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Nostalgic Dad

Introducing myself to the forum - and ideas welcome

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Having just registered, I thought a quick post to introduce myself would be in order (Not sure of board etiquette, so delete if not the done thing).

Like I guess many of you, I had a Tamiya RC car as a child (Thunder Shot that I quickly upgraded to a Terra Scorcher). Now I have kids of my own (aged 4 and 7) I am feeling a strong nostalgic pull, and plan to dip my toe back into the wonderful world of Tamiya with them (or at least that's my story!). 

I don't have any set plans, but would like to start with some sort of monster truck  -  Lunch Box, Monster Beetle, Midnight Pumpkin or even (gulp) Clod Buster. I plan to put whatever I build / buy second hand to mess about in the garden with the kids (ramp building, bashing into stuff - the usual) so they will very much be work horses rather than show ponies. I'm thinking cheap and cheerful rather than rare and exotic, but I've said that before and lived to tell the tale. I don't have a lot of experience building, so will likely need a lot of advice along the way.

Any ideas what my first build / buy should be and tips for someone in my position gratefully received, and I look forward to picking your brains as I progress.

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Lunchbox or Midnight Pumpkin are fun and durable. Kids love wheelies :)

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7 minutes ago, Biz73 said:

Lunchbox or Midnight Pumpkin are fun and durable. Kids love wheelies :)

And their dads!

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Welcome to the board :) 

Lunchbox and Midnight Pumpkin are great fun back-yard bashers but don't expect high-tech performance.  They are designed to be bouncy and unstable.  Actually they're mostly designed to do wheelies, so unless you have a steady throttle finger you'll spend more time putting it back on its wheels than you will driving.  At one time they seemed to be the 'go-to' recommendation for kids, although the hard bodies can crack and the body mounts are a known weak point.  There are upgraded body mounts available online to cure this problem.  I have a Lunchbox set aside for when my daughter is older (she will be 3 next month, so not quite ready for it yet, although she has enjoyed pushing it around the floor).

If you want something the kids can play with, the Mad Bull seems to be among the favourite recommendations.  I've not had one but they often come out top in recommendations.  They're very similar to the Lunchbox / Midnight Pumpkin but have a lower profile, so are harder to tip over.

All three are simple builds that you and the kids could enjoy together.

The Monster Beetle is a classic oldskool favourite.  Tamiya didn't update it much with the re-release so it still has the weak differential.  With standard motors (or reduced power for the youngsters) it may well be fine, lots of people have said they've had no problems at all.  There is an aftermarket diff available if you did have problems / want to fit a faster motor later.  It's a more involved build but looks fantastic when it's done.

The Clod is a different prospect again.  Like the others it still has its flaws - don't expect Traxxas-level speed or handling or reliability.  Just expect an enormous box of clunky awesomeness, a fun build and a gorgeous body.  Lots of people run them as-is with no upgrades but if you wanted to modify later, the only limit is your imagination, skill with cutting tools, or wallet depth.

With a modern radio you can slow down any car to help with learning to pilot it.

Most people (myself included) would advise fitting bearings when you build the kit - otherwise generally accepted wisdom for newcomers is to leave the mods alone until you've driven it and worked out what you want / need.

Let's face it, if you've read any posts here before signing up, you're not asking which of the above to get - you're asking which order to get them in ;) :D

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Thanks @Mad Ax Really useful stuff there. Good to know about being able to limit the speed - that was something I'd been thinking about. 

I actually saw a Clod on gumtree over Christmas that looked great - that was one of the things that got me thinking.

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12 minutes ago, Mad Ax said:

Let's face it, if you've read any posts here before signing up, you're not asking which of the above to get - you're asking which order to get them in ;) :D

This, very much this! 😁

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If you want something that the kids can bash without the fear of breaking something I think that the comical grasshopper is a good choice. It has better performance than the Lunchbox/Pumpkin. The CVA shocks make it a better runner and Much more durable. (Thick lexan body vs ABS, strong body mounting points against the Lunchbox and Pumpkin weak body mounts.) The gearbox is bulletproof in eighter trucks. And kids love the comical style. The comical hornet and frog are good too but the rear wing is a weak point on both. The comical grasshopper is a speed tank. 

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GF-01 Dump Truck is an excellent model. Handles way better than a lunch box, is 4wd, and can still to wheelies. It's also durable against 'junior' drivers .. :)

 

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Most of the big wheeled vehicles will do nicely for a garden basher.

My favourites are Lunchbox, Pumpkin, Blackfoot, Blitzer Beetle and Wild Willy.

The Lunchy has the most durable body. 

Clod is brilliant but a lot more expensive and needs some mods to be truly fun.

For the price of a Clod you could get a Lunchy and Pumpkin for the kids. Then when your fatherly duties have been fulfilled and you've seen their beaming smiles, treat yourself to a Clod. 

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Quote

MAD AX kills me!:lol:

I say hello to you Nostalgic Dad.

I still consider myself a Newbie, Why? because i do not want to lose interest and my ability to build these fun machines.

oh and what Bromely said.

 

 

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+1 for a Comical Grasshopper / Hornet/Frog. Way better to drive than the lunchbox, way more durable, still does wheelies, kids love it. Just add bearings. Mine has a 21t motor (faster than stock) and even with lipo batteries my kids and their mates had no trouble driving it around the park and having fun with it, and it was just fast enough for them to have running races with and stuff like that. It's ace. My own experience of wanting a lunchbox as a kid then getting one as an adult was a massive let down. It looked amazing, kids still loved it but it was crap / frustrating to drive and the body damaged easily. 

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Thanks for all the great advice here.

I'd not thought about the comical cars. I see you can get a comical grasshopper or hornet kit for £85 - which looks a hefty discount. Will these run ok on mud / grass? And when you say add bearings, any more clues (I'm learning!)

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Worked out the bearings - get proper metal ones to replace the plastic ones in the kit.

I'll get there...

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Madbull is a great one for kids, basically a grasshopper with big wheels, Both my youngest learnt with them  and apart from steering which can be easily sorted nothing really goes wrong. Kids love the big wheels, they are a simple build /maintain and are great on rougher ground. normal wheels will struggle on all but the shortest grass.

The lunchbox etc fall over a lot.....gets tiring after a bit.

 

Upgrade the steering, change the pogo sticks to shocks and stick in a sport tuned as they get better and the fun lasts for years. My little lady still uses her's, while the 2 boys are on Traxxas Stampedes now.

We have 5 bashers in the family fleet. I also started with a thundershot as my first kit back in the day and still have it and my Pumpkin. ( look up my thread on 4Wd collection) to see a bit more and where I am now from where you are, just 2-3 more years under my belt.

Just what ever you get, enjoy them, keep fixing them and charging the batteries and get out the kids (little and large!!!0 will love them.

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10 minutes ago, Baddon said:

Madbull is a great one for kids, basically a grasshopper with big wheels, Both my youngest learnt with them  and apart from steering which can be easily sorted nothing really goes wrong. Kids love the big wheels, they are a simple build /maintain and are great on rougher ground.

gets my vote. A good Sunday afternoon build and built to take punishment. Bearings are a must in any build. A sport tuned motor adds a liitle pep!

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@Baddon just checked out your 4wd collection thread. That thundershot takes me back to Christmas morning, 1989(?). I tore the corner of the present off at about 3 in the morning and seeing the 'er' thought I had a grasshopper. I couldn't believe it when I realised my dad had pushed the boat out for a 4wd. God bless Beatties salesmen.

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Welcome!

If only you'd popped in sooner :) Thundershot was rereleased a few years ago... 2005 I think. Haven't heard of T continuing to churn out endless batches of them since then though, unlike Hotshot/Lunchbox/Hornet/etc.

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Welcome aboard!

Yeah I think I'd go along with the more or less consensus. Something like the Midnight Pumpkin or the Lunchbox is a good start.
All Hobby grade RC's have issues of some sort or other.

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Another vote for the Mad Bull from me....tough as old boots, easy to build, big wheels make them "go anywhere"...

I like the Rising Fighter too...cheapest Tamiya buggy!

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14 hours ago, Nostalgic Dad said:

Thanks for all the great advice here.

I'd not thought about the comical cars. I see you can get a comical grasshopper or hornet kit for £85 - which looks a hefty discount. Will these run ok on mud / grass? And when you say add bearings, any more clues (I'm learning!)

Yes. Mud might be a bit slippy if it's wet, but that's tyres not anything intrinsic to the comical chassis. On grass they are brilliant. Made for razzing around playing fields. 

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Thanks everyone for all the advice - i'm really grateful for so many of you taking the time to offer your thoughts.

I think I'm leaning towards ordering this as my first build Comical Grasshopper £84.99. Seems to fit the bill for my purposes and looks a good deal (the vintage 4wd buggies can wait for daddy's birthday.) I may pull the trigger later today if I can't resist. 

In terms of other kit, any views on good transmitters? Back in the day I had a trusty Techniplus stick controller. Pistol controllers seems so exotic then, but seem much more common now. Whatever I buy would need to have EPA (I think that's what you call speed adjustment) and fit small and large hands - which I guess suggests some sort of pistol. 

I'm assuming batteries, servos, bearings etc are much of a muchness and I should just buy on spec and price? 

 

 

 

 

 

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33 minutes ago, Nostalgic Dad said:

In terms of other kit, any views on good transmitters?

I'd put a vote in for the Spektrum Dx5c. I use both a stick set up (Core Code which is no longer manufactured) and the pistol Spektrum. Have to say I much prefer the Spektrum, seems so much more intuitive with steering. There are cheaper ones (Flysky is popular here) available than the £100 I paid for it but I wanted the security of on going support after the Core radio. It has EPA and many other features but most importantly multiple model memory so that for each car you get you just need a receiver and not a whole new radio set up. Obviously you still need two if you're running two at a time! 

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Another vote for Spektrum if you want a branded radio.  I use an older DX3c which I bought new for less than £100 at a local model expo a few years back.  For a while it was possible to get cheap Spektrum-compatible receivers from Hobbyking - less than £10 inc. postage got an ORX-300 receiver.  Unfortunately receivers are no longer available for older Spektrum radios (due to some radio law, I think an EU law) but a new Spektrum shouldn't have that problem.  If you do buy used then check what type of receivers and ask here if you're in any doubt.

I also use Flysky radios.  Actually I buy the Turnigy-branded models but they are identical.  The FS-i6 is a 6-channel (flashable to 8 or 9, IIRC) aero stick radio but can be programmed to work with cars.  Less than £50 for radio and single receiver.  Extra receivers are around £12 IIRC.  I think it supports up to 10 models but I've not got that many on mine.  Check the 'mode' before you buy - some have a throttle ratchet on the left stick, some on the right.  If you want to drive 'normal' then you want a regular spring on teh left and the ratchet on the right.  If you later expand into more channels and extra functions (like winches, lights, etc) then you can buy the parts needed to convert the ratchet to a spring.  The FS-i6x has pretty much the same features in a stupid-looking package for people who like to look ultra-modern and smooth around the edges.

I also have a Turnigy GT5 wheel radio.  It appears to be good value for money and has lots of features but I had some issues with dodgy cable routing in my Tx causing a bad connection.  I can't say all are like that because there are some videos online, but it's worth accepting that Flysky / Turnigy / whatever are not built to the same standards as Spektrum / Futaba / Sanwa / KO.

Avoid Carson transmitters like the plague.

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I like KO Digiace but their prices are usurious; very nice gear and worth the price if it's your 1 & only precious (hehe they did have a model called 'Precious' :P and that wasn't even their top end gear) but hard to justify for multiples. Futaba, JR, Sanwa etc all nice major brandnames too, but similarly pricey. I'm not interested in paying $200+ for 1 RX. 

For my personal use these days I'm sticking with older Spektrum DSM2 gear like mentioned above DX3C, plus the DX3S (more popular and plentiful to find used for not much extra), also at the higher end the DX3R & DX3R-PRO. Pretty sure there are clone RXes available for DSM2 around still... HK ORX300 wasn't the only one. 

The classic DSM2 Spektrums feel decent in hand, not quite built like a tank but common issues ain't hard to fix. Newer/current Spektrum use DSMR not DSM2 and (I'm told) won't talk to the nonOriginal RXes (but supposedly they'll talk to original DSM2 RXes, I haven't tested myself). Spektrum DSM2 binds monogamously to 1 RX.

For budget/rough use I go with Flysky - from basic to fancy they all work fine. There's many different rebrandings of the Flysky FHSS gear, they all bind to the same cheap RX just fine. Multiple FHSS RXs can all receive simultaneously from 1 transmitter they're bound to.

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Ahh, I love a good non-standard standard!

So, it seems like this Dx5c at £69 is a good buy BUT would possibly lock me into buying more expensive Spektrum brand receivers. Are there any cheap receivers compatible with the DX5C that people know of? 

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