Status: New built
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**PLEASE READ THIS** for anyone looking at this model displayed in my showroom and wondering if I will sell it? PLEASE DON’T ASK!!! I get numerous requests from TC members wanting to buy cars displayed in my Tamiyaclub showroom, and to be honest I get very annoyed when people ask to buy something that is clearly NOT FOR SALE!! This car is part of MY COLLECTION and as such I want to KEEP IT!! So please don’t Email on the off chance that I might sell it to you, if I want to sell any of my cars I will put them up for sale in my TRADE ROOM, so look there to see what cars I am prepared to sell otherwise don’t bother asking cos the only answer you will get is NO!!! thanks for reading this disclaimer. Regards wldnas.
I'm Gutted :S I was trying so hard to be the first TC member to get a Desert Gator and two other members beat me to it :S and one of those was cheating a bit by posted some promotional pics of it he car up in their showroom before the model had even been delivered ;)
Anyway I'm not like that I waited until I had the model in my hands before posting it up in my showroom, but I am still disappointed at being beaten to the punch.... This time at least ;)
So what’s to be said about Tamiya’s latest Buggy offering? Well it’s a looker and make no mistake ;) unlike many of the other buggies they have made more recently that have a somewhat Toyish flavour to them, this one seems to have more of a racing model look about it, echoes of the Astute are very noticeable and even though it’s a juiced up version of the Super Fighter G chassis? Its in a different league all together, the kit come fully ball raced, it has adjustable upper wishbone links, oil dampers and a brand spanking new set of wheels which are really nice, the front wheels really stand out in that they are very wide, about half as much again more wider than any regular 2wd front tire, the front tires are ribbed but made of a nice soft rubber, hope fully understeer will be fully addressed by this unusual front end design… ;)
The chassis itself seems to follow the new Tamiya norm of being a low flat tub to which the complete front end and rear gearbox assembles can be easily fitted or removed with just 5-6 screws a-piece, this will make for some very easy maintenance, the gearbox comes in 3 main chunks that are made from some nice shiny black & hard engineering plastic (the gearbox on the Super Fighter G is made from transparent plastic?) the gears are shocking white which is different to the more usual off white colour of more normal Tamiya gearing? Perhaps they are using a different more durable material this time ;) the lower suspension wishbone are made from the same design style and grade of plastic as the suspension parts on the Gravel Hound and Rising Storm this means that they should be plenty durable for any rough treatment to come :)
On the whole its not a bad looking model, there is some good design and engineering gone into this, but there does not seem to be much scope for modification right now? The car comes with Oil Dampers and Ball Races already, there are only 2 pinion options available in the stock gearbox housings (17t & 19t) and the gears are the Olde school chunky 24 Dpi as used in the Tamiya cars during the 80’s time will tell if this car has the potential to become something greater than just another RC toy, lets hope Tamiya go back to the old ways of making both basic and expensive hopped-up high performace versions of their buggies :)
UPDATE: I could not resist the temptation to build this puppy :) and in doing so I become the 1st TC member to have a BUILT Desert Gator in their showroom ;) …OK? So it’s a small consolation on not being the 1st TC member to get one but in building mine first I can point a few things about the car from screwing it together that you won’t know just from looking at the manual or pictures of the thing?
First off this car is quite a simple and easy machine to build :) you actually build the car in 3 sections.. The Front End Assembly (Bumper, Shock Tower/Bulkhead, wishbones, Steering Uprights and shocks)… The Rear End and Gearbox Assembly (Gearbox, gears, Motor, Shock Tower/Bulkhead, Wishbones, Shocks and Rear Uprights) and these units are in turn screwed onto the central chassis tub via means of 5-6 screws each, the Tub is quite low and wide and is split up into 4 compartments, the Battery is mounted centrally down the middle and is held in place with a large plastic hinged door, on either side is space for the ESC and Radio Receiver, and at the front is a reinforced box for mounting the steering servo.
Now the steering on this car is very Olde School ;) in that it goes back to the tried and tested method of direct drive steering, IE the servo is directly connected to the steering uprights via a servo saver, most of the previous Tamiya RC’s have some sort of Ackermann style steering linkage arrangement where the servo was indirectly connected to the steering via a pair of pivoting arms which in turn were linked the uprights, by using the direct drive approach Tamiya are effectively going back to 80’s when nearly all their buggies were steered in this way, some might see this steering system as an advantage while other may not, in any case it adds to the overall simple design of the car and hopefully it will mean that its more robust as there is less to go wrong with it :)
The next thing that you will notice about this car is how chunky everything is… the extra wide front wheels are one place were this is obvious, the shock towers too are formed from chunky plastic mouldings, but by far the biggest and most chunky assembly on the whole car is the gearbox assembly :S It quite big especially when compared with other modern 2WD’s, it has a double counter gear layout with a fixed main 55t spur gear, the counter gears run on hollow shaft (obviously a weight saving measure) and the standard Chunky Tamiya planetary geared sealed assembly differential unit is used, another thing of note is the pitch of the gears used on this car? Most more modern Tamiya’s use either 32 Dpi or 0.4/0.6 Module gearing… this car however again has taken a retro step backwards in terms of its gearing design… all the gears on this car are cut with 24 Dpi teeth? This means that they are chunkier and courser than other more contemporary Tamiya gearing? Again 24 pitch gears were common throughout the 80’s on Tamiya buggies, why have they done this? I suppose because 24 pitch gears are quite robust and can take a bit of abuse, the gears are made from a slight different form of plastic on this car and that might have something to do with it.
The rest of the gearbox design is very boxy and has all its main parts moulded in, the plastic motor mount plate (which has only 2 sets of holes for pinion change options 17t-19t) the motor guard and the spur gear cover which is also a load bearing structure as it supports the outer end of the spur gear counter shaft, looking at this design its difficult to see how it could be modified to make it more competitive? You would have to hack off a lot of the existing plastic and to fit a slipper clutch with fully adjustable metal motor mounting plate would require a full re-design of the gearbox? In fact to go as far as those sort of modifications you would have to replace the gearbox completely with a more compact competition unit :S the same can be said for the rest of the car?
To replace the chassis with a FRP or Carbon flat deck would need modifications for the gear box mount, battery holder, steering servo mounting and front end assembly, Changing the shock towers again would need major modification of the bulkheads, so as heroic as this car looks, unless it has favourable handling characteristics built in as stock? Making it competitive would require prohibitively extensive and expensive work which for a car of this type and quality is hardly worth the effort, no doubt some ppl will give it a go anyway? come what may….. Evoman ;) and I’m sure that Tamiya will do a TRF version of it but as is its little more than the typical toy grade models that Tamiya have gotten so used to making these days, still when compared directly with more recent products from them, things are starting to look up at long last ;)
I did find the decals to be very fiddly to apply when doing the body? On the last Tamiya kit I bought (Rising Storm) all the deacls were pre-cut on the sheet, and this mad them easy to filt off the sheet and apply to the body even if the designs were quite fine, but on this you had to cut the decals out your self (agin just like the good old days of the 80's) but this is a bit of a pain as some of the decals are spikey flame like decals, if cutting them out wasn't bad enough getting them to form around the contours of the body was a different matter again, at a distance my body looks OK but on closer scrutiny they are all over the shop and wrinkled to buggery, still with all this retro design going on with this car, it would have been nice to go back to the old look of cars with lots or sponser decals on, most Tamiya cars only have the flashy grafix on but hardly any sponser decals? and that to me a real shame as it makes the car look more like a toy than a model of a real car like a lot of the original Tamiyas were meant to be :(
I have not run the car yet :S mainly cos I built the thing with ESC and Steering servo? But I don’t have a spare Receiver to fit into it currently, I have got one coming in a trade but as for when that will arrive is anyone’s guess, but for now you ppl get to see some more detailed pic of one built up at last :)