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February 2017: Showroom update
Status: update to original new-build
Name: The Fro-Sco
Chassis: ORV Brat/SRB hybrid
Body: Blitzer Beetle
OK, so technically this is not an original 58016 Sand Scorcher, nor is it even built on a Frog chassis (it was actually a Brat kit)... but in my defence, I first built this hybrid before the re-release of the Sand Scorcher in 2010, so used the original model designation to describe it, and it sort of stuck...
The is the first Tamiya model I built using all new parts, the idea being to recreate the iconic Sand Scorcher of the early 1980s, without the multi-hundred dollar/pound price tag an original commanded back in 2008.
I bought a new re-re Brat kit, together with a Monster Beetle body set, and felt I'd mated the two together successfully (see the various stages in the extra info section of my showroom) to produce a visually similar hybrid that I wouldn't be frightened to run.
Over the years, as I expanded my Tamiya collection and practiced more advanced modelling and weathering techniques, I continued to revisit the Fro-Sco from time to time, updating and refining the original concept, and experimenting with various body modifications such as using a heat-gun and Dremel tool to produce dents and damage/deterioration; the salt technique to produce more realistic rust and weathering; and customising the wings, engine cover and side windows to more faithfully replicate a tired Class 5 desert racing bug.
Additional details included using strips of aluminium tape to replicate chrome and the various metal panels, LED headlights, and not least a spare wheel mounted through a slot in the bonnet. As part of the drive to create a more scale appearance, the original Frog wheels & tyres were soon replaced with Rough Rider/Buggy Champ wheels which in turn have since been customised with ToyKid's scale VW wheel covers (suitably distressed and rusted of course); while the front tyres are narrowed versions of the 915 rear tyres - inspired by SRBbloke here on TC too.
The Fro-Sco has had a succession of Willy drivers over the years, the latest (and final) is 'Steve' (McQueen) Willy - complete with a customised open-face helmet, blue branded racing overalls and even the stub of a cigarette!
While this hybrid may technically lack the authenticity of a genuine Sand Scorcher, from a 'runner' point of view I expect most Tamiya enthusiasts will concede the ORV chassis handles better than the original SRB, although personally I always felt the ORV front suspension was both visually inferior to the scale SRB chassis, and seemingly subject to sloppiness - neither of which truly enamoured me to the build.
Ultimately I corrected this in 2014 (at huge expense!) after buying a complete set of (re-re) SRB front suspension components, together with a pair of 70mm scale Old Man Emu shocks from RC4WD. I fabricated a customer aluminium skid-plate/chassis extension, which mated the SRB assembly to the existing ORV plastic chassis, and finally tied the whole project together.
I'm sure if I added up the cost of this build over the years, I probably could have bought a re-re Sand Scorcher kit after all, but as I say - this has been an evolution since before that kit was released, and has continued to offer a unique canvas for experimentation over the years - and that is priceless!
Hope you like it too!
If you liked those pictures, you should see these...
ORV with SRB front suspension