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jellon

Building my first Tamiya: Vanessa's Lunch Box

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I thought I'd share my experience of building my first kit.... Only 30 years late.

I've posted elsewhere about finally getting the lunch box after wanting it for years. I was worried about the build, but it turned out to be brilliant fun.

I thought I'd post here for anyone like me, thinking about attempting their first kit. I didn't get it right every time, and I learnt a lot along the way. 

My main advice is to build it slowly, read the manual a few times before you start, and enjoy the process.

First the unboxing - I love that cover art:

 

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That's a great choice for a first build . Fit ball races in there - gearbox and wheels .

 

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The slightly daunting bags of bits! Don't get too excited and rip them all open. You can decant them into individual pots for each bag or just keep them taped closed as you work.

I did this on the cheap and had the bare minimum of building kit. You can get away with mini side cutters, nail clippers, mini file, large crosshead screwdriver, mini crosshead screwdriver, and the two spanners in the pack. 

I'll cover the painting kit later, as it's all done towards the end (unless you can't wait....).

This build took me nearly a month (I know...), just doing a little bit most nights. I preferred it that way, and probably made less mistakes than if I'd rushed it. I also kept realising I needed more kit, and had to wait for the post! 

 

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The gearbox and rear axle are very satisfying to put together - make sure the differential is working. The motor is easy to attach. Make sure you line up the motor gear as it says in the manual, using thin card to space it.

Look closely to make sure that you grease all the required parts - it's pretty clear on the instructions.

The wheelie bar reminds you that this is the Lunch Box :) I think that was the most satisfying bit to add! 

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It was very enjoyable to build the chassis - particularly seeing how the steering and suspension work.

The main thing to note is - don't get carried away and overtighten the screws. The plastic is tough, but you could overdo it. 

Also - be careful when clipping on the ball joints. They need quite a lot of force to pinch them on. I found a pair of flat pliers did the job - long nose were inclined to ping off. 

Check the tyre diagrams closely before you put them on - I still managed to get one of them on the rims backwards. 

The tie rods have to be the right length, or your steering will be (more) useless. Measure them exact but be prepared to alter.

Make sure you tighten the lock nuts fully on the wheels - one of mine popped off after a few drives.

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Putting it down on the four wheels, this is the first time it really felt like I was building a monster truck.

Great to see the suspension bounce as it should.

Mine came with an ESC - but for the other electrics (transmitter, receiver, battery, charger and servo) I bought a very basic pack from Leeds model centre. It was the cheapest setup I could find online (just over £50) without sourcing them all individually - and it did the job.

Next the paintwork....

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I'd read a few posts about the lunch box paint being too bright yellow. I really like the vintage yellow that I remember (maybe wrongly) so I went for the camel yellow TS-34. It just looked right to me.

I didn't prime the shell, just washed well and dried before hanging inside a box, from the sun roof. This paint goes everywhere otherwise 

Make sure you shake these paints well and do plenty of thin coats. I did around 5 coats for this. You need to keep turning and make sure you spray from above and below so you don't miss details.

Colour looks odd on this photo - as it was dark. You'll see properly on the next image.

 

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For me - it had to be the box design. As I'd wanted to own it for so long. There's also something rewarding about getting as close as you can.

The only tamiya paint I bought was the black for the window seals. I have to say I wish I'd bought the rest rather than use other acrylics for the small details. The tamiya paint is amazing stuff, it leaves no streaks. Also the tamiya brushes are cheap and very good. Well worth investing.

Having said that, I made a bit of a hash of the window seals..... I tried to do them freehand, to avoid masking. I may go back and tidy them at some point. 

To be honest - it's been quite nice to relax about a few dodgy bits and just enjoy doing it. I soon managed to scrape half of it off on a jump! 

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I was really looking forward to the decals - as they are so iconic. I found it quite nerve racking, as you really want to get it right first time.

Didn't do too bad a job with these, although I should have spent more time smoothing and stretching them over the ridges to get a better finish. As soon as I got dry dust on there it was clear where they were slightly lifted! 

Still - they were enjoyable to put on, and really make it come together. 

So this is the finished thing - before i took it out and immediately rolled it on hard mud. I've decided not to be precious about it - these things are designed to bump and roll all over the place. It's much more fun once you get a few scrapes and stop worrying. 

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And a couple of shots in the field before it got too grubby.

If you are thinking about building a first RC - I can't recommend this enough. Every stage is fun, it's not too difficult, and you learn enough to fix it when anything goes wrong.

I hope this proves useful to someone - I've just enjoyed reliving the build.

I'm currently trying stop myself buying the monster beetle straight away.... maybe next month. 

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2 hours ago, jellon said:

and you learn enough to fix it when anything goes wrong.

This is exactly why kits should be built instead of just buying rtr's!

It looks great. I never tire of driving my Lunchbox. 

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I've just started assembling my Lunchbox and have been looking at how much people do with painting the details on the shell. Part of me wants to spend an age getting it perfect, and part of me realises that I'll get crashed into a wall/hegde/curb within five seconds of the battery being connected...

That looks lovely, have you done any modifications to it yet like oil filled shocks or braces?

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After you get the monster beetle, you will also need a Clodbuster.

Some people say that it's so big, it has its own moon, and that when you hit the throttle, it doesn't move forward, it actually pushes the world backwards, all we know is, it's called the Clodbuster..

VZKSMi3.jpgyou can actually see the clodbuster moon in this picture so it must be true.

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5 hours ago, EvilSpike said:

I've just started assembling my Lunchbox and have been looking at how much people do with painting the details on the shell. Part of me wants to spend an age getting it perfect, and part of me realises that I'll get crashed into a wall/hegde/curb within five seconds of the battery being connected...

That looks lovely, have you done any modifications to it yet like oil filled shocks or braces?

Detail it as much as you can , even if just for the practice of detail painting ,  you will be glad you did it , and it will look great , even when it is just standing still .

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19 hours ago, KEV THE REV said:

Detail it as much as you can , even if just for the practice of detail painting ,  you will be glad you did it , and it will look great , even when it is just standing still .

I agree! @EvilSpike there isn't that much to do beyond the black window frames and the stickers. I went back to mine and did the panel lines with a grey gundam marker. I also painted the black areas of the grill. I quite like to repaint damage with my own yellow acrylic mix. It looks rough, like a real dodgy repair :)

The only upgrades I have done are the metal bearings in gearbox and wheels - plus the free fishing line and suspension tubing mods from elsewhere in this site. It still runs like a lunch box, but with slightly less bounce and clonking. Steering still sucks, but it makes it a challenge.

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On 11/3/2020 at 3:48 PM, wolfdogstinkus said:

After you get the monster beetle, you will also need a Clodbuster.

Some people say that it's so big, it has its own moon, and that when you hit the throttle, it doesn't move forward, it actually pushes the world backwards, all we know is, it's called the Clodbuster..

VZKSMi3.jpgyou can actually see the clodbuster moon in this picture so it must be true.

Haha. Presumably the car Chuck Norris would drive. I would absolutely love to get one at some point. Busy building a comical grasshopper at the moment. 

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