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Jonathon Gillham

Top Force vs Super Astute

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So those of you who read my comments will know that I have wanted a Top Force for a while now, its just so pretty. However the Super Astute has been rere'd and has strangely taken top spot for me. I have made a few comments to my wife lately and have been told that I never get told off when I buy dumb things, so think I'm going to be able to get one over the line soon.

What are the major differences between them (other than 2wd vs 4wd). I'm worried that the Super Astute says its a limited release which means parts may be hard to find?

This will be a shelfer runner for me, sitting next to my Boomerang and run when I want. I keep asking my club to run a vintage class and I would probably take either one along to open class regardless to see how it goes. I will run it in my backyard Tamiya Cup (worldchampionship) of Mangere Bridge too, not that that matters as I will win in any car cos I'll stack the field with people I can beat.

Which is the better pick? Ignore the price and the fact I have the pinnacle of 4wd cars in the Boomerang already

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That’s a tricky one, the top force once properly setup is gorgeous to drive. Especially with a few hopups. 

I think the super astute is also really nice to drive, it has a little bit more technology and modern enhancement with the modern slipper clutch and a planetary gear diff. 

Both cars benefit from a damper upgrade, I think the super astute drivetrain might handle extra power a little better. But the top force is easier to drive with extra power. 

Both cars are fun anyway.

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No idea tbh as I haven’t finished the TF and don’t own or indeed have any experience of the SA. 

In all honesty though you know the only acceptable solution to this situation is to buy both. 😈

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I am really not going to help, I have 3 of each, Top Force is my fav vintage 4wd, SA fav 2wd.

Parts availability will always be a drama with a SA

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On second thought you need 2 of each....

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If it has to be one and you want to run it fear-free, Top Force.

I liked assembling the Super Astute. I've done up a lot of DF01 chassis' but never a SA. That being said, if you have no experience with either, both a fun builds. The SA is unique as it incorporates a lot of "fixes" the regular Astute needed to compete properly. If you have prior Astute experience, its neat to see the things they changed. And now here's the part SA fans will hate me for :ph34r:. I was a bit underwhelmed by the buggy. You can see improvement, but at the same time , Tamiya didn't go far enough in my estimation (I would assume the Dynastorm is the point where they got it right, but not owning one I can't say for sure). 

Some folks have problems with a gear support bracket breaking in the trans (Full Option seems to be making an alloy one), but honestly, I never have in my Madcaps and King Cabs so take that as you will. I found the mono-plate FPR chassis too flexible. The front shocks are too short and bottom out before the chassis does. The shocks are just plain CVAs. There's no turnbuckles. It takes a smaller servo too. All in all, while special, for the high price of the kit, I came away less than impressed. For diehard SA fans, don't hate me. Its just my opinion and I'm still glad Tamiya re-re'd it

The Top Force is cheaper. While it also has CVA shocks, lacks turnbuckles and even comes with just metal bushings, the lower price plus the added complexity of 4wd (i.e. building fun) make up for this in my estimation. The double deck FRP chassis is more rigid. You get a swoopy body with an undercowl, just like the SA. No slipper, but twin ball diffs with a quality prop shaft and front universals are nice. I felt very satisfied with the kit for the money. Parts supply won't be a problem for DF01 chassis vehicles. The same can't be said for the SA. Those that really intend on racing the SA are usually buying two kits (one for spares) just like the old days, in the US at least. I find both to be nice-driving vehicles.

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I wouldn't put big power into it so hopefully neither would have drivetrain issues. Most likely 17.5T if I can gear it properly, otherwise 13.5T. 

@Saito2 whats the fix for the SA front shocks? Need new ones or can they be built differently?

Are there any must have upgrades on either? I prefer to keep them close to stock and only do essential upgrades.

I have my modern race buggies so I'm not too worried about it having some quirks

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Dyna Storm front shock tower and longer front shocks is one way to fix the front suspensiion

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The Top Force could use the usual bearings and steel pinion plus metal motor mount. Other than that motor mount, there's no real glaring flaws in the kit. There are tons of little durability/reliability upgrades that could be subtlety added in to the DF01 chassis that have been covered in the various builds of those cars over the years. 

Other than possibly the aforementioned metal gear support bracket, the same can probably be said for the Super Astute. If the SA kit was $75 cheaper I would have been fine with its shortcomings, probably wouldn't have noticed honestly. For the $300 or more they went for around me, I kept finding things I wanted to upgrade, perhaps to suit the higher price. I kept thinking, "a graphite chassis would be nice to fix the flex" or "alloy dampers would go great on here" etc. But then reality struck and I remembered I already spend $300 on it to start and couldn't justify plowing another $100 or more into it.

This is just me though. If you want the SA over the TF, go for it. Its a solid performer like the TF and will still be a blast to build and run.

As @Snappy1 pointed out, the Dyna Storm front tower is a fix for the front travel. I wondered why all these SA were being built up with the DS front towers and now I know. @Hobbimaster has DF03 upgrade shocks on his SA and while it sounds like they might improve travel, the front end still doesn't quite bottom out before the shocks.

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So still looking at these, and who knows it may all end up as 'research'...

How do these 2 compare to older buggies or modern ones? I have found that the Fox and Boomerang have massive turning circles and struggle on my tight backyard track, but the TT02B performs far better as long as the grass is short. My Ultima and Lazer handle like the TT02B but at far higher speeds given they are running 17.5T brushless geared to an inch of their lives compared to the stock TT02B.

I'm picking that these old but higher performance buggies will perform as well as the modern basic ones but will be higher quality without all the slop in the TT02B? Or will the TT02B outperform the Top Force and Super Astute?

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There is a bit of hand waving here as I haven't get a tt02b, so I am extrapolating a bit from my DT03. However, when I built my top force style chassis it feels like a hopped up basic buggy. The plastic is all stock model, not reinforced, and there is plenty of slop to take out of suspension which isn't pillow ball based but base model shafts-through-plastic. Then there is the limited gearing (although the TA02 Speed Tuned set is at least now readily available to gear for brushless) and gearcase issues, and boggo spec shocks with the kit. It doesn't have especially good ground clearance either, certainly much lower than my Thunder Dragon. The suspension does work nicely and having seen a well set up one at the indoor race the other week it can clearly run well with some setting up and serious hop ups. I expect the only thing it would have going for it compared to the tt02b is that it will be a fair bit lighter with the plate chassis and towers.

It wasn't in the same league technically or finish-wise to my DN01, let alone the DB01 or my TRF211. 

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28 minutes ago, ThunderDragonCy said:

There is a bit of hand waving here as I haven't get a tt02b, so I am extrapolating a bit from my DT03. However, when I built my top force style chassis it feels like a hopped up basic buggy. The plastic is all stock model, not reinforced, and there is plenty of slop to take out of suspension which isn't pillow ball based but base model shafts-through-plastic. Then there is the limited gearing (although the TA02 Speed Tuned set is at least now readily available to gear for brushless) and gearcase issues, and boggo spec shocks with the kit. It doesn't have especially good ground clearance either, certainly much lower than my Thunder Dragon. The suspension does work nicely and having seen a well set up one at the indoor race the other week it can clearly run well with some setting up and serious hop ups. I expect the only thing it would have going for it compared to the tt02b is that it will be a fair bit lighter with the plate chassis and towers.

It wasn't in the same league technically or finish-wise to my DN01, let alone the DB01 or my TRF211. 

Thanks for that. I guess i'm really asking too much of an old design as I was hoping it would be more DN01/DB01 than DT03. Hmmm, they are so pretty though, and realistically wouldn't get run much anyway...

Maybe its time to upgrade the race cars then (not because I need to but to scratch the kit building itch). Since you mentioned it I really want that DB03! If that was released I'd be getting one for 4wd stock and put a mod motor in the Lazer

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16 minutes ago, Jonathon Gillham said:

Thanks for that. I guess i'm really asking too much of an old design as I was hoping it would be more DN01/DB01 than DT03. Hmmm, they are so pretty though, and realistically wouldn't get run much anyway...

Maybe its time to upgrade the race cars then (not because I need to but to scratch the kit building itch). Since you mentioned it I really want that DB03! If that was released I'd be getting one for 4wd stock and put a mod motor in the Lazer

Haha! I think you might be waiting a whole for that! A couple of other silly ideas crept in front of it. Don't know what budget you are looking at but a guy on TRF Off Road on Facebook has NIB TRF503 for 500usd. 511s seem to come up on UK ebay fairly often too. 

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18 minutes ago, ThunderDragonCy said:

Haha! I think you might be waiting a whole for that! A couple of other silly ideas crept in front of it. Don't know what budget you are looking at but a guy on TRF Off Road on Facebook has NIB TRF503 for 500usd. 511s seem to come up on UK ebay fairly often too. 

I don't know, while Tamiya have dropped their offroad team they still sell a heap of buggies and they have these cool onroad cars to draw inspiration from. Its time they brought out a mid range buggy.

Unfortunately a new offroad racer wouldn't be from Tamiya (unless they release something new). Most likely would be HB D418 or Associated B6.1D because I get parts support and setup help at the track for those 2. I was actually planning to replace the Lazer this season given its had 2 years of me crashing it around the track but there just isn't a need to right now. I have replaced the ESCs, motors and batteries in the last 6 months though on the race buggies, some planned some not, which cost a bit. Luckily I don't have a budget as such for rc racing, its more about buying whats needed. Now that my son comes down with me the sky's the limit!

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Here's a question I asked a little while back that might be of use. Personally, I find the Top Force superior, as an off road buggy, to the TT02B. It will be a good deal more advanced than the Boomerang which is several stages behind in development from the DF01 series. The Top Force is the beginning of the era where Tamiya was starting to get in line with performance buggies of the day, while still being distinctly Tamiya. It wasn't a "fun" buggy like the Boomer or an over-the-top but unproven buggy, like the Avante series. 

Neither the SA or TF is in the era of tight-tolerance, glass fiber reinforced plastic. Its still old fashioned Tamiya ABS but it must be kept in perspective with it time. I used to remove a lot of slack out of old Tamiya's suspensions etc. It has be suggested (and there is some truth to this) that older Tamiya's are designed with this slop in mind and the chassis just settles in as the car goes into motion. Removing all the slop could actually make the car too edgy. I don't know for sure and would like to do some empirical testing on this theory.

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Agree with @Saito2

Dynastorm would be the one to go for - not least because (I think) its origins bore the first ever TRF treatment ... carrying a TRF211X prototype tag and being properly tested / influenced by Tamiya drivers back in the day.

Google translate will show you what I mean re the attached pics.

Also worth checking out RC Fans points with a translation from Japanese:

http://www.rcfan.net/trf211x/1.html

 

F6B43B09-C54A-4981-AE0D-D9FF7616C239.jpeg

649F29D7-FD40-4E18-9997-EA979495C78E.jpeg

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Hey mate, tough choice. We’ve all been there you get your heart set on something and when the time comes the second guessing and doubt sets in when it comes to parting with some hard earned. 

A while ago I was set on a Super Hotshot ( Still think they are an awesome looking bit of kit, maybe one day ). But I  like to use what I’ve got and one thing that kept coming up was the horrendous turning circle. Then a post came up about a Kyosho Javelin. Wow what’s that ?? I thought. I’d never seen one before and I’m only what you might call an RC enthusiast definitely no expert and tend to go for what I like the look of.

The 3 criteria for selecting is,

1, Do I like it?

2, Can I afford it?

3, Do I need it?

Usually guarantee 2 of the 3 is yes and in democracy majority rules.

So started the extensive research as you do. Then I saw a short YouTube clip of a Javelins turning circle, the thing just does a complete U turn in not much more than it’s own length. That was the deal done right there. That’s mainly what makes it such a great buggy to drive ( for me anyway) And with 4wd, comes 4 wheel braking. Also very handy in tight spots and with quick motors fitted. Particularly when I’m not the greatest driver on the planet.

No doubt though either the TF or the SA would be great cars in their own right I can’t help but think if you went for the SA there will be times you might look at and wonder about the Top Force as it’s been on your hit list for ages. 

After having a quick look at a couple of vids of SA’s and TF’s this one would swing me to a Top Force as it would seem to turn on a dime like a Javelin,

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-bhVOqZSJM4

👍🏻

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, ThunderDragonCy said:

 A couple of other silly ideas crept in front of it. 

Do tell...! :) 

 

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Great feedback and tbh, I really think you can't go wrong with either the Top Force or Super Astute.  They are both just great examples of true early 90's Tamiya and both were (and still are) a really standard low cost race buggy that would take plenty of Hop-Ups which we are mostly addicted to and of course it's the after sale Hop-Ups where Tamiya make some income. 

 

On 3/2/2019 at 3:45 AM, Saito2 said:

As @Snappy1 pointed out, the Dyna Storm front tower is a fix for the front travel. I wondered why all these SA were being built up with the DS front towers and now I know. @Hobbimaster has DF03 upgrade shocks on his SA and while it sounds like they might improve travel, the front end still doesn't quite bottom out before the shocks.

 

On the above, I think it's worth mentioning that a kit standard Astute (58080) does bottom out front and rear.  Also an Astute with Madcap suspension arms fitted will also bottom out front and rear (although agreed, the kit front dampers don't offer much travel).  The Super Astute then came next with much improved strength suspension arms but the front suspension arms have the lower damper mounting point further inboard.  This difference results in the front not bottoming out when fitted with the standard kit dampers and shock tower.  At the time, Tamiya's factory drivers very quickly started using longer front dampers, taller front shock towers or both and then the hybrid Super Astute / TRF211X started to appear.  My opinion only but I do think that Tamiya could foresee that anyone that was going to race their Super Astute was going to make their own changes including suspension Hop-Ups and providing their own choice of motor.

 

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4 hours ago, Thommo said:

Also an Astute with Madcap suspension arms fitted will also bottom out front and rear (although agreed, the kit front dampers don't offer much travel).  The Super Astute then came next with much improved strength suspension arms but the front suspension arms have the lower damper mounting point further inboard.  This difference results in the front not bottoming out when fitted with the standard kit dampers and shock tower.

Yes! Thanks for the insight. I wondered why my Madcaps could bottom out in the front while the SA could not. I hadn't gotten around to closely comparing the two yet. Having no experience with the original Astute, are its front arms rigid ABS like the SA or a more flexible type of plastic like the Madcap?  

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Flexible like the Madcap.  Funny, soft arms are called high traction arms these days..... ;)

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I'm building a Super Astute right now, and it's a real peach. It has some very interesting design features that are making the build a pleasure, it was nicely boxed, the components are (mostly) attractive. It's a better thought out buggy than the Top Force, and of a higher quality standard. I've never built a Top Force, but have done plenty of TA01/02s. That said, the Top Force in box art is smashing, and I'm still kicking myself for missing the re-release. I won't miss it next time, or if Mr. T does an Evo.

Off topic a bit, but I'd really like to see MS versions of re-release, like a full option DF02, or a really trick Fox... With all hex hardware, of course.

 

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1 hour ago, Big Jon said:

I'm building a Super Astute right now, and it's a real peach. It has some very interesting design features that are making the build a pleasure, it was nicely boxed, the components are (mostly) attractive. It's a better thought out buggy than the Top Force, and of a higher quality standard. I've never built a Top Force, but have done plenty of TA01/02s. That said, the Top Force in box art is smashing, and I'm still kicking myself for missing the re-release. I won't miss it next time, or if Mr. T does an Evo.

Off topic a bit, but I'd really like to see MS versions of re-release, like a full option DF02, or a really trick Fox... With all hex hardware, of course.

 

Interesting, I guess I suspected that the SA is a higher quality buggy hence the original question and you've confirmed it.

I also realised that the SA kit isn't THAT far off getting a DB01RR...well, $100 in it but the DB01RR comes will a bunch of stuff, better dampers being the key one. Except thats pushing the magic $500 mark delivered which is pretty much a race kit.

Could a Top Force body fit a DB01RR, that would be the holy grail...

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The top force is a different animal to the Db01rr and neither is better than each other for various reasons. The DF01 chassis is just a really nice play chassis flat out. 

Of course the DB01RR is a better handling race car, but the top force has its own feel about it. If you already own a DF01 (manta Ray etc) probably not a lot of point in a top force unless you really want the look. If you don’t have a DF01 why haven’t you bought a top force yet? I’m sure the re releases are nearly sold out by now. 

Remember the DB01RR has no body, no wheels, no tires and no electronics. That being said, it’s a classic that probably won’t be re released. 

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