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DeadMeat666

Best, Newest Tamiya 4wd 1/10 scale RC Buggy

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Having recently gotten back into RC'ing, and being a die-hard Tamiya fan, I am struggling to understand the current 'hierarchy' of Tamiya buggies at the moment.

Since I'm working now (compared to when I was 17 and obviously much more financially challenged), budget was much less of an issue, and I sprung for not one, or two, or three, but FOUR Tamiya kits in the past 5 months:

1. Lunchbox (I just had to have one after hearing all the reviews about how fun it is, and it is quite fun, and an enjoyable build. It harks back to the Hornet I once had as a kid, which carries nice memories.

2. Plasma Edge II - TT02B. I bought this thinking it was the 'modern' rendition of the Manta Ray I also once had and modified to Top Force Evolution levels in the past. I later discovered that the Manta Ray was a DF01 and not a TT02B; in fact TT02B's didn't even exist back then lol.

3. Dark Impact - DF03. I fixed the mistake made in number 2 and got (again) what I thought was the most modern version of the Manta Ray, but later discovered that it's not without its weaknesses as a chassis, and not that popular after all.

4. TT02 Type S chassis with a few bodies (chassis received, bodies and MANY hopups still in the mail due to COVID). This one is off-topic; will not be discussing it, but TLDR I wanted a fast, controllable road car for the many unused but pristine roads I have here where I live.

While I don't particularly regret any of my purchases, countless hours have been spent doing further research; I'd estimate over 200 hours so far scouring forums and watching YT videos about Tamiya RC's, and I still am not able to find the answer to the question in the topic header:

What is the latest and greates from Tamiya when it comes to 4wd buggies these days? The influx of rereleases has really confused the timeline for me, and it's made it difficult to discern new from old, supported (spare parts and hopups) from unsupported, and generally good (few weaknesses) from bad (fatal flaws like sillyputty diffs, breakable A5 suspension piece, etc)

If anyone can help me navigate the new Tamiya model lineup I'd be much appreciated, and thanks in advance!

(sorry for babbling)

 

Cheers,

Kamal

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I had exactly the same challenge. Basically, there isn't one. They all have issues, and there is no killer option. 

I went for a terra scorcher because the issues were more easily solvable than the others (plus quite fancied it in the end), but it's certainly not latest and greatest. Top Force is another more recent re release, looks good and performs well, but again there are a bunch of upgrades needed

Tt02b is the current one. You can get a df01 Durga, which might be ok, but it doesn't look like its sold in many places. There was a range called TRF, I will let someone who knows more than me answer about them, but don't think you can get them easily now. 

If you want a modern race spec 4wd kit that is capable you have to look elsewhere I think. Schumacher and kyosho do them, plus you can get some of the traxxas, losi and hpi cars as a kit (many ready to run). All will be low to the ground and basically bad at off-road as far as I can tell. In the modern world you need a stadium truck for actual off-road it seems. 

 

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I have also wondered this. I've not owned a 4wd since my Procat in 1991. I keep looking at the Super Hotshot but as they are out of stock everywhere, I then started looking at more modern options too. Seems the DF-03 and TT-02B are the most recent but both have their issues. I wish Tamiya would bring some new stuff instead of re-hashing old parts into new kits. It's forcing me to look at other brands, which I don't really want to do. Especially RTR's... I hate that idea...

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If you want tamiya the Durga is a fantastic driving kit.  Very underrated and if you add the slipper, is really durable aswell. Also has the smoothest transmission inhave ever seen on a car, EVER

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2 minutes ago, slimleeroy said:

If you want tamiya the Durga is a fantastic driving kit.  Very underrated and if you add the slipper, is really durable aswell. Also has the smoothest transmission inhave ever seen on a car, EVER

What are spares like? I see it came out 13 years ago!

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I'd say there is no such thing.  (lol, while I was writing that, AlexB wrote the same thing)

It's not RC cars, it's you that's important.  Spending hours trying to figure out what's best 4WD buggy is also part of the hobby.  

It's like asking what's the best airplane or best tank or best ship.  Piper cub is dinkiest airplane with a 37 horse power engine. But almost everybody learns to fly in it.  While Sherman tank wasn't the best tank when compared to German tanks, but it won the war.  Titanic was best ship of its day, but it sank, etc. etc.  

Fixing the deficiency is also fun part of the hobby.  There is no perfection until you put your sweat into it (IKEA-effect).  The more Tender Loving Care you put in, the perfect it becomes to you

DB01 Durga is a good suggestion.  You already have DF03.  If you added 5 cars in as many months, why not add DB01, and DF01?  DF01 is basic when compared to DF03, but it's still a fun basher.  You can still find some parts for DB01.  Tamiya had a long run with original, R, RR, and RRR version.  The most recent RRR version came out in the summer of 2015.  I wish another version was released. (There was DB02, which was less popular) 

 

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2 minutes ago, Juggular said:

DB01 Durga is a good suggestion.  You already have DF03.  If you added 5 cars in as many months, why not add DB01, and DF01?  DF01 is basic when compared to DF03, but it's still a fun basher.  You can still find some parts for DB01.  Tamiya had a long run with original, R, RR, and RRR version.  The most recent RRR version came out in the summer of 2015.  I wish another version was released. (There was DB02, which was less popular) 

 

But, but.... If I understand correctly, the Durga is a belt-driven buggy, correct? Judging by how many rocks, sticks, and stones I find in the tub of my TT02B after a normal run, I doubt any belt would survive more than 5 minutes in tha sort of environment. How can anyone even justify the use of open belts on a buggy? That never made sense to me, hence why I was afraid to pull the trigger on a Durga.

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I never bought any off-roader without covered gearbox.  Like you, open gearbox never made sense to me.  No matter how strong gears are, why allow dirt to increase the friction?  

DB01 has the belts covered.  I thought there were tiny spots where dirt could possibly come in. But it's 99.9% covered, and you can easily seal questionable areas.    

 

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Thanks @Juggular, I didn't know the Durga had covered belts, that makes a lot more sense!

I do understand the concept of there not being "one best" when it comes to RC in general, since there are different strokes for different folks and all; I was more confused about what the newest 4wd buggy was from Tamiya, as it seems they haven't actually come out with something genuinely new in a while, at least in the 4wd buggy space, which is unfortunate.

Given the buggies I have already recently acquired, I guess I'll just end up tinkering with those for a while, especially considering the recent exhorbitant prices that are being charged these days for kits.

Although a little off-topic, rcmart seems to have ALL their Tamiya kits on discount right now, with some more than 40% off, in case anyone is interested.

(Disclaimer: I have no affiliation to rcmart whatsoever, just happened to notice while looking for a DB01 and figured I'd pass it on)

Cheers,

Kamal

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1 hour ago, DeadMeat666 said:

lthough a little off-topic, rcmart seems to have ALL their Tamiya kits on discount right now, with some more than 40% off, in case anyone is interested.

If you are in USA better check shipping cost.  discounted kit looks awesome till you see the shipping is $140

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Like everyone is saying, there isn't a best really.  Certainly nothing that will compete with the likes of Losi, HB Racing, Kyosho, Ae etc race kits.  The closest will be the TRF5XX cars which are older now.  There are a few, both shaft and belt drive and they would still be competitive club racing, but they are expensive and much more difficult to work on.  A big bonus of more modern kits is they simplified them so for example its a few screws to access the diffs so its easy to adjust them or change the fluid.  Race kits have also evolved as tracks have evolved, so a modern race kit is fast on a modern track, but probably slower on a track from 20 years ago as the cars then were optimised for that style of track.  Now you'll see kits are designated carpet or dirt cars, and even the dirt versions are really designed for high grip tracks.

 

The DB01 is the chassis type to look for, despite it being older it is still a decent buggy.  The RR I think is the one to look for - it has important hopups included like slipper, alloy shocks but also more common spares.  I think the RRR had some updates which actually changed a bit, but could be wrong on that.  A DB01 expert will hopefully chime in with the differences between the RR and RRR (if any).

 

Of all the others I find the performance is comparable for general running.  We run ours mostly in the backyard on a mown track with some wooden jumps and all can be competitive.  This is comparing Novafox, Boomerang, Monster Beetle, Top Force, TT02B and also Kyosho Lazer ZX6, Ultima RB6.6, Ae B6D and HB Racing D413 and D418.  All have their strengths and weaknesses (except the B6D and HB cars, they just have strengths...).  We just run the racecars for a change at home, especially in lockdown since we haven't been able to race.

On a tennis court or similar, the TT02B would be fastest (excluding the race kits) as its essentially a touring car with longer arms.  Its generally slower on the grass track though as they don't jump well and are too low so they are most likely to get stuck.

Its a common complaint (by me as well) that the modern buggies are too low.  This isn't strictly true as they can all be set higher or lower depending on the surface.  Since most offroad racing is now on carpet or clay which is smooth, they tend to be setup to be lower.  Older buggies are generally higher, but this actually represents a smaller tuning window.  The exception is the DF02 and TT02B which are both derived from touring cars, they are really limited in their ride height and struggle to go higher so require bigger wheels.  A race kit from another manufacturer though will be able to be set really high to the point of grip rolling every corner if you want it to.

Personally, of the current available Tamiya buggies my pick is the Top Force.  It has decent rideheight unlike the TT02B but also handles really well, its actually pretty close to a modern race kit.  Parts are readily available, and the only essential upgrades are motor mount and bearings.  You can go nuts on upgrades with carbon chassis, hi caps etc too if you want.  The DB01 would be a better buggy but I'm not sure on parts availability now.

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Parts availability for the DB01 is mostly fine and for hop ups is still good if you don't mind waiting for them to come over from HK

 

To answer the OP's original question - something I was doing late last year! If anyone can help me navigate the new Tamiya model lineup 

The reason why Tamiya's buggy line up is hard to understand is that they are not actively developing racing buggies or producing club racer level consumer kits. A lot of the kits you might see are no longer made and are old stock.

tl;dr the hierarchy was 

TRF buggies - 201, 501, 511, 503
'D' buggies - DN01, DB01, DB02, DB01R, DB01RR, DB01RRR. Models: Zahaak, Durga, Baldre and Leonis
'D' second tier buggies - DT02, DT03 DF03
'T' buggies - TT02B

They had a racing team up to 2016(?) called Tamiya Racing Factory (TRF).  They developed the top tier buggies that had snappy names like TRF201, TRF511x etc that you could buy if you thought you could compete at the regional / national level or just wanted super blingy stuff. Think of these as the Avante / Egress / Astute / TF Evo / Dyna Storm of their day. 

From these Tamiya released more durable, easier to live with cars that were still designed to win stuff but probably more at a club level. They had chassis names - DN01 (2wd), DB01 (r, rr, rrr variants came later) and DB02. Each chassis was then released as a model, so you had the Zahaak (2wd DN01), Durga and Baldre and the Leonis on the 4wd DB01 and DB02 chassis. Analogous to Mad Cap / Top Force / Vanquish / Manta Ray. Of these, only the Zahaak is still in kit production as far as I know. Of these, only the DB01 chassis was incrementally developed in to the DB01 R. DB01 RR and DB01 RRR versions. 

All the kits below these in the range were not designed with racing in mind - although you could race a DF03 heavily modified. 

If you want to buy one:

TRF stuff - get on the TRF group on Facebook. Prepare to have your wallet emptied. 
D buggies: DN01 can be imported new from HK. DB01 and variants is all NOS stuff, can be imported from Japan but the kit price has basically doubled in six months. DB02 is very hard to find. Spares can be bought in the UK and Europe.
D buggies second tier and T - as you know can be bought new in Europe and the US although I think the DF03 is technically out of production as a kit. 

Hope that helps. 

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DB01R i had is by far the best running and handling 4wd buggy i have owned. If you pick up one used or by a basic DB01 new then you are on the way to a great driving experience. If you are running a hotter system that 13.5 brushless the slipper is essential, but i only had the single slipper and thqt was great with 8.5 in it. I also don't have the best experience with ball diff longevity, and the basic kit comes with ball diffs both ends with the cheap Tamiya plastic drive cups that are prone to melting. I would budget on buying a pair of gear diffs for pretty much fit and forget running. Other than that, you can't lose. Great buggy. 

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On 5/26/2020 at 12:06 AM, Howards said:

Parts availability for the DB01 is mostly fine and for hop ups is still good if you don't mind waiting for them to come over from HK

 

To answer the OP's original question .....

Howards this is a quality post. 
I’m I. Exactly the same position as OP. My wife bought be a rere bruiser and now I want to go racing again. It seems Tamiya is a no-go. I was always being beaten by the throngs of Schumacher Cats back in the day anyway!

now.... I wonder which modern buggy I should race that is most Tamiya like....

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5 minutes ago, flamejob said:

Howards this is a quality post. 
I’m I. Exactly the same position as OP. My wife bought be a rere bruiser and now I want to go racing again. It seems Tamiya is a no-go. I was always being beaten by the throngs of Schumacher Cats back in the day anyway!

now.... I wonder which modern buggy I should race that is most Tamiya like....

Just to clarify, I don't intend to race at all, in fact I don't have a racetrack even within a 1000km radius. I was asking in order to get a better understanding of what's newest. I doubt I'll be straying away from Tamiya as I have a sentimental attachment to the brand.

Thanks in all cases!

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17 minutes ago, DeadMeat666 said:

Just to clarify, I don't intend to race at all, in fact I don't have a racetrack even within a 1000km radius. I was asking in order to get a better understanding of what's newest. I doubt I'll be straying away from Tamiya as I have a sentimental attachment to the brand.

Thanks in all cases!

Oh ya, I’m completely Tamiya obsessed but I don’t see the point in club racing an old rare buggy which I will have to trawl eBay every time I break something 

 

I was one of those Tamiya die-hards in the 80s that raced a modified Hotshot, then Avante, then Egress and still got squarely beaten by way cheaper and easier to drive other brands. I do wish Tamiya would make a modern racer though. 

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On 5/26/2020 at 2:56 AM, Jonathon Gillham said:

Like everyone is saying, there isn't a best really.  Certainly nothing that will compete with the likes of Losi, HB Racing, Kyosho, Ae etc race kits.  The closest will be the TRF5XX cars which are older now.  There are a few, both shaft and belt drive and they would still be competitive club racing, but they are expensive and much more difficult to work on.  A big bonus of more modern kits is they simplified them so for example its a few screws to access the diffs so its easy to adjust them or change the fluid.  Race kits have also evolved as tracks have evolved, so a modern race kit is fast on a modern track, but probably slower on a track from 20 years ago as the cars then were optimised for that style of track.  Now you'll see kits are designated carpet or dirt cars, and even the dirt versions are really designed for high grip tracks.

 

The DB01 is the chassis type to look for, despite it being older it is still a decent buggy.  The RR I think is the one to look for - it has important hopups included like slipper, alloy shocks but also more common spares.  I think the RRR had some updates which actually changed a bit, but could be wrong on that.  A DB01 expert will hopefully chime in with the differences between the RR and RRR (if any).

 

Of all the others I find the performance is comparable for general running.  We run ours mostly in the backyard on a mown track with some wooden jumps and all can be competitive.  This is comparing Novafox, Boomerang, Monster Beetle, Top Force, TT02B and also Kyosho Lazer ZX6, Ultima RB6.6, Ae B6D and HB Racing D413 and D418.  All have their strengths and weaknesses (except the B6D and HB cars, they just have strengths...).  We just run the racecars for a change at home, especially in lockdown since we haven't been able to race.

On a tennis court or similar, the TT02B would be fastest (excluding the race kits) as its essentially a touring car with longer arms.  Its generally slower on the grass track though as they don't jump well and are too low so they are most likely to get stuck.

Its a common complaint (by me as well) that the modern buggies are too low.  This isn't strictly true as they can all be set higher or lower depending on the surface.  Since most offroad racing is now on carpet or clay which is smooth, they tend to be setup to be lower.  Older buggies are generally higher, but this actually represents a smaller tuning window.  The exception is the DF02 and TT02B which are both derived from touring cars, they are really limited in their ride height and struggle to go higher so require bigger wheels.  A race kit from another manufacturer though will be able to be set really high to the point of grip rolling every corner if you want it to.

Personally, of the current available Tamiya buggies my pick is the Top Force.  It has decent rideheight unlike the TT02B but also handles really well, its actually pretty close to a modern race kit.  Parts are readily available, and the only essential upgrades are motor mount and bearings.  You can go nuts on upgrades with carbon chassis, hi caps etc too if you want.  The DB01 would be a better buggy but I'm not sure on parts availability now.

Agree with most of what you say, but not sure (but have little direct evidence) about the modern buggies. I was speaking to the Schumacher guys and they said the cars could do 2-2.5cm clearance. That isn't a lot, and way less tha older cars can do (even df03 I think is closer to 3.5cm?).

As I said I may be wrong (or it may vary a lot between models), but worth checking for anyone reading this and thinking of a modern car

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Get the DB01 or DB01RRR (if you could find one), as both can bash with covered gear/belts.  The chassis are reinforced plastic but you can use TRF501X/502X/503 and 511 parts like A-arms, uprights, hubs, belts, Gear diffs, alloy hop ups etc.  I have a 501X and never get worried about parts because the DB01 has so many parts available.

Here is my old 501X (Raced at prepped tracks only)

 

 

 

thumbnail (12).jpg

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28 minutes ago, AlexB said:

Agree with most of what you say, but not sure (but have little direct evidence) about the modern buggies. I was speaking to the Schumacher guys and they said the cars could do 2-2.5cm clearance. That isn't a lot, and way less tha older cars can do (even df03 I think is closer to 3.5cm?).

As I said I may be wrong (or it may vary a lot between models), but worth checking for anyone reading this and thinking of a modern car

I don't actually know what the max is because I just set mine for track conditions, usually around the 2 - 2.5cm mark but there is always room to go higher.  I would guess at least 3cm on mine?  But then mine are for dirt, so have specific shock towers, shock bodies, arms etc for lower grip dirt tracks.  There is quite a big difference between the front and rear ends on the B6D vs the B6 carpet version, mine is a B6D that I bought secondhand and it had been converted to carpet, so I have all the options of arms, gearboxes, shock towers etc and it was a complete strip and rebuild to switch them over.

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9 hours ago, highflyer said:

Get the DB01 or DB01RRR (if you could find one), as both can bash with covered gear/belts.  The chassis are reinforced plastic but you can use TRF501X/502X/503 and 511 parts like A-arms, uprights, hubs, belts, Gear diffs, alloy hop ups etc.  I have a 501X and never get worried about parts because the DB01 has so many parts available.

Here is my old 501X (Raced at prepped tracks only)

 

 

 

thumbnail (12).jpg

Is there a good source for them now? DB01 kit prices seem to have gone through the roof on eBay and availability seems low. 
 

Paid about £150 for mine imported From Japan,  Including customs, in Jan. Seem to be at least £200 now before customs. 

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