I'm sorry - that is a rather pompous title I know (and it will almost certainly change as this build evolves..), but I've had an idea that was too good not to make start on, and subsequently share... so needed a thread title!
Some of you will be familiar with my Fro-Sco (Frog/Scorcher hybrid) project which was one of the first Tamiya mash-up vehicles I built; and which evolved over the years - including grafting-on a whole SRB front-end to the Frog chassis - before I ultimately decided to sell it as part of thinning my collection prior to finally moving to the US earlier this year.
Link to the Fro-Sco in my showroom: here.
While I've been concentrating on building more crawler style 4x4 vehicles recently, I've always had a soft-spot for the [Tamiya] Beetle body - and indeed it was the original Sand Scorcher (back in the early 1980s) which got me interested in the whole RC thing in the first place - so I have to admit, I now kind of miss having a Bug on the shelf...
Which neatly brings me onto my latest idea - a 'Fro-Sco Mk2' as it were - something even more extreme/and mechanically refined/scale than the original, but using a similar ethos in that it will combine [what I consider] the best of the SRB Scorcher: the front suspension and the body-shell; while eliminating the weaker elements: erm, the rest of the chassis and the short-travel rear suspension - and replace all that with something far more extreme looking and potentially more dynamic too.
To be honest, it's already something I've been considering ever since I started building the SRB Cage Racer - which mated SRB front and rear sub-frames using a custom allot chassis, to a Vaterra Twin-Hammers cage assembly, creating what is essentially a two-seater 'Rough Rider' style SCORE buggy, complete with full interior and lots of scale detailing.
Link to the SRB Cage Racer in my showroom: here.
Indeed at the time, I thought that with a bit of Dremel work, the Twin Hammers cage would actually fit very nicely inside a Scorcher shell - the main cage fitting neatly inside the cabin, while the rear rails would essentially extend out through the rear window/C-pillars and over the rear-mounted engine - ideal for mounting a spare wheel as it were...
Sure enough, revisiting this idea in the last few weeks as revealed there are actually loads of people who have had a similar idea out there in internet RC land (there are very rarely genuinely new ideas these days I know) who have to a greater or lesser degree, successfully mated a Scorcher body to a Twin Hammers chassis/cage and running gear...
However, I have yet to find anyone who has junked the IFS (independent front suspension) and 4WD as part of these builds - and why would you? - after all the 'Hammers is an excellent 'rock-racer' and not bad in more technical terrain too... but it's not really very Baja/Class 5, nor particularly scale with typically huge 1.9 or 2.2 wheels & tyres and the extra wide axles/long wheelbase of the original Twin Hammers chassis.
So this is my plan:
photo. assembling the core components... and then changing my mind a bit ;o)
When I drew up the initial spec for this build, I knew I had to utilise the Tamiya SRB scale front suspension assembly (as I did with the Fro-Sco and Cage Racer) as I consider it quintessentially 'Baja' - even though there is not a huge amount of travel, and indeed you can only fit a maximum of 70mm shocks on the front without extending the towers - and even then the cast 'bump stops' limit the overall travel anyway*
For info. the 70mm RC4WD super-scale internal sprung shocks are perfect to replace the original curly springs and dampers on the front of an SRB, with only a little grinding required to the original spring tangs to ensure the shock body clears:
The bodywork would of course be a baja-bug Tamiya shell - in this instance the Monster Beetle version rather than Sand Scorcher (white) or Blitzer Beetle (black), primarily as it was really cheap on Ebay (less than $16 shipped!), and I won't be using many if any of the other parts you get with a complete body-set anyway. Indeed, while this vehicle will remain instantly recognisable, it is going to require some pretty extensive wheel-arch work to fit around the rest of the underpinnings I have planned...
The rear end for example is going to be very much mix-and-match - and fundamentally I wanted to use a [scale] live rear axle on long trailing arms, and long-travel coil-over shocks on the rear (fortunately I already have a number of sets of these discarded from my various crawler builds over the years). Now of course this is also what a lot of the Twin Hammers [chassis] based builds look like, but it is not inappropriate for a 'unlimited' class desert buggy once you decide to junk the original VW engine and trailing arm suspension (sorry Toykid, but this one is getting more than a flat-4 air-cooled lump in it ;o)
However, using a traditional solid axle and radius arms immediately threw up a packaging problem - in that to have a decent length prop-shaft, either the gearbox would be were the seats needed to be (if this is going to have a scale interior, which was certainly always the intention), or the wheelbase would have to be significantly extended rearwards... not an issue itself since the Twin Hammer cage extends way past where the original rear axle line would be - and where I intend to mount a pair of spare wheels vertically this time (compared to the SRB Cage Racer, which has a shortened cage and single horizontal spare directly above the ToyKid scale VW engine).