lines on the outboard bearing locations. However, my method of assembling the axles made this system difficult to use, and I ended up adjusting the angle using the pinion shaft as a guide against a level ruler’s built-in protractor. The absence of my dedicated protractor meant that I was limited to the 10-degree gradations on the ruler’s, and my estimates show my setting to be about a quarter of 10 degrees. I just wanted the whole thing built up by this point, and so was content with that, figuring I would only make things worse by attempting to get closer to 5 degrees!

I must have gotten my 3-speed trucks confused, because I was initially at a loss to understand how to set the front caster, thinking there were special axle blocks I needed to insert. That is a step for the Hilux High-Lift, which of course is quite a different chassis.

This is not the first time this has happened, either: I ordered a full set of ball bearings for the Bruiser, thinking the kit was issued with bushings, but again I was thinking of the Hilux High-Lift! Oh well; it is usually a good thing to have lots of spare bearings, especially if this Bruiser is to see plenty of driving.

Plugging away with my simplified approach eventually saw the rear axle completed:

1zedxg2.jpg

The front followed some time later:

2d9plhd.jpg

The rationale behind the lower-profile 3 mm nuts on the front axle holders as opposed to strictly 3 mm flange nuts (as on the rear axle holders) may become apparent later.*

The following hardware is issued for attaching these axles to the chassis:

5fg5mt.jpg

The threaded rod was assembled by the time I took this picture; I had mistakenly attempted to use the longer of the two in Parts Bag B, and quickly amended this error – so quickly, that I missed taking the photo of its constituent parts. Hopefully the idea is clear, though!

The large spacers sit in the leaf spring loops, fixed by the long screws and 3 mm lock nuts to the leaf spring shackles, while two smaller screws, spacers, and black O-rings are there to secure the suspension links to the chassis rails. The rod will link the steering arm on the left front upright to the crank arm stay on the chassis.

In practice:

15dto2s.jpg

And with the front end to join the rear, the chassis is now at this stage:

hs6oeh.jpg

It took the better part of two hours to get here from this at the start of the day:

2ez49js.jpg

It was all I had time for today, unfortunately.

The dampers and wheel hubs are next, to complete both the suspension and Parts Bag B. Parts Bag C will be the exciting one, but the remaining steps for this bag will have me building a new (to me) type of damper, so I will be looking forward to it!

Edit: * As I will find out later, it seems the low-profile 3 mm nuts are there to leave room for the skid guard to bolt onto the chassis via the U-shaped bolts' threads. Interesting!

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Looks nice.  I can see why so many people admire the Bruiser given all that metal in it's construction.

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3 hours ago, speedy_w_beans said:

Looks nice.  I can see why so many people admire the Bruiser given all that metal in it's construction.

And I am lucky enough to reaffirm the difference first-hand!

I was flipping through the manual of:

2uz31bp.jpg

When I discovered that I had made at least two mistakes in the build so far. One was minor; I likely would not have noticed it until much later in the build, and it would have been easy to undo. The other one was a bit more serious…

The day began partway through Parts Bag B. I gathered the hardware and pieces to build the dampers:

14altfb.jpg

In more detail, they are: the damper bodies, caps, rods, pistons, E-rings, free piston bodies with O-rings, [what look like bleed] screws, flange nuts, rubber boots, and damper oil:

345lcg5.jpg

The kit comes with one bottle of oil for the dampers, but I brought out the second one from my inventory in an effort to finish it off before starting the new bottle.

I started on the damper pistons – both the regular ones, and the free types. The free pistons use the O-rings to create their seal inside the damper body:

2uqyrsm.jpg

I have never built this style of damper until now. It looked like a lot of parts, but a lot of parts that worked together to simplify the operation and consistency of the damper performance.

I took the time to address the minor mistake I made:

2yxjko3.jpg

It seems the fixed rear leaf spring shackles require the screw heads on the inside of the chassis rails instead of outside, as with every other shackle. It appears to be a concession to clearance for the mechanism box, which will occupy the rear half of the chassis. This was not a significant problem; with a quick swap around, I had the screws in the correct positions:

rr2p3b.jpg

Back on track, the damper boots require cutting to length, which went better than expected:

b986t3.jpg

The standard piston is held in place on the damper shaft by two E-rings, following which the assembly is inserted into the damper body. I should have used oil for this step, since the lower seals of the damper were already built into the body. From there, the boot slides on, and a flange nut is tightened down onto the shaft (obscured by the boot in this photo):

35jze6p.jpg

I then filled the dampers with oil. There was something mesmerizing about this step; the bubbles emerged easily from the oil, ascending lazily to the top before bursting into the air. Perhaps it was the lack of effort this took, or the sight of clean silver-coloured alloy parts and clear oil, or the kinaesthetic satisfaction of well-made parts in concert…

Whatever the case, in true Grastens tradition, I improvised on damper stands. I set the dampers down on the unassembled wheel hubs, stabilizing them with the rubber boots, and let them sit there to help settle the oil. It worked quite well:

v4tp1d.jpg

Again, in Grastens tradition, I also omitted some pieces from my parts layout photo. This time, they were the tiny springs that are inserted between the free pistons and the damper caps:

1zwdji8.jpg

The rest of the damper build went smoothly, and soon I had all four ready to go:

11w7k88.jpg

The wheel hubs were next:

f2lqb7.jpg

Recalling the issue described by TC member JNSD1 regarding the bearings and plastic bearing holders, I approached this step with caution. However, I overdid it (or so I thought) and went all the way in, so the rest of them were ultimately completed this way:

aw9pmx.jpg

The issue in question was a report of excessive lateral play in the axle due to the bearing holders being pushed too deep into each hub. I had attempted to press them in partway, but ultimately pushed too hard. It was already tricky just to ensure the holders seated properly in each hub.

However, I believe I now understand why that holder and a 1680 bearing are used instead of a 2280 bearing (which does fit): serviceability. Flipping the hubs once or twice saw the bearings slip out of the holders – it means more care is required in handling them off the truck, but this is a non-issue once the hubs are on the axles, since they are held in place by the axle housing.

These hubs are attached to the axles in the next step, along with the dampers to the rest of the suspension, and the front skid guard and a steering link:

348pmxw.jpg

The holes in each hub are stamped ‘R’ and have a slotted opening – from my earlier manual comparisons, I learned that the re-release uses the front right hub casting from the original for all four wheels. The original had different left and right front hubs, with the left having a round hole, and the right having the slot. It had to do with driving the front wheels in first gear, since reversing them prevented this from happening in the original. The re-release does away with this, using the distinctive casting for all four wheels and notching the axles to match.

After this step, the gearbox awaits...

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At this stage, I needed to access the whole chassis. Drastic changes were needed – in response, I switched around my work station to put it right in front of me:

2vsq62w.jpg

Previously, the model had been exclusively on the main part of the desk, with the manual on the folding second table. The manual now sits on a table just out of frame in the lower left of this photo. I really should have been doing it this way from the start…

The dampers are mounted with the bodies on the bottom – the inverse of the RC car standard, but possibly familiar to anybody looking to make standard Buggy Champ/Sand Scorcher dampers work without leakage! The shaft then passes through the damper stay and is held there by a flange nut. I had issues figuring out when to stop until I realized I did not need to:

2vs4t3o.jpg

With this design, I can tighten the nut down until it stops, which is when the spacer underneath comes in contact with the flange nut on the damper shaft. Great!

After the dampers were put on, the wheel hubs followed. These slide onto the axle and are held on by a 3 mm locking nut, separate of the system used to hold the wheel to the hub:

2h7dro6.jpg

I noticed a conspicuous lack of lateral play, so I suppose I got lucky. It was quickly onto the front axle, with its link between the front uprights and the big skid guard:

v5izyp.jpg

The guard’s attachment to the chassis on the U-shaped bolts’ exposed threads is visible here.

It was here that I visited my second, bigger mistake:

3310nic.jpg

I put the rear axle upside down! As the axle housing is asymmetrical, this puts the pinion shaft on the wrong side of the chassis; the driveshaft from the transmission will either never reach the rear axle, or will bind up terminally in so doing.

I described it as a big mistake because correcting it meant revisiting the leaf spring attachment steps, which I did not particularly enjoy. I had to reapply the ancient Goop (though I was now getting into the fresher, uncured contents), realign the axle, and retighten the nuts on the U-shaped bolts. Fortunately, I was already experienced, and having the leaf springs on the truck already certainly helped.

Once that was settled, that concluded Parts Bag B, and put the chassis in the following state:

4jx73t.jpg

b8kzeq.jpg

Parts Bag C is next – the vaunted transmission! I intend to enjoy myself with these next few steps :)

Edit: Yet for some reason, the photo accompanying my inverted-axle revelation shows it the correct side up - I must have used the "after" picture instead! I did a double-take and then a double-check, and it looks like the axle is presently on the right way.

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It's nice the Bruiser kit has you build the transmission and axles.  RC4WD's Trailfinder TF2 kit comes with the transmission and axles already built; I think that subtracts some of the fun in building these types of vehicles.  If you've ever built a medium or large Lego Technics kit (or for us old guys, the preceding Expert Builder series), then a lot of the fun came from building the mechanisms and just handling them and playing with them independently.

The differentials in this build are pretty interesting since they don't use the typical bevel gears.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the transmission goes together.

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So want one, too much right now, still building Top Force. Have a truggy brasher waiting to be done and already thinking about the build after. Really been bitten by the RC bug. 

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On 2/9/2019 at 3:02 PM, speedy_w_beans said:

It's nice the Bruiser kit has you build the transmission and axles.  RC4WD's Trailfinder TF2 kit comes with the transmission and axles already built; I think that subtracts some of the fun in building these types of vehicles.  If you've ever built a medium or large Lego Technics kit (or for us old guys, the preceding Expert Builder series), then a lot of the fun came from building the mechanisms and just handling them and playing with them independently.

The differentials in this build are pretty interesting since they don't use the typical bevel gears.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the transmission goes together.

What, really, RC4WD? I have to agree with you completely on that sentiment - building gears ranks high on my personal list of favourite kit building steps! There is a measure of pride in getting them all meshing and turning smoothly, too.

The choice of planetary differentials, if I am to believe the Tamiya Avante promotional spots, would be for their compact dimensions compared to a bevel-gear type - useful for fitting inside that relatively-small axle housing. The two models' differentials are similar, though the Avante uses two planet gears per sun gear as opposed to the Bruiser's three.

On 2/9/2019 at 3:37 PM, Cephas said:

So want one, too much right now, still building Top Force. Have a truggy brasher waiting to be done and already thinking about the build after. Really been bitten by the RC bug. 

A Bruiser build is something that must be done at least once. Hope you can make the space for it!

And now:

2s7ussi.jpg

The 3-speed transmission is one of the Bruiser’s most definitive features, providing a true working scale version of an automotive component. Therein lies much of the Bruiser’s appeal: a shifting transmission, combined with all-metal frame construction and real leaf-sprung live axles, give it not just the feel, but some of the performance of the full-size trucks in the 1980s.

I had an entire episode about the seeming counterintuition of linking a multi-speed transmission to a motor whose torque is available almost instantaneously, before remembering that even wind turbines use gearboxes to adjust their output in different conditions. If I am to drive this truck like I want to, I will be needing the various ratios that this transmission has on offer!

So, I went ahead and emptied the bag – almost:

3146nhz.jpg

The transmission shafts are kept separate from the other parts in the same bag this way. The precise nature of these gearboxes might have something to do with this, given how any nicks or burrs on these shafts could impair and then critically damage the gears in operation. But then, I had trouble grasping the concept of a multi-speed transmission with an electric motor, so what do I know?

I do know that these are the contents of Parts Bag C:

2zdok0k.jpg

I also know I will probably need these, too:

1fy541.jpg

What I learned, though, is that one of those bags is an extra set of gears and shifting fork inserts for maintenance purposes. I appreciated it.

And then, like some sucker, I dumped all the hardware into a tray, because I have been building like that the entire way so far:

1z6cmyv.jpg

That could have had something to do with the poor start I made to the transmission… The parts for the first step are laid out here. The transmission looks to be built from the rear forward, since we are starting from the non-motor end:

348ggt3.jpg

Initially, I had struggles fitting this gear to the gearbox:

24dk8ev.jpg

11l64yh.jpg

But of course, this is not even the 15T gear specified in the manual! I casually matched it up to the manual’s drawing, where it was roughly the same size, only to discover that the pitch was all wrong between the two. Once I found the appropriate gear, it meshed nicely:

2nm1535.jpg

One would think it was made for that! :P

Various screws and spacers were then lined up to the front of the transmission casing, and installed. I had trouble making sense of all these screws until they were inserted:

16koqow.jpg

That would be part of the magic of assembling kits – once everything was in place, the purpose of their locations and arrangements would become clear.

With the slightly-embarrassing stumble out of the way, I was ready to turn my attention to the other gears. But was I ready to tackle the main shaft and its system of shift hubs and rings?

2cgy2r5.jpg

I had to be – it was the next step!

The manual goes about it in stages: a ring, 27T gear, shift hub, dog gear, and bearings go on first. The long shift hub is held in place by a cross-pin, and keeps everything contained on that end. That hub is underneath the grey shift ring in this photo:

w7fvc7.jpg

Why is it a ‘dog gear?’ I did not know this myself, and still do not know the etymology. I did learn, though, that ‘dogs’ refer to the large protuberances on the shift hubs’ outer circumferences. In a ‘dog box’ transmission, these ‘dogs’ engage with opposing surfaces inside a gear to engage it, but in the Bruiser, it looks like they engage the shift rings instead. The main and counter shafts, through the positioning of their gears and the system of cross-pinned and free-spinning shift hubs, permit different gear combinations to be engaged, and thus different speeds/ratios.

It is easier for me to understand than explain, though in any case is a big improvement over my previous definition of dog gear:

Gear_Square.jpg

A second dog gear and shift ring are added to the shaft with a 30T gear:

k9t1xd.jpg

Piling on top of these is a short shift ring, to go with a 22T gear and bearings. I did not understand the instruction to use spacers and shims for “clearance adjustment” until everything was built, and the gears had some play along the main shaft; in my case, two 0.3 mm shims were enough to remove it:

1zykhvq.jpg

Already, it looks like a serious bit of kit. Shift forks are next!

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To build the shift fork, the following components are called upon:

wl2asg.jpg

One thing I noticed was a small piece of wire tied around the shift releaser. With no mention of it in the manual, I would have readily clipped it off, but as a rookie I hesitated:

2u7c1p2.jpg

Once off, there were no issues getting it built:

2hyxteg.jpg

It is a finicky mechanism, though: its construction, with two steel balls in the shift forks sitting under the releaser, means it does not always line up in the orientation needed to insert it into the gearbox casing. It took some convincing to get it there:

10d78f4.jpg

The sub shaft follows, using metal gears and cross-pins:

n1a2ih.jpg

It also uses large O-rings to capture the cross-pins:

15rh4z6.jpg

I have never seen this before, but there should be no issues with the pins forcing themselves out against the tension of the O-rings. Given the compact dimensions of the gear case, this is a logical system – it certainly builds into a neat-looking sub shaft:

b3rcs9.jpg

Unlike the original Bruiser, the body of the re-release’s gearbox is split into two castings instead of three. The introduction of the sub shaft brings the second of these castings:

sd2nhv.jpg

Three cap screws bolt onto the front case from inside the rear case. This complicates maintenance to a degree, but then, removing one half of the transmission while it is still on the frame is not a typical thing to do for a front-motor truck like this. The resulting arrangement is secure:

29vgykm.jpg

We now move on to the motor end, and this planetary gear:

xd8m4o.jpg

The precision required from a gearbox, the arrangement’s radial symmetry, and the number of screws involved all mean that Tamiya specifies an order for tightening the screws. I believe it is similar to the method for attaching six-bolt brake discs to bicycles and cars: starting with one, the screw across from it must come next, followed by the one diagonal to that, and the pattern repeats until all six are secured. The flat-head screws for this step required a different screwdriver and some grease on the threads, but everything else about it was fuss-free:

zo8a5j.jpg

It slides onto the main shaft with a planetary dog gear, planetary shaft, and ball bearings:

fxois.jpg

The planetary gear surrounds the spur gear, which will conclude the gears in the transmission. If I had the 4 x 4 slipper clutch, it would be installed at this step. Since I am still waiting for it, the stock spur gear will be made up:

foekw7.jpg

Not forgetting the outer gear that meshes with the planetary assembly:

2qtg8z5.jpg

I wish I could say I understood everything about how the Bruiser’s 3-speed transmission works. In the course of this build, I cannot claim that, even if I am definitely more enlightened than before I opened the box. While I understand the principles that make it operate, I cannot really remember which combinations of those principles appear in precisely what areas of the gearbox - if only Tamiya released a clear version of the Bruiser's gearbox casing!

(that would be totally out of character for this scale-type truck, though!)

Edit: Although I see now that the optional slipper clutch replaces elements of the planetary gear instead of the spur gear. This would make a retrofit a bit more involved...

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The fun is not over yet, though. After installing the spur gear, with another 0.3 mm shim for clearance, and the spur gear cover and rubber transmission plugs:

2q055zs.jpg

x3enfd.jpg

The motor follows:

j6pwza.jpg

The mighty-again Mabuchi RS-540SH, with that proud sticker, is the motor around which the re-release Bruiser’s gearbox was designed. The original used that starter-box-size RS-750SH; at that time, the extra size was needed to turn what was then a primarily metal-geared transmission on a 6 V or 7.2 V nickel-cadmium battery. I can only assume that as electronics improved, the designers at Tamiya realized that a plastic-gear transmission could be rotated by a conventional 540 brushed motor.

That is a sweet spot for the redesigned gearbox, it appears, for the manual explicitly warns against using any motor other than the “one supplied in kit.” This could explain the special sticker to dress it up…

With that kind of attitude around motor choice, I was surprised to learn that the re-release gearbox makes provisions for different pinion sizes; the motor mount has one round screw hole and one slot, to permit mesh adjustments. The kit-supplied pinion is a 19T type, but this discovery could allow me to fit a steel 20T pinion from my stock if I felt so inclined (having no steel 19T pinion on hand).

I enjoyed testing it with a single AA battery:

iz4v89.jpg

It was necessary, too, as the gearbox’s configuration prevented me from eyeing the mesh as well. Visual inspection had served me well on my F1 and touring-car chassis to this point. The only problem with dry-cell testing was that the gearbox appeared to spin smoothly, without many problems for the motor, even at the tightest mesh. It took a few tries to listen for and find the ideal setting.

Once dialled-in, the pinion gear cover keeps the pinion protected:

2w3aj9k.jpg

The gearbox certainly feels like an assembly befitting the truck’s name – the finished component looks brutish and functional:

10p9e38.jpg

Propeller joints are added before it goes onto the frame:

jzxk0k.jpg

The shift fork ball connector is also attached in this step. I had issues lining it up, even with the kit-supplied guides. The manual did confirm that this is the correct position:

51pwy9.jpg

The telescoping propeller joints are offset to each other on the transmission, with the front joint sitting much lower on the transmission than the rear joint:

5fn8z9.jpg

Just two short cap screws are required to attach the gearbox to the frame, and two grub screws to fix the propeller joints to the axles. This should make the Bruiser more maintenance-friendly:

2u607d3.jpg

Clearance is tight for propeller joint attachment to the front axle, owing to that front skid guard:

241w27l.jpg

The rear had no such problems, with accessibility for 1:1 hands being good at both the top and the bottom of the chassis. Soon, gearbox and frame were united:

fcv538.jpg

It was at this step that I understood one reason why the propeller joints were telescoping: installing the complete transmission would have been exceedingly difficult without that feature!

It took a closer look for me to appreciate the packaging of this 3-speed transmission within the frame:

1htlw6.jpg

29vdtaq.jpg

One troubling fact is that the gearbox refused to turn during the dry cell test in this configuration. I am not keen on pushing it further yet, since I suspect the shift fork got pushed to a position that prevents the gears from engaging cleanly. Even if I am incorrect, the idea of not forcing non-rotating gears to turn is good practice.

Radio gear awaits – I do not have my 4-channel radio yet, but have a plan to test everything out anyway with my current 3-channel setup… As much fun as building the transmission has been, I look forward to putting it in motion!

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Fantastic work and great documentation of it. It must be good because I had never really quite 'got' this model before but I'm starting to appreciate it. 

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The planetary gear arrangement in the transmission is pretty interesting; I didn't realize that was part of the model.  My CR01 has a similar planetary gear setup; I wonder if the plastic gears are the same?

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On 2/7/2019 at 4:03 AM, Grastens said:

The sense of occasion was marked by viewings of several Bruiser videos, namely the original promotional spot and a MatteoRC special! Those, along with several Tamiya R/C Line-Up entries, were enough to set the mood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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yeah i agree with you matteo does make a video. and tbh he is to blame for my buying my bruiser after i saw hi bruiser in the mountins video.

i use a bbq wooden skewer for the threadlock as you can get it into the holes/nut threads easy if not that then try a tooth pick.

and when you come to paint the shell fix it together first that way you get the colour match perfect

this is my gearbox with the slipper clutch and it is a work of art. i remember with my gearbox would not marry together when i put the gears in as the inside of the gearbox needed ajustment from the casting process

IMG_20160214_115827.jpg

IMG_20160214_115558.jpg

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23 hours ago, Badcrumble said:

Fantastic work and great documentation of it. It must be good because I had never really quite 'got' this model before but I'm starting to appreciate it. 

Thank you! I can confirm :)

22 hours ago, speedy_w_beans said:

The planetary gear arrangement in the transmission is pretty interesting; I didn't realize that was part of the model.  My CR01 has a similar planetary gear setup; I wonder if the plastic gears are the same?

I studied the manuals at this suggestion, and while the planetary gear layouts are similar between the Bruiser and the CR-01, the CR-01's planetary gears look wider, and no other component seems to match up between the two kits.

5 hours ago, topforcein said:

yeah i agree with you matteo does make a video. and tbh he is to blame for my buying my bruiser after i saw hi bruiser in the mountins video.

i use a bbq wooden skewer for the threadlock as you can get it into the holes/nut threads easy if not that then try a tooth pick.

and when you come to paint the shell fix it together first that way you get the colour match perfect

this is my gearbox with the slipper clutch and it is a work of art. i remember with my gearbox would not marry together when i put the gears in as the inside of the gearbox needed ajustment from the casting process

IMG_20160214_115827.jpg

Good tips - and thanks for posting the picture of the slipper clutch! That gave me a better idea of where it goes in the gearbox; I have edited my build thread accordingly, having previously thought it to be a replacement for the spur gear.

Finishing the transmission brings us to:

358qge9.jpg

The entirety of this bag will finish off the chassis, with only the bodywork left. The first steps associated with this parts bag, though, will only entail checking the radio gear.

I had planned to use (and ordered) the renowned Futaba 4YWD Attack radio and receiver, in the 2.4 GHz version. Part of the fascination I had with the kit was the use of a real H-style shift gate on a twin-stick radio, to row through the gears like on an actual truck.

That radio has yet to appear, though, and there have been plenty of instances of Tamiya 3-speeed trucks being operated with 3-channel radio equipment. A Spektrum DX3C is exactly what I had, despite never needing more than two channels for any of my radio-controlled cars.

I just had to see how it worked, though, so I rounded up the SR300 receiver from my old Astute hybrid to join the complement of electronic equipment. It was here that I checked the LED wire length of the Axial AE-5L ESC:

25p0rcn.jpg

The ESC will be close to the rear end of the chassis in its usual mechanism box position. This looks like it will do! Axial issues this ESC with another 4-LED string, which would be useful for the headlights and a pair of auxiliary lights, but I doubted that would be long enough for what I could have planned. Having two working headlights would be enough for me; the auxiliary lights can be revisited later with either accessory buckets or a separate lighting kit.

As the Axial ESC has a Deans connector, compatibility with all my Tamiya connectors in the batteries and chargers I own was a small matter of plugging in a Deans female – Tamiya male connector. This had the bonus of extending the battery cable to a usable length. The ESC’s rearward location means that an extension is required to reach the Bruiser’s stock battery location, but instead of the kit-issued Tamiya female – Tamiya male type, I can use this one instead.

The contingency package of the Spektrum S605 and Traxxas 2056 came into play as well:

b8pg1k.jpg

While the Spektrum servo was intended for another build, I think I will have the generic 6-kg servos by the time that build starts, and the Bruiser can definitely benefit from a stronger servo!

Parts Bag D issues the following:

35lu9o4.jpg

As previously mentioned, I will not be using the battery cable extension, but will make good use of the motor cable extensions. Hardware pieces, the front body mount, cable ties, and rubber bands for the battery tray round out the contents.

They aren’t playing around with cables like these:

6gekid.jpg

The Bruiser is a long vehicle, and the ESC is way at the back. I might need every centimetre! That mechanism box is started with the two servos and these pieces to get it going:

2zpt53s.jpg

The Traxxas 2056 is rated for around 2 kg of torque, while the Spektrum S605 is rated for 9 kg. I had previously believed at least 4 kg was needed for both shifting and steering servos, but also heard that a well-maintained transmission can use any standard servo. If that is true, 2 kg should be sufficient for shifting, but I can rest easy with the 9 kg unit steering the front end.

As a result, I used the Traxxas 2056 for shifting, and the Spektrum S605 for steering. They are thus arranged as below:

30ksqkg.jpg

A rubber sheet provides some weather protection (though maybe not much) for the steering and shifting links as they exit the mechanism box:

35jjh2q.jpg

The corner of the sheet closest to the corner of the mechanism box had to be trimmed in order to fit the box lid. It was not extensive; a millimetre was sufficient.

In the absence of a resistor for a mechanical speed control, a plastic plug is issued with the re-release, and screwed down to the bottom of the electronics section of the box:

5jsjo0.jpg

This is definitely not weather-resistant, with plenty of daylight appearing through around the edges when I fixed it to the box. However, the electronics section is the highest point of the mechanism box, so anything short of submerging the vehicle should be fine for the electronics. My choice of equipment also means that everything in there but the receiver is waterproof, so there is not much harm to be done in the first place.

Sure, losing the receiver would be particularly bad, but I do not intend to go deep-river diving in this rig! Where they are, the electronics should fare well, with waterproofing being purely precautionary.

Rigged up, the mechanism box takes on this form:

2cgeixj.jpg

Servo savers and links are next – the longer rod is for steering:

33op7kn.jpg

The Spektrum S605 has seen its first and last of my projects. The metal servo horn seemed to fit neither the Tamiya – Futaba nor the Sanwa – Acoms – KO servo saver adaptor, despite being advertised as having a 23T horn. That should have had it fit the Sanwa – Acoms – KO servo piece, but no such luck – eventually, I forced the 25T Tamiya - Futaba part onto the servo horn, with little prospect of removal. Meanwhile, the same part slid cleanly onto the Traxxas 2056! Besides torque rating and the metal horn, there is little to distinguish this servo from any other better-regarded servo I have used in the past.

For all this, I really hope the Spektrum S605 is not as gutless or slow as some online reviewers suggest…

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Once I stopped complaining, the links were to be attached to their respective servos:

2131504.jpg

The shifting servo saver is radically cut away for clearance purposes; without the trimming, the corner of the servo saver would contact the shifting servo saver. I might have clipped too much, especially with the presence of thread-lock on the ball connector nut (it threads onto a 3 x 8 mm screw).

A variety of servo horn screws are issued with the kit. The Traxxas 2056 servo worked with a 3 x 10 mm tapping screw, while I used a 3 x 8 mm machine screw for the Spektrum S605.

At this point, for a rookie, it was difficult to tell which way was up or down with this mechanism box. I had previously believed this was the top lid:

zupmk2.jpg

It fastened on with four 3 x 8 mm tapping screws:

2ntw9b7.jpg

In reality, I had attached the access hatch to the servos, which face upside-down in the mechanism box. I only needed to see the next step to confirm this:

35ic4ef.jpg

Even I had seen the top-mounted on/off switch in the back of the Bruiser’s pickup bed.

Here’s the thing, though: the Axial AE-5L does not have an on/off switch! I am mildly impressed that I totally ignored this fact until now; I must have really taken it for granted. This is the first ESC I have seen without one, and I am a bit uncomfortable with having the model on as soon as I connect the battery and having to disconnect the battery just to turn it off. I hope its performance is that much better than the TBLE-02S!

In the scheme of this build, lights are more important than an on/off switch, but I really don’t know what I miss until it’s not there anymore… Can I say I was looking forward to having an accessible switch?

Switch or none, the Axial ESC packed away neatly, alongside the Spektrum SR300 receiver:

2607gur.jpg

The switch cover was installed anyway to cover the holes in the mechanism box lid. Appearances will be kept, but I must remember that there is nothing under that cover:

2wmhstx.jpg

To my surprise, the mechanism box attaches to the chassis using only four screws and O-rings:

55i7td.jpg

I was close to wishing for another way, since I found it quite difficult to line up the screws and O-rings to the matching holes in the mechanism box. Compounding the issue was the fact that all four screws were machine-type, so more revolutions were needed to secure them. The manual advised against over-tightening them, but it was not that straightforward to figure out what was sufficient. I ended up pulling at the box to check for slack once the screws were in; after tightening them, I loosened them until I could pull the mechanism box slightly off the chassis, at which point I re-tightened them until I was sure the O-rings took up all the space between the box and the chassis.

… I think I liked the well nuts on the Buggy Champ better! At least I was not building the original, though, which called for putting in the servo access hatch from under the chassis!

Patience is of great utility during a Bruiser build – I persevered to finish the step:

n2iqaf.jpg

But did it all work? I connected the shift and servo links and turned on the radio…

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To my great relief, it did:

25s36zb.jpg

I had forgotten an earlier comment about the Bruiser’s gearbox: the gears shift better in motion. All the balkiness of the shifter at rest (I guess I thought I needed to do that to adjust endpoints on the servo) disappeared as the gears spun fluidly on the throttle, from one ratio to the next.

Part of me regrets jumping ahead to a 3-channel setup, because it turned out to be great fun shifting the gears at the flick of an auxiliary switch. I set my Spektrum DX3C to a 3-position auxiliary switch near the throttle-hand thumb, and while the switch’s throw was minimal, it felt like an ideal position. It was satisfying enough for me to wonder why I ordered a separate 4-channel radio… I do intend to enjoy H-gate-style shifting once it does arrive, nonetheless – in the meantime, I can be confident that the truck is set up correctly.

The battery tray goes on the mechanism box with 4 screws:

2s6ww2t.jpg

The re-release Bruiser cannot accept the old 6 V, 4 000 mAh battery without modification, but that is fine – there do not appear to be batteries like that anymore, and a 7.2 V stick pack will do nicely. The battery tray gives some clearance between itself and the mechanism box once there, which is good for the motor and battery cables:

11br80p.jpg

The front and rear LEDs are routed out this way, too. I did have to put the rear lights opposite the other cables in order to reach the rear of the chassis; those are the cables trailing out to the right.

The end of the chassis draws near – the big bumpers and front body mount are up:

vou1q0.jpg

The front guard is linked to the chassis through these sturdy plastic mounts. They require loosening the front leaf spring shackle screw to slide in; once everything is secured, they certainly feel like they can take a few solid hits:

v7qf0g.jpg

I think the front bumper’s opening is reminding me of a hog’s snout, which extends the Bruiser’s association with the creature beyond the box-art Hog Heaven stickers. These bumpers sure aren’t playing around – I could easily deflect a few other 1:10 scale trucks off the path with these:

23uv5t3.jpg

The rear bumper is also strong, as is the rear body mount:

2zp6r1t.jpg

They appear easily customizable for different mounting heights or setups. This might be useful for the custom bed I am planning to use…

Having considered a higher-capacity battery for this truck, I found my 3 000 mAh battery was a perfect fit for the unmodified battery tray:

2z8x5zo.jpg

I have to say that this is enough for me to try out the 3 000 mAh batteries first, before considering anything new.

And now, those gigantic wheels and tires:

2a9bolw.jpg

Curiously, they are marked with the following year:

27yon15.jpg

Where else do these wheels appear?

The motor cables were secured at this step:

icn2op.jpg

The cable ties have metal tongues; I have never seen this in any other kit’s cable ties. I wonder why…

With no antenna to worry about from the Spektrum SR300, these two elastic bands are all that remain to finish off the chassis:

20h3p11.jpg

The kit furnishes the builder with four of them, in another appreciated move. The elastics must be double-looped to provide the correct tension for the battery tray; one loop alone is too loose:

2mff615.jpg

I am dubious of their inclusion, since elastic bands never age well, but at least they are easy to replace! This marks the final step for completing the chassis.

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